Mark Zimel – Ontario Prayer Connector, Meridian, ID Recently, while driving home, I came upon a license plate on a truck ahead of me which read….”What If”…This reignited my thoughts taken from the recent Pray Oregon Retreat I attended with a couple dozen people at Aldersgate Retreat Center in Salem December 1 – 2, 2017.
After 61 years of life, coming to Christ when I was 25, getting involved as Coordinator of Men’s Ministries at First Baptist Church in Portland when I was 42, and experiencing a divorce after 28 years of marriage at 50, “What if” has always lead to some new adventures. Some more delightful than others, some met more fearfully than others but adventures nonetheless. All of these adventures had one thing in common. I walked through them knowing God was by my side. Just for the record, I wasn’t always seeking His Word as usual, as some of the times I was “tipped over”, no, “stunned” that things turned out like they had. So this license plate’s “What if” harkened my spirit of the days I felt more in tune with my walk with my Lord.
The “What if” that touched my spirit at the conference had me asking What if…. I have experienced a Christianity that is not the current or full expression of Christianity my Lord has planned for me…I sense I may have fallen into patterns that have dulled my spirit and the direction my Lord has selected for me. Am I hearing Him? Am I seeking God’s purposes and teachings He Has set out for me? “What if”… after 35 some years of seeking Him and Him seeking me, He has thrown me, no, all of us into a new season of worship and ways to both “Follow” and “War” for Him?
That and nothing less consumed me while at the conference for Pray Oregon. The first “What if” came as we were introduced to Jim, Kurt, Reid, Kathy, & Miriam from the Central Oregon Prayer Team in Redmond, Oregon. “What if” our usual form of worship…, praying…, the singing of hymns, singing of prayers from the scriptures, and a myriad of other songs to prepare our hearts for worship have missed a scriptural element of “His worship and His warship”? They added to their intercessory prayer sessions the use of musical instruments, rhythm, and the vibrations they created to send out into the atmosphere their praise and prayers to God as a way of breaking the darkness in our lands.
They introduced that the Native American Indian used drums, as well as flutes, and string instruments (which were all once generally considered evil because the Indians were using them) to talk with God “the Creator” (They knew God, just not His Son)! They opened with the scriptural background of Joshua 6 where God directed Joshua and his army to be faithfully obedient to His directions to walk around the city of Jericho for 7 days and thereafter using many trumpets (shofar) and their shouting voices, to receive a promise from God and bring Jericho down.
The Song of Solomon says…break forth with your sounds so others may feast on His bride. In Psalms it says to make joyful noises/praises to our King with rhythm from our drums. They recalled that David used a harp to remove Saul’s’ evil spirits also that David would play instruments to search his heart. How do you keep the devil away?By combining intercession and worship to destroy the darkness.
What an eye/spirit opening reminder of things mentioned in scriptures that we may have gone past while formatting our contemporary services…assemblies…church!
In another session, Pastor Greg Simas from the Convergence House of Prayer in Fremont, CA , introduced that we have raised up churches that are pastoral where one speaks & teaches from the word of God to many who listen. These pastoral churches measure their success through attendance and the number of attendees. He goes on to say that when one looks at Jesus and His Apostles, one sees an Apostolic Model, where one will measure their success through “influence”. He introduced the idea that our churches are creating “consumers instead of conquerors”.
Pastor Greg reminded us that Jesus took the disciples to the gates of Hades to bring a new kingdom to populate heaven. Jesus says He will build His “Ekklesia”, His legislative Assembly. Greg went on to say that Jesus’ perfect example of “Ekklesia” on Earth (mentioned in Isaiah 9:6) was to bring a government wherever you go…”Jesus carried a government on His shoulders”. One that was loyal to God through His Son.
Prayer and Worship and Apostolic becomes the new breath or spirit. These are some observations to consider as we all move toward influencing others for Christ and His government!