Church

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? 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. They way they worshiped showed He 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, 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 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.

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 lie 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 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 like in the photos on the Right.

I will not go to a church like the ones in the photos on 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

LFC

I am not a get to church “just in time person”, and I detest being late, I arrive forty-five minutes to an hour early for church, I started doing that at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa all those years ago, did it at the Vineyard, and currently at the Encounter Service. Why, because I love God, passionately love God and I cannot wait to worship Him passionately with others who love Him passionately. And I am excited to gather with other believes, to gather with the body of Christ, that we can be mutually encouraged by each others faith, to get together with them and be the church together. I cannot wait to one-another them, to give and receive prayer, to give and receive a word from the Lord. To hear what the Spirit has to say to the church, for the Spirit to move among us, so I don’t want to be just in time for church.

I realize that we need each other, as the body of Christ, to help each other walk with Christ, live out the life of Christ, to become Christlike, walk through whatever challenges life presents us with. That’s not something I am going to stroll in for as though it’s not essential.

The scriptures tell us we are living stones that are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, is that something you want to show up for at the last minute, be late to? Not me, I can’t wait to gather with the other living stones to built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood together.

Like Friday night Encounter Service I go to, arriving forty five minutes to an hour early also enables me to get ready for Jesus and the body to come together, the worship team always does a sound check of two or three songs, I call it pre-worship. After the pre-worship, I open my bible get in the word, then get on the floor on my face and pray. I empty myself of the things of this world, come down from the jerks in rush hour traffic that ticked me off, get my mind, heart set on Jesus. By the time the service starts, I have already encountered God in the pre-worship, the word and prayer, my face is set like flint towards God.

So you could say when it comes to meeting with Jesus, gathering with the body of Christ, gathering around the word of God, I am like a true football fan. I’m a tailgater, I show up early, I’m excited, paint my face, bare my chest and paint it, get out my foam finger, my picket fence, I’m and hoping and holing, ready to go, fired up ready for church to start, ready to encounter Jesus, encounter the Holy Spirit in action. I show up early because I’m excited to gather with Jesus, with His church, hear His word.

Jesus is going to show up if it’s really is a gathering of Christ followers, Jesus is going to speak to the church, the Holy Spirit is going to be equipping and teaching, moving in power, gifts will be given. Worship will be going on, one anothering is going to be going on. Love for one another beyond the worlds understanding will be going on. People may be healed, maybe people will be baptized into a new life in Christ.

Do you understand Jesus will be there, Jesus will be there, JESUS Will Be There, the body of Christ will be there, my co-labors in Christ, the beloved of Jesus will be there, and I do not want to miss one minute of it.

 

Also read this post about church Rituals vs Relationship – Worship from the Heart vs from a booklet

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 on 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!

 

Mission-Blues-Brothers

When it comes to “Fellowship”, I don’t need that to do American church. I don’t need fellowship to attend church on Sunday, to gather in a building with a bunch of people, face forward and hear some guy deliver a well-rehearsed message maybe or not about God, and go home, I can do that on my own.

I don’t need fellowship to just be a fan of Jesus, be a Sunday Christian, to live everyday just like the rest of the world, live for the same things as them, advance my career, make more money, get a bigger house, newer car, talk about politics, sports, and the kids soccer games. I can do that on my own, that’s easy.

But to stay on mission every day, I need people because I’m going to get distracted, I need co-labors in the mission to run the race with, I need prayer, encouragement in the work of the Lord. to run the race, preach the gospel to all the nations in the midst of persecution. To partake in the suffering of Christ, to die to self and life for Christ. For that, I need the fellowship of co-labors.

Fellowship does not begin with let’s have fellowship or let’s do community, where do you see that in the book of Acts, did Paul, Peter every say let’s get together and have fellowship? No, it begins with let’s follow Jesus, let go and make disciples. Let’s Go into all the world and proclaim the gospel to the whole creation, let’s partake in the sufferings of Christ, let’s run the race to win. That’s where you start.

