Extravagant Worship is a byproduct of Loving G-d

In the last five years I have attempted to write many words of instruction and exhortation to hopefully influence my generation for the glory of G-d and hopefully in turn positively impact the generation following mine. When I look back over the topics I have written about I find most of my frustration lies in the division I see in the so-called Christian church in the US.

If you were ever inclined to take the time to read every word I ever wrote on our LLI Fellowship ministry site you will see a common theme and thread of thought:

Restoration, unity, and the avid pursuit of the unfolding of spiritual revelation and truth.

Even though I have written much on spiritual realities in the American Church I don’t see a day in my future that lands me in the challenging duty of a bible teacher, so what drives me to write and exhort the people of G-d and anybody else who lands on these pages?

Why then would someone who isn't fully versed in all the historical facts of church history, middle eastern archaeology, and the biblical languages think he has a responsibility in sharing his thoughts with the world? 

That is a good question. The answer is that I feel a pressure within my spirit that drives me to write. I actually don't like writing but nonetheless I write and I pray these words benefit the long term welfare of G-d's people.

Just this morning I had this question spinning around in the perimeter of my heart, “where do people actually find God?”  Is it a place or it is found some place in the spirit realm? And what conditions promote this G-d connection?

We can’t just automatically say that G-d will meet us in church or a worship services because many times this is not the case for folks seeking G-d with all their heart and for those on the outside looking in to those who are professing believers.

In fact, many times the on lookers leave a church services as a mere observer having never entered into the place of what we would call “true heart worship”.

Besides church history is riddled with epochs or seasons of time when church was the last place where God and His presence would be found, especially during those periods when persecution of the so-called heathen, pagans, heretics, and sadly Jewish people predominated church activity and focus, and we shall never forget the times of great moral declension and heretical tangents experienced by our church fathers these last 2000 years.

But we move forward to develop the idea of what true worship really consists and its proper components to produce a life-giving and truly spiritual worship experience.

In the life of a religious traditionalist they would tell you they most certainly find the sense of God in hearing the congregation sing their favorite hymn or in the reading of a certain scripture passage. Or true religionist might enjoy the thrill of listening to their favorite preacher present a well-constructed and clearly presented message from the scriptures, or still some might enjoy the simple pleasure of the sight their church friends and acquaintances week by week.

These warm and fuzzy feelings provide us with good vibe in our hearts, but are we really encountering the Living God when we feel this kind of religious nostalgia?

And why does it matter where or how someone sees or experiences God, Jonathan, the question of finding God is a very personal one, isn’t it? Why can’t you just let the diversity or uniqueness of how people find God alone, Jonathan?

The answer lies in the deception of our times and in the clear responsibility we all have to test the spirits. In our pursuit of truth we have to check our feelings along the way for validation from heaven and from the Word of God.  And because a very real Day approaches that will peel back our feelings and will totally expose the truth about our actual connection to God here on earth.

Watch any religious group worship their god in their way and they will tell you they feel something good and happy in their hearts, even satanists feels something warm and tender when they worship Beelzebub.


Watch the true fans at a college basketball or football game and you will have to conclude you are observing true extravagant worship.

Even better, watch a typical season ticket holder of any NFL team on any given Sunday, see how they how lavishly they deck themselves out in the colors of their team, paint their faces, and with much personal expense and time, many times in terrible weather, they watch with complete devotion and give themselves completely to the support of their team.

We know the church has declined in love to G-d over and over again and this reality has been proven over 2000 years of church history.

The church will decline in every generation apart from a move of God. For those of us alive long enough to see even in our short time in human history the further division within the Christian church in the US. This fact demonstrated in the popping up of so many new denominational structures that have replaced the ones that have lost their followers due to lack of adherents and cultural support.

The new wave of a more laid back church has brought with it a new style of worship and with this new worship comes a professional team with well-trained musicians and singers that ostensibly are there to usher in the presence of G-d.  They are professional because they are taught how to get the crowd involved and how to speak in a positive way to keep everyone happy.

So in this new wave of church life a fuller multimedia experience of worship has been developed, but have we really connected regular people to His presence, or is this move really a part of the G-d experience, or is it rather a byproduct of our culture which loves music? 

A simple byproduct of our flesh,  which in the end just continues to grieve the heart of Our Heavenly Father.

