Many seek to lead worship and yet they do not have a heart after the presence of God. This is always obvious in their ministries, as you cannot pretend to have something you do not have. You cannot lead people in rapturous worship when you have no personal worship life. You cannot obey the Spirit in a meeting, when you are rebellious to him outside the walls of the church. You cannot exemplify intimacy and tenderness of heart before the congregation, when you haven’t spoken to God all week!
The only way God’s presence is going to move in and around you is by living a life soaked in his presence. Then you will be like a broken jar of perfume, with a presence flowing out of your heart. Everyone will see that you have been with Jesus.
Have You Pitched Your Tent?
During the time of Israel’s wanderings in the desert, with the weeping and wailing of over 300 funerals a day and the noise of a million refugees and livestock, Moses took a tent and pitched it away from the hustle and bustle of the camp. There he would meet with God in power and glory, hearing God’s voice and instruction. (Exodus 33:7-11) All of us need to pitch our tent of meeting, away from the “noise” of life and ministry if we are to succeed in life, especially in worship ministry. There is no way we can fake this spiritual necessity to spend time in God’s presence and his Word. The tent of meeting is a place of solitude where we hear his voice and have our souls restored. That tent of solitude becomes a tent of friendship, of grace, of glory and of revelation.
The Tent of Friendship
It was said of Moses that he and God spoke as friends at the tent of meeting. What a wonder – To speak with the Creator as a friend! Today the wonder of the New Covenant is that “We all know (God), from the least to greatest” (Hebrews 8:11). No longer do we need high priests, or people to speak to God for us. Every one of us can know him as a friend, just as Moses did.
In 1990 God locked me into his presence for several months, where I found that all I could do was pray. He spoke to me over and over again, revealing to me my future, the things he wanted me to do, and how much he would care for me throughout my life. This time of friendship with God is one of the foundations of my whole life and ministry today, and is the reason I find it easy to spend hours and days in his presence. He is my friend, and with a friend you can spend endless hours. As we pitch our tent of meeting, by finding time and place to encounter God, our friendship with him will develop and grow. We will learn the deep things of God as he shares with us by his Spirit. If you wish to become a man or woman of God, you must pitch your tent of friendship away from the noise of modern day life.
The Tent of Grace
Grace is the empowering of God, a favour that we don’t deserve. But although we do not deserve his grace, that doesn’t mean that we sit back and do nothing about it! God’s grace doesn’t come to the passive or apathetic. His grace is in a location and has to be searched for and found: “Approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace” Hebrews 4:16 Empowering grace is found in the tent of meeting at the throne of God. If you want God to empower you for life and ministry, you need to come to the throne to find grace. The prodigal son ran away from home and ended up in a pig sty. Whilst sat in the mud, his fathers love was still certain and strong, and his father had much to give him and bless him with. But the fathers love would not come to the pig sty to bless him there. The son had to go home, where his fathers love could be found. He had to go to the place where that love could be experienced and expressed. God’s love and empowering grace toward us is very much the same – He loves us all equally, but generally, it is those who approach the throne of God that experience his empowering grace.
A short time ago I found myself once again, locked into God’s presence, unable to leave. Here I found he was pouring unmerited favour, undeserved power and unearned mercy on me. As I basked in his presence, soaking up all his goodness, I found that as I went out to minister, healings would happen before I could even touch people. God’s presence filled the room where I stood. All because a feeble man like me can come to a throne called “Grace” and swim in God’s river of mercy! If you swim, you’ll get soaked – if you get soaked, you can splash a lot of other people! It’s time for a generation of people who know how to soak and swim in the grace of God at his throne, and carry that wondrous mercy to a hurting world. Come then, to the tent of meeting, and meet with God at the throne of grace.
The Tent of Glory
Moses experienced the glory of God at the tent of meeting. God would come down and trap Moses in the tent until he had finished speaking with him. Do you remember the old song? “Shut in with God in the secret place There by his Spirit beholding his face Gaining more power to run in the race I long to be shut in with God” Imagine the wonder of being shut in with God! Moses would come away, his face shining so brightly he would have to cover his head because of the reflected glory. God stepped out of the invisible to be visibly seen by this humble man, such was his respect for people who pitch a tent to seek his face. As we seek to know God in the tent of meeting, we will know and reflect his glory. The more we soak in his presence, the more he will manifest his presence around us as we minister. Signs and wonders will occur as a side-effect of our personally encountering his glory. Again and again I have noticed that the more time I spend in his presence, the more powerful his presence manifests in services and the more powerful worship becomes. There is no shortcut to this place of power and glory – worship leaders must be worshippers in private as well as in public.
The Tent of Revelation
Finally it is in spending time in God’s presence that he reveals his purposes and plans to us. In the tent of meeting God would speak to Moses again and again, instructing, advising and commanding him, giving him a daily blueprint for the lives of thousands of refugees. Such revelation will come to us today by the Spirit of God moving in and around us. It is as we hear him – the Designer, Draftsman and Architect of the Church – that a blueprint is found, a dwelling place for his glory is built and we lead the people of God with integrity, wisdom and power. I urge worship leaders everywhere. Meet with God. Be in love with him. Spend time in his presence with no agenda, no plan, no list of prayer requests. And soak in him. Fall in love with him again, so streams of living water will flow from you to all that you lead, gathering crowds, whether saved or not, into life changing encounters with the living God!
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