Faith is spelled r.i.s.k…..

Last December I was given the challenge to choose a word for the year. A word that I was going to claim. I chose courage.

Someone once said to me – “Never pray for patience! Because God will test that and keep you waiting!” But you know what happens when you pray for courage? God challenges you with things that are really scary. Like terrifyingly scary. But once you take that leap and just get on with the task He has set you – you realise that there is no place you would rather be than walking in His direction.

I forgot I claimed this word back in January. Until today. I was reflecting on how amazing our time of worship was Sunday night at church and realised that it was only down to some risk taking that we were able to meet with Jesus in powerfully new ways. My heart was proper racing when I was prompted to speak or sing out or do nothing at all – but once I jumped and did what I felt I was being told it was the most beautiful place to be in. Meeting with Jesus and knowing that others were led there too.

rope bridge

Before the service I sensed that God gave me a picture. It was of a rickety old rope bridge and Jesus was the other side of it. He was saying that we have to risk this scary experience in order to really meet with Him. He would always be there if we didn’t take the risk, but only at a distance. I hate rope bridges, I especially hate them when someone else swings the thing and I’m trying to cross! But taking that risk isn’t always going to be a comfortable one. But the rewards for it can be awesome! And if it means meeting with Jesus more intimately then bring it on yeah? Easier said than done but if we aren’t obedient to Holy Spirit’s promptings then that is never going to happen.

I heard Tim Hughes’ new song: Only the Brave earlier today. He has taken one HUGE risk leaving his amazing job at HTB behind and planting a church of his own – totally trusting in the Lord. Just thought I’d finish my random blurb with this chorus….

Only the brave will go where you go

Into the fire, but never alone

We know you’ll always carry us home

Only the brave will go where you go

Love and prayers

Erica x

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Hear The Whispers of Heaven….

Just a quick one tonight. At the end of a seminar about song writing (audio is available here http://www.worshipcentral.org/life/article/song-central-wcconf-14) a lady called Debs at the end spoke to us all about something she had strongly on her heart. What she said blew my mind at the time. And reading it back again just gets me excited all over again. God is doing a huge new thing, there is a shift in our worship going on right now – we can either move with Him or stay where we are and only be half as satisfied as we could ever be. I hope it inspires you as much as it has inspired me.

God wants to sing over his church. We are the carriers of His singing, to break walls down and sing a new song. God’s heart.

God is looking for people who will write out of their hearts He’s asking us to come up higher and storm the heavenly realm and bring Heaven down to Earth.

In Joshua the Levites (worship leaders) went first to break the walls down simply by worshipping God for who he was and what He could do. He wants us to do the same today. We need to see the spiritual realm, worship prophetically and BE BOLD to do it!

Do not be ashamed of the gifts God has given you. If anyone has ever said that you are weird or that there is something wrong with you for being prophetic or worshipping  prophetically there is nothing wrong with you! We are in the world but not of the world! You need to come up and walk in the identity that your heavenly father has given you. There is nothing wrong with having a prophetic anointing on your worship!

We need to step into our giftings. God is calling us to sing a new song. There is a new song coming from the Heavenly realms. Its not going to sound like how we hear songs etc today. Its going to be Heaven singing, heavenly songs that God is longing to sing over His people.

We need to hear the whispers of Heaven and then sing them out!

Whew. Alot of that really spoke to me. But especially the last bit – to hear the whispers of Heaven – to be so in touch with the heavenly realms that we can hear/sense the small things going on and know what God wants to say to us. But not just to hear them, but to have the boldness to sing them out!

Erica xxx

Leading Worship for the World

I’m planning to do a series of blogs based on all the notes that I wrote at the Worship Central conference back in 2015. There were so many fantastic points made that need sharing and reflecting on months after and I personally find it really helpful rereading them and typing them up like this.