I would like for you to watch a very honest hard hitting 10 minute video describing the errors of our modern worship by a man who got saved out of the entertainment industry. He now leads a group of worshipers that are wholly committed to a truly honorable and holy worship movement in the black community… this is very candid and right on in my estimation:


Compare his words to the sweet music that will touch hearts but is not redemptive:


We are never the same after we truly encounter the unconditional love of G-d. The division of soul and spirit is found in the place of true worship and true intercession.  This place is raw and hard but it is redemptive nonetheless.

A true G-d connection is found in the cross of Christ where we by the grace of G-d spontaneously die to self-will, and it is found in a guttural pursuit of G-d through an honest un-qualitative search and in true holiness with an eye to G-d’s holy law and righteous way.

The great revivals that have happened on our shores reveal this way to us. People clung to their pews when Jonathan Edwards preached, “sinners in the hands of an angry G-d” for fear they would be plunged headlong into hell right there in church.

Present that thought on next week’s hip-and-be cool evangelical dumb down mega-church bulletin and see what happens to the attendance the following week. 

Simply put, true extravagant worship is a hard sell. It requires a person to first go into the deepest recesses of their own sinful soul and to honestly face, by the illumination of the Holy Spirit, what’s really going on down there and by grace to repent without qualification. To wholly turn away from our precious heart sins that we do not want to let go of, even though they don’t make us happy, for we can plainly see they are strangling us to death.

Only G-d Almighty can deliver us from so great a death!

Read with me these verses from Romans 7:7-12

7 What shall we say then? Is the law sin? Certainly not! On the contrary, I would not have known sin except through the law. For I would not have known covetousness unless the law had said, “You shall not covet.”  8 But sin, taking opportunity by the commandment, produced in me all manner of evil desire. For apart from the law sin was dead. 9 I was alive once without the law, but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died. 10 And the commandment, which was to bring life, I found to bring death. 11 For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it killed me. 12 Therefore the law is holy, and the commandment holy and just and good.

Paul got to a place in his walk with G-d that revealed to him the depths of his personal offenses to a highly exalted Judge and Creator; and he realized the true nature of sin in the heart of any man, woman, and child, it’s primary activity is to kill us and bring us to the depths of Hell.

But look at the verses that close out this section of Romans 7:21-25

21 I find then a law, that evil is present with me, the one who wills to do good. 22 For I delight in the law of God according to the inward man. 23 But I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members. 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, with the mind I myself serve the law of God, but with the flesh the law of sin.

What are we to conclude from this passage of scripture?


Extravagant worship is a byproduct of those who know they are sinners and have truly repented from their sins and thus they pour out love to G-d through prayer and praise that cannot be measured by time or circumstance.

Paul said, “I thank G-d-through Jesus Christ our Lord!” this was written with a gusto that can be measured even though we don’t understand the language of his day but when we read these words with the help of the Spirit of Christ we can feel the force of his language.


Now let’s get into this topic on a positive level from the scriptures. If you are familiar with your bible at all and I asked you to tell me the person in the scripture that most demonstrated extravagant worship who would you think of first?

King David right?

Well let’s look at a scripture together that gives us some insight into his heart and his approach to the worship of Yahweh.

2 Sam 6:6-9

6 And when they came to Nachon’s threshing floor, Uzzah put out his hand to the ark of God and took hold of it, for the oxen stumbled. 7 Then the anger of the LORD was aroused against Uzzah, and God struck him there for his error; and he died there by the ark of God. 8 And David became angry because of the LORD’s outbreak against Uzzah; and he called the name of the place Perez Uzzah to this day.

9 David was afraid of the LORD that day; and he said, “How can the ark of the LORD come to me?”

For David the idea of worship is not based strictly in the idea of an emotional sensation within his heart, even though he was a great feeler of human emotion, we know this about King David by reading the full range of emotion he reveals in the Psalms, but we see here in this text how David saw His L-rd, He realized in the sudden death of Uzzah the L-rd’s anger and this made David want to retreat from His G-d.

David knew the G-d of Israel in many different ways and at many different times in his life. But here we see him afraid of His L-rd. G-d shows a different side of Himself to his son David, not in the friendly way like David experienced at other times. As when he skillfully played the harp for King Saul it was said that David’s playing chased away evil spirits from Saul’s thoughts.