If I just read the Scriptures, I wouldn’t even think so much about the gathering, Sunday church. You know – my first thought wouldn’t be, “Let’s have a gathering.” or “let’s get together and have fellowship”. Out of the Scriptures, I would think, “I’m on a mission” and I am to partner with others on that same mission.

When I read what Jesus has done for me, read His words, especially His last words to us in Matthew 28, how can my life response be anything other than I love God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength and now I’ve got to go out and tell others about Jesus, and make disciples That’s what I would think, I need to go out there and just reach as many people as I can! I’m supposed to teach them to obey everything that Jesus commanded

That’s what I would get out of scripture, that I need to go out and start making disciples and to gather with people who are doing the same thing, partners in the gospel. This is what I am after.

And that pressure to always stay on that mission, to keep following Jesus, because the world and everyone in it would be beating me down, trying to stop me, I would actually need these brothers and sisters, co-laborers in my life. And I would tell them, don’t let me stop or even slow down, and I won’t let you slow down, we’ve got to stay on this mission together, that’s what we are here for.

So you see I Don’t Need Fellowship (to quote my co-laborer in Christ Francis Chan), or a fellowship group, a community group, to do American Church, But I do need those who are following Christ, living for the mission. to help me live on mission, to join with me in fulfilling the great commission as we call it, to take on the world preaching the gospel and making disciples. I need to gather with those who have “partnered in the gospel from the first day until now”, who are “co-workers in the gospel of Christ”. I need fellowship with those “who have labored side by side with me in the gospel together”, so that I might “run with endurance the race that is set before me”, to fight the good fight, and finish the race set before me. That kind of fellowship I do need.

A friends church home group gathering was having a BBQ for his birthday, I attend and did the Barbecuing for them. The Lord has been teaching me this week is about being a follower of Jesus, and the church and His teaching really took on flesh at this gathering.

The top topics of the night where, sports, politics, work, children and grandchildren, but never was Jesus even mentioned that I ever heard. If anyone did while I was not near them it was brief, quickly mentioned and on the something else if they did.

Is that’s what followers of Jesus look like when they get together? Seriously? Is that what it looks like when people have died to themselves and live for Christ get together? What do they talk about?

When I was part of Calvary Chapel of Costa Mesa, whenever I meet up with another follower of Jesus, whether it was at a church gathering, someone’s house, a restaurant, or running into each other on the street. 80 to 90% of our conversation was about Jesus, the word of God and the mission. Always.

When I look at scripture, read what the life of a follower of Jesus, what the church is to look like, then look how those who claim to be Christians are like, including me, they don’t match up.

When I walk into a church home group, or any home of someone who claims to be a Christian, and Jesus is not the main topic on everyone’s minds, conversations. If the mission and their part in it is not the hot topic. Something wrong with that, very wrong.

So there I was at a gathering of people who claim to be followers of Jesus, who claim they live for Christ, and yet when together they do not talk about Jesus, the word of God, Jesus did not dominate their conversations.

And I asked myself, are these are followers of Jesus? Seriously? Followers of Jesus? The same Jesus who said, you want to go bury the dead, for get you! That Jesus? The same Jesus who said you want to say goodbye to your family, you cannot be my disciple! The same Jesus that said the birds have nest, the fox’s have no holes, and I have no place to sleep, do you still want to follow me? That Jesus?

The Jesus that said “If anyone comes to me and does not hate his own father and mother and wife and children and brothers and sisters, yes, and even his own life, he cannot be my disciple! Whoever does not bear his own cross and come after me cannot be my disciple! That Jesus.

The same Jesus that said the purpose of our life is to “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations,baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

That Jesus?

Are you telling me that people who claim that Jesus is their God, their Lord, their King, that they are willing to die for, be stoned to death for. Be nailed to a cross and die a slow painful death for. Yet when they gather with others who claim the same thing, that same Jesus does not consume their conversations? Does not so consume their life, who they are, that Jesus does not dominate their conversations?

