We are so excited about what God is stirring in us for this year and beyond. This theme ‘into the wild’ is both for us as individuals and as a team.
As we’ve heard Ps Dave say recently. We are not called to live stuck. We’re called to be moving forward in the things of God, taking territory, to see God’s Kingdom established.
Our key verse as a Creative Team for this year is.
Isaiah 43:19 (NLT)
For I am about to do something new.
See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?
I will make a pathway through the wilderness.
I will create rivers in the dry wasteland.
Are there perhaps some dry wastelands in your world at the moment? Do you feel stuck? Do you feel stagnant; not moving forward? Do you hear God’s voice calling you deeper or are there too many distractions? Do you have faith and expectation for God’s plans and purposes for your life? Are you prepared to exercise your faith to be lead by God to that next place, into the unknown, into the wild?
Those are questions only you can answer and are about your personal discipleship journey. But as we think about this team and where God is calling us collectively, some questions that spring to mind are?
Are we playing it safe, staying in our comfort zone? Are we just going through the motions? Are we moving forward and developing in our gifts? Are we exercising our faith every time we lead worship? Are we coming with expectant hearts? Are we holding back or are we forging ahead to where the Holy Spirit is leading us? Are each of us realizing the role we play in creating worship atmospheres or are we leaving it up to the worship leader? Are we fully preparing and honing our gifts so that each time we’re setting atmospheres of worship, we’re focused on one thing and one thing only…Jesus?
‘INTO THE WILD’ is the theme for 2018.
The Bible says in Psalm 22:3 that He actually lives and dwells in our praises. This is the mystery and the miracle of the breakthrough power and presence of God when we worship! When we worship, we affirm the truth of God’s Word, and it is being established deep in our hearts.
Every person is created to be a worshiper. God dwells and manifests Himself in the praises of His people. It is, I believe, our collective prayer to write songs and lead worship so that the breakthrough power of God would bring the lost to Him.
So let’s look again at what worship is.
- Worship Is A Battlefield
Worship is how we allow God to fight our battles for us. You may be familiar with the story of Jehoshaphat. 2 Chronicles 20:22 says, “As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated” (NIV). What a strange battle plan–but the result was that the Lord won the battle for them!
There is something inherent in the act of worship that enables us to encounter the power of God like nothing else. It is not effective to simply tell someone to stop worrying; stop being proud; stop being self-consumed, distracted, insecure, bound and materialistic. But it is effective to tell them to start worshiping. When we make that decision to fix our eyes on Jesus, we quickly realize that God has already begun to release the grip these tendencies can have on our lives.
- Worship Is A Declaration
Worship is also a declaration of our weakness and God’s strength. So, challenge yourselves, in your next point of need to make that hard choice to be a worshiper and let the breakthrough God fight your battle for you. It has to start with us. We as a team are leading from the front foot. We are leading our congregation into God’s presence and into breakthrough.
When we worship, the invisible God is at work doing invisible and powerful things. We get realigned, refreshed and refueled; we find unspeakable joy and indescribable peace. We discover the breakthrough strength of God, which enables us to walk in the truth and live in His presence. It is how we can put the beauty of the Gospel on display, receive His many blessings and at the same time be a blessing to the world.
- Worship unleashes the prophetic
Prophetic atmospheres create a space for revelation to come. It is crucial that we as a team, learn how to steward prophetic atmospheres. Powerful moments ignite when God’s words are heard. Worship songs are like runways to the prophetic (when David played over Saul, Saul was delivered).
True worship is never one-sided and always involves interaction with the Holy Spirit. Jesus said: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me” (John 10:27). His voice can be heard anytime, anywhere, but is most consistently and accurately discerned in the context of worship. When people sense God, hear from God, and meet with God during worship, it has the potential to change them for eternity.
- Worship is an act of faith
Releasing a prophetic atmosphere in our worship services is really about faith and awareness: faith that God desires and will in fact speak to His people as we worship Him, and awareness as the Holy Spirit leads us.
They moved on from Succoth and then camped at Etham at the edge of the wilderness. God went ahead of them in a Pillar of Cloud during the day to guide them on the way, and at night in a Pillar of Fire to give them light; thus they could travel both day and night. The Pillar of Cloud by day and the Pillar of Fire by night never left the people.
Are we willing to be lead to those places that are unknown; where our trust is 100% in Him, be lead ‘INTO THE WILD’?
So, how do we do that I hear you ask?
- Be open to the prophetic
1 Cor. 14:1 “Pursue love, and desire spiritual gifts, but especially that you may prophesy.”
Believe it or not, prophets prophesy. They look at a situation and they deliver God’s heart. They speak the mind of God.
We need more creative hearts & minds like this – people who are less in tune with their guitars or computers or sound desks, and more in tune with what the Holy Spirit is saying.
People who lead in the present reality and power of the Holy Spirit. It’s leadership from the inside out.
The people of God need more than incredible musicality.
Are you willing to go deeper?
Are you willing to listen to the Holy Spirit?
Are you willing to prophesy?
Are you willing to go ‘into the wild’?
- Know Your Authority in Christ
Creative Team, it is important that we know the power of the Gospel. Inside and out. Backwards and forwards. The authority we have in Christ is essential to worship.
That is what we are reminding our congregation of. That is what the Holy Spirit is awakening in God’s people. They don’t need to stay buried in depression, anxiety, and disappointment. They are children of the King and need to declare that truth.
