Kingdom Identity

greta and elias

KINGDOM IDENTITY

Part One

 

Lets get this party started (lol). So I was going to write “Dead works” pt.2, but I need more time on that one. So today let’s talk about something else, let’s talk about identity. I’m sure we all like to think that we have got ourselves all figured out, but sometimes that’s not always the case. Since I can’t talk about anyone else’s identity-because I don’t know it-I will talk about me. Lets take Identity in small doses. This will not be a step one, two and three on how to find your self. These next posts are going to slowly tackle who we are in the kingdom aside from our gifts, talents and abilities. Discovering our identity in God will bring so much clarity to everything that we are and we do, that is a promise.

I like to read, but I’ve noticed that books that give me steps to figure things out don’t really help me. I’d rather read books based on people’s personal successes and failures. A person’s real experience, that show true vulnerability and also great strength, rather than someone telling me how great they are and how one day I might be great too. My thing is, don’t talk to me about leadership, show me leadership. That’s my whole goal with my blogs. I don’t want to talk to you about what a cool person I am, because I’m not that cool, because I don’t always know the answers and sometimes I really miss the mark. The goal is not perfection; the goal is not to make a home for our mess-ups.

I started singing when I was twelve years old. Long story short, someone did not show up to sing one day and I volunteered. I sang the only song I knew and word went around that I was a tiny girl who could sing. It has now been twelve years since then and so much has changed. When I first started, I wanted to be just like Rocio Crook and Lily Goodman. I would buy their pistas and sing those songs everywhere I got invited. I use to sing a million miles per hour, screaming my life away and half way in almost every song I would start singing in the wrong key. I literally had posters of my favorite Christian artist on my bedroom wall and I would lay in my bed dreaming that one day other people will have posters of my face on their walls too. I would daydream of filling stadiums where everyone would come to watch me sing. I would dream of what a great day it would be when all my haters saw that I made it (uuuh haters, I love this topic, lets talk about this later). All my dreams were awesome but notice that they had nothing to do with Jesus.

I was just like hundreds and thousands of worshipers who love to hear them selves worship and their worship revolves around everything but Jesus.

One day I sat my team down and asked them if they knew their Kingdom Identity. If they knew what they had been called to do. I told them that before they answered I prohibited the words “ I was born to play my instrument”. Playing bass, guitar, worship leading is not identity, that’s just what you do. The number one problem in the church is that people have no identity in who they are in the kingdom. They think their identity is found in the position they hold, but what if tomorrow they got it taken away? Would you stop being you? I’ll prove it to you. How many people leave church because they aren’t given a title, because someone better than them came in and threatened their position? How many altar-hogging ministers do you know?

Ministers that die holding on to a pulpit that didn’t belong to them in the first place. They die failing to prepare someone to take over when its time for them to go. Passing the baton is a biblical principal; here are some biblical characters that passed the baton just in case you don’t believe me: Elijah passed the baton to Elisha, Moses to Joshua, Paul to Timothy, Jesus to us!

I have seen a countless amount of churches fall apart when a pastor, who did not train anyone to take over, passes away. I have also seen older ministers kill the dreams of a younger generation out of jealousy of what God is allowing them to do. Because God forbid, the Holy Spirit move through anyone else but YOU. This kind of mentality is so wrong and sadly so common in the church.

When I took the music option away from my team members some of them had to step back and actually think of something they had never thought about before. I asked them to look so deep within their hearts to find something that only God could have placed there. A desire that they knew was straight from heaven. Before anything else we are sons and daughters of a King. Some people need to find this identity first, because some people and I include my self have not discovered the power, the glory, or the privileges that come with being a son and daughter. This year discovering that has been my main focus. Do you know that there are hundreds of thousands of Christians who identify God as a boss, master, king, teacher, provider, healer, but not as a FATHER. It amazes me that some people are so quick to accept a God who makes rules and is waiting to unleash his wrath on the world, but people freak out and can’t accept a loving God. A God that is so loving, so graceful and merciful, that his love is powerful enough to cover a multitude of errors and sins. People can’t accept that there is nothing in the world that could separate us from the love of the father (Romans 8:31-39). It freaks religious people out because they think preaching of a loving God is a free pass to sin. They call it a wishy washy gospel and resort to screaming doctrine as if that was the true message.