Martin Smith led a seminar called “Leading Worship for the World”. The video is here if you want to see the whole thing

To lead worship for the world means not keeping it contained inside a church. It means bring God’s light and love into the world and God anointing our gifts and using them to touch people and move them to know and see His glory whether we are speaking of Him of not. It means that when the music in the church gets so on fire it spills out into the world. How might that look like?

It is pretty amazing that God can take someone’s life, pluck them from obscurity and give them an assignment. Something only they can do. Something that God has created them to do and none of us are here by chance. None of us musicians have the gift of music by chance. God gave birth to us and gave those with the gift of music to sing the new song. We are all alive for this moment in history.

God wants to give us more faith for what God has called and chosen us to be. And we need to take whatever we have inside of us and let it explode for the sake of the glory of God!

A shift is happening – God is about to do something in our generation. We need to re position ourselves for where God can do it. Believe that God is going to give you something new, fresh and something that will spill out into the world.

It can seem that our worship music is a little religious. We have somehow got stuck in a moment and need God to unstick us. A creative community within our churches can seem a dumbed down version of all the potential it could be. For many of us it is about respect for the people that we are serving because not all of us respond to things getting spontaneous and loads of new songs every service etc. But it is not a rebellious thing – its is about freedom.

The devil has got hold of a generation (in the creative world) where there is a holy fire that God has put on us to let loose our Holy Spirit creativity that will not be created to serve the institution  of church but to set the world on fire!

Our creativity was not intended to serve the institution of the church but to set the world on fire.

Martin then refers to 1 Samuel 16: 14

14 At that very moment the Spirit of God left Saul and in its place a black mood sent by God settled on him. He was terrified.

15-16 Saul’s advisors said, “This awful tormenting depression from God is making your life miserable. O Master, let us help. Let us look for someone who can play the harp. When the black mood from God moves in, he’ll play his music and you’ll feel better.”

17 Saul told his servants, “Go ahead. Find me someone who can play well and bring him to me.”

18 One of the young men spoke up, “I know someone. I’ve seen him myself: the son of Jesse of Bethlehem, an excellent musician. He’s also courageous, of age, well-spoken, and good-looking. And God is with him.”

19 So Saul sent messengers to Jesse requesting, “Send your son David to me, the one who tends the sheep.”

20-21 Jesse took a donkey, loaded it with a couple of loaves of bread, a flask of wine, and a young goat, and sent his son David with it to Saul. David came to Saul and stood before him. Saul liked him immediately and made him his right-hand man.

22 Saul sent word back to Jesse: “Thank you. David will stay here. He’s just the one I was looking for. I’m very impressed by him.”

23 After that, whenever the bad depression from God tormented Saul, David got out his harp and played. That would calm Saul down, and he would feel better as the moodiness lifted.

David was an excellent musician. Whenever the darkness depressed Saul, David would play and make things right. This is our calling as musicians to do that same thing for other people in the world.

Ask yourself – why was I given the gift of music? To be involved in leading worship maybe, but to also bring healing and light in the dark places. Now we’ve learnt about worship over the many years its time to use what we have learnt and spread it out into the world.

The best creative stuff is going to come from the church in this generation. There are so many Christian musicians already playing in mainstream bands, in the clubs and on the stages of high profile festivals. We are one day going to be the little shepherd boys and bring our gift of music into the dark places and God is going to use that.  For it to be great though, its got to be a little bit wilder. We were born to be creative and wild and set God’s fire lose. And if we aren’t doing that then we’re only half the people that God has created us to be.

Over the years if has been the general thing that if God has given you a gift of music, singing and leading worship then you should use it for the church. And we have believed that so much that we have kept our gifts for the house and not out into the world. So it has bred a generation of “this is what we do: but while we’ve been doing that it feels like the river has been changed.