Really, that’s what followers of Jesus look like?

Does that make sense to you?

It’s not that I’m not that I am judging them, it is more like a fear, like a concern, that it has become acceptable in America for Jesus not to be the center of our fellowship, dominate our conversations when we gather. Again, it’s not judging, it’s just I’m deeply concerned at what I see.

I burn to talk about Jesus, talk about the mission, hear what Jesus said that day, week to others, hear about their labor that day, week to preach the gospel and make disciples. Talk about what Jesus has done, about who He is, about His coming soon.

I’m no longer willing to settle for gathering with people who claim to be followers of Jesus and not have Jesus and the mission dominate our conversations. I don’t just want it like it was like in my old days at Calvary Chapel, I want even more than we had then, I want, what I read in scripture, I want to open the book of Acts and say, Wow, we are living this.

This is what God has been showing me in last few days.

i-am-angry

I read a blog post titled “Still an Angry Christian” and its first part “I am An Angry Christian”, by Cindy Brandt celebrating the gift of anger. And it was freeing to read, and it compelled me to write a similar post, being that I too am a Angry Christian, mad as hell might even be a more appropriate title for me.

Reading it has released me to surrender to the fact that its Okay for me to be angry, that I am right in being angry. That personal growth and spiritual maturity does not mean experiencing less episodes of anger, or even about managing anger better, but embracing it instead of fighting it. I am learning that as long as I care for those suffering and the injustice in this world, the mission of Jesus, biblical church, the word of God, my relationship with Jesus, the more anger is going to take up residence in my life, and I might as well get cozy with it.

Others have for so long told me I should not be angry, I should not express my anger, that Christians don’t do that, that Christians are to be filled with “the joy of the Lord” 27/7 regardless of what I am experiencing in life.

That as a Christian, I am to be nice: all the time, regardless of what people do to others, including myself. When things upset me, it is because I’m in the flesh and sinful, and not walking in the Spirit. A godly man never responds in anger, get angry at others or circumstances. Well Excuuuuse Me while I open the window, sick my head out and scream as loud as I can, I’m mad as hell, I am and not going to hide it any more!!!! I am a angry Christian!!!!!!

I hereby declare: I am an angry Christian.

I get angry when I hear about millions of young girls that are taken and turned into prostitutes for sex tourists, used to make internet porn.

I get angry when I hear over a billion people struggle with hunger, and 18 people die every minute from starvation, and most are children.

I get angry when people are hungry right now, have nothing to eat, especially children starving, many even in my own city and I can do nothing about it, and those who can, do nothing.

I get angry when Christians keep telling me to just attend a church, any church, (usually theirs), to just show up for an hour and go home, be satisfied with that and call that being part of a church.

I get angry when Christians tell me to stop being a passionate lover of God in my worship of Him and  come to their church and just sit quietly in the pew with folded hands and show no emotions. ( read more )

I get angry when Christians attack the worship music I worship God to, songs that express my love for God, remind me of Gods love for me, songs that speak from my heart.

I get angry when Christians tell me to stop being non-denominational, stop being charismatic, and join their denomination, join their non-charismatic church.

* I get angry when I want to follow Jesus and live on mission, Go preach the gospel, make disciples, gather with others that are devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. I want to be part of the body church and receive gifts to minister to the body, to pray for one another. And God will not let me, and yet everyone constantly hounds me, nags me to be part of the church, when I want to be, because God has blocked me from being part of the church in those ways.

But I don’t just get righteously angry.

* I get angry when other Christians tell me that I should not be depressed, sad, lonely, just because I do not have love and family, it’s wrong to want to have someone to love and be loved by, have children, when they do.

I get angry when other Christians tell me being single is “a gift from God”, that “Jesus is all I need (more)” when they are married with children (read my post on this).

I get angry when people point out that there are few people who choose to go through life never wanting to love or be loved by another person, and that I should choose be like them.

I get angry when God gives me a word, answers questions through His word and teaching from others, and people who claim to be Christians attack it, rip it to shreds, ultimately crap all over it. (read more).

