The Language of Love

Open Book On TableThis is the month when our hearts begin to turn toward the ones we love, or are very fond of. It is a time when we do special things; a time when we give chocolates and wonderful inspiring cards that convey a great message of love to one that we have great feelings for. It is the one time of year when we stop to convey our love and appreciation for that special someone in our lives. Sometimes we get so busy with work and our daily routines that we either forget to share what is in our heart for that person, or we take them for granted and convince ourselves that they know how we feel and therefore do not need to express it. But love needs to be communicated; it doesn’t need to be assumed.

Words make a great impact on our lives. With special thanks to the book “The 5 Love Languages” written by Gary Chapman, we have become aware of the 5 most common Love Languages: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time and Physical Touch. There are different languages simply because people respond differently. What is so beautiful is that God knows what language you speak, and He is able to show His love for you and me in a language that we understand.

With this understanding, doesn’t it stand to reason that the enemy of your soul would desire you to no longer feel that love from the father expressed upon you? Wouldn’t it be an accurate assumption that he would love for you to feel isolated, despondent, hopeless and alone; feeling as if no-one loves you much less even knows you exist?

I believe this is one of the greatest attacks that Satan has launched!

I have attempted to be very transparent with you over the past several months sharing some of the things I am learning. As I have shared with you, I have been in one of the toughest battles I have ever been in since June of last year. And as I have began speaking of the lessons I have learned while going through this deep valley, I have connected with countless ministry leaders going through the identical scenario which ironically began in June of last year. Coincidence? I think not!

You see, when you go through things
there are two choices that you can make.

For some, they choose to increase their activity and leave no room for quiet time. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week they leave the television going, they surround themselves with people and activity. Their thought process is that if they keep themselves busy, they will not think about their situation.

For others, they choose to withdraw from the social spheres. The pull back, get quiet and fade into the shadows. Their thoughts then become overwhelmed with questions, anxiety and worry, so much so they often feel as though they are suffocating.

Both of these responses are equally bad simply because we do not understand what the root cause of the problem, and therefore we are never able to deal with the real underlying cause.

Much like many of you, my dilemma came when things that I had been holding on to and praying for over the past 20 years seemed so close then right before my eyes, suddenly disappeared. Prophetic words that had confirmed some of my vision could have been easily thrown to the side when certain hopeful things left the realm of reality. I wish that I could say that I simply prayed in the Spirit for 3 days and then picked myself up and went on to conquer the next and greatest battle. Instead I find myself holding on to the promises I cannot see, because I know they are still on God’s timeline!

I truly believe that some of you have been holding on to specific promises from God; prophetic words that have been spoken over you, and dreams that God has placed in your spirit, yet you have not seen that dream manifest or that word come to pass.

DON’T GIVE UP!!! HOLD ON JUST A LITTLE LONGER!!

1 Kings 17 tells us the story of Elijah and how he had been used to give the word of the Lord to King Ahab. After giving the word that there will not be rain nor dew for 3 years, God told him to go to the brook Cherith. That seemed like an interesting place to be didn’t it? Why would he send him to a brook…a place of water….when there was to be no water for the next three years?

God never called us to understand.
He called us to trust Him and obey His voice.

As Elijah followed the instruction of the Lord, he went to the brook for this season of depending upon God’s provision. The word of God says that God provided the water from the brook and the ravens to bring him bread and meat in the morning and in the evening. It was in this season seemingly in a desert place where God showed himself as Jehovah Jireh.

Laura Story has written a wonderful song called, “Blessings”. The verse

We pray for blessings, we pray for peace
Comfort for family, protection while we sleep
We pray for healing, for prosperity
we pray for Your mighty hand to ease our suffering
all the while, You hear each spoken need
Yet love is way too much to give us lesser things.

CHORUS:
‘Cause what if your blessings come through raindrops What if Your healing comes through tears
What if the thousand sleepless nights are what it takes to know You’re near
What if trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise.

The song continues with another verse and two choruses pursuing this same thought. Such a poignant song to challenge our paradigm isn’t it?

  • 􏰀  How would we know Him as healer if we never got sick?
  • 􏰀  How would we know Him as provider if we never had lack?
  • 􏰀  How would we know Him as Prince of Peace if we were never afraid?Today, I want to remind and encourage you that God Loves YOU! God has a plan for your life. God has a unique destiny upon your life and mine; one that no one can accomplish upon planet earth unless we choose to lay it down and walk away.

    With the challenges you and I face today, let us learn Him by His name. Is He Jireh, Shalom, Rapha? What are you going through today?

    Let me remind you that He speaks your love language. He knows how to communicate that He is for you and not against you. He knows how to speak his words of love and encouragement to you in such a way that you understand. Perhaps it is simply a matter of stopping long enough to listen to His voice, and not your own thoughts.

    Today, do not allow Satan to silence your voice. Do not allow what you are walking through today prevent you from sharing what He has placed in your heart. Do not allow today’s challenge prevent you from sharing hope and encouragement to someone else- regardless of whether you feel that you have something to give or not. Perhaps it is only one word that you can share. Proverbs 25:11 says that a word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in pictures of silver. Jesus used only one word, “Peace”. The winds and waves obeyed His voice. One word!

    If it is only one word than you can get out, release that one word. Do not allow Satan the joy of silencing your voice. You are a gentle lamb, a lamb who knows the voice of their shepherd. A lamb doesn’t always know which direction to go; but this is the beauty of a shepherd. The lamb doesn’t have to know where to go; it simply has to follow the leading of the shepherd. Today, follow His leading. Speak what He says to speak…even if it is only one word, and watch what He will do for you.

