You and I are in the River of God right now…or should I say, the River is in us. We no longer have to pray for God to “rend the heavens and come down” because Jesus came down, and we live under an open heaven now (John 1:51; Eph.2:6; Heb.12:22-24). We don’t need to wait for this River, it’s flowing in us now…we need to let it flow out.
Here’s what Jesus told us…
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to Me and drink. 38 He who believes in Me, as the Scripture said, ‘From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water.’” 39 But this He spoke of the Spirit, whom those who believed in Him were to receive; for the Spirit was not yet given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.. (John 7:37-39 NASB)
Of course, the Spirit has already been given. This River flows from the most intimate part of us.
We’re not going to the temple; we are His temple. And we’re not asking God to show up; we’re asking to be made more aware of His presence already dwelling in us.
Worship music is not so we can sing songs about God; it’s about creating atmosphere for God’s people to “participate in the divine nature” (2 Pet.1:4). It’s tasting and seeing that He is good (Psalm 34:8). It’s an invitation to the Divine Dance, where our soul is fully satisfied. Sometimes it’s celebratory; sometimes it’s just the River.
My friend, Mark Hendrickson, talks about having “On-Ramps into God” and about how we feed our heart on his blog. Beloved, this is why worship is so important. As Mark says, “I must have a vibrant and healthy heart if I’m going to live life victoriously.” (from “On-Ramps into God”)
I’ve included an excerpt from our worship last Sunday. It’s not a professional recording (only edited for length), but I wanted you to hear it because, as it’s been said, some things are better caught than taught. The recording is from the beginning of our worship time when we were corporately finding that “on-ramp.” The songs were not written spontaneously, but the worship was spontaneous. One of the songs was an original by our worship pastor, Levi Blackburn (“I See a River”); Christi Smelzer is singing the Housefires song, “Come to the River.”
As we’re flowing in this River, you’ll also notice that there is a prophetic response (my wife Maureen gives the first one). When we respond to God, He wants to respond to us…for our “strengthening, encouraging and comfort” (1 Cor.14:3). Worship is all about this intimate interaction with God. As Christi’s husband, Josh, prophesied…it’s about leaving our religion for relationship as Jesus’ bride. It’s about finding our “certainty” in Christ alone.
I invite you to take some time and listen to the recording, but don’t just listen. Hear what the Spirit is saying to you. Let the River of Heaven flow through you and out of you. There is love here. And there is always fullness of joy!
Then the angel showed me the river of the water of life, as clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and of the Lamb 2 down the middle of the great street of the city. On each side of the river stood the tree of life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, yielding its fruit every month. And the leaves of the tree are for the healing of the nations. 3 No longer will there be any curse. The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants will serve him. 4 They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. 5 There will be no more night. They will not need the light of a lamp or the light of the sun, for the Lord God will give them light. And they will reign for ever and ever. (Rev.22:1-5 *)
4 There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
the holy place where the Most High dwells. (Psalm 46:4 *)
22 But you have come to Mount Zion, to the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem. You have come to thousands upon thousands of angels in joyful assembly, 23 to the church of the firstborn, whose names are written in heaven. You have come to God, the Judge of all, to the spirits of the righteous made perfect (Heb.12:22-23 *)
8 Taste and see that the Lord is good;
blessed is the one who takes refuge in him. (Psalm 34:8 *)