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What is love?

The Beatles wrote a song that changed an entire generation. It’s name? “All we need is love.” The lyrics are simple and the melody is catchy. It says, “All we need is love, love. Love is all we need.” And for decades the rhetoric of “Love” has pierced the hearts of several generations and penetrated every sphere of society.

Love, love, love… Is all we need. Ok, so we need this thing called love, but what is love? Well, it’s love, you know… right? People truly enjoy throwing around the word “love” as long as it is never described or defined. The minute anyone tries to define it, we experience a witch burning or are told that love is personal experience and that no one has the right to define it for anyone else. Others might say that you just know when you know or that you just feel it.

I’m just gonna say it, LOVE IS NOT what the masses have “loosely” non-defined it as. Warm fuzzes, general affection, self-serving generosity, or sexual attraction are NOT LOVE.

Side note: love does not equal tolerance. To tolerate sin (what is wrong) is to allow a weed in the garden that in time will choke out the blossoms of love. Though it is seemingly beautiful, it is poison.

What is love? We have many illustrations throughout the bible about what love is.

Now, many will point to the first letter to the Corinthians and I will partly agree. The word translated as love throughout the passage is better translated charity (goodwill) or agape.

Agape is unconditional love that is guided, or governed by principle and may or may not include affection or fondness. So, when we are commanded to love our enemies, we are not asked to have affection or fondness for them we are asked to be patient, kind, not to envy, not to boast, not to be proud, not to dishonor them, not to be self-seeking, not to be easily angered, not to keep record of wrongs, not to delight in evil but rejoice with the truth, always protect, always trust, always hope, always persevere and keep going. This is a tall order and nearly impossible without an inner resolve fueled by the third person of the trinity, the Holy Spirit. We love or choice goodwill because we know that the godhead is filled not only with goodwill love but is also filled with affection for us. God moved by his own nature of overflowing affection and goodwill gave, because love gives. He gave us access to the inner sanctum of “love.”

I have many “friends” that prescribe to the hippy, old age philosophy of “just love.” This love is the murky, watered down swill of the masses that will never compares to the pure unadulterated love of self-sacrifice, though seemingly crapped and restricted compared to the “free love” of the world. These boundaries are what give love it’s power. Like a river that flows from the mountains through valleys and then into the sea only to return to the mountain. So, is the love that flows from the heart of God and continues through imperfect humans only to return to God as the same substance. Unlike the free love that becomes stagnant and impure because of it’s looseness in restriction. Just ask any couple who have had an STD or STI infiltrate the holy confines of their marriage vows. This love is no longer pure and though it “felt good” for a moment this exchange of self-serving lust has affected an entire stream. We are not islands. But, if we were to use an analogy of islands this one event caused several typhoons and hurricanes on several other islands. This act of, dare I call it “love” has capsized a spouse, parents, children, and the list keeps growing.

Our vows in marriage are a contract that without the help of something supernatural are impossible to keep. I will make it abundantly clear, I am a man, a fallen man. I will fall but in my falling I hope it is on mercy that allows me to get up and keep moving with an ability powered by the grace of God.

Love is an act of the will to give others through hurt and pain. It is sometimes accompanied by affection. Sometimes, with more pain. Love protects the sanctity and purity of love by not tolerating any impurities that could taint love. These impurities are defined clearly throughout the word of God. Murder or hate, lust or self-service, slander or lying, covetiness or hoarding greedily, etc…

In the garden of the heart we also find a means for growth and fertilization through giving, serving, blessing (asking the lord to show favor to your enemies), praying, and fasting. These cause the heart to grow in love and cause self-serving love.

Paul says, that I could give all I have to the poor… But, if I don’t have love I have nothing. So, just because we give doesn’t mean we love, just because we … (fill in the blank) doesn’t necessarily mean we love.

I’m not saying this is love, this is not love, cut and dry. It will take the one who is love for us to know what love is. And for this reason we were given the holy spirit, who will pour the love of Christ into our hearts and will continue to transform us into the very image of Christ, the one who is love incarnate. Thought the guidance of the holy spirit we choose to love and in time the emotion may follow what are heart chooses.

Jesus putting off his outer garments and washing the disciples feet, this is love. Jesus laying his life down in humiliation for the very ones whom placed him there, this is love.

Love that washes, love that gives till it dies. This is the love that we need. I truly doubt John, Paul, George or even, God forbid, Ringo would sing about this kind of love.

np

 

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Love or Delight?

