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Spiritual Retreats and Worship Workshops.

Since returning to Cape Town it has been awesome being invited to teach and facilitate at various church retreats and Worship Workshops and Conferences. Whilst the retreats have only been predominantly for Men's Groups or Ministries within the ambit of Christian Spiritual Formation and male spirituality, I do also enjoy taking couples. Regarding the Worship Workshops, this can either be for the ministry itself, or a worship-leader specific in-depth practical and spiritual workshop. I look forward to hearing from you to discuss the possibilities of us getting this together for your church!

Spiritual Retreats: These range from single-day retreats to, what tends to happen mostly, those that are given over a weekend. I am able to travel should you wish me to do so.

Worship Workshops: Those that tend to work the best are given over the course of a day. Most churches tend toward that being a Saturday. What we deal with is basically discovering our highest calling and how we best serve God within that given our talents, gifting, and leadership abilities for those who have been called to lead. "The power to bless the world around you is a direct result of your ministry to the Lord" (Gerrit Gustafson). In these workshops we speak into what worship is, our calling within it, the anointing, worshipping in "Spirit and in Truth", and, among other areas, worship and the Presence of God. This normally takes until lunch-time. After lunch we get stuck into the practical side of church worship. This moves from instrumentation, vocal, harmonies, utilization of 'light and shade' in what we do, planning worship sets, best key options, and a host of other areas. I always summarise what we have learnt and mail that through in PDF format to each participant. Should you wish me to attend practices after that, I will gladly do so. I look forward to hearing from you in this regard!

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Blessings - Laura Story. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Wednesday, 26 February 2014 17:59

One of the things about an eighteen hour drive from Durban back home to Cape Town, as my family and I did leaving Scottburgh at 16h30 yesterday and arriving home at 10h30 this morning, is listening to music! One of the songs we listened too was an amazing one by Laura Story which unpacks the often skewed view and understanding of God in a large portion of what calls itself Christianity today. Known as "popular and consumer Christianity", it regards God more as a ‘divine-butler’ with its focus solely on God’s hand than on his heart. It is also a move to what is often called ‘cheap-grace’, rather than the focus on a relationship and worship of Jesus as heavenly Father who is determined for his children to become more like him. What it also doesn't get is that, for the Christian to become 'more like Christ' as God desires of us, requires him to work in ways that need to refine us, and for many of us these are testing times. Now here is the song that turns the popular/consumer thing on its head. Read this and perhaps even look at your own thinking in a serious fashion, and be prepared to change your thinking if the Holy Spirit leads you in that direction.

BLESSINGS: "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 along You hear each spoken need, yet love us 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 a thousand sleepless nights, are what it takes to know You're near? What if the trials of this life are Your mercies in disguise?

We pray for wisdom, Your voice to hear, we cry in anger when we cannot feel You near. We doubt Your goodness, we doubt Your love, as if every promise from Your Word is not enough, and all the while You hear each desperate plea, and long that we'd have faith to believe.

Chorus: 'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops, what if Your healing comes through tears? And what if a thousand sleepless nights, are what it takes to know You're near? And what if the trials of this life, are Your mercies in disguise?

When friends betray us, when darkness seems to win, we know that pain reminds this heart, that this is not, this is not our home. It's not our home

Chorus: 'Cause what if Your blessings come through raindrops, what if Your healing comes through tears? And what if a thousand sleepless nights, are what it takes to know You're near?

What if my greatest disappointments, or the aching of this life, is the revealing of a greater thirst this world can't satisfy? And what if trials of this life, the rain, the storms, the hardest nights, are Your mercies in disguise?"

Where do you stand? Are you letting the popular, consumer, far too often 'cheap-grace' thinking, affect what could be the greatest, real, poignantly profound, intimate relationship with Jesus Christ? Food for thought.

 
They will call it Christianity. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Friday, 21 February 2014 15:11

It has been great receiving your e-mails, SMS’s, and phone calls regarding the Drawn to Sacrifice Sessions. What is most rewarding, is the apparent desire of the majority of you to take your worship teams to the next level both musically and spiritually, and, also, to avidly help your worship-leaders to grow!

