I Can’t Hear You!

by pastortimfowler

When I was a kid one of my favorite TV shows was Gomer Pyle USMC. Gomer was a dufus who got on his sergeant’s nerves because he smiled at everything. One of the things that you heard from Sgt. Carter every episode was, “I can’t hear you!!” Old drill sergeants were always yelling to get you to yell back.
So, this morning I was finishing up reading the OT book of Nehemiah and toward the end, when the city walls had been rebuilt and the people were moving back to the city, it says that the people of God were praising and worshiping God so loudly that folks outside the city could hear them. In the book of Ezra it says that when the foundation for the temple had been laid, that the shouts of praise could be heard far away.
Last Saturday I went to the opening game of USC Gamecock Football season. I love college football and have to be careful how I act. We had an obnoxious fan from the other team sitting in front of us for this game and he was very loud when his team started winning early in the game. But once we got on track, things changed and the crowd went crazy and so did I. I was told that you could hear the cheering all throughout the downtown area.
In our church we have a children’s area that is separated from the worship center by a greeting area. It is not a very large area, but it does provide a buffer so that the babies in the nursery can sleep and the kids can have their lesson taught without the teacher having to yell. Our praise band is incredible. They are talented and inspired to make music that sings out praises to God. They do play loud and that is another benefit to having that separation from the children’s area. We have a great sound system that can blast out the music like you wouldn’t believe.
Every Sunday we try to follow the biblical command to “build the church”. We are told that this happens one soul at a time as people get saved. I can’t tell you how blown away I am as the pastor when week after week, new people come to know Jesus as Savior. I can’t remember the last time that we had a Sunday worship time that someone did not join the family of God. So here is my dilemma.
Why is there not an earth shattering outburst of praise every Sunday? Our band is great and the music is in worship to God, the lover of our souls, and He responds to our praise and the preaching by adding to the family. There should be an overwhelming emotional response, right? Please don’t take this as fussing, I am really wanting to understand this lack of enthusiasm. There is absolutely no biblical evidence that we should be reserved in our response to God. I can list time after time of instances in the Bible where people were praising God so enthusiastically that folks heard them over everything else that was going on.
We don’t have a problem cheering loudly for our team when they win. We don’t have a problem cheering our favorite band at a concert. We don’t have a problem cheering at our kids play at school. But at church we become very refined and unresponsive to what is truly a supernatural move of God. I am as guilty as the rest, some times. But I do try to lead by example. I have been accused of getting a bit rowdy when I preach, and I will clap and lift my hands while the band plays. But at the end, when the invitation is given and people make that life changing decision to trust God for salvation, the silence is disturbing. I know we need to be reverent to the immediate time of response, but afterward, I think the celebration should begin. I think it is time to wake the babies and cause the neighbors to call the police. Wouldn’t it be wild to have the news lead off with the story of churches all across America disturbing the peace each Sunday around 12 noon?
Let me challenge you to put your game face on Sunday. Become a cheer leader for Jesus. Forget about the refined people in church and act like those in the Bible who were truly thrilled to see God do something. If you want to be quiet, go to a church where God is not saving a soul, but if you are in a place where He is saving people, CELEBRATE! Because what if God is saying “I CAN”T HEAR YOU!” and we are saying “SHHHH, you’ll wake the babies?

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