VOB News September 2015 “Psalm 67”

 Psalm 67 

“GOD be gracious to us and bless us, and cause His face to shine upon us- That Thy way may be known on the earth, Thy salvation among all the nations. Let the peoples praise Thee, O GOD; Let all the peoples praise Thee. Let the nations be glad and sing for joy; For Thou will judge the peoples with uprightness, And guide the nations on the earth.  Let the peoples praise Thee, O GOD; Let all the peoples praise Thee. The earth has yielded its produce; GOD, our GOD blesses us. GOD blesses us, That all the ends of the earth may fear Him.”  

Eight times in this short Psalm, ‘nations’ or ‘peoples’ are mentioned.  Although GOD has a special  relationship with Israel, His heart has also always been towards all nations.  To that end, and as you know,  it has been a goal for us here at VOB, to partner with the nations, in worship & prayer.  Psalm 67 has been our theme this month, as we have had some amazing opportunities to teach, model and lead out in worship & prayer both for, as well as, with the nations.  We cherish these times and truly believe the Lord is building a bond that will make a difference for His Kingdom, here on earth.

In late August, I (Carol) had the opportunity to do two 30 minute segments of worship & teaching at OCN Broadcasting, in Los Angeles.  OCN broadcasts Christian programs to over 50 nations in the world, many of them in Africa.  I was part of several programs recorded on the subject of “Worship for an Audience of One.” 

My 1st segment was a 30 minute teaching & demonstration on the Biblical Mandate for Prophetic Worship.  The 2nd segment was a  30 minute demonstration of prophetic worship & prayer.

We were joined by dear First Nations friends Joseph and Martha, as we worked with both modern instruments (guitar & bass), as well as ancient instruments (First Nations Abba drum & other instruments from around the world).

I was quite nervous about the teaching segment, but as soon as the camera went on, I felt the presence of the Lord with me, leading & guiding.

Our prayer is that He will use this teaching & worship series, to glorify Himself, and bring others into His Kingdom, and to give hope to those where persecution is a very real scenario, around the world.

Watch the teaching portion here:

Watch the demonstration portion here:
P.O. W. night
    P.O. W. worship nights – 1st Saturday’s

We are learning to bring the traditional musical sounds of First Nations, together with the modern sounds of guitars, to create a bridge between the ancient and the current.  Our prayer is that this will reflect the Lord as our Creator from the beginning, as well as our Sustainer to the end.

 

 

The Tent
                The Tent- downtown San Diego

Having the opportunity to go out in public, with local ministries, to worship & pray is always an incredible blessing.   We had the opportunity here, to be a part of a day long worship event, called The Tent, in downtown San Diego.  Worshiping the Lord in song, with guitar, as well as playing the First Nations Abba drum, once again, connects the ancient with the modern, releasing a powerful act of singing and intercession, on behalf of the Kingdom of GOD.   Many onlookers were impacted for Jesus.

Worship and the Arts

Worship and the Arts by Carol Kiger-Rice

Let’s start by answering this question: “Who is the ultimate Creator?”
And now, “Who is created in His image?”

It is in an effort to be reminded that GOD, Yahweh, is the/our ultimate Creator, that these questions come. He has created all things, and all things are created by Him (Col 1:16). We also know that we are created in His image (Gen. 1:27). Does it stand to reason then, that creativity should flow from GOD’s creation? Shouldn’t we be creative as Jesus is creative? I believe the answer is yes.

Unfortunately, the church has become quite stagnant over the centuries, in allowing anything truly creative to come forth through her people. We have chased wonderful artists off, sending them out into the darkness instead of embracing them. Anyone heard of Vincent Van Gogh? Incredibly artistic, but also artistic in his eccentricities, he was working as a lay minister among miners in Belgium. Leaders in the church, upon visiting the work in the mining camp, decided Van Gogh was behaving in an undignified manner as a minister, by identifying himself so closely with the minors, and fired him. Van Gogh turned to art, but died by committing suicide, and never fully recovering from the former rejection (ref at end). Imagine if he had been able to embrace the artistic gifting within, and was able to be supported and encouraged in his gifting. There are countless other stories. You may know of some yourself. Still, the Lord gets HIs glory, and the works done by these artists reflect Him. How much more, if the church had embraced the arts, instead of trying to lock them up.

When I first got saved, I put away my theatre and artistic interests, believing them to be somehow demonic. Though often the arts are full of demonized activity, it does not have to be that way. I believe this occurs because often the church, rather than embracing and stewarding the arts, and artists, pushes them away as unholy. When rejected, the artist will find a way and place to create. But will it be for GOD, or for man? Artists need to be encouraged and discipled toward maturity. Not thrown to the ‘wolves’ so to speak, of having to rely solely on the secular industry to guide them.

Eventually, the Lord freed me from my belief, and showed me that the arts are for HIS glory, and need to be ransomed back from the one who has kidnapped them (the enemy). As a believer, I can tell you of numerous times when i have witnessed a beautiful painting, or other work of art, listened to an incredible piece of music, or read a poem, when I was overwhelmed by the incredible presence of the Holy Spirit involved. I have often been brought closer to the Lord through such. As an unbeliever, I remember being deeply touched by a particular painting at the Metropolitan Museum of Art, in New York City. Had there been a person there to talk to me about Jesus as I pondered that beautiful painting, my heart would have been softened to the point of really listening to them tell me about the Ultimate Creator. I am saddened by how we have removed the arts, and sterilized our services and lives with Jesus, to the point where there is NO creativity, and only carbon copies of either what the world is producing, or what the ‘hot’ church is producing.