Now, I have spoken to several people of late who are seriously confused with the latest fads and fancies that have arisen all in the name of Christianity, along with those that have been around for some time. Unfortunately, many of these folk and other Christians, are lead astray by teachings that sound so real, but are quite simply untrue. The folk I have spoken too are now in a place where they quite simply do not which way is up in the faith and their walk, and, in fact, what the Biblical truth actually is. What is also interesting, is that a number of these folk are pastors and leaders of churches. Yip, it is scary, especially when these people are responsible for the spiritual growth and well-being of churches.

Names of movements that you hear confusing people completely include Ariel’s Gate, and, I have to be honest, I took one look at their home page and made a rapid U-Turn out of there, so don’t ask me what’s going on with them. But let me tell you this is not something new, people have been trying to ‘rewrite’ the Bible ever since the Old Testament, and they continue to do so today, they will wrap it up so prettily, and they will call it Christianity. Look, if it’s not in the Bible, it isn't true. If someone wants to come in and offer you a new meaning, understanding, and distorted view of the Bible, friends, I have one word for you … “RUN”!

Perhaps like you, I have heard some really weird understandings and definitions of what the Bible says, of God’s character, and his nature, which are so unbiblically wacky, yet more people (again, pastors and church leaders included) than you know believe them to be true, and hold to them. Likewise, there are more and more new perspectives on biblical doctrine. I don’t know about you, but when this kind of thinking raises its head, red flags flash warning signs at me of possible and potential danger. In many cases such “new” ideas, teachings, or perspectives are not new at all. Rather, they are the same old lie from the Garden of Eden when Satan first cast doubt on God’s Word: “Did God really say” (Genesis 3:1). There seems to be a move, at points, to try and deny what the Scriptures clearly teach and what has been accepted by Christians for centuries. I would seriously ask you to pray for the gift of discernment, you quite honestly need it more than ever in the church today.

 
Drawn to Sacrifice: Final Session. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Monday, 03 February 2014 21:33

Well here we are at our final session! I have enjoyed this time with you, and I trust the feeling is mutual. As promised the culmination of these nine or ten sessions, is seeing how what we have discussed plays out biblically. I would ask you to kind of press pause right now, get a hold of your Bible, and read 2 Chronicles 5:13 to 2 Chronicles 7:3 with me. Take as long as you like, and we’ll get together after that!

If you haven’t spent much time in that particular text, I am certain you will read it over and over again going forward. So what we’re going to do is look at the first two verses 2 Chronicles 5:13 – 14 and unpack them together.

2 Chronicles 5:13; “They raised their voices and praised the Lord with these words; “He is good! His faithful love endures forever!”At that moment a thick cloud filled the Temple of the Lord.”

As those of you who have been part of my preaching and teaching over the years will know, I have always stated that correct contextual biblical interpretation is hugely important. So what’s the scene here? I am glad you asked that question (kidding)! Well Solomon had spent years, and also stacks of Israel’s human and material resources, to build the Temple. The time had now come to dedicate it. Now I want you to really get this, and remember what we have discussed. When the priests brought the Ark into the Holy Place, God’s presence did not manifest itself. The musicians began to play, but God’s presence did not manifest itself. Then the people raised their voices in shouts of praise, proclaiming God’s goodness and faithfulness and love and THEN God’s presence filled the Temple! Suddenly there was a visible, tangible cloud of glory which became so thick that the priest’s couldn't even perform their duties! God responded to the praise of people hungry to encounter him in their dwelling place. God shows up in response to heart attitudes that are thankful. Whilst he is always present with us (omnipresent), his presence manifests itself most often when our hearts are turned toward him in praise, and even more when we express that praise outwardly. Here’s the key; when we create an environment appropriate to who he is, he fills it!

2 Chronicles 5:14; “The priests could not continue their service because of the cloud, for the glorious presence of the Lord filled the Temple of God.”

