Chapter Two Preview – The Potential of God’s Presence

Chapter Two

God Desires Relationship

God the Father sent His Son Jesus to this earth to ultimately restore one thing: relationship. Songs, singing and music are only channels by which we engage God in living, vibrant relationship. Music can be used as a tool in order to sense what God is saying, to see who God is and to release our perceptions of Him back to Him as worship.

When I think about relationship with God, I immediately think about Adam in the Garden of Eden. I love the whole idea of walking with God in the midst of the creation that He made for me to enjoy Him in. I enjoy getting away with God in nature as I always have. When Adam and Eve were tempted to eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, I believe that this was the beginning of man’s battle with distraction. Now, in our current age, there are more things available to distract us from the perception of God then there have ever been in all of history. Although I love the tech age that we live in, I think that technology is potentially one of the biggest distractions from the perception of God that we all have to deal with. I am thankful for the fact that God sent Jesus Christ to make the way for all of us to have access to the presence of God. But, you can know this all day long and still not enter in to the presence of God. Although we have already been given access into the presence of God, many distractions surround us every day that keep us from engaging in the continual perception of God.

I believe that God desires to both speak to us and hear from us on a continual basis. It’s a blessing to realize that God has songs to sing over us and revelation to speak to us. Listening is just as much part of the “Worship Experience” as our outward expressions are, whether that be singing, dancing or other expressions. I know many of you have experienced what I call a glimpse into the heart of the Father God. It’s the honor of experiencing the thoughts and feelings of the Creator of the Universe. On more than one occasion the Lord has taken me to the place where He has shared His heart with me. During times of historical study, God has literally taken me to places in history in which He had experienced the relationship with man that He desires. The Garden of Eden is one. Another is the Tabernacle of David. When I talk about the fact that God showed me these places in history, it was not just simply that I read a historical account of something. It’s always more than that. God will show me in the Word the history of the Tabernacle of David, but then He will share His longings, emotions and even memories attached to this history. It’s as if God was saying directly to me, “Jason, I am looking again for the relationship and the expressions of My people that I once experienced during the time of David’s Tabernacle. Even now, I desire people to know that there is no longer a veil between Me and them. I am longing for the intimacy with My children now like I had then. I miss the sounds and movements of freedom that sprang forth from those worshippers.” Of course, I am simply trying to share in words the impressions that I received in my heart. My experience is usually more like an impression, as if God is letting me in on His thoughts and feelings.

I have also experienced this when I’ve studied about the beginning of the New Testament Church. There was a freedom and creativity of expression in those days that people had, before the institutionalization of the church. God shared with me how He desires to hear the songs of His children. He does not necessarily miss a specific song, but a sound, and it’s the sound of His children releasing their spontaneous, made-up songs and sounds to Him.

How Did The Church Lose Their Song?

The New Testament church started out quite spontaneously. People were going from house to house sharing meals and encouraging each other. Acts 2:46–47 states: “Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.”

I personally enjoy the simplicity that I find by which the church had fellowship in those early years. They enjoyed meeting with each other to both worship God and share with each other what the Lord was saying back to each of them. A true joy surrounded the lives of these early believers, a true and vibrant by-product of hearing and receiving the good news of the Kingdom.

Even in the midst of persecution, this form of fellowship thrived for the greater part of the first three centuries. In the book, The Oxford History of Christian Worship, Geoffrey Wainwright describes this early period of the church:

“Solo singing by musically gifted members of the gathered church is the most clearly attested musical role during the first three centuries of the church. The earliest reports from the New Testament and from the second and third centuries suggest that singing was most common at meals, whether eucharist or agape. Among the very slender evidence, Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians stands out for its description of urban worship in the first century. He lists singing among a number of worship practices that individuals spontaneously offered to the assembly during the course of worship. In a passage from the early third century, Tertullian (c.170–225) describes similar practices at the Agape meal: ‘After the washing of hands and the lighting of lamps each is urged to come into the middle and sing to God, either from the sacred scriptures or from his own invention.’”