This post was spawned because of two posts relating to the Love of God. The first was a picture taken of the 3rd verse of “Jesus loves me”, which goes like so,

Several people posted that this is bad theology or that they really didn’t like it. Because God is love, right?

The Next post was a music video by Gungor called “God is not a white man”

I listened to the song and half of the song is right. But as the saying goes, “half of the truth is often a great lie.” – Benjamin Franklin.

I believe one of the greatest problems today is the misconception of how God says he feels. Yes, how he says he feels. Now all of the, “God is immutable, unchanging and wholly unknowable” school students are throwing a fit. You know whom I’m talking to. Hear me out.

For all of the bible students, critics and scoffers, for your benefit I will not be using book, chapter or verses. I know we can’t even agree on what words mean or which version of the bible to use. I will use the vernacular of the bible and just say it is written. If you want to find a passage search it out using that fancy iProduct or computing machine that you are reading this on.

Let’s start with verse 3 of “Jesus loves me.”

The truth we must walk away with in the song, as a whole is that Jesus loves me. The problem is we assume that when someone “loves” us we are in fact pleasing or as the bible generally says delighting or giving them pleasure. This is not always the case.

I want to say that I know as an “evil father” that it is quite possible to love your child and not be overly thrilled with said child at precisely the same time. My modis operandi towards my child is love. My default is true goodwill towards them.

For example, Solomon was “greatly loved by the lord” and also “stirred the anger of the lord” on several accounts in some of the same incidents.

Just because God loves me does not mean that he is enjoying what I am doing. My actions good or bad do not change his goodwill towards me. If I do good he loves me. If I do wrong he loves me. But the out working of that love will be different just as is God’s feeling about what we are doing.

We can make someone who loves us very sad, I know this through ample experience, having disappointed many of those whose heart towards me is goodwill.

It must be stated, “I make Jesus sad and I make him mad”. I am a fickle follower. I stray, my hands leave the plow, and my eyes as well as heart chase after other fleeting fancies. Though I disappoint him his love does not change. But, all of this said, Jesus loves me.

I don’t know how many times I can say it, read the WHOLE BIBLE!!! Not just the part that make you feel warm and fuzzy. The first collection of books in the bible are some of the most important they teach us about the emotional God, the God who is kind of like a man, but wholly other than. He says he is not like us, which is true; we are the broken cast from the perfect mold of the godhead.

In the later collection of books we see the emotional God who IS a man, a male Jewish, human.

If we want to see the immutable, stoic, untouchable God don’t look at Jesus. He is born of blood and water in the filth of a dirty barn. He is moved by compassion, he is moved by love (goodwill)

Next, in rebuttal to the “God is not a white man” song. Jesus is God and Jesus is a man. God is a Jewish man in Jesus.

It is written, “God is love.” But It is also written, “God was angry.” God is love but love is not god.

Yes, God loves the terrorist, the lesbian, the Buddhist, and the prostitute. But, the question is does he delight in them? Does he truly enjoy them?

God loves the one living in sin. God does not enjoy the one living sin. Those who willingly oppose what God call what is right and who willingly chooses what God call wrong. He is not afraid to call a spade a spade. He makes what is right plain and clear throughout the bible and if that is unavailable, we are given a conscience. If you or someone you know has ever been treated poorly and you felt a sting, you know what wrong is.

So, with this stream of consciousness rant coming to a close I will leave you with this.

Jesus loves me and when I follow him he is happy and when I don’t he is sad, but he loves me. His heart is always open for business.

I want the fruit of my love for him to be my obedience to him, so he is happy.

I will inevitably fail in my resolution, fall and this makes Jesus sad. But, I regret my decision, change my heart and head and will turn my eyes back to Jesus and see him running to me with open arms and smiling eyes.

“Grace will find us where we are, but is not willing to leave us where were.”

np

“Sorry, this is a little, I mean a lot, long. Also, I am going to get a little personal, private and very raw for the sake of those who struggle like me. CAUTION!!! I will be giving details that might make me sound like a big selfish jerk. I will also tell stories that might sound prideful or boastful, but bear with me and you’ll hopefully understand. – Editors Note”

My life for the last few years has been a crazy ride on a preverbal roller-coaster. Just a little history about my ride on the ferris wheel (I’ll explain later).

Several years (4-5 ish) ago I arrived in KC, did a three month internship and in the first two weeks joined two worship teams, Jon Thurlow’s as a drummer and Sada Rogers as a Worship Leader, while still in an internship (an unheard of thing at the time). Thus entering the Ferris Wheel.

The ferris wheel goes up!!!

