Wednesday, April 29, 2009

That Which Costs Me Nothing

There seems to be a "hustler" mentality running rampant through the church today. Many ministries would like you to volunteer your marketable skills and talents for unlimited access, while capitalizing on the profit for themselves. There is nothing wrong with choosing to donate time to the church and serving the ministry with no desire for profit. It is important that we examine ourselves daily to see if we are taking advantage of anyone unfairly.

It is often said that "You get what you pay for." Initially, many who would charge the going rate for services in the secular arena may feel honored to help someone or an organization at no cost. When the person or the organization continues to take advantage of this "free" service without ever offering anything to the laborer, the one donating his or her time may feel used or abused. It's one thing for people to give time and money from the heart. It's another to expect it eternally without thought or regard for the giver. There is no fee charged to attend Sunday morning services; however, the offering plate will be passed in anticipation that the people would like to see the ministry continue.

The mentality of getting something for nothing is running rampant through many dance ministries today. We should not expect garments for free just because we are in ministry. We should not hesitate to pay to attend conferences and events that will enrich us. If we have Kingdom businesses and the only websites that we use are "free," we may not be considered a legitimate business. When our business cards are ordered from free printing warehouses, the excellence factor may be diminished. Don't get me wrong, having printed materials and a website is better than having nothing at all!

Even though David was a king, when it came to the things of the Lord, he understood that his treasure and heart were connected. When David approached Arunah for a threshing floor, he could have gotten it for free just because of his position. David did not use his title to get "freebies" from people. Because the use of the threshing floor was to be dedicated to the Lord, David insisted that he would pay for it and not offer the Lord something that costs nothing.

When we invest our resources in ministry, it shows that we are making a sacrafice. There is a time to receive money, gifts, and the like, but we must make sure that we are not expecting over and above what is reasonable. When we cannot reward others monetarily, a little appreciation goes a long way. Even if someone decides to bless us with money, donated time, or other resources, we should take the time to give thanks for the blessing the Lord has allowed them to be in our lives.

(New King James Bible Version)

2 Samuel 24:24
Then the king said to Araunah, “No, but I will surely buy it from you for a price; nor will I offer burnt offerings to the LORD my God with that which costs me nothing.” So David bought the threshing floor and the oxen for fifty shekels of silver.

1 Chronicles 21:24
Then King David said to Ornan, “No, but I will surely buy it for the full price, for I will not take what is yours for the LORD, nor offer burnt offerings with that which costs me nothing.”

Jeremiah 22:13
Woe to him who builds his house by unrighteousness and his chambers by injustice, Who uses his neighbor’s service without wages and gives him nothing for his work

Revelation 3:18
I counsel you to buy from Me gold refined in the fire, that you may be rich; and white garments, that you may be clothed, that the shame of your nakedness may not be revealed; and anoint your eyes with eye salve, that you may see.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009


In this age of growing technology, many movement ministers are connecting online and meeting new friends. I have written time and again how great it is to go worldwide with the Gospel. We must also use wisdom when engaging in cyber-activity.

I am surprised by some of the things that I see posted by others who proclaim the Gospel. In addition to posts containing mild to outright obscenity, questionable pictures are posted that can contradict the message we are trying to preach. In addition to these, people may begin to second-guess our ministries by the friendships that we claim online. For instance, if most of my friends boast of an affinity for narcotics, then it can be assumed that I am indulging in them. If we download videos that glorify fornication, we may be labeled in that category as well. By the way, many of our updates, friendships, and downloads are readily visible to all of our online "friends."

While many of us can comfortably say that we are not guilty of any of these offenses, we must always check our motives for the things that we post. Using the internet to advertise an event may be great (and cost effective), but when someone sees the same advertisement posted multiple times in a row, it may make us appear to be self-promoters without boundaries. If we send a public message to someone to try to make ourselves appear really important, others may think that we are self-ambitious.

There is a difference between sharing a testimony and bragging. A testimony brings glory to God by making it known that the Lord was the solution to the problem. Bragging is when we lead people to believe that through our own goodness and efforts, we were able to be victorious. The Lord is looking at our hearts. What is in our hearts will be revealed through what we say and write. Let's be careful not to reveal too much information.

New King James Bible Version

Psalm 69:5
O God, You know my foolishness; And my sins are not hidden from You.