There was a picture given of an amazing bridge – but there was no function for the bridge because the river had moved! The river has moved in worship or its moving. And that’s why we need to be prophetic and be ahead of the game and not follow the world. There is whole generation of musicians and artists who are not going to be tamed and will speak to the world. And this could be a challenge to ask the Holy Spirit to come again, to breath his fire into our hearts and to be wild again. A lion was never meant to be trapped in a zoo. And there is something inside of us that needs to be set free.

Wherever you go sing over people. Whether in church or out of it – just explode wherever you go! God is saying “I love you and I love it all”.

Just like Saul in Samuel 1 the world is screaming “Is there anybody out there that can play the harp?” That can bring light into the dark places, that can make people feel better about themselves and when we play or sing the Spirit of God is going to move and the glory of God is going to come.

How. Very. Exciting!

Erica xxx

The Big 5

nikki

http://www.worshipcentral.org/life/article/big-5-wcconf-14

Here are some more notes from the Worship Central conference I went to last year. In this seminar Luke Hellebronth, Nikki Fletcher, Ben Cantelon & Henry Marsden speak about five big topics that can transform the way your team leads worship. Auditions // Transitions // Musical Direction // Rehearsals // Team Morale.

AUDITIONS

  • Set the bar high but reach down low.
  • Remember it is an anointed job
  • Build teams up for longevity
  • Focus on a person’s character above gifting
  • Meeting first can help a relationship to be formed and help you to learn where the potential team member starts. The Levites were a huge family and this is so important when leading worship together.
  • Check for commitment/dedication
  • Encourage them to choose songs/arrangements
  • Ask yourself – do they get it? are they spirit led? are they teachable? do they really care about what they do?
  • When giving feedback speak the truth in love. If not the answer they’d might like give them pointers to grow and always offer 2nd chances.

TEAM MORALE

  1. Relationship – love people more than the task
  2. Vision – have one for your team, think about what does encountering Jesus look like for your team?
  3. Culture – what we bring is more powerful than what we do
  4. Fun – Jesus has done the worship, lets just join the party
  5. Encourage, encourage, encourage
  6. Speak well of each other
  7. Recognise and release giftings, ensure everyone is doing what they are really good at
  8. Pray together

REHEARSALS 

  • Honour the sound, visual and production team
  • If you want to see fruit you have to be prepared
  • Be clear in your communication
  • Hold people acountable, give reachable targets and encourage improvements
  • Know what to want to leave with having achieved in rehearsals
  • Honour time
  • Have fun – “High standards – low pressure”

TRANSITIONS

In this part of the seminar Ben Cantalon goes through the process of changing from one song to another. Have a listen for some great ideas and examples to flow from one song to another.

MUSICAL DIRECTOR

Have you ever noticed the guy playing the bass at the back with a “secret microphone”? Well I was just gobsmacked to know that many “professional” worship bands have an MD nowadays who speaks the directions through the band’s in ears. This frees up the worship leader to focus on moving with the Spirit. Here is a lowdown on what he/she does…There is also a part on the audio (3/4 towards the end) when Henry Marsden demonstrates how he directs a band during a time of worship.  

  1. What? They navigate the music so the worship leader can see the bigger picture. The worship leader leads the spiritual which the MD leads the practical. A co-leader in a band could take this role on in a smaller church who is able to read what the the worship leader wants and convey it to the band. The MD is also the person that arranges music and ensures that the band knows what each person is doing.
  2. How? Using a microphone that is only heard on the monitors/in ear monitors just for band guidance. They give count ins, count outs and reminders and instructions for chords, sections and outros etc.
  3. When? They may give instructions during junctions between solos and sense/read when the worship leader wants to go.
  4. Why? To communicate with a band.

So some rather useful stuff that has helped me to revise some important points and learn some more. The main point I want to claim from it all it is this:

What is the culture you want to create? Be that culture!

Erica xxx

Spontaneous VS Prophetic Worship?

A couple of months back I was wondering to myself what is the difference between spontaneous worship and prophetic worship? If there even was a difference. So in true Erica style I tapped the question into Google and found yet another pretty interesting video of Brian Johnson talking on the subject.

