Rumors I intended to mow down worshippers or believers or worship leaders, or [insert a target you perceived I went after in the last post] have been greatly exaggerated.
To the scowling, all things are scowl-worthy.
To be certain, there are few songs that I have had a chance to despise. Also, unlike a lot of the criticism that may or may not gather around me, I am not looking to slash and burn others.
I can point to about a handful of songs that just do not do it for me, for any number of reasons.
And I can point to about 12,000 cuts that move me in a positive direction and in the direction of worship. And yes, Newsboys “Breakfast” does that for me.
Moreover, I have attempted to be very careful in calling out this or that teacher or leader or whatever-the-case as an example of a false teacher.
I realize this may shock some, but the text reads:
“have nothing to do with the unfruitful worksof darkeness.”
“have nothing to do with the unfruitful workers of darkness.”
My aim is to deal with the actions, rather than the people behind the actions.
Be also advised that my personal opinion is something I am probably going to share. What you do with that opinion is your business.
When actions get confused with people is what happens when homosexuals assume that, because I am talking about homosex or homosexuality, I must be talking about them.
I am with the people who say that those of us who criticize should take a hand at writing and composition. This is true, and we absolutely should have a hand in providing the church some of what we hope to see, otherwise our words are mere blah blah without legs or fruit.
So, in the interest of time, I will say what I appreciate when I find a good cut.
Substance. What is going on lyrically and musically? What is being said.
Originality. What is being expressed (and there is a whole heap of truth that has gone unexpressed)? Chris Pfohl once said it accurately: “For all of the powerful, poetic and faithful sayings available to us in scripture, that’s all you’ve got? Blows my mind.” Precisely. For all we have, and we are utilizing so little. The Givers among us would blush at the lack of diversity present in the breadth of expression.
The dance between the subtle and skillful on the one hand and the obvious and the crude on the other. I have witnessed a whole set of followers of Christ get taken up with “making it plain” and “what you see is what you get”. They have become truth-tellers and are completely innocent as doves. However, they have lost the art of expressing as skillfully and subtly and as wisely as a serpent.
The truths and, more specifically, the proverbs and poetry of Scripture, written in a Giver language, need to be unpacked delicately, the way a peony, or a cherry blossom, or a rosebud is unpacked. It is teased out. There are fires for refining and hammering, but there are also garden plants that will open for a sunray that will be damaged by things that are heavier than a feeding butterfly. The picture of a bumblebee feeding in clover, as it moves from bud to bud, tells the story well. And we have lost that art of seeing the skillfully-honed craft of a song dealt with in that fashion. For many, what is adequate is the TRUMPET, ELEPHANT, BLAM BLAM, FANFARE, BANG AND A FLOURISH. And there is very little that feels like it is being teased and unpacked and woven together. But we need the picking through, gently, and a lot of it.
For music that fits this sort of rough list, see the links below.
I am going to preface this set of videos by starting with the original cut for “Our G-d Reigns” by Deliriou5?, precisely because we have divorced the chorus from the lyrics and we repeat that chorus as filler, when it is meant to be its own complex, well-penned cut.
Kiss Your Feet was originally a Deliriou5? cut. But this cover by Jeremy Riddle was well-done.
This is just a small sampling of what I do enjoy.
My issue when I have an issue is that something has been overplayed, or does not go deeply enough or far enough in its intended direction. Every one of the above does.
Oh, yeah, and disclaimer. These are just my opinions. They are not the gospel, and you are not required to agree. It really is okay. I just happen to be an expert on my opinion. Take a breath and enjoy, or don’t. Agree, or don’t.
This is not a full-on complete blasting of one worship song. Rather, it draws a plumbline on one song in order to make a point about what seems to be occuring to worship music.
One of the things that vexes me about modern worship is twofold:
1) the lack of substance.
2) the lack of singing TO G-d, rather than about G-d or about us.
Take Waymaker, for example.
It’s catchy, the lyrics it does have are wonderful and it is somewhat powerful and goes in the right direction, but it ultimately becomes grossly underwhelming in its execution and consummation.