Yet here he wants to get far away from the face of the L-rd. But we must read more of this account. Read with me these verses in 2 Sam 6:12-17

12 Now it was told King David, saying, “The LORD has blessed the house of Obed-Edom and all that belongs to him, because of the ark of God.” So David went and brought up the ark of God from the house of Obed-Edom to the City of David with gladness. 13 And so it was, when those bearing the ark of the LORD had gone six paces, that he sacrificed oxen and fatted sheep14 Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod. 15 So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the LORD with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet.

16 Now as the ark of the LORD came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart. 17 So they brought the ark of the LORD, and set it in its place in the midst of the tabernacle that David had erected for it

David recognized the error of his ways. Ignorance of God’s holy law was not an excuse to be made by our King David. And because he truly loved G-d with all his heart and worshiped Him with all of his heart he kept moving forward toward G-d's glory in spite of his natural fear of G-d’s anger toward Uzzah he did not deduce that His L-rd wanted separation from him, but rather a proper holy adjustment must be understood and enacted.

What would you do if you were David?  Can the L-rd take things away from you and know that you will still love Him in spite of your loss? Are you a true son or daughter of G-d?

David was completely lost in worship after the loss of Uzzah, after all, the ark of G-d's presence was his and he was going to carry G-d's glory all the way to Jerusalem. David's worship could not be contained because he knew G-d intimately, imagine his process of coming back into the good grace of Yahweh?

When you lose things that are precious to you does the loss those things cause your heart to really hurt and cause your affections to turn away from intimacy with Your Heavenly Father?

When loved ones die, when people leave your assembly without saying good-bye, what if your wife or husband passes away, or your kids run off and rebel and start doing things that are self-destructive? What would your response be?

David went back to the Torah and it’s laws for the proper carrying of the ark of the L-rd and saw the error of his ways and the ways of Israel and made the correction so that G-d’s blessing would continue to fall on Israel.

I Chron 15:2

Then David said, "No one may carry the ark of God but the Levites, for the LORD has chosen them to carry the ark of God and to minister before Him forever."

David was so in love with Yahweh he continued to press on with his deep desire to build the Lord’s Temple in Jerusalem. When he was finally clear on the proper way to carry the ark of the L-rd he did exactly what the L-rd commanded in the Torah. Even as the L-rd’s king and rightful leader over His people was not permitted to carry the ark. Only the Levites were allowed to perform this sacred duty.

When we determine what kind of person constitutes a true worshipper of the King of Kings who and how do we decide on that determination?  Could we call them spiritual Levites? Wholly called out of this world’s system of thought and manner of life to separate themselves to G-d’s service?

When we put a person up on the stage in front of G-d’s people, what kind of person are we actually putting up on that stage and does it really matter to G-d? What are the qualifications of that person?

Today I would submit to you that the only people that should be ushering the people of G-d into His holy presence are those who are the called of G-d, those that are totally in love with G-d and His glory and honor in and on the earth.

Do they first love the L-rd in their prayer closet and in their private place of worship? Do they love G-d extravagantly in private before they worship G-d in public? Have they been separated in lifestyle from the ways of the world?

I believe a true G-d encounter that brings forth in G-d’s People a beautiful display of spontaneous worship only occurs when the worshipers are set apart by G-d. A preacher only finds real power in his preaching when he prays and intercedes over the message he receives for the people of G-d. The guitar player who leads in worship must be pure in heart before he strums his first note in the practice session before the worship time.

The lead singer must practice his intercessions before testing his vocals. The drummer must be found on his knees before he touches the sticks. The organ player must go into the throne room of heaven before he or she can touch the ivory. The folks who lead in the Sunday service must get on their faces before they will ever see what their aching eyes long to see – the people of G-d face down in worship of Our very awesome King – Y’shua.

My family and I experienced the beauty of extravagant worship several times in our café many years ago in NC. We experienced extravagant worship when the worship we offered before Pilot Mountain on Aug 22nd 2008 was accepted by Our L-rd. We saw again the next night and it was very beautiful.

Sadly we don’t see extravagant worship where we live today as we long to see in the days to come. Northern NJ must have some bright spots but we have not found them. We long for the day when our neighbors and friends in our community will be driven to their faces in spontaneous worship because the sight of the L-rd is so high and so great all who really see can’t resist the downward pressure to fall down and worship.

Shalom my dear fellow wanderers and keepers of the Way,


Jonathan David Keener