In the midst of my research and study, the phrase quoted by Tertullian, “from his own invention,” really struck me. In the midst of Christian fellowship, people were basically encouraged to get into the middle of a circle and sing their own spontaneous song to the Lord. It was a song from the heart, a response to the Lord. These songs were deemed to be in order because the atmosphere that was created allowed people to release their spontaneous songs. These songs were edifying because the others listened to the expression of the singer and took in the revelation of what they were releasing into their own spirits. It indefinitely created a chain reaction of praise by which many would release their songs unto the Lord. In those days, creativity in worship was encouraged.

Over time, a shift away from this freedom and creativity began to occur. Clement of Alexandria condemned the use of musical instruments in worship because of their use in pagan rituals. This controversy began as early as the latter part of the second century. In essence, they released what God intended to be used for worship to the world. He was not able to understand that instruments are essentially neutral and that the intentions of the musicians were what mattered.

In the year 313 AD, The Edict of Milan was a letter signed by emperors Constantine and Licinius that proclaimed religious toleration in the Roman Empire. This was great news for those that had experienced persecution because of their faith in Christ. The bondage of persecution was beginning to wane. But, in the midst of these changes, a new bondage was on the horizon, the bondage of restrictive liturgy.

A shift would begin to take place within the advent of organized religion that would be the beginning of a repression within the individual Christian’s expression that would last, in this context, for 1,000 years. Let’s look again to The Oxford History of Christian Worship for more insight into this period of change within the organized church.

“Commentators from the fourth century onward mention unison singing as expressing symphonia (sounding together, i.e., acclamatory agreement) and the distribution of musical roles and the structure of music itself were considered to express harmonia (the right relationship of parts to a whole). As stated by Clement of Alexandria, the whole Church could be characterized as being in harmony with Christ: “The union of many, which the divine harmony has called forth out of a medley of sounds and division, becomes one symphony, following the one leader of the choir and teacher, the Word, resting in the same truth and crying out: ‘Abba Father’”.  These core musical metaphors were also used to reflect on existing musical practices in order to demonstrate how they supported proper organization of the Church’s ministry. From this perspective, the early church’s charismatic solo song, which seems to have emerged as a way of expressing the uniqueness of the new faith, needed to be properly integrated into the service. As Paul’s letter to the Corinthians makes clear, such offerings needed to be edifying in order to be in correct relationship (harmony) with the church. The fourth- and fifth-century emergence of the lector chant with congregational response seems to have signified a particularly important balance, since the unity singing of the response by the solo singing of the lector could be interpreted as ordering both soloist and congregation into a musical harmony centered upon listening and responding to scripture.”

In other words, the institutional church wanted to take away the unique expression of one’s response to their faith in Christ for the purpose of fitting it into their service order! Eventually, the church clergy ended up becoming the source of the congregation’s response rather than the individual’s response to God’s direct, revelatory presence. The church thought that edification could only come to people if it was controlled directly by a certain leader. Responses were no longer released as a result of direct inspiration but out of participation in a religious act. It seems that the church meant well, but it ended up squelching the unique, creative expressions of the church to its Creator.

The church leaders of that day misunderstood what the Apostle Paul meant by “decently and in good order.” Paul never intended that the expressions of the individual Christian be completely discarded for the sake of some “holy harmonia.” I don’t believe it was ever God’s intent that the individual expression of each one’s praise should be silenced for the purpose of a collective, joint expression dictated by a clergy. But this is precisely what began to happen during this period.

