Sunday, November 30, 2008

Random Acts of Kindness

We must be careful how we treat people, because we never know who we can come into contact with. We should exercise even greater care with strangers. In dance ministry, we should not have to know someone on a first-name basis to treat them with respect. Taking a few extra moments to say hello or smile will show the true character of our ministries. Although we can be exhausted after a dance ministry piece has gone forth, we must be ever mindful that ministry does not start or stop with the music. Whatever we do should be to the glory of God.

The kindness that we show to others includes children as well. Many young people look up to those involved in the worship arts. Because the younger generation can be very impressionable, how we respond may leave an impression on them for years to come. We should not have to muster up a fake smile or empty words of appreciation for those we come into contact with. When we truly have a love for people, it shows.

A handshake, hug, nod, or smile can mean so much to those who have felt rejected or hurt, especially in the church setting. We must also be aware that there may be times when our best efforts to be cordial are not met with a warm reception. We should never take these moments personally. Our behavior before, during, and after ministry is as much a part of our presentation as the song itself. If we demonstrate powerful technique, glorious garments, and flawless grooming, but neglect to show the love of Gods toward others, we are nothing. When the music stops and the body can no longer take a step, what we have done for Christ will continue to remain.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Instant Replay

We must not get to the point where movement ministry becomes routine. There are times that we dance a certain piece that seems to resonate with many groups of people. These types of dances are usually the most requested and garner a significant crowd reaction. The feeling of triumph and victory is often experienced when we are made aware of the power of a piece. We must train ourselves not to be addicted to the approval of men to determine our success in movement ministry. If we merely select pieces based on what we feel will move the people, we may begin to be led by the flesh instead of the Spirit.

Even when we minister the same dance in different locations, we cannot assume that it will have the same results. Maintaining constant prayer and having an open ear to hear what the Lord is saying will allow us to take the same piece and minister it afresh each and every time. As we continue to dance, we will also discover that the Lord may direct us to change a small portion or sections of the dance for a particular occasion or reason. The Word is living and powerful, and when we minister it through movement, it will take on life as well. If we dance while taking anything for granted, we become a hinderance to the people we were sent to impact.

Even if we have danced a particular selection a hundred times, it should always appear to be genuine and sincere each and every moment. Dance ministers are not actors on a stage. We are not assuming a character when we step in front of an audience. We are messengers with a Word to deliver. Regardless of how many times we must deliver the message, we must do so with accuracy, conviction, and obedience.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Those Are Fighting Words!

We have many resources at our disposal for study purposes. Making sure that our songs are supported by the Bible is a necessary step. We can also use Hebrew and Greek study lexicons to gain an even greater understanding of words so that we may move with accuracy and understanding. It is important to rightly divide the Word of truth.

When presenting songs that can be classified as "warfare," we can obtain a greater command of authority when we demonstrate what it is to strike, contend, battle, have dominion, possess, bind, loose, surround, engage, stand, survey, watch, wield, overthrow, overcome, subdue, etc. Expanding our knowledge of the Scriptures will open us up to a stronger ability to move according to the Word.

Keeping things in perspective, we should not engage in subjects that we have not prepared for. The spirit realm is very real. Before we run to conferences to learn the latest "warfare moves" or teach dances that involve such movement, we must prepare by being honest concerning our relationships with Christ. It is our responsibility to know that we have been redeemed, confess and repent of our sins, and have an honest desire to see others set free. We should not "war" for selfish gain, but for the advancement of the Kingdom.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

A Time to Dance

Being invited to dance can be exciting. Many dancers lament the inability to dance as often as they would like. Other leaders may allow the dancers to go forth relatively unhindered. Keeping both scenarios in mind, it may not always be the time to break out and dance. Although the ministry of movement has made great strides, we must still exercise wisdom when visiting other locations, or even in familiar territory. We would like for the doors to continue to open for those who are willing to take the steps needed to present the ministry in excellence and with knowledge.

Where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty. We must not take this liberty to mean the we can do anything we want, whenever we want. There are several occasions when dancing is appropriate, especially when we are invited for that purpose. Although we can exercise liberty at our seats, dancing in the aisles or in the pulpit may not be welcome in some places. If we are not sure of the appropriateness of our actions, it may be a good idea to ask about our options in advance. If we cannot inquire before we arrive, we should definitely find out before we cause offense.

If we are indeed in an atmosphere where spontaneous praise and worship is welcomed, we must still observe some basic principles of safety. When using ribbons and streamers, we must always be aware of where we are in relation to the congregation. A wayward flag used carelessly can make quite an impact. When dancing, we should be mindful of our hands and feet so as not to make unnecessary contact with our neighbor. We would not want to cause unexpected injury that can be avoided. Having the freedom to dance can be wonderful and exciting, but we must keep in mind that it may not always be the time or place.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thought Provoking

Music selection controversies aside, some choreography is a bit too provocative to be used in a Christian context. There is no inherent sin in movement itself, but the activities associated with bending over in front of people or showing lots of leg can cause discomfort for many. We should not have the attitude that everyone is old-fashioned or just needs to "get over it." Although each message that we bring may not please everyone, it should definitely be relative to the people to which we are sent to give a Word.

The over-use of movement that involves the hips, rear and chest can be construed as lustful. This does not mean that we cannot utilize our total bodies in motion, we just need to be aware of the affect that certain moves may have on others. The appropriateness of garments is often contested when it comes to how revealing they are on females, but males must also be careful when wearing shirts that expose muscular arms or pants that may slip down without a belt. In some instances, boxer shorts have become an all-too-common sight in movement ministry.

When we allow the Lord to direct us, we will not have to worry about offensive movement. Our bodies are an instrument to be used for His glory. Dance that comes by supernatural revelation will magnify the Lord above all else. If we truly live, move, and have our being in Him, they will only see the Lord when we dance and not us.

Proverbs 12:5 (NKJV)
The thoughts of the righteous are right, but the counsels of the wicked are deceitful.

Acts 24:16 (NKJV)
This being so, I myself always strive to have a conscience without offense toward God and men.

Romans 13:12-14 (NKJV)
The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

1 Corinthians 10:31-33 (NKJV)
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Loose Change

We can never underestimate the small things. As movement ministers, we must learn to cherish our experiences and realize that we can learn just as much from the "little people" as we can from the professionals. Just as loose change can add up to a large sum when combined, we each are more valuable as a whole than we are apart. If we allow ourselves to get enthralled by fame and fortune touted by many television personalities and best-selling authors, we will miss the joy of serving from a place of purity. Pursuing ministerial degrees, licenses, and further education is great, but does not define who we are in God's eyes.

