I wouldn’t consider myself to be gifted in evangelism, nor do I think myself to be particularly bold. However, when the Holy Spirit decides He wants to use me, even in what I would consider a ‘less than comfortable situation,’ there is something that compels me. I had such a situation a few days ago.
The small town where I live is host to an annual festival. It draws thousands of people to its carnival rides, craft booths, food stands and live music. On a street corner in the mix of it all, a man and a woman stood, both holding signs saying, “Fear God who is able to destroy both body and soul in HELL!” among other condemning sentiments.
The moment they caught my attention, I felt a strong sense of sadness. The more I read on their signs and the more I heard what they were shouting from the street corner, the more heaviness I felt. There wasn’t a stitch of love being communicated from these people, only the fear of judgement and condemnation.
One of the things I’ve come to learn in recent years is that you cannot give away something that you haven’t received. My heart was heavy for this couple because it seemed possible, if not probable, that they had not experienced the unconditional love of the Father, the kindness that leads to repentance, the love that laid everything down for our sake. Their God instead seemed quite mean and pissed off.
I thought and prayed about how (and if) to approach them, what to say, how to say it… you know, working up some courage to engage in what would have been easier to let be, but I couldn’t. After about 90 minutes of wandering around and mulling it over, (yes, it took that long…) I approached this couple. My heart was heavy as I sensed God wanted me simply to bless them and to tell them how much He loved them.
To my surprise, neither of them seemed interested in engaging me in conversation or even trying to convert me. Perhaps they didn’t know what to do with me. I only got a few words out. Their responses were curt and condescending.
I blessed them. I told them that God wanted them to know how much He loved them and that He loved them not because they were standing on this street corner, but just because He loved them – for who they are. Then I offered to pray for them. The woman said I could go ahead and pray, but that I wouldn’t stop her from preaching, so as she resumed shouting over me, I prayed a quick blessing on them. I also prayed for an encounter with the love of the Father. This felt like a losing battle, but the Holy Spirit had compelled me and I chose to obey.
As I turned to walk away, I found myself within a foot of some boys who had been mocking this couple. I think they were about 12 and 14 years old.
I asked the older boy if he was interested in what these people were saying or if he was just making fun of them. He said that he was just making fun, but I had a sense that there was something in him that was curious.
I quickly realized that God didn’t send me there for the couple. I was sent there for these boys. Without making any eye contact with me, the older boy blew off, denied and discounted everything I said as I spoke God’s heart to him, as I spoke destiny over his life, as I shared the truth of who God really is. But he listened. They both listened, closely, for several minutes, and then they were gone.
The scenario played in my mind the rest of the day. My compassion for this couple and these two young boys was so strong. I knew I was getting just a taste of God’s heart. Whether I was met with smug superiority or defiant denial, Truth is still Truth. My prayer is that one day, it will pierce their hearts and set them free. I am believing it will because I know that God never wastes anything.
I’ve spent my whole life in church. The Christian faith has been embedded in me since birth. Sadly, I grew up with a perspective of an angry, mean God. He was far off, on His throne, with His finger continually shaking at me to behave, or else. Until I experienced His true heart for me, none of it made sense.
I wonder how that couple grew up. I wonder how those boys are growing up.
The Bible says that we love Him…why? To make Him love us? To earn points? To escape hell? So He won’t cast judgement and damnation on us? No. We love him in response to His love for us. Our response is to love Him in return. Our response is gratitude. Our response is devotion. Our response is obedience. Our response is WORSHIP. None of these things comes first. They all come as a result of the fact that He first loved us.
God has placed in me a burning passion for the Church to understand what worship is all about. It’s not something we do because we want to earn points or even something we do because it feels good. Worship is our response to unfathomable, unconditional, life changing love – a love that knows no boundary, limit or breaking point. It is that, and so much more.
If you haven’t tasted of God’s immense love for you in a way that makes you live differently, ask Him for it. He wants to reveal Himself to you. He lives to love us. It is His love that will compel you to live your life as a response of worship.
2 Corinthians 5:14 Msg “Christ’s love has moved me to such extremes. His love has the first and last word in everything we do.”
Cathy Little is the Founder and Director of Simply-Worship.org, a ministry dedicated to discipleship, mentoring, missions and media. She is also the co-founder of “Dash-Away,” unique retreats for women focused on worship and wholeness, and “The Well,” a weekly gathering around the Presence of Jesus modeled after Acts 2. Cathy also serves on the WorshipMinistry.com lead team, as well as the steering committee for The Experience Conference.
Cathy carries a burning desire for the deeper waters of worship. She pulls from 20+ years of worship leading experience as she mentors those who lead the Church in corporate worship, equipping them not only with practical tools but also helping them come to a deeper understanding of and reverence for the call they carry.
An author and musician as well, Cathy has published the book, “Shame on You…No More: A Worship Leader’s Journey,” and the EP, “Safely Through.” Both document layers of profound healing that have propelled her forward into her passion and destiny: to see the same healing happen in others.
Cathy lives in Black Mountain, North Carolina.