God Deserves Worship at All Times

It was, without doubt, the worst day of my life. It surpassed the day I found out I had an incurable illness, it surpassed the day my mom had to have gallbladder surgery, and it surpassed the day my dad told us he had stage 3 cancer. It was a Saturday, and it was the day my dad left. Not just for a quick trip, or even an extended one – no, he permanently walked out the door.

Just a few weeks prior, we were all shocked when he announced that he was resigning from his position as pastor and divorcing my mom. Not a single member of the congregation saw it coming. Unfortunately, neither did any of his four kids, or his wife. Everything I had ever known to be my reality was forever changed. 

This new chapter of my life challenged one of the deepest truths that I have always held dear: God is deserving of worship no matter what is going on in my life. Worship is about Him, not me. And because of this truth, when I think back to the day that my dad left, I can’t help smiling. You see, it was the worst day of my life, but it was also the first time I fully understood the impact of worship.

After my father hugged each of his children, and then my mom, he walked out the door for the last time. Our bodies trembled, tears streamed down all of our cheeks, we clung to each other. We were desperately broken. Then a soft voice whispered in my heart, “Invite Me in.”

The Lord was beckoning me to worship even in the prison of my devastation. When words had left me and my soul ached, I had to make a decision whether or not to uphold what I had always believed. I solemnly lifted my head began to sing. “Holy Spirit, You are welcome here. Come flood this place and fill the atmosphere. Your glory, Lord, is what our hearts long for… to be overcome by Your presence, Lord.” My family began to lift their voices in accompaniment to my own, the tears still streaming, hands still trembling. We sounded awful as our voices warbled through our tear-thickened throats, but still, I felt an undeniable shift in the atmosphere.

The King, the Comforter, the Prince of Peace had just stepped into our living room.

As we sang, the tears stopped flowing and our voices grew stronger. When the first song came to an end, I began to sing a more upbeat tune, “I feel the joy of the Lord falling fresh on me, I feel the joy of the Lord, delivering me.” Once again, the voices of my siblings and mom joined in. Before long, we were smiling as the joy of the Lord flooded the room.

On a day that the enemy meant to be the devastation and ruin of my family, God’s peace and love filtered in through the darkness and brought us into a place without fear: the serene presence of His perfect love. Because we wouldn’t let the enemy silence us, because we were bold enough to worship our God who is deserving no matter what, we were comforted in His arms.

It was the hardest day of my life, but it showed me what is truly in my heart. I’m forever changed because of a day that should have destroyed me, and instead grounded me. No matter what goes on in my life, I will always remember that day and what it taught me. This I believe: God deserves my worship no matter my circumstance, and He always responds.

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God Deserves Worship at All Times

You Can’t Hate Your Brother and Call Yourself a Worshipper

Today’s post is part two of the lesson I taught in my church’s youth class a couple of weeks ago. As I mentioned last week, after teaching the lesson, I still felt the burden to share and to give a warning to my generation which is why I decided to post about. I gotta listen to IT, remember?

In case you missed the post I’m referring to, let me explain:

I was invited to teach on the subject of worship. This is something I’m extremely passionate about, so I didn’t struggle to come with a bunch of thoughts. In the first post of this two-part series, I talked about how terrifying some of the quotes I found in my research were. In this post, I want to talk about how raw and cutting the Scripture is and what it has to say about worship and love.


Betrayal is everywhere. It’s a bitter knife to the gut every time and leaves us hurting, angry and numb. Strange how you can feel both hurt and angry and numb all at once, isn’t it? The desire to never be hurt again creates a numbing barrier between our heart and the outside world.

Unfortunately, in the believer’s case, this barrier also comes between us and God.

I’ve talked in the past about the importance of forgiveness. It’s not a new concept to us and most believers are familiar with the verse that says “… if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses” (Matthew 6:15 ESV). I think, deep down, we always want to forgive each other, but what if we don’t follow through?

Until I started studying for this lesson, I never really put together the pieces of the salvation puzzle regarding worship and forgiveness. Now that I get it, I’ve noticed a new depth to my worship, a new charge or spark or fire. I’m in a new realm when I lift my hands and heart to the Heavens.

I want that for all of us. But it’s hard to get and, worse, hard to keep. Let me explain.

Worship is adoration.

