Intense

We had an amazing time of worship last Sunday.

Pastor Yoy began the service by exhorting the congregation to engage in praise, prayer and the prophetic.

From my earlier post regarding last Sunday’s setlist, I shared about how we needed more of the Holy Spirit in our lives and in our services. It was the same message I shared to the team was we prepared and rehearsed.

Quite amazingly, at about 9 mins 15 seconds into the worship (as you will hear in the recording), one of the lead intercessors in the church got up to release this word:

In my dream, I saw the window burst open up from that end [of the auditorium] and a mighty rushing wind burst forth from there and suddenly the glory of God began to flow down from that corner until it filled the whole auditorium. And then I saw the people of God lifting up their hands and as they praised Jesus I saw the whole ceiling covered with doves and as we continued to worship, the doves began to land on their heads. As we cry out to God, God will break forth and the glory of God will come and fill you and touch you.

Okay, so I think I might freak out if the whole ceiling was filled with doves, so thankfully, I think this intercessor meant figurative doves. But it really confirmed for me that we had in faith taken the right direction in our worship, because I never shared with the intercessor what I had shared with the team.

What I can say about the worship time that ensued was that it was intense. Really intense. Probably one of the most intense times of worship we’ve corporately experienced for a while. Later on, another intercessor told me that she felt that there was a real breakthrough atmosphere in the service.

I’m so thankful to God for the amazing team of musicians, singers and technicians who caught the vision that I had shared with them and came, not only with their musical giftings, but also with faith and anticipation.

May God continue to intensify that sense of His presence and the revelation of His glory in our midst!

 

Reflections on Worship Ministry from the Life of Bezalel

During Sunday’s message, Ps Benny Ho made an interesting observation. He asked “who was the first person in the Bible to be filled with the Spirit?”. The answer: Bezalel.

Here’s the reference in Exodus 31:

Then the Lord said to Moses, “See, I have chosen Bezalel son of Uri, the son of Hur, of the tribe of Judah, and I have filled him with the Spirit of God, with wisdom, with understanding, with knowledge and with all kinds of skills to make artistic designs for work in gold, silver and bronze, to cut and set stones, to work in wood, and to engage in all kinds of crafts…. Also I have given ability to all the skilled workers to make everything I have commanded you: the tent of meeting, the ark of the covenant law with the atonement cover on it, and all the other furnishings of the tent— the table and its articles, the pure gold lampstand and all its accessories, the altar of incense, the altar of burnt offering and all its utensils, the basin with its stand— and also the woven garments, both the sacred garments for Aaron the priest and the garments for his sons when they serve as priests, and the anointing oil and fragrant incense for the Holy Place. They are to make them just as I commanded you.”

Notice that the Bezalel was not only the first person in the Bible to be filled with the Spirit, but he is also a creative guy. So it got me looking at this passage a bit closer to see what lessons we can learn in the context of worship ministry.

First. Being filled with the Spirit is an essential element of worship ministry. If you were asked what is the distinguishing feature of worship ministry, it is that worship ministry (and in fact, all ministry to the Lord) is uncommon and therefore holyand sacred.

Second. Worship ministers minister with skill, knowledge and understanding. The temple furnishings weren’t only ornate, intricate and beautiful (thereby requiring great skill to produce), but I believe the crafters understood the underlying spiritual significance of what the ornaments represented. Musicians and worship leaders do more than just facilitate music and singing. They have a responsibility to represent God and His Word to the congregation and lead the congregation into a deeper knowledge of God and his ways. This means that worship ministers must not only be skilled in music, they must also be skilled in His Word.

Third. Bezalel is from the tribe of Judah (which means “praise”). The house of God is built with praise!

Fourth. Moses had the vision and blueprint from God to build the Tent of Meeting. Bezalel and his team used their skill to fulfill Moses’ vision. Worship ministers must stand alongside their leaders and support the vision to build God’s house!

Fifth. Bezalel means “overshadowed by God”. When the glory of God appears, the Bible says that it “overshadows” the worshippers. In Matthew 17:5, a cloud “overshadowed” the disciples on the Mount of Transfiguration as the voice of God affirmed Jesus as God’s son. And in Luke 1:35, the angel told Mary that the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of God would “overshadow” her, leading to her conceiving the Son of God. When God overshadows us, we become pregnant with His purposes and destiny. Ultimately, Jesus is made known in all His fullness.

So there are five brief thoughts from the life of Bezalel. May it inspire us to continually seek to be filled with the Holy Spirit as we minister in worship.

