Father’s Day Ramblings

Sometimes, following God’s leading makes no logical sense to me, but, when I feel that familiar tug in a specific direction, I always go anyway.  The results of doing so, always ends up being nothing short of spectacular.

Back in December, I began to feel the Lord was leading me away from my commitment as one of the leaders in youth group.  I felt it was to take a more concerted effort to write. Of course it turned out to be more in the end. I cried profusely about it as I spoke with the youth pastor and another leader.  They laughed at me and assured me that all was well and that we are all still family.

Since then, God has been making sense of everything I have been feeling for a few years regarding my theology and what I was raised to believe about myself, Him and others.  Things are changing in the best way.

Recently, as I walked and talked with the Lord, I admitted to Him that I am feeling as if I am being pulled away from church (attendance).  I cry easily, and did so as I admitted aloud to Him that I don’t want to go to church anymore.  Learning what He is teaching me is making it hard to sit and hear the opposite.  Because He knows me better than I know myself, I asked Him why I don’t want to go anymore.  I feel it’s Him leading me away again.  Now please don’t read between any lines here.  This is my journey. I am simply telling my story.

I asked Him several very specific questions and asked Him to give me the answers in dreams because I couldn’t dismiss dreams.  Dreams just are, what they are, without my meddling and changing things around.  He answered every single question in spectacular fashion and in response to my question about not wanting to attend church any longer, He had a friend mention a book to me.  The books title is, So You Don’t Want to Go to Church Anymore, by Jake Colsen.  I borrowed the audio version from my local library and devoured it in short order.  It explained my feelings exactly, even touching on house churches.  It answered my questions, and some I hadn’t considered, and, I gained a greater sense of peace.

In the meantime, I am enjoying meeting with other believers to simply hang out, eat and more.  I am learning a lot more about the people I love than I ever did attending church meetings with them.  There was never any real time to learn about them and their lives in that setting anyway.

Another thing that has been happening is that a group of friends and I have been asking God questions each day.  This started from a short clip of Shawn Bolz, teaching on hearing from God.  He said to ask the Lord something like, what you are here to do and what He likes about you.  On another day, my friends and I asked the Lord why we don’t always trust what He says and why we sometimes doubt Him.  On another day, we asked Him to show us where we are and where He wants to take us.  It has been wonderful getting answers and sharing them with one another.  I have done these exercises with my sisters and my children as well.  I encourage you to do it too.  We are doing it for 30 days.

In the midst of all this, Abba has been giving me specific instructions on how to go about reaching various goals I have set for myself.  We have been talking about hair, weightloss and more.  Talking hair with my Abba was an exciting and endearing first for me.  I am so enjoying these conversations with Him.

We also had an amazing thing happen a few days ago.  My children and I decided to go for a walk in a nearby park, after dinner one evening.  As we walked to the car, I noticed, but stepped over an envelope on the ground.  My oldest, who was behind me, is naturally more curious than me and she picked it up saying someone named Wayne lost his card.  I smiled and watched her open it.  My smile dropped when she pulled out cash and screamed, “WAYNE!!!!”  We all saw and started looking around frantically and screamed for a Wayne we didn’t know.  No one answered.  Everyone admitted feeling awful that someone had gone out of their way to thank Wayne and give him money and he’d lost the card.  We prayed about the situation and remarked at how bad we felt.  No one enjoys losing money.

When we got home, we read the card again, as it was dark outside when we first looked at it. There was a keyword- coach- Wayne is a coach in our area.  Long story short, my oldest was able to locate Wayne, and because it was a bit creepy, I called him the next morning.  We found him, well, she did, lol!  We met him later that next day at a nearby store and gave him his card and money.  What a load off!!  It turned out that the family giving him the card were the ones who lost it.  We thank God that we found it and was able to get it into the right hands.  God is so gracious and kind.

I will end this week’s post by saying Happy Father’s Day to all whom it applies.  We are eagerly waiting for our guy to get home from work so that we can dote on him.

The Happiest Father’s Day of all goes to our beloved Abba.  You are literally the best Father ever!!

