It was a peaceful night outside… I laid in my bed at midnight listening to some worship music (Never Lost – Rita Springer & Catherine Mullins) on repeat. Anyone who truly knows me knows that I am a repeater – by accident and on purpose. This night, it was on purpose. I even jumped on Instagram to post a picture about the song. About 15 mins go by and something shift in my heart and mind. I was completely discontent with just about everything. I felt like I couldn’t breathe and that I needed to get away. For me, my favorite times with Jesus is when I drive and it’s just him and I. I jumped in my car and start driving while still listening to the worship song on repeat. As I started to drive from my house, it started to lightly rain and drizzle. I ended up at a Walmart. It was here that forever changed my night.
It was about 12:30 am, August 16th, 2017… and I screamed at God. In prayer, I began to explicitly and passionate scream about my situation and how I felt. I laid everything that was in and on my heart. Every feeling, emotion, doubt, brokenness, hurt and concern. I admitted my struggle with not feeling God near in times of uncertainty, lack of faith with seemingly unanswered prayers, feelings of tiredness (mentally, spiritually and physically). It was after this moment that I felt a nudge of the Spirit. I begin singing the song I was listening to as a declaration over my life. The chorus of the song says this:
Wind, listen to the sound of power on my lips
Jesus has broken the curse, He has never lost a battle
Who are you great mountain, that you should not bow low
Jesus defeated the darkness, He has never lost a battle
Immediately started to cry as I began to sing these words not just out of my mouth and heart… but from my spirit. My lamentation slowly became my praise. After about listening to the song all the way through in silence, I changed the song to King of My Heart. I started praising Jesus for the victory before it happens as well as thanking him for what he is doing in my life and what he has already done. I listened to this song two more times before changing the song to a Spontaneous Medley by Daniel Bashta. While leaving from the Walmart parking lot, I felt at peace and was able to go to sleep when I got home. It was probably the best night’s rest in a long time. Fast-forward to 6:30 pm that same day…
My pastor at the church calls an impromptu prayer meeting that he felt the Lord whispering for the church and what was next for our context of ministry. I went in, tired and hungry for the Spirit of God and natural food! I went to the altar just to kneel and sit as I soak in God’s presence. This song that I have never heard, Extravagant by Bethel Music came on. As I was praying and listening to the words I begin to get teary-eyed. One of my best friends came over and just passionately prayed over me hope, strength and fulfilled promises. The song changed to I Need You More by Kim Walker-Smith. I haven’t heard this song in years, so I started to sing it out loud. My pastor came over as I was just sitting down on the floor and laid hands on me. He asked if I would stand and begin to speak life into me. He prayed over me hope, fulfilled promises and endurance for the journey. While all of this was going on, I received text messages from two other best friends who responded to my earlier text about prayer and my experience the night before.
I said all this to say… this journey with Christ is not always easy or even pretty but it is worth it. We have to be vulnerable with Jesus and others we trust. God doesn’t grow apathetic or emotionally disconnected to our situations. God is not easily offended when we approach him with our cares, cries, laughter or even screams. He can take our issues! This was what made King David so near and dear to God, that God called him a man after his own heart. David gave everything to God – good, bad and ugly. In seasons of good & joy, seasons of weakness & failures and seasons of uncertainty, David honored God with being vulnerable and honest. This is what it means to be in an authentic relationship.
As I am writing this is what the Spirit of the Lord is saying:
The voice of fear, doubt, and hopelessness may be screaming loud in your mind but the voice of Jesus whispers a louder word in your heart and spirit. His voice says you are loved, not forgotten and filled with hope. His voice says “I have never lost a battle and I won’t lose one now. I will fight for you and you will overcome – just as I have overcome the world. Keep believing, keep enduring and keep declaring… my faithful son and daughter!”
Guest Blogger, Lucas Lash shares his thoughts on Worship…
What is worship? How and why should we even worship in the first place? Worship is a necessary part not only in church but in our very own relationships with God. Every day, each one of us worships something, whether you believe in God or not. Sometimes we don’t even intend to, but by how we think and how we use our time, we are always focused on something. It’s easy to get misled and worship those things, and by this I mean we tend to get distracted by so many things we come across in our daily lives. We go to school, we go to work, some of us have kids, or we are focusing all our attention on our boyfriend or girlfriend or even our spouses. Our schedules are so full and we cram so many things into our days that we don’t prioritize the time necessary to worship God and spend time with Him. That is crucial for our relationship with Jesus, and I’m guilty of the same thing sometimes. We fill our plate with work, sports, family or friends, and all those things are great and God blesses us with those things, but I think Jesus deserves a little more than the 5 or 10 minutes a day and then moving to the next thing on our schedule.
