The sacrifices of our great cloud of witnesses are in the name. Therefore let us not merely cast it off as though it were nothing.
“And ye shall seek me, and find me when ye shall search for me with all your heart (Jeremiah 29:13).“
God wants us to seek Him and the good news is, “those who seek Him will find Him (Prov 8:17)”. He delights in our seek and beckons us to come. However, the kind of seek He is looking for is fervent and all-encompassing. Furthermore, it is life-long.
We must be committed to a lifelong, whole-hearted, pursuit of intimacy with Jesus. Then we will pray to Him and He will be found by us.
I think many times we seek the Lord and become discouraged when we don’t hear from Him right away. If we are not getting a response perhaps it is because we are half-heartedly seeking. Sometimes we may not realize that our whole heart isn’t in our praise, song, or prayer.
- Am I having devotions that are void of devotion?
- Have I offered God the works of my hands but not my life?
- Am I preferring leisure and comfort to the wholehearted pursuit of intimacy with Jesus?
Intimate worship springs forth from an intimate relationship. An intimate relationship with God must be sought like precious gold. When we seek the Lord we can’t do it casually we must do it passionately with all our might.
I’ll tell you like the saints of old used to tell me, “Ninety-nine and a half won’t do!”
There’s a thought process involved when we consider our dreams and what we can achieve. As believers, it’s important that we include the Limitless One in that process of thinking.
For God has said, “Delight yourself in the LORD; And He will give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the LORD, trust also in Him, and He will do it (Psalm 37:4-5 NASB).”
I submit that it’s not just righteousness and salvation that He will bring about in our lives but it’s also fruitfulness that He will bring about in our lives.
Fruitfulness is the inheritance of the Children of God and reaping of that which we sow is a biblical principle that applies to both the just and the unjust.
So what am I saying?
Commit your way to the LORD and by faith use what you have because God is all you need!
The thought process that occurs when we consider where we want to go with our artistry and in our careers usually includes thinking about what we need to reach our goals, obtain our dreams, and fulfill our calling.
A lot of times the things we THINK we need to go, be, and do are barriers to our progress. The things we think we need can become like prison walls.
I dare you to step out on faith with what you have in your hand and watch God work. If you don’t have something you think you need that probably means you don’t need it to get to where God is taking you.
What has God called you to do today?
Leave the excuses behind and get busy. Commit your way to the LORD and use what you have in your hand.
But someone may well say, “You have faith and I have works; show me your faith without the works, and I will show you my faith by my works.”
James 2:18 NASB
Brittany Henry’s recent single “Whatever It Is” was released worldwide across all digital platforms on June 22, 2020 and has already garnered nearly 18,000 streams on Spotify alone. The single is a song about holding on to faith in God through pain and trauma. She wrote and produced it using nothing more than what she had in her hand.
Brittany Henry | Worship Leader & Free Lance Writer | @BHMtweetz
The church must learn to enjoy more than what popular Christian culture feeds it. The church should choose to expand its musical palate so to speak.
There is a prevailing ideology that says, “only things that sound like Phil Wickham and Chris Tomlin are worshipful.” Even worse, this way of thinking suggests the kind of songs they write and sing are the only ones fit for congregational worship.
Some stations are notorious for neglecting to play music from different cultures. If you think there are no other culturally different yet appropriate music for their stations in existence you are sadly mistaken. There are. They just don’t play much of it, if any, often.
“If you, like me, have paid even a small amount of attention to who is writing the evangelical church’s song, you will have noticed that it is mostly white men. My recent study of Christian Copyright Licensing International’s Top 25 charts from the past 30 years revealed that the majority of songs sung by the American evangelical church today are written by collaborations among men. Big names produce top songs, which are marketed by publishing companies to make a large impact. The Billboard Top Christian Songwriter charts reflect this: names of white men routinely make the list, with a small number of women and people of colour appearing alongside them. In a blog post for the Center for Congregational song, David Bjorlin argues that consumerism has marked congregational song: only two companies, Capitol and Bethel, are responsible for administering the majority of the CCLI Top 100 lists. Congregational song is curated to promote only certain voices.” THE OVERLOOKED AUTHORSHIP OF “WAY MAKER” BY SINACH
Sure, things are getting better but there is still a lot of work to be done. Especially when it comes to the integration of every tribe, nation, and tongue in our worship services.
As a black female alto voice, it is almost nearly impossible for me to sound like a white man with a high voice (Kristian Stanfill. Phil Wickham. No shade intended.) And why would I want too? I’m fearfully and wonderfully made with a purpose only I can fulfill.
I enjoy using songs by white male artists on occasion. I don’t sound exactly like them though and I purposefully do not practice to sound exactly like them. I make it my own.
Isn’t that the beauty of unity in the Body? That we are all different yet loving the same God. So, why is there not more creativity in our worship with music?
People from all different creeds and cultures coming together as one doesn’t mean obliterating individuality and uniqueness. There is something unique about each individual that the Body needs and this naturally breeds creativity in the beauty of holiness.
When we deprive our congregations of that we stifle growth. Some don’t realize that keeping the church from “changing” is essentially keeping it from growing and I don’t mean growing in numbers.
Sure, all change is not good and we should absolutely guard against ungodly secular changes. However, it is important that we understand that not all music outside of the societal Christan norm is less godly than white popular Christian music.