Perhaps like you, I have had pastors standing at the back of a church waving their hands to get my attention whilst pointing to their watch! Kind of saying; “Hey! Your twenty minutes is up!” Happened to you before? Listen; if there is a real encounter or an ongoing conversation with God happening, it is my belief that we need understand as leaders that agendas quite simply have to be reset. A relationship with God, and an encounter with God cannot fit into a schedule. He is more than an appointment on the calendar. He is more than an allotted twenty minutes for praise and worship. When he shows up in a holy moment, the moment has to last as long as he wants it to. I can remember returning back home to Cape Town from Tanzania at the end of 2006 and spending three-months with a great mate of mine Morne’ van der Merwe who had played on both my Christian albums at a church called Joshua Generation in Parklands. I was leading one Sunday morning and the Holy Spirit came in with such power that people ran to the front of the church and God ministered to them! The pastor came up and said “just play, I am not preaching today, God is preaching out there already!” Off he ran to continue ministering to people lying, kneeling, standing opening themselves up to God! It makes sense doesn't it? As a pastor reading this, what would you do? No one truly engaged in a God-moment would prefer to get on with the daily routine or the to-do list. When we meet with God and something powerful happens, there can be no desire to disengage and say; “Okay, time’s up.” We simply cannot walk away from holy ground. We live for such moments. Hold all your agendas very loosely. When God shows up, all eyes are on him, including yours. And when his glory fills a Temple, like your heart, that is how it should be!

I look forward to the possibility of getting with your church and living worship with you, even if it is only for a Saturday or two. God does not want us to tread water as a worship-team, he does not want us to ‘ride-the-brakes’ as a worship team, and he doesn't want us to rest on our laurels thinking he is happy with just throwing something together, and that we are ‘good-enough’. You and I will never be too good, our offering of praise to God must be the absolute best we can muster and continue improving! Hang in there, give it all you have for Jesus!

 
Drawn to Sacrifice: Session Nine. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Monday, 03 February 2014 16:10

Now there have been streams of mails coming in asking some really pertinent questions, some most of us think we know, but, perhaps don’t, and simply move on afraid to ask the questions because they just seem so simple. So before we draw to a close, herewith a few of these questions.

The first one we will address is “how do we worship”? Great question! You might be saying “like – duh”! Well, try this out. How we worship is really coming together in one accord, to celebrate, to praise, to exalt, and to adore God with songs and instruments. The Bible teaches that we begin with celebration, and then flow from song to song toward intimacy of worship with our God. A worship leader, who has an intimate and close relationship with Jesus, uses appropriate instruments and songs to accomplish this, and takes as much time as is needed to worship God. And, as we draw close to God and grow in our relationship with him, our understanding of worship deepens and, through that, maintain freshness in our worship.

The second question posed which we will address is “what happens when we worship”? Well the emphasis of our worship is to magnify, bless, and lift up Jesus, but, as a natural result of worship, God comes through the presence of the Holy Spirit and ministers to us in a powerful way. And as we worship, we come into the presence of God, and through his presence, we are touched by his compassion and his love. Through his presence we are cleansed through repentance of his blood, we are changed as he restores us, we are blessed and empowered and are released from bondage and the pressures that have long hindered us, and ultimately, we are made whole.

It is only through the presence of God, that these supernatural occurrences happen. And as a direct result of his presence, the Word of God may be internalised and effective ministry one to another may also occur. Worship is a real experience where we touch him and are touched. To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God.

The final question for this session is profound to say the least. This is another one of those that many worship-team coordinators may call arbitrary, but perhaps don’t know themselves. Not you, of course! The question is “how do we enter into worship”? Awesome question! Before you read on write your own response or answer down on a piece of paper.

The deal is this. When we approach God in a fresh way and enter into worship, there are some basic, call them principles if you like, that we can apply to facilitate a meaningful experience. The first of these being that we must be in a place where we are comfortable with the style of worship. What does this mean? Well, if you prefer choruses and hymns and walk into a church that is playing contemporary praise and worship, chances are you are not going to be comfortable, and will likely end up not participating openly. If worship is occurring and the Holy Spirit comes among the people then many will naturally be drawn into his presence. If we come to God recognizing our deep lack before him and respond to him with openness and a sincere desire for more of him, then we place ourselves in a position to receive. How? To the degree that we openly admit our need for God and be vulnerable before him, and when we do that, we then open ourselves to his supernatural ministry as only he knows how.

And here is where we, as worship teams led by able spirit-filled and spiritually-sensitive worship-leaders, need to be totally and completely genuine as we worship. It is worthless and meaningless to manufacture, manipulate, utilize psychological mind-games, or attempt to work people and something up out of our humanness. You may be reading this thinking I am “smoking my socks”! Listen; I have witnessed this with my very own eyes, and not only in worship, but also in other areas of ministry at points. Here is a bit of friendly advice. Steer clear of any church that has even the slightest hint of this. I mean it. Use your God-given discernment. When the Holy Spirit moves you will know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that it is in fact him, and not some prefabricated psychological attempt to earn brownie points, or put a notch on a belt or something of the like. It sounds crass and vile, but it happens, and I do not want you to be mislead in any way.

