Expect To Encounter

Welcome to Creative 2017

This year’s vision message for Creative is called ‘Expect to Encounter’ and really flows on from last year.

Last year we really believed that God wanted us to rise up. He wanted to take us to the next level, and to do that He needed to stretch us. We focused on the following verse.

 “Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords And strengthen your pegs. Isaiah 54:2

Wow – did we need to stretch!

To achieve three services in one Sunday has been a massive stretch for this team, but we have witnessed incredible growth in you all and it’s exciting to see what God is doing in you individually. We went on a journey of being early to our knees and learning to be purposeful in our prayer life. We put strategies and processes in place for making sure we are always working on original songs – written out of the heart of this team. We have seen new, amazing leaders rise up. A camera crew and live feed established. And most of all, we have lead our congregation into incredible encounters with Jesus through preparing our hearts and skills to be used by God in worship.

Our worship services and special events are a huge part of what we do as a team and a church.

The purpose of our time of praise and worship in our services is for God to minister directly to each person in attendance – that is our ultimate goal, that every person would encounter God through worship. We seek to encounter God’s tangible presence every time we gather in worship – this can also be referred to as His manifest presence or his glory.

Glory can be defined as “the revelation of the presence of God. It is the manifestation of His presence. He is glory. He is everywhere, but glory is the manifestation of that reality … When glory comes down, it’s a bit of Heaven’s atmosphere coming down to us, a taste of His manifest presence.” – how good does that sound?

The depth of anointing and God’s presence we experience during our worship services is in direct proportion to the condition of our hearts and the time we spend in His presence.

That verse from Isaiah 54:2 “Enlarge the place of your tent; Stretch out the curtains of your dwellings, spare not; Lengthen your cords And strengthen your pegs.” Still remains at the core of the vision of this team and our church. We want to position ourselves for growth. And position ourselves to encounter God’s presence wherever we are.

This year in Creative – we want to expect to encounter God’s tangible presence because we are a team who remain in His presence.

God has promised always to be with us, but often we’re not aware of his constant presence in our lives. The good news is that God loves to be close to us and wants us to know him better. Let’s long to experience more of God’s presence. There are steps we can take that will lead us closer to him, inviting him to make his presence known more strongly in our lives, our team and our church.

So, how do we expect to encounter and experience more of God’s presence?

  1. Let’s remember him

Psalm 77:11-14

But then I recall all you have done, O LORD; I remember your wonderful deeds of long ago. They are constantly in my thoughts. I cannot stop thinking about your mighty works. O God, your ways are holy. Is there any god as mighty as you? You are the God of great wonders! You demonstrate your awesome power among the nations.

Remember the passion you felt for God when you first began a relationship with him, and let that motivate you to repent of your sins afresh and return your relationship with God to first place in your heart. Remember what he has done in your life in the past – His unending grace.

Let’s always come back and remember what he has done. And from that place, declare and prophecy what He is going to do.

  1. Let’s seek him out

2 Chronicles 15:1-4 (after King Asa had defeated the Ethiopian million-man army, and he receives this prophecy…)

“Listen, all you people of Judah and Benjamin! The Lord will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you. For a long time Israel was without the true God, without a priest to teach them, and without the Law to instruct them. But whenever they were in trouble and turned to the Lord, the God of Israel, and sought him out, they found him.

God’s promises are unchangeable, and his word says, “For the rest of your life – as long as you continue to seek me – I will be with you. Whenever you cry out to me, I will always be found.

Anyone can have the abiding presence of the Lord, if he or she will simply seek Him for it. Seek the Lord with your whole heart, and He will come to you with His presence. Indeed, His presence will be an almighty power that emanates from your life!” According to the scriptures, our chief concern is to keep seeking God, to ensure his presence is working through us.

  1. Let’s draw near to God with confidence

Hebrews 4:16

So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.

