This is my favorite song. I say that often about a lot of songs, but “Your Love Never Fails” by Jesus Culture has a different kind of value to me. The first time I ever heard it was during a time where I was really desperate for love. A lot of people had let me down, and I felt alone. I was looking for love and acceptance from anyone and everyone. Unfortunately, during this time I made a lot of stupid mistakes, while God was trying to get a hold of me to show me that his love is all I need. God won’t all of a sudden change his mind about how He feels about us. He won’t choose someone else over us. He’ll never not be on our side. He’ll always be both our best friend and our family. “I will never leave you nor forsake you” says Hebrews 13:5. We hear this a lot, but it’s so true. God’s love is endless. He wants us to know it and not look for satisfaction in anything in the world. He has a plan for us that is so much better than anything else we can find or come up with ourselves.
So, that feeling I posted about a couple of months ago, but never continued the “to be continued”, well here’s the story:
God has been giving me so many amazing opportunities. This semester, there was a week in October where there were two big events happening on UT’s campus that had to do with proclaiming His name. Literally these events were happening two days in a row, and I was so blessed to be a part of them.
The first event was an outreach called The 911 campaign, put on by the different chapters of Intervarsity at UT. During this campaign we were talking to students at different proxy stations around campus about the Lord and how he heals our scars whether they be physical or emotional. This on its own was a great opportunity. Getting to talk to non-believers about God using my own stories is always something I really enjoy doing, however this time around it wasn’t turning out the way I thought it would and I was getting pretty discouraged. I wasn’t having any awesome discussions with people the way I wanted to. The problem was that throughout the week, I was letting the stresses of school and all the activities I was doing get to me. On top of that I was trying to do these things on my own instead of letting God speak through me himself.
The 911 campaign ended with a night with a speaker, Josh Riebock who wrote the book My Generation, worship, and spoken word. God’s spirit in that auditorium was so tangible. I could feel Him from the time we had started practicing worship before the event and when our worship team went into a back room to pray before. I could tell that the people at the event, believers and nonbelievers, were being moved by Josh Riebock’s message about God’s love and the stories of the students who spoke. Not to mention God was stiring something in me as well. Then, at the very end I went up with the worship team to close with a couple of songs, one in which I was leading. I was incredibly nervous throughout the week about this since I hadn’t gotten to practice the song much and the other girl singing with me didn’t know the song well. Furthermore, I hardly ever lead; I usually just sing back-up. So we started the song I was singing, At the Foot of the Cross, and by the middle I could feel myself starting to forget the lyrics. Yet, all if a sudden, the right words still came out, without any pauses or stumbles or anything. I knew in that moment that since I was completely losing myself in worship, God had taken over my voice and led for me.
The second event happening that week was All Campus Worship, where every campus ministry united together to worship and pray in the middle of the UT Austin campus. Now, for this night, God had given me the opportunity to do something way out of my comfort zone. I was leading one of the prayer points for the night. When we were asked to do this, I knew God was telling me to lead the section on revival. That’s definitely where my heart’s been at lately anyways (if you’ve been reading this blog). So that night, I was probably like ten times more nervous than I had been the night before. I had to choose a Bible passage to speak about and choose how I wanted us to pray. With all of that, I was afraid that I wouldn’t choose the right combination or that I would say something wrong. Thankfully, a couple nights before, God led me to a passage in 1 Kings. Right before it was my turn to go on stage, a girl a know from another campus ministry prayed over me since I was full of nerves and doubt in myself. When she did, it felt as though God was freeing me of all of that. When I got up there, I gave a little background information then read 1 Kings 18:37-39. I talked about how cool it would be if everyone we knew turned their hearts back to God and how we needed to be that fire for everyone to see. I said a bunch of other things too, but I honestly don’t remember them. Then I told them them how I thought God wanted us to pray for revival. I encouraged everyone that we were going to pray as loud as we could so that every single student on that campus and even everyone in Austin could hear us crying out to our God. Then I began the prayer. Throughout this entire time I was on stage, I seriously had no idea what I was doing. God was speaking through me, making me excited to the point that I was yelling the words I was saying and praying. When we all prayed out loud together, I was happy to hear everyone else overcome and excited as well. The Holy Spirit had really taken over me like I had never experienced before, and I was shaky the rest of the night in amazement of His power. Afterwards, friends and others came up to me and commended me on what I said and how I did it; “fiery” as one of my friends puts it. All I could say back to them though was “I have no idea what just happened or what came out of my mouth!” Seriously, it wasn’t me at all.
