Articles covering the deep topics of the Bible and Christian lifestyle.
A lot of people treat their time in the Word as an item on their to–do list that needs to be checked off. “I gotta get to the next chapter so I can be caught up on my Bible reading plan,” some might hurriedly mutter to themselves. What causes us to be preoccupied with simply finishing our Bible Reading Plan, and how can we better approach the subject of reading the Word?
Jesus warned the Jews in His day, “You search the Scriptures, for in them you think you have eternal life; and these are they which testify of Me.” (Jn. 5:39) The Word is what displays God’s character and nature so that we are driven to talking with, and encountering God.
This post is for everyone, but especially those who feel trapped in their own sin and shame. It’s for those who enter worship on Sundays with a heavy heart, feeling unworthy to approach God because of their failure and making promises to God “to do better” that they know they can’t keep. This post is for those who are struggling to understand how God could love them when they keep asking for forgiveness.
What do you do when you’ve found yourself confronted with the reality of sin in your life? More specifically, what is a healthy way to repent and move forward?
The term “prophetic musician” simply describes a musician who, operating in the spirit of prophecy, testifies of Jesus. Because prophecy is simply the testimony of Jesus, it can be coupled with many different mediums. Preachers preach the testimony of Jesus; teachers teach it. Singers sing the testimony of Jesus; painters paint it. All these mediums can prophesy about who Jesus is and edify the Church.
“[T]he testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10)
Examples in Scripture
The Bible has some amazing accounts of prophetic musicians who cast out demons and won military battles through melodies and songs.
Young David played his harp and caused King Saul to be set free from a terrorizing spirit: "And so it was, whenever the spirit from God was upon Saul, that David would take a harp and play it with his hand. Then Saul would become refreshed and well, and the distressing spirit would depart from him.” (1 Sam. 16:23)
As a musician of 12 years, I know all of the temptations and pitfalls that one may go through as they serve on a worship team. Especially if you’re on a solid team that exhibits a lot of skill and sounds really good. Humility, meekness, and godly obedience have to be intentionally sought after in these scenarios or you might find yourself struggling with a big head, even if it’s under-the-radar thoughts about how good it sounds rather than how good God is.
So why is it more important to seek godly character than to seek skill or building your sound? And what can you do to develop your character as you grow in skill?
I grew up going to church. Every Sunday I would walk into church with my family, climb the stairs to the balcony, and sing a combination of worship songs with the congregation. Some of the congregation could sing, some couldn’t. But still, we sang our songs—waving our flags, clapping our hands (on and off-beat) and tapping our well-meaning, clumsy feet to the strums of the guitar and the beat of the drums. I loved it.
But did you ever wonder why we sing in church? Why do we attempt to reach those unattainable notes with our morning voices? Why do we repeat the words to well-known songs over and over again, week after week?
For the past 9 years, I’ve been blessed to be a part of missional communities of prayer, seeking to establish a culture of unceasing prayer and worship that extols the greatness and worth of the Godhead 24/7. Like David, we believe that “God is great and greatly to be praised” (Ps. 145:3) and that His promises are still alive and powerful and waiting to be fulfilled at the end of the age. These promises warrant the Church’s response of contending intercession, “reminding” God of His promises until He sends them like fire upon the earth (Is. 62:6-7).
Just as it was in the early church, many young adults today are committing themselves to serve God in prayer rooms across the earth. Primarily, they are committing to standing before the Lord in worship, to gazing upon His beauty and contending in intercession for the burdens of God’s heart, and to laying down their lives in simple obedience that Jesus would receive the reward of His suffering in all nations.
Throughout history, both in America and abroad, movements of prayer have released explosive spiritual awakening. From the early Church in the book of Acts to the Great Awakenings to the Jesus Movement in the 1970’s, God’s chief aim has been made known again and again: to reveal and glorify His Son Jesus.
These “Jesus movements” revolutionized millions of lives. Joy and deliverance flooded many hearts as they encountered this Man Jesus. Oppression and addiction fled, as multitudes became apprehended by an authentic relationship with Jesus and discovered the power of a higher affection. As loving Jesus (Mt. 22:37) became the anthem of these generations, sharing a Gospel-witness of His worth became the overflow of their lives.
Time and time again, the revelation of Jesus has sent spiritual shockwaves across America and throughout the earth. Millions of dollars have been spent trying to impact this emerging generation. But if a generation is perishing, surely it is not perishing for lack of novel methods and relevant presentation. We need something from heaven. We need a deep encounter with the Man Jesus.
The Highest Calling of the Church
Encountering Jesus is the highest calling of the Church. He is the Desire of All Nations (Hag. 2:7). He is only solution for the raging nations (Ps. 2:1-2). He is the only Hope for crisis in America.
Undoubtedly, there is no one like Jesus.
He turned the world upside down in three short years of ministry. His presence sparked the atmosphere of Heaven wherever He went. Revival or revolution followed immediately after. The religious hated Him. Sinners loved Him. His healing power, miracles, signs and wonders caught the attention of religious and political leaders. Whatever He did demanded a response. He amazed crowds (Mt. 9:33); stunned scholars (Lk. 2:46); brought dead men to life (Jn. 11:33-34).