The Day the Holy Spirit Fell

Pastor Benny Ho’s message on “Activating the Gifts of the Holy Spirit” today at Faith Community Church was amazing.

It seemed to me that God was orchestrating a fresh outpouring of the Holy Spirit on FCC.

Pastor Benny began his message by sharing on the common theme of the four church camps from which he had just returned from speaking: the Holy Spirit. And I could sense that in today’s service, Pastor Benny brought with him the same spirit and passion of the camp meetings that he had just attended.

The message opened with a quote from DL Moody: “the key to a life of victory is not to suck out a sin here and there, but to be filled with the Spirit”.

It’s true. So often our Christian lives are so focussed on what we do with sin, and how to modify our behaviour, rather than to focus on Jesus and the life-giving flow of His Spirit. I heard someone once ask: “why do we emphasise so much on dying to self, instead of focussing on Jesus and His finished work?” What that person was saying is that, yes, there is a need to die to self, but I can choose to put my attention on myself, or I can focus it on Jesus. I think if a choice is to be made, I would rather fall into the arms of Jesus!

Anyway, today’s message was about activating the gifts of the Spirit in the life of Faith Community Church. I could sense Pastor Benny’s impassioned plea for the church to return to the Holy Spirit as the source of power, rather than relying on programs, skills and smarts.

There is definitely this sense I have felt since being part of FCC (I could be wrong of course!) that there was a time when the power of the Spirit was manifest and obvious, where you couldn’t say “maybe they achieved that because of good planning and great leadership tempered by anointing”, but rather that everyone would say “despite what we did, the Holy Spirit showed up”. There was a sense that in the near forgotten past, there would be prophecies and words of knowledge given right in the midst of the worship, rather than going from song to song in a structured way.

And so, I felt that today’s message wasn’t just about activating the gifts of the Holy Spirit in the life of the church, although that would certainly be a by-product. Rather, the message was about hungering after and falling in love with the Holy Spirit again. When that happens, the church will become supernatural in orientation.

From a personal perspective, it seemed that God has been bringing me to this moment. For the weeks leading up to Pentecost, I had been reading Dennis Bennett’s Nine O’Clock in the Morning and more recently Vinson Synan’s An Eyewitness Remembers the Century of the Holy Spirit. What was obvious from reading these accounts was how revival took place every time the Holy Spirit fell, and how the church was irrevocably transformed to live out its purpose and impact the world.

For months now, I have missed that sense of the manifestation of the Holy Spirit which I was used to in my old cell group at my old church. We used to worship in a pretty unstructured way and give room for everyone to move in the gifts. I’m naturally shy and taking risks in releasing words was always scary, but there was also the exhilaration of being part of the what the Holy Spirit was wanting to do in the lives of your brothers and sisters. Having not been part of such a group for some time, I began to drift away from that reliance on the Holy Spirit. I think I became more assured in my own abilities and felt that sometimes my skills and planning had somehow usurped the place of the Spirit.

Today, something resonated in my spirit. It was as if the Holy Spirit was ready to be poured out afresh again, not only on FCC, but also on my life. That God would renew a hunger and passion for His Spirit once again.

So I went down to the altar for prayer and Pastor Daryl T’ng prayed for me. I don’t think I’ve met Daryl before (except through a Whatsapp tennis group, and even then we haven’t yet play together but as I was at the altar with my eyes closed, he began to give me a word. I was little creeped out at first when he mentioned my name because I didn’t recognise the voice (I only realised it was Daryl after the prayer time and I finally opened my eyes). He said that he saw me like a warrior who was tired and worn out and who had laid down my sword and shield. But now it was time to take them up again and make an impact for the kingdom.

Little did I know that at the same time, our friend (and an intercessor) June Yap had passed on a word she had for me to Ling: that she saw me as a tree that was charred but that when the Holy Spirit fell on me, the tree would become shiny and glorious. She saw fruits as well: fruits of many colours and that the fruits were shiny and were in fact jewels. This represents eternal impact. Wow! Unceasing fruitfulness!

I was really, really blessed today. I am really excited about what God is doing in my life in this season and in the days to come.

And I believe that in days to come, God will also reorientate FCC as we begin to dig up those old wells of the Spirit. We will be a skilful church, but also a supernatural church. Like Paul says in 1 Cor 14, when the gifts are in operation, the unbeliever amongst us will have the secrets of their hearts laid bear, and they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming “God is really among you!”