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I started answering the question “What did it look like back in the day at Calvary Chapel when Christians got together, for a bible study and other gatherings?” in my post on Sept 24. I started by explaining that the answer is found in who we were because that resulted in what it was like. This is part 2 of my answer.

In addition to everything that I wrote in this post here.

We abided in Christ.

We lived in Christ, we lived for Jesus, we lived “Hour-by-hour abiding in Jesus. We were obsessed with Jesus, we praised Him continually, talked about Him obsessively.

And just like with Jesus out of His personal union with the Father (John 10:30, John 5:19, Luke 22:42, John 14:9 ) came His words (John 12:49) and His works (fruit), which manifest the character of God and His mission on earth. Out of our union, our abiding in Christ, abiding in His word, came our works (fruit) and Character of Christ in us, resulting in us living on His mission (Acts 1:8, Matthew 28:19-20).

So imagine what it would be like for two or more people in a union (abiding) with God the Father, God the Son, God the Holy Spirit, the word of God just as Jesus was in a union (abiding) with the Father coming together. Think of the results in the life of Jesus, the fruit He manifested, everything He did on His mission. Look at the life of the disciples and the fruit in their lives from abiding in Christ (Book of Acts). Now maybe you’re getting a glimpse of what it was like when we came together. What our daily lives looked like.

We proved daily that John 15:1-11 is true. “……he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, “. Our lives, what happened when we came together were the result of us abiding in Christ all day, the fruit from abiding.

Calvary Chapel May 5, 1973. Hundreds gather at Corona del Mar beach for baptism.

We were all part of the same church.

In the late 60’s through the 80’s Calvary Chapel held their baptisms at the beach, they had to because they were baptizing as many a 500 people in a single baptism. Those people were not coming to Christ because of some church event, or program. But because every one of us took Jesus to the streets, everywhere we went, we carried our Bibles with us and shared Jesus with everyone we met, each one of us was an evangelist. We did not invite people to come and attend a church, we were the church everywhere we went inviting people to come to the wedding feast, to Christ (Matthew 22:9).

This is who we were, the Christian culture we were reborn into, what Christians did, we opened our Bibles read what it said, believed it and lived it, we acted, we just did what it said. Thereby we made Isaiah 55:11 a reality in our lives. We were living on mission, talking about Jesus to everyone. It was that way for the first church, it was like that for us back then and it should be the same for us today.

We were all part of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa. What was Calvary Chapel like, try to imagine thousands of followers of Christ who are passionately in love with Jesus. Coming together to worship Jesus, study the word, and have Koinonia with each other, who are expectantly waiting for the return of Jesus (Matthew 24:44, 1 Thess 5:6) and wanted to tell everyone about that Jesus. This was not a church of Sunday Christians, church attendees, a give me ten minutes of worship, a quick twenty-minute sermon and let me get out of here kind of people. This was Jesus people, Jesus freaks (as we were called), followers of Jesus coming together. People who actually loved to be with other followers of Jesus and talk about Jesus. To us it was not just a one hour Sunday morning event, in addition to the Sunday morning service, we had Sunday, Monday and Thursday night bible study services that lasted 2, to 2 1/2 hours each. Plus we went out for dinner afterward with bibles open talking about the study for another couple of hours. We were not just attendees of a church, Sunday Christians, but people in love with Jesus, and the body of Christ, the word of God and so we came together to be in the word, love on each other and love on Jesus.

I believe the essential part, the key to being part of Calvary Chapel was that it was a teaching church, an equipping church, and a sending church. We were taught the word of God (1 Timothy 4:6, 2 Timothy 2:15), equipped to do the work of ministry (Ephesians 4:12-16) and sent out to preach the gospel and make disciples (2 Timothy 4:2, Matthew 28:19-20, Acts 1:8) and that is what we did. It was not about starting programs, it was about making missionaries of all of us.

Somebody once asked me where I went to church, I said Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, They responded: “Wow, going there is like going to seminary, you really learn the Bible”. And they were right, we not only were taught the Bible verse by verse, cover to cover, but we were also taught how to study the Bible ourselves, we were equipped. Thereby we were able to fulfill 2 Timothy 2:15 “Earnestly study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.“.

So image a group of people who along with everything I said in part one of this post, they believe in the same Jesus (Biblical Jesus), are madly in love with, abide in Jesus, who talk about Him with everyone they meet. Who are anxiously awaiting His return (Matthew 24:44, 1 Thess 5:6), and with urgency told everyone Jesus was returning. Who love the word of God so much that they study it every day, meditate on it all day, and talk about it with everyone. Are in unity in what the bible says (theology). Who love the body of Christ, and live to one another the body. Who exercise their Spirit-given gifts when they come together. A people that live on the same mission, to go make disciples. That believe in the same gospel and preach it to themselves and everyone they meet every day. We were filled with, empowered by the Holy Spirit, who is enabling, gifting and leading them. Are Charismatic (Not into Charismania).

We were a people that are of one accord, one Jesus, one gospel, one bible, one mission, a people who read the bible then do, act on what it says in the power of the Holy Spirit.

That’s is who we were, a group of people who met the one who died for their sins and rose again and live as if they did.

It was Just Normal Christianity

In other words, it is normal Christianity according to everything I read in the NT as to how Christians live, the normative for a follower of Jesus Christ and how we live and do church.

So what was the result of a group of people like that to coming together? Whether it was 2, 20, 200 or 2,000, I think the only way I can convey what it was like is just to say: It was a Jesus explosion, a Jesus celebration. It looked like Acts 2, like Ephesians 5:16, and 1 Corinthians 14:26. It looked like a group of co-laborers in the mission (Matthew 28:19-20), who were stirring up one another to love and good works, spurring on one another in the good fight of the faith. It was like what normal Christianity is supposed to be like.

