EDITED 3.15.10 to add the CORRECT link to Michael Shelton’s website.

I love worship.

I love the sermons too…but for me, the worship is what prepares my heart to hear from God. It takes me out of myself. It’s convicting, it’s emotional, it’s open, honest communication with my Maker. It’s my opportunity to thank Him for saving my rotten soul. It’s one of the very few times in my life when I could care a horses’ butt who sees me. I’ve learned a lot about worship. It’s personal. And it makes me happy.

It’s probably also why I love to shoot worship photos. It’s catching people at their most vulnerable. It’s catching that moment when people are in pure love with God.

(Did I just say “horses butt“? Heh…it would appear I did. Pardon my Oklahoma-ness.)

When I first started attending my husband’s church way back when we were dating, they didn’t do that. (They did later, but not at the beginning.) You stood. You sat. You opened your hymnal and you sang. You quietly enjoyed the service. Then you left.

You didn’t clap.

A subtle “AMEN” was permitted, but only once per service, and I’m sure it was voted on prior, who was the designated “AMEN-ER” for the day. Probably a committee somewhere….

Closing of the eyes was permitted. I think.

And the songs were regimented by time alloted. Not by the Spirit. If things moved, it was the hand of the mom of the unruly boy as she’s smacking him in the head during prayer. The highlight of the Sunday for those opening their eyes during prayer. Not that I ever did that. Ever. But when you can see the boy being rotten, you knew to watch during the prayer for the smacking of the head. It was as common to the service as Victory in Jesus during the worship time, and Just as I am during the invitation. Bank on it.

A few of the things I’ve learned going with Michael and 4:12 Youth Ministries…

–the desire for good people to grow their church through great, Godly teaching and lots of prayer. It’s a beautiful thing to see!

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–Some, just do not want to engage. Some just do not get it, I believe, and I’m hoping that’s one thing that Michael leaves with them: the importance of engaging the Holy Spirit. Don’t just sit there with the same expression as you came in with.

And…while I’m at it: If the outward expression is a reflection of your inward self….some of ya’ll are in trouble. I’m just sayin’. Some of ya’ll can’t help the face your born with (said from the woman married to the man with “angry eyebrows”), but a smile is muscular. It’s alright to do that.

–Sometimes the favorite moments are not what you expected. Michael said how he has prayed and fully expects to live to be 200 years old. {insert laugh here} And he said he wants to be the man that even at the age of 200, God still makes him go “WOOOOOO!” (I totally, and completely get that…..) And from the back of the church comes this little tiny “AMEN” from a little tiny, old woman, with a smile on her face and a chuckle in her voice! It was one of those moments that you can’t help but smile from ear to ear! Here is a little old lady that GETS IT! God has made her go “WOOOOO!!” in her many years!

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So if I didn’t get the all out WORSHIP photos I wanted, I’m not a bit disappointed! Worship comes in many forms, and I was able to experience a movement in this church. It was a physical movement in the church you could feel, and it was beautiful. Brought tears to many eyes.

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And I thank Almighty God for allowing me to be present for that!

“On that day you will realize that I am in My Father, and you are in Me, and I am in you” John 14:20

“…..fire came down from heaven…and the glory of the Lord filled the temple.” 2 Chronicles 7:1