My Lips Shall Praise You

Psalms 63: 1 – 8

Key: G Major

Composed by: E. Hie

INTRO: G   D/F#   Em   C   (x2)

VERSE 1

Em                      C

You are my God,

                            G                    D/F#

Early in the mornings, I’ll come before You

       Em                      C          

To seek Your face,

              G                                D/F#

Lord, shine Your face on me

VERSE 2

Em                            

My soul thirst

C                                                      G

And my flesh cries out for You

              D/F#        Em           C

In this dry and weary land

G                                                    D/F#

Where there’s no water to quench my thirst

PRE CHORUS

Am          G/B                         C

I look to You and for You in the sanctuary

Am                          G/B

To behold Your power, glory,

              C                              D        

Your beauty and Your majesty

 

 

CHORUS

G                         D/F#                          Em

My lips shall praise You forevermore

                       D                          C

For Your loving kindness is

G/B

Better than life

Am

So I will bless You, Lord

             C/D    D

While I’m alive

G                      D/F#                 Em

I will lift my hands to You alone

                       D                                         C    

I’ll sing for joy and praise Your Name

G/B            Am                        G/B   C

For You satisfy my soul, O Lord

G/B            Am                        G/B   C

For You satisfy my soul, O Lord

G/B            Am                

For You satisfy my soul, O Lord

                   C/D                        G

With the fullness of Your love

D/F#     Em                             C     D

Jesus, Oohh-ohhhhhh…

(To Verse: D/F#    Em          C      D)

 

VERSE 1 & 2

 PRE-CHORUS (x2)

 CHORUS

 

 BRIDGE

Em                    D/F#             G

I’ll remember You in the night times

           C                                  Em

For You have been my help

                         D/F#                      G

And in the shadow of Your wings

          C                                 

My heart rejoices,

Em                  D/F#

Yes I will rejoice!

          G                       C

My soul follows closely behind You

Em                       D/F#               G                                C

And Your right hand will uphold me, they uphold me

 

SELAH / INSTRUMENTAL PIANO : Em   D/F#   G   C (x4)

 

CHORUS

(Last chord: G)

CHAPTER 11: THE LAMB FIXATION

“It’s the Lamb who gives us this river. His pierced side allows His liquid love to pour forth into our hearts. It’s affections for the Lamb of God that opens our hearts to this river” (Sorge, p. 76)

He is the Source of the river and the One who directs the flow of the river as well.  Thank You Father, Jesus and Holy Spirit, that because You loved us first and poured your love upon us, we can love in return (1 John 4:19).

I cannot wait for the day when I will be totally captivated and be in awestruck wonder as I see Him face to face. I am sure that it will be overwhelming. Think about the various emotions one can feel and its intensity; fear of the Lord, the reverence in His presence, reaching the optimum level of lovesickness, bursting with desire and love for Him, feeling the exceeding joy of knowing Him etc. I have wondered what it would be like to stand before Him and be with Him forever, having my heart and eyes set only on Him. The one statement that came into mind is, “No amount of distractions, busyness or cares of the world, can take me away from You this time!” Indeed nothing will be able to separate us from His love (Romans 8:31-39).

The amazing thing is that we can still start now by fixing our eyes daily on Jesus, the author and perfected of our faith (Hebrews 12:2). Although our attention span now may be short now, but each time we gaze upon Him, it ravishes His heart (Song of Solomon 4:9). Each time we turn to Him, they moves His heart. He will not despise the small ‘yes’ we take in obedience and the weak love we have towards Him. He will have them all, no matter how small or big our love is for Him. As we continue to follow Him, He will expand and grow that love that we have. He will enlarge our hearts to receive more of His love and to give us more capacity to love Him return. He will purify and refine our love for Him until none of our own agendas are left.

All worshippers of the Lord are called to this – to fix their eyes on the Lamb. This applies to the whole Body of Christ, whether you are a worship pastor, worship leader, musician, singer, dancer, or just member of the congregation, no matter how young or old you are, or how new or mature you are in your relationship or walk with God. None of us are exempted from this. He has to be the central of our worship, of our focus, of our life and of our being. There is no other way of worshipping Him, for He is the only way (John 15:6)!