Dance ministry continues to grow in popularity and continues to experience change as the years go by. What was once standard a decade ago has progressed to include various movement genres and music types. This would not have come about if a few brave people were not willing to allow change to take place. All change is not necessarily for the better. Change does not mean that we relinquish the standard for holy living. Change does not equal the opportunity to dishonor the sanctuary of the Lord. Change does not mean that we adopt radical standards under the guise of being different. Change should mean that we grow, and as we do, we witness more of the Lord's work and less of our own.

When we minister through movement, the lives of people should be forever changed. If the Son of the Living God dwells within us, as we move we should witness miracles, signs and wonders along the way. If we are at a place where we are stagnant and thirsty for a move of God, it is time to submit to change that only God can create. Only after we have allowed Him to perform change in us can we loose it in the lives of others.

Psalm 116:16 (NKJV)
O LORD, truly I am Your servant; I am Your servant, the son of Your maidservant; You have loosed my bonds.

Matthew 16:19 (NKJV)
And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

1 Corinthians 15:51-52 (New King James Version)
Behold, I tell you a mystery: We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed- in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, and the dead will be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I Do A New Thing

We should always aim to expand our familiarity with dance technique and the Word. There may be some areas of talent that lie undiscovered simply because we have not tried them yet. How do we know that we are not blessed with the ability to mime if we have never tried? For the untrained, taking a dance class may seem intimidating at first, but how will we gain skill unless we are up for the challenge? Trying something once and not being able to master it is not a reason to quit. If we are not drawn to a certain discipline or passion, we may not fare well in it, but walking by faith will help us to discover something new.

It is not necessary to be a "Jack (or Jill) of all trades" in dance ministry, but it is a good idea to discover uncharted territory in our own ministries. When we attend conferences, it may stretch us just a bit to take classes that are not on our list of favorites. Choosing the same options over and over again can lead to stagnation. If we already take regular ballet or modern classes, why not try our hand at prophetic dance or flags? Sticking to defined stereotypes of praise dance may hinder us if we neglect to move forward.

Launching out and learning about cultural dance and history is a wonderful way to expand. Even if we do not incorporate all movement types into our repertoire, understanding different dances and cultures may help us minister to people unlike us. We cannot be so "deep" to believe that ballet is the only way, or that all misucal selections must be slow worship songs. As we continue to enlarge our borders concerning dance ministry, the Lord continues to be the ultimate Director of our steps.

Isaiah 43:19 (NKJV)
Behold, I will do a new thing, now it shall spring forth; Shall you not know it? I will even make a road in the wilderness and rivers in the desert.

Job 33:16 (NKJV)
Then He opens the ears of men, and seals their instruction.

Proverbs 19:20 (NKJV)
Listen to counsel and receive instruction, that you may be wise in your latter days.

Romans 7:6 (NKJV)
But now we have been delivered from the law, having died to what we were held by, so that we should serve in the newness of the Spirit and not in the oldness of the letter.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Holly Daze

Along with the "Holiday Season" comes the pressure to deliver a stellar visual piece. Selecting the right song, attire, and choreography can get downright overwhelming. For some dancers, the music is already pre-selected by a music director that the dancers must use in accordance with the singers and drama department. If all elements of the group are not on one accord, many may find themselves confused and in a daze.

When we focus on the occasion more than the reason for ministry, we can find ourselves concentrating on trivial matters and completely miss the mark. Our celebration and remembrance should last more than a season. We should devote a lifetime to lifting up the name of Jesus, regardless of the method by which we minister.

When we remain prayerful and full of the Word, the Lord will give us the solution for times when we are expected to "put on a show." It does not matter what people may think, our objective must be to bring glory to God. It should not take a nationally recognized occasion to bring out the best in us. Regardless of the day of the week or season, we should always be able to bring glory to God in the highest!

Matthew 6:1 (NKJV)
[Do Good to Please God] “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven.

Romans 8:8 (NKJV)
So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Care Taker

In ministry, our focus is often on attending to the needs of others. Dedication to the ministry of movement may mean missed meals with family and friends, delayed hair appointments, and missed hours of sleep. As we grow in wisdom, we realize the need for balance. If we neglect to care for ourselves and relegate our loved ones to the outskirts of our priorities, we will find ourselves compromised.

Jesus understood the need to get away to pray and refresh. A dance ministry schedule that does not include time for intercession and study of the Word will weaken our defenses. Insufficient sleep, rest, and neglected personal care will eventually affect our ministries. This can result in missed deadlines, event cancellations, and general fatigue.

When we dance and minister before people, we do not want to be so exhausted that we cannot go full out if need be. Lack of sleep can cause irritability or sluggishness that may cause us to appear unfriendly or unapproachable. We are not to champion vanity, but our efforts to care for ourselves are essential to ministry. When we are of sound mind and health, we can reflect this blessing in the presence of others.

Exodus 31:17 (NKJV)
It is a sign between Me and the children of Israel forever; for in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, and on the seventh day He rested and was refreshed.

Psalm 4:8 (NKJV)
I will both lie down in peace, and sleep; For You alone, O LORD, make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 127:2 (NKJV)
It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; For so He gives His beloved sleep.

Philemon 1:20 (NKJV)
Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Need for Speed

Procrastination will cause us to operate without excellence and miss potential opportunities. Waiting until the last minute to begin rehearsals for an important date can cause anxiety and stress and result in a poor display of a last-minute dance piece. Delaying to make payments on garments or ministry trips can put the whole group in jeopardy. It has been said that "failure to plan is planning to fail." There is a time to wait on the Lord, and there also is a time to move speedily.

When we know that we have directions from the Lord that we are to do now, we must be obedient. This extends beyond dance-related subjects into our personal lives. If we are not taking care of our personal bills in a timely manner, this will impact our ministries. Improper handling of responsibilities speaks to our character and stewardship. We should not feel condemned if we realize where we have fallen and repent. This adjustment will include action steps to rectify anything through which we have shown slothfulness.

Some last-minute things are beyond our control, but we know in our hearts when the problem is "us." Moving in the timing of the Lord will bring us great victory. When we stay prepared, we can quickly accomplish the things that He tells us. Many delays are rooted in fear. Since the Lord did not give us the spirit of fear, we must face whatever is causing us to remain motionless. If we need more education, we can obtain it. Financial literacy is abundant through bookstores and online. When we are prepared, we will find ourselves ready to spring into action in an instant.