There is also another summary on this website http://www.worshipu.com/blog/spontaneous-worship-vs-prophetic-worship/ but here are the points that I caught from what Mr Johnson had to say about the matter.

When preparing a set list we need to prepare it like it depends on us and lead like it depends on God. One way of looking at spontaneous worship is being on holiday. When away you need little bit of planning before you go, but sometimes to get the best out of you time away its good to just go with the flow and be spontaneous.

Worship leaders are prophetic. They could hear from God at the time of preparing or even when leading. Choosing songs can create the moment. God is involved in the preparation and choosing of the songs. He wants our ideas. Someone could be given a word about a song being sung during that service and evoke a response. That is prophetic.

I totally agree and love hearing him say that music in it’s very nature is prophetic. It has the power through God to cause change and music opens the door to invisible realities whether evil or good. Music is basically a series of vibrations and God created the world all interconnected with sound, light and vibrations. Vibrations hold the world together to keep it’s shape. Music is prophetic. It creates. It can change a mood and an atmosphere.

Music can change an atmosphere. It can open the reality of God to people who might not necessarily know it,  feel it or sense it. When you tap into something and you can feel yourself saying “woah”, that’s when God is breathing on what you are doing. And that’s a good thing. Creating an atmosphere where God’s voice can be heard is a very good thing.

A very important point he makes is that it is more about presenting our hearts than presenting our music. We have to learn as prophetic musicians and worship leaders to be funnels of what God is saying. A funnel from what God is saying to our own personal emotions and feelings. God isn’t against emotional responses to Him. Prophetic is more than an emotional response – it’s what God is saying.

The thing that causes people to question and bow and worship is more important than the music. There are many examples of God moving through worship. In Jericho when they marched around the wall they laid up a shout in worship and God moved! When David played before Saul God moved Saul and ministered to him. God uses music to be used in powerful powerful ways.

Our God is a gracious loving God who doesn’t judge our worship to Him. A lot of times in our own emotions we release. When we praise or play before the fact – things happen. There is a reaction because of that. Songs are a runway for that prophetic and tapping into what God has to say whether it is a spontaneous song of praise or a prophetic word.

Spontaneous worship can shift and turn into a holy moment. You can hit a nerve during a spontaneous time and then just know God is involved and speaking. We need to cultivate these moments and learn when they happen. We need to practise just as much this process from spontaneous to prophetic.

Good advice for worship leaders and musician is instead of getting intense about prophetic start out with your love for God. He doesn’t care what that expression looks like. If you have 10 minutes to pray spend 8 minutes of it in worship, adoration and paying attention before the Lord. You are going to get your best moments when you hearts are in a place that are turned towards God. When God does it naturally and it is not forced he will take it way further than you could on your own in your own power.

God is very much into giving us something and seeing what we will do with it. We aren’t robots. We are children of God.

Phil Driscoll (a worship musician) says: “I’m trying to keep my craft for the level that will allow me to flow with the Holy Spirit”. Learning for head knowledge is great but to be an effective prophetic worship leader it’s about learning how to hear what God is saying and then play it/sing it out. It is important to become one with your instrument. You don’t want your limits to limit the Holy Spirit.  I really hope that a few of my worship instrumentalists get the chance to read this because I find this such an amazing, liberating thing and they really need to be encouraged that God wants to use their skills to minister to our church in beautiful ways they could never imagine.

We hear differently and we respond differently in worship. Pictures, daydreams, words, insights, feelings, allowing there to just be a flow.  Learn how you hear and don’t try to hear like someone else. We need to learn what He is anointing in our lives. Sometimes talking isn’t as powerful as when we sing it. But sometimes it can be the other way round.  Learn how to communicate the prophetic song put it into some kind of form so people can hear it and respond to it. Sadly this can mean a long time of trial and error.

Another great point is the challenge to be more concerned about the heart than being right. There are no limits with God. He will break every rule that you will make.