Prophetic Ramblings

I hope you had a wonderful time last week celebrating with family and friends.  I took a bit of a break as I really didn’t know what to say in the midst of several pretty monumental moments of revelation I experienced on and the day after Thanksgiving. I think my Abba enjoys dropping revelatory bombs on me that cause me to stop dead in my tracks from time to time. 🙂

This post may be a little weird or out there for some but I’m going to move right along in it anyway.

I feel very strongly like there’s a lot of new things in store within the Body of Christ and then the world at large.  God is God and He being the Creator, is ridiculously creative, always doing something new that we in our finite minds couldn’t have fathomed on our own.

I feel that we are on the brink of another new and different move of the Spirit.  Mysteries that have been kept hidden until now will be released, people who have never before heard will suddenly hear, know and do things they’ve never imagined possible.  I think those of us who have had a taste and more of some of this are about to experience some things that we may find just plain weird but exciting and totally God, nonetheless.

I think it will begin within the Body and move out towards the world at large.  I see big changes ahead, changes that will propel us in the direction that the Father has wanted us to go in all along.  I see minds renewed as eyes are opened to seeing that some things they thought were one way, are actually something completely different.  I see a changing of the guard so to speak and even people who were once adamantly on one side of the fence in one area or another, hopping over to the other side, never to return. Lots of changes.

I see an end to church branding that seeks to exalt, market and promote that brand or sect instead of exalting and promoting the pure and unadulterated gospel of Jesus Christ. (see 1 Corinthians 1;12-17 and 1 Corinthians 3:4-6)

I see a lot of exciting, new and very different things happening in the coming year.  Now is not the time to turn away from the Father.  It’s not a time to allow anything or anyone in your life to command and keep your focus and distract you from Him.  Keep your gaze set on His glorious face.  Allow every circumstance to draw you into a greater intimacy with Him and watch what happens. You will never be the same.

Discipleship At Its Best

In Matthew 28:19, Jesus starts off by saying, “Therefore, go and make disciples of all the nations…”  I am crying and filled with such an immense sense of joy as I type this because for once in my life, in a church setting no less, I can think of 3 beautiful men who are so dear to my heart who are doing just what Jesus said, for me.  These men, in no particular order include, Dennis Arroyo, Russ Painter and Gary Fishman.

These three prophet guys are so very special to me.  They have been my introduction into what Jesus modeled in leadership.  I can sit and just form a puddle of tears around myself thinking about them and what gifts they are to the Body of Christ and me in particular.  They have and continue to give me so much, even without always realizing it.  I really need to get it together, I can hardly see as I type at this point, I keep crying. 🙂

What I love is that none of these men claim, by any means, to know it all, to have perfect theology  or anything of the sort.  They are simply real, honest, pure and nothing short of astoundingly amazing men of God who truly have His heart for His creation.  They don’t try to be in or make spotlights or brands or names for themselves.  They push others to become what and who God has made them to be and they do it with love.  Russ gives you gentle but firm nudges.  Dennis is more than ready to step aside and pass a mic, and Gary, if there’s ever a bus you want to be thrown under, it’s one he’s a part of.  To say that I love them just feels so inadequate and minuscule, but I do, dearly love them all.

They are helping me to grow and learn and be more effective in the part of my walk with Christ that is to be in the “spotlight”.  I am more than happy to sit off to the side, in the background but it’s not the easiest thing to do when you have a gift to sing and speak.  One kind of has to be in the fore front for such things. 🙂 These guys help make that so much easier.

So, Lord, I declare lots of more over these beautiful men and their beautiful families.  More love, more joy, more peace, more strength, more growth, divine health, supernatural wealth, all above and beyond for them.  Go crazy, Abba, like only You can.  Lavish  them millions of times over with all that they selflessly give so many others.  And, let me see it happen, just so I can laugh, cry, and rejoice with them. Thank you so much Abba.  You are truly too much but at the same time, I can’t get enough of You!! ❤ ❤ ❤

It’s All the Body of Christ

I absolutely love where I am right now.  I am speaking of the weekly services I attend at Heaven’s Invasion and more.  I must say that every other church experience I had, held this sometimes spoken, sometimes unspoken but definitely understood notion that everything you needed was all “in house”.  If you missed service there, to go elsewhere, you were missing out.  It was almost seen as a sin to go elsewhere for your spiritual needs.  Almost as if you literally stepped outside the Faith and dabbled into some other religion.