2 Chronicles 24:5 (NKJV)
Then he gathered the priests and the Levites, and said to them, “Go out to the cities of Judah, and gather from all Israel money to repair the house of your God from year to year, and see that you do it quickly.” However the Levites did not do it quickly.

Ecclesiastes 8:11 (NKJV)
Because the sentence against an evil work is not executed speedily, therefore the heart of the sons of men is fully set in them to do evil.

Isaiah 5:26 (NKJV)
He will lift up a banner to the nations from afar, and will whistle to them from the end of the earth; surely they shall come with speed, swiftly.

Matthew 5:25 (NKJV)
Agree with your adversary quickly, while you are on the way with him, lest your adversary deliver you to the judge, the judge hand you over to the officer, and you be thrown into prison.

Revelation 3:11 (NKJV)
Behold, I am coming quickly! Hold fast what you have, that no one may take your crown.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Favor Ain't Fare!

The Lord is a Rewarder and repays us on all of our Kingdom investments. When we serve in the ministry of movement, there are times that it will require finances to participate. These may come in the manner of transportation, garments, conference and workshop registrations, educational materials, or even food when we are travelling for an event. More likely than not, there will be at least one ministry member in the group that is facing financial difficulty and may not be able to afford these activities.

Often, a local church or ministry leader will provide some assistance to aid dancers to the goal, and other times fundraising efforts are put in place for the group. At the same time, we must encourage movement ministers to invest in the ministry by putting both treasures and hearts in the same place. We should not have to keep bailing out dancers who do not see the need to prepare for what is claimed to be a passion. When we promote hand-outs over preparation, these individuals may become "freeloaders" who are always in need, but have little to offer in return. With a little planning and leadership approval, a budget can be established to provide for ministry activites.

We should not insinuate future indebtedness for providing funding or brag about assisting anyone financially. If we feel as though we are owed some type of favor for the help, we should immediately cease holding people in bondage. When we give or share resources, our intentions must be just. Sowing into the life and ministry of someone else comes with the knowledge that the return may not come from the same source. Alternately, we should never base our inner circle of friends and associates on how much money they can contribute to our personal ministries. If we are charging a "fare" to carry someone with us based on what we perceive to be favor, we will soon discover that we have to pay the piper to keep dancing.

Leviticus 25:35 (NKJV)
If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you.

Deuteronomy 15:10 (NKJV)
You shall surely give to him, and your heart should not be grieved when you give to him, because for this thing the LORD your God will bless you in all your works and in all to which you put your hand.

Psalm 112:5 (NKJV)
A good man deals graciously and lends; He will guide his affairs with discretion.

Proverbs 19:17 (NKJV)
He who has pity on the poor lends to the LORD, and He will pay back what he has given.

Luke 6:34-35 (NKJV)
And if you lend to those from whom you hope to receive back, what credit is that to you? For even sinners lend to sinners to receive as much back. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

The Secret is Out!

Even people with the best intentions can find themselves in the middle of controversy. In creative arts ministries, many participants are passionate and expressive. This passion can often move beyond choreography and can lead to very active conversation. One of the most destructive forces in relationships and ministries can be idle words. Our most trusted friends can become our most vehement accusers. This does not mean that we must walk in fear when sharing our concerns with others, but we must exercise wisdom when we speak.

Wisdom teaches us when to speak and when to be quiet. We do not have to offer commentary for every subject that arises. In dance ministry rehearsals, one complaint or remark can be stopped if no one offers an affirming response. As soon as someone starts spouting negative commentary about garments, choreography, schedules, and fellow team members, we can quell the voice of division when we choose to take the high road.

Disagreements with fellow dancers may make us curious to hear about what has befallen them. Instead of praying for others, it may be tempting to think that the Lord is taking revenge on our behalfs. We each have our own share of repenting to do. Instead of spreading the word about the latest news concerning "them," we should be even more diligent to watch and pray for each other. When we govern ourselves and our mouths according to righteousness, we will discover that we are peacemakers and thus blessed.

Psalm 101:5 (NKJV)
Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy; The one who has a haughty look and a proud heart, him I will not endure.

Proverbs 11:13 (NKJV)
A talebearer reveals secrets, but he who is of a faithful spirit conceals a matter.

Proverbs 25:9 (NKJV)
Debate your case with your neighbor, and do not disclose the secret to another

Luke 12:3 (NKJV)
Therefore whatever you have spoken in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have spoken in the ear in inner rooms will be proclaimed on the housetops.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Two Wrongs Don't Make a Right

We cannot blame leadership when we make wrong decisions. The Lord is holding each one of us responsible for our own choices. If dance ministry leadership shows up late to rehearsals or exhibits poor dedication to the ministry, this is not an excuse for ministry members to adopt the same behavior. We cannot treat people disrespectfully or display "diva" attitudes based on the actions or influence of someone else. God did not accept Adam's excuse when he blamed Eve for disobeying His instructions...

Difficult choices are necessary to discover what really lies within our hearts. It is true that obedience is better than sacrafice, but it is also true that we must work out our own soul salvation. If the dance ministry decides to wear inappropriate attire, will we? If the group decides to have a night out at a local bar for drinks, should we attend? If the dance team decides to openly challenge Pastoral authority or instructions, will we join in the effort? If ministry members decide to oust the current dance ministry leader by planning a surprise meeting and impromptu "trial," will we testify as a witness for the prosecution?

It is a daily decision to make choices that would glorify the Lord. When we stand for righteousness, we may encourage someone else to walk uprightly. Taking a stand does not mean acting as the resident critic or passionately discussing our disagreements with whomever may give us an ear. Often, we can make the most impact by interceding for the situation and not participating in any behavior that would lead to destruction and division.

1 Samuel 24:17 (NKJV)
Then he said to David: “You are more righteous than I; for you have rewarded me with good, whereas I have rewarded you with evil.

Jeremiah 22:3 (NKJV)
Thus says the LORD: “Execute judgment and righteousness, and deliver the plundered out of the hand of the oppressor. Do no wrong and do no violence to the stranger, the fatherless, or the widow, nor shed innocent blood in this place.

Proverbs 11:23 (NKJV)
The desire of the righteous is only good, but the expectation of the wicked is wrath.

1 Peter 3:13 (NKJV)
[Suffering for Right and Wrong] And who is he who will harm you if you become followers of what is good?

