Karen and I were passing through Kitty Hawk on the outer banks of North Carolina on our way home from Corolla (after spending a day with John, Mary (Karen’s sister), their two wonderful girls, and another couple and their three kids. John and Mary like to drive down from New Jersey to vacation in Corolla) when we saw a sign in front of a church that advertised, “casual worship.” Now my first thought was there is nothing casual about true worship. Only those who have really worshipped God in Spirit and truth recognized the real cost of true worship, all others just play God and themselves for a fool. I am amazed at the number of people in America who come to church dressed like they are going to the beach with short shorts, tank tops (for male and females), and flip-flops the only thing missing is the sun tan lotion and beach chair. What great disrespect for God Himself. You can always tell a church that preaches, “God looks at the heart and not what you are wearing” they are almost always rude to visitors, unruly, and very talkative during the service (especially the children sitting without their parents), because their parents have little discipline and know not the limitations and restrictions of God, after all they are on their way to the beach. This “casual worship” thinking is nothing more than disrespect for God’s standards, His holiness, and God Himself. This “causal worship” thinking is even seen in the way many churches relates to the world’s audio-visual systems (TV, internet, radio, cell phones, movies, media companies, computer games, etc.) to project messages with regards to: what to wear, what to watch, what to drive, where to live, what to eat, what is morally acceptable, what is right and what is wrong, they seem to have complete sway in almost every part of our life, if we allow them too. Sadly most churches today have sold out to marketing the glorious Gospel message through media platforms such as Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, and other social networking sites. They justify their actions by saying they are using the tools that people use to communicate with. Always remember what you use to try to win people to Christ with you have won them to that. Media platforms will not work they are of the world, earthly, and carnal. Churches who use such tools have won them to the world not to God. This too is a part of “casual and hip worship.” Now you could say, Pastor Dave you are using a website and a blog to communicate your message and you would be right, but what we are NOT doing is using our website and blog to distort the wondrous Gospel message with lies and half-truths. Nor are we (and here is the heinous action) trying to manipulate the people for money, power or favor. We share the word of God out from an open truth and unveiled heart from the Scriptures allowing the precious Holy Spirit a gate way through which the word of God to work in lives changing people (and not circumstances and situations) into the character and image of God’s precious Son Jesus Christ. This is not the case overseas. In churches overseas the people wear their very best to church in honor of a God who they fear and serve. They use their relationship with God not as a means to ease and soften the many burdens in life, but as a means to recognize God for who He is and how much they depend on Him for everything they have. Such a great contrast, it boggles my mind how American Christians are so flippant to their demeanor and approach to God. It is no wonder the power of the Gospel has vanished from most churches leaving a ritual tradition of “casual worship,” but this is not what God is after. He desires we worship Him in Spirit and truth, from our open submission and obedience in reverence and honor to a holy God. The people that lived in the days of Isaiah to had this “casual worship” thinking, full of traditions, rituals that God finally had to deal with them over. “Hear the word of the LORD (I believe God is speaking this to the church of today), ye rulers of Sodom; give ear unto the law of our God, ye people of Gomorrah. 11To what purpose is the multitude of your sacrifices unto me? saith the LORD: I am full of the burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed beasts; and I delight not in the blood of bullocks, or of lambs, or of he goats. 12When ye come to appear before me, who hath required this at your hand, to tread my courts? 13Bring no more vain oblations; incense is an abomination unto me; the new moons and sabbaths, the calling of assemblies, I cannot away with; it is iniquity, even the solemn meeting. 14Your new moons and your appointed feasts my soul hateth: they are a trouble unto me; I am weary to bear them. 15And when ye spread forth your hands, I will hide mine eyes from you: yea, when ye make many prayers, I will not hear: your hands are full of blood. 16Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; 17Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. 18Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” (Isaiah 1:10-18) These words are strong and revealing of the heart condition the people had before God. This is a call to repentance and a cleansing of which without the nation will be lost. We in America debate, argue, and literally fight over the social issues (in which Jesus never got involved with) of the day, but at the heart of all of the issues is really American’s disobedience to God and His word. Our Supreme Court (the highest court of America) has passed laws that are in direct conflict and open rebellion to what God has said, and why? Because most people in America do not want to do what God commands we do. No I will not do what God said to do, I will do want I want to do. I do not care about God and His word, we have judges that can override God’s word – wrong my friend God has the final word not any court or man. We are like sheep we all have gone astray unto our own way; unless we turn back to God and His ways America is doomed as a nation and the people will suffer years of slavery and domination. It is a very slippery slope, wrong thinking, especially in worshipping a holy God will open up the door to more liberalism and excesses in other areas of our life. We see this in the humanistic man-centered message that is taught in the apostate churches of America and in the ungodly Hollywood style self-seeking programming that floods our TV airways with contemporary Christian program like TBN and others. My friends when the true Gospel message is lost in America so too will America be lost. God is not mocked, His longsuffering does come to an end.

Do you know the biblical definition of worship has nothing to do with singing, dancing, flag waving, and all of the “look see pigeon religion,” but is to bow your head to the ground in obedience and submission. We come to church thinking we are worshipping God by singing, dancing, flag waving, paying our tithes, church activity, but that is not what God calls worship, nor is that what God is looking for. God is looking for us to bow our heads, our will, our desires to the ground so that He can be projected out to the world. This “causal worship” thinking lifts our selfish and self-centered thinking projecting us on the same level as God. Respect for God and His ways have been replaced by being told God is your friend, well God is God He is not your friend. It is like Karen and I are not the friends of our children (now we are friendly to them) we are their God ordained parents. We are not on their level God has placed us a little higher in the place of responsibility and accountability. No matter how hard we would want to change things we cannot, God has set things into motion and for us to follow Him we must walk in what He has said and done. And if we try to move outside what God has said and done for our lives then we move into direct rebellion to God and to His word. Can you see that? America, are you listening? I hope and pray so. America is the greatest country in the world. I see this every time I return from a ministry trip abroad, but her greatness is not found in her military might, her industrial strength, nor her so called diversity, oh no it is found in her ability to listen to God and stay in the way God has purposed and planned for America – to spread the Gospel message to a lost and dying world and when she stops America (as we know, love and remember) will be no more.