Now, it is totally different, I see the body of Christ on a much broader spectrum and can go to other churches and know that I am still home.  I have two such homes besides Heaven’s Invasion.  One is Calvary Tabernacle and the other is The Sanctuary Fellowship in the Bronx.  Gary Fishman is one of the pastors at The Sanctuary Fellowship.  He interpreted a dream for me, and I learned that he has an annual prophetic summit in September (this year it is September 17th), so I went.  I swear, when I walked in the building, I immediately felt at home.  I was in no way, a mere visitor, it was so comfortable.  I immediately fell in love with the people and the worship was other worldly.  I actually met my pastor, Russ who led a workshop there but I didn’t realize he was actually 20 minutes away from me in NJ.  Gary later invited me to Heaven’s Invasion to give a testimony during their Thanksgiving dinner celebration.  That was my first day at Heaven’s Invasion and we have been going ever since.

Anyway, Gary has these amazing workshops and classes every 3rd Saturday in the Bronx. As much as we are able, we are front and center for them.  These are people who exude the nature of Jesus so well and completely, one can’t help but feel welcomed, loved and at home with them.  I have met many there who are invaluable to me.  It is my home in the Bronx!

Then, we have Calvary Tabernacle… (((le blissful sigh))) Calvary is so very special to me for several reasons. First, this is a place where Pastor Clem has allowed several churches to occupy the same building.  That speaks volumes!!  Heaven’s Invasion is one of the several ministries that meet there.  Again, this is a place that is so comfortable.  There is so much love there.  My favorite part is the youth.  Oh, my word!! I have never seen such an amazing group of children.  Children who truly love the Lord and each other with an openness that makes me tear up every time I see them. My two oldest daughters joined the youth group last year and loved it.  This spoke volumes to me because my oldest has been a part of many youth groups and she never stayed with any of them because they were very superficial.  The kind that says don’t have sex, live holy. They plays games, eat snacks and that’s about it.  She wanted more and found it at Calvary.  These children are learning to hear from God for themselves and others, they are learning to go deep with the Lord and are truly world changers.

I tried to stay away.  My children are all homeschooled and I wanted them to have something that I wasn’t a part of, but of course, God had other plans and my girls are thrilled that I am there.  Last July, the day after I had the first of 5 consecutive miscarriages, the prophetic evangelism group that I was a part of was invited to attend a meeting with the high schoolers of the youth group and prophesy over them.  What a night that was for me!!  There was one boy that I immediately loved, named Aaron.  God revealed to me that although he had been through some serious and strenuous things, he has an amazing calling and future ahead of him.  I prophesied over several others that night but at that time, he stuck out to me.  I was also touched by the leader, Dennis.  His love for the children was almost palpable.  I was amazed.

I used to drop my girls off on Wednesdays and just sit in the car, trying to stay away but slowly, as I sat in that parking lot, reading or talking on the phone, God began to speak to me about various kids.  Sometimes I gave them what God gave me, other times, I just stood back.  Eventually, I ended up inside the building, but in another area as I waited for them to be done each week.  Then, I don’t even remember how it happened, but I ended up sitting in the back during their service with my son who is normally asleep.

By this time, God started to speak to me about them, directly and through others.  My friend Evelin and so many others gave me words about them.  Evelin and my girls were the only ones who knew I was secretly in love with these people but trying to stay away.  Eventually, I became a leader and I have never been happier.  When I considered asking about being a leader, I hadn’t said anything but I remember Will, another leader, coming to me saying, “Have you ever considered becoming a leader?  It’s obvious that you love them and have a lot to offer.”  I said something snarky like, “Prophetic much?” because I’d literally just heard this from God.