Monday, November 17, 2008

All for One

What is most important to us may not mean much to someone else. Our passion may not be celebrated by others. Understanding this, we must know where we fit into the big picture. Dance is still a hotly contested activity in many religious circles. Even when it is accepted, comparisons between dance ministries are frequently made regarding who is "anointed" or not. Contrary to the opinions of some, dance ministry alone will not be the key factor in restoring worship. Although we can dance effectively, there can be an even greater impact when we function as part of a whole.

In the Old Testament, the singers, dancers, and musicians formed one large caravan. Some churches include all of the worship arts for special services (Christmas and Resurrection Sunday), and a growing segment are beginning to embrace the concept of the entire worship arts operating together as one during weekly worship gatherings. Musicians are able to play without singers and singers can function without an instrument. Although dancers are able to use the spoken Word, illustrative sermons, and prayers to accompany movement, most often we use musicians and singers through pre-recorded music or in person. We already embrace the corporate worship model in this sense, but there is still work to do to bring greater unity.

The challenge for dance ministries during praise and worship is to keep the focus on worship. When dancers perform complicated turns and combinations, the congregation may find it difficult to participate. If the entire worship arts conglomerate does not understand how to function as a unit, competition can arise between the singers and the dancers for attention. If the musicians are playing louder than the singers, this will also bring disunity. If we are to worship together as one Body, we should seek the Lord for wisdom so that we can begin to truly worship as one.

2 Chronicles 5:13-14 (NKJV)
Indeed it came to pass, when the trumpeters and singers were as one, to make one sound to be heard in praising and thanking the LORD, and when they lifted up their voice with the trumpets and cymbals and instruments of music, and praised the LORD, saying: “For He is good, For His mercy endures forever,” that the house, the house of the LORD, was filled with a cloud, so that the priests could not continue ministering because of the cloud; for the glory of the LORD filled the house of God.

Psalm 68:25 (NKJV)
The singers went before, the players on instruments followed after; Among them were the maidens playing timbrels.

Ezra 3:1 (NKJV)
[Worship Restored at Jerusalem] And when the seventh month had come, and the children of Israel were in the cities, the people gathered together as one man to Jerusalem.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Tripping Out

An important part of learning is to incorporate practical application. Before we venture out to dance in a new place, wisdom should lead us to know as much as we can about the location in advance. With the internet and on-demand information systems, we can experience a "virtual reality" before we arrive. It is possible to experience movement ministry via computer or television, but there is nothing like the real thing.

Many Biblical leaders, prophets, and teachers could be found travelling to various cities to minister. Both Jesus and Paul journeyed to several locations to minister to people. As dancers, we should make it a priority to travel regularly for several reasons. Our commission is to go into all the world and preach the gospel. As we go forth, we will also witness the vastness of God when we observe different people and cultures. We will also gain an understanding of how to minister with a Kingdom mindset.

If we make plans in advance, finances should not prevent us from taking trips for ministerial purposes. Proper planning will allow us to represent in greater numbers and prepare for the unexpected. Whether attending a conference or embarking on a missions trip, if we maintain excellence and sincerity, we should have no shortage of people willing to contribute to the cause.

Numbers 9:18 (NKJV)
At the command of the LORD the children of Israel would journey, and at the command of the LORD they would camp; as long as the cloud stayed above the tabernacle they remained encamped.

Nehemiah 9:12 (NKJV)
Moreover You led them by day with a cloudy pillar, and by night with a pillar of fire, to give them light on the road which they should travel.

2 Corinthians 8:18-20 (NKJV)
And we have sent with him the brother whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches, and not only that, but who was also chosen by the churches to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of the Lord Himself and to show your ready mind, avoiding this: that anyone should blame us in this lavish gift which is administered by us

Romans 15:23-25 (NKJV)
But now no longer having a place in these parts, and having a great desire these many years to come to you, whenever I journey to Spain, I shall come to you. For I hope to see you on my journey, and to be helped on my way there by you, if first I may enjoy your company for a while. But now I am going to Jerusalem to minister to the saints.

Saturday, November 15, 2008


We know how to take care of the things that matter the most to us. If we are not sensitive concerning the people of ministry, we are doing a disservice to them and misrepresenting the Lord. How we govern our personal lives directly impacts our movement ministries.

We cannot give the adversary any ammunition to use against us. Dancing with maxed-out credit cards, unpaid bills, and broken promises that we have not honored must be rectified. The Word reminds us to owe no man. Ignoring our personal obligations while preaching righteouness to others promotes hypocrisy. It is time to settle our accounts.

If we owe creditors, we must begin to make amends. Payments or pledges to others that have not been rectified must be revisited. Even if we owe someone an apology or a phone call, operating in complete integrity will assist us in being a true representation of Kingdom ministry.

2 Kings 4:7 (NKJV)
Then she came and told the man of God. And he said, “Go, sell the oil and pay your debt; and you and your sons live on the rest.”

Proverbs 22:26-27 (NKJV)
Do not be one of those who shakes hands in a pledge, one of those who is surety for debts; If you have nothing with which to pay, why should he take away your bed from under you?

Matthew 6:12 (NKJV)
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Romans 13:8 (NKJV)
Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Keep a Record of It

Those inspired to write the Holy Scriptures would have been disobedient not to perform the scribal mandate. Dancers are very visual, and use aural means to accompany movement to get the message out. What is spoken would not have as much credence if not for the written record. Many times, the Lord Jesus would make the statement, "It is written." With this assertion, He was able to refute every deceptive argument presented to Him by the enemy.

Movement ministry involves much more than dancing and ministering. The administration of ministry will allow us to flow according to guidelines and assist with preventing confusion. This does not mean that we have to police dance members with a strict set of rules to follow. Clearly written guidelines concerning the vision of the ministry, expectations, committment, and standard operating procedures will allow us to treat one another with respect and walk in agreement. When we move ahead without a sense of order, we can run into trouble and will end up making the rules as we go along.

Disorganization in ministry can lead to claims of unfair treatment and favoritism. Neglecting to establish procedures for dealing with dancers that miss rehearsals, exhibit chronic lateness, engage in unacceptable behavior, and rebel against leadership can result in a great rift throughout the ministry team, as well as a larger organization. Having the spiritual and technical elements of dance ministry is important, but laying a solid foundation to govern the ministry will promote the ability to endure the challenges that arise.

We should make an effort to keep an updated record of movement ministry standards. This can be sanctioned by leadership, but does not necessarily have to be the duty of the dance ministry leader. A person gifted with administrative skills can serve as a recordkeeper and make note of of important developments and changes. This person can also keep copies of the agreed directives with them so that incoming and established dance ministers may have the ability to review during times of gathering. These are just a few examples, but when we make a practice of writing the vision, we will be able to maintain focus and understand our mandate plainly.

