Are You Missing Out?

by Kiplin Batchelor

“But one of His disciples, Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, who would betray Him, said, ‘Why was this fragrant oil not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?’ This he said, not that he cared for the poor, but because he was a thief, and had the money box; and he used to take what was put in it” (John 12:4-6).

Judas said a good thing! Feeding the poor is kind, noble and praiseworthy. Who would not be impressed by such thoughtfulness for the less fortunate in society? To an undiscerning person, Judas is—at this time—a champion of social justice and a lover of the poor. However Jesus, Who always sees much deeper than what worshippers advertise, saw the hidden deceit behind Judas’ beautiful facade. Judas spoke with apparent compassion, but the truth is, while Mary bowed before Jesus in vulnerable and selfless worship, Jesus’ treasurer stood tall in self!

We often don’t think of a worship setting for something like this, but how many times do people say beautiful words that are intended to impress others, so they are perceived to be more than they really are? Judas could have kept silent as a mere observer in the room, but he opened his mouth and revealed his hidden deceit in the midst of worship. He not only wanted money, he wanted to appear good to Jesus and the influential crowd of Pharisees at dinner.

Judas is a humbling reminder that the stench of a wrong motive can be present while the fragrance of worship fills a room; Judas is a timely reminder that a worshipper’s heart can shift from Jesus the Divine treasure and be preoccupied with earthly Roman coins while doing ministry. He is a reminder that one’s proximity to Jesus doesn’t guarantee or equate to intimacy—we can be in the same room with Jesus, but our heart can be a thousand miles away. The difference between Mary and Judas is the difference between impressing people or loving Jesus, and all true worshippers must crossover to loving, if worship is truly worship.

Judas cheapens an opportunity to worship! Although his words may have impressed those who were close enough, it must have been disheartening for Jesus to hear his own inner-circle-follower market a great idea and a lovely self image—yet, all the while concealing theft, misappropriation of funds and betrayal. Unfortunately, Judas missed an incredible moment to join Mary in selfless worship at Jesus’ feet! Instead of being a participant who captures and seizes a moment in extravagant worship, he became a subtle, undermining critic! Like Michal who labeled David’s worshipful dance as undignified, Judas labeled Mary’s worshipful gift as a waste. What led him to think Jesus wasn’t worth a year’s salary? I have come to realize that those who struggle with God’s worth always struggle with worship. These are always the first to criticize and attack those who pour out all at the feet of His Majesty.

What is equally powerful in this story and many others in the Bible is that Jesus is not afraid, offended or incensed at His children displaying varying expressions in worship. The God of simple and quiet reflective moments in silence before Him is also the God of the exuberant and passionate worship. When He told the religious group to leave Mary alone, He allowed her to be unconventional, undignified, unrehearsed and unperturbed by her elitist environment, her terrible past and by the propriety that filled the room. Real worship kills self image, and it must do so, or we will see ourselves more than we see Him when He shows up.

Simon the Pharisee entertained Jesus over a meal, and Judas was distracted, but Mary bypassed all the pretentiousness and superficiality at the dinner and made worship her priority. One man invited Jesus to a meal, but one woman worshipped Him at that meal — there is a big difference! We must go beyond entertaining Jesus in our lovely auditoriums and actually worship without thinking our passionate expressions are too much. Mary saw her opportunity to worship Jesus, and she took it. Will you do the same? Don’t miss out on your opportunity to worship Him!

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Worship At A Higher Level

by LaMar Boschman

Recently, a well-known worship leader and CFNI graduate came to me with tears in her eyes. She said, “God has blessed me with favor and notoriety in my country. Young people see that and tell me they want to be famous like me. But I tell them I began as a worship leader in my local church; I just wanted to lead people into God’s presence.” Many young, aspiring musicians have the wrong impression of what worship is. Perhaps they have not been taught worship’s true essence. There is more to experience in worship than what we have today.

HIGHER GROUND

In my spirit I hear the Lord’s Bride cry out for a higher level of worship, where time passes quickly in His Eternal presence. It is worship beyond mortal music making and an encounter with celestial music makers in Heaven. It is a realm beyond the worship rhetoric of men and closer to worship lyrics of seraphs. It is a place where your spirit takes wings, and you hear the lyrics that cherubs sing.

