To See You, Lord

I don't want to be a tour guide 
at the nature reserve called Abba, 
directing others’ attention 
to that cliff-face over there...
that ravine...
that bush...
that vista, 
fabricating wonder for guests 
but having in my soul 
completely lost touch 
with the landscape of my Father's heart. 
I want to see You, Lord. 
Fully. 
I want to feel the texture, heat and cold. 
To breathe Your air and discover 
the unseen tracks of who You are. 
I don't want to live a life that points to You. 
That is not enough. 
I want to live engrossed in You. 
Sweat on my brow. 
Dirt under my nails. 
Flowers in my hair. 
Utterly lost in the wild wonder.
-Antonette Weatherly

Prophetic Word: The Sound of Ringing Brass

3:00 AM February 18, 2020

This morning I saw a shovel digging deep into the earth and suddenly it struck against a treasure box. The SOUND of the strike was so loud it carried across the earth. The Lord spoke that across nations, across denominations, the body of Christ is STRIKING UPON THE TREASURE OF THE LORD. A sound like RINGING BRASS is resonating over the Church. The treasure that we have found is INTIMACY WITH THE MOST HIGH in the secret place. The deep yearning of the Spirit is compelling the people of God to find the true treasure of His presence and to REVERE it. There is a GREAT MOVE OF OUR FOCUS, a UNITY in the single pursuit of HIS FEET. 

The tip of the unearthed treasure box was covered in soil and time-worn on the outside, but those digging knew the YET HIDDEN GLORY of what they had struck. 

The SOUND of the shovel hitting the treasure was like that of RINGING BRASS. 

“And [Jesus’s] eyes were as a flame of fire, And his FEET LIKE UNTO HIM FINE BRASS, as if they burned in a furnace,” (Revelation 1:14-15).

Don’t stop digging! You have FOUND HIS FEET. As we make our dwelling at the feet of Jesus in the SECRET PLACE, we too are being PURIFIED IN THE SAME FURNACE of Yaweh’s love. His feet are the PLACE OF EXCHANGE, where we receive MORE OF HIS MANIFEST GLORY as He burns up all impurities. 

The SOUND OF RINGING BRASS is the words of David crying, “ONE THING I have desired of the LORD, That will I seek: That I may dwell in the house of the LORD All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the LORD, And to inquire in His temple” (Psalm 27:4).

The sound is His invitation over us to the MOST INTIMATE PLACE OF MEETING, where He transforms us into His own likeness, PLACING THE TREASURE OF HIS HEART into our hearts, making them cry out, “I will be satisfied when I awake in your likeness,” (Psalm 17:15).

As we live in this deep place of intimacy by the Spirit, we will carry His feet with us onto the main stages of the earth and into the recesses with GREATER POTENCY, making every place we enter a THRONE ROOM FOR ENCOUNTER with the King of Kings. 

At His feet He releases HIS SECRETS—secrets that release HIS WILL (the very ATMOSPHERE OF HEAVEN) into the earth through the individuals that carry them. The SOUND OF RINGING BRASS over us is resounding with the words, “There’s a private place reserved FOR THE LOVERS OF GOD, where they sit near him and receive the revelation-secrets of his promises” (Psalm 25:14-16 TPT).

Freedom

I’ve been processing with the Lord my expectations of what freedom looks like in a congregation, an entire congregation free of fear and shame. I’ve come to the conclusion that a lot of the picture of freedom I had painted in my mind is desperately lacking, at least fundamentally.

Freedom is often thought of as this explosive expression, a kind of spontaneous combustion. I think of a congregation fully free and I imagine radical worship, demonstrative praise, services rich in emotion and bravado. I suppose I find that really attractive because I belong to a culture of hype seekers. Don’t get me wrong, I believe freedom looks like something. It surely doesn’t look like nothing, but I am beginning to consider that freedom looks like the woman of faith gently laying her hand on the broken and seeing them healed. Or that it looks like tears streaming down the face of the man of God experiencing the love of Jesus so deeply in prayer with a brother, he can’t even utter a sound as he weeps.