It grossly fails to capitalize on it strength in calling out the nature of G-d, and it waxes both criminally and blasphemously thin in the declaration of that multi-faceted nature in sharing His names.
Now, take between Genesis 1:1 and Exodus 34:7.
There are over 100 distinct names of G-d, both directly mentioned and indirectly implied or implied, between those passages in Genesis and Exodus.
Ruach Elohim (The Spirit of G-d)
Adonai Elohim (The L-RD G-d)
HaShem (The Name)
The G-d of Shem,
El Elyon (G-d Most High),
Qanah Shamayim Va-Aretz (The Purchaser of Heaven and Earth)
The Shield of Abraham
The Smoking Firepot, the Flaming Torch
G-d of the Unbreakable Covenant
Melech Adonai (Messenger of the L-rd)
El Roi (G-d of Seeing, G-d who Sees)
Lahai Roi (The Living One Who Sees Me)
El Shaddai (G-d Almighty)
Your G-d/Their G-d (the significance here is the idea of Him being a “Personal G-d)
Ha Shafeyt Kol Ha-Aretz (The Judge of All the Earth)
El Olam (The Everlasting G-d)
I Am With You
G-d of the Spread
The G-d Who Does Not Leave
G-d of the House
The Fear of Isaac
G-d of Alienation
G-d of the Camp
G-d of Immigration, Dwelling, and Sojournings
The G-d Who Is Witness
A Man Who Wrestles With Us
The Man Who Responds to Persistence
The G-d who Stands Beside Us
The G-d Whose Face I Can See
G-d of Dreams
G-d of Interpretations
The G-d Who Gives Strategy
The G-d Who Speaks to Pagans
The G-d Who Makes us Forget Hardship
Ish Milhamah (Man of War)
G-d of the Depths Beyond Magic (Exodus 8:19)
And that is a sampling of the list I have compiled.
Add to that The Anchor, the Ancient of Days, The Key of David, the Son of David, the Shepherd and Bishop of Our Souls, the Gate, the Door, the Light of the World, Our Son and Shield, Our Husband (Isaiah 54), The G-d Who Visits, The Branch of Jesse, Shiloh, the Man of War, the Potter (Jeremiah 18), The Blacksmith, the Paraclete (the Great Exhorter), and Most Importantly…..
There was a time when G-d was not creator, but given Jesus was eternally begotten of G-d, there was never a time when He who begot the Man of Sorrows was never our Father.
What happened to modern worship that it grew thin and forgot to capitalize on the mines of Moria and all the seams of Mithrill and veins of jasprous gemstones?
Enough of this thin-surface, convictionless, unendlingly trite, shallow, overly-simplified, knee jerk reactions to small wiggles of the Almighty’s presence, as if His full depth cannot be accessed.
We make excuses and half-anointed tripe and call it “anointed”, and we settle for a thimbleful when G-d has….OCEANS FULL of HIS FULLNESS available to us.
AND that honor without regular reference to dignity is precluded from existence, we will never have an actual culture of honor. And the Holy Spirit will continue to be glaringly absent.
Dignity is what cures shame.
Dignity is inherent and must be recognized and celebrated in each person we meet.
We have mission statements that talk about honor and cultures of honor and apostolic this and prophetic that, and Danny Silk this and Bethel that, but until we heed the warnings and intentionally deal with the perennial LACK of actively and aggressively proclaiming the message of and breaking the anorexia of dignity endemic to the body of Christ, Honor will be a worthless pile of shit.
“Honor is for what you do. Dignity is for who you are.”
I see a whole lot of lip service given to honor, and comparitvely and vanishingly small is the attention given to dignity.
We must AGGRESSIVELY vocalize and actualize dignity.
And that is the only thing that will handle shame and put it in its place.
Chris is a honorable friend who deals in the exquisite beauty and essence of things. Today, during a corporate worship setting online, a worship leader uttered an easy, low-hanging fruit from a phrase that is commonly used.
The phrase was innocuous enough.
“We are all in this together.”
