Sunday, February 15, 2009

Anointing Trumps Talent

This morning a young man, Jarrett, sang a song in Church. He is not a great singer. But he really loves Jesus. As he sang I was once more reminded that talent is nothing without the anointing, but Anointing will overcome any deficit.

Not by might, not by power, but by my spirit says the Lord. KJV

I can do all things thru the anointed one and the power of his anointing who strengthens and gives me the ability. Philippians 4:13 (Gene version of the Bible)

Those truths were in full on mode as this young man sang about "He Knows My Name". I teared up. It was that good. Not good in song.... Good in Anointing.

The best singer in the world can't fake the anointing. I know, I have Christian songs sung by unbelievers, unbelievably well, even excellent and they are empty vessels.

Somehow I don't think the Holy Ghost is fooled. 1 Corinthians 13 is still true.


Anonymous said...

So true. Once had one of those self-appointed leaders that said I sucked at what Im called to do. All they did was complain the whole way about their way of doing things (and that included everything) God moved me to another place where they get it (the annointing that is). In our new home people are being saved from the grip of satan, and everything is exploding. Giving is even up bigtime in this bad economy. Why? Because when God is in it, things explode. When its not of God (or even not to God as you speak), things implode. God will also take the blessing elsewhere as in my case. People werent even receptive to Jesus in his hometown, and he moved on too. Theres a lesson there. (some just will never get it and ramble on trying to get their ways)

On the other hand, theres some incredibly average voices in CCM right now. None are big names, but God is touching people through them. Whos to say what God likes. Not me. Not you. Im glad I dont have to please anyone but God. Thats where the blessing comes in. It starts in the hearts. Some will get that some wont. The annointed will.

Anonymous said...

Maybe this will help:

“How do I know if I have an anointing to be a lead worshipper? I've been asked by our worship pastor to occasionally lead worship. I've led worship a few times and it is never easy. Each time brings a new challenge, which, frankly, doesn't exactly encourage me to continue. Is it God "growing" me or is it God showing me that I don't have what it takes to be a worship leader? I love worshipping God. I love singing my heart out to Him. However, to me, that doesn't me I have an anointing to be a leader. My worship pastor is insistent that I am a leader and people have told me the same, but I want to hear it from God, not from people”.

This is a question I’ve encountered many times before – and in one way, I’m glad people like Patrick ask the question. After all, there’s nothing worse than the opposite attitude – someone who tries to tell everyone they are a lead worshipper, whilst everyone else in the congregation is desperately trying to persuade them they are not!

I think it’s helpful to think of calling and anointing as two separate things. And yet, they inter-connect massively. When God calls us, He anoints us to back up the call and help us get the job done. I love the words that the prophet speaks over Saul after He was anointed to be King – “Now do whatever your hand find to do, for Lord is with you.”. In other words, God is on your case, now go with the flow, and he’ll show you that by helping you. Anointing after all, in one way is just a very fancy way of talking God’s irreplaceable help and favour in a particular area.

Now of course, you do want to hear this from God at some point, Patrick – but the authority of your pastor and the encouraging words of the congregation count for a lot. Often people identify our gifts and strength a lot better than we do. If your pastor is affirming you in this, that is an extremely encouraging sign. People in general, but especially creative types, always seem to think they’ve done a worse job than we actually have. My guess is that if you’re anything like me, you have been picking apart how you did – and replaying in your mind every musical mistake made, or every tiny decision in worship leading you regretted.

Your pastor on the other hand did not home in on these. He was much more attentive to the fact that you are a worshipper – and therefore a good candidate to be a lead worshipper, modeling that to others. And more than anything, it seems he is encouraged with where the people were at. Most pastors will put up with a load of musical errors (as we grow) if they can see that you have a calling to this and are anointed to help the people keep journeying further and deeper in worship. I would go as far as to say we actually can’t grow really without making some technical mistakes.

So, Patrick, be encouraged. Church is a family, and a good church fosters an environment where people are encouraged in their callings, and even given space to make a few mistakes as they grow. Keep leading the way as a worshipper, and the technical and musical side of things will slowly take shape. I always say that is easier for us to change someone’s musical ability than it is to change their heart. Your pastor has recognized this – investing in you as a lead worshipper because he perceives that to be a good way of investing in your church as a worshipping community.

You're welcome.

Anonymous said...

Fallacies, theories and logical thinking. At times they can be the greatest hindrance to the moving of the Spirit in church worship. Here we unlock some of the thinking that we have had to work through to see God's presence move in our own ministry and life in this article to leaders of worship.

I have discovered the greatest hindrance to a move of God can be quite simply right between my ears! My arrogant senses of right and wrong, godly and secular, acceptable and unthinkable. My religious education. My British culture. They can all hinder the divine, eternal culture of heaven from piercing through the dull temporal culture of church and ministry today.

In my own faltering worship journey, I have discovered fallacy after fallacy in my thinking, many of which I have had to reject in order to see God's power at work. Here is my own list of eight great myths of church worship that must be re-programmed in order to see the power of God at work in our meetings.

Myth No. 1 - God's Order is Like Our Order

I have discovered that Church can either be a mortuary or a nursery. While a mortuary may be clean, disinfected, tidy and orderly, it is a place of death. But life is messy - you can't avoid that. A nursery is full of life: Noise, mess up the walls, brown stuff in corners, funny smells and big mistakes. But it is life; wonderful life! People learning, growing, feeding, sharing and laughing.

The Church should be a place of learning and growth, like a nursery. Some would say "God is not a God of disorder", but you must understand that God's order is not 'western' or subject to your culture. God's idea of order may be the day of Pentecost, with people looking drunk and babbling in tongues. His order may be like the temple, so filled with glory, that people are unable to do their work. You've only got to read a few pages of scripture to realise God overwhelms earthly situations with heavenly "order" at times. We must allow the mess of life and learning to exist in our churches if we desire his power.