When I first met my boyfriend of seven years now, cooking was an unknown language to me. I never had a reason to learn. I liked boys before, but none of them ever made me picture a future. My brother would cook for me and I was okay with that. But when I met Elias, I began to think of a future with him, and one day as I pictured our future life together I asked my self, what would we eat? (weird I know). My mom wasn’t going to be there, neither was my brother, so what the heck was I going to do?

It was the first time I had ever thought about learning how to cook. I remember the first time I invited Elias over for dinner. I wanted to impress him with a Salvadorian style dish, platanos with some black beans and other stuff. I went to the store and bought the greenest bananas I could find, so when I tried frying them they just got black. Anyways, long story short my fire alarm went off in the whole building and my beans were the saltiest beans I have ever tasted. I was so embarrassed, but my boyfriend has always been so encouraging and loving that while I cried he grabbed those burnt bananas and salty beans, ate them and told me they weren’t that bad. It was in that moment that I knew that I really, really loved him and out of love for him I would learn to cook a better dinner. If we invested more time in showing people how great God’s love is for them, I guarantee you that more people would want to fall in love with Jesus. It would be out of that love that people would want to change, because no one ever wants to hurt the people they truly love. Love changes people, doctrine instills fear of hell and that is not what the gospel is about. (P.s Let me just tell you that I fell in love with cooking and now I am really good at it).

So anyways back to my team. Some of the answers I got from my team members were amazing. Some simply answered that they didn’t know who they were yet and I challenged them to ask Jesus the real reason they are here. Let me tell you that some of them took the challenge and I have seen some incredible breakthroughs in my team. I keep hearing some amazing praise reports. Some are flowing in healing, others in the prophetic, in word of knowledge and some of them have simply stepped up their game in bible reading and prayer. Are you currently struggling with your worship team? With attitudes, lack of commitment and dedication? Then stop nagging them and stop trying to change them! We can’t even change our selves and yet we try to take on the Holy Spirit’s job to try and change people. Instead, speak into their life even when it seems that they don’t listen. Be an example, step up YOUR game and be what you want to see in them. Shower them in encouragement, challenge them, and help them find themselves outside of music.

Be intentional about growing right-standing men and women of God, not just church musicians. Above all help them discover the leader within them. In my team we encourage people to walk in their leadership. This means that I have no followers, I have talented amazing people who know they are awesome alone, but when we work together we are incredible. So why would anyone hate and settle for being an awesome superstar loner, when you can be incredible with people who will be there and love you through everything.

Let’s end this post here, think about some of the things I’m sharing with you today. Go to your secret place with God and ask him to help you walk in his eternal love. So that his love could become so real you begin to overflow in it. And out of that love your entire life changes and the lives of everyone in contact with you does too. I know walking in love is so hard sometimes, but once again I’m going to remind you that this is not a call to perfection, this is a call to be better. We might not be able to change our past mistakes and the way we have hurt people, but we sure can change our actions for our present and our future.

With all the love in my heart I pray we may continue to grow together …

Ill catch you in my next blog.

XOXO

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Dead-Works Part One

greta and tyroneDead-Works

Part One

 

These past months I have been giving my team a series of lessons. My goal is not necessarily to get them to sound bomb musically (although it is soooo important). My goal is to grow people. I think for way too long people in church have settled for one of two things.

 

  1. Amazing musicians and singers with horrible character, performers who have no real relationship with the father or any form of accountability to a home church. People who clock in and out of churches, going to church for nothing other then a position or paycheck. (We will get into this later)
  2. I love this one (LOL). Musicians who are over spiritual. They go all their life never improving their skills and accepting mediocre worship services … all for the glory of God (sigh).

 

Let me get this out of the way first. Me writing this doesn’t mean I am the greatest most perfect worship leader that ever roamed the earth. Trust me people; I make a million and one mistakes a day (ask my team lol). However, at this point in my life I’ve been slapped around a few times, so I know a little something. Through out my ministry I have had the privilege of working with a couple different teams. Every team has had its good and its bad, but each team taught me so much about my self and worshipers in the church. I feel like the most overlooked crowd in the church is the worship team. We are the first to get there, the last to leave. We spend hours coming up with song list and then rehearsing countless amount of times. We spend hundreds of dollars a year on our instruments. Some of us have the amazing privilege of hauling instruments every service, setting up and tearing down, hungry tired and sleepy. All for the church members to complain about us not being spiritual enough, they don’t like the songs, its too loud, too soft, too blah blah blah blah blah. My goodness after eleven years of doing this I feel like I’ve heard it all.