That’s what makes it different than praise. You can praise someone you don’t like, all you have to do is compliment them. You can’t worship someone unless you adore them. It’s beyond pleasant words or action, it’s an all-consuming love. So consuming that it results in action.

You’ve probably heard it said that “worship is a lifestyle.” This simple phrase bears a much weightier truth. True adoration evokes consistent action.

When you fall head over heels in love, what do you spend your time doing? When I fell in love with Mr. MTBR (this is a reference to my work-in-progress memoirs which none of you but myself will get.. sorry 🙂 ), it looked something like this:

  • Wake up, remember last night’s conversation with Mr. MTBR, say a prayer for him and wonder how his day will go
  • Work, get a text or call from Mr. MTBR, commence daydreaming about the next time I’ll see/talk to him
  • Lunch break, drive home and hear a sappy love song or quote on the radio, smile to myself thinking about the memory of Mr. MTBR it sparks, whisper a quick prayer that his day is going well
  • Back to work, wonder every time my phone buzzes if it’s Mr. MTBR and if we’ll get the chance to catch up on the phone before bed, per sort-of-tradition
  • Off work, head home to eat dinner and watch Netflix then take off to spend time with friends or go to church, all the whilst wondering what Mr. MTBR is doing with his evening
  • Get ready for bed, text Mr. MTBR to see if he’s up for a chat, he usually is, hang up and fall asleep daydreaming about the possibility of the word “future”

Now that was a sickeningly sappy version of love. I didn’t mention the parts where life got really hard and he came through for me, or the parts where it got worse and he didn’t, but I loved him all the same. Love is more than a feeling, it’s a commitment and you choose to be in or out of it.

Anyway, the point is, love evokes action and thought. It’s not something you feel once a day or week or month. You think about the object of that love throughout the day. Now this kind of love, human love, is built on the concept of equality in worth.

Worship takes it a step further. It’s only in existence when you are less worthy than the One you’re worshiping. That knowledge creates an obsessive and extreme adoration for the One who is higher, which evokes action. In other words, when you truly adore God (that One who is higher), you spend your day constantly loving Him and reverentially loving on Him and therefore, your lifestyle becomes one of worship.

Worship and love have a lot more in common. Have you ever noticed that when you love someone and get in a fight with someone they care about, it affects your relationship with them? Things become stilted and awkward, you have a harder time relating to one another. Once again, it’s the same thing with worship.

Worship connects believers to one another. It is key in revival, not just because of how it evolves our relationship with the Object (a word which here means “Incredible, All-Consuming Spiritual Force that gives life to all and can take it away with a single thought”) of our worship, but also because it unites us together. When all of us are not thinking of ourselves, rather the God of the world, we are focused in mind and purpose – we are in one accord (Acts 2:1-5).

There is no more pure unity than in when we come together in worship. Take a moment to reflect on the times you felt closest to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Was it around the altar?

There is something about worship that causes us to forget ourselves and finally think of others first. When you realize that you are nothing in comparison to the One whom your heart adores, it’s easier to let your pride and ambition go. It’s easy to love one another, but sometimes hurt creeps it’s way into the picture.

Jesus was clear that the first great commandment is to love “the Lord your God” and the second is to “love your neighbor…” (Luke 10:27). There’s a reason those commandments are in the order they’re in. When you love God, when you worship Him, you automatically love your brothers and sisters.

Have you ever experienced what I call a “Holy Ghost high” after an incredible service and altar call? A Holy Ghost high looks a little something like this: You’re overflowing with love for God, gushing about how wonderful He is, and exuberantly participating in conversation with your friends. Suddenly, after being so entirely enraptured by the love of the One you adore, you find within yourself an endless stream of tolerance and love for the people with whom you just shared that experience.

This is how you, and the world, can tell if you are genuinely worshiping:

You will have love for each other.

1 John talks about this very thing, though I never realized it in the past:

 if anyone has the world’s goods and sees his brother in need, yet closes his heart against him, how does God’s love abide in him? Little children, let us not love in word or talk but in deed and in truth. (1 John 3:17-18)

Do you remember that verse that talks about believers worshiping God in “spirit and in truth” (John 4:24)? Have you ever wondered what the “truth” part meant? I have, and after a lot of prayer and prep for this lesson, it stuck me. What if that truth is what the passage we just read says: love.

I felt fairly dumb about my realization after reading the next verse that literally says this:

… and this is how we know that we are of the truth… (1 John 3:19)

That makes so much sense, doesn’t it? To worship God in spirit is to allow our souls to love Him, and to do it in truth is to love one another.