Within weeks I am the new “Golden Boy” of the Prayer Room. Mike (Bickle) says in many Worship Leader meetings how my sets that my worship team does are a template of a great intercession set for other worship leaders. I also am riding to and from most meetings with Mike, Anne (Mike’s Personal Assistant) and Misty at least 2 times a week. I look back at those times as a great opportunity to hear Mike’s heart and to share mine with him. I received many compliments in those car rides. One of my favorites was when I was talking about Kevin Prosch and saying how great he was. By the way, Kevin is Mike’s brother in-law. I kept calling Kevin, KP as he is affectionally known in my circle of friends. Mike said, “KP? We have NP!!!” It was kinda funny. I had many personal quotes end up in his notes or in his preaching which was a real boost to my “Ego”, I mean confidence. 😉 I had my personal thoughts being taught to the world. Nobody knew, but I knew and it was great.

A couple months pass and I am asked to be an Assistant Section Leader, the equivalent of a Asst. shift manager i.e. a big important job at the Prayer room. In those days the section leader was the pastor to WLs, the head usher, production manager and sound producer, a lot of work, to say the least.

Onething rolls around and I am asked to play main stage at the huge 20’000 person conference by Mike. At the time I am still an Assoc. WL which at the time had never happened. Another big boost to the ol’ head. 24 hours later after scrambling to assemble a team worthy of ONETHING!!! the politics reality comes into play and the time slot I was to play was given to another team at the exact same time by the director of the conference. The other team that had “seniority” was given the slot.

Ferris wheel goes up and down and sometime stops.

Life begins to change a bit.

A little later I meet a wonderful woman of God, but thats another story. Durning this period I am still an Assoc. WL with Sada and Asst. SL in the afternoons. One day Sada comes to me and say’s she’s going back to Night Watch. REAL SHOCK. Honestly, my first thought was JOY, The team is MINE!!! Then she said, “I am leaving the team with Marvin.” REAL SHOCK. Fact: I love Marvin. I just felt like I had the seniority when it came to the team. I bit my lip, smiled and bore it. It was a test, a great test. Several weeks later Marvin stepped down and I had “my” team. (I realize I sound like such a jerk, but I’m giving the side of a saint’s bio they never tell you. Making their live totally unlivable.)

Ferris wheel goes up and up all the way to the top.

The next couple of years are AWESOME!!! I grow as a leader, play lots of conferences and love the ride. I have an awesome worship team, in fact it’s my dream team. Everything is great.

The ferris wheel starts to descend. OHHHH NOOOO!!!

Things start to change; members leave, I get engaged and married. This meant less time on the “inside” with all the “cool important people.” I have lost my “Golden Boy” status officially. I am no longer the template for “doing intercession sets right.” My sets at the Onething that year are in my opinion, needless to say, embarrassing and laughable to my critically perfectionist spirit. Because I knew what they could have been.  Then the kiss of death… I no longer get asked to play conferences. It was getting close to Passion for Jesus conference and no word. Then the next conference and no word… I ask why and… no response, silence…sshh…

Death brings forth life… An Epiphany

I am sitting in the PR on a Sunday morning, probably the best time in the PR. I am pouring out my heart to Lord and all of the sudden I get the question, “Why are you here?” I then remember why I am in KC. I didn’t come to WL or to teach or to do youth ministry or to lead conferences. I came to take my place on the wall as an Intercessor. I came to minister to God. I came to enter into the burden of the Lord. To be a friend of God in an hour where friends are hard to find.

(Cue tears and heart coming alive in the midst of hardship.) This understanding helped me a ton.

Around that time I dusted off an old VHS tape I had bought years ago and never watched because I didn’t own a VHS player. The tape was a interview with Henri Nouwen a week before he died. He didn’t know he was going to die. It was actually going to be a special called “Coming Home” after his book by the same title. Little did anyone know that it ended up being his last interview. If you have a chance, watch it!! AWESOME!!! In the tape he talks about his life and his lack of real life or love. One of my favorite quotes goes something like, “I taught about prayer and never prayed. I taught on fasting and never fasted. I taught on community and didn’t live IN community. I taught about the sermon on the mount and humility but, I found myself trying to climb the ladder of success, power and influence willing to knock others down to reach my goals.” I immediately identified :). He continued by  sharing how he left everything and moved to Canada to work at a home for the physically handicapped who needed 24/7 care. This is where he said he found his true Identity and Joy as a Son of God doing his Fathers work. (Here is a guy with multiple degrees, accreditations and accomplishments wiping the butt of a complete invalid day in day out till the day he dies, BLAM) I might have to write a whole blog on this video. (Will do.)