I get angry when a pastor says from pulpit that singles should spend all their time serving God, yet their church only allows married people to be in ministry and leadership positions.

I get angry because I want to be part of a true biblical church and exercise my gifts for the body, have daily fellowship with others in Christ, but I cannot because there is no way being single at my age I can.

I get angry when I want to go and preach the gospel, feed the hungry, set the captives free, and God will not let me.

I get angry when people who God bless with love and family, say they are too busy, life to full of family things to serve God, and since I’m single that’s my job to do those things, not them. Have they never read “to whom much is given, much will be required” Luke 12:48. or  Luke 9:61-62.

And sometimes, I get angry for no good reason.

If you open your bible and read it, you will find it says to be slow in becoming angry, nowhere does it say never be angry at all. Jesus got angry, and often, even threw a fit of rage in the temple of all places ( that would be like in the middle of a church, full of people). All through out the bible God got angry at both His enemy’s and His people. Anger is part of God’s personality, and we are made in His image.

The problem is not my anger, that I am angry, the problem is the source of my angry, starving children in world of plenty, young girls being kidnaped and forced to be raped hundreds of times a day. People who say they are Christians, attack me for loving God to much, for being too passionate for God, for believing the bible and wanting to do what it says. Condemn me for wanting the church that is in the bible, for wanting my life and the church to be all about the mission of Christ, those are the problems, not my anger.

Anger channels passion, and is often a conduit of love. When God brewed in anger over God’s people in Scripture, it is often a reflection of God’s faithfulness with a people prone to wander. Love and anger are sometimes opposite sides of the same coin. They drive us to pursue justice in the face of suffering. Anger fuels commitment to lasting change.

Just as I want my anger to demand justice for others, that captives be set free, the oppressed be liberated, I need my own anger to demand just treatment for myself. Without anger, Stand up for the word of God and the mission of Jesus. I eventually learn to cope with words that minimize me, actions that diminish my gifts, my walk with God, and systems that marginalize me. My sweet, compliant spirit slowly whittles me down to a mere shadow of myself, one who goes with the flow, maintains harmony, and obeys without question. In doing so, I rob myself of the respect I deserve as a beloved child of God, and I rob my community the gift of my authentic self.

So I am an Angry Christian. Angry, because it is part and parcel of my humanity, part of being a Christian, part of being created in Gods image.

Also read:

Please Stop saying “All you need is Jesus” to singles

Stop Casting Your Pearls Before Swine

This is a weird generation that we live in, that we say things like hey, did you go to church today? How was church? Because in our mind this so normal to us, because we think of church as a building or we think of the church as a service you attend, but that’s not biblical.

When you think of church don’t think movie, think gang.

Think of church like a gang, like joining a gang, you don’t say what time is gang today, how was gang today? No, you jump into a group of people 27/7 you change your identity, have a sense of belonging, you commit your life to it, to the others in it.

You go to a movie, you have no attachment to it, you go to it, you set there for two hour and watch it happen, you have no part in what goes on, then you go out and critique it, whether you liked it or not.

Family, that’s what God wanted. that’s what he wanted of the family, just look at the Bible, look at these people. There was a deep, deep commitment to one another, it was not something they just attended.

In Acts 2:42 it says they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching in the Fellowship to the breaking of bread and the prayers. It says They devoted themselves, in John 17, Jesus prayer was not just that we put up with one another, He says Father want them to be one, I want them to be one just like you and me are, your in Me and I’m in you, that they may be in Us.

Jesus wanted our unity to get to that level that would parallel the father and son in their unity, so he wanted tremendous love in his church.

This is what happened in the first church, they devoted themselves to each other, they devoted themselves to fellowship, this is what matters, this is what needs to happen in the church. this and what God wants of the church.

God says don’t come like your are going to the movies, He said devoted your selves to Fellowship, be one just as Jesus and I are.

Devoted to one another, devoted to this fellowship devoted to these relationships, that is suppose to describe the church, be how it functions.

