PT3: Seeing Him on Your People
Updated: Jan 1
It doesn't take supernatural goggles to see the Holy Spirit, only a humble gaze. But it does take a little common sense, discernment, a experience. In this BLOG I'll be sharing sure-fire ways for you to spot the Holy Spirit for the purpose of leading the service into that same direction.
Here are a few things to keep in mind that will work in your favor when seeking to ascertain what God is doing in the heart of your people in corporate worship:
Anointed. As leader of the pack you have been anointed to lead your people in the ways of God. Get used to that. In your denomination your anointing may be a signed pieces of paper. In others anointing comes as a result of people laying hands on you and calling you out from among the shepherd boys and making you king. Either way, you carry a certain spiritual edge that others don't have. You can see things before they see them, and you can lead others into the Oasis, even when there is grumbling in the camp.
From Where You Stand. You also have the advantage of being up front, able to see your people, what they are doing, all at a brief scan. You can tell if people are checked out, engaged, distracted, or antsy just by looking around the place.
Inner/Outie. There are at least two ways the Lord has led me to lead his people. The first is an intuitive, subjective if you will, sense. The other is a physical - seen with your own two eyes - manifestation of God on your people. Both are equally valid and often work in combination with each other. But let it be said right up front once you make a formula about anything, especially things of the Kingdom where everything is all about "faith," God mixes it up. This is because faith is essential for anything to stick.
Personal Expectations of Adventure. When I enter a service I need to be aware of my spiritual posture. I need to understand that we are entering a realm where God is invited to bless, nurture, heal, and redeem others. It's what he did in the flesh in Palestine. It's what he does today. Same God. So merely the awareness of that, and the ensuing excitement of the element of surprise gets you in the ballpark. Are you excited to see? Are you expecting him to come? Do you walk in with the awe of a child who is entering a baseball game, or a NASCAR event? Is church open-ended for you? By that I mean we all know how church goes - hymns, songs, prayers, bread, wine, announcements, a blessing at the end. But is that an airtight expectation, or is that a framework within God can breathe. Big difference.
Interior Tags. How does the celebrant know what to say and when to say? How does she or he know what she knows when she says something like "I believe God is wanting to bless those victims of abortion among us. As we sing this song again, I invite you to allow his healing balm to plunge deeply into your pain"?
Once I was at a Vineyard conference and John Wimber was looking around the place and said, "The Spirit is going to fall on the folks right over there." And he pointed to the far left of the stage. Sure enough, within a minute, people in that part of the building had helium hands. Some were crying, some were smiling, engaged with Jesus - while the rest of us were looking on and thinking, "What about me?"
How did he know that?
Here are a couple of ways God has spoken to me about the way I lead people through breathable liturgy:
Crystalized Thinking. Sounds strange but when God is encouraging me to step into a higher degree of onsite, streaming leadership, my thoughts become as clear as a bell. Without batting an eye, things become crisp in my thinking and there is an intuitive sense that I just know what to do and how to do it.
Profound Peace. Other times a surge of peace will fall on me in an unusually strong way. During these times I quiet my should and press into my relationship with Jesus, seeking a word, vision, memory, Scripture verse that may surface within that peace. I am not there to fill the peace with a great idea, or concur up something to say in the moment. I am there seeking what God is saying.
PreService Themes. How many fly-by conversations do you have with your people before the service. On more than one occasion, I have heard definite themes running through the body even before the service begins.
As soon as we unlock the door with the keys, we need to be aware. It might be through the conversation of a child who tells us a story on the sofa in the parlor about how Sponge Bob turned himself inside out in Patrick's upside-down pineapple on Bikini Bottom. Not that that in itself would be a word - but the fact of the awe in the child's eyes, his excitement, his fumbling around looking for the right words to say - all of which remind you how precious children are, how we need to become more like them.
Then, on your way to your office a mother shares with you her teenager was arrested after curfew the night before.
Then as your getting robed in the sacristy one of the acolytes confides in you she is having a rough time and would like prayer. Three encounters, all about ... youth.
Think about that. Don't toss that up as mere coincidence. It could be a clue as to how to lead the service. Later in the prayers you might say, "I believe God is wanting to minister to our youth today. I'd like to invite all the children to come up and let's pray for these guys. It's not easy being little, you know." That's how that works.
But there are also visible manifestations of the Spirit which you can train yourself to spot as well. They include such things as:
A cloud or haze hovering over on part of the congregation.
A person blushing, flushed in the face, expressing emotion (smiling, laughing, crying, or sobbing).
Hands raised. People engaged.
Yesterday I took a new song out for a test drive for our final communion song. On the third verse people began to lift from their seats. Some swayed back and forth, others had helium hands, still others dropped to their knees in adoration. I'm not the smartest dolphin in the pod but their mere response to what was going on around them was a clear indication of spiritual communion between God and his people through the avenue of the Holy Spirit. Praise Jesus!
In my final BLOG I'll share a bit of my unscripted passion for why my heart aches for this stuff to expand under our leadership.
Holy Father, you gifted your Son to see things that were happening before anyone else. He had the uncanny ability to see the Kingdom above, and sync it with where he was below. Grant in us that same anointing, that your people would experience a foretaste of that eternal Kingdom, from where you rule and reign, through the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.