Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Worship Conference: Fiel Hasta el Final

Last week Viña Este hosted a 4 day worship conference, Fiel Hasta el Final (Faithful Until the End). It was a conference packed with Spirit-filled worship, amazing speakers, and personal touches by God. Highlighted speakers/worship leaders included Tapón, Hans Wurst, Crossover, and Jeremy Riddle. What I'm sharing is right out of my notes. They may not be complete. They just are. They are more for pondering and questioning. For discussion. For research. For personal growth. Take them for what they are: incomplete notes that are like salt grains of truth that came from a much bigger shaker:
Are we afraid to surrender our whole lives to God because we're afraid He will send us to Africa? Or that He won't let us have our dreams and our passions? Yet who gave us those dreams and passions? Why would He deposit those in our lives if He didn't want to help us fulfill them? Not everyone is called to Africa. Or to a foreign country, even. Why do we belive that? The best fruit we can produce in our lives comes after we completely surrender all to God. Doors can be opened at the right time. For example, the story of Joseph. He had big dreams, but he had to completely surrender his life to God and accept the struggles along the way to see the accomplishment of those dreams. If he had given up any where along the way, or said the road was too hard, he would not have seen the fruit and the outcome. He knew and believed in the dream he had in his youth and held on to it throughout his life even though it wasn't fulfilled for many, many years.

If you want to produce something, it has to be something this is being sown into your life. The best written songs are about things that the song-writer has actually experienced. So by sowing specific things into your life, like worship, admiration of God, spending time with the Lord in His word and in prayer, etc., you will grow that kind of fruit in your life. From that experience and growth, it's only natural that genuine worship songs emerge. 

What are you here for and what are you about? What is your life for? Who's glory are you about? Are you about your own glory and finding your purpose in life? Or are you about giving glory to God and finding His purpose for your life? Are you about realizing your dreams and passions by realizing that He gave them to you and He wants to see them fulfilled in your life?

We should not be afraid of favor, or being successful at what we do, because it's for Jesus' glory. We were made to shine and to stand out FOR GOD's GLORY. We should be constantly giving that glory back to God. Favor in our lives is a way of bringing glory to God. If you are in a position to give glory to God and not keep it for yourself, it is so pleasing to God. We can do this by not being needy of other people's praise. Other people's praise can fill the holes in our lives of needing to feel needed or loved or special. But Jesus wants to do this for us. He wants to give us this affection because He loves us. He wants to fill our need for affection as we give Him affection back. When we have been called to do something, like worship, we should not be motivated by other people's praise OR criticism. Even when people question what we KNOW are called to do, we need to continue to do it. Know who you are in Christ and persist in that. It's for God's glory.

How to be faithful to the end:
Jeremiah 6:16
"Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls."

You can't run for the goal is you don't know the path or the way. You will get lost or go in the wrong direction.

The role of faith in worship: A life of worship is a life of faith. If you want to test your faith, look at how you live your life. Do your actions reveal faith? What are the church's claims? What do we believe? We believe some crazy, massive things. We believe Jesus is the incarnate son of God. Our God is the one, true God, He is Holy, pure, He saves us, redeems us, He is a consuming fire, the first and the last, the creator of heaven and earth, He is rich in kindness, mercy, and grace. He heals. He can WALK on WATER!! He can RAISE the DEAD!! Do we actually believe these things?!? As the Church? Faith without action is dead. You know what you believe by how you act. Do we believe God really loves us with an everlasting love? What is our response to this?

We are not just minds. We are not just souls. We are not just hearts. We are not just bodies. They are intertwined. They are supposed to be. Have you ever noticed that when you look good, you feel good? After a hard day's work doing something dirty, like building a house or digging in the garden, it's amazing the change that can happen to our outlook on life after 1 shower. That is our heart and mind's connection to our body. What is in your heart will also physically manifest itself on your body. There once was a study that said people who experienced heart break actually feel the heart break as a physical pain.

So, do our church services and our lives reflect what we believe about God? Another example, kids and ice cream. When an adult says there's ice cream, they sure aren't looking around to see if anyone else is excited. They're EXCITED!! They don't care if anyone else is jumping up and down, they are jumping up and down! The same with football games. No one taught sports fans what to do to get excited. No one said, when they score a touch down, jump up and down and scream. It's a natural reaction! Case in point with concerts, too. You could go to a Coldplay concert. You may not like Coldplay (you may not even know who they are), but the fans there ARE GOING WILD...even before the concert starts. Just being in that environment will make even the most apathetic listener start to at least tap their foot. It may even make that person into a fan. These are examples of when we are so emotional, so un reserved, unabashed. And all of these are examples of worship--people attributing worth to something. God is being outcelebrated by meaningless, trivial things. He is to be celebrated at a much higher level. We need to wake up to the glory of God!! We've made raising our hands and prostrating ourselves into emotionalism and not as a valuable response to who God is. When we sing songs, like Chris Tomlin's "We stand and lift up our hands, for the joy of the Lord is our strength. We bow down, and worship Him now. How great, how awesome is He!" Do we occasionally actually lift our hands or bow down in worship, or are they just words we sing??

Love is so much deeper--it's a choice. A choice to honor no matter how we feel. It's really irrelevant how we feel. He is still worthy to be praised. It's like loving a spouse or a relative. There are probably times when you really don't feel like loving that other person. But if you always waited until you felt like loving that person, that wouldn't really be real love. You love inspite of feelings because you choose to. The world is watching and asking if we really believe what we say we believe. If we're asking people to give their whole life up, I hope it's evident as to why.

God waits to be sought after. The system is that He beckons to us--If you seek Me with all your heart, you will find Me. He waits for a thirsty, hungry people who will respond to Him. We're first. Draw near to Him and He will draw near back. We will experience Him in crazy, awesome ways. We experience as much as we desire to see. The people who long to see miracles will see them. The steadfast pray-ers see them. Those who never pray, never see. One person can change the culture of worship in a church. The extent to which we hunger and thirst and long for God is the extent to which we see God in our lives. Increase our appetite, Lord. Increase our vision to see You.

Jeremy Riddle and Josh LaFrance at Harvest Hands

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