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September 19, 2009 did not seem like a special day. It seemed like an average Saturday, filled with plenty of errands to run with an inward hope of no rain. A huge shift took place on that day that many in the state of Mississippi were unaware of. Mississippi was getting back to worship. Crossroads International House of Worship (CIHOW) hosted an event at the Eagle Ridge Conference Center called the Extravagant Worship Gathering. Far from the average church service in the area, people from different churches, and walks of life gathered together for the sole purpose of worshipping God. What an awesome thought! This "thought," or vision was received and pushed into action by founder and Pastor Joe Jackson. He has been initiating these worship gatherings for six years now.
The ironic part of it all is that some people find a "worship gathering" to be a strange event. This gathering actually had speakers, but most of the gatherings of the past have not had a speaker at all. The focus of these events is giving God worship through song and prayer. In an age where people have become "lovers of themselves," as the Bible puts it, someone finally got it right!
What's the big difference in between these worship gatherings and a regular church service? Well, I'm glad you asked! For starters, I'm not bashing Sunday worship services. The difference is not necessarily the service itself, but the mentality of the people going to the service. A lot of people don't go to church to "worship" anymore. Ironically, church is known as being a place of worship, but sometimes that is not what is actually going on inside. A lot of religious people go to church every Sunday to scratch a religious itch of tradition or for other selfish motives. Some people come late with the intention of missing the "praise and worship" time and only come to hear a sermon that will hopefully help them in their personal lives. That is not worship. Worship is something that you give to God. A gift, if you will, that is given to God just because He is worthy of it and without requiring something in return. The Extravagant Worship Gathering held this past September made this evident to all participants.
Why use the term extravagant? Well, the definition given at the event was that extravagant means to go all out. The woman with the alabaster box who anointed Jesus' feet was given as an example of what worship is all about. Subjects that hinder true worship were addressed and worship was defined in a way that was practical and applicable, versus being mystical or vague. Thank God for churches like Crossroads International House of Worship that have the boldness in Christ to challenge and/or remind the body of Christ to stay focused on worshipping God and putting Him first. I believe that there is more to come. Mississippi is getting back to worship and this was just one event, hosted by one of the local churches in Mississippi that is making sure it happens. I hope you're a part of the movement too.