God wants you to be true and faithful to him, and what he has called you to do. And, If you are going to be true and faithful to God and your calling as a worship-team member and worship-leader, your sincerity and honesty before God and others will keep you properly focused as you worship. Humble your heart before God, forsake anything hardening your heart to the ministry of God’s Spirit, and lovingly respond to God in a way that reflects honesty and harmony in the inner and outer man. God consciousness should be a priority over self-consciousness. We need to let the outer man reflect genuine responsiveness of the inner man. This will increase our interaction with the presence of God and will bring wholeness to the community. See you on the flip-side of this!

 
Drawn to Sacrifice: Session Eight. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Sunday, 02 February 2014 16:59

Where the real rubber meets the road! “Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit” (2 Corinthians 3:17-18).

“The longest journey of any person is the journey inward” (Dag Hammerskjold). So true. And here I remember my profound times of study and lecture with my Christian Spirituality and Christian Worship lecturer, mentor, and true friend, Glenn Stavridis. I can recall him teaching, after playing the song Tapestry by Carole King, that there is the journey inward , which is the journey where we come to know who we are in our deepest selves. Then there is the journey upward, which happens after we discover that we need the journey upward toward God, the journey outward toward others, and, finally, the journey together as it works in community, and, in this context, within any worship team.

I remember Glenn’s lecture on this like it where yesterday and him saying that; “This is a “journey of adventure and discovery deeper into the mystery and wonder of God and all that emanates from God, a journey where we become aware of God’s presence with us and the intimacy of relationship with God. It is a journey that, if we surrender to God, as we come to know God, we come to see both beauty and ugliness through the eyes of God. It is a journey that ultimately ends with us being with God forever, it is a journey to our ultimate home” (Glenn Stavridis – Christian Spirituality Lecture).

The journey outward takes us into the world around us, with all it’s fun, laughter, beauty, and also its ugliness, difficulties, and hardships. It is in what we do for a living, it is in our relationships, it is in what sort of impact we make on life around us, and, based on our choices, it will be either positive or it will be negative. It is in our failures, suffering, and sin, and, it is in our boldness and courage to overcome. Importantly, it is in our response to all that which distorts the kingdom of God. And, as Glenn puts it so well, “it is the journey which savours all the good things God has given and seeks to care for the earth and its creatures as stewards” (Glenn Stavridis).

Finally, it is in the journey together. This is where we come in as worship musicians, vocalists, leaders, and worship-pastors. It is here that we discover that “even in the more private journeys inward and upward that we do not journey alone, we journey together. These journeys take place in community, the community of family, the community of friends, and the community of the church” (Glenn Stavridis).

What does this mean? Well that God has provided companions for us to journey with. As Glenn states “people to sometimes walk ahead, sometimes alongside, and sometimes behind us. They teach us, comfort us, they challenge us, they cry with us, they laugh with us, they work with us, they pray for us, they love us. These four journeys intersect with each other to form our life’s journey and make up the story of our growth toward becoming what God has made us to be”. Solomon really catches this in its entirety in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10 saying that; “Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labour: If they fall down, they can help each other up. But pity those who fall and have no one to help them up!”

Here’s the deal; God wants to dwell with us, and the reason he is looking for worshipers is that they are the ones who welcome his presence, they are the ones who make room for his presence. Why would he want this to happen? Because it is in his presence that he can operate. So, it is essential for us as worshipers, worship team members, and leaders, to become a people of the presence of God. That we would treasure his company, that we would, as we have discussed before, “sink our roots into our relationship with Jesus” in order that we would develop a heart that would value his presence over every other blessing. That we wouldn’t be those who focus on his hand and only what he can give us (as popular Christianity teaches), but choose, with all that is in us, to be those who prefer to focus on his heart to what we can give him, and on building a deep, intimate, loving, and faithful relationship with him. Let me tell you, that it is when that becomes your desire above everything else; God gets really serious about your ministry! Now this is a radically different viewpoint to the one we get taught in most churches today. In fact, it is pretty much 180 degrees away from what the thinking today. So we pray that those folk would experience a radical change of heart, and, saying that, perhaps we should ponder over how often our way of thinking is just as far removed from God’s too at points.