If you look around at creation, you obviously can see the most amazingly creative things which the Lord brought forth. Have you ever really pondered the creativity of a zebra? Think about a giraffe. And look at a polar bear, or watch a horse run. Imagine the feeling you get in the springtime, when everything is coming to life. How do you feel after the first snowfall when the landscape is completely transformed by the color white? Are you amazed and moved by the ocean and it’s roaring waves, or the incredible color and beauty of a mountain side in the autumn?

Ever noticed how a piece of music immediately propels you back to some distant memory, and you are in that place again, with all the feelings and emotions? Are you uplifted by a song? In the same way, we are often profoundly influenced by a ballet or orchestra, or a play. Ever felt a life changing experience by going to see a particular movie? These things come from those created in the image of GOD. “Every good thing bestowed and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of LIghts….” (James 1: 17). He uses everything for His glory, even a donkey (II Peter 2:16), or a pagan king (Daniel 3 and 4)). He called the creation ‘good’. He called the creation of man and woman, ‘very good’. Let creativity flow LORD!!!

I am an advocate for the artist. I am an advocate for allowing the arts and creativity back into our lives, and back into our churches. Wouldn’t it be revolutionary to have the local artist in a congregation, place his or her paintings or other works in the church halls, or display cases? What about a room dedicated to the works of the artists in the church? What about letting artist’s paint during worship? Or read a poem during a service? Or do a moving piece of theatre? What about taking it out into the highways and byways, and letting people know Who the REAL Creator IS????!!!!!!!!! Imagine if we supported artists the way we support evangelists or missionaries. Guess what, they might be the same thing!!!

Hey you artist: get your stuff into a coffee shop or other gallery. Take the chance….go for it!!!!! Hey you musicians, who says you can’t go into a coffee shop or club and do worship music, or music the Lord has given you? Do we want to reach people or not? It might be the artist who finds real success in reaching people today, by doing so in a totally unique and relevant way. Let’s face it, most people are not going to walk into a church building on their own. But we can take it to them. Where most folks will turn and walk away if someone tries to preach at them, they will stand and stare at a wonderful work of art. They will linger and listen to a worship band on a street corner, lost in praises to the King. They will join in the celebration as dancers celebrate Who their GOD is!! I’ve seen it happen. I’ve seen the Lord being supremely worshiped through art, dance, music, theatre, film. It happens. If should be happening more.

Art touches a person’s soul. It has touched mine. I’m sure it has touched yours also. It goes to a place a speech often cannot. (And let’s face it, most sermons are speeches). The arts go beyond the barriers, beyond the walls, beyond the fears. The Holy Spirit pierces the heart of the person who is affected by a song, work, dance, story, poem. Suddenly, we feel like we might know Who GOD is for a second. We feel we may have connected with the Creator. We are suddenly moved to know HIm at a level deeper than we could ever have known. Who is this GOD Who has created such beauty? Who is this GOD Who understands the pain deep in my soul? And Who is His Son?!!!!!!! This is the heart of the Lord………..to pierce the darkness.

Can we afford to let the arts into our circles? Can we afford NOT to?
It’s time to open up the doors, and welcome the writers, artists, musicians, and dancers, and allow them to speak the words of the Lord thru their medium. Let the artist come forth and prophesy. After all, King David did it on his harp, and he was a man after GOD’s own heart. Isn’t’ that our goal?

Here are some Scriptures that reveal how the arts were used in both the Old Testament and the New:

Ps. 45:1 “my heart overflows with a good theme; I address my verses to the King; my tongue is the pen of a ready writer”

Ezekiel 4 and 5: Ezekiel ‘acted out’ a demonstration of what the Lord was going to do.

I Chronicles 25: Musicians assigned to 24 hour worship in the temple, were to prophesy on their instruments.

Matthew, Mark, Luke, John: Note that Jesus, HImself, used the art of storytelling, through the parables He told in the Gospels.

Exodus 31:1-11: Here, the Lord explains to Moses regarding those whom He, Himself had appointed and gifted in “artistic designs”, and “all kinds of craftsmanship”.

I Kings 7:14 and following: Hiram from Tyre, was hired by Solomon to work on the Temple, because he was “filled with wisdom, understanding and skill for doing any work in bronze”.

II Sam. 6:14: “and David was dancing before the Lord with all his might…”

Acts 17:28: Paul uses a known poets words, in speaking to the Athenians on Mars Hill in Greece about the One True GOD.

Col. 3:16: “….teaching and admonishing each other with psalms and hymns, and spiritual songs, singing with thankfulness in your hearts to GOD.”

Song of Solomon 2:4: He has brought me to his banquet hall, and his banner over me is love.” ALSO, 6:4: “….You are as…..awesome as an army with banners.”

There are others, such as the care taken in the artistic endeavors of building the temple, or the material used in the holy place, or the priests garments. You may find more yourself. In closing, I leave you with Psalm 150, which tells everything to praise the Lord, and specifically describes both dance, and music, as being for His praises:

Praise the Lord! Praise GOD in His sanctuary; Praise HIm in His mighty expanse. Praise Him for His mighty deeds; Praise Him according to His excellent greatness. Praise Him with trumpet sound; Praise Him with harp and lyre; Praise HIm with timbrel and dancing; Praise HIm with stringed instruments and pipe. Praise Him with loud cymbals; Praise Him with resounding cymbals. Let everything that has breath praise the Lord. Praise the LORD!

(The Van Gogh story is taken from an awesome issue of Last Days Magazine, Vol. 18, Number 1, “What is the Church doing with the Powerful Gift of Art”.)

Carol Kiger-Rice is in San Diego, CA