However, it has been drilled and repeated and used as a basis for establishing a controlling agenda that he had to say something. And I am with him, BECAUSE as leaders of followers of Yeshua, we have a dearth and no shortage of poetic, imagistic, lovely, and divers things to say as comfort and you use a socially-conditioned phrase. Are we as followers of Yeshua, Jewish and Christian, so devoid of original thought that we have to resort only to a half-dozen banal things? That we have to let the government tell us what to say because it is easily-accessed and we have to expend little effort to say something.
Its on every television commercial, news cast and now the tip of everyone’s tongue, including the church, and its nothing more than social conditioning.
Saying it within the context of worship is filthy defilement, plain and simple.
For all of the powerful, poetic and faithful sayings available to us in scripture, that’s all you’ve got? Blows my mind.
Part of my job as a believer, and part your job as a believer, follower of Christ, is to, in the words of Tiffany Dupont, wonder at the loss of “the thought well-thought, the word well-spoken, and the deed well-done. As in the great books.”
And also, part of our job is to not become part of that loss.
When we settle in our speech, word, thoughts, and deeds for the idiocies the culture or government or institutions hand us, we assist in the decay.
Push against the lexical decay, gang. Push for and express some original thought.
And resist the pressure to conform.
By the way, just because I said something or agreed with something does not mean you have to.
As a disclaimer, I want you to each to be free to take what I say, write, or agree with here and run it through your own grids of interpretation and application.
This may not work for you. I do know some of my friends tire of the idea of the government control, and you can jettison that thread if you wish, or keep it if you wish.
The big bottom line here is I want each of you to cultivate the skillet of having the capacity to skillfully express things in your own words, and resist the temptation toward letting others do the thinking for you.
Gang, we live under a better covenant than that of Moses, wherein is written….
Moses was the ground floor for us. Or better yet, the foundation and basement.
And I count no fewer than 10 desperate realities that come when we walk with him.
This says to me that we are choosing powerlessness or allowing this lack when we do not have to.
And developing a theology for why G-d withholds blessing, causes miscarriage, does not fight His enemies is stupid.
Our job, is to follow. And He will bless us.
Until then, I am not going to try and develop a theology that apologizes for G-d not doing.
Rather I am going to expend myself in helping you walk in all He has for you.
When we align with what He wants for us, He WILL send His terror against His enemies. The hornet will defend us.
My question is, where are you not aligned.
Some are aligned and bad things are happening.
I am not talking about the single incidences.
Rather, I am talking about the incessant lack of His manifestation in response to a persistent and stubborn, stiffnecked resistance to doing what He asked us to do.
As Yeshua corrected the Pharisees for stubborn and unyielding resistance to the will of G-d, so presently does G-d allow things to happen when we resist stubbornly.
And we must skillfully parse out what is happening.
Not merely provide a canned knee-jerk response for why this or that happened.
Robust research, skillful consideration, careful weaving together of our principles of Scripture, and a living walk with the L-rd that is not merely a salvation prayer so we can do whatever in hell we want.
“The L-RD said to Moses, “Speak to the people of Israel, that they take for me a contribution. From every man whose heart moves him you shall receive the contribution for me. And this is the contribution that you shall receive from them: gold, silver, and bronze, blue and purple and scarlet yarns and fine twined linen, goats’ hair, tanned rams’ skins, goatskins, acacia wood, oil for the lamps, spices for the anointing oil and for the fragrant incense, onyx stones, and stones for setting, for the ephod and for the breastpiece.”
We often hear the dynamic of financial giving to the church, and frequently, when those gifts are given to the church, she does not steward them well.
Often, when the giving of offerings is mentioned, it is most strongly connected with money. However, from the above passage, money is not the only thing to give, the only medium for exchange, nor the thing the L-rd likes the most.
And frequently, churches in the circles I have run in most recently function on an emergency week-to-week basis. There is no slush fund for widows, orphans, or fatherless. There is zero investment in college students’ tuition so as to assist them in avoiding the evils of debt, something Scripture explicitly commands us to avoid. And college students are missionaries, whether or not we like it, and we are responsible to see to it that their monthly support is met. And the church does not often preach or teach giving passages with a view toward garments, textiles, time, presence, or service. And those garments and leather mentioned in the double fractal of seven in Exodus 25 is treated as wealth.