I wanted to spend some time pondering the question of why we should even worship God in the first place. It seems like such a small question in our faith, but it really is very significant to remember why you are worshipping God. I want to share a verse that has definitely been one of my favorites ever since I first heard it. Romans 5:8 says, “But God demonstrates His love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” If you’re a Christian, then you believe Jesus died for your sins, to take the full penalty and weight of your sin and endure the wrath of God so that we don’t have to. It’s very simple, but every time I spend time thinking about this truth it breaks me down and brings me back to the simplicity of why I am a Christian. I chose to follow Jesus because I have witnessed the love God has for all of us, and I want to share that with others and give back to God all that I have. That’s why I worship, and really it’s the only reason we should worship God. Not out of a state of fear or pressure, but out of a revelation of God’s faithfulness and love. Jesus came down to this earth and endured all the pain and suffering that we really can’t even imagine, and Philippians 2:8 says this, “And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.” I think that is amazing. Jesus was God and He came down to this earth because He loves us, and died the death we deserve, all because He wanted to spend eternity with you and I. So again I come back to the question, “Why should we even worship God?” Well, because I believe He deserves it. He deserves every piece of me; my heart, and my life. And for what God has done for you and me, and what He is doing for us each day, I will worship Him and tell the world how awesome and great He is.I chose to follow Jesus because I've witnessed the love God has for all of us, and I want to share that with others... Click To Tweet
When you look around the world at different cultures and religions, you see different ideas of worship and what it looks like to worship. The question of how we should worship is a strange one, but I think it’s important to talk about. Each of us are very different people, but we all have the common goal and intention of worshipping a God who deeply loves us. How we worship Him will look totally and completely different. God created us to be unique individuals, He doesn’t want us all worshipping the same way and doing the exact same thing as the next guy. He doesn’t want us to raise our arms just because everyone else is doing it, or fall on our knees at the altar just because it looks like a more meaningful experience. God simply wants us to let our walls down and fully accept His love. Once we do that, we feel that incredible comfort and peace that only comes from Him. We let everything down, and open our heart to God, and in response to that, we worship. We thank Him. We praise Him and show Him how grateful and humbled we are. Showing God our gratitude and showing Him love can come in different forms, and as I said before, it will always look different for each of us. For me, my favorite ways to worship God and to praise Him is through playing music and playing drums. I’m one of the drummers for my church praise band, and I do it because I love God, want to make music for His glory, and of course, because I love playing drums! I love skateboarding and doing art, and those things are even considered worship when you do them with the intention of bringing God glory. Each of us has passions and things we love doing, and that’s great! God gives us these desires and fires us up to do things because He wants us to be happy and enjoy this life, but He also wants us to use those passions to grow the Kingdom, reach those around us, and glorify the God who made us.
Worship is such an integral part of our relationship with God. It’s a way for us to communicate back to Him our response to His love. I definitely think He is worthy of it. Worship looks different for each of us, and I believe that’s exactly what God wants. Worship isn’t always through music or singing but it’s the way we live our lives and what we choose to focus on or direct our attention to. Worship is an amazing thing, and God is always ecstatic to hear your voice, to see your heart and your actions bringing glory to the Kingdom. He is and always will be worthy of our praise.Worship isn't always through music/singing but it's the way we live our lives & what we focus on Click To Tweet
I believe I’ve found my anthem for the year…. absolutely LOVE THIS SONG, Set My Heart by Vertical Church Band! Nothing communicates my heart in this moment and season of life than this….
“Quiet the voice of doubt again,
Echo within me every promise,
Let your Word be louder than my fears.
Speak to the void when I can’t see,
Lift up my head in every valley,
Let your joy be greater than my grief.
I have set my heart,
Set my, set my heart on You.
You have every part of me,
I set my heart on You.
Nothing will ever break me, ever slay me, all my hope in you.
Nothing will ever shake me, overtake me, all my hope in you.”
Words cannot express what this song is ministering to me even now as I write this journal. My one focus this year is on Jesus and making his name and glory famous. So I will set my heart to pursue him more intently and fervently. I am eagerly excited to see what God does in me and through me as I continue to lean on his Spirit and draw closer to him. I am believing that 2017 will be a landmark year for me in ministry and in my personal life.
*** Watch the video above or click here ***
I get asked often what’s my core values or main foci in ministry… So here they go! No particular order
Here’s my philosophy in ministry as well
Matthew 15:21-28 || Mark 7:24-30
The Bible never records her name. This woman, who is identified by her nationality, understood her status and role in life. She realize at that moment that she was nothing.. And she went to the very person who could make her something. She humbled herself, cried out after him, worshipped him and accepted her position. Not a position of poverty or of sickness, or even helplessness for her daughter… but a position that would ultimately propel her into the Kingdom of Heaven… She was poor in Spirit.. Matthew 5:3
“Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.”
Jesus rewards her faith by healing her daughter. Jesus always honors the faith that seeks mercy. She had no resentment, no anger about her situation; she only knew that Jesus was the Jewish Messiah who came to heal people, and for some reason He was in her town. She sought mercy from Him. And this time, Jesus responded with emotion (“O woman” has emotional force & undertones). Her faith was rewarded. And she became one of the early Gentiles to enter the kingdom.
Jesus went into a Gentile territory with a purpose… he was making a point that his Grace and Mercy was freely given to all those who thirst for him. He was sent to the house of Israel, but they chose to challenge & reject him.
She’s asking if Jewish “bad eating habits” resulted in a Gentile blessing. Can’t the Gentiles have what the Jews rejected? She wanted to know that if the provision that were made for the Jews was refused, could even the “dogs” take part in it now?
Sometimes, we are going to have to lay it all on the line… and it won’t matter what our family or friends say, nor what our culture/world tells us. We HAVE to be so desperate and radical about the things that matters to us the most. This woman understood all of this. WILL WE? When you are desperate enough to worship in humility, and begin the process of repentance, Jesus looks passed the “identifiers” and circumstances of life and touches your now. This women’s faith saved her daughters life. What will your faith do?