Monthly Archives: May 2013

Worshipping without the “Sounds”

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Today I had the most powerful corporate worship experience in my entire life so far.

And that was largely due to the fact that the sound system went bonkers.

I am attending the Global Discipleship Congress, and this is the second day. And because of the scale of this event (7,000 people from 61 countries!) the Opening Program was… flashy. As in, complete with dance number and technicolor multimedia backgrounds and stuff. It was like watching a variety show. It was audio-visual sensory stimulation and satisfaction.

So today, when the worship team came on stage to signal the start of the program, I think it would be safe to say that people were expecting something of the likes of yesterday. (Screencaps below, from the GDC 2013 Highlights video created by CCF)

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And then suddenly.

The microphones wouldn’t work. And the tech people could not get them to work.While the tech people tinkered with stuff onstage (and presumably backstage as well), they requested everyone to pray.

So we prayed.

For a few minutes, everyone was silent. Eyes closed, head bowed.

And then there it was, a distinct tune coming from the left wing of the sanctuary: a group of people singing. It went on for a few seconds, getting gradually louder and louder.

The pianist from the Music team must have picked up on this; he started playing a simple tune.

The people nearest the stage heard it first and sang the familiar tune:

I love You, Lord

And I lift my voice

To worship You

Oh my soul, rejoice

Take joy my King

In what You hear

Let it be a sweet, sweet sound

In Your ears.

And then the rest of the 7,000 people sang it too. We repeated it several times. Softly at first, then growing stronger and stronger — the voice of thousands of believers of every tongue uniting in praise.

I believe God heard a sweet, sweet sound this morning.

Was it ironic that we were singing of making “sweet sounds” for God without the sounds we call music? Maybe. But God can choose how we are to worship Him, right?

I’ve said it before, I’ll say it again: multitudes of people worshipping together, especially as diverse as this one, NEVER fails to get to me. It is always powerful when people worship together.

Do you agree?

Have you had similar experiences at your church service or conference?

60 nations worshipping together. The mere  memory gives me goosebumps.

60 nations worshipping together. The mere memory gives me goosebumps.

We had Nick Vujicic as our Speaker in Church today

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…and that meant a lot of people. As in, A LOT.

My friend, ate Arlyn, and I wanted to arrive early so we can get good seats, so we arrived 10 minutes before the service. I was fantasizing about getting front row seats, or at least any seat from the front to the 10th row.

That, I found out the hard way, is possibly the most far-fetched fantasy ever… that is, if you arrive only 10 minutes before the time.

HUNDREDS of people were already in the lobby. I have never seen so many people in a very long time. This crowd? This crowd could be agoraphobia-inducing if there ever was one. Thankfully the ushers were very efficient in guiding the crowd (and dressed so smartly! LOVE their aquamarine blue scarves and ties), and the people very cooperative… they are either Spirit-filled or acting like it.

We finally got inside the worship hall… and found all the Freakin’. Seats. Taken. (Actually, there were lots of free seats but people were “reserving” them — hmp! — but that’s another post for another day.)

It was most disappointing to admit defeat and opt for the next service. Sad.

Well, finally we got in, got to sit in a row about 30 seats from the front in the ground floor, and saw Nick in person.

And I’m happy to report that his message, for me, has the right amount of simplicity and profundity and is strongly rooted in Biblical principles.

Oh, my highlights?

(Other than the ginormous number of people

Corporate Worship. 

There really is something about large crowds of people worshiping together that gets to me. Every. Single. Time.

The image of thousands of people praising God stirs excitement in my heart… excitement of the future, of every tongue and tribe worshiping the King of kings.

This, I guess, is why I stick with CCF despite my hang-ups with mega churches.

Finally finding out how to pronounce Nick’s last name. 

Yes, it was a big mystery. Now, I know.

Do YOU know how to pronounce Nick’s last name? (Come on, ask me. :P)

Were you at CCF today? How’d you find the service?

The Story of How I Completed my Support for this Year

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The most amazing, incredible thing happened to me yesterday: a stranger gave me money.

Not just money. BIG bucks. Well, big enough so I can be CLEARED.

YAY! *happy dance*

CLEARED.

CLEARED!

(I never thought such a small word could make me so happy.)

To fully appreciate what being cleared means, allow me to explain:

All Campus Crusade for Christ missionaries, such as me, must raise a certain amount which will cover all their expenses for the entire year. When a missionary raises this amount, he or she will then be “cleared” and only then will be allowed to be “deployed” to the “mission field”.

It’s a policy that I think makes a lot of sense. It’s just… sometimes it can be really really inconvenient and yes, uncomfortable.

So last night I was with two other fellow missionaries. We were in Jollibee, in an appointment, when suddenly kuya Ace, my Team Leader calls (resulting to a rather embarrassing interruption from my obnoxiously loud ring tone) and delivers the news: someone, or a couple rather, is giving me a check.

Best part? The check is big enough to cover my support goals… and more.

I was jumping up and down in Jollibee — that’s how happy I was. I kept asking kuya Ace, who from hereon out I regard as a Messenger of Tidings of Great Joy, “Why me? Why me?”

His no nonsense reply? “Why not?”

So what do I take from all this?

Well, that God provides in surprising, surprising ways.  It’s support serendipity all over again.

And I am privileged to have such amazing experiences. Because despite support raising being a kind of peeve of mine, really, I would not have such experiences of God’s power in providing apart from this.

It’s one thing to say I trust God to provide and still have the means to provide for myself; it’s an entirely different thing to say I trust God to provide and have NO IDEA how it’ll happen.

Also, the realization that there are generous people in the world who are amazingly desperate in seeing lives changed and Jesus lifted up slammed me again in the face and punched riiiight in the gut.

Amazing, amazing.

From the Unexpected Places

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This morning my fellow missionary recounted an amazing experience she had in finding Ministry Partners*.

She had been calling people, trying to set appointments, mostly with little success, when she receives a text out of nowhere.

“I will be supporting you Php.5,000 monthly,” the text said.

Now a text like that would normally have elicited crazy joy and happy dances from someone, especially if, like my friend, she had been experiencing a bit of a slump in her support raising time.

Her reaction? DISBELIEF. Then skepticism.

So she called the texter, and when she finally confirmed the texter’s identity, and found that the person really really wants to be her Ministry Partner, and that 5k monthly really really really is true, she then rejoiced.

The most amazing part is that this new Ministry Partner (MP) is NOT familiar at all with Campus Crusade.

 

Truth be told, sometimes, in my really, really bad days, I wonder why I subject myself to such anxiety, uncertainty, and frustration. Oh, the Frustration!

And so I take great care to remember stories like these — from other people… and my own.

Like how God provided for me during the lean times.

Like how issues of pride and character were brought to the surface, and dealt with.

Or the miracle of the change that occurred in my heart such that I am actually enjoying this now.

And the opportunities of meeting amazing, awesome people and gaining not just Ministry Partners, but good friends.

 

Such stories I put in the “easy to access” part of my brain as a reminder that God is the great Provider.

He is not hassled by time.

And His provisions could come in the most unexpected ways and the most unimaginable of sources.

 

 

*Ministry Partners support financially and through prayers.