Keep in mind that God invites you to come close to him and welcomes you with great love, but he is also completely holy and all-powerful, so you should always approach God with the reverence and respect that he deserves – never be flippant about approaching him – he it the almighty, creator of the heavens and the earth. When we play music, sing, mix sound, design lighting shows, write songs, creative visual media displays, dance, or hold a camera steady, let’s know who we are in Christ and be confident in that.

  1. Let’s let go of distractions

Colossians 3:1-2

Since you have been raised to new life with Christ, set your sights on the realities of heaven, where Christ sits in the place of honor at God’s right hand. Think about the things of heaven, not the things of earth.

Let’s let go of whatever is distracting us from giving God our full attention. Remove distractions from your life so you can experience God to the fullest. Confess and repent of sin in your life regularly, since sin interferes with your ability to perceive God’s presence and grow closer to him. The main distractions we face is life and getting caught up in the world. Reasons for distractions include ourselves, money, hobbies, relationships, mobile phones, TV, facebook and more. Turn your worries into prayers, so anxiety won’t crowd a focus on God out of your mind. “Don’t let the noise of the world keep you from hearing the voice of the Lord.”

  1. Let’s be open to the Holy Spirit

2.Corinthians 3:18 And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

We need to open both our heads and our hearts to the Holy Spirit’s work. Pursue getting to know God better through the Holy Spirit’s work in both your mind (such as guiding you when you’re studying the Bible) and in your personal experiences (such as touching your emotions through a tangible encounter that makes you more hungry for God).

Moses was a man, on whom the Holy Spirit was. Even though he experienced God’s tangible presence and glory like many today have not, those in the new covenant possess a far greater treasure. The God of glory Himself now lives in us. When His glory descends, it is not only around us, but the Holy Spirit lives in us, permeating every atom of our being. When we are open to the Holy Spirit’s work, the prophetic will be unleashed in this team.

  1. Let’s be discerning

Proverbs 15:21

Foolishness brings joy to those with no sense; a sensible person stays on the right path.

Let’s not be fooled into thinking that we’re ‘bullet proof’ or that we don’t need to do serious spiritual warfare at times. On the contrary, the Creative team are responsible for leading worship, the first ones to ‘march into battle’ so to speak. Without that understanding, you will leave yourself open to attack. We need to be pro-active in putting on the armour of God for us and for those around us, and discern what is happening in the spiritual realm. We have the authority of Christ to take control over the spiritual atmosphere. We need to be prayed up before we arrive, praying as we enter the building and praying while we are serving. And…not just praying that everything will go well, no, we are praying and declaring what God is going to do!

It is God’s desire that every Christian recognize His voice. And this is something you can learn to do. God wants to communicate with you even more than you want to hear Him. It is so important to have discernment especially as we seek to move more in the prophetic. When we as a team know and can recognize his voice and his presence, we will go to new, unchartered places in worship.

  1. Let’s allow God’s presence to transform us

Romans 12:2 Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Always remember that God’s presence isn’t simply for you to enjoy; it’s meant to inspire you to open yourself up in deeper ways to the Holy Spirit’s ongoing work of transforming you into the person God wants you to become.

  1. Let’s choose adventure over safety.

Psalm 16:11

You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of your presence and the pleasures of living with you forever.

Let’s decide to take whatever risks we need to take in order to experience the blessing of getting closer to God. Be willing to have God turn your life upside down, reshape your values and redirect your energy. Rather than trying to stay inside your comfort zones, be open to saying “yes” to God whenever he calls you to follow him on adventures. Expect encounters with God that inspire awe and wonder in you. I believe God is stirring our hearts. He’s stirring our hearts to do something great for Him. He is calling us to opportunities to serve others, to restore the brokenness in the lives of others, to serve here at Energizer, to live generous, to listen (above all), to listen to His voice and calling for us.