 

One day I made the mistake of trusting a church that said they had the best instruments. So I take my team and very minimal things. They didn’t give us a sound check and when it was time to go and worship, we discovered half the keys on the piano didn’t work. Long story short, it was the worst worship I have ever lead. Some lady decided to over spiritualize the situation. She decided to tell people the reason we didn’t do good was because we were in sin. It was one of those times where I felt like bible slapping someone. No lady, we had half functioning instruments, what do you think was going to happen. We get beef on a daily but that’s not an excuse to live mediocre spiritual lives in the kingdom, or to give God fifty percent of our efforts.

 

Lets go over point one quickly. Thousands of musicians in the church who worship have no spiritual life. There is nothing that hurts my heart more than spiritually dead musicians and singers. We sing and play to this awesome God who is a total stranger. We sing freedom and are bound to addictions, depression, anxiety, money, fame, position, religion, etc. If you sing to the father but have no relationship outside of your gift then let me break it to you, it is DEAD WORK. You are like a person who casts seeds that will never bear fruit because the soil you plant in is not fertile ground. Can you imagine playing in church your entire life, getting to heaven and the God that you sang to doesn’t recognize you … He doesn’t know you. Isaiah 29:13 says “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote”. Man this breaks my heart because I know thousands of musicians are here right now and I wish I could hug them and bring loving correction. I am going to do a full blog post on dead work but for now I just want to tell you that in the kingdom, being talented is not enough. God wants you, not what you can do. So if this is you, run to the father, ask for real transformation.

 

Point two. There is nothing in the whole entire planet that makes me as angry as people who take worship lightly. I love spirit filled worship, however I also believe in being the best I can be. This means I need to invest in my gift. If this is what I am called to do, then I will not be okay with being mediocre. There are so many people who think speaking in tongues is enough for a good worship. I don’t care how much a worship leaders shakes. I know when a person fakes the funk. I know when a person is giving a spiritual show to over compensate lack of effort and preparation. Every time I lead I ask the spirit to just come and move. To come do what I cannot do, however I am very strict on my self and my team when it comes to preparing musically through out the week. I remember when I was younger there was this lady at church who would always ask for a special part at church. This lady never bothered to learn her songs so we all knew that when she forgot the lyrics she would speak tongues until she knew the next part. I have encountered mega religious musicians that wont pay for lessons because they don’t want their worship to be tainted by worldly knowledge -__- . That’s a dumb excuse for lazy people who have no business leading or being part of a worship team. If you don’t think God deserves your best effort then do us a favor and let someone passionate about growing take your place. That’s all I got to say about that.

 

I want to end this blog with a quick story about one of my greatest friends. I met Tyrone in 2010 but it wasn’t until 2012 that we started working together. Tyrone is like a walking orchestra. He plays basically every instrument and he has a brilliant mind when it comes to music. However when I met Tyrone and we made him part of the ARISE team, he was a hot mess. This guy was not only a church hopper, but he also played at clubs, he was known for posting club drinking on Fridays and worship service on Sunday. Tyrone has shown me that I have more patience and love than I could’ve imagined. You see when Elias and I started working in his life everyone told us he was bad news. Every single person on our team at the time would pressure us to kick him out. They said he was never going to change. Fast forward, when ARISE hit its lowest point financially and all the team left us Tyrone stayed. He helped us rebuild everything and until this day even though it’s been hard, he continues to support and love us. We have become family. This guy went from no relationship with the father to knocked out on the floor being confronted by the spirit. All that Tyrone ever needed was some real friends and a whole lot of attention and accountability. People who stopped letting him die in the church pretending his talent was all he needed. There is so much work to be done in his life still, but he makes me so proud. After millions of sit downs confronting his bad habits he has had the choice to leave and ignore me but he has always chose change. We all need balance in our life. So look for people who will help you find it. No matter what condition you are in spiritually, God is amazing enough to find you where you are and take you to a greater level of glory. If God was able to change my cold cold heart (I’ll share with you one day) and Tyrone’s church hopping ways, He can change you for sure. Worship is so much more than music. Jesus is so much more than a song. I pray you have a real worship encounter soon, an encounter that will change you forever.

 

I’ll see you in my next post.

XOXO