The past two days I’ve posted videos from a recent Sunday morning at Covenant Life. The first one is here, the second one is here. These aren’t examples of someone doing everything right. Hardly. They just contain examples of a lot of the things I’ve written about at Worship Matters.
Today I’m posting an example of spontaneity. Being “reformed charismatics,” we value the sufficiency, authority, and inerrancy of Scripture as well as the active presence of the Holy Spirit through the spiritual gifts mentioned in 1 Cor. 14 and elsewhere. During the fourth song that Sunday, Lost in Wonder, two pastors came up and shared prophetic impressions from the Lord, similar to those described in 1 Cor. 14:29-31. The first addressed those who were thinking as we sang “How Great is our God” that their problems and trials were greater than God. The pastor read Ps. 145:1-3 and encouraged those individuals to search out how great God really is. The second word addressed those for whom the greatness of God’s name was obscured by the greatness of the names of “debt” and “disease.” He said God wanted to remind us that his name is above every name.
A Spontaneous Song
After we prayed for those individuals, I sensed I had a prophetic, or spontaneous, song from the Lord, that followed up on those two words. I’ve shared such songs for almost twenty years now. I don’t believe they’re “word for word” from the Lord, but do believe they’re an overflow of the love he demonstrated for us at Calvary and a sign of the Spirit’s working in our midst. Most often they come to me at the moment, although there have been occasions where lines for a song have come as I’m preparing or while someone has been preaching. More times than I can remember, I’ve seen God use the gift of prophecy, spoken or sung, to encourage, comfort, and build up his church (1 Cor. 14:3).
If you’re interested, these are the words to the song:
You’re lost in your problems
You’re lost in your fears
But you’re not lost in amazement
That I’ve brought you near
You’re lost in confusion
You’re lost in your pain
But you aren’t lost in wonder
That I know your name
I sent my Son
Upon the cross
He died to make you mine
So that you would never be lost
Are you lost in amazement?
Are you lost in joy?
Are you lost in wonder
That you can hear my voice?
Are you lost in my mercy
That I purchased for you
Through the blood of my own Son?
That’s what he came to do
To give his life for you
So you could be lost in my love.
After the spontaneous song, we returned to the song we had been singing, Lost in Wonder.
Spontaneous prophetic songs aren’t the only evidence that the Holy Spirit is present and working in our meetings. He’s active during congregational singing, the preaching of God’s Word, prayer, fellowship, and other ways. But why limit the Spirit’s work to what he’s given us as we’ve planned and prepared? Why not allow room in your meeting for an unexpected prayer, or an unplanned emphasis? I should mention that I’ve built a high degree of trust with the pastors at my church which enables me to respond to spontaneous impressions on the fly. Make sure your pastor has confidence in you before you start changing the direction of the meeting.
For more on this topic, I’d encourage you to download some of these free MP3 messages.
Thanks for sharing this video series. It’s been very helpful! And thanks for you humility: “These aren’t examples of someone doing everything right. Hardly.” As a young upstart worship leader, that is one thing I desire is to cultivate a humble heart right away.
Do you ever have songs that are recorded and published get birthed out of spontaneous songs like this?
Thank you so much for sharing this and encourages our team more in dwelling in praising and worshipping GOD through songs of our hearts !
Bob, what a great display of 1 Cor 12:7, “to each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” I can only imagine that many gathered that morning felt the “good” of that “manifestation of the Spirit.”
Thanks for your faithfulness to use this gift in season and out of season.
I think pointing out the trust you have with your pastor is huge, and vital to any ministry within the church. I think Josh knowing that you’ve been sharing God-exalting songs for years now (on the spot), rather than “spirit-filled” jargon and blah blah blah-ing, is a definite benefit to the body.
Because I’ve seen when a worship leader had a “sensing” of a prophetic song, but it turned into a big mess of disorderly worship and the focus more on what the people were feeling rather than what God has done in Jesus.
Although I think that word “sensing” is a bit mystical sounding (as if a special 6th sense is needed to tune in to what the Holy Spirit is doing in a church), I appreciate you clarifying your motives by explaining that the songs are an overflow of what God has done for us.
Thanks for stopping by and for your comments. I agree. I’d never want to communicate that the only way to follow the Holy Spirit is through spontaneous leadings, impressions, or “sensing” what he’s doing. But in an effort to protect the authority and sufficiency of Scripture, some Christians have functionally ruled any experiential element out. That seems to fly in the face of what is happening in 1 Corinthians 12 and 14.
Thank you soooo much Bob! We are a ‘reformed charasmatic’ church too and it has been so refreshing and exciting for me to discover your website! I’m blessed, encouraged and edified with each e-mail I receive from “Worship Matters”
Bob, thanks so much for sharing this. I grew up in churches that would be considered charismatic, and not in a necessarily good way. I’ve seen the Spirit move in ways that I know are Him, and also seen man try to “manufacture” the moving (as if we control Him!). Seeing such a beautiful example of the Spirit leading really hit me. What an awesome thing to see! And the fact that what you received was not random thoughts repeated over and over, but a word that drives us into awe and wonder…to me, that’s the way it should be.
And I, along with Ryan above, really appreciate your humility and honesty in sharing this with us. I pray that God would give us all a heart of humility and gratitude for what He’s given us in Christ Jesus.
Bob…thanks for sharing this. It was a blessing to me for sure to see you walk out 1 Corinthians 14 in song (and a great song at that:-) Peace…adam
I still remember the prophetic song you sang years ago during a Celebration conference in Lynchburg, Bob. It was a special word for … bald people.
At first, when those present heard what you were going to sing about, we all laughed. But when you sang and we heard the heart of God for those seeing themselves age … we were powerfully moved. One of my friends stopped wearing a toupe because of that word from the Lord. That sounds silly and trivial, but for those losing their hair, seeing in the mirror the effects of age and dying … it’s not trivial.
He sings over us, doesn’t He? …
thank you for posting this. over the past few weeks as I’ve been lost in a specific trial, God has used this song to point me back to my hope found in the cross.
Like Ted, I have been powerfully affected in the past by one of your songs as well. For me, it was at New Attitude last May and you sang a song for those struggling over past sexual sins and the guilt and condemnation that follows. The Lord powerfully used that song to immediately turn my life around – from one of feeling hindered by my past and now I’m a “second rate Christian” (as if that exists) to one of realization that the words “it is finished” applied even for me – even for this.
I remember as you sang “so live in the good of all that I paid for. Live in the good of the blood shed for you” that the Lord spoke clearly and directly to my heart and revealed to me the love on display at Calvary. There was/is no part of my sin not paid for on the cross.
I’m grateful that you posted this song. I view this song as a little teaser of what is to come on “Come Weary Saints” and I can’t wait to hear an entire CD focusing on our hope in Christ instead of remaining lost in our problems. Thanks!