That’s what church was supposed to be, devoted to this, walking together, your a gang now, your a family now, your body now, one part hurts the whole part hearts. Let’s get back to that.

Church is not something you attend, it changes your whole identity, you have a common purpose now.

You’ve got this sworn allegiance to one another, you sat let’s go let’s go, we see something much bigger than ourselves to devote ourselves to.

In John 13:35 Jesus said “By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.”

Do you get that, Jesus said everyone will know your my disciples because of your love for the body. Not because you go to church, not because you say you are, not because you can quote some bible verse. But because you love the body of Christ. And we learn in Act’s 2 he means in actions, proven in daily deeds.

It was that type of love that the world was supposed to look on and go, I want to part of that.

If we can’t get this figured out, does God really want church that isn’t known for its love, it’s just known for a good speaker, a good worship band or good programs, a good juggler to entertain them. Is that really what he asked for? No it’s not.

What does the Bible emphasize.

I’m saying what does the bible emphasize?

If a ten -year-old red read this, what would be obvious to him or her, of what this book emphasizes?

Let’s was look at what God prioritizes and let’s make those our priorities. Not programs, strategies, marketing plans, or charismatic speakers, juggler or a rock show. But love for one another, being devoted to one another, being devoted to the blood and body of Christ.

I’m at an age where I’m going, man, all I want is this, I want to emphasize what God emphasizes, prioritize what God said we are to.

He said this is how the world to believe that you are my disciples. They walk in and go Look how they love each other, look how they are devoted to each other. Their so different yet look at the bond, look at the way they sacrifice for each other. I’ve seen glimpses of this when I was at Calvary Chapel, Costa Mesa back in the day.

It was that type of love that the world was supposed to look on and go, I want to part of that, part of what Jesus prayed for.

I’ve just started looking at Scripture and thinking if we can’t build a loving church, should we have a church at all? Malachi 2:3 says “Behold, I will rebuke your offspring, and spread dung on your faces, the dung of your offerings, and you shall be taken away with it.” God’s people where bringing Him lame offerings, not what He asked for, and God said He was going to rub dung in their faces and reject them for it. Think about that, God said He was going to rub crap in their faces. God is never happy when we offer Him what ever we want, only when we bring Him what He wants.

I want that one day, where wherever were so connected ,were not just a bunch of people attending a sermon. But that there’s a deep, deep love like in the early church, where they are giving the shirt off their backs to one another. There wasn’t a single needy person in the place. Where the people are one just like Jesus and the Father are, that devoted to, that in love with each other, that type of church that I want to be a part of.

 

 

I want to gather with People who love God and have a daily deep abiding intimate relationship with God, with Jesus, with His word. Who want a love relationship with the body of Christ so deep so intimate that is a answer to Jesus prayer in John 17:21. Who is devoted to the blood and body of Christ. Who’s life purpose is to Go and make disciples. I am seeking others who want that, who are seeking that, above all else. What I am looking for is what the bible describes as a real follower of Jesus, what the real body of Christ, the church looks like, acts like and is.

We can’t just be a bunch of people that come in the room and face forward and hear a sermon, that’s not what God asked for. You can justify all you want, but that’s not what I see in Scripture. okay where going to be a body.

We’ve got to be a body, be a family, so, so that our neighbors look on they are in awe.

I’m not looking for a place to show up, a place to attend. I’m not interested in helping someone filling up the room with people.

I’m not looking for the right worship team, right kids ministry, best juggler or what ever.

I want a body, I want to be a part of this, what I read about in Act’s, what Jesus said would be know for its love for one another.

 

Did you ever walk in to or join any type of church thinking, here’s my goal to get as close to these people at the father is to the Son.

This is the way he ordained it, this is Jesus prayer, we are totally ignoring his prayer. This is the prayer of Christ, is this type of unity

This is God desire, this is what church was supposed to be. We’ve turn it into something else.