Honestly, you have to have lived it and experienced it to truly know and understand what it was like, what happened when we came together. If you were not part of the Jesus / Oneway Movement in the 60’s – 80’s, especially in California and particularly at Calvary Chapel (where it began), you truly cannot understand what I’m talking about.

I can also say for sure that you cannot make what happened back then happen today with a “how to book”, a “checklist of things to do”, or “church programs”. No man-made list or program can duplicate it. Nor can it happen with a church or group that’s full of Sunday Christians. People that think a church is something you just attend.

Just as Calvary Chapel did not make it happen with programs or manuals. It was God, the work of the Spirit and a people passionately in love with, abiding in Jesus and in love with each other. Chuck’s part was that he lifted Jesus up, taught the word of God and equipped the people for the work and sent them out. He let God and the Holy Spirit do the rest. God filled us with His Holy Spirit, and Chuck filled us with God’s word, and the word and the Spirit together did the rest.

I think the last part of Acts 17:6 best describes the gatherings back then “These who have turned the world upside down have come here too.” because they really did.

Read part one here.

 

In my Friday morning men’s group, I was asked what it looked like back in the day at Calvary Chapel Costa Mesa when Christians got together, for a bible study or other gathering.

And I have been thinking about that since he asked that, and I’ve had a hundred memories running through my head while trying to think of how to answer that question.

And I think the answer is found in who we were, how we lived daily. Because without that any examples don’t make sense and are truly unduplicatable. Because that is the foundation, was the catalyst for what occurred when we met together.

Like the trinity we had a three-fold purpose and that ultimately was one purpose, Jesus, the Word, and the mission. And it dominated every aspect of our daily life, our thoughts, our actions, our purpose for living. Sub purpose along with those was Koinonia, (fellowship) and Maranatha, (the second coming of our Lord Jesus).

Because Jesus, the word of God and His mission were our lives, the most important things in our lives, the priority of our lives, what happen when we got together happened because of that. Jesus, the word of God, and the mission dominated our thoughts, our conversations, they affected everything we did every day.  So, when we came to gather it looked like the book of Act’s chapter 2, like Ephesians 5: 19-21, and 1 Cor 14:26.

When we gathered together all we talked about was Jesus and His word, because for us “to live is Christ” was how we lived. We did not have to switch to “church mode” or start acting like Christians when we came together, we were living it out daily. We talked about Jesus all day with everyone.

I must start with the elements, the foundation that created what happened when we came together?

The Mission: We all joined God in what He was doing every day, and so we had daily stories about fresh encounters with God, with what He was doing, stories of us joining Him in what He was doing. Stories of preaching the gospel, the sick being healed, the blind seeing, people being saved, people repenting, people being delivered. That is we had testimonies of Mark 16:15-20 “And they went out and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them and confirming the word through the accompanying signs.” Even stories of receiving persecution for preaching the gospel, and testimonies of prayers being answered.

First-hand stories, so that no matter who we talked with, set down next to when a conversation started we had a steady stream of God stories about what He had done. We prayed daily for God to use us, lead us where He was working, let us join Him in the mission. And when we prayed it, we meant it, we put everything else on the back burner. So then we brought those stories, testimonies with us when we come together, our part in the mission, in what God was doing on earth (Matthew 28:19-20, 10:7-8, Mark 16:15-18, Luke 9:2).

The Word: We had daily fresh encounters with His word and what it said to share, not just a list of isolated Bible verses committed to memory from some list memorized we just repeated. But a daily fresh encounter with the word and the Holy Spirit speaking to us through the word it for that day. We started our day with our Bibles open digging into the word, we finished our day in it, and every minute in-between that we could. We carried our bibles with us everywhere, we were reading it and sharing it every opportunity we had. We were set on fire for and by His word, encounters with God in His word. And if we did not share what we had received, we would have exploded I think. And we wanted to share it with everyone. We had burning bush encounters with God in His word. You cannot keep that kind of encounters with the Lord under a basket, you must shout it from a rooftop, and so we did, to each other, to everyone we encountered.

We all carried our Bibles with us if we were going to a restaurant to eat alone or with somebody, it was with us and open. When going to somebody’s house, because whenever we gathered together we always open our bibles and shared the Word. Even work because we never wanted to be far from it or miss any opportunity we had for sharing the word with others.

Jesus: And we abided in Christ and He in us, our thoughts were consumed with Jesus. We preached the gospel to ourselves all day, keeping the cross and resurrection fresh in our thoughts, to us it was if Jesus died for us and rose from the dead that day and we praised Him for it and had to tell others about it. We walked and talked with Him as if He was standing right next to us all day long because He was, we were consumed with Him. God became a man, suffered for our sins, paid our debt, died for us, and rose from the dead. And when we die He is going to raise us from the dead, give us His ring, robe and sandals. And we will eat with Him at His banquet table. What is there to talk about that was more important than that! Therefore, we talked with everyone about Him, I mean everyone. Our greatest joy was to talk about Jesus, we would rather talk about Him than anything else with each other and with others.

And we were also about Koinonia, the word means; 1contribution, 2fellowship, 3participation, 4sharing. We used the word a lot back then to describe our gatherings because It denotes the active participation or sharing of what one has in common with others. Koinonia is a very special kind of sharing—entering into what the apostles experienced with Christ. And that is what we did when we came together, “active participation or sharing in what one has in common with others” and that was Jesus, the word, and the mission. We entered “into what the apostles experienced with Christ.” That is why we wanted to be with the body of Christ in the first place.