The Bible is very clear about the way we are to worship God. Let us allow the Bible speak for it’s self. In Genesis we find man’s first examples of true worship. “Then on the third day Abraham lifted up his eyes, and saw the place afar off. 5And Abraham said unto his young men, Abide ye here with the ass; and I and the lad will go yonder and worship (Strong’s #7812, to bow down, prostrate oneself), and come again to you.” Genesis 22:4-5) Here Abraham’s intention was not to sing and dance, but to sacrifice his son Isaac as the Lord commanded him. Where did we get this wrong thinking of “casual worship” from? Even “praise” all throughout the Bible has nothing to do with singing or dancing. Check it out for yourself. The Biblical definition of “praise” is to speak from your heart what you feel for God. In Ephesians, Paul let us know how to praise God, Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; 20Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ;” (Ephesians 5:19) Did you catch that “making melody in your heart to the Lord” not singing, yet the first 30 to 45 minutes of most church service is devoted to singing songs aloud from an overhead projector (whatever happened to hymnals?), organized dance numbers, and flag waving to inspire all devoted to glorify our flesh so that we can make an emotional approach (to feel good) to God, because we know true worship “bowing our heads to the ground” or like with Abraham having to take the life of his only son will kill us. It will kill all of our religious, selfish pride that we are built on for strength, all of our attitudes to be exalted as we say we are exalting Christ. Oh I know we say and sing, “we exalt you Lord,” but deep in our heart and in “self” we long for our friends and even our enemies to exalt us too. True worship in God will kill us dead where we will have no desire for life, only a desire for God and Him alone. David said, “I am feeble and sore broken: I have roared by reason of the disquietness of my heart. 9Lord, all my desire is before thee; and my groaning is not hid from thee. 10My heart panteth, my strength faileth me: as for the light of mine eyes, it also is gone from me. 11My lovers and my friends stand aloof from my sore; and my kinsmen stand afar off.”(Psalms 38:8-11) Make no mistake my friend true worship to God will kill you and separate you from people in your life that does not desire to worship God in Spirit (as God commands) and truth. Falling on our face in true worship to God is the place of pleading for our brother and sisters. In Numbers we find Moses pleading for the lives of Korah and the 250 Elders for their rebellion and the people for their complaining to Moses, And when Moses heard it, he fell upon his face: 5And he spake unto Korah and unto all his company, saying, Even to morrow the LORD will shew who are his, and who is holy; and will cause him to come near unto him: even him whom he hath chosen will he cause to come near unto him.” (Number 16:4-5) Again in verses 22 and 45 Moses falls on his face in worship to God three times in pleading for the people, yet in the end Moses intercession was not enough; God smites Korah and the 250 Elders for their rebellion not to Moses, but to God and many people died because of their complaining not to Moses, but to God for how God dealt with Korah and the 250 Elders. Our intercession for others is born out of true worship before God. Even sinners know they must bow down in worship, “Thou, O king, hast made a decree, that every man that shall hear the sound of the cornet, flute, harp, sackbut, psaltery, and dulcimer, and all kinds of musick, shall fall down and worship the golden image:”(Daniel 3:10) Please notice no singing here. Yes even as misguided as religious people are today they still know of the biblical requirement to fall down before a holy God in worship. Did you know bowing down in worship before God is the correct position of our heart to receive and to extend forgiveness? “In this thing the LORD pardon thy servant, that when my master goeth into the house of Rimmon to worship there, and he leaneth on my hand, and I bow myself in the house of Rimmon: when I bow down myself in the house of Rimmon, the LORD pardon thy servant in this thing. 19And he said unto him, Go in peace. So he departed from him a little way.” (2 Kings 5:18-19) Maybe that is why not much real forgiveness flows within the Body of Christ today? When we bow down our thinking and will before God He then will get involved in our lives and heart. Notice the pardon from the Lord did not happen until Naaman bowed himself down before the Lord and Naaman’s worship was accepted by God. Often what we do before God will have great impact in the lives of others. Even bowing down before God in worship is a requirement for salvation. “But if all prophesy, and there come in one that believeth not, or one unlearned, he is convinced of all, he is judged of all: 25And thus are the secrets of his heart made manifest; and so falling down on his face he will worship God, and report that God is in you of a truth.” (I Corinthians 14:24-25) There is nothing causal about worshipping God.

There is so much more we can say about true worship and there are so many more verses that command us to fall on our face in worship. But please do not miss the most important point of true worship – true worshiping in God must be sacrificial and at the heart of worship loss must be the purpose. All true worshippers are humble and contrite before God. All true worshippers have an understanding and a holy fear of God for what He would do if we do not follow Him and His ways. If what we lose when we worship God is not the focus then what we do in or out of church is for naught. God measures our Spiritual growth and development in Him not by what we gain: spiritual power to preach, teach, and do signs and wonders, but what we can lose of our self as He is able to work in our lives and heart. If not, all we will ever be allowed to do is worship causally.