We make a grave mistake by assuming that we know all about the Lamb because we are so used to that Name. There is no way we can encounter Him, without having our hearts moved or undone by what He had done for us. When we assume, we are actually prideful over what we assumptions of Him. Knowing about Him is different from knowing Him personally and intimately. For example, I can know some facts about Obama through the media, but that does not mean that I have a relationship with him. I have not met Him personally and He does not know me either. The Lamb of God has to be personal to us.  There is an open invitation to come and know Him personally and intimately for ourselves, to receive Him into our hearts, to abide in Him and live for Him. So, come and know this Man, the Lamb and our Beloved for yourselves. He is less interested in what others say about Him, for they do not truly know Him. However, He wants to know who you and I say He is, because He considers us as His friends and His beloved ones (Luke 9:18-20).

I know in my heart that I need to encounter God personally on the cross and as my Lamb. May I press on and not give up, in fixing my eyes on Him, and not be contented with what I know of Him in the past or even right now. There is so much more of God to be discovered. He is so rich, abundant and full in character, of Himself. Fixing our eyes on the Lamb will be especially be important on the day when tribulation comes. This is because when everything else is shaken, we look for the One who is unshakable and immovable. He is One who is the same yesterday, today and forever more. He is the God who was, and is and is to come! 

CHAPTER 10: SEA OF GLASS

Revelation 7:9-10 states that worship is going to come from a great multitude, which consists of those who are redeemed in His Name, from all nations, races, people group and tongues. I am imagining a really large crowd of people who knows different languages and has been worshiping in various styles, yet we can come together to worship in unison, crying out to Him, giving Him shouts of praise! Everyone’s eyes and gaze will be focused on Him and only Him. None of them were not disconnected or disengaged. They will be captivated by who He is; His beauty, His majesty, His wonder, His glory etc.

I have wondered for many years, as one who has been part of the congregation, and one who has led worship, “Why are we passive in worshiping God?” There are various expressions but falls into the same category of passivity before God in worship; the disinterested ones, the weary ones, the judging ones, the ones who make comparisons etc. I ask myself the same question as well because I honestly struggle with engaging my heart fully towards Him all the time. Nonetheless, my heart longs to be awakened by who He is, be actively engaged in worship who He says He is, and to respond by loving Him well. Apart from the various possible reasons the author has mentioned in the book, I think that part of the Body of Christ are experiencing the same struggles as the churches mentioned in the book of Revelation. In this generation we live in, I really feel that we have:

(1)  Neglected our First Love (Rev 2:1-7),

(2)  Allowed compromise in our lives, which hinders love (Rev 2:12-17),

(3)  Not stood against the things He hates (Rev 28-23),

(4)  Been dead in our relationship with God (Rev 3:1-6), and

(5)  Become lukewarm, not recognizing our need for God (Rev 3:14-21)

In addition, since we live in a broken world, many Christians did not know that they could have an intimate relationship with God. Many do not know how it looks like to love Him with all our hearts, soul, mind and strength. The first commandment needs to be restored. When we have set our hearts receive His love and to love Him well, we will take hold of our ownership and see it as our own personal responsibility, as priests before our God to offer sacrifices of thanksgiving, praise and worship unto Him.  Worship will no longer become a chore, but will become a privilege and honor to stand before Him in worship. We will burn in love and with His love for us in worship. Worship leaders will then, no longer need to dominate the worship services or persuade others to worship God.

When we stand with the multitude to worship Him, we will not be looking for a person or a team to lead us into worship. We will be united in our worship and sing out in unison from the outflow of our hearts to the Father and to the Son. As born again believers, we do not have to wait until we pass our life on earth and are in heaven with God, or wait for Jesus’ return, to come before Him. We can have confidence and be bold in approaching the throne room of grace (Hebrews 4:19) now through Jesus Christ and His work on the Cross. Our identity is in being part of ‘the great multitude’! I look forward to the day where no one needs to be driven to worship God. The day will come when, “we don’t gather because we want to worship; we gather because we have been worshiping”  (Sorge, p.68). When that day comes, there will be no reason not to worship Him. No more excuses. Our hearts will finally be released to love and worship Him wholeheartedly all the days of our lives.