#mindblown

When this began to sank in, I immediately began wondering what it means for us if we don’t love each other. I didn’t have to look long, just rewind to a couple verses earlier in the passage:

By this it is evident who are the children of God, and who are the children of the devil: whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is the one who does not love his brother. (1 John 3:10)

Let me rephrase this in layman’s terms, shall I?

If you don’t love your brother, you’re a child of the freaking devil.

HOLY CRA- er..  insert some sanctified exclamation here.

I mean, the Bible has always been clear on the importance of loving your brother, I guess I just wasn’t ready to see it. There are consistently references to God refusing us if there are things between us and others in the body of Christ. One of the most plain and painful Scriptures is in Matthew. Let’s replace the word “gift” here with “worship” to make it even more obvious.

So if you are offering your [worship] at the altar and there remember that your brother has something against you, leave your [worship] there before the altar and go. First be reconciled to your brother, and then come and offer your [worship]. (Matthew 5:23-24)

God is pretty serious about this whole thing. But just to lighten the mood, I’ll rephrase:

“Don’t even bother worshiping Me if you’re just gonna be all irked by your bro, yo.”

This is what makes worship so unifying- because it can’t be done with bitterness and anger towards your sister or brother. It can only be done in grace. When we love God, when we truly adore Him (Who, by the way, is Love – just check out 1 John 4:8), we love each other.

I’ll end with this wonderful, beautiful encouragement:

Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence before God; and whatever we ask we receive from him, because we keep his commandments and do what pleases him. And this is his commandment, that we believe in the name of his Son Jesus Christ and love one another, just as he has commanded us. Whoever keeps his commandments abides in God, and God in him. And by this we know that he abides in us, by the Spirit whom he has given us. (1 John 3:21-24)

“This is how all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love one for another.” -Jesus, the God whose love was so great that He died for us.

What are your thoughts? Please keep it friendly. 😉

You Can’t Hate Your Brother and Call Yourself a Worshipper

God-Worship in a Me-Culture

I recently had the opportunity to teach the youth group at my church on the topic of worship. It’s a topic I’m passionate about (obviously, because Undignified Event) so I didn’t have a hard time coming up with a million thoughts to share.

I wanted to have Scripture to back me up and some cool inspiring quotes from hip celebrities, you know, to be a good millennial speaker, so I set to work looking and ended up in tears- for several reasons. The first, the Scripture was raw and cutting, and the second, the quotes were terrifying.

After teaching the lesson, I still felt the burden to share what I found and to give a warning to my generation. There were two key components to my lesson and, given my tendency to ramble (*cough*), one post would be too long. I’ll split this in two. 🙂


**Disclaimer**

Unfortunately, what I am about to say will offend people. It is my sincerest desire not to offend, so I wanted to state that I am writing this from one Christian to another.

I am not condemning other religions, denominations, or belief systems for their beliefs. I do believe that Jesus is the one God of us all, but I also believe that our judgement rests securely in His hands and not my own. It has never been and never will be my desire to condemn.

I am writing this for my fellow believers because of something I see in our American Christian culture. I specify American Christian because I cannot speak for the burdens of Christians in other nations who live in far less prosperity than we.


Our American culture has set us up for failure when it comes to our faith. We live in a world where people are encouraged to follow their dreams at practically any cost, to believe what we want and let others believe what they want because “everybody’s truth is the truth,” to quote one Morgan Freeman.

The danger in this is that it goes against the solitary (punny) foundation of who God is: ONE.

“…the Lord our God is one Lord.”

-Deuteronomy 6:4

This is the pillar stone of all believers because any change to it creates “false” (read: worshiping the wrong guy) religion. Satan, devious scumbag that he is, capitalizes on our culture by making us gods to ourselves.

He convinces us (yes, me included) that we are the most important people in our lives, others should sacrifice for us, we shouldn’t have to sacrifice for others, we ought to pursue what makes us happy no matter what, and if what we’re doing isn’t making us happy, we should quit it even if it’s the supposed “right thing to do.”

Unfortunately, this self-gratified ME-ME-ME way of thinking has leaked over into our worship services. To prove my point…

We’ve probably all seen this video in the past as it spread like wildfire among believers. Some supporting it, some condemning what she had to say.