Myth No. 2 - God is Polite and Politically Correct

We are living in the era of the Politically Correct. The problem is that God is not always very P.C.! Offence is a part of his Gospel. Remove its offence and you remove something of its power. The early Church brought fear to cities, looked a little drunk at times, yet saw thousands saved! Just read Jesus' sermons and you discover his communication techniques included some extremely straight talking, dodgey mud packs and a fair amount of spitting! Jesus' language was pretty rich, his disciples pretty raw, and his Holy Spirit's outpouring pretty riotous!

We must stop trying to impress the world with our songs and well ordered services. We must start to experience God's powerful presence among us. We must move in signs and wonders and see, as great revivalists like the Wesleys did, God move among us and shake the congregations and contents of our meetings. This will not be accomplished through polished music, polite messages and politically correct ministry.

Myth No. 3 - The Local Church should be Like a Conference

One of the great, yet subtle pressures on church leaders today comes from our Church culture of camps and conferences. Once a year, many in our churches exodus to wonderful camps where thousands congregate. The greatest preachers preach and the worship (especially the music) is often outstanding.

While I love conferences, the subtle error that such conferences may teach us is that we need to re-create all aspects of the conference culture at home - with amazing music and concert style worship in our local church meetings. While that may be a great blueprint for one-off events, special celebrations and camps, it should not be the "bread and butter" design of week to week church life. It breeds weak, entertainment centred Christians, who are quite happy to sing their way to heaven, yet rarely engage themselves in corporate prayer, body ministry, deep intercessions and other such necessary local church activities.

Myth No. 4 - If in Doubt, do what you did Last Week!

Many of us have a pattern of worship service. If God doesn't speak clearly to us, we normally slip straight back into that pattern. But I tend to think, if God doesn't tell me to do something, I can do whatever I want. I can use my imagination and make a meeting interesting and exciting. I don't have to fall back on what we already know. I can keep the congregation supple and expectant by being creative and interesting. God has made us in his image, and that means being imaginative and creative. We are alive, which means we should develop, change and grow. This should be expressed in our worship, as we use our entire God given faculties to lead the people of God to his throne.

Myth No. 5 - Better Music will mean Better Worship

I am regularly asked to speak to worship groups. The request usually comes from a church leader who sincerely wants to see an improvement in the area of worship in their church. On meeting most worship groups I often reach the opinion that the issue of improving worship lies not with the music, but with the congregation.

In many cases our worship may not improve by getting better at music or by increasing the spirituality of our worship teams. Better music will give us a better looking meeting, but may not actually improve the worship or the manifestation of God's presence. We quickly reach a ceiling of what we can accomplish in church by becoming more musically skilful. There comes a point when we have to face the congregation and let them know they need to grow. That will only come by teaching, training and leading the congregation to a new place in God.

Myth No. 6 - Our Worship Culture is the Right One

It is countries like the USA and Europe that spearhead the worlds most high profile trends in worship music today. It is these countries that have developed million pound businesses in worship music and have created pop-star worship leaders for us to admire. Though many of these ministries deserve our gratitude and time, their profile does not mean that everything these nations are propagating is God's perfect blueprint for corporate worship today.

In a visit to Kenya I ministered at a conference on worship where I taught many of the principles outlined in this article. As I taught, the congregation went bananas! Jumping up and down and shouting - "High Fives" and loud "Amens" were a-plenty!

After the conference I asked my host why this sort of message might be so important to Africans. I presumed that they would be far more into power, prayer and the more costly side of worship than my own country, and that my message might be less relevant.

The Kenyan minister told me that there was great pressure by worship ministries from America and England, to develop the "concert style" worship in their churches. I reassured them that although America and England had good musicians and a high profile, it was African nations, South America and parts of Asia that were experiencing revival, and they would be far better off using them as a model! The very nations that propagate the current western worship scene are the very nations that are not in revival. I pray that we would become more like our neighbours in revival, not they like us, with our skilful, yet presenceless programmes.

Myth No. 7 - We Have to Fill the Allotted Time

One of the greatest hindrances to worship is that we feel we have to fill an allocated time slot. I don't know about you, but sometimes I feel that God has done all he wants to do in worship within fifteen minutes, but then we churn out a further 45 minutes of song because "it's the worship time", and someone, somewhere has said it needs to last at least 50 minutes! The problem with long, dutiful worship times, when God is obviously not present in a manifest way, is that many in the congregation become bored. This leads to a lack of expectancy and excitement, which in turn leads to worsening worship times as the weeks go on.

Myth No. 8 - Imitation is as Good as Revelation

Imitation floods the ranks of the Church. Sadly, there are very few originals. There are very few who will seek God and find his blueprint for a life, church, meeting or ministry time. We kick into "auto pilot" week after week, churning out what we've seen in other churches, camps and conferences. We must learn that the most powerful place to be in God is an original. Yet ministries imitate styles, even down to dress sense, running orders and album covers. While imitation is flattering to the imitated, it can also show a remarkable lack of authenticity, a value close to God's heart. He demands that we worship in truth, meaning "reality" or "authenticity" (John 4:23). You don't impress God or woo him to your temple by saying "This is what we saw so-and-so do and you turned up"! No, he wants to give you his blueprint, for your temple! A one-off, intimate expression, written in God's handwriting on your heart.

Lord take a hold of my mind and shake the religious, small mindedness from my thinking. Show me the eternal culture of heaven and allow me to host your divine presence on earth. I'm tired of meetings and singing songs - I want a divine encounter with the You and with Your people. Take me, shake me, mould me, until I have built a temple for your presence!