Fear: A Source of Institutionalism

When you look back in history, one of the major reasons the church was institutionalized was because of a fear of both persecution and heresy. Institutionalism arose as a means of defense against persecution from the state and imposition of error from heretical sects such as Gnosticism. Reacting to these threats, the church formalized worship and centralized power in the bishop. Instead of choosing to take the time to teach and disciple people, the church decided to put one person in charge in order that he may keep “order” within the church. Eventually, as the bishop and clergy began to dominate the life and ministry of the church, the prevalence and influence of spiritual gifts within the individual diminished. Ignatius, a church leader in the early part of the second century, was one of the first that seemed preoccupied with promoting and defending the authority and prestige of the bishop. He said that you could not have a love feast or gathering without the bishop. He stated that if the Eucharist was not performed by the bishop that is was invalid. In one of his writings he even stated that you should, “do nothing without the bishop.” Can you imagine someone telling you that your worship in your car on the way to work was invalid because your pastor was not in the passenger’s seat with you? That was how extreme Ignatius was. The thoughts introduced by Ignatius led to the development of the medieval Roman Catholic Church and its monarchial bishop. Church forms of both office and ritual came to be valued over personal, spiritual experiences. This also meant that spontaneous manifestations of the Holy Spirit became less desirable, especially by those in authority. When Jesus walked with the disciples, He encouraged them to step out in faith. There were many times that the disciples failed, but Jesus stuck with them. Jesus’ answer to the disciples’ mistakes was continued discipleship and relationship. Acts 4:13 states, “When they saw the courage of Peter and John and realized that they were unschooled, ordinary men, they were astonished and they took note that these men had been with Jesus.” In this Scripture, we see the results of the time that Jesus took with these men. The moving of the disciples in signs, wonders and miracles in the Book of Acts is the result of discipleship, relationship and the loving rebukes we find in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. The example that Jesus shows us of discipleship reveals that it is not always a perfect process. In one moment you might find Jesus calling Peter a rock, the next you might find Him rebuking Peter for the dumb thing he just said. It seems that the church adopted institutionalism in order that they would not have to deal with the issues that came along with true, biblical discipleship. Instead of having to deal with someone in the church that might sing a song or speak a prophetic word that may need a little correction, why not just silence the people altogether!

Concern with the Prophetic Ministry in the Church Today

“Jason, I would love to have you minister to the church. I just don’t think my pastor would be cool with letting you sing prophetically, though.” I can still remember talking to my worship pastor friend on the phone as we discussed the possibility of me coming to minister at his church. Of course, my friend would have loved to have me, but the pastor was another story. My friend went on to tell me that his pastor would not want me to sing prophetically during the worship service, but that he would rather have me just sing a list of worship songs. I told my friend that I understood, but it led me to ask the question, “What is this particular pastor concerned about?”

Revelation 19:10b states: “For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” Prophecy in its most basic form is for the comfort, encouragement and edification of the church. When I look at this verse in Revelation, it speaks to me that the very things that are on the heart of Jesus are those things that breathe forth the prophetic words that we, as his representatives, speak. With this thought in mind, not only do I believe that the prophetic has a place in the church today, I also believe that each believer should be moving in the prophetic. So why is there a current concern over the moving of the prophetic in many churches today? I believe this concern has a lot more to do with the method by which God’s word goes forth than it does the actual encouragement. The possibility exists that people might be confused or offended by spontaneous encouragement from the people of God to the people of God through someone other than a pastor. I know that the prophetic ministry has not been administered correctly in recent church history, but we simply can’t throw out a valid ministry because of past misuse. I will admit that dismissing the prophetic entirely is one way to avoid the problems that are often associated with its misuse. But what might we possibly miss out on by dismissing the prophetic?

I believe that the best way for people to avoid confusion with the prophetic is to teach people how to function in and receive from the gifts of the Spirit. This will yield a people equipped with discernment of the prophetic, not just within one church, but also in the context of everything they will face throughout their lives. The reality of the prophetic music ministry that I’ve released over the years is that people all around the globe have been encouraged and blessed. The way that I play music and release the Word is not what I or others would call typical. There are some pastors who don’t have an issue with this at all. In fact, they quite enjoy it. There are other pastors and leaders, like my friend’s pastor in the story above that might. Does the fact that this pastor does not embrace the prophetic negate my ministry? Absolutely not, because I have history and fruit that show that the prophetic music ministry brings encouragement and life to people. My point here is that I don’t believe dismissing the prophetic ministry entirely is the answer to the concerns with the prophetic ministry in the church today. If I actually had the chance to sit down with my friend’s pastor, I would tell him that I desire to see people understand how to discern and receive from the Lord through the prophetic. I believe it’s worth it to take the time to help people understand how the prophetic works, how we can release it and how we can receive from it.

Tehillah “Homemade” Praise

Have you ever seen a picture created by a child hung upon a refrigerator door by a proud parent? Crayons form scribble marks accompanied by signatures with backwards letters. Often times you have no idea what the picture even is. But to a parent, this is of no importance. The art was proudly displayed, not because of the professionalism of display. It was simply displayed because it came from their child. In reality, the form of the creation was not the issue, but it was the fact that their child even took the time to create a drawing for them.

