Hallelujah more than a celebration, Des Wadsworth stresses at GCU Chapel

Pastor Des Wadsworth of Grace Community Church emphasizes the importance of the "Hallelujah."

Photos by Ralph Freso/ Slideshow/ Livestream

Hallelujah.

It's the word of 2024 in the mind of Des Wadsworth, who engaged a crowd of enthused students, faculty and staff at Grand Canyon University Chapel on Monday in Global Credit Union Arena as the campus community kicked off the Honors College-organized Integrity Week.

“I am inviting you to be a little weird,” said Wadsworth, pastor at Grace Community Church, who encouraged the audience to write “Hallelujah” on a removeable item or Post-It note as a reminder.

“My life is to help others live Hallelujah,” Wadsworth said. “My life is to declare to the enemy I will Hallelujah, and most importantly, my life is to love Him with all my heart, soul, strength of mine, Hallelujah. He is first in everything. The psalmist declares blessed are those who dwell in Your house. They are ever praising You.”

Wadsworth, a native of Australia, explained his accent, which comes from his upbringing in northwest England. But while his accent might have caused a little confusion, there was no confusion in his message.

Students are inspired by the Worship team at Monday's Chapel.

He stressed the importance of “us dwelling in God’s house and the power of praise,” adding both are significant for your personal life and your future.

“Hallelujah, I think, has been a word that we need to redeem,” Wadsworth said. “Hallelujah, in a literal sense, means not just praise the Lord, but it means praise ‘the Lord, you people.’"

Wadsworth said each morning he would look at the bathroom mirror and tell himself to “praise the Lord, Hallelujah” regardless of whether he was facing a good or bad day.

“I need to say to somebody when I say ‘Hallelujah,’ I'm not just doing a celebration, noise. I'm telling them to do something.”

Wadsworth referenced Psalm 150, which reiterates “Praise the Lord” from start to finish.

Pastor Des Wadsworth wants GCU students to get involved in their local churches.

But he interjected that the word also represents a war cry and declaration to the enemy.

“The enemy doesn't want you to clap, does not want you to cry,” he said. “And so you make a Hallelujah cry and make a declaration to the enemy, no matter what is being thrown at you in life, and the enemy wants to bring you down into and whisper in your ear. God does not care. You can still (say), ‘Hallelujah. I'm going to praise the Lord.’"

For Wadsworth, 2024 represents moving from a man who praises to becoming a man of praise.

“It is important for our church to move from being a church that worships to becoming a house of worship,” Wadsworth said. “Our identity is revealed. It's not just something we do. It's who we are. We're all worshipers.”

Ashley Rider and the Worship team opened Monday's Chapel service.

To reinforce his point, Wadsworth said God has a Plan A for the redemption of the world through His son, Jesus Christ – the local church; there is no Plan B.

"This Valley needs you,” Wadsworth stressed to students. “This Valley needs you in local churches all over the Valley. You are called to ignite those churches. You are called to going there to ignite their ordinary. You are called quite literally to be a fire starter. You're called to be those churches even for the eight months of the year that you are here to go in now.”

He implored students to set an example for younger followers so they, too, can be inspired.

“They need to see, ‘I want to be like them one day,’" Wadsworth said. “The middle schoolers need to see that following Jesus is the way, the truth and the life. The middle schoolers need to be inspired by you. The high schoolers need to be encouraged by you in and through it all.”

Pastor Des Wadsworth encourages GCU students to set a positive example for followers of all ages.

It is a generational process, and Wadsworth encouraged students to help those from age 20 to those in their 80s, adding that students should not be at GCU just to get their degrees. They should devote some of their time talking about Jesus with them.

“If you're a follower of Jesus, you are here in partnership with the Holy Spirit to advance the Kingdom,” Wadsworth said. “So therefore, we need you to bring your Hallelujah into the houses of praise all over this Valley. I am not championing Grace Community Church. I am championing the local church. You've got to plant yourself there.”

GCU News senior writer Mark Gonzales can be reached at [email protected]

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Next week: Terry Crist, pastor at City of Grace Church, will be the speaker at Chapel 11 a.m. Feb. 12 in GCU Arena.

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Related content:

GCU News: Seek God to hold that red flag, Dr. Tim Griffin stresses at Chapel

GCU News: Appreciate the process of grace, Brian Mueller stresses at Chapel

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