What is Worship (Worship Series Part 7)


Pictured above are some of my notes on worship and worship leading.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and all my righteousness,~God.

You shall have no other gods before me,~God.

I inhabit the praises of my people,~God.

This weekend was filled with rehearsals and practice for an upcoming worship night at Vineyard Reynoldsburg campus. I love worship! I love leading worship. And it’s not for the reasons that some may think. It’s not about lovely songs, instruments, and God knows for me it’s not about being on a stage or having attention. I’m not expressive or an extrovert. If you see me out front, leading, or being social, it’s mostly due to the Holy Spirit. I’m quite content in my secure cubby in God’s heart and not engaging with anyone.

What’s worship all about?

Worship is about intimacy. It’s about love. There’s a quote I just love that states, “I did not know how to worship until I learned how to love.” God wants our love. He doesn’t need it. He doesn’t need our worship or fellowship either. He’s in community. He had community before the earth was made. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit existed always. The angels worship continuously around God’s throne singing, “Holy, holy, holy!” All of creation (except us humans), are celebrating and worshipping God continuously by doing what they were created to do.

When God invites us to worship Him (love Him, put Him first, devote our lives to Him, adore Him, spend our lives, time, resources, talents, skills, etcetera…for His glory), He’s inviting us into something that will transform us.

One moment with Him can do more than we could do on our own in a lifetime! He’s inviting us to know Him, be loved by Him, and be transformed by Him. It’s not about ego; God is complete and confident in Himself.

True worship of God benefits us the most. We were created to worship. If it’s not God, then an idol takes His place.

Those who worship money, become greedy.

Those who worship food, become gluttonous.

Those who worship pleasure, become enslaved to it…needing more and more to be filled while leaving them emptier still.

Those who worship work, become workaholics.

Those who worship people, become people pleasers, fans, groupies, or lose their identity in their idol.

Those who worship other’s things, become jealous, envious, or covetous.

Those who worship themselves, become overly selfish, self centered, and can’t help anyone else.

Those who worship God in spirit and truth, become like Him. In worship He imparts Himself. He says come, “I want to reveal more of who I am to you. I want to deposit love, hope, peace, joy, and remove what’s been entangling you. I want to meet with you; heart to heart, spirit to Spirit.

Worship is not simply singing songs. It’s love. It’s intimacy. It’s warfare. In the Bible on many instances the worshippers were sent out first in battle. Worship is more than songs. It’s encountering the beauty of the King. It’s turning our attention towards heaven and our true Source, God Himself.

There’s no place we can go from His Presence, yet we can be completely detached from Him. We can have the Holy Spirit and quench Him or ignore Him. Worship is turning our focus towards Him saying, “God here I am, You have my undivided attention. I am here to love You! I am living to love You!

The devil is the prince of the air. If you don’t believe words have power or music is powerful, spend time with a gossip or angry person. Turn on the radio and listen to some of the words of songs and you’ll notice a shift in your spirit. You notice a shift in the atmosphere. I’m not saying only listen to Christian things. I’m saying worship is more than music. It’s impacting your spirit. Worship creates or cultivates a spiritual atmosphere around you and in you.

I pray this week our eyes are fixed firmly on God. He’s glorious. I pray we’d know Him; the heights, depths, and vast expanse of His great love. I pray we’d know also the richness of fellowship with His Son Jesus who paid the highest price for us. And to to be infused and led by His Holy Spirit for He is life! This week and every week, let us worship God in spirit and in truth. God bless you!

Oh magnify the Lord with me, let us exalt His name together,~Psalm 34:3.

He’s beyond worthy!


Heart Abandoned (Worship Series Part 6)


Photo: Pinterest Lyric: Joel Houston (The Stand)

It’s around 5 am here. I’ve been waking up between 4 and 5 am the past few weeks. I mention this because it is the time of the most sweet fellowship with God. What does it mean to love God? What does it mean to worship in spirit and in truth? How does one foster relationship with the Creator of the Universe?

Well let’s start with the basics for the non Christian. Unlike what you hear on talk shows, there’s one way to God. It’s through faith in His Son Jesus.

Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me,” John 14:6.

We believe Jesus is the Son of God, born of a virgin, was crucified for all sin, and rose again. We confess our sins before God (for all but God have sinned), we receive forgiveness, we are baptized in water and filled with His Spirit…

Jesus gives us access to the Father. His righteousness covers us. God is holy. There’s no sin in Him. We cannot remove our sin. Someone who never sinned had to pay for us. The cross represents perfect love and justice. The penalty for sin is death. Jesus paid for our sins with His life. He died as us and rose so we could have life eternal. It’s like someone sitting on death row for a crime and Jesus walks in and says, “I know someone has to pay, I will pay for this. Let this person go free.”

What does this have to do with worship?

Glad you asked!

I believe we sometimes forget what God paid for. When we begin to worship things other than God, we’ve forgotten the great lengths God went through to save us and call us His own. I can’t name one person in my life who would die for me if I were guilty. Forget guilty. I can’t name one who’d die for me if I was innocent. Maybe my mom, yet the way Jesus suffered is beyond comprehension. He was marred beyond recognition. Films can’t capture how badly He was beaten. His flesh was ripped off His body.

The cross reminds me of how good God is and how deadly sin is. To choose to worship anyone or anything above Him is ludicrous. He gave everything for a world that gives Him the scraps off the table. “Here God, here’s my Sunday morning attendance and offering. Please don’t ask for anything else.”