My mom still has stuff I made for her when I was a kid. I remember making a clay pot in sixth grade art class for her. This clay pot is the saddest looking clay pot ever made. It is all contorted and out of shape. But to this day, when I go over to visit my parents, I see this little blue pot sitting by the kitchen sink in their house. My mom uses it for her soap dish. I know for a fact that she does not use it for her soap dish because of the beauty and quality of it. She still has it because every time she looks at it, she remembers the day her little kid came home from school and gave it to her. Some of you know where I’m going with this, but let me give you another one.

One of the things my wife will always remember is when I sang a song that I wrote for her at our wedding. I originally presented the song to her when I asked her to marry me. Now, I could have chosen to sing a popular love song written by a famous entertainer in the music industry. But I chose to take the time to compose and write an original creation. I knew what I was doing! If I had sung a song written by someone else, that would have been nice. But the song I wrote for my wife is her special song from me. That song will never be sung by anyone else for anyone else. I will never sing that song to anyone else, because I created it for her alone. She can treasure this song in her heart for the rest of our lives as her very own. Women don’t want to hear fancy, recycled one-liners from their man. They want you to tell them what you think about them. They want you to look at them physically and inwardly and convey, with words, the beauty that you see.

In my relationship with my wife, I have refused to let Hallmark do my work for me. I enjoy coming up with my own creative words that express how I love and appreciate my wife. One of our favorites came with the inclusion of a well-known donut chain. If any of you have heard of Krispy Kream Donuts, you will understand what I am about to tell you. This donut shop has a sign on it that lights up when the donuts are coming fresh out of the oven. The sign reads in a bright red, neon glow, “Hot Now!” If you have never had a hot, freshly glazed donut before, let me just tell you it is a beautiful thing! The story goes that I was driving with my wife and we passed by a Krispy Kream that happened to have their “Hot Now” sign on. All of a sudden, it just popped in my head and I looked at my wife and exclaimed, “If you were a Krispy Kream donut shop, your HOT NOW sign would ALWAYS be on!” Needless to say, my wife loved it. Even to this day, when we pass a donut shop, we laugh in remembrance of this. I share this humorous story to help you realize that God is similar to us in that He also loves originality. He created us in His image to be creative as He is creative. I believe that our creativity should also extend to the way that we worship Him. Imagine with me now that God has a gigantic refrigerator in heaven. He is waiting to fill it with the homemade expressions of His children’s praise. This “homemade praise” is known in the Word of God as Tehillah praise. There are many different words for praise in the Bible, each describing varying expressions and forms of praise. Here I want to focus on the Tehillah. Psalm 22:3: “But thou art holy, O thou that inhabits the praises of Israel.” (KJV) 

In this verse, the word for praise in the original Hebrew language is “Tehillah.” Tehillah is defined as “A spontaneous new song. Singing from a melody in your heart by adding words to it. This refers to a special kind of singing — it is singing unprepared, unrehearsed songs. Singing straight to God.” According to this Scripture, Tehillah is the praise that God inhabits. In making such a statement, it is really important for us to look into what the word “inhabits” means in the context of this scripture. The original Hebrew word for inhabit in this scripture is “yashab” (yaw-shab’). It means to sit down, to dwell, to remain, to marry, to tarry.

Before I say anything else, I want to say that I believe that God is always amongst us. He is the omnipresent God. He is everywhere all the time. That being said, just because He is always there does not always mean that people are aware of it. Nor does it mean that He is manifesting the potential of His presence. Have you ever been told by someone that they saw you at a mall or restaurant even though you never saw them? They were in the same place you were, but you never came into the awareness of their presence. This happens all the time in our lives as it relates to the presence of God.

God is always in the midst of all of us. I believe that when we begin to sense the presence of God in our midst, it is not that God has arrived, but that we have! We have arrived at the realization of His presence. How many times have we welcomed God into our presence when the truth is God has already given us a permanent invitation into His?

The word says in Jeremiah 29: “When we seek Him, we will find Him when we seek Him with all of our hearts.” I believe that God is always amongst us, but it’s up to us how often we truly engage into a relational awareness of God. God is on constant stand-by, always ready to engage in relationship with His children.