For instance, Rob Slane of The Blog Mire seems to agree with Victoria Osteen.

Worship primarily flows from God to us, not the other way around. This might seem utterly counter-intuitive. Surely when we go to church we are paying our dues and giving back to God? Yes we are, but there is something else going on behind that. Primarily, worship is about God doing something for us, not about us doing something for him. Just as salvation is initiated by God and not us, so the primary flow in worship is from God to man rather from man to God. It is God who calls on men to worship him, it he who initiates it, it is he who gives us faith to do it. We respond to all this, but we should remember that in the first instance, our worship services are God’s service to us, not our service to him.”

I, on the other hand, vehemently disagree. While some of what Rob and Victoria have said is true, it’s the little untruths sprinkled throughout their remarks with which I take issue.

You might be thinking “Okay Rach, big deal. A bunch of people are saying things that aren’t 100% true. At least their hearts are in the right place.”

I could totally agree with that. I’d love to say “Yup, no worries.” But I’ve seen too many people walk away from their faith because of the little falsities bad-ol’-Lucy-boy sneaks in and it scares me to my core.

As the sons and daughters of Christ, I feel it is our duty to warn each other when we become aware of these trends. If you knew your sister had cancer, wouldn’t you say something? Or would you let her die without ever realizing there may have been a cure?

In my own life, I’ve found one of Satan’s favorite pastimes is to see how he can make me fall to the sin of pride while hiding it behind the virtue of humility. He likes to whisper things into my ear like “The congregation gets up to worship when you lead because of how good you are at singing, it was so cool of God to bless you with that,” and “whether or not the altar call is powerful depends on if your music director will use your song choice, not his, because God gifted you with worship leader anointing.”

You may be giggling a little because these are laughable whispers that are more false than true, but added up overtime, they can begin to affect the way I think.

In most cases, Satan will tell you large truths with little lies designed to snake around your spiritual larynx and squeeze until you suffocate and DIE (yes! to be dramatic!). It’s like a splash of spit hitting your windpipe when you swallow. Sure most of what you breathed was air, but that little droplet of saliva is enough to make you cough and sputter and struggle to breathe.

This is why I can’t let it go just because someone’s heart is in the right place.

Shortly after I taught this lesson, a new video started catching. I saw friends and family members sharing it on Facebook, saying: “Wow! It’s so cool that Morgan Freeman is bringing publicity to the Pentecostal denomination!”

**Btdubs, ’cause I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned it in the past, I attend an Apostolic Pentecostal church similar to what is depicted in the below video, though quite different in several aspects. If you would like a post on what I believe, please let me know. I’d be happy to write a post on it if there is interest.**

I agree that it’s great that he looked into the Pentecostal experience, discussed how we believe in speaking in tongues, and even gave the people in the video credit for being taken to another place spiritually (although, does anyone else get the feeling that this video is very staged??). But did you listen closely? That little phrase towards the end, “everyone’s truth is the truth,” makes this video spiritually lethal.

Not everyone’s truth is the truth. If that were the case, then when we die only 144,000 of us will make it to heaven (Jehovah’s Witness), while at the exact same time all of us will make it to some layer of heaven and some become gods equal to God (Mormonism), while at the exact same time some of us will be in Heaven experiencing new spiritual life separate from our now dead flesh (Christianity), while at the exact same time some of us will be in Heaven experiencing physical wonders in our once again living flesh (Muslim).

Do you see the problem?

Not all truth can be truth.

The very TRUE fundamental basis of worship is HIM HIM HIM. Why? Because of who He is:

The one,

the only,

God.

Worship is, at its root, adoration for someone or thing. If worship is genuinely about us, like Victoria said, then it cannot be about God and we are worshiping ourselves. If we are worshiping ourselves, we are worshiping false gods and we are no better than before we found the grace of God.

God is a very jealous God and He won’t share my adoration with another- that includes me.


… I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me, and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

-Exodus 2:6


“Master, which is the great commandment in the law?”

Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind.

-Matthew 22:36-37


I realize that I’ve rambled on for sometime so breaking up this lesson into two posts may be a wasted effort (LOL), but I hope you can understand why I’ve shared all this. It’s so important that we not become undone by our ME-culture and that we keep our focus on GOD in our worship.

Worship is not about us, it never has been and never will be.

What are your thoughts? Please keep it friendly. 😉

God-Worship in a Me-Culture