CHAPTER 9: GRATEFUL DEAD

If non-believers can have a taste into the spiritual realm at a secular live concert, how much more should the church feel God’s presence, while we are worshiping the One True Living God? I feel challenged with the reality that others can feel empowered, more alive and feel ‘a presence’ in the secular live concert, than when some believers come together to worship God. If a live band like “Grateful Dead” and their audience can tap into the some sort of a powerful spiritual encounter with the wrong source and false idol or god, how much more powerful it could be if we tapped into the powerful presence of the real Almighty God?

What dawned upon me is the realization that there is an increasing volume of counterfeits available in the world. They have such a grip on people’s heart, soul, mind and strength. This really proves that we were made by our Creator for love with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. The devil is not doing anything new because he knows who and what we were made for, and what moves the core of a human heart. Our inner man longs and needs to be fill by God. However, we find counterfeits available everywhere to fill the void. We also cannot deny that we are pleasure-seekers. I doubt that the audience would go to the concert, if they did not find the experience enjoyable or pleasurable as well.  We crave to be filled with pleasure because we were made to experience the pleasures of knowing and loving God.

What amazes me even more is that “Grateful Dead” did not just have a ‘one time’ encounter with the 7th man or experiencing what they did. They were not famous because of their top-notch music, but what had set them apart is the ‘out of the world’ experience or encounter in the midst of it. I wonder then, how much more should the Body of Christ crave for encounters with the God whom they are worshipping, to meet Him face to face and to behold His beauty or to experience the intensity of the love of our Bridegroom God during worship?

We live in a sad reality that worship feels dead to some. This may not only be something that only unbelievers have perceived or have experienced in the church they visited, but I am sure that this includes the worship experience of those who have been part of the Body of Christ for many years. I feel that there is a subtle poison or disease attacking our belief in God as we settle to be satisfied to stick with our comfort zone by doing song service rather than a worship service.  We have become used to what we call ‘worship’ without the need to encounter God. We have missed the point!

“But the hour is coming, and now is, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth; for the Father is seeking such to worship Him. God is Spirit, and those who worship Him must worship in spirit and truth” John 4:23-24

Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” John 14:6

 Jesus is the truth in whom we worship, the life we find. Encountering the man is encountering truth and life in fullness. Worship is made for encounter.  We need the Holy Spirit to reveal and direct us to the heart of the Son and the Father. There is so much more that He desires to reveal, give and release to us as we come and choose to worship Him. There is something about worship that is more powerful than what we make it out to be. I want to encounter Him every time I come to worship Him and not just be contented for that ‘one time’ encounter. I am still learning to worship Him in spite of what I feel or whether or not He chooses to encounter me, because I was made for love and to worship Him, and He deserves all of me.  I will continually long to see Him, enquire of Him and to experience His presence and who He is, to encounter the Man the Scriptures talk about, and will press on to ask God to do so.

CHAPTER 8: WORSHIP WARS

I heard a comment from a church member who said that we should be singing more hymns because they had more meaning to its songs, whereas the new contemporary worship songs were too repetitive. Lately I noticed that we have been hearing more hymns being played in a more contemporary style. I think this is done so that we will not forget how significant hymns of old are. I know that some younger individuals may think that hymns are wordy or lengthy, but I find that they have such good language which communicates the richness of His character. Whenever I listen to them, I remember God’s goodness and faithfulness in the past, what He had done for my forefathers and who He is to them. Also, the songs of old, still speaks to us now. They connect the hearts of different generation together.

