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Extravagant Worship

The redemption of the party

Fire extinguishers were quite legendary in our house.   I almost burned down my parent’s kitchen trying to make cheese dough viennas when I was about 14, had it not been for a small fire extinguisher doing a huge job that night.  Amazing how much extinguishing-power there is in one small fire extinguisher!

There was another reason why fire extinguishers became legendary, one much more significant in meaning today.  Whenever the fire of the Holy Spirit would start to burn in the religious community I grew up in, someone would always come and ‘put the fire out’.   Holy Spirit fires were dangerous, one could get burned you know…  My Father used to call those people the fire-extinguishers.

When I started learning about redemptive gifting, searching for who God designed me to be, one thing about exhorters that I could not identify with at all was the sentence “exhorters are a party that seeks a place to happen” –  well… that just did not seem to fit the profile.  So initially I went with teacher since that seemed more appropriate.  Well sort of… but then… I don’t like to do research on just about anything because it is so interesting to know…  I would much rather seek company and spend the day in a coffee shop… and I only have 1 bookmark because I only read 1 book at a time… not a myriad of books all half-read at the same time…etc.

However, my Father who designed me, wired my innermost being, and knows more about me than what I know about myself, threw me a curve ball.  A week and a half before we were due to have a children’s camp, He spoke to me and said, “Teach the children a song with a tambourine”.  I looked to heaven with a huge question mark on my face saying, “Really? are You serious Lord?  I know nothing about a tambourine!”  Well, to make a long story short, the team had resources I did not have and that weekend we taught the children a song dancing with a tambourine.

Three months later my daughter, who became hooked on tambourines at that camp, persuaded me to take tambourine classes with her.  I enrolled for what was supposed to be a 10 week course.  Umm… those 10 weeks are now going on for 3 years.  Little did I know that this would become the beginning of the redemption of the party that God created inside me.

Looking back over my life, I realised that a series of events and circumstances, starting as early as about age 5, was designed by the enemy to steal the party inside.  Why would he put such an effort in stealing, and perverting it?  With the (by now well-known) Arthur Burk phrase ‘God was there first’ in my spirit, I started speaking to my heavenly Father, asking questions like:  What is the purpose of the exhorter’s party?  Why would the enemy put so much effort into stealing it?  I had such a warped, perverted image of a party, the concept so stolen by the lies I believed that I could not even recognise the deep need to celebrate inside for what it was designed to be.

Then He gave me scripture, Judges 5 and Judges 11.  On the one hand we have the song of Deborah, the only judge to celebrate the victory profusely.  A whole chapter is dedicated to her song.  She celebrated her God, His victory, gave Him the honour, praised Him.  On the other hand we have Jephtah who believed that He has to sacrifice something of extreme value to earn the victory God has already given to him.  God called him and after the spirit of the Lord came upon him he still found it necessary to make a vow to sacrifice the first thing that came from his house – if God would give him the victory.  But God already promised him the victory.   His daughter came out celebrating dancing with a tambourine!  When you believe you have to sacrifice something to earn the favour of God, amongst other things, you sacrifice the celebration of the victory over the enemy.   It gets worse… not only is your own celebration sacrificed but the celebration of others as well.  This steals worship, big time!

Suddenly I understood the purpose of the party.  The party is meant to be worship.  It is meant to be a celebration of who my God is.  It celebrates the victory over the enemy.  Worship takes many forms.  We can sing, dance, play instruments, share our excitement in words with others, shout out His Name, tell others who Father, Jesus and the Holy Spirit is to you.  Celebrate every discovery of a new revelation He gives you.  All this and indescribably more constitutes worship.  Lucifer himself was created to be the worship leader of heaven.  He was supposed to instigate the party, to lead the party, to call others together to party.  He was arrayed with pipes and timbrels.  He hates my guts when I take up the tambourine, because I can worship my King with it, he no longer can.

The exhorter’s tabernacle symbol is the menorah – light and fire.  Jesus introduces himself to the exhorter congregation in Thyatira as the One with the fire in His eyes.  God spoke to Moses in the fire of the burning bush.  Paul saw a bright light, heard His voice and never stopped celebrating his King.  He celebrated his King in song while in prison and in well-prayed-through, eloquent and foolproof theological reasoning in his letters to the congregations he was serving.  Jeremiah wept and wept because the people chose not to celebrate Yahweh – The King of Israel – with him.  They just did not see what he saw, did not feel what he felt… just could not get excited about the wonders of his God’s mighty name.  The most frustrating, most difficult party to celebrate, is the one you have to celebrate alone.  The exhorter design is meant to celebrate The King with others, but there are times we have to celebrate on our own, because our King is worthy of the celebration and not because there are others that celebrate with us.  The Holy Spirit was poured out on Pentecost with tongues of fire.  The exuberance of the party resulted in 3000 people coming into the Kingdom on that day.  I am sure it is the exhorter-God who created the 7 feasts during the year!  And then… there is the celebration of celebrations to come – the marriage supper of The Lamb!

No wonder the enemy specializes in recruiting firemen with little fire-extinguishers to put out the fires of excitement, enthusiasm and exuberance.  The party is redeemed, it was meant for worship, it was meant to celebrate God because He is worthy of worship and celebration.  I now guard my celebration as holy ground, no fire extinguishers are allowed anywhere near it.  I celebrate every small victory, every small revelation, every step of my journey with Him as profusely as I can!

I was created, designed for a lifestyle of celebratory-worship of my Saviour, my King, the Lord of Lords, my Bridegroom, my Father, my Companion, and He celebrates with me… every time, all the time, no exceptions.

© first published in 2014 Author:  Gerda Venter  © 2014 Photo: Jossie (Hermanus)

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