Furthermore, suggesting the body is not capable of learning or is somehow not capable of worshipping differently is just an excuse. The congregation can do anything we in excellence lead them to do. They can learn the words, they can learn to clap, they can learn how to respond to intimate moments as one body without feeling awkward.
Every church has its own culture and preferences and there’s nothing wrong with that. However, if your preferences generally exclude songs written or performed by persons who are not white, they might be unknowingly biased.
Yes, everyone likes different things but it’s important that we as the body of Christ make an effort to include worship music by different cultures in our lives. This is a choice and it means making a conscious effort because the mainstream Christian culture isn’t always going to promote it.
I believe many church leaders would say they are not opposed to diversity in their worship services. However, they don’t integrate any diversity into the service and push out anyone who tries to do so.
“We are so comfortable with our own voice that our worship rarely brings in music from other cultures,” said The Center for Congregational song, guest blogger Anneli Loepp Thiessen.
“Now, we need a language that is not our own. We need the voice of a woman in Nigeria who is able to talk about a miracle-working God in a way that we will not.”
Let’s not wait for another emergent situation to move beyond the popular Christian culture of the day, to start expanding our musical palates and integrating diverse worship language into our services.
We needed “Waymaker” long before the pandemic hit and we will need more songs like it long after it’s over.
Brittany Henry is a worship leader and freelance writer who lives in Fredericksburg Virginia with her husband and two daughters. To learn more about her ministry please visit BrittanyHenryMinistries.org
Brittany Henry | Worship Leader & Free Lance Writer | @BHMtweetz
White Christians supported black and brown Christians on a prayer walk for peace and justice.
The bond of unity amongst believers can not be broken and the spirit of blindness in the white evangelical church has been shaken.
“We know God that you hate hands that shed innocent blood. The blood of George Floyd cries out and comes up before you. The blood of the innocent murdered in our streets comes up before you,” said a white Christian attendee who prayed.
Some people in the peaceful gathering prayed with her saying, “Amen” in agreement. One of the black women shouted out during and after her prayer saying, “Yes! Call it out! Pray that prayer lady. I give you two high fives.”
The black community of believers in Christian churches have felt the weight of the violence against blacks in the United States and constantly wrestle with the physical manifestation of evil against people of color.
Black Christians want to respond as ambassadors of Jesus and know that it looks like more than prayer gatherings. They are hurt and angry about the silence of their white brothers and sisters who feel it’s too political to call out the sin of those in power while they groan under the tyranny of unjust authorities.
They are also hurt and tired of other white Christians refusing to acknowledge that prejudice and systemic racism exists.
The church’s response to the excessive force used against peaceful protesters and unrighteousness done to people of color doing everyday tasks is essential to physical change and healing.
Worshippers and intercessors are needed to help push back against the source of the physical wickedness in the earth. However, God requires truth in the inward parts and many black Christians feel that means acknowledging the system isn’t merely broken but was actually created in a way that enables the oppression of people of color.
“This is not political. We want to gather and pray. That is all we want to do here today,” Pastor Andie Cork, Sr. of Mount Peniel COGIC said before he led the group on to Caroline street for the prayer walk.
Together, Christians from all different denominations and nations, walked side by side down the street praying the Lord’s prayer and singing songs of worship. The public and brutal death of George Floyd opened the door for needed conversations and for palatable hearts willing not just to pray but also to listen.
We do not seek Him in vain!
During these difficult and tumultuous times, many succumb to hopelessness and fear but I have come with a message of hope. The Lord is still in the prayer answering business!
“I have not spoken in secret, In a dark place of the earth; I did not say to the seed of Jacob, ‘Seek Me in vain’; I, the LORD, speak righteousness, I declare things that are right (Isaiah 45:19 NKJV).”
The prophet Isaiah speaks on behalf of God to the coming pagan king, Cyrus. Cyrus was anointed and appointed by God to deliver the children of Isreal from Babylon. However, there was nothing special about Cyrus that caused God to move.
There was something special about God’s heart for His people. He loved them with an everlasting love and He heard them crying out to Him for deliverance. Today, God is the same. He loves His people and He will answer them.
“It is a wicked thing to think God ever says to His people, “Seek Me in Vain,” David Guzik said in his commentary on Isaiah 45.
God wants us to bring our troubles to Him, Whatever they are! When times are at their worst cry out to God even more. HE WILL ANSWER YOU!
This is the Word of the Lord for you today and every day that you are breathing! Whatever it is, He wants you to bring it to Him BECAUSE He will set it right, if not in this life, then in the life that is to come.
“You will seek Me and find Me when you search for Me with all your heart (Jer 29:13 NASB).”
“And without faith, it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him (Heb 11:6 NASB).”
Many Fredericksburg locals struggle with homelessness and because of COVID-19 The Brisben Center needs help to serve them.
Creative2, a small marketing agency serving the DMV area is extending a call to unite to Fredericksburg businesses in an effort to raise funds for The Brisben Center.
Brittany Henry Ministries agreed to join in their matching efforts.
A message from Brittany Henry,
“I felt a strong burden on my heart to help lead the charge in giving for those who have lost their homes. It is but for the grace of God that my family has a roof over its head and it is my desire to come up in faith and giving.
Please join me in supporting The Brisben Center and the families that rely on them for survival. The Fundraiser starts now and will run until the end of the month.”