The other day I had a humorous, analogous thought of how this related to Clark Kent and Superman. Clark Kent is the guy that always seems to be around, but not many people notice him. But, when someone starts crying out for help, Clark Kent runs to the phone booth and transforms into Superman. When you think about it, Clark Kent is always Superman. He always has the ability to fly and manifest superhuman strength, but it is the cries of people that motivate Clark Kent to transform and manifest into Superman. In a related way, when we call out to God, He moves from His omnipresent Clark Kent-like state into His manifest–present, Superman-like state, and He starts moving in the fullness of who He is.

So, getting back to the Tehillah: I believe this is the cry of praise that moves God to manifest Himself among us in ways that go beyond His general omnipresence. This point is proven true through the life of Jesus when He walked the earth. The Bible says that Jesus did not do many miracles in His hometown because of the people’s unbelief (Mark 6:4-6). Just because Jesus was in the town did not automatically mean that miracles were taking place. There was a difference between Jesus being in a geographical location and the manifest, powerful presence that Jesus displayed in locations throughout His ministry. God said that those that would find Him would be those that were purposefully looking for and seeking after Him. Many of the miracles that took place in the Gospels came as a result of men and women who cried out for and pursued the person, presence and power of Christ. What if the woman with the issue of blood would have stayed home on the day Jesus came to her town? What if the blind man would have not cried out for the Son of David to have mercy upon him?

God Rules and Manifests from Your Tehillah Throne

While ministering to the Lord in a house of prayer, I became overwhelmed with a deeper understanding of Jesus, the Prince of Peace. I pictured Jesus sitting upon a throne, ruling as the Prince of Peace, but not just any peace. It was MY peace! The Lord revealed to me that He wants to shift the rulership of people’s peace from other things back to Him. There are many people whose peace is not being ruled by Jesus. Their peace is being ruled by the economy, society, personal circumstance and the media. As I began to exalt the Lord and worship Him as the Prince of Peace, I literally felt a shift occur within me and I was overwhelmed with the peace of Christ. I believe that the Lord manifested His peace into my being because I built Him a throne of praise from which He manifested His peace to me. When I began to understand the fact that God literally enthrones Himself upon my Tehillah Praise, it changed the way I approach the Lord. The Lord recently spoke to me, “Jason, I don’t enthrone myself upon the complaints, worries, fears or doubts of my people. I enthrone myself upon the Tehillah Praises of my people.” What God began to reveal to me is that He really wants to manifest in my life, but that He asks me to actually build, with my Tehillah, the throne from which He will rule and manifest in my personal life. I’ve come to a place where I have stopped asking Jesus to give me that which He’s told me He’s already given. When I have a need, I seek the aspect of the character of God that meets my need and I build a throne of praise for the Lord according to that aspect of who He is. This causes me to eventually line up with the reality of God’s Kingdom and His Word. Let me mention that I’m not giving you a magic formula to get God to give you whatever you want. But, since I’ve been moving in this revelation, I have begun to experience the manifestation of God and His Word in a greater consistency than I’ve ever experienced. The consistency is not due to the fact that God finally “woke up”; I believe it’s because I have discovered an important key in accessing the presence and power of God through my Tehillah Praise.

God wants to establish His rule within us. He wants us to flow in a continual understanding and revelation of who He is. The way that this rule stays established is through our continual discovery and praise of God. As I continually praise, that reality of God continues to remain established in my heart. When we let worry and doubt creep in, “false thrones” begin to be established in places that are meant for the truth of God and His Word. God wants to rule, reign and manifest in our lives. He wants to be our “Prince of Peace.” He desires to rule and reign in our hearts.

God’s Honor — Man’s Distraction

God responds to the cries of His people. He is not interested in how professional your cry sounds. Recently I was leading worshippers in a church and we began to move into a time of spontaneous praise. All I was doing was playing music and creating an atmosphere for the people to praise God from their hearts. One woman began to cry out to the Lord. She was doing it quite loudly and demonstratively and I noticed some people kind of began to look over at her. I was instantly reminded of the woman who washed the feet of Jesus with her hair and poured the expensive perfume upon Him (Luke 7:38). Some of the people in that room thought of this woman as a distraction. Jesus received her worship as a great honor. I was not about to allow people to think that the woman in the worship service, who was genuinely crying out to God in thanks, was a distraction. In fact, I encouraged others to enter into their own Tehillah.