Although so, we hardly acknowledge the significance of the old songs (I do not mean only hymns, but all types of songs that has been sang in the past). If we knew how some of these songs came about and the stories or testimonies behind them, we will know how powerful they were and still are.  The God who has encountered the writers of the songs years ago, is the same God we encounter today! Truly He is the same yesterday, today and forevermore. God is indeed restoring and redeeming old songs. This reminds me of the prophetic dream Shelley Hundley had, where the bride of Christ needs to remember and sing the songs of old to be resuscitated and be awakened.

On the other hand, we need to sing out new songs. In Psalms 33:3; 96:1; 98:1; 144:9; 149:1 and Isaiah 42:10; we are commanded to sing a new song to God. Ephesians 5:19 speaks about making melody in our heart to the Lord. Revelation 5:9 states that the four living creatures and twenty-four elders are singing a new song to Him. Revelation 14:3 states that all those redeemed in the Name of the Lord on earth will song a new song before the throne – a song that only they would know. I love that He does not only command us to sing to Him, but it was written that the songs are inspired by Him! He put the new songs in us to proclaim them back to Him and through the new song, others may few and trust in Him.

He has put a new song in my mouth – Praise to our God; many will see it and fear, and will trust in the Lord” Psalm 40:3.

I learned from the “Life as a Worshipper” theology class last week that singing spontaneous songs unto the Lord is a common practice in Israel. It surprised me that singing new songs unto the Lord is not a new thing. However, I feel like the church has not caught unto that. Why did not the church hold unto it?

“This form of praise (referring to the Hebrew word ‘Tehillah’) was practiced daily in public and in private.  The ‘spontaneous’ was written down from the temple services and people’s private devotion, these ‘psalms’ eventually found their way into liturgy for public worship.” L. Rittenberg

“When Israel began to sing and tehillah, the Lord set ambushments against her enemies.  If tehillah was merely ordinary singing and not some special expression of singing, then why did the text say both ‘sing’ and ‘tehillah’?  Two different words are used because two different expressions are meant. Tehillah wasn’t just spirited singing, but actual songs of the spirit that were unprepared, unpremeditated, and unlearned.” C. Trombly.

I believe that God wants to reveal more of Himself, His purposes, His plans, His heart and His thoughts to His people through songs as well. He desires to declare new things to us.. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them” Isaiah 42:9. He is indeed raising up song birds around the nation who will be willing to proclaim His heart and plans through spontaneous singing. I want to be one of those willing ones. Like when the disciples hearts burn when Jesus spoke at the road of Emmaus (Luke 24:32), may our hearts be sensitive to recognize our Lord and His words and bring forth through new songs to His people.

Overall in this chapter, we are encouraged to use both old songs and new songs when we lead the church congregation. I do agree as well. In my opinion, the younger generation has to humble themselves to learn, to sing, to see the significance and include old songs when they lead worship. The older generation has to recognize that new songs are needed and can bring about a shift in the spiritual atmosphere. When the different generations break that barrier of preferring one over the other, but appreciate the need for both, they will be able to worship Him in unison.

Malachi 4:6, “… he will turn the hearts of the fathers to their children and the hearts of the children to the fathers…”

CHAPTER 7: WEAVING A GLORIOUS TAPESTRY

I have often wondered why is it so important for the Body of Christ to come together and worship Him. I like to buy Christian worship CDs or songs and loved listening to them, worshiping Him through them. I have seen how some people worship through CDs in their small group and it works fine for them. However, I wonder, how often does the Spirit fall when we listen to a worship song through a CD. I do believe that God can use them, but it is not as powerful as when the Body comes together to worship Him.  

“I come to the house of God because I want to enter into the divine dance, into a breathing, living, dynamic love exchange between the Bridegroom and the Bride. I come to the house of prayer because I want the river” (Sorge, p.43)

I remember the times I am in the prayer room or have gathered together with other believers to worship and adore Him. What I felt while doing it collectively or corporately, was not the same as when worship Him on my own, in my own secret place or when I listen to the same song in recording. There is a need and a time to worship Him in our hiddenness and to have our heart connect with His individually, but there is also a call to worship Him together as a Body. Whenever I see and feel the unity arise in the Body, it lifts up my spirit and energizes me from within my heart, and propels me to be passionate in my pursuit in Him and love for Him.

