Someone said to me yesterday ‘I love our church, the anointing, the presence of God, the atmosphere is so free….’ And that is church, believers gathered together in the ‘presence’ of God, worshipping Him in joy and freedom. Many years ago, I walked into a church building in another country and was overwhelmed with the presence of God in the hallway, even before going into the sanctuary. It stirred something inside me, at that point I did not care how many people were in the church, how good their musicians were, how well the pastor preached, whether there was a youth programme, I was sold and told God, were this church to have been in Paris I would go there before asking your permission. Those people praise God voraciously. I have never before or since experienced such a degree of the presence of God in any other church. That is my pursuit for our house.
And it is attainable. But I have learnt that to get there we must accept to do things God’s way not ours. Many people have walked in and out of our doors wanting us to do things their way, but though I love them dearly, I love God more. Though I want them to come to church, their presence is less important than God’s. God comes when He is honoured. We are learning to honour Him at Abba House. I just love the people of Abba House. They love God, they praise God, they lift up their voices from the first song and before, and they shout, they dance, they celebrate Jesus. They don’t come to enjoy the choir, we have none, they don’t come to sway to and be cuddled by the music, they come to let it fly before God.
I think I would have a hard time pastoring people who don’t love Jesus enough to praise Him with abandon. In fact it bothers me deeply when other Christians visit and sit through worship and refuse to participate for no reason other than they cannot be bothered. No doubt some of them think we overdo it, and are too gregarious, but can it reasonably be otherwise? I get excited about tea, about politics, I preach the Kindle and devour books with passion, how can I be less excited about the Son of God and the One who reconciled me to the Father, wiped away all my sins, gave me a new identity and told me, daughter you are all that and a load of psalms. And when you are excited it shows. We must offer Him unfettered praise, and God loves it, He shows up; and that is my goal, that God always manifests His presence in Abba House.
It’s really about what we are after. I consider that my mission in life is to love God ferociously and lead other people to adore Him and lose their mind over Him and live in His manifest presence. Paul put it this way if we are out of our minds, it is for Him. The New Living Translation renders it ‘if it seems we are crazy, it is to bring glory to Him’. To know God, to yield to Him, to praise Him, to celebrate Him, to honour Him, to find Him utterly glorious and magnificent, to objectively and honestly consider Him the most excellent being that there is or ever can be and to openly and publicly bow before Him, that is a Christian, those are the Christians I want to hang around, and those are the Christians who attract the presence of God.