Around that same time Rachel and I go to John Loux’s birthday party and happened to get to sit down with Renee and Derek Loux  in the basement for about 2 hours and talked about life, loss and everything in between. Derek and I had some similarities in our stories and struggles. We shared hearts and cried a little. Ok, a lot. I will cherish that time we shared with Derek and Renee. We shared many words that will never be forgotten.

Around that time I was having a hard time keeping a team together or finding a strong CL. So my supervisors told me that I needed to think about stepping down as a Primary WL. We agreed upon a date by which if certain things were not in place I would step down (kill date in essence). I went home, discussed it with my wife, and we both had peace and decided it would be best if I would step down. So, Jan 1st of 2010 I ceased to be a IHOP Primary Worship Leader which was a much coveted role, very rarely given up without a fight. This is due to the face that once you leave the role you rarely get it back, much like a supreme court judge.

At Onething 2009/10 my sets were amazing and I felt such freedom and joy. These last sets were truly a kiss from the LORD. My heart was now buoyant.

Ferris wheel is now at the bottom or so I think.

From there I have gone on to teach for FSM, FMA and various Conferences all around the world. I now realize something still needed to be dismantled.

Around this time I helped launch the 5th section i.e. The Worship Team development section. I help develop such WLs as Anna Blanc, Joy Maves, Rachel Culver and Jace Olsen. This was a really fun time and I greatly enjoyed it.

Around April I was asked to sit at the big boy’s table. Brian Kim, my supervisor at the time, asked me to take on the role of Primary Section Leader for the Afternoon. AAAHHHHAAAAHHH!!! Dream Job!!! I wanted this job since I arrived at IHOP. I jumped on this job quick. It is the perfect job. I was in the PR a lot and it was easy work. It mostly involved envisioning the worship team in my section, pastoring the worship leaders in my section, running weekly section briefings, E-12s and going to the primary section leader meeting (which was the best; sitting at the table with the people essentially running the prayer room). The table was made up of the 4 primary Section leaders (Morning, noon, evening and night watch) along with Wes Martin and Brian Kim. It was the BEST. I felt important. The Lord had further plans.

I had been in the role for about 2 months when I was sitting at our weekly PSL meeting and Brian was asking how our sections were going. The morning, noon and evening all said things were great and then we come to Clay in the Night Watch: Clay, in his calm way, says, “Things are rough, we need drummers, bass players and leaders in general.” At that moment I felt a fire in my heart. I had heard the “join the night watch” spiel hundreds of times and never been compelled to join but now something was different. I felt a fire in my heart and zeal for the house of prayer. I couldn’t keep quite so I blurted out in my fashion, “I can’t believe we’re still having this conversation. What’s going on? Don’t people realize without the Night Watch there is no IHOP. I’m so mad I wanna cuss!!!” As I was saying this I heard myself say, I’m a drummer, I can help! When I returned home from that meeting I  talked to my wife, Rachel, and said, “We have to join the NW.” The next day I talked to Brian and told him I hadn’t come to IHOP to lead, teach, youth, etc. I came to minister to the Lord and stand on the wall and if the wall is weak in the nights thats where I am going. At that time I handed in my two week notice for Section Leading, my dream job. Brian was disappointed to see me leave, mostly because he just landed me and needed to find another Section Leader, but also would miss seeing me at meetings. I told him that we had so many good leaders in the days and that he could find someone else. The NW didn’t have drummers. I am a drummer who happened to be qualified in many other areas, but, a drummer nonetheless.

So, I threw caution to the wind and dove straight into the great unknown. Little did I know the challenges I would face in the darkness of the middle of the Night.

Much can be said about the NW, but what I will say is this:

  1. It is one big happy family (for the majority of the time).
  2. An increased value of mothers and their children
  3. There is a “section” camaraderie rather than a “team” feel.
  4. Everyone (seemingly) is engaged about what is going.
  5. The musicians are AMAZING!!!
  6. SADA and her TEAM!!! This should be #1

During my first night in the NW I sat at a table designated for IHOPU Teachers and was asked by one of the Ushers, “Excuse me Sir, are you an IHOPU Teacher?” God bless them, they don’t know me from Adam but, that was a REAL shock to me. I have been at IHOP for years and been a WL, a SL and taught at FSM, FMA, AMS and Intro for 2 years.