Maranatha, the word means; “Our Lord comes” or “Our Lord is coming.” Jesus told us “Therefore you also be ready, for the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.” (Matt 24:44) So we reminded each other to be ready, we did not want to be found asleep in the light. Paul said “Therefore let us not sleep, as others do, but let us watch and be sober. 7 For those who sleep, sleep at night, and those who get drunk are drunk at night. 8 But let us who are of the day be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love, and as a helmet the hope of salvation. 9 For God did not appoint us to wrath, but to obtain salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, 10 who died for us, that whether we wake or sleep, we should live together with Him. 11 Therefore comfort each other and edify one another, just as you also are doing.” (1 Thess 5:6-11 NKJV) And so when we came together we “comfort each other and edify one another” and we keep each other awake. And alerted others that Jesus was coming again.

And the Holy Spirit, I cannot leave out that we were all filled with the Holy Spirit, led by the Spirit, empowered by the Spirit, baptized in/with the Spirit, however, you want to label it. It was not us doing these things in the power of our flesh, our strength, something we learned from a “How to” church manual. Not man made plans, schemes or programs, but by the Spirit of the Lord. We lived surrendered to, lead by the Spirit. It was not as much as us doing as it was us just Going and letting God do something through us, letting the Holy Spirit work through us. We let the Spirit equip us, work in us and through us when we were Going, and when we came together.

They were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:31-33, “Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord of hosts” (Zechariah 4:6), “But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.”  John 14:26, “But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:7,  and 1 Corinthians 12:8-11 and on and on, we lived out, or maybe I should say the Spirit lived out through us.

Those things defined who we were and thus cased what it looked like when we came together, it looked like the book of Act’s chapter 2, like Ephesians 5: 19-21, and 1 Cor 14:26 I really think it looked like what it must have been like when the disciples came together after a day of joining God in what He was doing, a day of living on mission. A day of Going into the world and preaching the gospel, teaching what Jesus said even onto persecution.  Each one with their stories to share of going. A bunch of people who were crazy about, passionately in love with Jesus, the word. A people obsessed about people getting saved, even unto death, coming together as co-laborers for the Kingdom of God, encouraging one another in Christ, in the word, in the mission, filled with, equipped and empowered by the Spirit.

That’s the starting place, the foundation of what caused what occurred when we gathered together, part 1 of the story.

Read part 2 here.

 

 

When asked the question, I generally answer that I am neither Calvinist or Arminian, but that I am a Follower of Christ, and a Biblicist of you will. While this may sound like a cop-out, I suggest it isn’t. If we engage only the biblical written text without extending beyond what is written, then we will not conclude in favor of either system (Calvinist or Arminian).

People in “churches” love to associate, identify themselves with everything under the sun, a person, doctrine, movement, creed, a church, their pastor, anything other than Jesus Christ and the word of God.

Rather than study and know the word of God, they fill themselves with, spend their time reading the latest most popular “Christian” books, writings by mere men such as Calvin, Luther, and host of “Church” pastors and theologians, even radio talk show host that they follow and use to critique, interpreter, judge the Bible by. Instead of learning the bible and critique, judging the writing of mere men according to it. They have elevated these people and things to be greater than the word of God. They spend more time talking about Calvin, Luther, and others more than Jesus, follow the writings of, teachings of them more than the bible.

Rather than abide in Christ and He in them, rather than proclaim Christ and His words,  “Whatever I tell you in the dark, that speak in the light; and what you hear in the ear, that preach on the housetops.” They proclaim the words of mere men instead of the words of Jesus.

Rather than be filled with, walk in, listen to the Holy Spirit, they would rather be filled with the knowledge of and listen to Calvin and others of the reformation.

“Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Paul,” or “I am of Apollos,” or “I am of Cephas,” or “I am of Christ.”  Is Christ divided? Was Paul crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of Paul?”  (1 Corinthians 1:12-13)

A modern paraphrase of that verse would be:

Now I say this, that each of you says, “I am of Calvin,” or “I am of Arminius,” or “I am of the Reformation,” or “I am of Arminianism.” Is Christ divided? Was Calvin crucified for you? Or were you baptized in the name of the Reformation?

And later Paul writes:

“And I, brethren, when I came to you, did not come with excellence of speech or of wisdom declaring to you the testimony of God. Because I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified. And I was with you in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling. And my speech and my preaching was not with persuasive words of human wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power, that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”                                       (1 Corinthians 2:1-5)

This is where I live at, “I’m of Christ and Christ alone”, “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.” That’s me. A follower of Christ.

God wants us on our face before Him……searching the scriptures…… not Calvin. If you have to avoid, create excuses as to why a verse or even whole book is not true, write it off as being symbolic, or figurative, or whatever in order to make what you believe true. Then there is something wrong with your theology, doctrine, your beliefs. Too many people take a black marker (symbolic) [a little humor] and mark out bible passages, rewrite and entire book so that their doctrine is true. Like the more than two dozen passages that make Calvin wrong on so many things.

For me the bible is the plumb line by which I test all things, it is the truth that all things must be in agreement with to be true. So if someone says, teaches something, or any doctrine that does not line up with the word of God, I toss it out and stand on the word of God. It’s the only truth, doctrine, creed I need to firmly hold on to, to believe and proclaim.
Test all things; hold firmly to that which is good.” 1 Thessalonians 5:21

If 2 Timothy 3:16 is true: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,” and Romans 15:4 “Because, whatever things were written beforehand were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” And 2 Peter 1:20-21 “knowing this first, that no prophecy of Scripture is of any private interpretation. because, the prophecy in old times did not come by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”

If you claim that Jesus is your Lord and Savior, God who come in the flesh, creator of all that is, and died for your sins, rose from the dead. Why would you go to someone else, elevate them above Jesus, above the word of God? Think that you need another set of writings to know the truth about Jesus. I do not understand why anyone who is saved, a follower of Christ would turn to anyone other than the author and finisher of our faith. Would proclaim, brag, quote anyone other than Jesus, than the very living Word of God.