For the fullness of what God has for us in this corporate tapestry of worship, everyone needs to be involved; the worship leader, the pastor and elders, the singers and musicians as well as the congregation. Everyone brings something to the table and give or contribute in the House of God. The worship leader leads as he or she flow according to the Spirit or seek and follow the river as he or she leads everyone in worship. The singers and musicians are to sing and play their instruments for the Lord prophetically. The pastors and elders are to be continually connected and engaged in God, as leaders and representatives of the household. Last but not least, the congregation as a whole needs to be respond in worship by being connected to Him as well and moving together with the worship leader, pastors and elders, singers and musicians to where the Spirit leads.

I feel personally challenged to be called a ‘prophetic singer’ because of the responsibility of the role. I very often dismiss myself and do not see myself as one who has the prophetic gift. However, God just reminded me that I am His sheep and His sheep knows His voice (John 10). He has poured out His Spirit unto us to know what the plans, the thoughts, the heart of the Father and His Son. Holy Spirit is willing to reveal, when we are willing to listen and be used by Him. The key is in listening to Him and know that He desires to reveal more of Himself to us because He loves us. However, I have to continually repent and battle against the anxiety of hearing Him. I recognize that the struggle comes from not knowing and believing in His love for me or who He says He is. Nonetheless, He promised through the Word that,

“There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves torment. But he who fears have not been made perfect in love” 1 John 4:17.

I will continually bring this before God and ask Him to reveal more of His love for me, a renewing of my mind in a deeper understanding of His love and a deep seed of His love being planted in my heart. I am asking for breakthrough in experiencing His love for me and for others. I want to be a prophetic singer and musician because I know that this is His desire for me and how He has created me to be.

CHAPTER 6: LEADING WORSHIP OR LEADING SONGS?

In Malaysia where I came from; our education system has taught us to study through regurgitating or memorizing facts, ideas, theories, concepts etc. We were not given much freedom to think critically until we enter into college or much freedom to venture out with our creativity. This is especially common in the Asian countries. It is like the phrase we used to hear, “Monkey see, monkey do”. We observe, we learn and we come up replicating the actions.Sometimes, we do not even question, to try to understand. We do it because we have been taught to do so.

That is what the author meant by being a ‘copyist’. Worship leaders, musicians and singers are leading songs in churches, where we copy and paste what we have heard from another worship artist or leader, observe, learn and memorize the music technicalities of the songs and produce it in church. At the end, we know how to sound exactly like how the composer, worship artist or worship leader did their song.

I am not saying that we should not or cannot use another person’s worship song. I just wish that worship leaders or worship pastors would train us to explore and reflect upon the meaning or the depth, of the worship song, rather than spending most of our time on the technicalities of the song. Working out the technicalities of the songs is good and important as well, but they are not the means to encountering God.  Worship songs are written out of the person’s experience with God and expression of loving Him, or being in wonder or fascinated by who He is. God enjoys the songs we sing and play unto Him, whether they are a well-known songs or a new song we have composed. It is an exchange of His affections and enjoyment towards us and our affections and enjoyment towards Him. Worship is supposed to drive us, compel us to love Him more with all our heart, soul, mind and strength. Sometimes, we forget that we are actually leading people to worship and to encounter the One True Living God.  

“A musician feels his music. He emotes the notes” (Sorge, p.37).

There are times, my soul and my emotional are heavily involved in expressing my bare, raw emotions, affections, desire, and even my struggles towards Him. We are after all worshipping a Person, the Man, Jesus Christ and the Father, on the throne. However, there are also many times when I do not feel anything while I play and sing the song, but I should not make that my norm. I will continually pray that even during the times I do not feel like it, my emotions will follow my act of obedience to worship Him. This is especially hard while I am doing my singing practices, but I am beginning to understand that when I practice, it can be worship unto God. He sees all that, every tiny or big movements of our hearts towards Him, our act of obedience or even being willing. Most of all, He sees our heart posture.

