What Are You Known For?

      What's the first thing that people say when your name or ministry is mentioned? Do you know what you are really remembered for?  After people read that wonderful book, see that powerful choreography or play or hear your "dope" poetry, what are people saying about you?  Our reputation is just as important as our talents and gifts. There are too many ministries today that are recognized as great, while carrying tainted reputations. Some of what is being said may be exaggerated, but if there is even a small amount of truth to it, it's time to think about what needs to be changed.

By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.
John 13:35 (NKJV)

      It is one thing to be known for what we do, but quite another to be known for who we are. God is working on all of us, so none of us can point out anyone else's faults without first looking at ourselves. It's time for self -examination. If we find ourselves always snapping at others when we are stressed, maybe we are too busy, and need to ask for help. Moses could not lead the Israelites alone, he appointed elders to be in charge of the masses of people that he was responsible for getting to the Promised Land (Ex.18:25).  If we feel the need to talk about others behind their backs, we need to find out what is lacking in our own lives. We can make beautiful garments and put on grand productions, but weave tangled knots of confusion if our way of life does not match up to our craft.
      There is a dance minister on the East Coast who is well-known for his powerful ministry and exciting classes. He has danced with a renowned professional company in New York, and has his own company. The first thing people speak of after commenting on his phenomenal dancing is his graciousness towards everyone, and how they can't wait to be in his classes that are always full. Students don't want to leave his presence at the end of  class, because of what they receive from him spiritually as well as technically.  They feel loved, not abused. They are empowered, not dismantled.  People are drawn to him because of his loving heart. That is the ministry of Christ! Why have a fantastic public ministry, while behind the scenes people are being crushed by our behavior? Even if they never say anything about it, God sees what we do, and He hears everything that we say. Being a leader or having a title does not give us the right to harm anyone with our words or actions. We will have to answer to God for every person whom we have injured. If we are guilty of any of these things, we need to pray and ask for more of the fruit of the Spirit to be in our lives.

God's Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways.
Gal 5:22-23 (CEV)

Nothing is hidden from God! He sees through everything, and we will have to tell him the truth.
Hebrews 4:13 (CEV)

     It has been said that our gifts determine our direction in life, but our character determines how far we will go with our gifts. It's never too late to humble ourselves, check our reputations, make changes,  pray for healing and make amends wherever we can. Let's make sure that our names remind people of God's goodness!

A good reputation and respect are worth much more than silver and gold.
 Proverbs 22:1 (CEV)


Free to be Me!

     Have you ever felt the pressure to belong, to be understood, or just to be like everyone else?  I thought about that today while looking at all of the conformity and compromise that has been going on in the worship ministry as of late. I'm not talking about the conforming to God's Word that we are supposed to do, but the trend to do what everyone else is doing or to try to outdo what we see others doing to "fit in". It seems as if many of us want to do whatever it takes to get the platforms, the notoriety and the validation of those who we think will help us "make it"---whatever that means. In the process, we lose our uniqueness, identity, and creativity and although we may get what we were seeking from people, we are losing God's approval of what we do. 

What good would it do to get everything you want and lose you, the real you? What could you ever trade your soul for? (Mark 8:36, The Message)

    What are you trading your soul for, in order to become what people want you to be to make them comfortable with what you do? God has given you a unique way of showing Himself to the world through your gifts and talents, but because you haven't seen anyone else minister (serve) in that way, you are compromising and changing your kingdom assignment to become acceptable to man. Or, maybe someone criticized or made fun of your ministry in front of others and you allowed that to stop your flow.  It is very hurtful to be made fun of or rejected, but when we answered the call from God, we agreed to be a partaker with the sufferings of Christ. He was criticized, he was mocked, he was humiliated publicly, but He did not ever change what God assigned Him to do in the earth.( Matt. 27:29-31; Mark 3:22) Thank God! When you back down from the works that God called you to do in the way He has inspired you, there are people who are missing out on what God wants to do through you. He will not anoint compromise. He is not concerned with who is the most popular, if they are out of His will. It is very possible that the very ones we are trying to follow may not even be getting God's attention, most of the time. Only He knows the condition of their hearts, but we are not called to please people!

      Whenever anyone preaches or teaches about compromise, most of the time they are referring to questionable lifestyle choices such as certain types of entertainment, activities, associations, sexual sins, and the like. But beyond the obvious is the more insidious type of compromise that doesn't appear to be wrong---when we stop being ourselves to become someone else that people will like or accept. Maybe you are supposed to do mime and only make-up half of your face (like the Phantom of the Opera), but because you haven't seen anyone else doing it, you change your look to "fit in", and lose God's approval and anointing.

  What has God given you to share with the world?  Don't allow others to control His expression through you by their approval, opinions, or behavior. There's no room for compromise!

       Enjoy this unique ministry presentation:




     We are living in a time when everything is expensive! Basics like food, water, shelter, clothing and transportation are causing many of us to struggle just to make ends meet. For those of us who are part of the Worship Arts Minstries, it can become even more challenging to get garments, music, worship instruments, and other things that we need...so it seems. There are already many suggestions that have been offered on how to save money, raise funds, and do things to be well-equipped for ministry without "breaking the bank".

     Anytime we make a committment to do something, there is always a cost involved, and if we are really commissioned of God to a ministry, He will provide us with everything we need to do His work, even if it comes to us in ways that we didn't expect:

"Is there anyone here who, planning to build a new house, doesn't first sit down and figure the cost so you'll know if you can complete it? If you only get the foundation laid and then run out of money, you're going to look pretty foolish. Everyone passing by will poke fun at you: 'He started something he couldn't finish.' "(Luke 14:28 - The Message)

     I recently attended a Dance Conference where it was reported that garments were stolen--yes stolen from a vendor's rack, and someone even took a garment that someone else had saved up money to purchase. I can't imagine which God they are going to praise while wearing some stolen garments, and I hope and pray that they won't dance in them. I also hope that the ones who were stolen from will receive double from what was taken away, especially the one who saved up for their special praise wear. I also know of people who will join a dance ministry and say: "If I have to buy garments, I'm not dancing" or complain about how much the items cost...expecting the ministry to pay for their garments. While it is true that some churches have the budgets to purchase garments for their dance ministries, most of the time we have to purchase our own. Remember if God called you, He will make provision for what you need. You don't ever have to steal, feel entitled, or demand that someone else pay for what you need.

    When I was in college, we had an Acting instructor who had three words for us when we were preparing our stage work for class: "Invest! Invest! Invest!". By this, he meant, (1) Spend time honing your craft; (2) Spend time researching your work and (3) Spend money on your costumes, props and anything else you need to have an excellent performance. The secular arena is aware of this, so how dare do we who know God try to get away with anything less? Time out for not investing our resources into what God has given us to do....time out for not knowing why we do what we do... and time out for not honing our skills to be our best. It's time to In-Vest!