In Matthew 4:4 it says: But He replied and said, “It is written, ‘Man will not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.'” Note it does not say from the mouth of Calvin, the reformers, or anyone else.

And in John 16:13 tells us: “However, when He, the Spirit of truth, has come, He will guide you into all truth; because, He will not speak on from Himself, but whatever He hears He will speak, and He will show you things to come.” And John 14:26: “But the Comforter, who is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.”

Note it does not say when Calvin comes, or the reformers comes, it says the Holy Spirit will come He will guide you in all truth.

As for me, I’m going to keep studying and believing the word of God and follow Jesus only, proclaim, shout from the rooftop “I determined not to know anything among you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

 

Only one time in the Gospels are we told that Jesus actually ‘marveled’ at the faith demonstrated by another person. That in itself is reason to pause, and ponder, what made the faith of the centurion so amazing? What was it about his faith, what did he know, what did he believe or how did he express it that Jesus stood still and paused for moment is utter amazement?

Was this person that Jesus marveled at a learned Pharisees that had memorized the five books of Moses, a Sadducees who could recite theology in his sleep? Nope it was a heathen, a Roman Centurion.

Luke 7:2-10 Now a centurion had a servant who was sick and at the point of death, who was highly valued by him. When the centurion heard about Jesus, he sent to him elders of the Jews, asking him to come and heal his servant. And when they came to Jesus, they pleaded with him earnestly, saying, “He is worthy to have you do this for him, for he loves our nation, and he is the one who built us our synagogue.” And Jesus went with them. When he was not far from the house, the centurion sent friends, saying to him, “Lord, do not trouble yourself, for I am not worthy to have you come under my roof. Therefore I did not presume to come to you. But say the word, and let my servant be healed. For I too am a man set under authority, with soldiers under me: and I say to one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and to another, ‘Come,’ and he comes; and to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” When Jesus heard these things, he marveled at him, and turning to the crowd that followed him, said, “I tell you, not even in Israel have I found such faith.” And when those who had been sent returned to the house, they found the servant well.

Jesus did not marvel at first

We see that Jesus has responded to the basic demonstration of faith, the centurion has expressed that he believes Jesus can, in some way, help his servant and so Jesus 
starts heading to the house. At this point Jesus is not marveling, he is just going. Most people that believe in God have little trouble believing that Jesus can heal the sick,
 but that kind of faith does not make Jesus marvel, something more is needed. Something more needs to be demonstrated that is beyond the norm, beyond 
‘simple belief’. As Jesus nears the house the Centurion sends another envoy to meet him and it’s this moment that really catches the imagination and wonder of Jesus.

I too am a man under authority

The entire reason that Jesus declared that this Roman centurion had the most impressive faith he had ever seen was because this centurion understood that the power 
that Jesus had flowed directly as a result of his submission to authority. He tells Jesus, I know you don’t have to be here, just say the word! I know how authority works 
so I know how your power and your words will work in this situation!

Notice he says I too… not I am, and therefore I understand, but I too. Not only did he understand authority because he was under it himself, under the authority of
 Rome, but he also recognized that Jesus also was under authority, the authority of the Father. So what is it about the understanding of authority that made this
 centurions faith so impressive?

I say ‘go’ and he goes, ‘come’ and he comes

The centurion went on to explain his understanding, experientially, of how authority works (and therefore how the authority of Jesus works). He explained that he 
tells servants and soldiers who are under him, to go and they go, to come and they come. This is profound! When someone is submitted to your authority, they obey 
your commands! If a man is your master you obey what he says. If a man is your commanding officer you obey what he says! But this whole point hinges on the fact 
that the centurion’s authority over his soldiers only exists because he himself is under authority.

You must be under authority to have authority

The soldiers obey the centurion because they know that ultimately, to disobey him is to disobey Rome. When he gives an order, it’s as though all of Rome is standing
 behind him in agreement. When Jesus gives an order to sickness or foul spirits, all of heaven stands behind him as power flows from the Father. When he says Go! 
Sickness goes! Sickness and evil spirits cannot resist the power and authority that Jesus unleashes when he speaks and it’s the understanding of this power, this 
authority, this structure and flow, that the centurion has that makes his faith something to marvel at indeed! He knows his own authority and he knows how to
 exercise it, he knows then that Jesus does not need to come to his house for he knows that Jesus authority is over all things! Now that's some faith!

The application

Jesus was impressed by two key statements;

(1) I tell this one go and he goes, and
(2) I tell another one come and he comes.

What amazes me is that these are the same two commands that Jesus gives those who would follow him and call him their Lord and obedience to them is the
 greatest expression of faith… trusting in his decisions and responding to his authority.

Come

The first thing Jesus says to his disciples is ‘come’. Every Christian has responded to this call, this command, to come to Jesus to be saved. This first command is the
 command of a Savior offering salvation. You cannot rely on you good deeds or your knowledge to be your savior, only Jesus can save you, only Jesus has the authority
 needed to redeem your life and rescue you, and me, from sin and death.

