December 7, 2015
I haven’t spent too much time lately on my blog sharing current personal events. It doesn’t mean there hasn’t been anything important to write about, I just haven’t felt the need to dive into some of the messiness of our life.
Paul and I have been through a lot of major transitions and changes throughout our six years of marriage, but for some odd reason, I never can seem to get used to it. Since I’m a “go-getter,” I pull up my boot-straps, bite my lip, and move forward full-speed-ahead.
In early May of this year, through studying the Word of God in a new light, we began a journey of discovering why we believed what we believed. We began to realize that so much of what we embraced was not sound doctrine. After hearing the pure gospel of Jesus Christ, our eyes were opened to the truth that we had become victims of the prosperity gospel– giving to get more in return, visualization boards, believing we could speak things into existence just like God did (we are not “speaking spirits” or “little gods,” my friends- that is not what being made in His image is about) positive declarations and confessions, seeking increase in possessions and finances, etc. That’s when we began to ask questions to spiritual leaders whom we trusted. We wanted to make sure what we were hearing, whether on Sunday morning or YouTube videos from well-known Bible teachers, lined up with the Bible, and most importantly, the words in red.
Within just a few weeks of studying, the Lord spoke to us about selling our house, so we obeyed. We started that process and within seven days, the home was under contract. Within 30 days, we packed up our three bedroom home in the country and moved into a two bedroom apartment closer to the city and closer to our church.
About two months after we got settled in and used to our shorter commute to church (we spent more time there than at home sometimes), the Lord started speaking to us about finding a new church home.
Again, we obeyed, relieved ourselves from our leadership positions appropriately and completely wrapped in love, and just trusted God would lead the way. Within a month, we were divinely invited to a church where some of Paul’s family (whom he had lost touch with over the years) attended. Being a product of numerous denominations over the years, it didn’t bother me that this church was a Baptist church. Paul’s religious upbringing was different than mine though. He spent his whole life at non-denominational churches, rooted in the charismatic and Word of Faith movements. This theology and doctrine became spiritual reality and truth to me since 2008 when I began attending the church he grew up at. Once we left that church, we found ourselves in an environment similar to that of which Paul grew up in. Since this was all he knew, we never thought about questioning it.
But we did start to question it.
And what we found out, over the course of several months of studying God’s Word, revealed the deception that had clouded our minds about God’s truth, salvation, and the gospel of Jesus Christ.
So, here we are, having attended the Baptist church for two months, learning more about the names of God. About HIM. Not US. About what we can do for JESUS. Not what Jesus can do for US. And in our own studying at home, continuing to learn more and more about the lies of the prosperity gospel and Word of Faith movement, of which they often go hand in hand.
I’ve realized that the devil will try all He can to distract you, bring doubt, and confuse you regarding the will of God for your life. Yesterday, I experienced that in the form of waking up from a terrible dream, which caused me to be completely out-of-sorts all morning- on my drive to church, the sound-check for the worship set (I joined the choir a few weeks ago), the whole church service, and my drive home. I was an emotional mess, all from one stupid dream the night before involving some rejection that occurred over the last few months. Because of the lingering feelings from the dream, I was finding myself missing our involvement at our previous church home and began to question our decision to leave.
I walked into the sanctuary at our new church as round 1 of sound-check was going on and I said, “Lord this isn’t me.” I had been involved in leading worship with different music styles, had experienced what charismatic churches like to call “prophetic flow” in worship services, and had many tangible encounters with God’s presence in that kind of environment, and to be honest, I was missing that in my current corporate worship situation.
While waiting for sound-check to start for the choir, the Lord spoke to my heart:
Stop mourning past seasons. I want to do something new in your life…trust Me.
We made it through sound-check and then 15 minutes later, I made my way onto the risers for worship service to begin. I tried all I could to “enter in,” ignoring the blank stares, straight faces, and lack of enthusiasm and expression from the congregation (I’ve concluded this isn’t just at Baptist churches, but can be found in churches all over the US…it’s just the fact that many don’t fully understand how much they have been forgiven and what great sacrifice Jesus made for them to be free), and centered-in on the One whom I was worshiping.
We were celebrating the Lord’s Supper and one of the song selections was “Jesus Paid It All” by Kristian Stanfill– a favorite of mine.
Just as we got to the bridge, I lifted up my hands in surrender and tears began to fill my eyes.
OH, PRAISE THE ONE WHO PAID MY DEBT/ AND RAISED THIS LIFE UP FROM THE DEAD
I have heard and sang those lyrics to this song countless times. I have stood on a stage for many years, whether performing in musicals and plays or leading worship. And this type of spontaneous overwhelming experience while singing, especially to the Lord, has only happened to me when I was involved in charismatic circles. I thought this was a result of “the anointing” or because our worship services were able to “flow” or they lasted longer than 30 minutes (sometimes).
In that moment, my ideologies and judgement about certain denominations crumbled. It doesn’t matter if I am in a “spirit-filled” church (which is actually a term that should be used for all churches who are filled with believers because all believers are “spirit-filled,” otherwise they wouldn’t be saved, and not ones who simply speak in tongues and embrace charismatic worship styles).
Above all, I believe the Holy Spirit is filling a place when He is allowed to guide us into all truth, bring conviction, and grant people repentance that leads to the revelation of Jesus Christ in whom they will put their whole trust in, thus becoming born-again or having restored fellowship with the Father once again.
“Prophetic flow,” extended times of worship, singing in tongues, dancing, hands raised, or clapping doesn’t make my worship in song better or more anointed.If the Holy Spirit is in a place, He is the anointing. Click To Tweet
And if you are a born-again believer, you are anointed!
God was doing something in my heart yesterday and my soul was trying to dominate with mixed emotions.
Knowing that there was something not quite right with my struggle to try to control my situation and questioning God’s will in my life, I went down to the alter towards the end of service and asked God to purify my heart.
Just then, the song that was being sung by our worship pastor met me right where I was:
“Make Us New” by Doug Mickan
Saturate us with your presence
Illuminate the sin within us
Help us to see the things that need to change
You know too well of our transgressions
Now we come with full confession
You are Holy and we are so undone
Purify our hearts
Make us new, make us new
Change our desire
Make it you, make it you
Remove the stain of shameful sin
Restore Your joy to us again
All consuming fire make us new
Tears streamed down my face and I lifted my hands in surrender.
I know that I may not be completely comfortable in my current season, but I do know that I must let go of the past and let God do a new thing in me, even if it is sometimes painful.
Then I’m reminded, the Potter’s wheel is never comfortable, and the molding process can hurt, but it is worth it to see God further shape me into a vessel that seems best to Him. He is making me new…again.