Jeremiah 36:17-18 (NKJV)
And they asked Baruch, saying, “Tell us now, how did you write all these words—at his instruction?” So Baruch answered them, “He proclaimed with his mouth all these words to me, and I wrote them with ink in the book.”

Habakkuk 2:2 (NKJV)
[The Just Live by Faith] Then the LORD answered me and said: Write the vision And make it plain on tablets, that he may run who reads it.

Luke 1:3-4 (NKJV)
It seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.

1 Timothy 3:14-15 (NKJV)
These things I write to you, though I hope to come to you shortly; but if I am delayed, I write so that you may know how you ought to conduct yourself in the house of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth.

1 John 5:13 (NKJV)
These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life, and that you may continue to believe in the name of the Son of God.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The "Eyes" Have It

Dance ministers can get consumed with thinking about personal appearance and become engrossed in the opinions of others. There are many dancers who appear to be unconcerned by grooming, hygiene, and overall presentation. At the opposite end of the spectrum are those who are obsessed with getting every single detail exactly right. Picture-perfect hair, flawless nails, makeup or face paint, and flawless garments are encouraged more than a true relationship with God in the circles of the self-conscious. This is often based on what is seen on the outside and the things that may impress or repulse people.

God does not see as man sees. His Divine sight is unlike any x-ray or digital imaging known to man. When He looks at us, our total being is revealed. He observes our personal character, lifestyles, faithfulness, and the true condition of our hearts. Making His examination of us a primary concern will remove any pressure that we face from men. This should not cause us to be terrified, but to be purified. When the Lord finds us walking in righteousness, we will be granted the wisdom, grace, and favor that we need.

We are truly dancing for an audience of one. The Lord is not looking at our technical abilities and marking our perceived disabilities on a scorecard. Ministry is a momentous thing that holds the doors of eternity open for the lost to access. Realizing that He sees us with His eyes should provoke us to walk reverently concerning the things of God. Dance is not the focus or the cause for which we commit. It is the vehicle through which the gospel may be shared to forever unchain the lives of those who are bound.

2 Chronicles 16:9a (NKJV)
For the eyes of the LORD run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.

Psalm 11:4 (NKJV)
The LORD is in His holy temple, the LORD’s throne is in heaven; His eyes behold, His eyelids test the sons of men.

Proverbs 15:3 (NKJV)
The eyes of the LORD are in every place, keeping watch on the evil and the good.

Proverbs 22:12 (NKJV)
The eyes of the LORD preserve knowledge, but He overthrows the words of the faithless.

1 Peter 3:12 (NKJV)
For the eyes of the LORD are on the righteous, and His ears are open to their prayers; but the face of the LORD is against those who do evil.”

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Heads or Tails?

The way that we handle our ministries and make decisions will determine our position. Many dancers have the mistaken concept that forging friendships with the "who's who" in the church realm will bring esteemed promotion and success. Some leaders even assert that being "covenantly connected" to them will open more doors than can be imagined. The implication is that we will miss our destiny if we do not choose to associate with a particular person. The truth is that God exalts the humble. Serving Him faithfully will bring promotion and excellence will garner respect. The Lord's purposes prevail!

Considering both the natural and spiritual aspects, our heads are usually uncovered while dancing and are used for ministry through expression. Mime ministers often highlight the face with paint and dancers may use make-up to enliven expression. Observers of movement ministry can usually determine our passion and sincerity by looking at our faces. The head is usually clearly visible and open for all to see. We are encouraged to cover our "tails" with garments that conceal anything of a provocative nature. This would represent the areas that are inappropriate for public display or must be carefully presented.

Exercising wisdom in ministry calls for trained leadership and informed members. Dance ministry advocates should also be reminded about the need to exercise appropriate actions (public), speech (public and private), as well as inter-personal relationships (private). We each determine if we will function as "heads" or "tails" by our own actions. Righteousness brings favor and promotion from the Lord. Self-righteousness is destructive and divisive. The final result will be determined by our own selection.

Deuteronomy 28:13 (NKJV)
And the LORD will make you the head and not the tail; you shall be above only, and not be beneath, if you heed the commandments of the LORD your God, which I command you today, and are careful to observe them.

1 Samuel 9:6 (NKJV)
And he said to him, “Look now, there is in this city a man of God, and he is an honorable man; all that he says surely comes to pass. So let us go there; perhaps he can show us the way that we should go.”

Isaiah 9:15 (NKJV)
The elder and honorable, he is the head; The prophet who teaches lies, he is the tail.

1 Corinthians 12:22-24 (NKJV)
No, much rather, those members of the body which seem to be weaker are necessary. And those members of the body which we think to be less honorable, on these we bestow greater honor; and our unpresentable parts have greater modesty, but our presentable parts have no need. But God composed the body, having given greater honor to that part which lacks it

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Stop and Stair

Safety is an important factor in movement ministry. Not all locations are ideal for dancers, but we seem to manage nonetheless. We must know the protocol for each place that we are invited to minister. Some locations offer plenty of floor space, while others may have seating located very close to the pulpit. Dances choreographed to include motion in the aisles may get complicated in a facility that does not have a sufficient number of them. In other cases, there may be one or several steps leading up to the platform to navigate.

Because of these many possibilities, we must be prepared to dance on whatever terrain may be presented. Elevated platforms with stairs call for modesty and would be best addressed with garments that offer sufficent leg coverage (loose fitting pants underneath opaque skirts), as well as garments that have hems of the appropriate length. Skirts and pants that are too long may cause a dancer to trip and fall, while skirts and pants that are too large may fall off during dancing and cause sheer embarassment.

Carpeted floors are common in many sanctuaries and may cause injury to bare feet depending on the choreography used and thickness of the carpeting. In these cases, it may be a good idea to always carry dance shoes with us. It is better to have options to address any unexpected challenges by being prepared. Best case scenario would allow us to set pieces in the location beforehand. This may only require a few moments before an event (without the audience present) to get an idea of what to expect. Even if we are unable to place ourselves in advance, experience and practical application will allow us to go forth undaunted.

Exodus 20:26 (NKJV)
Nor shall you go up by steps to My altar, that your nakedness may not be exposed on it.

1 Kings 6:8 (NKJV)
The doorway for the middle story was on the right side of the temple. They went up by stairs to the middle story, and from the middle to the third.

1 Kings 10:12 (NKJV)
And the king made steps of the almug wood for the house of the LORD and for the king’s house, also harps and stringed instruments for singers. There never again came such almug wood, nor has the like been seen to this day.