Go

The last thing Jesus says is ‘go and make disciples’. This is not just the command of Jesus your savior but of Jesus your Lord and it’s here that many stumble, it’s here
 that many struggle to accept the authority of Christ in and over their life. Everyone wants a savior, but not everyone wants a lord. Jesus wants to be both or none.
 This is why the flow of power is often hindered in a believers life because the flow of power is dependent on the flow of faith, which as we have seen, hinges on an
 acceptance and understanding of the authority of Jesus. The centurion understood and submitted himself to the authority structure that Jesus was operating under.
 We too, if we are to call Jesus Lord, must submit to and live under the authority structure that God has placed over us, namely, Christ. The truth is, everyone has a lord,
 something we submit to, something we honor above other things, something we trust in and disobedience to Jesus as Lord means we must be obeying something or
 someone else, often, ourselves. We want Jesus as a functional savior, we want the perks and benefits of salvation, but not the yoke of Christ’ lordship.

⇒The flow of power is dependent on the flow of faith

To disobey the command to Go is to disobey and disregard the authority of not only Jesus your Savior and Lord but of the one he is under, God the Father. Jesus said in
 John 14, if you love me, you will obey my commands. And Hebrews 11:6 tells us that without faith it is impossible to please God. Faith, for the most part, is practical
 obedience to the commands of Jesus. Come: Love God, Go: Love your neighbor & make disciples.

Coming to Jesus is just as important to Going for Jesus; both are acts of obedience and faith, both are acts of worship and submission. Once you have come, you must
 go, make disciples.

I am loved by God and a lover of God, I am Lovesick for God, therefore my worship is passionate.

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,…” Luke 10:27

Let them praise his name with dancing, let them sing praises to him with drums and guitar! Psalm 149:3

Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem!  Zephaniah 3:14

Those three verses are inseparable to me.

worship_compare_1b

Which of the two groups of people above would you say are passionately worshiping God, passionately in love with God? If a non-believer walked in these two services which one would they say, WOW, they really love God? WOW, They are passionate about Jesus? Which one do you think they would say, I want to know about the God they are worshiping? Which one would you say God is in an intimate relationship with them? Acts like their God is extravagant in His affections for them? Looks like their God is a consuming fire of passionate love for them? Jealous for the love and devotion of His people?

As for me, the answers to those questions are at the heart of why I had no interest in every church I walked into until I was 25, why had I a distorted understanding of God and church.

When it comes to love I am passionate, expressive and emotional and in scripture, we see God is too.

The Lord your God is in your midst, one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will rest in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:0

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.

This is my story, my personal life experience.

I have walked into many churches like on the Left in my lifetime, 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” and “For their feete runne to euil”, I would think who talks like that to anyone, especially to God? And what the heck does that even mean? I would not talk to a girl like that, that I was in love with, was passionate about. So neither would I talk to God like that being in love with Him.

Add in the legalistic, harsh loveless sermons they preached, their God scared me, their God did not beckon me into a love relationship with Him. He was not someone who wanted a love relationship with me or loved me. They way they worshiped showed He was not someone you ought to have a love relationship with. I would look around and everyone looked like that were mad, or depressed, or bored with God and well, constipated, and this was their worship of the God they say they loved, and who loves them!

One thing for sure I never linked the “joy of the Lord”, “God is love” to their worship. Their worship was not an expression of love for God, passion for God, or even God is love. I could not stand the worship time, or the sermons so I was never part of a church growing up. I really believed God was harsh, unemotional, unloving, very distant from man. He was just not someone you had a love relationship with, based on how the people were worshiping Him. They might have said the words “God is love”, “God loves you”, but their lack of a deep intimate personal love relationship with God being displayed in their worship, said otherwise, their worship did not match their words.

“At Calvary Chapel: I knew they loved God and God loved them, they were in a love relationship with God.”

Then God lead me to Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, the first time I was there and I was blown away by the worship, in awe, for the first time in my life I witnessed worship of God, people in love with God. Because I had been to football games, I had seen what people are like when they are passionate about someone or something, I had crushes on girls, I know how you act when you’re 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 and I was in awe. They not only looked happy but were ecstatic, full of uncontainable joy, I knew these people had an intimate personal relationship with God. I knew they loved God and God loved them, they were in a love relationship with God. I wanted to know their God, the one they were in love with. The songs were alive and personal from their heart to God, and in simple modern English that I could understand, words that connected to my heart. I was overwhelmed, and I want to know God as they did. to love God as they did. Know His love as they did. I wanted to know the God that they were so in love with, that stirred such passion in them. And so for the first time in my life, I became part of a church.

“I wanted to know the God those people were so in love with, so passionate about.”

Before Calvary Chapel, I knew Jesus died for my sins, that He was my savor, but until Calvary Chapel, I never knew, saw or experienced God was a God of love, and He wanted a love relationship with me, that I could have a passionate love relationship with Him.

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.

Which group looks like God is inhabiting their praises like the Bible says He will? For me, it’s the ones on the Right, because that is how I express love.

 

worship_compare_2b

Psalm 16:11 says “in your presence, there is fullness of joy” which group looks like there is in the presence of God, looks like there is fullness of joy? As for me 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, in my experience as one who does, the people on the Right.

Who looks like they are worshiping, in love with the God who became a man, suffered and died to have a love relationship with them? The Right as to how I worship the One who died for me.

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. How God made me, wired me, how I express and perceive love.

The service on the Left screams Rituals vs. Relationship, what Jesus condemned the Pharisees for. Making Judaism all about a set of rituals and laws to follow, things to do rather than have a love relationship with God. King David understood what it was all about, about passionately pursuing the heart of God, but the Pharisees did not.

“if I am not going to get to worship God at the level everything in me screams to do and say, why even be there?”