There is a higher place of worship where singers lay prostrate and musicians fall upon their guitars crying, “Holy, Holy, Holy!” At this level, the worship of the people overpowers the performance on the platform. It is where worshipers sing outside the arrangement and musicians color outside the lines, because they see the Lord high and lifted up! It is about Jesus singing to His Father in the midst of His people, and we join His song.

It is a realm where Heaven and Earth kiss and signs and wonders break out, revealing that God is among us in power. It is a realm of worship where we don’t want it to stop, we feel so satisfied and content.

GOING HIGHER

Have you experienced that higher worship? Do you long for it? Do you know how to get there? I ask because some leaders or believers don’t. They might have tasted it. Enjoyed it. Wanted more of it. Prayed for it. But do they know what spiritual principles took them to that dimension?

I have discovered three things that will take you to a higher level of worship.

  1. Look up! The worship in Heaven is perfect, just like God likes it. Explore Heaven’s worship music — its characteristics, dynamics and content.

2. Study the principles of worship and music in the Bible. Take a course on the theology of worship or music and learn from the over one thousand mentions of music in the Bible.

 

3. Seek God in worship and prayer. Ask Him to show you the higher realm of worship. Without exception most revivals occurred as people hungered for God and waited on Him in song. In other words, when renewal comes, so do higher levels of worship and music making.

LaMar Boschman is a prolific author, keynote speaker and an adjunct teacher at CFNI for The Theology of Music and the Theology of Worship. He is a mentor to young leaders around the world. LaMarBoschman.com

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Melody of Love

CFNI 42nd Live Worship Recording

by Maria Erokhina

Music is powerful. It accompanies us through joy and pain, victories and loss. Music can reopen old wounds and yet bring healing, it can kindle a flame in one’s heart and cause tears to flow, drive a soul toward hopelessness or fill it with hope—all within moments.

Zephaniah 3:17 says, “The Lord your God in your midst … He will quiet you with His love, He will rejoice over you with singing.”

Have you ever heard God sing to you? On February 10, Christ For The Nations captured this unique, pure, beautiful sound coming from the Father’s heart in our new worship album, Melody of Love.

CFNI starts every day with worship. During our morning chapels, countless students have had life-changing encounters with God. These encounters revealed their destinies and lit a fire in them that they now spread in the nations by serving as missionaries, church-planters, standing up for justice and being the voice of truth in the marketplace. Phil King, CFNI student and one of the worship leaders featured on Melody of Love, said, “This live recording was an extension of what we experience every day in chapel. The whole reason we hit ‘record’ was to capture it and send it out.”

Melody of Love is a compilation of 13 songs, most of which were written by CFNI students and alumni. Gabriel Allred, Phil King, Maddy Hunt, Jordan Stewart, Hannah Holland, Robert Quintana, Faith Schneider, Kiplin Batchelor, Stephen Azan and others, in cooperation with a featured guest, Leeland Mooring, brought this project to life. The creators of the album said that it took a miracle to prepare for the recording in a short period of time. They recall, “We would often sit down together in faith and pray, ‘Lord, we’re recording in a few weeks. We need songs.’” Time after time, God gave them words and melodies.

The title track, Melody of Love, was birthed as a result of such prayers and collaboration. It started with the line that Leeland played: “I hear you singing over me a melody of love.” Maddy Hunt, David Moore and Phil King contributed their ideas and this beautiful anthem about God’s unstoppable affection for His children was created. It starts with the words, “You have searched and known me, set Your eyes upon me. I am undone …”

Another song, Burn Spirit of God, that quickly became a favorite among CFNI students, was literally born in the shower. Phil King was getting ready to go to bed after a long day, when God dropped into his heart, “Burn Spirit of God, come fill my lungs with praise. Burn Fire of God, come seal my heart with a flame.” This song talks about offering ourselves as a living sacrifice to God and placing our lives on the altar where His fire sets us ablaze.