As a worship leader, there have been seasons in my life I have struggled to understand what it is to behave free, in order that I might encourage freedom in others. It occurred to me today that freedom isn’t necessarily loud, in your face, shouting “let me show you how free I am!” And I’m so relieved because I was never very good at that.

Jesus was the freest man to walk the earth. ALL the fullness of God dwelt in Him. Understanding that, how could I set my expectation on a demonstrative display of a manifestation only, and not upon the calm invitation he utters to Lazurus when he says, “come forth,” or when he says to the Canaanite woman, “your faith has made you whole,” or when he promised the man who hung beside him on the cross, “today you will be with me in paradise.” Or better yet, when he came toward his disciples unannounced, walking across the surface of the water toward them, inviting Peter to join him. No hype. No bravado. Just authority released.

I think sometimes we as Christ followers invite noise into our gatherings because we are afraid to speak only, to lay our hands on, to cast out, to bind and to loose, to let the word produce life. We are afraid because these acts require our cooperation. These acts require a step of faith & we fear mustard seed faith will be inadequate. It is a fear that would never utter the words and yet agrees, “I’d rather shout than come face to face with my sister in need of healing, in need of prayer.”

I’m still processing all of this but I believe the Lord is saying, come up higher. He is giving me a new perspective. He is redefining what a “win” looks like when I step off of the stage after leading worship. He is inviting me to expect more of our services and to value the seemingly uneventful encounters happening across the room more than I ever have before.

I believe a wave is coming, sweeping across the Body of Christ, the likes of which the global Church has not known. Some things released will be loud, some things will be subtle. I don’t want to miss seeing what the Lord is doing because I would not value the subtle expressions of Heaven’s outpouring as highly as I value the earth shaking ones. More than something that is seen, I am beginning to believe that freedom is something that is known intimately, in the heart of man. It is the very nature of the Lion of Judah being released in us–sometimes roaring, sometimes resting in his strength, but always seated in authority. I believe freedom looks like that.

Surrendered: An Interview with Worship Leader Tayte Weatherly

Tayte Weatherly has been leading worship in her church since the age of 14. She has served two Victory Life Church campuses in youth and adult services, Victory Life Academy’s Chapel band, and multiple worship conferences. Her commitment to sharing the love of the Father and a passionate heart of worship has led her on a life-long pursuit of the presence of God being made manifest through His people.

In 2016, this pursuit led her to begin her first Worship Life Group.  This group provides an environment in which members participate in an extended time of worship, during which the gifts of prophetic ministry, healing, and prayer are lovingly encouraged and practiced by its members.

Q- What was your vision for starting a worship life group?

A- I have a really good friend named Jesse Hanks. The idea was actually hers in the beginning. She came to me and her vision for it was very simple. She wanted a time of worship for people who were hungry….people who wanted to go deeper, who weren’t afraid to put a lot of time aside for it, and not in a hurry.

Q- How did you begin?

A- We started meeting in the first place I ever led spontaneous worship, in the chapel at Victory Life Church in Durant. I started leading spontaneously while a sophomore in high school there. So, where we held the life group was super special to me because it felt like a reawakening of that first love. Spontaneous worship was a big part of the vision for the life group from the beginning.

Q- How would you describe spontaneous worship?

A- Spontaneous worship and prophetic worship are different. In spontaneous worship you’re not prophesying, you’re just loving on God in your own personal and unique way. Prophetic worship is God loving on the people in the room. You’re just used as a messenger. You go back and forth between them throughout a worship set. You’re always loving on God and then He’s pouring that love back into you [through prophetic songs]. Spontaneous is loving on God in your own words, on the spot.

Q- What is it about this aspect of worship that you love?

A- I love art and God loves art. He loves when we’re creative. I think the creative element of it caught me from the beginning. I’m also a super affectionate person and it was a way for me to release affection for the Lord like I never really had before. And [it was a way] to be emotionally vulnerable with the Lord. I love the vulnerability of it because it’s a huge risk! You’ve never sung these words before! It’s kind of a sacrifice that you give the Lord because it costs you something. It costs you being comfortable sometimes, and it costs you being safe.

Q- What do you think is the role of spontaneous and prophetic worship within the Church?