Proverbs 13:16
Every prudent man acts with knowledge, but a fool lays open his folly.

2 Corinthians 12:6
For though I might desire to boast, I will not be a fool; for I will speak the truth. But I refrain, lest anyone should think of me above what he sees me to be or hears from me.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Grace Period Expired

Obedience is crucial to success. A while back, I shared the testimony of how the Lord instructed me to write about dance ministry each day for an entire year. The task was completed and since then, the Lord has opened the windows of Heaven over my life. Although my current assignments require much work on my part (faith without works is dead), without the disipline that writing daily instilled in my life, I would not be ready for the doors He has now opened for me.

Sometimes we continue tasks beyond our appointed time. When we do this, we exhaust the grace that we have to maintain our dedication to the assignment. We place ourselves in danger when our once bubbling brooks turn into stagnant swamp water. What was awesome yesterday may indeed be a hindrance today. Let's not let our past successes become a set up for failure. God does not operate according to formulas. We must be diligent in seeking Him.

Faithfulness to the Lord is not based on a timeline. Serving in the same place for years is not faithfulness if we have been instructed to move forward long ago. Obedience determines faithfulness. When we are diligent to follow His instructions, He will reward us. If we continue to stay in a place, position, location, or assignment beyond our "grace period," we will find ourselves accomplishing tasks in our own strength.

2 Samuel 20:5
So Amasa went to assemble the men of Judah. But he delayed longer than the set time which David had appointed him.

Psalm 102:13
You will arise and have mercy on Zion; For the time to favor her, Yes, the set time, has come.

Daniel 2:21
And He changes the times and the seasons; He removes kings and raises up kings; He gives wisdom to the wise And knowledge to those who have understanding.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

There's Just So Many of Them!

It is exciting to see so many worship arts conferences spring up all over the world! In most cases, we are able to find workshops near us, or some that we may want to travel to. Deciding to attend a conference and workshop should be coupled with prayer, planning, and wisdom.

Not everyone with a website and a workshop is called to teach concerning the ministry of movement. Some of the best conferences that I have attended have been a result of word-of-mouth testimonies to the organization's effectiveness and spiritual power. Great advertising may be a good indicator of the type of quality that we may receive at a conference or workshop, but advertising is not enough. What we allow to be spoken into our lives can have a lasting impact. When the Lord leads us, we will leave enriched and encouraged to grow in our field.

We also cannot disqualify an event based on assumptions. There are many new conferences hosted that can be awesome because they are untainted by the "celebrity factor" of other conferences. We can learn something from the experts in movement ministry as well as the up-and-coming visionaries in the making. Whether we learn what to do or what not to do, we are learning nevertheless.

Here are some of my personal tips on selecting dance conferences and workshops:

1- Support Other Ministries!
Let's not fall into the trap of attending events only as invited guests.

2- Do Your Homework!
Research conferences options online, via brochures, or flyers, and ask about the ministry hosting the event from others who may be familiar with their work. If planning to travel to a different country or culture, we should research the region so that we are not ignorant or offensive concerning the people we will encounter. Pray!

3- Plan Ahead!
Many conferences are listed several months (or even years) in advance. Arranging our calendars to make sure that we are not neglecting our other responsibilities is important.

4- Manage Your Money!
If we would like to travel to another destination to attend a dance ministry event, we should begin setting aside funds for travel without going into debt. We can designate a certain date to buy a plane ticket, secure registration, book hotel accommodations, arrange transportation, etc. We should also budget for food and items that we may want to purchase from vendors.

5- Don't Get Stuck In Tradition!
Just because we travel to a certain conference each year does not mean that we should not remain open to other possibilities. Staying in a comfort zone can actually do us more harm than good. If we are going to grow as movement ministers, we will have to do something that we've never done. "Behold, I do a new thing!"

We can learn so much from other people. Each of us should make it a priority to obtain some type of training throughout the year. We want to continue to give the Lord our very best. Each conference, workshop and event will allow us to develop further in ministry. It's time to enlarge the borders!

New King James Version:

Proverbs 9:9
Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; Teach a just man, and he will increase in learning.

Colossians 2:6-8
As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding in it with thanksgiving. Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.

Titus 3:14
And let our people also learn to maintain good works, to meet urgent needs, that they may not be unfruitful.