A couple of weeks ago I was in the PR pacing and I just felt insignificant and unimportant. I was thinking, “A couple of weeks ago I was sitting at the big wig table. I was important and making a difference in the PR and most of all people knew who I was.” I started to think I had made a huge mistake. I willing gave up a great job where I had influence and recognition and now I’m… I’m a drummer, just another drummer. (Ok, I know that drummers are rare commodity at IHOP. Good drummers are even rarer.)

At that moment I felt Jesus softly speaking to me, “Nathan, I know exactly how you feel.” He did know how I felt. He, to whom all power belonged, laid it down. His signature was on all creation yet creation did not recognize it’s Maker. He came to His own yet they did not know him or receive Him. In seconds my pity party became a prayer thanking the Lord for giving me access to a special place in His heart, the place where the David’s and the Daniel’s are molded and proven. This is the fire of humility, it is the dark dungeon of hiddenness. It is the place where Jesus longs to be found. He wants to be found in hiddenness and humility for this is who He is. He gave me a opportunity to identify with Him so I would grow in thankfulness and love. From that night everything has been different, I didn’t say I was cured of insecurity or anything like that, but I am on a journey, ever moving closer into the heart of God.

The ferris wheel goes up and down over and over again.

It’s not about being at the top it’s about staying on the ride and not checking-out in your heart. It’s about learning to enjoy the ride and being happy when your at the top and being happy for those at the top when your at the bottom.

So, Why a ferris wheel?

Julie Meyer, a worship leader well acquainted with what I’ve been talking about, has had several dreams about ferris wheels and standing in line. I’ll give the long-short to both. Julie has had several dreams about the ferris wheel of favor. Your favor goes up and down. And this will humble you just like it did to David, who had some compromise and Daniel, who had no compromise (recorded in the bible). It was all for the purpose of growing His people into humility.

Next, we have the “Line”. Julie had a dream where the Lord had just finished a puzzle and looked at it with such joy and then took the puzzle and shook it up completely back to the start and the Lord said (paraphrased), “I will take those who are content at the back of the line and bring them to the front to learn and to teach how to love and this will humble them. I will take those who are content at the front of  the line and move them to the back to learn and to teach how to love. I will leave those at the front who want to go to the back to hide and they will learn to love and they will be humbled. I will leave those at the back who complain for being in the back and they will learn to love. Everyone will teach and learn from everyone to Love  so that love will be full in the front and back of the line.”

With this said, it’s not about being in the front or the back. It’s not about being at the top or the bottom. It’s all about love being all in all. Let the Lord put you where He wants you and be thankful for where you are at.





Who can Prophesy?

You might ask, “Can I prophesy with music as a musician?” The answer is undoubtedly, yes. As we saw earlier Moses said He wished all would be inspired or prophesy, that all of Gods people would be filled with the Spirit.

In Joel 2:28 we see God will pour out his spirit on all flesh, people will prophesy, dream and see visions. In Acts 2 we see the beginning of this outpouring on all flesh. It is and is still to come. As believers we have the Spirit. In Romans and Galatians He is called the Spirit of adoption, giving us the ability to call God, our Father. In 1 Corinthians 2 Paul tells us that we have received the Spirit who is from God so that we might know the things of God, the very deep things of God that only the Spirit knows.

Today the Lord is still breathing. He is still inspiring; He is still giving His people, His children impressions and insight into His heart and mind, His emotions and thoughts so that we might know Him better as our Father. But what is on the Lords mind? What is the passion of His heart? The answer is not a “what” but a  “who”!

We are told in Revelation 19:10 that the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. Jesus, He is the subject matter. It’s all about Him. The very essence of Prophecy or inspiration from the Lord is to reveal Jesus, who He is, what He has done and what He will do. This is His testimony, His story. We are telling God’s story through singing and playing music. Sometimes we’ll tell others the Lord’s story by singing what He’s thinking or feeling at that moment for them. Other times we might be telling the Lord’s story back to Him and letting others just listen in.

The other thing we need to remember is that we only speak OUR part. 1 Corinthians 13:9 says, “For we know in part and we prophesy in part.” It is important to remember to only speak or sing our part or what impressions we’ve been given and then stop. But, this is good because others have a part as well. When we put all the team’s pieces together we get a picture or a story we wouldn’t have if it were just one person. Also, we don’t have to feel bad for not having the entire story because we only have our piece and that’s it.

