Which of the two groups of people above would you say are passionately worshiping God, passionately loving God? If a non-believer walked in theses two services which one would they say, WOW, they really love God? WOW, They are passionately about Jesus? Which one would do you think they would say, I want to know about the God they are worshiping? Which one would you say God is up close and personal to them?
As for me, I would say the people on the Right, and not just because that is the group I am in. It has to do with who God made me, how I am wired and what I read in scripture.
Zephaniah 3:17 says ” The Lord your God is in your midst, a mighty one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will quiet you by his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.”
Which group looks like they believe that, that God is in their midst? That God rejoices over them with gladness? Exults over them with LOUD singing? Which one looks like they are responding to what that verse says? Is the way on the Left how you respond to a God that is rejoicing over you with LOUD signing? Not me. To God in your midst? Not me.
Those same questions are at the heart of why I had no interest in every church I walked in to tell I was 25, and why had I a distorted understanding of church and God.
This is my story, my personal life experience.
I have walked into many churches like on the Left in my life time, that’s why I never liked going to church in my youth, my teens, up to my mid twenties. I found the “worship” boring, and dead, and I did not understand a word of the songs in the hymnal’s, like “Would He devote that sacred Head”, “For their feete runne to euil”, I would think who talks like that to anyone, especially to God? I would look around and everyone looked like that were mad, or depressed, and well, constipated. One thing for sure I never linked the joy of the Lord, God’s love, a expression of love for God, passion for God, or even God is love to them. I could not stand the worship time, so I was never part of a church growing up. I really believed God was harsh, unemotional, unloving, and very distant from man, He was just not someone you had a love relationship with, based on how the people were worshiping Him.
Then God lead me to Calvary Chapel, the first time I was there and I was blown away by the worship, for the first time in my life I witnessed worship. Because I had been to football games, I had seen what people are like when they are passionate about something, I had crushes on girls, I know how you act when your crazy about someone. And Jesus even tells us we are to love God even more than our loved ones. That first time I was at Calvary, I saw people who were passionately in love with God, crazy in love with Jesus, for the first time I saw people worship God with all their being. They not only looked happy, but were ecstatic, full of uncontainable joy, I knew these people had an intimate personal relationship with God. I know they loved God and God loved them, they were in a love relationship with God. That He was the cause of the passionate love they had for Him. I knew God had to be amazing to cause that kind of emotion in people. The songs were alive and personal from their heart to God, and in simple modern English that I could understand. I was overwhelmed, and I want to love God like they did. To know God like they did. Know His love like they did. And so for the first time in my life I became part of a church.
It’s been many years since that day I walked into Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa, and I have grown in breadth and length and height and depth, in my relationship, and love of God, of my Lord and savior Jesus Christ, so thus has my worship.
I am by nature a passionate person, affectionate and romantic, when I am passionate about something or someone, it shows, so I worship with great passion, how can one not when worshiping the God of Creation, the God who came in the flesh to suffer and die for me. How can I not be excited, want to raise my hands to the one who was raised from the dead for me, jump with joy, dance with gladness, shout, cry, scream with arms wide open, proclaim my love to Him, be filled with joy and smile ear to ear. I must, everything in me cries out to Him, my love must be expressed with all my mind, strength, and body, and so I do. That’s me, how I roll, I cannot just sit in a pew unemotional, singing songs that are not from my heart, and say prayers someone else wrote.
Which group looks like God in inhabiting their praises like the bible says He will? Come on, be honest. To me it’s so obvious it’s the ones on the Right.
Psalm 16:11 says “in your presence there is fullness of joy” which group looks like is in the presence of God? Obviously the ones on the Right to me.
Who looks like they are gazing on the face of the One who sits on the throne? To me, there is only one choice in my experience as one who does, the Right.
My choices are based on my life experience, and how I am wired for love and passion, and my personal encounters with God in worship.