A- I’ve found that it is a huge facilitator for other ministries, like healing. Prophets will share more when there are prophetic worship leaders leading. So, it’s a huge facilitator for the supernatural really.

Q- What do you see God doing in your worship life group?

A- In my worship life group there’s no line between the stage and the audience. We all want to be there. The worship leaders don’t want to be there more than the people attending ’cause no one comes on a Friday night and worships unless they really want to worship. Because of the hunger in the people, there’s no distinction between the person leading and the people receiving. We’re both being vulnerable with the Lord. I would love to see more of that in the Church [as a whole], where we don’t expect the worship leader to be more excited than us. We’re both going after the Lord.

Q- Last year, you moved from meeting in the chapel to meeting in Janell Martin’s home. What has that transition been like?

A- The change between the chapel and the home was exactly what we needed. It seemed to fit the style of worship we were doing better than an auditorium or a sanctuary because it was very intimate and it felt like family worship.

Q- Your group experienced a lot of growth in numbers after the move, how have you grown as a worship leader since?

A- I didn’t expect having to grow as much as I did in flexibility and in facilitating ministries…learning to honor them. For example, recently I felt the Lord tell me to pause while singing. I didn’t necessarily want to pause. It was a beautiful moment with the Lord and I wanted to keep on singing, but He told me to pause because someone else in the room had a prophetic word. So, I just honored the Lord and paused. Sure enough someone did give a prophetic word during that time of silence. Learning to leave times of silence is something that I didn’t expect to have to learn how to do. That’s been a real growing experience.

Q- You’re learning to flow with group members who are stepping out in their gifts. How do you flow spontaneously with your team of vocalists?

A- I think you have to sing with a person for a long time to figure out the right flow and again, it takes a lot of honor. Someone might get a prophetic word and you have to let them sing it out, even if that wasn’t what you were feeling in the room. I’ve heard it called honoring the point. It’s like a pointing dog that points at something and before you see it, you just trust that the point knows what he’s talking about. You really have to develop more relationship with prophetic worship leaders because there’s a lot more trust needed.

Q- How do you flow spontaneously with the instrumentalists on your team?

A- I believe that instruments also prophesy. David prophesied with his harp and demons would leave Saul [1 Samuel 16:14-23]. I think that instrumentalists are just as important as singers in prophetic moments. As a leader you have to be very observant to the sounds that are going on around you because an instrumentalist can be catching a new sound, a new song and you might have to encourage them. I think it’s big to understand that you don’t just have prophetic songs, you also have instrumentalists coming up with melodies that can release power in the room.

Q- How has leading in a life group setting effected the way that you lead from the stage?

A- I think the biggest thing I’ve learned in life group that’s helped me leading from the stage is that sometimes God wants you to restrain yourself if it’s right for the moment. We have to remember that the people in the congregation are God’s kids and He’s very careful with His kids. I’ve learned to be very careful and really try to hear the Lord’s voice as well as I can. When He’s telling me no, I stop. When He’s telling me yes, I go. That’s something I’ve become better at because of life group.

Q- What kinds of challenges have you faced as a worship leader?

A- I think you have to fight comparison no matter how long you’ve been leading. We all have different strengths. There will always be someone who has a better range than you. There will always be someone who can do things with their voice that you can’t. The enemy will try to get you to waste your time comparing yourself with them instead of listening to what the Lord is saying to you. The main thing is listening to the voice of the Lord.

A- How do you overcome the struggle with comparison?

Q- Getting the Father’s perspective…seeing that person how He sees them will help you to celebrate them instead of seeing them as competition. When I see someone with a better voice than me or someone who is a better prophetic worship leader than me, I encourage them to go farther. It’s about not staying stagnate and not having the attitude that, “I’m the only person who can do what I do.” Letting people pass you, letting people exceed you, and actually being excited about that, that’s the Father’s heart.

Q- How would you encourage others who are growing as worship leaders?

A- Time alone with God. You can’t replace time alone with God with anything else if you want to grow. The more personal time I have of just worshiping the Lord, the better all of the times of worshiping on a stage are.

Take Away:

  • Spontaneous worship is about loving on God.
  • Prophetic worship is God loving on His kids.
  • Honor is a key component in flowing in the gifts of the Spirit.
  • When you see others the way the Father does, you can celebrate them.
  • You can’t replace time alone with God with anything else if you want to grow.