Knowing your authority as a believer will bring a fresh energy and intensity to your gift and your role.
- Trust the Holy Spirit
Prepare like it all depends on you, but lead like it all depends on the Holy Spirit. Too often we as humans leave out the Holy Spirit. We pay homage to him in our prayers but we trust more in our ability than we do His ability to awaken the dead.
What if you implicitly trusted the Holy Spirit this weekend? What if you were relaxed, following His leadership? What if you knew beyond a shadow of doubt that He was moving? How would that influence your role this Sunday?
Let’s realize that creating an atmosphere where the voice of God is heard is an act of faith.
Heb. 11:6 “Without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him.”
It doesn’t take faith to perform worship songs. It doesn’t take faith to sing tenor, play an instrument, or run a sound desk. But it does take faith to believe that the singing of songs, playing of instruments, and operating of technical equipment will actually bring a change to the atmosphere that enables people to connect with the Living God.
- Make space for the spontaneous and unpredictable.
When we take the spontaneous and supernatural conversation out of our worship, it becomes lethargic! Without the divine interaction of God’s voice, worship times will always be reduced to a formula, a song list, or a religious form that we refine and repeat. What we desire in our worship is the life, excitement, and anticipation that comes when people are hearing from and meeting with God! This prophetic atmosphere was a consistent element in the New Testament Church and is still available today.
1 Cor. 14:26 “What then shall we say, brothers? When you come together, everyone has a hymn, or a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation. All of these must be done for the strengthening of the church.”
- Engage Fully
When it’s game time, pour your entire being into worship. The more vulnerable you can be the better leader you’ll become. When you are practiced up and fully prepared, it’s so much easier to enter into worship.
Don’t be afraid to cry when you’re overcome by the love of God. Don’t be afraid to kneel. Dance without shame. The best creative teams put their private life of worship on display. They are authentic worshipers in front of people. No farce. No filter. Nothing is fake.
Don’t rely on your incredible vocals or technical ability. When it’s time to worship, forget everything but worship. Pour out your heart and engage yourself fully.
- Eliminate Distractions
This teaching does not just apply to those on stage who are singing, speaking, or playing. It actually applies to everyone from the carpark to the kids area and beyond! Let’s look at one example. Let’s say we’re using lighting and visual effects to enhance the worship experience, which we do. If the lighting and camera people are not sensitive and consciously involved in creating the worship atmosphere, they can become more of a distraction than a blessing. Distractions can come in many shapes and forms. So let’s do what we can to eliminate them.
- Guard your heart
1 Peter 5:8 (NLT) Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.
We need to be aware of the plans and schemes of the enemy and be on guard. You cannot go into the wild un-prepared and un-protected.
Proverbs 4:23 (NLT)
Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.
We need to be responsible for our own discipleship. Let’s grasp the eternal consequences of our character development. Let’s make this year the year that we each get ourselves a spiritual coach. Someone who has your back, who is a bit further on in the journey of faith who can encourage you and equip you and keep you accountable. Why don’t you make that one of your personal goals this year.
As we truly praise, the atmosphere is changed and God is enthroned. Our heart-felt expressions of worship literally set up a zone of God’s authority and His kingdom is established on earth. When we realize the power and significance of this one principle, it can change the way we view our role in the Creative team as well as the way we approach the precious moments when we come together for our worship services.
Psalm 27:1-8 (NLT)
The Lord is my light and my salvation—
so why should I be afraid?
The Lord is my fortress, protecting me from danger,
so why should I tremble?
When evil people come to devour me,
when my enemies and foes attack me,
they will stumble and fall.
Though a mighty army surrounds me,
my heart will not be afraid.
Even if I am attacked,
I will remain confident.
The one thing I ask of the Lord—
the thing I seek most—
is to live in the house of the Lord all the days of my life,
delighting in the Lord’s perfections
and meditating in his Temple.
For he will conceal me there when troubles come;
he will hide me in his sanctuary.
He will place me out of reach on a high rock.
Then I will hold my head high
above my enemies who surround me.
At his sanctuary I will offer sacrifices with shouts of joy,
singing and praising the Lord with music.
Hear me as I pray, O Lord.
Be merciful and answer me!
My heart has heard you say, “Come and talk with me.”
And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.”
God is calling us out. He is calling us into the wild. Our response to Him needs to be ‘Lord, I am coming.’
It is time in 2018 to step into the calling God has for us. To really tap into what the Lord is saying. It’s time to prepare like we never have before. It’s time to expect the Spirit of God to move. It’s time to take the limits off.
It is time to allow the Holy Spirit to take us places that we haven’t been before in worship; into the unknown, the un-walked paths, the un-sung songs, the wilderness, the prophetic, the faith zone, where we are hungry, expecting the unexpected … into the wild.
1) Pray for sensitivity and awareness of the leading of the Holy Spirit for every worship experience.
2) Ask for, long for, and earnestly desire the gifts of the Spirit to operate in our church gatherings:
3) Pray for a brand new level of faith and expectancy that God will meet with us as we intentionally make new places for his voice to be heard during worship.
4) Ask the Lord to make our place of worship a place where people meet with, hear from, and are radically changed by God… every week!
5) Ask the Lord what taking that next step ‘into the wild’ looks like for you this year, both in your personal walk with God and in your role in this team.
6) Ask the Lord to show you who could be your spiritual coach and for courage to pursue further spiritual development.