Spiritual Transformation: For the Christian God does not want to leave us where he found us. He is going to work within us and mould and shape us into the Imago Dei – into the image of his Son Jesus Christ. It is when we catch this, that we finally understand our ultimate meaning and purpose. Our ultimate purpose is to become, grow, and be formed spiritually into what God has intended us to be. That is what Christian spirituality and formation is all about. To fulfill our ultimate purpose, and become what we are. Those who have heard me preach will know that I have used the euphemism “you have never arrived” very often. Why? Because we have never arrived. Our journey - with - God life is an ongoing process of growth. Glenn puts it this way; “We are to grow like Christ expressing our own unique personalities and become all God made us to be, to realize the potential God has planted in each of us.”

What he taught next has really only become pertinently and unavoidably true in the past while. The importance of the community of which you are a part. He says that; "The community you did not choose, and the community you do choose will have a critical effect on your life and will shape you spiritually.” Man, this is so very important in your journey with God. Do not take this as an idle comment, because it is not that at all. The community in which you ‘do church’, and, in our context as worship leaders and musicians, the church in which you are part of the worship team, can either stunt your spiritual growth, or it can have you growing in leaps and bounds.

“So in your spiritual life it is important that you choose your community carefully and prayerfully, because your community will shape you, either positively, or negatively. “The community you are in can hold you back or misshape you, or it can set you free to be shaped into the image of God.” Here’s the tough part, but also the reality. There may come a time when you will have to change community, but only on God’s prompting. Why? Well because the church you join shapes your spiritual life, and, if you are in a place where you are spiritually stagnant, and are part of a community which epitomises a ‘riding the brakes’ style of worship and preaching of the Word of God, perhaps God will prompt you to move on.

Community is quintessentially joined at the hip with worship. “True worshipers will be built together with other worshipers” (Gerrit Gustafson). Ephesians 2:21-22; “In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. And in him you are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.” This happens in a community that is biblically – based, Christ-centered not man-centered, where the elements that produce community among individuals, being humility, patience, forgiveness, truthfulness, kindness and love, will produce community among any congregation. As the process of being built together by being ‘on the same page’ and with the same mind-set advances, networks will form, with everything we do being to the glory of God.

So, my fellow worship-team member, may your desire be to be a worshiper first? May you, as your spirit worships God’s Spirit daily, choose to sink your roots into your relationship with him unceasingly? May you refuse to look to man and his thinking and philosophies, and radically seek God and the truth of his Word, and focus, not on his hand, but on his heart? God is calling you closer and deeper to him. God seeks you and I, worship musicians and worship-leaders to be obedient worshipers, who choose him above everything else. You and I were created to worship, and may you my fellow worship-team member, choose today to surrender everything to God? May you choose today to reflect his glory so that everyone can see it, because you have an intimate relationship with him, and choose, above anything else, to truly saturate yourself in his presence daily? And, may your life live up to the words you sing on a Sunday? We will close these sessions out with time spent in the Word, and understand how what we have discussed pans out in the reality. See you on the flip-side of this!

 
Drawn to Sacrifice:Session Seven. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Saturday, 01 February 2014 16:49

As a precursor to understanding the spiritual aspect of praise and worship and how worship teams need to ensure that they prepare their hearts and "sink their roots into their relationship with Christ", let us cover a few textual clues to set the foundation for our study. What I have attempted to teach in my three-year full-time ministry period which has recently ended, we need realise that the texts we read have been translated from Hebrew and Aramaic, and that we need to explore them in that vein. As I have taught, the effects of translation have lost much of the original meaning of the words. Let's look at two of these; praise, and worship.

Now you need to know, that which has been 'lost in translation' has left many Christians, worshipers, worship team members, worship-leaders, pastors and teachers, quite literally, in the shallow waters of praise. They really have. Our first word is hallal - no, it doesn't have the same meaning as that which it does for Muslims. Psalm 100:4; "Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with (hallal ) - praise." You can also find examples of this in Psalm 106:1,Psalm 111:1, and Psalm 150:1. Perhaps source Strong's Concordance online which describes it as "to laud, commend, boast, celebrate, be clamorously foolish, clear of sound, shine, to make a show, rave'. Does that sound like the way you, as a worship team, 'enter into his gates' with hallal? How do you open your Sunday morning time of praise and worship? Look, hallal is an extreme expression of praise! This is a call to giving praise that is not kind of 'sliding gently into it', it's not gentle, it is praise that may seem foolish by those who do not understand. Remember your first love? Well, it is like that time, when you were head over heels in love and, quite honestly, couldn't give a 'hoot' about what people thought as you expressed that love in this way! Have you ever praised God like this before? Have you ever hallal - ed him in this way before? Biblically, praise and thanksgiving open the door into deep worship (shachah and proskueno).