When I finally went to Dennis, of course after needing so many confirmations from God, (such faith huh?) he said yes, and said that I was an answer to prayer and that he wanted to speak to Russ first.  I connected him and Russ thinking he wanted to speak to Russ and make sure I wasn’t a lunatic.  I later thanked Russ saying, “Thanks for the good character reference, they bought it, I’m in, lol!”  Russ said that Dennis never asked about my character, he simply wanted permission to have me.  Russ, told him of course, he didn’t own me anyway, lol.  I was floored.  I still am.  We don’t even attend this church but we all understand that we are the Church and are therefore, family.  I thought that because I wasn’t a member there, I would need to go through some protocol but no.  I can’t tell you how honored I am to be among them and how very much I love them.

All this to say that I am so happy that there are parts of the Body that know that we are all family and truly live this out. There is never any mess about denominations or anything divisive.  It’s all love.  It’s all Jesus. I couldn’t be happier to be here in NJ, at this time.  This is how the body of Christ should live. Together. United, in and by His love.

Heaven’s Invasion

I deleted the post that I published yesterday.  I started that post a few days before but around 4am.  I couldn’t sleep, so I ended up erasing it all and writing something different, and publishing it from my phone.  The problem is, what you received was the incomplete first draft that I thought I’d erased. So here goes round two. 🙂

When I’d moved to NJ from DC, I was a staunch word of faith girl.  You couldn’t tell me anything. My goal was to pretty much find my church in DC, here in NJ, and live happily ever after.  Of course, that’s not at all how things went.  Over around 7 years or so, we went up and down NJ and NY, visiting churches.  Some, we stayed at for months, others, weeks and some, we visited once.  Although I didn’t realize I was prophetic, I knew God always told me definitively what church I was to join as a member.  He said nothing as we visited these churches, but I tried to make a few of the churches work.  Eventually, I saw how silly it all was and just gave up.  We stayed home and worshiped and studied the Bible and attended whatever church related events we were invited to.  We were believers without a home base.  At first I was upset about it but after a while, I began to hear from God more regularly, for myself.

I began to realize that I didn’t need someone to tell me what God was saying for me, I could hear from Him myself.  As I read the Bible, things that I had seen so many times before, jumped off the pages at me as something totally new and different.  It was amazing.

Then, I began to miss what I had growing up in church, community.  I felt confident that I could hear from God for myself and others, still not realizing that was prophecy, lol, but I missed people.  I love people.  So, after visiting The Holy Land experience in Orlando, FL, I began to ask God for the community I longed for.

Here’s the thing, God is a total show off.  To say that He gave me more than I bargained for is a gross understatement.  In this moment, I have to chuckle and admit, that He never did give me the church I wanted.  He did so much more.  He gave me Heaven’s Invasion. Heaven’s Invasion is nothing like any church I have ever seen or heard about, other than the first century one in the Bible.  In fact, it isn’t a church. It’s not a business at all.  It’s a regional gathering of believers.  It’s a place where Holy Spirit is Boss.  Where our pastor who we simply call Russ, is famous for saying that he isn’t in charge and asks, “What’s God saying?”

The mic is always open, it is never policed, and because we can all hear from God, people coming up to share what they see, hear, or sense, is a regular occurrence.  There are flags and dancing. The worship is literally intoxicating.  Angelic visitations as well as our resident angels fill the place every Sunday.  Prophecy and healing and miracles flow freely there.  In fact, when you come for the first time, you are bombarded with prophetic words from God that leave you feeling so loved and important to us and to God, because the truth is, you are.

Heaven’s Invasion is a very different place.  Firstly, we meet Sunday nights at 6pm.  Then, instead of starting with praise and worship, we start with the preaching/teaching, saving the best part for last.  No two Sundays are ever the same there.  One of my favorite things is that although we are a group of prophets, evangelists, teachers, pastors and apostles, you won’t hear anyone putting their function in front of their name.  It just doesn’t matter.  Everyone understands that those offices are simply functions.  Just as my husband doesn’t go by Air Traffic Controller Jermaine, there is an understanding that you simply do the job, there is no need for a title.  Jesus never stressed the importance of titles.  Because everyone is shedding old mindsets that are a result of the orphan spirit, we all agree that our favorite title/position is that of sons and daughters.  That is what Jesus modeled.