This is how their going to know you are my disciples, love, I don’t care how good the guy up there speaking. I don’t care how good your music is. I care if you have the best childcare workers, best building. it doesn’t matter, love, that’s what matters. This is how you can tell whose of God, whose of Satan.

 

If we want to impact the world, it’s not going to be through preachers and programs and great bands. It’s going to be through our unity and our love.

Part 1-  Church God’s Way

Part 2 – Church – Christ Centered

blood_body_christ

The gathering of Christ followers, what we call church, at its core it’s about the body and the blood of Jesus Christ, we are to gather because of Jesus,  because of the body and blood of Jesus Christ. Without the blood and body of Christ we are nothing, we are doomed in our sins.

Center stage at any gathering of the Church should be the Lords table, communion, not some speaker be it the pastor of who ever. I seek to be part of a gathering where everyone coming in understands that it’s about blood and body of Jesus, communion, the Lords table, is all about Jesus, who He is and what He did.

This is what we have in common, the body and blood of Jesus Christ and we should always want this to always to be central to our gathering.

In Luke 22:19 Jesus said taking the bread and braking it, “Do this in remembrance of Me”, and we read in Act’s 2:42they devoted themselves……to the breaking of bread ……”.  I want to remember the body and blood of Jesus every time I gather with followers of Jesus, this is at the core why we come together. They got it, they understood what coming together was all about, Jesus’ blood and body.

Just as the disciples did, we get to partake of that too, devote ourselves to it two thousand years later we get to be doing the exact same thing the disciples did with Jesus, like the first church that we read about in Act’s did. And when we do, were connected to the body that was built upon the prophets and the apostles, with Jesus being the cornerstone and we get to join into this, that’s what were here for, so that must take center stage.

The early church did not just take communion, we read in Acts 2:42 they where devoted to it,  the actual Greek word is more really “they continuously devoted themselves”. That is, “They kept on devoting themselves” every time they gathered, every day even we read.

I want to be devoted, keep on devoting myself to it. It want to set myself apart for the purpose of communion. It was not just something tact onto a service once and a while.

Communion leads me to think how I am totally pure because of what Jesus did on the cross, He paid it all. My sin was dark, it was like blood re,d like crimson, and Jesus washed it white as snow. It’s just a joy to take that bread and remembering Jesus taking it and saying this is My body broken for you, this cup, my blood is poured out for you. I want to remember that daily, and celebrate with the body every time we meet up.

Starting with the blood and body of Jesus where can I go from there but into worshiping God the Father who sent His Son to die on a cross for me. To worship from the deepest part of my heart, worship songs of praise from the burning love in my heart. I don’t need a band to lead me, tell me what to sing, it will flow out of my heart. I will sing a new song to the Lord in my own words of love from my heart.

If I really believed my salvation, what Jesus did for me, remember His body and blood, wouldn’t I worship in an amazing way, wouldn’t I just be screaming my lungs out? Yes, and I do.

I want to gather with people who’s attitude is this is ware I want to be, I’m here because of Jesus, I want to be with the true followers of Jesus, I want to break bread, and remember what He did on that cross for me. I want to get together worship Him and tell Him how great He is. Sing with the people of God, pray with the people of God. Hear from the word of God. That is what I can be devoted to like I read in Act’s 2:42, And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. That’s the church I can be part of.

I don’t want be with people who are coming because of the speaker, the band, or the children’s program, we are to come together because God sent His Son. God said church is supposed to be about Jesus and I want this to always to be at the center. The body and blood of Christ, I don’t want to cover up the cross.

So when we walk in it’s not because so and so is leading, or because of that guy, or that band, but I come because of the body and blood of Jesus. Jesus, Jesus, I just want to celebrate His body being broken for me, his blood being shed for me. And I want to be with others of the same mindset.

I don’t just want to give lip service to the cross and blood of Jesus, to communion. I do not want to casually acknowledge it, casually talk about it, or once and a while, or do it once a month. I want to think about it, passionately talk about it, and be devoted to it. I want to do it in remembrance of what Jesus did for me, every time I gather with the body, every day. Jesus, I just want to remember Him, I want to proclaim Him, the cross, His body, His blood, and gather with others who are doing the same thing. I want to celebrate Jesus’ blood and body with others that are burn to celebrate it also.