Some might have said that this woman was out of order. They said the same thing about the woman who washed the feet of Christ. But I, as a leader, was creating a neutral atmosphere for people to worship the Lord with their Tehillah. So, in reality, this woman was in complete order. She was doing exactly what the atmosphere had been set for. She was moving within the confines of what leadership had set in place for her. I think it’s very important to allow people to release the songs and expressions that are uniquely theirs.

Consider with me that what is acceptable to God is not necessarily what always looks good to men. When four men ripped the roof off of a house and lowered a lame man into the room to Jesus, that sure didn’t look professional. But he got to Jesus, and Jesus knew that anyone who was willing to rip the roof off of a house to get to Him must have some faith. Jesus forgave their sins, and the man eventually was healed.

As a worshipper leader, I don’t ever want to confine people to a form in which they are unable to go after God in the way that they may need to. Some may be content on Sunday with the songs that we sing, and that is fine. But I always want to present people with a neutral atmosphere in which they can seek after and find God in a way that meets their specific need in the moment. I am aware that the Holy Spirit teaches and knows all things and that not everyone is going to receive what they need in the confines of the lyrics of the songs that I have chosen for that particular service. People showing up are going through the stuff of life and they may need more than to sing a few songs, they may need to Tehillah their way into the manifest presence of God to obtain and walk in their Kingdom inheritance which is in Christ. It’s not every Sunday that they may need to “rip the roof off,” but if someone needs to in any given time, I want to give them that chance. I am not there to dictate how they encounter God; I am there to serve them in order that they may personally encounter Him to receive the “now” word that they need.

There’s No Other Praise Like Your Praise

When I look at the Bible in a broad, all-encompassing way, I see it as a love story between a Father, Son and the Son’s Bride. It is a true story, the story of the creation of man, the fall of man and the redemption of man through the blood of the Son. God created us for relationship with Himself. The Father desires a Bride for His Son, and we, the Church, are the collective expression of the Bride of Christ. When all is said and done, all of those that have acknowledged Jesus as their Lord and Savior throughout history will be brought together as one to be presented as a Bride for the Son of God. This collective Bride will be the result of the sum of many parts. Each of us, as individuals, will be a piece of the collective Bride. There will be an expression within the Bride that comes from every nation, tribe and tongue.

That said, we, as individuals, need to realize that no part of this bride is any more valuable than another. We are all important. In First Corinthians 12, Paul talks about the importance of the entire Body of Christ. In verse 27, he states, “Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” Throughout this theme, Paul points out that each member of the body is both important to the body itself as well as to God. Verse 18 says, “But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as He wanted them to be.” We have to realize that God has created each of us specifically the way that He wanted us to be. There is something unique concerning each of us that is unlike anyone else on the face of the earth. There never has been and never will be anyone else like you.

When it comes to worship, each of us has a unique expression that God desires, something that each of us alone can give Him. When you really think about this, it should create an excitement within you! You have something to give God that nobody else in all of history has been able to give Him: Your Song! Science has even discovered that each individual’s DNA produces a unique pattern or song. Genetic music is generated by decoding and transcribing genetic information within a DNA sequence into a musical signal having melody and harmony. Science is even now beginning to show us that we are uniquely created by a Creator with a purpose and expression within each of us that is specifically our own.

Recently, as I was seeking the Lord on these things, the Lord impressed upon my heart how He longs to hear the songs of His children. God desires to hear every one of the individual expressions of each of His uniquely created children. I believe that many of these songs and expressions have been lost and continue to be lost in the midst of modern Christian culture and church liturgy. History shows us that the unique worship of the individual Christian has been under assault since Pentecost. Many early Christians were persecuted and martyred for their faith in Christ. And, after Christian persecution was widely ended in the early fourth century, the Christian’s individual expression of worship was again quenched by the ordinance of a controlling church clergy accompanied by a restrictive liturgy.

It is clear in Scripture that Jesus longs to hear the song of His beloved bride. Like many scholars, I believe that the Song of Songs is an allegory that parallels Christ’s relationship to us. One of my favorite portions of Scripture comes out of Song of Songs chapter 2. Burning with love, the lover beckons his beloved in verse 14, “Let me see your face, let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is beautiful.” God created us in His image and likeness. We are uniquely formed to love, just as our Maker loves. I believe Jesus continues to call out to each one of us, calling us out of our hiding places in order that we may release our unique song and sound to Him.