Music feeds the spirit. And it is a very wonderful privilege to put the lyric of God into people’s heart so that they can grasp it and remember it in their everyday lives.

It is just so exciting to be reminded that music is so so so powerful and God wants to use it in so many ways to move, change and minister to the church. Its up to us now to listen, proclaim and respond.

Erica x

Every single one of us gets to play….

Worship wonderings....

This whole subject of prophetic and spontaneous worship excites me! I love the insight that God gives to us so we can see where He is moving, what He wants to say and how He wants us to respond to Him. I used to see prophecy in complete isolation with worship leading a few years back. How wrong was I! It is just amazing that like in James 4:8 – if we “draw near to God and He will draw near to you”. And when we draw near to God in worship and praise He longs to draw near to us with encouragement and edification. Just wow!

I went to the New Wine Conference at the weekend and it was just so lovely meeting with God and worshipping in a building filled with so many other like minded people. And when a room full of people proper give it their…

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Nick Drake: A Deeper Note

I went to the Worship Central Conference in November 2014. It was awesome. And I intend to go again this year if anyone else wants to join me 🙂

Anyway, I’ve found a load of notes in my journal from the seminars and keynote talks. I thought I’d put them on here in case they of use to anyone else. Plus it is so useful for me to re-look at them too – I forgot I wrote some of it!

Nick Drake did a seminar called “A Deeper Note”. It asked the question – “why do we sing” and looked into the theology of worship.

He started by giving a quote from Pete Ward (Selling Worship) that “As the mass is for Catholics, the sermon for Protestants… so the sing of songs is for Charismatics”. 

What does it mean to encounter God in sung worship?

Encounter = the weight of his glory impressioning on us… an imprint left by Him. [people who come to church] should expect to be encountered by God. It is a memorable meeting of two people.

How do we know the church has God involved and moving?

John Wimber says we know this when “We are headed towards one goal – intimacy… marked by close association, presence and contact”.

What does it mean to have intimacy with God in sung worship?

It means an inward direction, coming towards Him, one direction INTO God, bringing ourselves. But it is also an outward direction with all things are happening and moving in Christ. The Spirit is the perfecting agency and cause bringing it all into completion through us. It is also about meeting for we can look more like Him, through us and to others

How do we articulate ENCOUNTER in our church?

WORDS – what do words do?

They more than declare reality. They open up the reality that they talk about and then evoke an experience. Nick Drake does go on to say that repeated words have more power (!)

MUSIC – what does music do?

It has the power to affect emotions and it can affect us physically. It is a physical action with VOICE and INSTRUMENT

Music + Words = Song

– Melody heightens words with meaning.

I love this next bit by the way…

THE PATHWAY OF SONG

WORDS  affect our INTELLECT, then our EMOTION and the our BODY. MUSIC affects BODY, then our EMOTION, then our INTELLECT.                           

Words and music affect the same things but in the opposite order

PRAISE AUTHORISES EXPANSIVENESS!!!

God longs to see your face and who are becoming and most fully you are in Him. SINGING BRINGS THAT!

Sometimes what we are singing is the action of the Spirit manifesting His power. Without the Spirit this opening up doesn’t happen.

Where is the power in sung worship?

Singing enables an openness, an expansiveness. Music leaders should encourage and give the people that confidence to be have that power to bring that openness and allow the Spirit to move. We need to “saturate people in song” and get “under” the room.

We need to sing, and to self reveal ourselves as much as we can reveal before the Lord through song and not be inhibited!

  • It matters in how we pray and prepare
  • It matters that we are utterly dependent on Him
  • We need leaders who are incomplete without the Holy Spirit.

Here is link to the whole talk together with slides (with lots more fab quotes and points that I didn’t get to write down in time).

http://www.nickjdrake.com/2014/11/worship-central-lecture-2014.html

Erica xScreen Shot 2014-11-24 at 10.58.32