Over the last 2 weeks, Pastor Mark has given me a moment to talk to our congregation about a huge event coming up, our Worship Night. I am beyond excited about it, and more than that, I KNOW that God is about to do something HUGE in our church. I truly believe that people will experience the one, true living God, and when He shows up, lives are changed, hearts are healed, bodies are healed, and all out miracles happen. This is not hype. This is not us trying to conjure something up in your hearts. This is the truth! This is passion!
I’m reading a book right now by Matt Redman called Mirror Ball. (Matt Redman is one of the greatest pioneers of worship music of my generation. Redman’s latest album was released a month or so ago, and is called 10,000 Reasons. I highly suggest you get this album)! In Redman’s book, he talks about passion. He states: “Lives of passion step outside the normal and rational and give all they have gladly and generously.” Then Matt talks about the greatest example that we have of passion, in Jesus Christ. He writes:
For here was the Son of God–He who was pure and faultless–becoming stained by our sin and shame. The One so accustomed to the peace and joy of heaven encountered the depths of earthly shame, suffering, and pain. He had no sin and instead became sin for us. He who existed in close communion with the Father felt the cruelty and dark lonliness of Gethsemane and Calvary. Add all of these factors together, and you are left with a cross that is not only physically heavy to carry–but one that is unfathomably heavy to bear in spiritual, emotional, and psychological terms. yet Christ did so. And astonishingly, He chose to do so. That is the ultimate display of passion.
This is the passion of Christ. These are the lengths He was willing to go through for us! We were His goal! Do you see?!
I believe that the passion of one who worships Jesus must take on the same characteristics, just as Redman talks about in his book. How many beautiful ways has He given us to worship Him! Eugene Peterson writes:
Song and dance are the result of an excess energy. When we are normal we talk, when we are dying we whisper, but when there is more in us than we contain we sing. When we are healthy we walk, when we are decrepit we shuffle, but when we are beyond ourselves with vitality we dance.
So where do we stand here? It goes so far beyond how we are when we enter into Hope Fellowship or whatever church you might attend to worship, but let’s talk for just a minute about where our hearts are when we do enter into our church. Is it difficult to let go, to raise your hands, to tap your foot, to clap? Hey, guess what? It’s that way at times for me too! But this is my guarantee to you. If we begin to daily seek God’s face, to sing to Him, shout to Him for joy in our everyday lives, when we come to church, it will be second nature. There will begin to be a passion, fervor, and excitement that, when surrounded by other passionate followers of Christ, is uncontainable and perhaps a bit irrational. Yes!
So I would dare say that our passion starts outside the doors of the church. Redman writes:
The true test of our passion for God will always be our lives. If I’m looking for a heightened way to tell God I love Him, the very best way has very little to do with stringing poetic sentences together. It involves a life laid down in service and adoration. The concrete evidence of whether our worship has lived or died in us will always be our lives. We may sing our songs with good intentions, but in the end our lives must become the evidence. Singing is easy. The proof is always in the living. Or even the dying.
I will leave you with this scripture that is the very definition of worship:
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God–this is your spiritual (reasonable) act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing, and perfect will. -Romans 12:1-2
I would love to hear your thoughts!