In short, our view of giving is exceptionally narrow, and our view of what consititutes a legitimate need is even more narrow. Moreover, our views of justice are equally narrow. The church, not the government, was designed to be the primary safety net for the poor.
Another View of Romans 13: Past vv. 1 and 2
Romans 13. Let’s crack a piece of this one open in our next flyover, because it is likely to make us a touch uncomfortable.
And, let us bypass the usual griping about vv. 1 and 2.
The text reads:
For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is G-d’s servant for your GOOD. But if you do wrong, beafraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. FOr he is the servant of G-d, an avenger who carries out G-d’s wrath on the wrongdoer.
Romans 13:3-4 ESV
Each of you know that I do not hold Washington as the leadership, because the Constitution, being our foundational set of principles, set the citizenry as the leaders, and our representatives are those who serve us.
Of course, some have a very twisted view of how authority works, which is why we are in the predicament we are in. We bought into the twisted idea that a politician’s moral fiber was not important during the presidency of Bill Clinton, and now we are stuck with the immoral in Donald Trump. Our lack of consistency in dealing with elected officials is legendary.
That said, even were I to humor the idea that the politicians are the closest analogy to Paul’s use of “kings and those in authority” in 1 Timothy 2:1-4, I would say the following.
The king is supposed to be G-d’s servant for good. And if he is corrupted, or better yet, if they are corrupted, then we do not have a servant for good.
The king is supposed to be an avenger who carries G-d’s wrath on the wrong doer.
Earth’s mightiest heroes….
Yes, I went there….
If those in the government have chosen to expend their authority, then they will lose out on the authority given to them, and the L-rd will hand that authority over to those who will steward it, and to those who will be the avengers for good and for justice.
If elected officials continue to bastardize their offices, then at some point, the L-rd will hand the lion’s share of that authority to those who will move the wheels of justice and those who will seek for the river of righteousness to flow like a never-failing stream.
I speak from personal experience. A prophet threatened me and several of my closest friends at the time. She defiled her office, and the L-rd put a stop to that, stripped her of her authority, and gave it to others who would steward it rightly.
For the good of the Kingdom.
Authority can be seated in offices, it can be seated in our position in Messiah, it can be given for special tasks, and it can be earned.
And when stewarded well, the Kingdom is further extended.
And when the Kingdom of G-d is expanded and increased, it will benefit other people.
We were made to extend the authority of G-d in the context of His kingdom.
And kingdoms are not built by slaves who are grasping for ready-made, completed solutions born out of the simplicity of what we think is the gospel.
The Kingdom of G-d is not built on miracles.
It is built on principles.
It is built with a variety of resources, not merely financial, that are woven together.
It is built inclusive of the frame of suffering. You have to have skin in the game and awareness of the building blocks, mortar, and other materials that make up the structures in the kingdom.
And it is built by sons, sons who understand the εξουσια coupled with δυναμις.
By sons who look for the resources, not just some of the resources, but every single resource.
Poverty is not merely lack of financies and money. Poverty is a mindset that refuses to look for resources because it is convinced of the reality of lack.
Relationships are a resource.
Knowledge and knowhow are resources.
Marriage, family, relationships, friendships.
Keeping at it when you have parts that beg for suicide.
How well can you succeed at being who you are?
Who He designed you to be.
For as many days as remain to you.
Open your eyes. The eyes of your spirit.
Find all of the resources that belong to you.
You need not just money and gold and precious gemstones coupled with the presence and power of G-d. You need wood, fabric, friends, companions, tenderness, time, land, and authority. The principles that are woven together.
We do not help someone out of poverty by permanently giving them liquid resources.
We permanently help someone out of poverty by giving them the drive, tools, intangibles, and connection that reminds them of their purpose and drives them toward that purpose.
There may be a season where we provide finances for them, but that is not a permanent fix. In order to fix the root problem, we have to help them get at the spirit, the clown, the mindset of poverty that they are stuck in, and root that bastard out.
And we must be willing to play our best long game at helping them out and overcoming.