I used to copy and paste, from other worship leaders but I desire to be confident with my own style of singing or playing, and how I express my emotions to Him as I worship Him, for they are altogether unique, and He loves it! I have learned that it is more important to be connected to the worship song, rather than just duplicating what has been played in the CDs. When I sing and play, I want passion to flow out from deep within me.

“… You anoint me with oil; my cup overflows” Psalms 23:5.

He anoints us as musicians and singers, sons and daughters of the King, of the Most High, to be able to lead others into His presence. He anoints us with authority and power in such a way that as we worship and pray, it changes and moves our soul and hearts internally, and also externally in spiritual realm and sometimes even the physical realm (although it is usually hidden from our physical sight). We will then soon recognize that there is life in worship. They become alive, because He is alive and His Spirit living in us is very much alive. Our head knowledge of Him and worship will move into our hearts.

All in all, rather than having a lip service towards him, when we lead worship, there should be an overflow of our love towards Him. Holy Spirit moves to awaken love in us, as stated in 1 John 4:19, “We love because He first loved us”. As He initiates, we are to respond to His love by loving Him in return.  

CHAPTER 5: THE TENSION BETWEEN PREPARATION AND SPONTANEITY

Worship preparation is still essential, although the river may not follow our song list at times. “The preparation of a song list and the rehearsal of those songs equip us to move forward with purpose toward the river of God” (Sorge, p. 28). In other words, the song list gives us a vision, an aim or a goal to move towards the river of God. It gives us a head start to seek the river in worship. Without any preparation, we may become aimless and will eventually forget or go astray from our focus.

A soldier needs to be trained and prepared for battle. A runner too needs to be trained and prepared for the race. 1 Corinthians 9:24 stated,

“… Run in such a way that you may obtain the prize!

No one goes through equipping, training or preparation without a purpose for doing so.  Being ready and prepared is a biblical principle. Esther was being prepared before she was brought before the king. Worship teams, leaders, singers, musicians, dancers should prepare the way for the King as well. They are preparing the way as they lead others to encounter God. This should be the main purpose of worship: To encounter God. I imagine the worship team to be like Joshua leading His people and leading a procession towards the inheritance that God has promised them. Being in the river is part of our inheritance.

However, God is known for taking us by surprise and calling us to take the unexpected route. For instances, God called Abraham to move, Moses was called back to Egypt to deliver His people, Noah was commanded to build an ark against all odds, Mary with the virgin birth etc. None of them had planned any of these but they were all part of His ultimate plan and purposes. Yet, they get to choose whether they would say ‘yes’ to Him.  

Therefore, our preparation should not confine us to where we should go, move or flow. Instead, it should release us to have flexibility to follow His perfect leadership over us. Just because we have gone over the song list many times, or practiced the new worship song we were told to memorize by hard, it does not mean that we have to use them all. As a worship leader, I need to be sensitive with the move of the Holy Spirit and begin to ask Him, “God, where do You want to lead us today? What is Your heart for Your people today? What is in Your heart as we bring forth worship and incense You today? Where do you want us to go so that we may find the river?” These questions are especially important, to communicate and pray over as a team before we start the worship service. We should dedicate the last few minutes or even throughout the week, meditating, asking, interceding for His heart and His purposes, rather than focusing on fine-tuning our songs. We truly need to fix our eyes on Him as His priests. Proverbs 16:1 states that,

The preparations of the heart belong to man, but the answer of the tongue is from the Lord”.

I need to be reminded again and again that, without Him, I can do nothing (John 15:5). As a musician or singer, we often get lost over getting our skills and talents perfected. As mentioned above, there is a time for preparation, but our ultimate call is to rely on our Beloved.  We neither can produce the river, nor make the river to flow our way, by our own method, strength or might. It is only by His Spirit (Zech 4:6), who will lead us to where He is.