God doesn’t ask for part of our lives or part of our devotion. He asks for everything!

He’s worthy of whole hearted devotion. If my conversion and following Christ does not lead me to love Him more and more with each passing day, I must go back to the cross. If my love for Him does not lead me to want to do what He says, I must go back to the cross.

The cross…
Where Jesus took what I deserved.
The cross…
Where love was poured out so we would never have to experience the tragedy of eternity in hell and separation from God.
The cross…
Where God’s wrath for sin was targeted at His Son so forgiveness and grace could be appropriated to us by faith.

It cost God greatly to redeem us. He passionately pursues us. He gave and gives His best to us. Yet He often receives so little love in return. He’s the One people blame in crisis or they don’t get their way or is sought out only in times of trouble.

Sweet friends, God is SO much better than anything or anyone He created! We do not know how to worship until we know His love. We do not know His love until we know His Son. We can’t love Him until we first receive His love, grace, mercy, and forgiveness for us.

Father forgive us for worshipping created things. Forgive us for making You an obligation or our genie in a bottle. Forgive us for being consumed by this world and not putting You first. Help us to reflect on the cross. Help us to know Jesus, know You, know the Holy Spirit. May we know the height, depth, width, and vast expanse of Your great love for us. Help us to receive the fullness of what You paid for. In Jesus powerful name, Amen!

The Idol of the Church, Spiritual Gifts, & People God Uses (Worship Series Part 5)


“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage.

“You shall have no other gods before Me.

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image—any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth; you shall not bow down to them nor serve them. For I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children to the third and fourth generations of those who hate Me, but showing mercy to thousands, to those who love Me and keep My commandments,~Exodus 20:2-6.

Let it be known to you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, whom God raised from the dead, by Him this man stands here before you whole. This is the ‘stone which was rejected by you builders, which has become the chief cornerstone.’ Nor is there salvation in any other, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved,“~Acts 4:10-12.

God is quite serious about being the only One we worship. I’ve been following Jesus for a long time. I can say with great confidence there’s an idol in Christian circles we find acceptable to worship, it’s His church, the people He uses, and the gifts of the Spirit.

The church in the context I’m using it is the corporate body of believers.

I’ve been in services where people walked out if they didn’t have their favorite pastor preaching, their favorite worship leader leading, or they left a church to follow a mega pastor.

I’ve gone to conferences where people have refused prayer from the people around them to seek out the big name person with a healing ministry to pray for them.

I’ve seen people worship their “church” or the people God is using in their “church.” Instead of cultivating their own relationship with God, they sought out what they believed to be more “spiritual” people to feed them continually.

I’ve seen people shake their fists at God if He didn’t perform the miracle they wanted or needed.

I’ve seen all over social media where big name churches have boasted about their members, conferences, and the well known pastors they have coming through their church.

I’ve seen the fans and groupies of major worship artists. They exalt the bands, groups, and individuals to a god like status.

I’ve heard people say you should never criticize the church because she’s Christ’s Bride. Almost like Bridezilla at times, the Bride becomes the focus-she can do no wrong, she must have her way, she’s exalted above the Groom. Some love “church-worship gatherings” more than God. The weekend service or church attendance is the only time they meet with God.

Certain churches or pastors have had their bad behavior excused not by grace, but under the lie that the church is not to be held accountable for their wrongdoing. Example pastors molesting children and it’s hidden from the public.

I can say with earnest conviction and Biblical backing, there’s no place in scripture where God exalts anyone above Him. Christ raises us up to sit in heavenly places with Him, not above Him. God loves people. He loves to give good gifts. He loves His Bride. He never longs for anything or anyone to be exalted above Him. We (humans) were not created to be worshipped. We cannot save anyone. Without God, we can do nothing (John 15:5). There’s only one who is infallible, Christ alone.

Your pastor, priest, rabbi, worship leader, or spiritual leader is human. Meaning they were created not the Creator.

The desire to be worshipped and worshipped above God is what caused Lucifer to be cast out of heaven.

When we worship the created or the gifts of God, we are idolaters. It’s a harsh but true word.

There’s no pastor, teacher, prophet, evangelist, apostle, singer, worship leader, Christian celebrity, healer, etcetera…who can save anyone. Nor are people all powerful. We get into trouble when we make ourselves or others demigods.

Those who worship idols have no place in God’s Kingdom.

You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world,~Ephesians 5:5.

We are also not to worship the gifts. It’s great that God enables us to participate in His Kingdom building. We are not to exalt the gifts. See how Jesus instructs the disciples.

don’t rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written in heaven,~Luke 10:20.

Paul also gives us insight on proper view of the gifts.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love,~1 Cor 13:1-7.

Jesus provides even more insight about the gifts.

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say to Me in that day, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness!’~Matthew 7:21-23.

The gifts are not an indication of right standing with God. Nor are they to be worshipped. Many will be deceived by the antichrist because he will be able to perform miracles, signs, and wonders. Read Revelations.

This does not mean we do not honor God’s people, love them, or say thanks for the gifts of God. It does mean we don’t ever elevate anyone or anything above Him. God alone is worthy.

Father, please forgive us for worshipping anyone or anything other than You! Please purify our hearts and help us to place You first in all things. Thank You for all You are. In Jesus powerful name, amen.