Lastly, we need to remember that this story is to bring exhortation, encouragement and edification (1 Cor. 13:3) or in today’s terms, it should call people to a higher level of love and obedience, it should give them confidence to continue and reinforce or strengthening them. But, what if we get an impression that is seemingly negative? Well, the best thing to do is turn it around into one of the three “E’s”. If you get a “negative” impression ask the Holy Spirit to help you find a way to make it an exhortation to go higher and encouragement to keep the course or an edification that will strengthen and reinforce their inner man. Flip it from something condemning, which would uncover weakness or sin and make a person want to runaway from God, to something that releases grace or divine might on the inside to run to God.

What I’ve seen over the years in the prophetic movement is that there are people who like to call out other people “specks”. (At least that’s what Jesus’ called them in the Sermon on the Mount in Matt. 6.) Following our impressions of what we perceive as sin (what God calls specks) our perception is obscured by a log in our eye. This log in our perception is what keeps us from seeing what God really sees, His child who He’s love more than we could imagine. All we see is a sinner, a dirty, rotten sinner. Why? Because that’s what we are (without the Lord and his great gift of redemption, justification and adoption.) The easiest thing for a fallen human to see or perceive is sin. I’ve given this analogy several times; anyone can see a little red dot in the middle of a big white sheet. But, to see the sheet without the dot and to see the way to remove the dot is a little harder to see or perceive. Our job is to bring reconciliation or make peace between God and man by proclaiming His story, the original intent of creation, where it fell and how it is being redeemed.

What is Prophetic Worship?

What is prophetic worship? The first thing I would like to demystify is idea of “prophetic worship.” I want to begin with some workable biblical definitions of the words, Worship, Praise and Prophetic. I’ll begin by saying I am not going to give an even remotely exhaustive study of these words or ideas. There are many publications (audio, video and written form) available that will do a far better job than I could. I mean to give broad-brush strokes. If you would like more in-depth studies I’ll post some resources later.

We’ll begin with the word Worship many times throughout the bible it evolves both the heart and the body falling face down before the awesomeness of GOD. It implies putting what He wants above what we want. It is inner and outer thing. Jesus said worship must be in spirit and truth (John 4:24). It is a heart thing and head thing. Worship usually referrers to who God is, like His holiness, beauty, glory, etc… Also it seems to be less definable and less visible in contrast to praise. With all of this said I must say real worship must be experienced not just theorized about.

Praise many times is described as playing music while you sing a song to the Lord. It is usually based on a physical activity like, singing, dancing, clapping, etc… Also Praise is typically about something God has done. In the New Testament many times praise means to be in full agreement and by implication to know who we are (not worthy or faithful) and who God is (completely worthy and faithful).

Now to that funny yet important word that seems to trip most of us up, “Prophetic.” Just saying it out loud conjures up a mental picture of an old gray beard in robes saying in a loud voice, “Thus saith the LORD!” or a guy in a three-piece suit on TV in some sort of trance shaking and saying in a southern accent, “Thus saith the LORD!”

The first place we see the word prophet in the bible (Gen 20:7) is describing Abraham, he is called an “inspired man,” a Prophet, one who speaks or sings by inspiration.

Webster defines inspiration, as “To breathe into…infusion of ideas into the mind by the Holy Spirit… understanding of the divine will (or desires) by suggestion…” or in my words an “impression.”

In Numbers 11 we read about the Lord coming down in a cloud to Moses and the seventy elders during a meeting. The Spirit of the Lord came upon them and they began to Prophesy or speak by inspiration. One verse later we see two of the elders stayed back at the camp missing the meeting altogether yet we read that the Spirit rested upon them and they too begin to speak and sing under inspiration. One of the young leaders, Joshua, was angry and wanted them to stop. But, Moses said (in my words), “I wish all of God’s people were inspired and that the Lord would put his Spirit on all of them.”

Next 1 Samuel 10 gives us another interesting key to understand the “prophetic.” In this story the prophet Samuel is telling the soon-to-be King Saul that he will meet prophets, Inspired men, prophesying with musical instruments and that the Spirit of the Lord will come upon him and he will prophesy and be changed into another man. It happened just as Samuel had said. The interesting thing about this passage is that prophets were doing their prophecy with musical instruments, singing and playing music under inspiration or by impression.

Then 1 Chronicles 25:1-3 David and the leaders of Israel set apart certain musical Levites or priests “who were to prophesy with lyres, harps and cymbals…who prophesied in giving thanks and praising the Lord.” We see hundreds of Singers and musicians were put in place to prophecy by thanking the Lord and giving Him Praise through making music. These priests prophesied accompanied by music and actually prophesied through music. Earlier in chapter 6 we see that they would minister or serve the Lord through music from the reign of David until Solomon built the temple. Which would be about thirty years. A little later in chapter 9 we see that they held no other duty or job but bringing music to the Lord. Not only that but they did it every day and every night, 24 hours a day, 365 a year. For thirty years, night and day hundreds of singers and musicians were “paid” by to bring inspired music before the Lord.