Now, please don’t misinterpret these things I’ve written about. In no way am I trying to show off or make myself look good that I did all these things. In fact I DID NOTHING. During this week all I did was learn what it feels like to be used by God. And let me tell you, it’s an incredible, indescribable feeling. To have the Lord completely take control of your physical actions is definitely something that’s hard to explain, but I want everyone to be encouraged that if He used me in these ways, He can use anyone. I am completely ill qualified and unworthy, but God still did use me. The phrase “being used” is something I had a problem with awhile back. The worst thing in the world to me was feeling like I was being used by the people around me. But being used by God is something we should all desire. It’s what our purpose is. 2 Timothy 2:21 says that “If any one purifies himself from what is ignoble, then he will be a vessel for noble use, consecrated and useful to the master of the house, ready for any good work”. So from now on, when God gives me an opportunity to be used by Him, even if its something that seems small and insignificant or big and radical, you can bet that I’m going to give Him full control and simply be obedient and let Him use me as His instrument.
|artist/album:||Will Reagan & United Pursuit/Live At The Banks House|
|track:||Running in Circles|
I really want to reach the point of complete authentic worship. In every setting, I just want God to be my focus. What is worship if I’m thinking about anything but God? I’m so easily distracted by the little things sometimes. Even when I’m leading it gets difficult because I’ll start to think about other things, like worrying that I’m not getting my harmonies right or wondering what the other people in my fellowship are doing. Sometimes I won’t completely lose myself to God in worship time if I notice that the people in the crowd aren’t. Stupid things like if they’re not lifting their hands then I won’t. That completely defeats the purpose! I’m supposed to be leading my friends, and more importantly leading by example. It upsets me when I think of other people not completely giving their all either. I would hope that they feel comfortable to totally let go, but if I don’t maybe they won’t. I hate when my mind starts to wonder to other things that are going on in my life when I should just be singing and communicating with God. What I want more than anything, is that during worship, I will feel as though it’s just me and God in the room, because I am so focused on Him. I want the words I sing to be more than a song, but a true talking and loving on God.
So, as I mentioned in my last post, the first weekend I was back in Austin I had to go through training for the campus ministry I’m a part of. One morning we all had quiet time with God for about an hour. Everyone went through all of 2 Timothy, and as I read and prayed, I wrote a lil somethin’ somethin’, that’s really short and simple. Sometimes in my quiet times if I can’t sing I just end up writing words to worship songs I know of that come to mind. Well this time, for some reason, it was different and I wrote kind of my own song of praises. All of the emotions of fear and anxiety about being a new leader of this fellowship were quickly calmed by God’s words from this book of the Bible. Feel free to read 2 Timothy to understand where my words came from! I never EVER share “lyrics” I write, partially because they aren’t good and partially because I’m just a singer. By no means am I a musician. So please don’t judge me :D Here it is:
I will spread your name,
Even through the pain,
I will live your way,
I will obey.
I’ll not be afraid,
Because you are always here,
I will love, and I’ll fight,
I will not fear.
And if no one’s there,
I’ll get louder than before,
I’ll be a servant, a soldier
I originally thought I was going to be writing a post about my church’s youth camp that I attended last week. However, there’s something much more important that I think I should discuss. Camp will be a big part of it, but there’s something really exciting on my heart. Something that makes me want to jump around when I just think about it!