This Sunday I visited a church that a friend wanted to go to, his wife was out of town and he did not want to go alone, so I volunteered to go with. I had been to the church before 3 or 4 times, another friend of my use to go there.
Like before I did not like the “worship” part of it, you get a booklet with the worship time laid out for you, the words to the songs. It had words that the person up front read, and then the part the congregation would read, and prewritten prayers to say, even had a confession of sins for us to confess, just like the Catholic church. I just don’t like that, not my cup of tea as they say. To me it screams Rituals vs. Relationship, screams Catholic church, screams what Jesus condemned the Pharisees for what they did. Made Judaism all about a set of Rituals and laws to follow and do rather than have a love relationship with God. King David understood what it was all about, but the Pharisees did not.
The sermon was very good though, but I really did not like everything before that and after. As for me, if I cannot have the freedom to passionately worship and love God at the level my heart desires to. I would rather just stay home and listen to the podcast of the message later, if I am not going to get to worship God at the level everything in me scream to do and say, why even be there? And if there is not a time of praying for one another, for ministering to one another, that is doing all the one anthers in the NT like encourage one another, and build one another, then there is no reason to be there in my book (the book of Acts), Then all that is left is the sermon, and that you can hear at home, or on your phone anywhere. So that is why I would not go to that church, it’s just not me.
To just sit there week after week unemotional, un-passionately, sing songs that say nothing of the love I feel for God, I would explode, like the rocks I would have to cry out praises to God, shout out the Name above every name. Dance with joy before my Lord like King David (OK, not naked like he did). Not falling on my face before Him crying out Holy, Holy is the Lamb on the throne. Worship with total abandonment, with all that I am, mind, body, and soul, with all my strength.
I’m just saying that is me, where I am in my relationship with God, the level of love I have and level of worship I desire to give God. I do not attack or condemn others who choose to worship like at that church (that is why I did give it’s name), who choose be part of a church like that. And so I desire others to not try to talk me out of not loving God like I do, talk me out of worshiping God with passion like I do. Or to attack and condemn me because I do, or the places I worship at.
And I wish people would stop trying to talk me into going to a church like the ones I’m talking about (photos on Left side), like the ones that kept me from God, that is not a place for me, you go where you want and I will go where I go. And I choose to go where I am free to worship God with total abandonment, passion, love God to my hearts content. Come before the throne of God and gaze upon His beauty and dance with joy before Him, and sing loud from my heart to Him who sets on the throne.
I am like the guy on the Right when I worship, I am all in, totally abandoned in my love and worship of God, and I will not not give Him anything less.
The words to this song by Misty Edwards says it for me.
For there is love that is as strong as death
Jealousy, demanding as the grave
And many waters cannot quench this love
I don’t want to talk about You
Like You’re not in the room
I want to look right at You
I want to sing right to You
Which group above looks like that is true for? Isn’t obvious it’s the ones on the Right.
I also want to be around with others who are passionate lovers and worshipers of God, around others who are more so than I. I want Paul’s, Peter’s and John’s around me. People who are beyond me spiritually, prayer warriors, more passionate worshipers then I. People who inspire me to go deeper in God, to go wider in God, who pull me up to where they are. Not people who want to pull me down to what I consider a level of mediocrity.
I’ve tasted and seen, of the sweetest of the presence of Jesus, the moving of the Holy Spirit, and I want to stay there. Churches on the Left are why I never wanted to be part of a church, had a distant relationship with God, knew not of His love and was a periodical son tell I was 25. Churches on the Right are why I have a passionate love relationship with God, with His word, and so there I will stay.
If you like, want a church like the one on the Left, then be part of a church like that, just don’t expect me to, because I will not. And I do not care what others think, I worship for an audience of one, He who sits on the throne.
p.s. This is not open for debate or even discussion, I will not love God less or less passionately than I do now. I am unapologetic about this, because I’ll never be sorry or apologetic for loving God and passionately worshiping Him.
Also read this post Early For Church, Never Just in Time