    God knows your love language. Watch today for Him to speak to you and receive His love, His peace, His encouragement and expect the great joy that comes as a result of your obedience today.

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The Two-Dimensional Worshiper

ImageIn the August partner letter, we discussed the One-Dimensional Worshiper.  I shared how that this individual is singularly focused, and that focus concentrates on their individual preferences.  This is not always from a wrong perspective.  I know many individuals who love a particular song, and they don’t feel their worship expression is complete if that song is not released.  As a worship leader, I know that I personally have certain songs that enable me to connect to the heart of God easier than with other songs.  Or, a memory of an encounter with God is triggered when I hear a certain song, and as a result it brings me comfort.  But it is very dangerous for us to stay in this One-Dimension because the focus of worship remains upon “us”, what worship does for “us”, how it makes “us” feel.  And if we never transition away from “us”, our worship can transition from spirituality to sensuality.  A great concern!

As the Praise and Worship industry has exploded, two streams of thought have emerged that deal specifically with this segment of our worship service.  It has caused a great divide in many ministry circles, and as such produced a new paradigm of ministry known as the “Seeker Sensitive” movement.  Please know, I am NOT intending to malign this paradigm, although several years ago I was somewhat troubled by it.  In a worship service that I was ministering, I was singing “Jump into the River” when I heard the Lord speak to my heart.  He rebuked me for being religious and judgmental reminding me that in the vision of the River, the main point was not whether people were waist deep, over their head, or barely wading in the river.  The point of the vision to concentrate and focus upon was that the people get into the river…regardless of the depth of the water. (I will save this for another partner letter).

When we speak of characteristics of something being two-dimensional, we usually reference the height and width of an object.  And these are the characteristics that I would like us to focus on regarding

THE TWO-DIMENSIONAL WORSHIPER

The first area to concentrate upon deals with Height.  In many churches, the priority of worship becomes how “BIG” we can make our worship experience.  From this posture of leadership, we begin to make the worship encounter a Production, causing us to shift from our focus and attention from being where it should be, upon our King and what HE likes and desires from our worship.  Nonetheless, we concentrate our efforts on sound systems, moving lights, haze machines and lighting.  We spend more of our rehearsal time marking our lighting cues and ensuring that they align with our click tracks, that we easily lose our focus.  This results in driving each weekly service to be better than the last service.  And if we are not careful, we will begin to judge the worship leader upon the delivery of his performance and end up forfeiting a potential divine God-encounter moment. 

Please do not misunderstand because I do enjoy nice lighting and the various resources we have at our disposal to help create that moment for people to connect with the heart of God.  But if we are not careful, we can focus upon the Art of Worship rather than the very Heart of the Worshiper.  As a worshiper, we must not settle for smoke and lighting and a great sound system.  We must be passionately pursuing more of God, His character, His attributes, resulting in Godly Transformation in our lives.

The second dimension is akin to the first and it deals with width.  Let me explain.

The fundamental teaching that we, the followers of Christ, have been mandated to accomplish is to go into all the world and preach the gospel to every living creature.  The Heart of the Father is that none should perish but that all come to repentance.  And when we realize this passion of the Father, we endeavor to reach as many people as we possibly can with the message of the gospel.  But in today’s society, I am concerned with this emerging concept that in an effort to reach as many people as possible, we forget the very message we are endeavoring to share.  Our focus shifts off the message of the Father’s love, to the methodology of the day, and in so doing we discount the message relegating it to a lower priority than our method.

This is the constant challenge with us as worshipers, worship leaders, ministry leaders and pastors. 

WE MUST FIND BALANCE.

I have experienced a vision of stadiums filled with worshipers.  But these were not concert groupies.  These were people passionate for the presence of God rather than a slick performance of a man.  For me, I continually struggle with this balance because this prophetic vision is Big.  It requires sound, lighting, cameras.  Yet, that can never be the focus and priority of the worship encounter.  These must merely be vehicles that help to communicate our passion for the manifest presence of God.  And hopefully, they will help to translate that encounter across the masses.  But if my focus becomes more on the technology at my disposal rather than my passion for His presence which brings transformation to my life, then I am out of balance and need recalibrating from the Holy Spirit.

As two-dimensional worshipers, we need to find a way to make His praise Glorious.  We need to utilize various tools and resources to help us communicate the love of the Father to as many as we possibly can, believing that the Holy Spirit will convict of sin and transformation can take place in the lives of these individuals.  But through all of this, we must have accountability measures in place to ensure that we remain balanced and not lose focus of the prize of the high calling which is in Christ Jesus.

As a worshiper, we must NOT settle for big productions which appeal to the masses yet never usher people into the presence of God prohibiting transformation from taking place in the lives of all present. 

Through your faithful monthly financial support, you are helping us to have these type of conversations with worship leaders, pastors and people hungry for more of God.  I cannot tell you how many worship leaders and other individuals who contact our office each month hungry for more and simply don’t know how to get there.  Your seed makes this possible.

Not only are we continuing to dig the wells of worship, creating safe places for people to discover and practice the presence of God, but we are also offering teaching, accountability and conversation to leaders helping them to do the same in their local congregations.  And as you continue to sow each month, the more opportunities I have to meet a worship leader at Starbucks, or host a Coffee-with-Keith, and create opportunities to provide conversation to challenge leadership not to remain two-dimensional worshipers, but to press into that 3rd Dimension which I will share next month.

Until then, keep sowing the seeds of praise into the Heavens believing God to establish an open Heaven over the region you are sowing into.  Michele and I love you and pray Christ’s richest and most abundant blessings upon you and all you in the Kingdom.  Keep digging those wells of worship!