Laying Down

Last year I was determined to cultivate a space for worshiping in my home. For me, that meant purchasing a new rug.  I wanted to be intentional about designating this rug as my special place before that Lord. It’d represent for me, a season of intentionality. Now, when I sit down on that rug, the Father and I both know it’s a sanctified and special time between us. Much like going on a date with your spouse, sitting down on my living room floor, Bible in hand and heart open, has become my space for practicing intentional intimacy with the Father. It’s what I call learning the art of laying down.

Now, I don’t mean physically laying down, though I highly recommend it during moments of worship. I’m talking about the laying down of your heart and life before the Father on a regular basis.

At the beginning of my semester at Charis Bible College, we were worshiping when I had a vision. In it, I saw myself falling face-first at the feet of Jesus. Falling. In slow motion. And even though I knew that the impact of my face to the floor was coming, there was no hesitancy, or fear, or struggle. I simply fell. In fact, there was an overwhelming sense of peace.

Then, I heard the Holy Spirit say, “naturally, when falling, you’d do whatever necessary to avoid hitting your face. You’d lean toward either side, backward, or you’d catch yourself if possible.” As He spoke these words, I watched as at the very moment my face hit the ground before Jesus’ feet, the ground gave in like a pillow. Then He spoke, “[falling face-first] won’t hurt like you think it will. The only pain will be in wishing you had fallen sooner.”

I realized in that moment the Lord was issuing an invitation into greater intimacy, as His words so often do. He was inviting me to lay down those vulnerable places, the places in my life I often try to protect from the impact of His grace, out of fear, a lack of understanding, and a resistance to discomfort. But vulnerability is uncomfortable. If it weren’t, we’d be better at it. Opening up before the Lord, relinquishing our plans, being honest with Him about our thoughts and motivations is a painful and uncertain process. But it is the process that releases His victory in our lives and it requires practice. Laying everything down until you’re so in love you’d do whatever he says do, and go where ever he says go, is a process.

Often times we want to do what God says and go where he says because we want God-results in our lives. That’s an excellent desire! But we can easily begin to desire the benefits of sonship apart from relationship with the One who’s made us sons. We simply don’t have the time or patience enough to figure out how to hear from and interact with God, so we settle for what He can do for us, missing out entirely on our inheritance, which is God Himself. However, this too, is an empty pursuit. Life is found in knowing and being known by the Father, and this begins at the feet of Jesus.

There is an art to laying down, to falling in love with the Lord’s feet. It is what John the Baptist understood when he spoke the words, “I am not fit to untie his sandals. ” And yet, at the word of Jesus, John baptized the Son of Man.  It is what the woman with the alabaster jar understood when she washed the Lord’s feet with her hair and tears. It is what compelled her to pour upon his feet that perfume of great price, even in the face of those who would scoff and accuse her of wastefulness.

If you will pursue a place at Jesus’ feet, beyond your own hang-ups and the hang-ups of others, with less regard to time spent than love exchanged, and if you will pour out the perfume of praise and adoration (especially when it’s costly), you will come to know true and lasting fulfillment. You’ll wish you’d fallen sooner. Your life will be a testimony akin to Isaiah’s, proclaiming, “beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of those who bring the good news.” Let’s be a people that practice surrender, and like Mary, find our home at the feet of the Teacher.

Deeper

As a kid I loved to nab one of the few pair of goggles at a pool party so that I could dive down deep into the water. Below, all of the laughter, conversation, delighted screams of children splashing were instantly muffled and distant.

As you’re introduced to this new space beneath the surface, everything you know about breath and balance above the surface are changed. I remember being mesmerized by the strange quiet and the way the light shone through the endless blue and how everything slowed down. 

Losing track of time I’d emerge from the water, made anxious by the thought I may have missed something going on at the party. Why didn’t everyone want to dive in? Isn’t this what we came for?

I believe in life we are often reluctant to fully surrender to God because of what we may miss. We are made anxious by this need to follow the crowd and as a result we often sacrifice depth for relevance. But what could be more relevant than time spent diving deeper and deeper into the Father’s presence?