Never before have I heard the phrase “spiritual warfare” thrown around so much until lately. We talked about it in our meetings almost everyday at camp. And I can feel it. Spiritual warfare is when there’s an attack from the enemy that keeps a person away from God. I’ve seen this as a wall in someone’s attitude towards God, causing doubt or anger, or even an actual demonic attack (yes I believe that happens), but the Holy Spirit is trying to push through. I’ve been experiencing this myself on and off for the past couple of months. I’ve found myself many times feeling dry and doubtful. So, why is this exciting to me? Well usually when there’s a lot of spiritual warfare, it’s because God is on the verge of doing something BIG! Are you ready?
So last week I was at a youth camp for my home church, and wow was their so much spiritual warfare going on there! Even though this was probably my 5th or 6th camp for this church, I experienced something that I never have before. Usually at these camps, it feels as though we are broken down, normally for personal reasons and we don’t have any big experience in God’s presence until the end. However this year, God started things off with a bang. It felt as though the first two days is when God really broke us down, except the students didn’t feel sadness, they felt release. My favorite night had to be the second. After we were heard a message from our guest speaker Jason Spears (who btw brought down the house and was so in tune with the Holy Spirit that he had to stop a couple of times in his message to pray and prophesy over our pastors and even specific students and leaders), we as leaders were called down to the front so that kids could come to us with their prayer needs. I don’t think I’ve ever been more blessed. The Holy Spirit was so there, that the girls that came to me to pray I felt were led to me for a reason. A couple of these girls I had known for years, but when they came up to me, their prayer needs were things that I completely related with. Many were things that I went through just last year. It was awesome how God led us to each other, so that not only could I pray with them, but I could encourage them and tell them what God told me when I was going through these things and that He wanted them to hear them too. As I prayed with these girls, I hugged them as they were totally broken down weeping. I could feel all of their pain being released as God was replacing it with His peace and love. That night as we leaders were praying with our students, it felt as though we were going into battle! We cried and yelled out desperately to God asking for His spirit to make these kids whole again. I had never felt anything like it! The rest of the nights that week I saw God’s joy like never before in those students. We literally saw them set free. There was so much healing, even physical! I had never seen so much freedom in worship before. The kids were jumping, dancing, and just giving their all to the Lord. God is starting something huge in that youth group! Those students, as well as us leaders were told that we are going to be used in amazing ways to help God transform the people we know and the areas we live.
Something similar to this was happening this week in Chicago, Illinois. One of my friends had the opportunity to go to the Jesus Culture Awakening Conference there. Now, even though I wasn’t there, I could feel the Holy Spirit moving as I watched online through the live streaming of the event. The same sort of healings were happening there. And, as my friend was keeping me updated, it sounded a lot like God was releasing the same sort of freedom that He had at my camp at that conference. Thousands were there experiencing the Holy Spirit in crazy ways and even more were getting to watch it all happen online.
Finally, today I got to go to The Response here in Houston at Reliant Stadium. What was seen as just a cheap publicity stunt by Governor Rick Perry, was actually one of the most genuine things I’ve ever experienced. Over 30,000 people of different cultures and denominations gathered to desperately cry for mercy for our nation. And yes, that same freedom that I experienced at camp and that same power and joy that came down in Chicago was there too!
So I don’t know about you, but I don’t think that the fact that there were two great rallies for God in one week in the third and fourth largest cities in our country is just a coincidence! At the Response, we asked God to send a third great awakening on our country. Can you just imagine something huge like what happened with Jonathan Edwards happening in our time?! What better time than now? God is setting many of us Christians free right now because He needs to get us pumped so that we can radiate His love to those around us. So that we can win our family, our friends, our campuses, our cities back to God! Get excited! The Holy Spirit is about to fall on us like it did for the first time to the people in Jerusalem in Acts 2. God’s already sending prophesies to people of certain areas that are about to get transformed. Are you ready? God’s not going to do this on his own by the way! He needs us, his servants, to get bold, to declare His name everywhere, and to love Him with everything! Get ready to go into battle! Revival is coming!