The fame of Jesus’ name spread like wildfire across many regions and ever since then He has been divinely initiating movements of spiritual awakening throughout Church history, wherever He finds hearts that are hungry for more of Him. He forever will be our Savior, Great High Priest, Bridegroom, King and Judge.
This is a short story to encourage you that the impact of your live is bigger than you think. God can (and I believe does) use you to literally save lives through your simple acts of obedience in regards to opposing abortion.
In the weeks leading up the election, our house of prayer partnered with other Christian organizations to help distribute non-partisan, pro-family, pro-life voters guides to approximately 75,000 people in Tallahassee. A small work force was hired from a temp agency to help go door-to-door and pass out these guides. Given that they were hired from a third-party agency, it’s safe to say that most didn’t agree with the godly message they were passing out.
Over the week of interacting with one of our directors, Pam Olsen; reading the Voter’s guides on abortion and biblical issues over and over again –– as well as through seeing sincere prayers being prayed in the prayer room –– some of these workers’ hearts began to change. One young man said he understands now that the life of the unborn is important to protect. He asked for a LIFE band and the LIFE prayer and covenant was explained to him. Taking the life band covenant, he vowed before God to pray daily for the ending of abortion, to only vote for pro-life candidates, and to do acts of justice & compassion.
A little over a week ago, Sunshine State News reported that the abortion rate in Florida has dropped a staggering 19% from 2008 to 2011, and that downward trend is continuing this year. Though there are many dynamics attributed to this outcome, we believe this is an answer to an orchestrated effort of focused, unyielding intercession from thousands of believers in this state.
While this massive answer to prayer is God’s response to many believers who have not relented in their appeals to the courts of heaven, this post is a brief prophetic history of our efforts in praying and laboring for the ending of abortion in Florida capital city, Tallahassee.
In 2007, we started a Bound4LIFE chapter and began praying at the Florida Supreme Court. Around 7 months later in 2008, we participated in Bound4LIFE’s nation-wide prayer meeting called The Mercy Seat, where 6,200 gathered to pray at every Supreme Court in the nation simultaneously. Nearly 600 residents joined us throughout the 7 hour solemn assembly outside of the Florida Supreme Court, pleading Jesus’ blood and praying for God’s mercy to turn to our state.
We often don’t understand that the timeline of intercession is commonly answered in years. At the end of 2009, Gallup Poll released this shocking data: a majority of Americans identified themselves as pro-life for the first time in over a decade. This unprecedented shift in opinion began sometime after (or during) The Mercy Seat.
This isn’t coincidence. This is power through prayer.
The book of Acts gives a clear picture of the early Church as an apostolic “sending” community. As they ministered to the Lord, prayed, fasted, and cultivated love for Jesus & one another, God divinely poured out His Spirit on these communities.
They went throughout their entire region, demonstrating the love of God with power, and it occurred only as they did not compromise in the place of ministry unto the Lord. They truly became “sent laborers” — “sent” straight from the place of encountering God — and the impact of their lives and labor reverberates today.
As a Missions Base, we feel the strong conviction to live out this model, that from the place of ministering unto the Lord as a furnace of prayer and worship, God would demonstrate His love with power. Our interns are emerging from standing before the Lord in the Prayer Room and living fasted lifestyles, then joining our prophetic outreach teams which have almost weekly been going into the city, demonstrating the love of Christ and the power of God in obedience to the Holy Spirit.
As we wait on the Holy Spirit, and ask God what’s on His heart, He faithfully reveals the things in His heart — an image, a word, a phrase, a scripture — then, we respond in obedience. We can’t do His part, and He won’t do our part, because He’s looking for partnership. And partnership is what we give Him. Sure enough, God confirms His word.
We just recently finished 24 hours of non-stop worship this weekend at the missions base. It was incredible. Nine different worship teams from local churches and ministries ministered to the Lord Friday and Saturday as we offered Jesus a 24-hour offering of adoration.
I strongly believe that God desires 24/7 worship and prayer to be found all over the earth. In fact, His Word promises it:
“‘After this I will return and will rebuild the tabernacle of David, which has fallen down; I will rebuild its ruins, and I will set it up…”-Acts 15:16
In Rev. 4-5 we see a glimpse of what happens in Heaven. In the throne-room where God dwells, angels, creatures and elders sing incessantly, “holy, holy, holy is the Lord God almighty” forever.
Beyond the general affirmations of God’s desire to bring Heaven and earth together (Eph 1:10, Col 1:19, Matt 6:10, Luke 11:2-3), God makes it explicit that He desires earthly worship to mimic heavenly worship. In Exodus 24-25 God meets with Moses on Mount Sinai and commissions him to build a temple according to what he saw (Exodus 25:8-9). This as an earthly replica to a heavenly reality (I Chronicles 28:19).