This is why I ask so many questions. Not so anyone can question my motives, but so we can have a framework to discuss artful solutions to emerge from the mindset that is poverty.
It takes not merely a one-time in-the-black monetary surge. It takes perseverence when you have nothing. It takes forward movement when all you have is a two-dollar yellow pad and a nub of a pencil.
There are scads of unlocked resources in between your ears, in between your lungs, and in your gut.
And your thoughts and emotions, coupled together, can work massively.
We are often taught in the church, by too many people, in two broad and broadly opposing segments among Christ-followers that thoughts are primary or emotions are primary.
The first six redemptive gifts do lead with and work out their problems through the mind, while the Mercy leads with and work through their emotions.
And G-d is trying to couple these two with the kidneys and adrenals and create a trifecta of solutions.
And, indeed, a Mercy can work through their mind effectively.
And a Teacher can work through their heart.
As both should. We lack no resources, and neither does our great King and Father who fathers us through that bevy of resources.
And G-d connects with all seven redemptive gifts on the level of the spirit NOT the level of the soul.
Our trouble is that we have such a hard time unpacking the light G-d put into us, and we desperately need to.
So, here is a blessing to that end.
A Blessing With Respect To Resources and Authority
I invite the fullness of your spirit to come front in all of it’s 6-and-1 glory.
White, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, and Purple…..
Or your chosen color set.
Massively given to parallel the variously named spirits of G-d, led by the confluence of the six called the Spirit of the L-rd, paralleling the Prophet portion.
And I bless you to shine all the confluence of that prismed light toward the path across the stars Father has you on, richly-treasured and endowed with the resources of the King of Glory, for whom the gates open up.
I bless the broken-apart system in your soul and spirit, for those who have parts and those who are the victims of ritual abuse.
I bless you with the love of infinity. I bless you to be safely moored in your desired haven, aboard the ship the King gives you to conduct business and Kingdom affairs.
I bless you like Solomon, who trafficked in a bevy of resources, ivory, gold, silver, bronze, cedar, apes, peacocks, science, proverbs, wisdom, writing, medicine.
I bless you, even in the hardest and worst of seasons, to find something that is of use, and to celebrate that something of use. I bless you to fly with the wings Father gives you. I bless you to synch with the weather Father gives you.
I bless the storehouses of snow, and that Father puts every flake precisely where He wants it.
I bless you with knowledge of the galaxy that Father put into you, and the marshalling together of every resource you have, including the wilderness that is given for your quietness.
I bless the seasons of barley, and the seasons of wheat, and the seasons of both burlap and cashmere.
I bless you to recognize the reality that like the Scarecrow and Tinman in the Mercy continent of Oz, Father has, completed aspect as seen from the present, given you a New Heart and a New Mind.
I bless you to know that you are His son.
I bless you to fight and, with the resource of supernatural strategies, to know how best to allocate your warring resources.
I bless you to know on the battlefield when you are to conserve resources.
I bless you not to react to the clowns and donkeys.
I bless you to RESPOND to your KING’s agenda.
We were not made to react to anything the devil does. Rather, we were made to flow in step with the King’s agenda.
I bless your resources that have been made subject to the negative heads of Leviathan to untwist, and I bless you with the resources that are untwisted and undefiled by the negative heads of Leviathan.
I bless you to fight in accordance with the L-rd’s mandates.
I bless you to find the untapped treasure.
I bless you with the moxie to recognize when it is a season for material and fianancial resources, and when it is a season for immaterial resources.
The Wright Brothers started with a bicycle shop. That bike shop, their day job, financed their mad scientist lair and shed behind the shop, where they ran their experiments. And the city of Dayton MOCKED them at first.
Spirit, at first, people ain’t gonna take to kindly to your thoughts and words.
Do not heed their idiotic kvetching.
Be aligned with the glorious King’s adoration of your initial cries. Even if they sound like infant screams or cries.
I bless you spirit, to grow, as the garden of the L-rd, like the cities of the lush Jordan plain. I bless you to grow like the land of Egypt, which was described as lush and fertile in Genesis 13:10.