The best part of Heaven’s Invasion though, is the love.  My friend said, “Heaven’s Invasion is not a church, it is a family.”  She also said that she and her husband were really impacted by the obvious love that abounds there.  This is a place where there are no cliques, no hierarchy, no made up “office of the elder” (I mentioned the five fold offices above, better yet, see Ephesians 4:11), it’s just sons and daughters coming together and man… It is beautiful. I have never been to a place like this before.  Never imagined it could exist, but it does. We all chat daily, we go out to eat together, this weekend, there was even a sleepover! Together, we are doing what Jesus did and called us to do.  Just today, we received a video message from a guy who had Leukemia.  We have prayed with and for him, some of us visited him in the hospital.  We commanded sickness to leave his body and today, he sent us a video saying that the doctors can find no cancer in his blood any longer. Hallelujah!!!

I am so overjoyed to be a part of this family.  The people here are truly my family in every sense of the word.  My prayer is that more gatherings that truly exemplify the heart and nature of Jesus become more popular than the more common modern day pharisee movement we see happening.  I would love to see the places that hold such great significance in seating arrangements, costumes, titles and degrees, fade away.  I would love to see the bride of Christ arise, shed this orphan spirit that permeates so many facets of the Church, and be content with being sons and daughters, knowing that this is the best position ever and is without a doubt, more than enough.

 

 

Church Music- Worship vs. Performance

Recently, a friend, two actually, posted two different videos on Facebook. They were of two different women singing in Black churches.

The women’s voices were fantastic. Absolutely wonderful talent, that in the end, left me with a horrific sense of lack. Of course, people in both churches whooped and hollered and all, but there was absolutely no substance other than the magnificence of the voices.

I admit, I have a love/hate relationship with music, especially in predominantly Black churches.  I find a lot of Gospel music to be un-biblical but performed well enough that the fact that the words are horrible, the songs go largely unnoticed and are wholeheartedly accepted simply because of the delivery.

Then, there are the five minute songs where, in the end, they equate to two sentences that don’t even convey a complete or substantial thought, but again, the delivery wins them over every time. It’s more of a performance than anything, not at all pointing to the Lord. It’s pointing more to the person singing and what acrobatics they can do with their voice. I find it a waste and a shame. We have too much to do in the Body of Christ than to settle for putting on shows.

Contemporary Christian music sometimes has better quality lyrics. Because of the lack of vocal acrobatics, one is able to hear and take in the words, and although the delivery may feel lacking to some, the words take you right to the throne of God. Then (sigh) there’s the ones that are just plain ole dry. This is such an unfortunate disparity.

This is something I’ve only discussed with my daughter. I used to think I was crazy but the closer I get to the Lord, the less impressed I am with talent and the more I truly listen to the lyrics in songs before getting caught up in it all.  I hope I’m not the only one who notices this. The acrobatic vocals are fine but I just think it should be tempered with solid Biblical lyrics that point to Jesus, not putting the singer in the spotlight.

Ironically, this is all coming from a classically trained, coloratura soprano who by definition, has a voice distinguished by agile runs, leaps and trills.  Here’s the thing though, when I sing, I want it to be an encounter that is bathed in the glory of God. I want the intimacy that I share with Him, to come through, touch and change the hearts of all hearing it. I don’t want to merely entertain, anyone can entertain. Church is not the place for that. I want to have a corporate encounter with Holy Spirit and my brothers and sisters in Christ. Isn’t that what the point is? Aren’t we to be worshiping God together? Is there a way then that we can move away from performance based worship that’s truly only worshiping the musicians? I think there is, in fact, I know there is because I’ve seen it, and it is glorious. My prayer is that it catches and spreads throughout the Church like wildfire. Holy Ghost Wildfire.