 

CHAPTER 4: THE RIVER VS THE SONG LIST

We have orders in service or worship songs, but the river usually does unpredictable turns and changes. It is an invitation to partake in this adventure with Him. Sometimes we need to take a step of faith to walk on the waters like Peter did (Matt 14:28-29) . He beckons us to come and join Him in what He is doing. In the book, seven river diagrams has been observed the worship services:

(1)  The land lubber service

We rely on our song list to encounter the river or track down the river through our song list. Unfortunately, they do not meet here. I have seen this and can personally relate to it as well. If we solely rely on our song list and our own strength to find the river or for God to move, we are at lost. We tend to invite God to our plans and ask Him to follow us, rather than partnering with Him in His plans and to follow Him.

(2)  The aborted service

It is like the, “I am almost there, but not quite yet” scenario. This is when we feel worship is slowly ascending. We are drawing closer to the river, perhaps coming nearer to the throne room of God as we worship. However, the next thing we know the worship service has to end, and we have to move unto the next program of the service order.  This is very common and often, I, as a worship participant from the congregation wish we were given the opportunity to continue worshiping God and just see how far we can go and how deep He will take us. How many times have we missed the chance of encountering God through worship, just because we have to keep church service in an orderly, timely manner?

(3)  The quit-while-you’re-ahead service

In this scenario, as we go through our song list, suddenly the Spirit moves among His people and they are encountering His heart. However, someone gently slides in and ‘saves the day’ because of the worry that they would not know how to cope with the responses of the congregation perhaps. Also there are other times the worship team may not know what to do with it or whether they could sustain it. So they will slowly and gently bring it down and bring the worship into an end. They may fear that they would mess things up and would rather let the pastor or speaker, take it on from there. It is the fear of where the current of the river may be moving or taking them to. In my own opinion, it feels like, we as the Body struggle to know how to enjoy Him in worship. We know that as Christians we are called and made to worship Him, but we do not realize what a privilege it is to worship Him and to enjoy Him. Thus, when something hits us, and they are something that we may not be used to, we tend to shrink back.

(4)  Tunnel vision service

When the river hits the room, the worship leader will be faced with a decision whether to stick with the song list or to go on another way.  The reason why I do not go off my song list at times, is because I am often afraid that my musicians and the congregation will not be able to follow or they would feel lost if I make any sudden changes. I love how in my FMA Harp & Bowl lab, my worship leader would take the risk and spontaneously put in a new song or two, and the atmosphere of the room changes or intensifies, because we were not just following the song list we were given but she went with how the Spirit has led her and all the musicians, singers and congregation were attentive and followed and were immersed in the river together.

(5)  The U-turn service

When we hit the river and realized later that we have missed it because we continued with our song list, I have learned that it is alright and never too late to realize it and turn back to where the river was, and tests whether it is still there or even to pursue a different direction. The Spirit may be leading us in one theme, and then directs us to another theme. Also, I found it interesting that God uses non-musical expression to move. For example, sometimes no music is required for the Spirit to come, move, touch, speak and stir up the hearts of His people. We have to be dependent on Him to lead us throughout the whole service.

(6)  The standard charismatic service

We are so used to the set ways of doing worship sets, where we take the first 15-20 minutes or so with joyful song of praise and then the next 15-20 minutes with slow, heart-moving worship songs, and hope to find the river there or after, when we think the congregation has settled down or are more in-tuned. We underestimate what God can do! I have seen how IHOPKC Prayer Room worship sets do it differently where they go river hunting from the beginning. I am encouraged to see that the river can be found even from the beginning of the worship set and not just half-way into the set or towards the end of it. As a worship leader, I will learn to seek out the river from the beginning to the very end.

(7)  The so-close-you-can-taste-it service

This is when the service follows closely to what the Spirit is prompting, moving and doing.

All in all, I have learned that it is not about following the song list but it is learning to discern, trust and follow the Spirit, as He lead us to the Father and the Son. As a worship leader, I have to learn to be flexible, adaptable and teachable (F.A.T.) to the leading of the Spirit.