Our Praise opens the gates into God's presence: Psalm 100:2; "Sing yourselves into his presence." We praise, bringing acceptable sacrifices before God. The result? Invisible gates open, welcoming us into his presence. For me there is no other way to put it, our praise and thanksgiving "triggers some highly sophisticated security system, and in we go, right into the presence of the Lord" (Gustafson - The Adventure of Worship). This results in shachah which means "to bow yourself down, crouch, to fall down flat, to worship, do reverence." We find shachah in the holy-of- holies, this is when we see God face - to- face, and, in total wonder and amazement, we fall at his feet (proskueno), and worship him.

Here William Temple's quote rings true. He stated that; "To worship is to quicken the conscience by the holiness of God, to feed the mind with the truth of God, to purge the imagination by the beauty of God, to open the heart to the love of God, to devote the will to the purpose of God." I don't know about you, but for me, this shekinah (the glory or radiance of God dwelling in the midst of his people) denotes the immediate presence of God, as opposed to a God who is aloof, or distant, or your 'divine butler'. Again, how did we reach the place of God's shekinah glory, that swept us away in such a manner that shachah and proskueno were the result? By understanding how central praise is in bringing us into worship.

Arguably the most informative study and book on the spiritual disciplines, is Richard Foster's Celebration of Discipline. Foster, in this book, speaks about the 'discipline of worship'. He states that; "Worship is our response to the overtures of love from the heart of the Father. Its central reality is found "in spirit and truth." It is kindled within us when the Spirit of God touches our human spirit. Forms and rituals do not produce worship, nor does the disuse of forms and rituals. We can use all the right techniques and methods, we can have the best possible liturgy, but we have not worshiped the Lord until Spirit touches spirit. The words of the chorus; "Set my spirit free that I may worship Thee", reveal the basis of worship. Until God touches and frees our spirit, we cannot enter this realm. Singing praying, praising all may lead to worship, but worship is more than any of them. Our spirit must be ignited by the divine fire." Foster goes on to state that "worship is a response to God in which we move in God's direction rather than withdrawing from him. Moreover, we turn towards him, not because we want God to give something to us, but because we want to give something to him."

Paul points out that we are to pray with the spirit and pray with the mind, sing with the spirit, and sing with the mind. Perhaps read 1 Corinthians 14:15 at this point. And as we delve into Paul's writings, it is apparent that one reason for the spiritual gift of tongues in worship, is to help us move beyond mere rational worship, into a more inward communion with the Father. Now there is much written about this, many traditions battle to understand what Paul is saying here, and most both disregard and disallow the use of tongues, by those who have been given the gift, "to another speaking in different kinds of tongues" (1 Corinthians 12:10), in worship. But for those of us who have received the spiritual gift of tongues, our outward mind may not know what is being said, but our inward spirit understands. Spirit touches spirit. This all starts with singing and praising God. Singing serves to focus us. We then become centered, and our fragmented minds and spirits flow into a unified whole. The result? We then become poised toward God. We continue our discussion into the spiritual aspect of praise and worship on the flip-side of this!

 
Drawn to Sacrifice:Session Six. PDF Print E-mail
Written by Grant Nuss   
Friday, 31 January 2014 09:11

I trust that you have enjoyed this time together as much as I have, and I thank those of you who have communicated with me, three of you from my very first worship seminar in Accra, Ghana! I had no clue that you guys still follow this website! Thank you! It is great to hear how God has grown your worship teams. And, for the benefit of all of you reading this, as I have responded to these mails, the absolute truth is that whilst God will do great things with or without our help, what he will not do, is to work fully and completely and constantly through people without the permission and co-operation of the individual. That's so very important for you to comprehend. You cannot just take God for granted. You are his hands, his feet, and his voice. You have to take action in this regard. None different to your role as a worship team member.