As for me, if I cannot have the freedom to passionately worship and love God at the level my heart desires to, I don’t want to go there. I would rather just stay home, if I am not going to get to worship God at the level everything in me scream to do and say, pour out my heart to God, why even be there? So that is why I would not go to a church like the ones in the Left photos, it’s just not me.

“like the rocks I would have to cry out praises to God, shout out the Name above every name”

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, be all in with all that I am, heart (Emotions & Affections), soul (Life), strength (Body, Actions) and mind (Thoughts) is unacceptable, I must worship God.

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’m not attacking or condemn others who choose to worship like at that church, who choose be part of a church like that. I just want others to not try to talk me out of loving God as 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 like in the photos on the Right.

I will not go to a church like the ones in the photos on the Left side, like the ones that kept me from God’s love, that is not a place for me, others can go where they want and I will go where I go. And I choose to go where I am free to worship God, love God with total abandonment, passion, to my heart’s 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 sits on the throne.

worship_compare_3b

I am like the guy on the Right when I worship, at the top of the page, I am all in, totally abandoned in my love and worship of God, and I will not give Him anything less.

The words to the song “You Won’t Relent” 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

I seek to be in a group that looks like that is true for them. Who looks like God is in the room with them, who looks like they are looking God in the face and singing to Him.

I’ve tasted and seen, of the sweetness 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.

This is not open for debate, I will not love God less or less passionately than I do now and how I express it. 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

encounter-small

I attended the YWAM Together (YWAM is Youth With A Mission for you none YWAMers) here in Kansas City on Monday, its a week-long conference that YWAM  holds every two years Monday was open to the public and it was awesome in so many ways. First gathering with YWAMers from all over the world, being a YWAMer, being with YWAM three years back in the late 80’s, it was like going home. There is a saying in YWAM, once a YWAMer always a YWAMer, I can testify it is true.

 

It was so great to hear YWAM stories, people sharing what God is doing all over the world, getting to share my stories with other, priceless.
Seeing and hearing the leaders speak, like Loren Cunningham, John Dawson, who was the leader of the base I was at when I was in YWAM, and many others.

 

To hear all the new technology that is being implemented to spread the gospel around the world.

 

To hear that by 2020 that the Bible will be translated into every known language in the world, and YWAM will have a base in every country in the world, fulling the bible verse Mark 13:10 “And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations.”

 

When I was in YWAM I got to go on the Anastasis Hospital ship the largest of 3 ships they had at that time, today they have 8 ships, praise God.

 

Bottom line I miss YWAM.

 

ywam-together-2016-2

 

 

bourne_identity

What comes to mind when we think about ourselves is one of the most important things about us. In particular, what comes to your mind when we think about who we are in Christ is of greater importance.

I truly believe that most problems are traceable to uncertainty about our identity. We have forgotten who we are in Christ (2 Peter 1:9). When we forget our identity, like Jason Bourne, we should be relentless until we know it again.

We are often more drawn to what we can do for Jesus, rather than who we are in Jesus.

One reason we get so discouraged and frustrated in the Christian life is that we forget who we are. We forget that we are new creatures in Christ. We misplace the reality that by his blood, by his cross, and by his resurrection, we are new. “If anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come” (2 Corinthians 5:17).

We need to know that we are not our former selves. We are not defined by our former sins — or our present ones. No, we are defined by being in Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 6:9–11). We are not ultimately defined by our ethnicity. We don’t find long-lasting and enduring significance in our accomplishments, intelligence, or appearance (Galatians 3:27–28). We find eternal value, meaning, worth, and hope in who Jesus says we are in him.
Who We Are in Jesus

Paul in his letter to the Galatians takes a buzz saw to legalism and all its nasty knots. He does this by reminding the Galatians of their identity in Christ, showing how the gospel and all of its gifts to us are better than anything else we could build or find for ourselves.

Here are six identities that are now ours through faith — six things God says about us. Like a light to our feet, and a lamp to our path, these truths from God’s word can lead us back to reality, to comfort, to hope, and to joy.
1. We are servants of Christ.

After we are saved by Jesus, we are enlisted into his service (Galatians 1:10). We are now called to make disciples of Jesus (Matthew 28:18–20). We are called to spread his fame. We don’t live for the approval of men, but for the name of Christ. No Christian is insignificant. We are his servants.

When we evangelize, we are serving Christ. When we pray for a sick Christian, we are serving Christ. When we go to the homeless shelter, we are serving Christ. When we go to the pregnancy center and care for mothers, we are serving Christ.

Jesus says, “I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, I was naked and you clothed me, I was sick and you visited me, I was in prison and you came to me” (Matthew 25:35–36). And the people say, “When did we do those things?” Jesus says, “Truly, I say to you, as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me” (Matthew 25:40).

2. We are crucified with Christ.

“I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20).

We have been crucified with Christ, by faith. We live with him, and he lives in us. No matter where we go, Christ is with us, alive in us, at work in us. We are never alone anymore.

And we are crucified to the world (Galatians 6:14). The world has nothing better to offer us than Jesus. We’ve died to the ways of the world, how the world runs. We follow Christ now. We operate from his example, his priorities, and his words.

3. We are children of God.

Not like Jesus, of course; we are not God. But we are children of God, like Jesus, in that we are a part of the family of God (Galatians 3:26). We have all of the perks of being one of his own. We are cared for by God, led by his Spirit. We aren’t strangers, we are family.

God doesn’t save us and then kick us out. He saves us and then adopts us (Galatians 4:4–7). In the gospel, the Father-Judge declares us not guilty, and then he turns to us and says, “I want you to come and live with me. Welcome home.”

We are at home with God. In the triune God, we have a Father, a Brother, and Helper.