Nehemiah 9:4-5 (NKJV)
Then Jeshua, Bani, Kadmiel, Shebaniah, Bunni, Sherebiah, Bani, and Chenani stood on the stairs of the Levites and cried out with a loud voice to the LORD their God. And the Levites, Jeshua, Kadmiel, Bani, Hashabniah, Sherebiah, Hodijah, Shebaniah, and Pethahiah, said: “Stand up and bless the LORD your God forever and ever! “Blessed be Your glorious name, which is exalted above all blessing and praise!

Nehemiah 12:37 (NKJV)
By the Fountain Gate, in front of them, they went up the stairs of the City of David, on the stairway of the wall, beyond the house of David, as far as the Water Gate eastward.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Give Me a Break!

It seems that we have become more immersed in church events than in ministry. While ministry activities are nice and provide fellowship, if we are becoming weary and overwhelmed with impossible itineraries, we must stop and review the Kingdom commission. Dancers used to complain about serving as "Christmas, Mother's Day, and Easter" additions to the program. Now the complaint is that dancers are expected to dance for every worship service, anniversary, prayer breakfast, church outing, birthday celebration, special auxiliary event, and so on.

Leaders should be especially cautious of overworking dance ministry members to the breaking point. Different dancers have different life situations. A single dancer may have more availability than married ones. Those with children may have less extracuricular time than dancers without dependents. A balance should be reached so that good stewardship is maintained both at home and in the church. If there is a need for additional help, dance ministry supporters may be needed to fill in the gap during crunch times.

As dancers, it is also our responsibility to know when to accept an assignment and when to say no. Zeal often entices us to agree to more tasks than we can effectively accomplish. When we falter or miss a deadline, we may be perceived as undependable and untrustworthy, even though our motive may have been to help. If we do not exercise wisdom regarding our committments, we may find ourselves suffering mentally, physically, and spiritually. In order to maintain peace and ministry health, we must all do our part to wholly dedicate ourselves to the Lord.

Nehemiah 4:10 (NKJV)
Then Judah said, “The strength of the laborers is failing, and there is so much rubbish that we are not able to build the wall.”

1 Samuel 30:10 (NKJV)
But David pursued, he and four hundred men; for two hundred stayed behind, who were so weary that they could not cross the Brook Besor.

Isaiah 50:4 (NKJV)
“The Lord GOD has given Me The tongue of the learned, that I should know how to speak a word in season to him who is weary. He awakens Me morning by morning, He awakens My ear to hear as the learned.

Matthew 9:36 (NKJV)
But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Name Recognition

In the business networking arena, it is often said, "It's not what you know, it's who you know." In Kingdom business, it is about what we know and Who we know. The unfortunate practice of boasting about personal associations, affiliations, network connections, and social groups is that many dance ministries have become dependent on prominent people to look for validation for themselves. If we are found diligent in our work for the Lord, He will raise us up without man's appointment.

Building accountability and righteous relationships is great. If we find ourselves connected to effective ministers of the gospel, we can be provided with very valuable widsom and instruction. When we use the names of others to promote endorsement of ourselves, we are relying on the world's way of promotion. If we make a habit of telling others about our popular influences, when scandal or setback befalls that person, we will also be attached to the resulting controversy.

The only name that we should boast about is the name of Jesus. Jesus came in the name of the Father, and not man. This does not mean that we do not give honor to those who are worthy of it. We must not aim to gain fame by our affiliations. The Bible records many times in which selected leaders were propelled into prominence because of dedication and faithfulness to the Lord. If we count on our earthly connections to get us to a place of success, we will realize that man's intervention is temporary, while God's is eternal.

Joshua 6:27 (NKJV)
So the LORD was with Joshua, and his fame spread throughout all the country.

2 Samuel 5:12 (NKJV)
So David knew that the LORD had established him as king over Israel, and that He had exalted His kingdom for the sake of His people Israel.

1 Chronicles 29:25 (NKJV)
So the LORD exalted Solomon exceedingly in the sight of all Israel, and bestowed on him such royal majesty as had not been on any king before him in Israel.

Job 36:7 (NKJV)
He does not withdraw His eyes from the righteous; But they are on the throne with kings, For He has seated them forever, and they are exalted.

Matthew 23:12 (NKJV)
And whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Basket Case

Transporting instruments for worship can be a challenge. Many dance ministry vendors today are providing unique flag bags for carrying a variety of large and small flags. When ministering in another location, these can be useful to conserve space and maintain the element of surprise. When stored correctly, flags transported in this manner can be used with ease, and then properly returned to the bag for later use.

A different approach may be used when transporting billow cloths and other worship fabrics. Delicate fabrics usually end up with creases or wrinkles that may be visible to the viewer when removed for use. There are a couple of options that we can try to ease the common challenges associated with these items. Fabrics should be prepared beforehand by using a fabric steamer or an iron on a very low setting with a barrier or protectant between the fabric and the iron. It is not a great idea to use an iron on painted or heavily decorated fabrics. If we must, we can carry a small hand steamer with us if we need to do any last minute maintenance on site.

After smoothing them out, we can gently fold them and place them over a hanger or inside a wide basket if we will travel by automobile. Fabrics placed on a triangluar hanger can be hung with minimal disturbance during the journey, whereas a large wicker basket can perform double duty and be used as a prop in the piece. A combination of the two elements can be used. A basket will also allow for a quick transition for placing the collected billows and flags inside after the piece is complete.

Baskets can also be used as symbolic worship elements in other ways. Wicker baskets come in many sizes and shapes and can be easily spray painted as needed. They are relatively light, and can serve in a multitude of ways. Baskets used in movement can convey giving, receiving, protection (Moses), provision, overflow, abundance, harvest (gathering), and so much more. When we explore the options to include dance, props, fabrics, flags, banners, and pageantry, we can continue to move with unlimited possibilities.

Deuteronomy 26:4 (NKJV)
“Then the priest shall take the basket out of your hand and set it down before the altar of the LORD your God.

Deuteronomy 28:5 (NKJV)
Blessed shall be your basket and your kneading bowl.

Matthew 16:9 (NKJV)
Do you not yet understand, or remember the five loaves of the five thousand and how many baskets you took up?

Acts 9:25 (NKJV)
Then the disciples took him by night and let him down through the wall in a large basket.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Doing the Wave

When we have longevity in movement ministry, creativity must be utilized to keep from becoming predictable. Some dance ministries are very formulaic and this is highlighted as similaries or recurring themes are seen by the same groups over the years. The Lord has blessed us with many options to remain relevant and creative. A greater understanding of the Word will allow us to receive increased awareness of Divine creavity.