This is the first thing I am looking for in a church gathering, a body of believers to be with, this is not optional, communion is to be center stage, every gathering, not the pastor, a band or anything else. And I don’t mean once and a while, on special occasions, or once a month even, I mean, every time we gather.

Part 1-  Church God’s Way

Part 3Church A Loving Family

I’m thinking I can’t afford to even consider another year of sitting in a “church service” and hearing someone preaching a sermon, or worse a sermonette, sing a few songs, saying amen, shake hands on my way out, and saying that’s church, my duty complete, and even worse think God’s happy with that.

When you look at scripture it wasn’t just show up for a service, sing a couple of songs, hear a message and walkaway, maybe be convicted or rejoice or whatever. On my way out shake hands, smile and ask “How are you? How’s work?” Respond I’m fine, works good, see you next week, and say church done for the week. No where do we ever see Jesus model that, describe it that way. Peter or Paul describe it that way. See it done that in in scripture or in the first 100 years of the church, no where. Read the book of Act’s, you will see a different church.

Jesus didn’t command us to get a bunch of people room to set around listen to one man talk one a week for an hour, that’s not what He asked for, not what He says the church will be known for.

God has been speaking to me, taking me deeper and deeper into His word and Himself the last 5 years, the last year especially He has been working in me in life changing everything. He has been speaking to me especially about church, what it is, and it’s purpose is according to him.

He has been speaking to me through His word, His Spirit through followers of Christ he has connected me with like Francis Chan and JD Greear and a few others.

I’m saying lets go back to Scripture and ask what did He say. Because Jesus did Not ask for a bunch of people just to come sing a couple of songs, to come sit and listen to a man give a sermon. God’s never wanted His church to be a one hour, one day a week event you attend like a Las Vegas show, something that’s put on for you. Something that is You centered, all about You and Your likes and dislikes.

I pick up the bible and read what Jesus said the church is to be, what its purpose is, read how God started the church, look at what the church did when it gathered in the beginning. And I say what God want’s is what I want. And I am not one of those who reads the word of God, then like Eve listen to Satin say to me, did God really mean what He said? Did he really mean what He said? After all the bible is descriptive not prescriptive for you today.

One thing I know for sure, when I stand before God, He is not gong to say to me “you fool” you actually believed my word, took it literally, you actually believed I would do what I said, you actually where obedient to what I said, you did church my way. You loved Me and Jesus so much you believed my words “you fool”. Not hardly.

On the other hand those who say the book of Act’s is descriptive not prescriptive, fables, symbolic, figurative or what ever excuse to not believe what it says, not to obey it, want to do it their way. Well let’s just say I don’t want to hear what they will hear the day they appear before God.

What does God say church is suppose to be? I say let’s go to the word and see what did Jesus die for. What did he say the church was supposed to be and just do it, no more excuses.

Imagine if you were on an island and never been to a church and just read the bible, over and over and over and over. And then you get rescued somehow and you come to America. And you went to visit one of those things you’ve been reading about, this gathering of believers. And then you walk into a building called a church going okay, I have been reading the bible. And I want to experiences what I’ve read about, with this group of people here. You walked in and look around, would you find what you would’ve expected? Would you find what Jesus describe, said He wanted? Find what you read about in Act’s? No, you would not.

I’m talking about the real thing, a gathering of the church done the way God said, designed it, what I read about in the bible. I don’t know about you but I want the real thing, the church I see in Acts, the one Jesus died for. I’m talking about doing what God asked His people to do, being what the church is to be, its reason for being according to Him, His word. What God said it’s to looks like when true followers of Jesus gather together. That’s what I am after, what God has been showing me in His word and speaking loudly to me about, that He wants.

Part 2 – Church – Christ Centered

Part 3 – Church A Loving Family