Updated: Oct 22
After I got born-again in 1981, that next year I began leading worship in the church. I was taught "worship protocol"....Fast songs, slow songs, chord progressions, modulation and intensity. I did the research; I put song lists together by theme and flow, all the so-called creative ways of drawing the congregation into the worship experience.
I led worship for many years, I loved it...but my heart began to be grieved. I would stand up there trying to be sensitive to the Lord, but it became evident the pastor had another agenda...and it was not the presence of God.
We would sing a few songs and just as the Spirit would begin to become manifest among us....I would hear behind me a big "Amen!" That Amen came from the pastor, it meant worship was over. I would thank the Lord graciously with a smile...then step off the platform.
It was then that I would head straight for the women's restroom and cry my heart out, so grieved in my spirit that it was painful.
It became common for me to weep all the way home after the church service on Sundays. One day on the way home I asked the Lord out of sheer frustration..."Why am I crying?" He responded very quickly to me saying, "Now you know how I feel. I desire so much to minister to my people, but I am not allowed to."
At that time I did not know that my weeping would turn into close to 40 years of intense, heart-wrenching grievous intercession for His people to truly experience the Holiness of His presence.
The pastors and leaders were always asking the Lord for His will and crying out in prayer for His presence, His glory to come. They even boasted about God being free to do what He desired in the “Spirit-led” services.
It was soon that I learned that leadership does not always seek the Lord with an all consuming passion like I thought they did. Some of them actually had their own agendas and the young little sheep just simply followed along trusting these leaders with their lives.
It wasn't long after that I gave my notice to the pastor that I could no longer lead worship. I could not participate in cutting off God's spirit and grieving His heart.
Little did I know that the Lord Himself was going to sit me at His feet and teach me what worship "in truth" really was. I was going to learn from the Master Himself straight from His heart.
He began to teach me that there were acts of worship that pleased Him and the result was His manifest presence...and there were also acts of worship (that are extremely common in worship services), that actually grieve and quench His spirit.
More often than not, the presence we feel in worship services is NOT God's manifest presence, but the presence of angels that precede the Lord's presence Himself.
I found that worship when it pleases the Lord brings His Holy and tangible manifest presence, bringing one on one personal encounters, healing, deliverance, meets the needs of, and feeds His people. He is the Great Shepherd. I learned very quickly that His very presence becomes addictive.
The more time we spend with Him, the more we get to know Him, are able to discern His voice above others. Time spent in His Holy presence, this beautiful secret place close to His heart...completely transforms us. The more time we spend with Him, the more we become like Him.
This, is what the church is looking for, this is what the church is missing.
In the name of Jesus…believers have been taught to follow men, follow the leaders by being faithful and going to church. The people have not been taught to follow Jesus, many have never even had an encounter with the Lord. Without a firsthand encounter with the Lord, one cannot be a witness. This is a legal fact.
Witness: an individual who, being present, personally sees a thing; a beholder, spectator, an eyewitness.
Jesus is still calling us to follow Him and have a relationship with Him as He called the first disciples…this has never changed. Just as the first disciples sat at His feet and learned from Him, He is calling us to do the same. Many leaders are teaching people to follow them....this must stop.
The key in worship...is allowing Him to teach us "how" to worship Him. Allowing Him to lead us and teach us in the way that He chooses. Learning what is and what is not His leading takes time, it does not happen overnight. It's a process because it’s all about relationship, getting to know Him and like any relationship being able to discern His leading, takes time.
It's not about singing a certain song, singing a certain way, coming up with a "new sound" or getting all hyped up through music and lights. We do not just get born-again, filled with the spirit and automatically know what pleases the Lord in worship, yet the majority of pastors and worship leaders have assumed this without really thinking about it.
The result of worship "in spirit and truth" if we are led by Him, brings the "holiness" of God's presence and it's in His presence that we are transformed and begin to take on His image.
God is holy, and when He shows up...we bow in reverence. Not only will we experience a holy fear (reverence), but we will experience His overwhelming love that will make even the strongest men "undone". This...is the result of true worship in the spirit. It is holy and it completely transforms your life.
One simply cannot experience the holiness of The Almighty, The Creator of Heaven and Earth and walk away unchanged.
The desire of the Lord's heart (and always has been) is to not just visit with us…but actually make His residence, His habitation in and among us.
He wants to overwhelm us with His love and become “one” with us. When we experience His presence…we in turn cannot help but desire to give back to Him this love…It is consuming and always reciprocal…the manifestation of His very presence invokes the response within us desiring more of Him.
When we learn to reciprocate this love in these times of communion and begin "to pour upon and cover Him" returning it back to Him through worship…This action is the "ministry of the priest" it is ALL about attending to the Lord’s House (us), going behind the veil and communing with Him. We begin to understand every aspect and order of the temple given by the Lord and exactly how all of it applies to us today.
As His people we must become aware that there are actually acts of worship that quench and grieve His Spirit and they happen often in worship services.
Often we, without knowing, end up cutting off the moving and flow of His Spirit, not discerning the anointing (in people or instruments), not allowing His Spirit to freely flow through His people.
There are many things that will quench God's Spirit in worship. The result is very grieving to the Lord…angels have been seen to weep at these times.
What grieves God the most, is that He was unable to reveal Himself as He truly is and meet the needs of and “become one” His people...He longs to consume His bride with His presence and fulfill every need. He wants to become our “everything, our all in all”.
The Lord desires for us to learn what pleases Him in worship (this, is the beginning of worship “in truth”)....that His very presence might fill "us" His temple and overflow through us! We are His Bride, His desired dwelling place and the habitation of His glory.
It is our responsibility as "the Bride" to make ourselves ready, and part of this is learning what pleases the Bridegroom. If we truly love Him, we will do all to seek Him fervently to know the desires of His heart, so that we may please Him and never grieve Him.
The Lord is calling us back to our first love "Him"...this intimate love relationship with Him is the foundation which the Church (His people) are to be built upon. This one on one intimate relationship is what the first apostles had.
This intimacy with Him...transforms us into His image...and thus we become the dwelling place of God...His habitation...His resting place! It is only then that His love, the fullness of His Kingdom (who God is and His fullness) is not only poured into us, but poured through us bringing life to a dying world.
We keep looking for a great “outward” move of God…the move that the Lord desires is to be poured “in and through us” unhindered and untainted vessels…the mighty power of His love as we become “one” with Him where nothing is impossible.
It is only then, that we can love one another and the world will see that we are His…for the love we have for one another. This is what the world is waiting for.
The complete and utter laying down of our lives, our lives not being our own….but caring and sharing placing others before ourselves. Can you imagine a world where everyone is more concerned about others, not taking thought about self, but “the concern for others and giving” utterly consumes us?
This dear friends…is the Kingdom of Heaven manifest among us. This…is true revival. This is true reformation, His Kingdom on earth as it is in Heaven.