In this earlier post, I looked at the idea of seers as worship leaders, primarily from the standpoint of an ancient Israeli king’s actions in placing a few seers in charge of worship.
The other day, on Spotify, I was listening to a new worship album from Vineyard Worship called “Face to Face,” a live recording from the 2013 Vineyard National Conference. No, I wasn’t there, but I enjoy worship music, and gave it a shot. Before talking about how this album related to the Seer gift / ability, I want to address the contemporary verses traditional issue.
Contemporary verses Traditional
Some Christians have problems with “contemporary” worship compared to “traditional” worship. I think the whole idea of calling a style of worship “contemporary” and other “traditional” is silly just from an English perspective. If you are worshiping with other people who are your contemporaries, then it’s contemporary worship. I don’t care if you’re singing a hymn written in 1750; if other people are worshiping with you while singing that same song, they are your contemporaries (you’re worshiping in the present, not the past) and it’s contemporary worship. But I’m being nit-picky.
I understand that some styles appeal to certain people more than others. I have friends who prefer hymns written decades ago. My in-laws love Southern Country Gospel written over the generations.
One difference in many older hymns and worship music written in the last generation is this: hymns tend to be songs about God and the Christian life; modern worship and gospel songs tend to be sung to God. It’s the difference between,
“One Thing Remains: Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me,” or “So I shout out Your Name, from the rooftops I proclaim, that I am Yours!” “The enemy flees at the Sound of Your Great Name, Jesus!” or “Jesus Your name is Power, Breathe and Living Water, Such a Marvelous Mystery!”
Nothing wrong with either or any group; a healthy mix of both is great, in my view. Personally, I need to add some more gospel music to my mix.
You don’t have to agree with all the theology or practice of the groups writing and releasing worship songs: just use the songs as an avenue to worship God and experience God’s presence.
You are Great and Wonderful. Yes You Are.
One of the amusing criticisms I’ve heard of modern worship songs compared to older hymns relates to repetition. Yes, some modern worship songs may have a total of 5 lines, and can be drug on forever by repeating one of them, like “Let it rain, open the floodgates of Heaven.” Been there, done that. Some hymns may have 6 verses and last forever, but at least the verses are all unique!
Well, ok. Yes, sometimes worship leaders try to “force” a move of God by making people repeat a refrain in a song, hoping “God will show up” or that people will get to experience Him. At least, I think that’s what they’re doing.
To me, worship is about ushering a group of people into God’s presence, or perhaps creating an atmosphere where God’s presence is welcome (any worship leaders reading? If so, write in and correct me, if I’m off my rocker).
So anyway, with this criticism of songs lasting forever, I noticed on this album “Face to Face” a song that lasts 17 minutes.
A Seventeen Minute Worship Song?
What did they do? Just repeat a line over and over for seventeen minutes? Oh brother. If you’re a cynic, I can imagine what you’re thinking; I’m not a cynic, and I thought the same thing!
As I wrote in the first post on seers and worship, it’s part of the job of a worship leader to react to the Holy Spirit, and follow His lead, or at least it should be. Well, I recommend listening to this song, because they are following God in this.
At about the 9 minute mark, you can tell they are winding the song down and they try to end it… but… God was there. And you can hear the congregation in the background not letting it go. It’s beautiful. It’s wonderful. The theology behind the song, by the way, is incredible. It’s spot on.
So being good worship “leaders”, they follow the congregation, and continue on for a couple minutes, enjoying the act of worshiping God.
And at about the 10:40 mark, they make a hard effort to end the song. The band stops. She tries to wind it down with her voice.
At 11:05, the congregation isn’t following the worship leader anymore. God is there, and God is wonderful.
At 11:30, the leaders all stop singing.
God won’t have it. He’s there. The congregation is following God’s lead and continues singing. The worship leader starts again, and begins singing prophetically.
At 11:55 mark, she’s sings: “We turn it all over to You”, acknowledging the Holy Spirit is now leading worship, and in song, she declares who God is, and what is going on, and why it’s going on. Any worship team members with instruments in their hands can’t just sit without playing when God is leading, so they start in again at 12:25.
Who is like the Lord?