After this we see David gives a command in Ps. 33:3, “Sing a New song or a “fresh” song to the Lord; play it skillfully…” The phrase “New Song” is used 9 times in the Bible. Many commentators believe that it implies a fresh response to God expressed through singing/playing music. In Ps. 40:3 David further says that, “The Lord put a new song in my mouth.” It literally means, “to place in.” The picture I get is the Lord having a song and putting it into you.

Finally Paul speaks of the “spiritual songs” in Ephesians and Colossians. In today’s language we could say a “song of the Spirit.” – a spontaneous song in the moment that is from our spirit to the Lord. Spiritual songs are typically unrehearsed or planned but sometimes they are. They are usually right off the top of your head and/or heart.

Like I said at the beginning if you would like something more in-depth about any of these topic or more I suggest purchasing any of the resource available on our website.

So lets do an overview of these three words in basic terms.

  1. Worship: Bending our will and desires to His. Letting the Lord have His way.
  2. Praise: Singing and playing music that agrees with who God is and what He wants.

(For the rest of the sessions will refer to Praise and Worship Synonymously as Worship.)

Prophetic:        Expression under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit.

Based on the very brief survey of these topics in the bible we could piece these three terms together and get a pretty good idea of what prophetic worship is.

In conclusion

Prophetic Worship is: “Our dynamic loving response to the Lord through partnering with His impressions and inspiration through the use of any means of creative expression.”

Simply, It is a dynamic, expressive response of love to love.

Love’s response to Love. But, in our context we will specifically focus on prophecy while in the midst of a musical setting, cooperate or devotional. Asking the Lord, “What are you thinking, what are you feeling, what are you doing?”

So now that we have a working definition of Prophetic Worship lets began to dive in to the basics of what it means to be a Prophetic Worshiper.

I will be posting excerpts from a Prophetic Worship series that I’m working on. I hope that these will aid in training and equipping the saints to worship the Lord in Spirit and in Truth.

Grace, Grace?

What is Grace?

“Grace is that which “covers” me in blatant compromise, i.e. Sin, Right? I’m “Saved” and the Lord loves me and forgives me. So what if I mess up a *little*. Grace, Grace right?”The tragically mislead majority of Christians

Grace has been wrongly interpreted and applied by the “Christian” church since the 1st century, listen to Paul (Rom 6). Let us first look at basic definitions of Grace and Mercy.

Mercy = IS God extending His forgiveness. Mercy is when we don’t receive that which we do deserve, I.E., God’s Wrath.

Grace = IS God extending us His Strength, Joy, Peace, Love, Etc…  Grace is when we do receive that which we don’t deserve, I.E., God’s Love.

So, with these basic definitions we can begin to extrapolate a “true” meaning of Grace.

Mercy takes and Grace gives. Mercy takes away our sin. Grace gives us strength to stay out of sin, not stay in sin.

“Grace is content to find us where we are but not content to leave us as we are” – N.T. Wright

Many popular pastors teach that we can live in blatant compromise and walk in God’s Favor at the same time. We are told we have been forgiven, and if He has forgiven us once He’ll do it again, 70 x 7 a day. This is a completely misinterpretation of scripture.

One fact that is always overlooked or forgotten when it comes to forgiveness and mercy is that they are unavailable to those who have not repented and shown fruits of repentance. Really being born again into a life of relational rightness (Righteousness) with God.

You must repent to be forgiven!!! We have example of people who did not repent and were not forgiven, Esau, Saul, Cain… To get God’s mercy we must repent!!! We must declare war on sin and all of it’s devices and means.

FACT SHEET

FACT #1 God loves Unbelievers. God loves the unbelieving world, period. (Jn. 3:16).

FACT #2 God is more Patient than we can imagine. God has tender patience with those who do not repent. They are not to confuse this with His approval or favor in their life. God gives rain and sunshine to both the righteous and wicked. Why? Because He is Love and love gives. Jesus even gave Jezebel time to repent (Rev. 2:21, Rom 2:4).

FACT #3 God WILL NOT Forgive the Unrepentant. Jesus refuses to forgive those who ask for it if they refuse to repent (Matt 7:22-23).