The beauty of movement ministry is that we do not have to be literal in order to convey a thought. Using flags, banners, and billows is great when we want to show a message or establish a spiritual atmosphere. One creative way to use flags and billows can be used to show the symbolism of waves. Waves can be understood as something that is overwhelming (storms and winds) as well as something that can be conquered (calming of the sea).

We do not have to be limited to the use of blue hues to represent the waves. Using billow cloths of various colors can be used to highlight peace and beauty, but there is a time when they can also represent storms, trials, and triumphs. In order to be effective with using flags or fabrics, we must practice with them. There are some wonderful resources that will educate us on some patterns and shapes that we can make with flags and billows, including instruction as to popular lengths, styles, and the type of material that yields the desired results.

The key for us is to always remember that the Lord is in control of the waves, and can also reveal to us ways to use flags and billows that may not have been shown to us by someone else. Incorporated along with dance, we can set wonderful backdrops as we minister. Billows or large flags may not be as effective in outdoor environments (wind, rain, etc), or in indoor settings with a powerful air conditioner. In these instances, we may opt to make another selection, or plan in advance in case adjustments need to be made.

Job 9:8 (NKJV)
He alone spreads out the heavens, and treads on the waves of the sea

Psalm 42:7 (NKJV)
Deep calls unto deep at the noise of Your waterfalls; All Your waves and billows have gone over me.

Psalm 93:4 (NKJV)
The LORD on high is mightier than the noise of many waters, than the mighty waves of the sea.

Psalm 107:25 (NKJV)
For He commands and raises the stormy wind, which lifts up the waves of the sea.

Jeremiah 51:42 (NKJV)
The sea has come up over Babylon; She is covered with the multitude of its waves .

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Every Little Step...

We must pray for balance between precision choreography and rightly dividing the Word. It is futile to put together a movement masterpiece that has absolutely no relevance to the words being uttered. Dancing to the beat is not the point of dance as ministry. When we leave an indelible picture of the gospel in the minds of the people, the Word comes alive and can be more easily recalled through memory. If our movement does not connect with the words, the motions will be remembered more than the message.

The steps that we include in our pieces are significant. As we continue to be students of the Scriptures, we will be more able to convey movement that captures the heart of God toward His people. From a Biblical standpoint, our steps are symbolic of the lifestyles that we lead. We can choose to walk in the way of the Lord, or to become wayward by straying from the path. In the ministry of dance, we must carefully consider our steps.

Spiritual choreography can be obtained in many ways. Some receive movement through dreams and visions. Other dance steps are inspired by Divine revelation and personal testimony. As long as our motion is motivated in righteousness, our dances will correctly convey the meaning of the Word through movement. If we select movements based on what we see others do, we are not relying on the Lord to direct our steps. Though the movement that we incorporate may not be unique in itself, each and every dance ministry ordained by God has a unique imprint expressly orchestrated by God.

Job 34:21 (NKJV)
“For His eyes are on the ways of man, and He sees all his steps.

Psalm 119:133 (NKJV)
Direct my steps by Your word, and let no iniquity have dominion over me.

Proverbs 14:15 (NKJV)
The simple believes every word, but the prudent considers well his steps.

Proverbs 20:24 (NKJV)
A man’s steps are of the LORD; How then can a man understand his own way?

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Reality Show

Dance ministry from the outside can appear to be glamorous. Beautiful garments, positive crowd reaction, and making an impact on the lives of others is often viewed as desirable to someone who is drawn to the worship arts. There are many things that are unseen on the surface that could deter those whose primary purpose is to be celebrated. As we mature in movement ministry, endurance will be accomplished through trials, setbacks, financial sacrafice, and life situations.

The reality is that ministry comes with a price. Beyond monetary committment, relationships will be tested, friendships may change, cherished dancers may leave, church leadership may be unsupportive, economics may impact ministry funds, injuries may sideline us for a season, we may have to dance through depression and many other scenarios. We can expect these challenges to grow when we are effective in ministry and increase in skill and understanding.

Truth is what is exposed when the audience leaves and the lights and cameras are turned off. Ministers of movement face very real situations that the typical church sermon and cheerful testimony may not reveal. Often when prominent artists share testimonies, we hear about the victories. Rarely do we hear about the defeats, hard lessons, missteps, unwise choices, and outright failures. It is not that we need to hear these things to discourage us, we need to have wisdom to survive. We cannot hide behind make-up, face paint, glorious garments, or marvelous music. We know how to be spiritual. We must also undertand how to handle the natural side of life.

Job 22:29 (NKJV)
When they cast you down, and you say, ‘Exaltation will come!’ then He will save the humble person.

Psalm 37:14 (NKJV)
The wicked have drawn the sword and have bent their bow, to cast down the poor and needy, to slay those who are of upright conduct.

Acts 20:18-20 (NKJV)
And when they had come to him, he said to them: “You know, from the first day that I came to Asia, in what manner I always lived among you, serving the Lord with all humility, with many tears and trials which happened to me by the plotting of the Jews; how I kept back nothing that was helpful, but proclaimed it to you, and taught you publicly and from house to house

James 1:2-3 (NKJV)
My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.

1 Peter 1:6-8 (NKJV)
In this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials, that the genuineness of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perishes, though it is tested by fire, may be found to praise, honor, and glory at the revelation of Jesus Christ, whom having not seen you love. Though now you do not see Him, yet believing, you rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Know Before You Go!

We cannot be ignorant of the enemy's devices. What may work in our local church or geographical area may not be appropriate in others. Dancing in pants for women or wearing skirts that flare during movement may be offensive in other cultures. Even wearing camouflage, often used as a symbol of warfare in dance ministry in the United States, is considered illegal in some countires when worn by non-military personnel. We should know these details in advance. As we prepare to go into all the world and preach the gospel, we must also study where we are going before we arrive so as to operate in wisdom when winning souls.

When engaging other cultures or traditions, we must be aware of the strongholds or traditional practices in order to be effective. This does not mean that we are to observe the ungodly traditions of the region that we are visiting. If we cannot discern idol worship, anti-Christ expressions, or other spiritual symbolism, we are walking into a snare. Especially when travelling to distant lands, we should know what is lawful or acceptable before we go. Gender limitations, clothing restrictions, and behavioral practices are to be noted so that we may continue to operate freely.

