Worship from a Place of Connection

Mark Virkler's picture

This blog and journaling are from Pastor Shawna M. Diehl, a doctoral student at Christian Leadership University.

Worship is a high priority at the church where I pastor.  In fact, I served for many years as a worship leader before planting Church on Fire. We have been blessed as a church to feel a strong sense of the presence of God as we gather for worship. However, lately something has seemed off.  I thought it was just me until one of our leaders brought it up at a meeting. I know that the people in our congregation love the Lord and were worshipping Him, but maybe the Lord was trying to lead us to a deeper understanding of worship.  So I asked Him about it, “Papa, something seems off in our worship experience. Can You help me to understand what we are missing?”


And, as He often does, the Father asked me a question in response. “Do you worship for an experience? If so, are you worshipping the experience or Me? I know that you love My presence and worship can help you be more aware of My presence. However, judging the success of a worship service by whether or not you have an experience is not the way to go about it. How do you connect with My presence?”

“I just turn my heart to You,” I replied, “I don’t have to sing or dance or anything to feel Your presence.  I just say, ‘Hey Papa!’ ”

“That’s right! So worship from that place of connection. That is the experience you are seeking anyways. Worshipping to earn an experience of My presence is servant mentality and I want you to behave like My daughter.”

At this point I knew I had to repent.  I had been treating the Father like a drug dealer. I gave Him worship and He gave me the high of His presence.  I also repented to my church for judging our worship services based on what people were experiencing.

In his book On Loving God, 12th century monk, Bernard of Clairvaux wrote about the difference between loving God for what we could get from Him and loving Him for Himself. What the Lord described to me as a servant mentality, Bernard describes as a mercenary mentality. The irony of loving God because of what it gets me is that, “where there is self-interest there is isolation.” Maybe this was what I was beginning to feel in the worship setting where I wanted to have an experience rather then being satisfied with simply loving God.

Bernard also writes that reward of love is the object that one loves. If my affection is turned towards an experience all I will ever have is an experience. But if my affection is turned towards God then the reward will be intimacy with the one my heart desires. Isn’t this the way God is with us? He doesn’t love us because of what we can do for Him or even because we worship Him. He is simply head over heels in love with us!

There was one more thing the Father wanted me to know.  He reminded me of Ephesians 5:18-19 which says, “...be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit…” (NIV). The place of connection in worship isn’t just vertical. The Father wants His children to feel connected to, loved and accepted by those they are worshipping with. Worship is to include speaking to one another and encouraging each other in our connection with the Father. When we connect first with God and each other then we begin worship as sons and daughters already living from the experience of intimacy with our loving Father.


 

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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond?


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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice (hard cover)

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 305 Pages

40% off the suggested retail price!

For the first time EVER! Hardcover copies of 4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice. This is a magnificent, beautiful gift to give for any occasion. Retailing at $24.95, you can purchase it through our website at only $15.00! Bless people with the gift of spiritual intimacy with the Lord Jesus Christ. Get a souvenir copy for yourself. Only 600 copies produced, so order while supplies last!

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4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice Audio CD Package

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice Audio CD Package

By Mark Virkler | 4 Keys book | 10 hours of CDs | LEARN notebook

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond?

Price: $$77.85
4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice DVD Package

4 Keys to Hearing God's Voice DVD Package

By Mark Virkler | 4 Keys book | 10 hours of DVDs | LEARN notebook

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond? When things don't seem to be going your way and your prayers aren't answered the way you had hoped, wouldn't it be great to hear Him tell you where He is in the midst of it, and what He is working out in your life? Are you ever just a little bit jealous of others who say with such confidence, "The Lord said...."?

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Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

Hear God's Voice Guaranteed Package

9 Books, 10 CDs, 10 DVDs now at a $50+ savings

Have you ever wished you could just sit down and have a long talk with the Lord? Wouldn't it be wonderful to move beyond having a theology that states that God loves you to actually hearing Him whisper words of love into your heart? When you're worried or confused, wouldn't you love to see the situation from His perspective and hear how He wants you to respond? When things don't seem to be going your way and your prayers aren't answered the way you had hoped, wouldn't it be great to hear Him tell you where He is in the midst of it, and what He is working out in your life? Are you ever just a little bit jealous of others who say with such confidence, "The Lord said...."?

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Prayers That Heal the Heart

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by Mark and Patti Virkler | 320 Pages

Prayer counseling that breaks every yoke! Everything you need to experience deep healing of your soul and spirit.

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Hear God Through Your Dreams Workbook Cover

Hear God Through Your Dreams Workbook

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 92 Pages

A new book has just been released that accompanies this workbook: Click here for Hearing God Through Your Dreams by Charity Kayembe and Mark Virkler (featured on Sid Roth's "It's Supernatural", with over half a million views just on YouTube).


Do you often wake up feeling there was a significant message in your dream, but you’re just not sure what it is? Like Daniel and Joseph, do you long to be able to help others understand their own dreams and win them to Christ as you explain His night messages to them? Wouldn't it be nice if you could receive mid-course corrections from the Lord while you sleep? Do you wish you could be receiving divine inspiration, creative solutions to problems, and direction from the Lord during that third of your life that you’re “just” sleeping?

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Hearing God Through Your Dreams

by Mark Virkler and Charity Virkler Kayembe | 292 Pages

Learn How to Hear God’s Voice, Even When You Are Sleeping

It is always fun to be on the winning team. Well look what God has done with Charity's new dreams teaching. It has taken off like a rocket with a live TV interview on Cornerstone Network and her Sid Roth interview which has over 850,000 views on YouTube already!

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Counseled by God

by Mark and Patti Virkler | 146 Pages

Have you ever been defeated by negative emotions such as anger, fear, guilt, inferiority, condemnation or depression? Have you tried to fight them off unsuccessfully? Is there an answer that is deeper than simply trying to mentally reason yourself out of these emotions? Is there a way that Jesus can speak a word of life into the depths of your emotional despair and bring healing on a deep level? Is there a form of Christian counseling that begins and ends with the movement of Christ within your heart, rather than simply with the words of man?

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Everyday Angels

by Charity Virkler Kayembe and Joe Brock 289 Pages

You can partner with Heaven’s angelic hosts!

Do you have guardian angels? Does God want you to know them? Find out what Scripture reveals and how YOU can interact with the company of Heaven!

The supernatural realm permeates our natural world! Therefore, experiencing angels should be an everyday occurrence–we simply need to open our spiritual eyes to their reality and role in our lives.

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