FACT #4 God delights in the immature but willing believer. We can have the assurance that God enjoys us even in our weakness but only after we sincerely repent. Our repentance, obedience and love for God can be sincere while it is still weak and fragile. Grace gives us confidence that we can have a new beginning with God after we repent. Know that God disciplines His immature children that He enjoys (Heb. 12:5-12, Pro. 3:12).

FACT #5 God DOES NOT enjoy the rebellious. God cannot delight in those whose hearts are in opposition to him. (Heb. 3:7-9)

FACT #6 God is Angry at rebellion. God is always angry about sin and the rebellious. (Ps. 7:11, Ezk. 33:11, Heb. 3:7-11)

You might say, “Nathan, your from IHOP, the Bridal Paradigm place. They talk about how much God loves us like a Bride. Mike even say’s when we sin to just ‘Press Delete.'” To this I say, Pushing Delete is our knowing what we have done wrong and turning from this sin and cutting off all means (People, Places or Things) to sin again.

What is Grace?

“Grace is God’s divine strength in our inner man to resist sin. I show my Love to God by resisting sin with this given grace. I do not belittle sin, but take it as a serious hinderance and deadly enemy to my ability to be loved and love in return.” – The Mature Christian

P.s. I don’t mind stepping on toes. XOXO

*By the way a little usually means a lot. Even so, a little is a lot in the eyes of God. A little bite is what got us into this mess. The bite was not the problem itself, it was that the bite was a small yet blatant defiance and disobedience to God and His command.

Communion-ity? Part II

In my last post I told you about a friend of mine and his genuine desire for “real” community. I gave a vague description of “community” and a few little hints on growing it. Yesterday I shared the first blog w/ my friend and he really liked it and I think it helped him in his processing. Here I will share some more thoughts on community, fellowship and koinonia.

I’ll make one retraction. Though two persons have two distinct views of and desires for community does not necessarily mean the two will not have community. Person A might want 100% “down and dirty community” (which, most real community is) where as person B wants a causal fellowship, a place to vent or use a gifting or ability (hospitality/musical or otherwise). These two can have fellowship. It might be at a small level, but it is community, like fellowship 101. Most of the frustration comes in when persons expectation of community are not met, which in my opinion is the polar opposite of community’s binding agent, namely Love or as I like to say, Active Affection.

The world loves to talk about “love”. But, hates defining it. John Lennon sang, “all we need is love, love is all we need.” Like singing about love will make it happen or define it. I can imagine thousands of young adults chanting this mantra, “all we need is love…” and at sometime, maybe hours or decades later realizing no one really defined “love.”

“The bigger the word, the more easily alien elements are able to hide in them…” – Ernest Bloch

Love is one of the BIGGEST words ever. As I have said many times before. Love is an Active Affair and not a Static Sentiment. By Active, I mean love is not passive or complacent. It is always looking for a new place and new way to express itself. Love is also an affair in that it is not just a feeling but is in fact the action of affection expressing itself to another. It is not a one time act. But an on-going sequence of events building and growing upon itself. So, love is an Active Affair.

Community is a collection of persons related by love. Related by love’s in-working and out-working power. To be totally honest community at it’s best is likened to a marriage (to many people). It’s give and take, with mostly gives. It’s not 50-50, it’s 100-100. Everyone should give without thought of return.(though much easier said than done) To love is to give. To give is to love.

Communion-ity?

Community, what have you done for me lately? Yesterday I had a discussion with a really close friend of mine about community. First and foremost what you believe community “should be” (the Ideal) will shape your expectations of what “is” (the Reality). Is community: 1. a group of persons living together in one residence sharing all things as common?, 2. a group of persons living separately but still together with some things in common? 3. a group a persons who meet together and listen and discuss common beliefs, values or interests? 4. None of the above or a mix or all? Like I said, what you think will determine your expectations. For instances, person A might be expecting community to be in a commune where as person B might think it to be a brief context for sharing a common interest. Now when person A and B meet to have community their might not be community. Why, because they have two distinct expectations.

I believe community is a living, breathing collection of persons bound by a common interest and relationship, namely Yeshua and in being joined to Yeshua we are joined to the Godhead and their eternally flowing love for one another and man and this love is in turn what fuels the love (Active Affection) of the persons for the Godhead and one another.

With this said there might be more questions than answers. I think that’s good. Like I said community is dictated and derived from the Godhead and God is it’s author and publisher. Let Him be the one who brings us together in his time. here is a funny little paper I saw on a friends page. I think it speaks volumes about community.

Two books I would recommend are:

True Fellowship: Church as Community by Art Katz

True Fellowship: Church as Community

Life Together by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

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