4. We are heirs with Christ of everything.

As Jesus’ people, he gives us all that is his. We are heirs of the promise (Galatians 3:29). Whatever belongs to Jesus belongs to you and me. The universe belongs to Jesus, and now, it belongs to you and me. Jupiter belongs to you because of Jesus. The Hubble Telescope is itemizing your inheritance. “So let no one boast in men. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s. (1 Corinthians 3:21–23). We are Christ’s, and we are co-heirs with him (Romans 8:17).

So, it’s okay if you don’t have the best house in this world. Jesus has something better for you, in the city whose architect, community developer, and real estate mogul is God himself (Hebrews 11:10).

5. We are free.

For freedom, Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.” (Galatians 5:1). We’ve been set free from the hideous rule of sin and Satan. Christ himself set us free — not our works, not the church, not ourselves. Only Jesus.

Legalism is slavery. Trying to be saved by works and do-goodery is nothing but rusty chains. Jesus shattered those shackles, and now we can follow him and walk with him. We live freely under the reign of grace, the rule of Christ.

Pornography, wheat beer, dark chocolate, clearance sales, and social media followers no longer control us. Jesus set us free from living for and finding fulfillment in things that moth, rust, trends, and death will destroy.

6. We are led by the Spirit.

Our lives, our thoughts, our emotions, and our actions are no longer chained to the sinful flesh, no longer pushed around by the law, but we are led by the Spirit (Galatians 5:18). The Spirit uses the word of God to lead us. We no longer have to rely on our own thoughts and desires.

The Spirit brings about fruit in our lives as we abide in the vine of Christ, tended by the local church, and watered by the living and abiding word. The Spirit weans us off the works of the flesh and makes us more like Christ (Galatians 5:18–24).

Born-Again Identity

God has made us these things in and through Christ. Even though we will be prone to forget what is true about us now, we have been born again into these identities. Live them. Love them. Let them be more than Bible knowledge. Let them be a shield of faith to extinguish all the awful, deceitful warheads of the evil one. Know yourself — hidden in Christ, raised from the dead, and made into someone new.

Because what comes to mind when we think about ourselves is one of the most important things about us

grace

Galatians 2:20 (ESV)
I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

There should be two amazing moments in our encounter with Jesus, the day we get saved and the day we fully comprehend the wonder of His grace. When John Newton penned those iconic words back in 1779 and realized that such a wretched man as him could be saved he experienced the tremendous life changing power of grace. Once saved however many Christians go on to struggle day after day as if grace, whilst sufficient to save us, is unable to preserve us in that place of victory and righteousness. I have a bad day and immediately feel condemned and unrighteous and far from God. Or my struggle may be with sin that overshadows my faith so I lose heart because, however hard I try, I never seem to overcome.

Romans 5:2 (ESV)
Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God.

The amazing thing about grace is that it doesn’t depend on how good we are but on how good Jesus is. The bible clearly informs us that God found nothing good in us and that even our best works could never be enough. Trying to be good didn’t save us; through grace we were made righteous – so living in daily victory is exactly the same. I can’t be good; I can’t be righteous, and all my righteous acts are likened to filthy rags. So what do I do? I simply reckon myself dead and I stop trying to be good, stop trying to be better and live everyday by faith. Paul says this life I now live I live by faith. God wants me to live everyday by faith believing that Jesus will live out His life through me. Christ in me the hope of Glory!

Romans 1:17 (ESV)
 For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith for faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.

I live believing that I can’t but He can – I’m weak but He’s strong – When I put Jesus at the center of my life and start believing that through His grace he I can do all things we release the power of grace to overcome sin and live a victorious life.

If only I could grasp this victory daily – how much more I would see how amazing is grace!

 

I am loved by God and a lover of God, I am Lovesick for God, therefore my worship is passionate.

And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind,…” Luke 10:27

Let them praise his name with dancing, let them sing praises to him with drums and guitar! Psalm 149:3

Sing aloud, O daughter of Zion; shout, O Israel! Rejoice and exult with all your heart, O daughter of Jerusalem! Zephaniah 3:14

Those three verses are inseparable to me.

worship_compare_1b

Which of the two groups of people above would you say are passionately worshiping God, passionately in love with 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 do you think they would say, I want to know about the God they are worshiping? Which one would you say God is in a intimate relationship with them? Acts like their God is extravagant in His affections for them? Looks like their God is a consuming fire of passionate love for them? Is Jealous for the love and devotion of His people?

As for me, the answers to those questions are at the heart of why I had no interest in every church I walked into until I was 25, why had I a distorted understanding of God and church.

When it comes to love I am passionate, expressive and emotional and in scripture, we see God is too.

The Lord your God is in your midst, one who will save; he will rejoice over you with gladness; he will rest in his love; he will exult over you with loud singing.” Zephaniah 3:17

“For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:0

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.

This is my story, my personal life experience.

I have walked into many churches like on the Left in my lifetime, 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” and “For their feete runne to euil”, I would think who talks like that to anyone, especially to God? And what the heck does that even mean? I would not talk to a girl like that, that I was in love with, was passionate about. So nether would I talk to God like that being in love with Him.

Add in the legalistic, harsh loveless sermons they preached, their God scared me, their God did not beckon me into a love relationship with Him. He was not someone who wanted a love relationship with me, or loved me. The way they worshiped showed me God was not someone you sought to have a love relationship with. I would look around and everyone looked like that were mad, or depressed, or bored with God and well, and this was their worship of the God they say they loved, and who loved them!