Now I can remember sitting in Lagos in 2004 having been asked to lead worship having never done so ever before! So what I did is got hold of a mate of mine, a Capetonian Christian songwriter/musician/singer who had moved over to the United States and continues to put albums out, for his assistance. I remember asking; "Boet (Bro), how do I do this"? "How do I put a worship team together"? I mean, I had played music professionally for a multitude of years, but praise and worship? You might very well be chuckling at this point, so am I, but it really wasn't funny then"! So my mate, e-mailed me this article in pdf format as a precursor to what I needed to know basically, it helped me then, and it has assisted countless numbers of worship teams that I have either led or taught, and I am certain it will help you too! Here we go - hang in there with me!

"Our world is teeming with musicians making diverse music for diverse purposes, but worship musicians are particularly unique. More facilitators than performers, more spiritualists than artists, and perhaps more mystical than musical, we play and sing for an audience of One and facilitate thousands, not entertain them. We play vertically, not horizontally. For us, music is a spiritual tool to connect people to God. And if our aim is to bring people to an awareness of God, then the Bible is the yardstick by which we must measure our effectiveness. Here are five habits of worship musicians who are highly effective in the biblical paradigm of worship music. Listed in order of importance, they will help any worship musician excel in facilitating spiritual worship.

A Growing Knowledge of God: It is imperative that worship musicians know God intimately in order to bring others to him. They must have a large view of God. When we lead worship, we are leading people to the Lord, to who and what he is. It is a journey upward. Highly effective worship musicians know the theology of God as well as the theology of music. They read the Word of God and study the attributes of God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. They focus equally on the spiritual aspects of music as well as the technical.

Developing a Worshipful Heart: Worship begins in the heart of the believer, not on the platform or a guitar. An effective worship musician has a habit of constant worship before God. He doesn't worship only when he is on a platform in front of others. This is the mark of an amateur and immature worship musician. It is impossible for us to lead others in worship if we are not ourselves worshipers. Highly effective worship musicians change the atmosphere where they play because they God, have been with God, and have a worshiping heart. When the prophets descended from the presence of God with musical instruments and invoked the presence of the Holy Spirit through their music, Saul was inspired and prophesied as one of them (1 Samuel 10:5-6). These effective worship musicians spent hours in worship privately before they took their worship public.

Heightening Intuitiveness: If a worship musician is to aid and facilitate others in spiritual worship, then he/she must be unusually sensitive to the Holy Spirit. Worship is done "in spirit" as Jesus instructed (John 4:24) and "by the spirit" as Paul taught (Philippians 3:3). Without the ability to discern what the Holy Spirit wants at any moment, a worship musician is handicapped. To do this effectively, worship musicians must be spiritually intuitive. They develop a habit of regular and continuous prayer. They "walk with God" and "talk with God." Worship musicians are also sensitive to those they lead and can discern where the group is spiritually.

Developing Pastoral Care for People: Unlike a performance musician, the worship musician does not play for himself. He is a minister - a servant of others. Effective worship musicians have the concern of those they lead at heart. They play what others need and not what he/she wants because they are leading people first and leading music second. Highly effective worship musicians are relational, friendly, caring, and concerned about the spiritual welfare and growth of others.  A worship musician nurtures, guides, and protects the people he/she is accountable for - people who may be dysfunctional, hurt, discouraged, faithless and lethargic. A performer cannot lead them to the presence of God; that requires a leader who is genuinely spiritual and pastoral.

Honing Craftsmanship: Effective worship musicians know where music fits in their priorities. For them it is a tool to facilitate God awareness, vertical hearts, and worshipful attitudes. Music is a powerful expression that colours, flavours, and gives voice to the worship that takes place in the heart. Musical skill helps facilitate the worship expressions of others and minimize distractions. Highly effective worship musicians have a habit of constantly developing their skill. Just as Samuel's school of prophets studied music and led others into the inspiring presence of God, effective worship musicians today practice, take lessons, hire vocal coaches, and enroll in college courses to improve their technique and skill (1 Chronicles 15:22).

These five habits characterize worship musicians who regularly and successfully facilitate true spiritual worship. Make them your own, and you will not only become an effective spiritual catalyst, more vital to the church and its purpose, but you will also discover a renewed vitality and a clearer sense of your own purpose and role in his Kingdom." See you on the flip-side of this!

 
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