Worship That Changes the Atmosphere

I was at the Influencers Conference 2012 and really liked what Benny Perez shared about John 12:1-3

Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus lived, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. Here a dinner was given in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, while Lazarus was among those reclining at the table with him. Then Mary took about a pint of pure nard, an expensive perfume; she poured it on Jesus’ feet and wiped his feet with her hair. And the house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

When Mary poured out the perfume at the feet of Jesus, the text states that the fragrance of the worship “filled the house”.  Extravagant worship transforms the atmosphere.

Firstly, extravagant worship transforms the “atmosphere” of the heart of the worshipper.  On the way to the Influencers Conference, we were running late and traffic in the car park had slowed to a crawl.  What began as excitement quickly gave way to anxiety and frustration.  I also had some “discussions” with my wife.  When I finally made it in to the service, the last thing I felt like doing was to worship.

But when I began to sing, when I began to lift up my hands and to applaud, even when I didn’t feel like it, my heart and my emotions began to change.  I stopped thinking about “poor old me” and I began to focus on Jesus.

History is full of stories of encounters with God in worship that have transformed the worshipper.  But the impact goes beyond the individual as the transformed worshipper, revitalised by the call of God, also becomes a history maker.

Second, extravagant worship transforms the atmosphere in the place of worship.  That’s what happened in John 12.  Mary’s worship caused the whole room to be filled with the sweet scent of perfume.  It was likely that the fragrance continued to linger with those who came into contact with it for days to come.  In Acts 4:31, after the believers prayed and worshipped, it says that the place where they were meeting was shaken.  That’s the power of worship to change the atmosphere of the room.

And last, I believe that extravagant unified worship can transform the atmosphere in a city.  I am looking forward to the day when passionate worship ministers join across the city of Perth to lift up the name of Jesus in praise which pushes back the forces of darkness in the city to see transformation in every part of society.

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