One thing for sure I never linked the “joy of the Lord”, “God is love” to their worship. Their worship was not an expression of love for God, passion for God, or even God is love. I could not stand the worship time, or the sermons so I was never part of a church growing up. I really believed God was harsh, unemotional, unloving, very distant from man. He was just not someone you had a love relationship with, based on how the people were worshiping Him. They might have said the words “God is love”, “God loves you”, but their lack of a deep intimate personal love relationship with God being displayed in their worship, said otherwise, their worship did not match their words.

“At Calvary Chapel: I knew they loved God and God loved them, they were in a love relationship with God.”

Then God lead me to Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa, the first time I was there and I was blown away by the worship, in awe, for the first time in my life I witnessed worship of God, people in love with God. Because I had been to football games, I had seen what people are like when they are passionate about someone or something, I had crushes on girls, I know how you act when you’re 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 and I was in awe. They not only looked happy but were ecstatic, full of uncontainable joy. I could see they loved God, I saw people worshiping like God loved them, they were in a love relationship with God. I wanted to know their God, the one they were in love with. The songs were alive and personal from their heart to God, and in simple modern English that I could understand, words that connected to my heart. I was overwhelmed, and I want to know God like they did. to love God like they did. Know His love like they did. I wanted to know the God that they were so in love with, that stirred such passion in them. And so for the first time in my life, I became part of a church.

“I wanted to know the God those people were so in love with, so passionate about.”

Before Calvary Chapel I knew Jesus died for my sins, that He was my savor, but until Calvary Chapel I never knew, saw or experienced God was a God of love, and He wanted a love relationship with me, that I could have a passionate love relationship with Him.

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, but still I am not even at the level I want to be at.

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.

Which group looks like God is inhabiting their praises like the bible says He will? For me it’s the ones on the Right, because that is how I express love.

 

worship_compare_2b

Psalm 16:11 says “in your presence there is fullness of joy” which group looks like their is in the presence of God, loos like there is fullness of joy? As for me 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, in my experience as one who does, the people on the Right.

Who looks like they are worshiping, in love with the God who became a man, suffered and died to have a love relationship with them? The Right as to how I worship the One who died for me.

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. How God made me, wired me, how I express and perceive love.

The service on the Left screams Rituals vs. Relationship, what Jesus condemned the Pharisees for. Making Judaism all about a set of rituals and laws to follow, things to do rather than have a love relationship with God. King David understood what it was all about, about passionately pursuing the heart of God, but the Pharisees did not.

“if I am not going to get to worship God at the level everything in me screams to do and say, why even be there?”

As for me, if I cannot have the freedom to passionately worship and love God at the level my heart desires to, I don’t want to go there. I would rather just stay home, if I am not going to get to worship God at the level everything in me scream to do and say, pour out my heart to God, why even be there? So that is why I would not go to a church like the ones in the Left photos, it’s just not me.

“like the rocks I would have to cry out praises to God, shout out the Name above every name”

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, be all in with all that I am, heart (Emotions & Affections), soul (Life), strength (Body, Actions) and mind (Thoughts) is unacceptable, I must worship God.

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’m not attacking or condemn others who choose to worship like churches on the Left, who choose be part of a church like that. I choose to go where I am free to passionately worship God, love God with total abandonment to my heart’s 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 sits on the throne.

worship_compare_3b

I am like the guy on the Right when I worship, and at the top of the page, I am all in, totally abandoned in my love and worship of God, and I will not give Him anything less.

The words to the song “You Won’t Relent” 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

I seek to be in a group that looks like that is true for them. Who looks like God is in the room with them, who looks like they are looking God in the face and singing to Him. Who look like they are in love with a God who is in love with them?

I’ve tasted and seen, of the sweetness 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, and I will never be part of one. 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.

This is not open for debate, I will not love God less or less passionately than I do now and how I express it. 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

hands-in-praise

When people gather together and do not acknowledging the presence of the Holy Spirit, engage with the Holy Spirit, it’s basically a social group, participating in religious rituals, not a church. We desperately need the Holy Spirit, the same Holy Spirit that worked through Peter, Paul, Timothy, and Silas. That same Holy Spirit that birthed the church in Jerusalem, Philippi, Ephesus and all the other churches in the NT. The same Holy Spirit that Paul said would equip us with the spiritual gifts to be the church, for us to function as the church. The same Holy Spirit that would give us the power and gifts to serve one another. The same Holy Spirit that Jesus told the disciples to wait for that would fill them with power. That same Holy Spirit we are told not to grieve, and you are going to ignore when you gather, is that not grieving Him? We need the Holy Spirit. Without the Holy Spirit, we are doing things in the flesh according to our will. Trying to be something we cannot be without the power of the Holy Spirit, the church. If we could be the church without the Holy Spirit, without the power of the Holy Spirit, then Jesus would not have told the disciples to wait for Him.

I praise God that that with the exception of one time, I have always been in a church that does acknowledge and engage the Holy Spirit. Where we begin with the attitude of expectation of the Holy Spirit being there, showing up. Start by paying for the Holy Spirit to come, to show Himself in power, to move among us. To work through us, to speak to us, teach us, equip us. And ultimately lead us, and manifest Himself among us. In fact my current place of worship, we have the attitude we will not move till He comes and move us.

 

We sing:

Holy Spirit sent from heaven
The God of all glory is here
Rise up within me
Living Water, Spirit of God in me

You are welcome in this place
You are welcome in this place
God of power love and grace
Saturate my soul

After all the scriptures make it very clear we cannot follow Jesus, live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit in us, without His power. That we cannot even begin to love one another without the Holy Spirit in us producing the love. And yet so many think they can gather together and function as the church like scripture shows us without the Holy Spirit. How foolish is that!