Yeah, at times, the lyrics they improvise sound just like lines from some of the Psalms. The ancient Hebrews under King David understood how to worship God, and they are good examples for us today, and this includes appointing people who can see in the spirit realm as worship leaders.
I Just Saw the Hand of the Lord.
At 15:10, they start to wind down again, and suddenly one of the worship leaders says, “I just saw the hand of the Lord come in to the room, his right arm, his arm of power…” and he said he saw the right hand of God crush cancer tumors.
Egad, what does that look like? Is he a seer? Or did God give him a gift of site in that moment? I don’t know the answers to any of these questions, but I do not doubt him, and I can’t help but to think that must have been awesome to see.
And then he prayed, “God, for people who think they are going to die, we release the Power of the Lord.”
Listen to his prayer, and think about the theology behind it, because it’s solid. And let’s start right now making this clear: this is not “word of faith.” This is a type of prayer that Jesus taught his disciples in the Lord’s Prayer.
Do What You see God Doing
Jesus said he only did what he saw the Father doing. In this situation, the worship leader literally saw God doing something (crushing cancer), and through his spoken word, agreed with it, releasing God’s will in that moment. No, this isn’t “word of faith”, this is “whatever you loose on earth has already been / shall be loosed in heaven.”
Jesus said his church would be empowered to bind and loose things in the spirit realm.
“I give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” (Matthew 16:19 ESV).
This statement was in the context of receiving a supernatural revelation of who Jesus is, and is one of only two times Jesus ever mentioned his church in scripture.
The kingdom of heaven is the rule and reign of God, the act of God ruling and reigning, and that includes overturning the works of the enemy (sin, sickness, demonic oppression, etc). But the verb tense in the original language also means, “whatever has been loosed on earth has already been loosed in heaven.”
God moves sovereignly, and he waits for us to recognize it and release it. How does this work, exactly? It’s complicated, and I go into it superficially in the Hearing God report and talk about it some in my podcasts on God’s sovereignty.
Yes, God is sovereign, and he expects us to pray to release his sovereignty. Do not read more into that statement just yet. Just meditate on it.
God’s sovereignty does not mean that God’s will is guaranteed to happen in every situation.
It does mean that no situation is so bad that God can not turn around. God can win with any hand dealt him. This is what Romans 8:28 actually says in context: regardless of the badness of a situation, God can turn it for good. It is our never-give-up policy. The circumstances that we’re in can never trump God. He did not put them there, but he can beat them every time. 1
Incidentally, the second time Jesus talks about the binding and loosing power of the church, in Matthew 18, is in the context of relationships. When Christians have broken relationships with each other, they are in effect binding things on earth, and that binds up heaven’s resources that God wants to release. Read it. That’s what it says.
Our role as humans on earth is to be the image of God, to be his representative, and have dominion over the earth as if he were here, and to extend his rule and reign wherever we go, as Jesus demonstrated and commissioned his followers to do. When we see God wants to do something, agree with it, release it: do it.
As the Spirit of God hovered over the earth in the beginning, the spoken Word released the will of God and created the world, bringing order out of chaos. In these last days, the Spirit of God has been poured out on all flesh. All. (That’s what it says. Read it: Acts 2 / Joel 2. Let’s start believing what scripture plainly says instead of projecting our limiting theology onto what we think it means).
“God declares, that I will pour out my Spirit on all flesh.” Believers and nonbelievers. The Spirit of God is on all flesh, but does not dwell in all flesh. (See the difference?)
Those with the Spirit of God in them, those in the Church, have the power and authority to release the Spirit on someone with their spoken words. Yes, God moves sovereignly: this is how it happens; this is the sovereignty of God in action; it comes up through serving one another in love 2 It has nothing to do with how much faith you have or how much you believe: God is sovereign. He doesn’t need your faith to move (but he wants it, because life is way better with faith!)
I talk about this in my podcast series on the sovereignty of God, and we’ll explore this in forthcoming podcasts.
People are Hungry for an Experience of God
This track illustrates to me how hungry these Vineyard leaders are to experience God. It wasn’t manufactured. It wasn’t fake. It was sweet, intimate and touching. Who else is out there who wants to experience Jesus in their lives and to agree with what he is doing?