I bless you to be comforted with His comfort when others say you are not worthy.
I bless you to ignore the stupidity of others’ soulish counsel.
I bless you to find and execute for the good of others, and as you earn greater authority, even if you are not in elected office, as Deborah, others will come to have you decide their cases.
When other politicians are squadering their official authority, the authority of their offices, I bless you to earn authority and to not squander your authority, so you can steward greater authority, an authority that flows out of love and compassion.
And as you pick up and ask the king to cleanse the authority that others have wasted, I bless you to flourish in the deep places. And I bless you to not just have the authority that gtives you warm fuzzies.
But, rather, I bless you to have measureable, verifiable, sustained change in the areas to which you speak.
Spirit, you are the one in authority that Romans 13 speaks about. May you govern for good, and not evil, or selfishness, or vain ambition.
May all of y’all govern as builders, spirits, collectively, where every politician, including the President, Vice President, and others, have wasted whole swaths of their birthrights.
May you know deep and transofrmational change, and not mere warm fuzzies.
May you experience ROOTED CHANGE in the spirit that is permanent, and in accordance with the finest the kingdom has to offer.
I bless you each with the concordant authority that is each of y’all’s collectively and corporately, and ruggedly individual as well.
May you do the dance between the individual and secret on the one hand, and the corporate and public on the other hand.
I bless you each, spirits, with those blessings, and revelation, in the name of Yeshua ha-Mashiach.
Moses’ father-in-law said to him, “What you are doing is not good. You and the people with you will certainly wear yourselves out, for the thing is too heavy for you. You are not able to do it alone. Now obey my voice; I will give you advice, and G-d be with you! You shall represent the people before G-d and bring their cases to G-d, and you shall warn them about the statutes and the laws, and make them know the way in which they must walk and what they must do. Moreover, look for able men from all the people, men who fear God, who are trustworthy and hate a bribe, and place such men over the people as chiefs of thousands, of hundreds, of fifties, and of tens. And let them judge the people at all times. Every great matter they shall bring to you, but any small matter they shall decide themselves. So it will be easier for you, and they will bear the burden with you. If you do this, G-d will direct you, you will be able to endure, and all this people also will go to their place in peace.”
Ex. 18:17–23 ESV
And second, a smattering of verses:
In the second year of the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadnezzar had dreams; his spirit was troubled, and his sleep left him.
Daniel’s reply: “but there is a G-d in heaven who reveals mysteries, and he has made known to King Nebuchadnezzar what will be in the latter days. Yor dream and the visions of your head as you lay in bed are these:”
“At the end of the days I, Nebuchadnezzar, lifted my eyes to heaven, and my reason returned to me, and I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored him who lives forever, for his dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation;”
Daniel 2:1, 28; 4:34 ESV
Jethro, as priest of Midian was not likely converted to following the L-rd all at once, though he did offer sacrifices to Him in some sort of recognition. Nebuchadnezzar certainly was not a follower of the L-rd, and during the time he was not following the L-rd, he received dreams and visions from the L-rd and at some point was humbled by the L-rd.
And from both of their lips and minds came insight and counsel.
Same with Cyrus, et al.
What I am saying is this. All truth is G-d’s truth, no matter where it is found. And we are wisest when we are hunting for truth, and it is my opinion that we do two things:
1) Hunt for truth. 2) Do so with a filter in place.
Just because someone is a pagan or an unbeliever does not mean they cannot utter the principles or a deposit of the truth of G-d from their mouths.
Further, just because someone has uttered a statement that is absolutely true does not mean their heart is fully yielded at all times to the King. Gifts, design, hardwiring, and intended function are irrevocable and without repentance. Being personally yielded to the King is a choice beyond walking in your function.
Further, just because we listen to one person at one point in one issue does not make that person a servant of the King, nor does it mean that He approves of all of their actions.
Further, as we parse things out and utilize truth (as I do, for example, with Marvel movies and Disney movies) we should readily understand that the propagation of those truths as a wholesale endorsement of the one speaking.
tl;dr G-d can use anyone, and His use is not necessarily the same thing as His approval.