Saturday, August 28, 2010

"Boaster" Seat

This post may not prove popular, but must be brought to light. Many movement ministries have fallen into the deceptive practices of the world when advertising conferences, events, and ministries. Many of us have subconciously allowed competitive lingo and behaviors to direct us when trying to rally crowds to attend events and support our endeavors. Ministries even "stretch the truth" (Ok, outright lie!) to make the ministry seem larger or more powerful than it is. Power does not have to announce itself. True power illuminates its surroundings to the point that others will express how bright the light is.

Jesus told us that if He be lifted up from the earth, He would draw all men to Himself. This does not mean that we cannot let people know what is available to them with flyers and announcements, but let's make sure not to step on the toes of fellow laborers when doing so... Time for a spiritual motives test!

For instance, if we use the words "Best," "Biggest" "Most Anointed," or other descriptives words that imply superiority, we are heading to the danger zone. When we think we are the best or most excellent/popular/requested, the spirit of pride has already taken a foothold in our ministries and destruction is around the corner. Someone else may categorize our ministries in this manner, but if we are walking with the Lord, we will maintain a spirit of humility and not use the accolades of others as bragging rights.

This reminder also extends to our ministry biographies and website content. When we imply that we have the greatest ministry, we diminish the glory of God from shining in our lives and ministries. Years ago, one of my best friends read my online ministry and immediately told me, "When I read your bio, all I see is I, I, I!" Instead of arguing with her, I took a look at my bio and discovered that she was right! Although it was not my intention to magnify myself, I realized that I was following the world's pattern of self-introduction. I revised it immediately. It now says that GOD has blessed me to... HE directed me to... The LORD has opened doors for me!

For many of us, it is time to take another look at the written and spoken words that we use to describe ourselves and ministries. Yes, God uses people, but without Christ, we can do nothing. Let's take some time out today to review how we present ourselves to others to reveal if we are glorifying God or ourselves.

(New King James Bible Version)

Psalm 100:3
Know that the LORD, He is God; It is He who has made us, and not we ourselves; We are His people and the sheep of His pasture.

Proverbs 27:2
Let another man praise you, and not your own mouth; A stranger, and not your own lips.

2 Corinthians 1:12
For our boasting is this: the testimony of our conscience that we conducted ourselves in the world in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom but by the grace of God, and more abundantly toward you.

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.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Who Cares?

Many in ministry start off with pure intentions, but that can change later down the road if we are not mindful. Along with ministry comes the lure of celebrity if we are deemed "great" at what we do. We must diligently avoid the trap that Lucifer set for himself in relishing the worship of others. We must also refuse to accept unjust criticism of those who seek to stop us in our tracks. Since dancers are often out front, we are open to compliments as well as criticism of what we do.

I recall a few critical moments from people who thought to give unsolicited advice after a ministry offering including comments like, "Next time, wear some shoes!" "You need to point your toe," "I would have chosen different choreography..." "You are anointed, but have no technique," and much more (since then, I have taken dance classes, but technique does not make an anointed dancer!). I have learned to chuckle at many comments over the years, but when I first experienced them, I was not so warm and welcoming.

On the other side, I often hear statements like, "You are so unique," "You are so anointed," and "I have never seen praise dance like that before!" While receiving compliments may be wonderful for opening doors, I must constantly tell my flesh that God gets the glory out of my story! I cannot let the opinions of people determine my dedication to service, one way or the other.

I said all of this to say that we cannot listen to unspiritual comments to determine our next move. David was harshly criticized by his own wife, but settled within himself that he would not be limited due to his title as king or position of leadership as he danced with abandonment. Who are we listening to today that may be causing us to stumble along the way?

If you have heard any of the following comments, keep moving ahead!

"Aren't you a little too old to be dancing?"
"Maybe you should lose some weight..."
"Dance is for girls and isn't very masculine.."
"Dance is for the 'young people.'"
"What you are doing is not real ministry"
"You are not anointed"
"You'll grow out of that phase..."
"I just don't get it..."


Who cares about you? The Lord does! Let us not be overly concerned with people. There will always be advocates and antagonists, but the only opinion of us that matters is what God thinks!

(New King James Bible Version)

2 Samuel 6:14, 20-22

Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.

Then David returned to bless his household. And Michal the daughter of Saul came out to meet David, and said, “How glorious was the king of Israel today, uncovering himself today in the eyes of the maids of his servants, as one of the base fellows shamelessly uncovers himself!”

So David said to Michal, “It was before the LORD, who chose me instead of your father and all his house, to appoint me ruler over the people of the LORD, over Israel. Therefore I will play music before the LORD.

And I will be even more undignified than this, and will be humble in my own sight. But as for the maidservants of whom you have spoken, by them I will be held in honor.”

1 Peter 5:6-7
Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Teach Me How to "David!"

Each generation seems to have several dance crazes that come out, especially in the Summertime. Some of these dances "miraculously" find their way into our churches during praise dance presentations (shocking, isn't it?). Nevertheless, the sight is more common than not. Many unassuming congregations have no idea that the dances done before them have been newly acquired from MTV and BET.

While teaching at workshops and conferences, I often ask the dancers to tell me who danced in the Bible. Most are familiar with David, and even fewer with Miriam. For most groups, the familiarity stops there. This week, I was blessed to teach a group of very young children at a Summer Arts Camp. During class, the Lord led me to teach them how to dance like David and Miriam. I led them in movement according to the descriptions found in the Scriptures.

We played a game called "Jesus Says..." similar to the traditional "Simon Says" response game. I would say, "Jesus says, 'Dance Like David!'" The children joyfully began to leap and whirl as instructed by the Word. They then replied, "That was FUN!" The experience reminded me that we still have a responsibility not only to train our children, but those who are in ministry as well.

How Did David Dance?

2 Samuel 6:14, 16
14) Then David danced before the LORD with all his might; and David was wearing a linen ephod.

16) Now as the ark of the LORD came into the City of David, Michal, Saul’s daughter, looked through a window and saw King David leaping and whirling before the LORD; and she despised him in her heart.

The Hebrew word used here for dance is karar, meaning to dance (i.e. whirl): - dancing (Source: The New Strong's Exhaustive Concordance of the Bible)

David reserved nothing for himself, but gave his all unto the Lord while dancing before Him. Leaping required his feet to leave the ground, and whirling would ensure that he danced in all directions! The sight of David dancing provoked his spouse to rebuke him for such an open display of abandonment (for which she paid a hefty price!).

Dancing is nothing new. The unique style in which certain individuals express it has often garnered the acknowledgment of having a dance or technical style take on the name of the originator. We all know that the true Originator of movement is the Spirit, who moved first in Genesis 1:2! Instead of learning the latest dance craze to demonstrate, wouldn't it be a wonderful exercise to train our dancers to learn the style of those who danced according to the Word? Instead of our children singing popular songs about dances (and doing them in church, school, and everywhere else), we would be blessed to hear them say, "Teach me how to David!"

New King James Bible Version

Exodus 15:20
[The Song of Miriam] Then Miriam the prophetess, the sister of Aaron, took the timbrel in her hand; and all the women went out after her with timbrels and with dances.

1 Samuel 18:7
So the women sang as they danced, and said: “Saul has slain his thousands, And David his ten thousands.”

Psalm 149:3
Let them praise His name with the dance;Let them sing praises to Him with the timbrel and harp.

Jeremiah 31:13

Then shall the virgin rejoice in the dance, And the young men and the old, together; For I will turn their mourning to joy, Will comfort them, And make them rejoice rather than sorrow.