When adressing diverse cultures, we must also be aware of what type of language is acceptable in a public setting. What is a freedom in one location may be illegal in another. We cannot make any assumptions. We can do research via the internet, call ahead to ask questions, or get advice from experienced travellers. If we are ignorant in ministry, we may find ourselves imprisoned for the cause.

Exodus 34:12 (NKJV)
Take heed to yourself, lest you make a covenant with the inhabitants of the land where you are going, lest it be a snare in your midst.

Deuteronomy 18:9 (NKJV)
[Avoid Wicked Customs] “When you come into the land which the LORD your God is giving you, you shall not learn to follow the abominations of those nations.

1 Corinthians 10:31-33 (NKJV)
Therefore, whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God. Give no offense, either to the Jews or to the Greeks or to the church of God, just as I also please all men in all things, not seeking my own profit, but the profit of many, that they may be saved.

2 Corinthians 6:3 (NKJV)
We give no offense in anything, that our ministry may not be blamed.

Monday, November 3, 2008

A Sure Election

When the Lord elects us to fulfill a certain purpose, there is nothing that anyone can do to stop it. On the other hand, when we realize that we have been selected to minister through dance, preaching, teaching, or living our lives as a witness of His transforming power, we must not be in denial of His work in us. Many dance ministers deal with low self-esteem and insecurity. As a result, whenever someone offers commentary on the ministry, there is a sense of doubt on the part of the dancer. Although we may not be secure in our own abilities, our confidence must be in the Lord.

Perfect posture is not to be relied on. Hours of classes may make us a better dancer, but will not help us to grow in Holy Ghost power. Shiny, pressed dance garments may help us to look good, but will not mask a terrible attitude or hidden hurts. We can stand in confidence when we know that it is in Christ that we live, move, and have our being. In Christ, we are new creatures. In Him we can do all things that strengthen us.

If we continue to experience moments of insecurity, we must take our concerns to the Lord in prayer and ask Him to reveal the source to us. It may be criticism from others, fear, lack of knowledge, abuse, church tradition, past sins, self-consciousness, etc, that is the root of our problem. As we continue to move in Him, we will rejoice in the fact that He has personally elected us to the position that we have in the Kingdom. It is our job to accept it and operate in it to the fullest.

Isaiah 42:1 (NKJV)
“Behold! My Servant whom I uphold, My Elect One in whom My soul delights! I have put My Spirit upon Him; He will bring forth justice to the Gentiles.

Romans 8:33 (NKJV)
Who shall bring a charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.

1 Thessalonians 1:3-5 (NKJV)
Remembering without ceasing your work of faith, labor of love, and patience of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ in the sight of our God and Father, knowing, beloved brethren, your election by God. For our gospel did not come to you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit and in much assurance, as you know what kind of men we were among you for your sake.

2 Peter 1:10-11 (NKJV)
Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; 11 for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

I Pledge Allegiance...

A Kingdom mindset is what we need. A lot of emphasis is place on national pride, religious affiliation, and social status. We are often encouraged to "pledge allegiance" to a particular country, group, or people. It is not so in the Kingdom. We are one Body. Dance ministry moves far beyond our own regions and borders. His praise is being made glorious in every nation, language, and background. This is why we cannot follow a dance ministry "rulebook" in which we try to place what may work for us on the shoulders of someone else.

Biblical principles are not Western or Eastern. Every culture, language, and tradition can worship the Lord in the beauty of holiness. Some adjustments may be made in terms or garments (modesty) and symbolism (dragons, demonic imagery, etc.), but this does not mean that one has to completely deny his or her heritage to worship the Lord in a cultural context. Learning more about other cultures and dance styles may help us to expand our own concept of international ministry. This does not mean that we have to adopt every style that we are exposed to. Worship in truth for one person may not be accurate for another. We must still rely on the Lord for direction.

When we allow the Lord to open up our hearts to see people from a heavenly perspective, we will rejoice to know that the gospel is going out into all the world. Travelling to other countries for dance events will give us hands-on experience with international dance. If this is not in the budget, the internet provides a wonderful portal through which to discover dances of the nations. Dance is often described as a universal language. Whether we have the ability to understand the language or context of a praise or worship dance, we shall know the work of the Lord by the Spirit.

Psalm 86:9 (NKJV)
All nations whom You have made shall come and worship before You, O Lord, and shall glorify Your name.

Zephaniah 2:11 (NKJV)
The LORD will be awesome to them, for He will reduce to nothing all the gods of the earth; People shall worship Him, each one from his place, indeed all the shores of the nations.

Matthew 24:14 (NKJV)
And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

Revelation 15:4 (NKJV)
Who shall not fear You, O Lord, and glorify Your name? For You alone are holy. For all nations shall come and worship before You, for Your judgments have been manifested.”

Please enjoy this beautiful worship piece.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Cash, Check, or Charge?

Some things must be said. While many dance ministers are wonderful stewards with finances, many need to be reminded that business is business. It is a common scene for dance ministry vendors to set up booths at conferences or offer products online for purchase. Having a wide variety of options available is wonderful; however, we must not mistake our obligations to those who labor for the Kingdom.

As we are developing our movement ministries, we often desire to purchase garments, flags, banners, music, etc, that will enhance our ministries. There is a lesson in this for both the seller and the buyer. Ministry vendors often release products before complete payment is received. A promise to pay may be made, or an invoice may be sent. Some dancers receive products, and for whatever reason, go for long periods of time without submitting the funds, or neglect to pay at all. We must be good stewards.

Vendors not extending credit to individuals must be willing to hold the product until complete payment is received. If this is not done, in essence, sellers are "lending" something that very well may not be returned. When dancers receive products without payment, time will reveal whether the items in question were purchased or stolen.

If the vendor cannot afford to give products away as gifts, arragements to receive cash payments or certified funds may be a necessary option. Unfortunately, some dancers may write checks that bounce (GASP!). Dancers who cannot afford an item may opt to make payments and receive the goods when the purchase is complete. At this point, the vendor should not delay to send the goods purchased. Let us continue to be about our Father's business!

Ecclesiastes 5:5 (NKJV)
Better not to vow than to vow and not pay.

Matthew 6:12 (NKJV)
And forgive us our debts, as we forgive our debtors.

Romans 13:7 (NKJV)
Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

2 Thessalonians 3:7-9 (NKJV)
For you yourselves know how you ought to follow us, for we were not disorderly among you; nor did we eat anyone’s bread free of charge, but worked with labor and toil night and day, that we might not be a burden to any of you, not because we do not have authority, but to make ourselves an example of how you should follow us.