John 4:21 (No Place)

Old Church Building

Jesus replied, “Believe me, dear woman, the time is coming when it will no longer matter whether you worship the Father on this mountain or in Jerusalem. (John 4:21)

Read: Deuteronomy 33:1 – 34:12, Joshua 1:1 – 2:24

Relate: This week I had the privilege of going to an ARC conference (ARC = Association of Related Churches) down in Jacksonville, FL. I had a great time and it was an amazing opportunity but to be honest I am a little bit jealous. The conference was held at Celebration Church and I have to say that building is amazing. The facilities are great and the worship team (along with the sound/lights/etc) was far and away more talented than many concerts I have been to. It isn’t possible to not get pumped up when singing praises to God with thousands of others who have invested their lives in the cause of Christ in an atmosphere like that. The speakers and app sessions were opportunities to hear from some of the most brilliant minds available.

On the flip side, I remember growing up worshiping at the Echo building in Syracuse. (ECHo = Euclid Community House) We rented that facility and sometimes it would have been rented the night before for frat parties or some such nonsense from nearby Syracuse University. That would mean I would get over there with my dad more than an hour early to air out the place and mop up the puke in the bathroom before doing the normal stuff like setting up our metal folding chairs. Worship would consist of my dad playing on the guitar and the rest of us clapping and singing. There was one lady who would sometimes start playing the tambourine. She had a lot of enthusiasm but not much rhythm. The mountain top experience that is worshiping at Two Rivers Assembly might not seem as tall as that at Celebration Church but it is worlds better than what I grew up with, even after we moved out of the Echo building.

React: That comparison only stands true when it comes to aesthetics. Some of the most powerfully impacting moments of my life happened around the altars at that old community hall or later at the run down church building we moved into a year or two down the road. Sure, there might have been bats in that belfry, no heat in the winter and no AC in the summer. My father might not have been a John Maxwell or a Tommy Barnett, but He was preaching from the same Word and glorifying the same God. The worship was genuine and He was faithful to meet us right where we were at. This mountain or that one… it doesn’t matter. What matters is that we encounter the same God in Spirit and in Truth.


God, help us not to get hung up on a place or a person. Whether we are gathering to worship You in a multi-million dollar facility or some school building or town hall we rent week to week, meet us there. Whether the worship team is as famous as Hillsongs or some college guy playing out of tune on his guitar, meet us there. One day we will all gather for the greatest international worship experience in the universe and that will dwarf anything this side of heaven. Until that day, wherever we are, however we do it, Come. Meet with us as we seek You out.


5 thoughts on “John 4:21 (No Place)

  1. You may have had a twinge or two of envy at the highly decorated church facilities which is perfectly normal. And okay!!! Even though you had a lot of nasty behavioral messes to tend with as a child with your dad, you have now experienced the smallest and the tallest. God likely wanted you to experience that for a reason. Take from it what He wanted you to see and feel. He trusts that you will come out the other end with a smile. Blessings! Brenda

  2. Bless you! I, too, love worship with excellent musicians and singers. What worship we’ll enjoy in heaven. And yet, those times in large congregations and professionally performed worship services are not quite as intimate as the smaller gatherings. May the Lord fill you with a worship-filled walk with Him. Karen

  3. BJ, you are tapping some deep buttons in me with these John 4 verses and your words/thoughts. “Same old same old” – new light new might.

  4. Worship is for God Himself. It’s about Him so it really doesn’t matter where we find that sanctuary of worship. The great thing is that as we worship our Lord in spirit and truth, we are renewed, restored and inspired. Thanks BJ for sharing. I enjoy your posts so much.

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