The Restoration of Creativity is for the Entire Church

There is an obvious creative element involved in the performing arts. That being said, creativity being restored to the church is not only for the performing artists, but for the individual worshipper as well. Here I personally define performing arts as those done on a stage to be viewed by others. The performing arts are utilized to minister revelation to others through their various forms. I draw attention to this difference because if people that are not called to the performing arts limit creativity to only the performing artists, it might possibly halt them in the creativity of their personal worship to the Lord. For example, there is a difference between a church having a dance team versus seeing a people being released in dance within the congregation in a non-professional, non-performance way. If a church gets a word for the restoration of the arts, they may put together a dance team and think that’s the fullness of restoration, but it’s only part of the restoration. I believe God desires entire congregations of people to understand how to release their worship in creative, artistic ways. Performance art is great and can be used as a tool to impart the heart of God to people. What I’m talking about here is seeing creativity restored to the WORSHIPPER so that God may receive a full spectrum of worship from His children. My wife has heard it before, “If I could dance like you dance then I would dance too!” I’ve heard it myself, “If I could sing like you, then I would too.” Please understand that I am trying to encourage you and the church to realize that the Father God longs for your expression, not because it is professional by man’s standard, but because it’s from you. Ask God for a greater level of His joyous perspective of your individual worship. This perspective will change your life! My prayer is that more and more people would begin to transition from being only observers of art to creators of it.

The “New Sound” Is Now

For years I’ve heard different people talking about a “new sound” that is coming from Heaven to the Church. It’s supposedly going to be a sound from Heaven that God will sovereignly reveal to a generation so that they can use this sound to draw people’s attention to the Lord. When I sought the Lord regarding this, I felt Him impress to me that, “The New Sound Is Now. Whenever you release a sound of spontaneous praise from your heart, that is THE NEW SOUND.” My view of the “new sound” is that it’s not one that will be discovered by a special individual or band to be broadcast to the masses. I believe that this new sound will be discovered by individuals and that this sound is already resident within each of us. I believe that our new sounds will be released in conjunction with new discoveries that we find in God. A new daily discovery will release a new daily sound, a sound of spontaneous, homemade praise unto the Father.

One thing you have to realize is that, regardless of whether or not you hear it, sound is still sound. Many of you have heard the question, “If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it still make a sound?” My answer is that it still makes a vibration. Just because you are not there to receive the vibration does not mean that one was not released. Relatedly, subsonic and ultrasonic sounds are still sounds even though they exist outside of the realms that our ears can perceive them. Having said this, I believe that some of the sounds that God releases won’t even be heard by our ears. There are sounds God wants us to receive with our spirits. We can’t limit the sounds that God is releasing to those which are available to our auditory senses. There is also the issue of what one defines as “new.” What is new to one person may not be new to someone else. I sing worship songs that are so old that young people think they are new because they were not even born when the song was originally released. I believe, in this context, that using the term, “current sound,” would be a better description rather than calling a sound new. “God, what is Your current sound? God, what is Your current vibration? What is it that I need to tune into at this very moment, Lord?” You have the capability of tuning in to the current sound of God right now! You don’t need to wait for someone to “discover” a new sound so that you can finally be ushered into a new place in God through it. Go discover His current sound today. Release a new song from within you in response to His current sound today. The true discovery of the “new sound” will not be a momentary experience but a continual endeavor as we continually relate to the person and the presence of God.

 Helping God Find What He’s Seeking

I was made for relationship with God. Ministry is serving others to assist them in their journey with God. When we realize that everything boils down to relationship with the Father God, worship is simply the way we release our half of the relationship to Him. Ministry is first serving God by serving and helping man to join God in relationship, thus releasing their worship to Him as well. When you take into consideration what God desires from each of His individual children, it’s difficult to justify limiting the people of God to certain styles and formats of worship and expression. God desires the unique songs and sounds of each of us, and He has unique songs and sounds to release to us as well. As a minister, my goal is to see others released into being themselves before the Lord so that He may receive the homemade praises of His children throughout the earth. I’m simply proposing that we all consider what the Father desires. Jesus said the Father is seeking worshippers who will worship Him in spirit and in truth. My desire is to serve God by helping others engage into His presence so that the Father can find what He’s seeking.

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