In our last “Epistle” we stressed the discerning between the soul and the spirit. We are like surgeons cutting down to find the source of the illness or disease at times. We need to dig down and reach the root of the tree if we are to discover the source of the contamination. I am going to expand upon another issue that seems to plague “the Church” and this highlights another one of the sticky points that people have heard us speak on before and it is linked to “entertainment” in the church. Jody and I were groomed in the “entertainment industry” for most of our lives. We were programmed to ‘entertain’! When we were successful, we were called back to the bar and usually after a while, our price went up because we sold more beer, as more and more people came to see us. We measured our success by the ‘financial measuring cup’.
I was surfing the internet the other day and on “GodTube.com” I found some awesome Christian expressions through art, sculpting, and through groups of people using skits to bring glory to God. I am all for people using their gifts to bring glory to God. When he is lifted up, Hallelujah! There were some of the videos that brought tears to my eyes and made my heart leap for joy at the portrayal of His greatness. Then I explored a little further looking for more of the same, on that web site. There was some excellent stuff and some very inspiring and brilliant creations, that brought Him glory. Then I saw a couple of videos of bands who were performing in large venues singing their “greatest hits” for the Christian audience. I was so grieved in my spirit at some of the stuff I saw. I did not go looking for it, please understand, I was looking for more inspirational videos to light me up and cause the flooding of God’s glory to filter through the computer screen into the control bubble where I was working, at a slow part of the day.
What I saw upset me! It upset me because I saw the same traps and showmanship that Jody and I used to partake in while we were secular musicians “entertaining the troops!” Please: help me here! Does no one see? Is there no discernment left in the church? Has satan deluded us so badly that we just accept everything as “Christian” just because it puts a ‘cross’ up somewhere, or the word “Jesus” is used in every third song? PLEASE!
It reminds me of when I was young and some great big American company would plant a store in Canada. They always made sure that there was a Canadian flag on their “Canadian stores logo” to convince us that maybe somehow this corporate entity was somehow “Canadian”. It was not in any way Canadian, but we had a sense that somehow it was, and so it became “OK” to shop there. All of the profits were heading south but we didn’t really grasp that. It is like some of the slop that the Christian church is being served? Maybe it is our lust for world entertainment that is fueling this machine! Maybe we are to blame? We have said it before that there is (we believe) a sector of Christians who have grown up without all the glitz of the secular world. Because of this, there has been a hunger for the things that “their secular friends have”, but they have been denied. Have you ever seen someone who has been denied certain things, who finally gain the ability to have those very same things? They run with all of their might after them to their own destruction? It is pitiful to see!
I saw in these bands, people on a stage, with sloppy clothes on, hats to cover their faces, joyless expressions on their faces, singing songs with mega lights, mega sound systems, hardly able to hear the voices, screaming loud guitars, pounding drums, people screaming and applauding the “performance”, hoping to “touch” the “stars.” Have you seen it?
I love the songs some of these guys sing, they are anointed! They were probably written in the depths of intimacy in some small room with tears dripping onto the paper, as the lyrics were being written. Now they are being repeatedly performed in huge arenas before screaming, adoring fans who are hoping to touch the performers, with all of the same paraphanalia of the typical “secular rock bands”. Please tell me where Jesus is glorified? I can’t see it! Help me out here! I did not go looking for this! It arrived on my computer screen innocently! The grieving in my spirit left me no choice but to talk about it here in this “Epistle”
So lets get to the meat of the matter. If there is no meat…it doesn’t matter. There is a huge difference between “talent” and “anointing”! Well…what is it? Talent is God-given as is “anointing”. The difference is the “talent” can continue to function long after the anointing has ceased, but the “anointing” stops in it’s tracks as soon as the Holy Spirit, changes directions. What do I mean? In any meeting of God and man, there is a definite presence that can be sensed. The Bible says that God leaves 99 to go after the 1. In a meeting, there is a continual flow of God’s anointing for His people. From second to second, He is ministering to this one and that one simultaneously. When we, as worshipers just continue with the “program”, we may be out of step with the flow of the Holy Spirit. He may be just about to break someone into a totally new place with Him in worship. He may be just about to rip out an old festering wound that has been hampering that person’s life for so long. We are singing something that is spontaneous and intimate from heaven, and just before the Holy Spirit is quite finished, we think people are bored, so we switch from the very deepest intimacy, into some high energy rocking praise tune to rustle up the people from their slumber. (Praise of man is a snare!) Another time…the opposite is true. Someone is about to get up and dance for the very first time in church and everyone is excited, and you as the worship leader, change it up and move into some intimate love song to God. Is the love song bad…NO…but the Holy Spirit is grieved because His work was short circuited by an unhearing ear who has been anointed to follow “every move He makes”. Too many times our “talent” overwhelms our “anointing” when we feel that we know how to “do it” DO WHAT? We’ve done it before and we can “do it again” BALONEY!
Without having a “hearing ear” to know at any split second moment where He is, and then making sure not to move, without clear instruction from the Holy Spirit, we are no more anointed than the secular musicians who are using their “talent” for their glory. This may seem harsh…but it is a wake up call! Please…the gifts are not for our benefit! They are to glorify the ONE who gave them in the first place. These gifts are all tiny little attributes of Him! They don’t belong to us! Let’s give our heads a shake and come back to the basics. Our gifts are given to bring glory to Him, not us. On one of those videos, this excellently talented lead guitar player stepped up to the front of the stage, and into the spotlight for “his solo”. Who is looking for the glory? How in any way is this bringing glory to the Saviour? My! My!
Someone sound the shofar to awaken the stupor of the un-discerning saints! Enough. All is vanity, as it says in Ecclesiastes. Help us Lord!
DO NOT USE YOUR GIFTS FOR YOUR GLORY AND BENEFIT!
To me it is probably a matter of education more than anything. It is like those who do not know what God’s word says on a matter, and who ignorantly go about doing it “their way” even though it is against the Word of God. The teachers need to teach these primary things, but what if the teachers don’t know? Some of these attitudes and teachings have been surviving for generations because they have not been challenged and rightly examined before God’s Word. “Talent” is not “Anointing”! There are two stories that come to mind to bring some clarity to this. Smith Wigglesworth and Katherine Kulmann were a couple of the worst singers in all the world, but when they allowed God to blow through their vocal chords, out of tune, and raspy…people fell under the power of His presence! (If you don’t know who these people are…google them…it is worth it)
Jesus said if the people do not praise me, even the rocks will cry out! So…start looking for the trees and the rocks to start sincerely praising Him if we continue to worship and adore the Christian singers and musicians who fill our concert hall and sports arenas, with their mega sound and light shows. The bottom line is that when we are in the presence of a terrible and holy God, we are changed from glory to glory, from day to day. Is your life changing in dramatic ways? Maybe you should start feeding on the pure manna from heaven, created to bring glory to the only One who is worthy of it.
Search your heart today and ask God to purge you of all the entertainment urges that still compete for domination in your lives. Why do we need a holiday, or break from the most holy, wonderful, glorious, generous, loving, caring, nurturing, purifying, excellent God? Is He not enough? Why do we mix in so much worldliness? It only pollutes the stream and makes us miserable. Fast some of the worldly pleasures and see if your discernment starts to flow again! Try it! Let us know how it is going as you venture into new realms of His glory! “But it is written, Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, neither has entered into the heart of man, the things which God has prepared for them that love Him” 1 Cor. 2:9