God is calling YOU to step out of your comfort zone… to do the unusual thing… to do what might seem odd in order to add value to His Kingdom and to our community and to this church! God is looking for men and women who have a heart for Him… who want to grow and are unsatisfied with mediocrity and are willing to live for something bigger than themselves! Let’s be like the great men and women of the bible, like Esther and Nehemiah who took a risk on God and stepped outside their comfort zones. They went down in history because of their faith and obedience. Let’s step out in faith as a Creative team this year as we journey together to expecting encounters. What are we as Creative expecting and prophesying? Is it safe or is it way outside our comfort zones?

  1. Let’s pursue revival.

Exodus 40:34 “Then a cloud covered the tent of the congregation, and the glory of the Lord filled the tabernacle”. You may have heard about revivals in history or on the news that affect whole churches or entire geographic areas. Keep in mind that large-scale revivals start when individual people like us pursue fresh encounters with God.

Isaiah 64:1-4

Oh, that you would burst from the heavens and come down! How the mountains would quake in your presence! As fire causes wood to burn and water to boil, your coming would make the nations tremble. Then your enemies would learn the reason for your fame! When you came down long ago, you did awesome deeds beyond our highest expectations. And oh, how the mountains quaked! For since the world began, no ear has heard and no eye has seen a God like you, who works for those who wait for him!

(wow – does that get anyone excited?)

  1. Let’s start with us

Instead of trying to MAKE a tangible encounter with God happen in our services, let’s prepare ourselves for when God decides to manifest his presence to us. The constant presence of God around you (and within you, in the form of the Holy Spirit) that you may or may not sense is his essential presence, while the tangible encounters with God that capture your attention are his manifest presence.

We can’t convince God to show us his manifest presence whenever and however we’d like, no matter how hard we may try or how faithful we may be. God shows up on his terms only, according to his own wisdom and purposes. But we CAN prepare ourselves for encountering God’s presence in the future by making our individual relationships with God our top priority in life and investing it in regularly (such as through prayer, reading of the word, and service), so we’ll grow closer to God and invite him to reach out to us more.

Cultivating our lives for God’s presence isn’t about our own effort as much as it is about responding to God’s initiatives of love and grace so we’ll be in the right place at the right time, and in the right soul condition, when God shows up.

Scripture provides endless examples of how the presence of God empowers his children to live for him. And one of the most powerful of these is found in the life of Moses (as we mentioned before).

Exodus 33:15 & 16 “Then Moses said, “If you don’t personally go with us, don’t make us leave this place. How will anyone know that you look favorably on me—on me and on your people—if you don’t go with us? For your presence among us sets your people and me apart from all other people on the earth.”

Creative Team – let’s pursue Jesus this year like we never have before. That as we remain in his presence, His presence will remain with us, upon us, and working through us. That we might behold his presence and that his manifest presence would be revealed to us.

2 Chronicles 16:9

The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

Seek him with all your heart, and desire his presence in your daily life. Then we will know and experience the incredible glory of God!

Let’s expect to encounter God. Supernatural encounters with God aren’t actually rare; God manifests his presence through the Holy Spirit in tangible ways every day to various people on Earth. So expect to encounter God through his Spirit in a way that you can powerfully sense, whenever God decides that it’s the right time and place to show up in your life that way.

As creative leaders we are believing and expecting that we will experience the touch of God’s presence in unprecedented ways in our worship services this year.

Our encouragement for you is to start to expect encounters with Him that you have never had before. Let’s be prophesying and speaking out what we want to see happen in our church and our community. When we as individuals know God and know His presence, imagine what we can achieve in unity when we together begin to lead our congregation in worship. And this is not just for those on stage. Not at all. We ALL play a vital role in creating an atmosphere where every person in attendance can encounter God through worship. It takes all of us (all our individual skills working together as the body of Christ should and as we are called and anointed to) to achieve that goal.

When we walk into this church to serve, let’s take hold of the spiritual atmosphere and come with expectation that God’s glory is going to be revealed.

When glory comes down, it’s a bit of Heaven’s atmosphere coming down to us, a taste of His manifest presence.”

God will do more through us and in us and around us when we are positioned with expectation. In 2017 let’s expect to encounter his presence.

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