 I’ve realized that there will always be something else to do instead of worship. There will always be tasks to perform and people to see but we can’t live satisfied with surface level revelation of the person of God and miss the beauty of the depths of His heart. We must learn the rhythms of daily surrender.

Being Still in Busy Seasons

After wrapping up my final semester of college, nearly 10 months pregnant, working a part time job, and juggling my roles within the church, I was burning the candle at both ends. Ever been there? Perhaps you are there now. Only 3 days after my college graduation our little girl came into the world full of life and light. There was no time to let the dust settle from my school venture before beginning the most daring adventure of my life. Of course everything was going to change but I struggled in particular to see how I, frazzled as I was, was going to find the quiet of God’s presence.

You see, sleep has escaped us, we are a constant circus of bottles, burp cloths, diapers, laundry, and tears, sometimes our daughters, and sometimes our own. Yet, Psalm 46:10 beckons us to,

“Be still and know that [He] is God.”

Even as I’m writing this, I’m getting up and down to tend my little girl. There is zero “still” in my current season. So, I began to ask the Lord, how do I respond to this beckoning in Psalm 46?

What does it look like to be still when I’m constantly on the go?

For starters, the Lord reminded me that worship is active, it moves, it breathes, sometimes it’s messy, sometimes it’s risky, and occasionally it looks a little silly. What a relief! Ultimately, it looks like inviting Jesus into your messy day and doing everything you do as worship unto Him. Colossians 3:17 says,

“And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”

Worship is not a place that I visit, a song I engage with, a clear schedule, or a perfect setting. It is engaging with the voice of the Lord in whatever I am doing and with whoever I am with.

Worship is setting my heart and mind on Jesus, here in my mess.

He is not afraid of getting his hands dirty in the busyness of your day. He wants to breathe His life and His will into all that you do. Through simple prayer and communion, His presence will transform any atmosphere into a place of meeting. And in the shower, while you’re doing the dishes, on your commute, before the kids awake, there it is, a time to still your heart and mind before Him. He will speak. His Word will speak.

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You (Isaiah 26:3).

I challenge you to ask yourself, what are some practical ways I can begin to engage with the Father at a higher level? How can I engage with His word today?

History with Jesus

“I thought I was going to die,” reads a journal entry I wrote following my first experience climbing in the Colorado Rockies. Trincherra Peak sits at 13,517 feet and from tree line to summit you feel every inch of it. With every step, your breath grows increasingly more shallow, you hope, sometimes falsely, that the rock you’ve chosen to cling to doesn’t give way beneath you, and all too frequently you pause to relieve your aching legs and throbbing feet.

“Why did I think this would be fun,” you ask yourself.

But slowly and steadily, 1000 ft become 50 ft, becomes 1 step and you’ve summited the peak. The rush of relief and joy you feel are enough to knock you off your wobbly limbs.  As you stand (or collapse) in breathless wonder, basking in your achievement, you feel both strong and so very small in the vastness of it all. And there, to commemorate your success is a monument of stones placed by climbers who have made their own journey to the top.

As I proudly placed my stone on the pile commemorating my journey to the top of Trincherra that day, I was reminded of those old testament believers that built similar altars to commemorate the good things God had done on their behalf. For instance, Genesis 28:10-19 tells the story of Jacob having a powerful prophetic dream and being transformed by the presence of God, he lays up a stone in his camp site and calls the place Bethel, meaning, house of God. Forever after, that stone would be a reminder to Jacob of his encounter with the living God.

We are daily building just such altars in our lives. Sometimes, we build these altars without even knowing it. It’s only when we look back we see stone after stone, moment after moment where seemingly insignificant connections to the Father, were mountains we summited by His grace. When I’m faced with new challenges I return to those monuments I’ve built over the years, those places where the Father rushed in like a flood to save me, when obedience to him paid off, when he comforted me through pain, whether I caused it or not.  My life is a series of monuments built in remembrance of the goodness of God.

So, what monuments have you built as a response to God’s goodness in your life? What memories of His working in your life do you hold most dear? I encourage you to make a list and if you’d like to share, please leave a comment!