Incredible Love was written by two friends, Kiplin Batchelor and Stephen Azan, former CFNI students who now serve on staff at Christ For The Nations. They prayed and asked the Lord to give them a revelation of His love. Kiplin recalls, “As we were exploring the theme of love in the Bible, we were astonished to realize that love had existed before Adam and Eve met in the garden. We exist because the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit, Who are love, said, ‘Let’s create …’ That’s where these lyrics came from—‘Before the universe was formed, the Trinity sat enthroned in Love … Love has always been, and love will always be …’

This song carries the message of God’s incredible, selfless, timeless love that is not defined by gender, skin color, the level of your education or social status. This love gave His life for you, and it still pursues you, even when you’re at your worst.”

Some of the songs in this album came from deep places of overcoming and finding healing. Jordan Stewart was raised in a Christian home and was faithfully serving God, while keeping a terrible secret that impacted every part of her life. At five years old she was molested in the school bathroom. She confesses, “I was broken and depressed. I even contemplated suicide a few times.”

One night Jordan decided to get honest with the Lord about the things that caused her so much pain. Right then she felt an urge to go to the piano, and Take Us In came forth. God used this song to speak healing and restoration over her life. Over the years, Jordan has seen it minister to many people, helping them experience salvation and deliverance.

Nine years ago, I was singing Take Us In from brokenness. Now I’m singing it from freedom. This song reminds me of what God has done for me. It says, “You have broken the divide and You silence every lie, You trade our shame for robes of white.”

The two themes in this album are God’s passionate pursuit of our hearts and our response to His call. Both are tied closely together—when we taste God’s goodness, “Fill me, send me, I’ll go” becomes our willful choice and a joyful response.

Phil King says, “When I was a little kid, I used to hold the globe and weep over it, saying, ‘God, use me to touch the nations of the Earth.’ I felt such a strong, supernatural, fiery love for them. On the night of the recording, when we sang all these songs about going out and touching the nations, laying down our lives for the Great Commission, it was amazing to see CFNI students coming from over 60 countries to worship together. It was a dream come true.”

Christ For The Nations has been recording live worship albums for 42 years. Our songs have been translated and sung all around the world, touching thousands of lives and bringing God’s presence into countless homes, churches, cities and countries.

As you listen to Melody of Love, we pray that your heart will be open to hear the love song that’s coming from the Father’s heart.

To purchase Melody of Love, go to cfnmusic.com/42.

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CFNI Live Recording 42: Melody of Love

On February 10, hundreds of CFNI students, alumni, staff and Campus Days guests gathered in the Institute Building to be a part of the 42nd annual live worship recording. Our live recordings are always a highly anticipated event at Christ For The Nations, as worship is one of the foundational pillars of our ministry.

The dream of CFN’s founders, Gordon and Freda Lindsay, was to reach every tribe and nation with the message and power of the Gospel. One of the ways this vision has come to pass is through the worship music that comes out of Christ For The Nations. Over the years, songs from CFN have been translated in many different languages and have been sung all around the globe, touching thousands of lives.

Worship songs have a unique ability to capture the atmosphere of God’s presence and recreate it in homes, churches, cities and even countries. Phil King, one of the worship leaders featured on the album, gave voice to this: “This live recording was an extension of what we experience every day in chapel. The whole reason we hit ‘record’ was to capture it and send it out.”

Our 42nd live album, Melody of Love, is focused on two major themes: Songs like, There Is No One Like You, Melody of Love, There Is No Striving, Take Us In, and Incredible Love, talk about our passionate pursuit of God and knowing the depths of His love for us. The second part of the album features songs such as Every Tribe-Every Nation, I Give It All, Burn Spirit of God, and Let The Nations Rise, which encourage us to share this love with the world and to lift the name of Jesus in every nation.

What makes this live recording truly special is that most of the songs were written by CFNI students and alumni. Phil King, Jordan Stewart, Maddy Hunt, Kiplin Batchelor and others, in cooperation with a featured guest, Leeland Mooring, brought this project to life. Every song is a part of their lives and has a special story behind it. “We wanted to give songwriting back to the students,” said Robert Quintana, CFNI’s Creative Director.

Those gathered in the CFNI Institute Building the night of the recording experienced the powerful and gentle touch of God. One of the attendees, CFNI alumna, Celeste Ramirez, said, “CFNI does it again, making history and creating a beautiful sound of worship! One of the best albums yet! CFNI is a unique place where God’s presence is experienced daily in such a beautiful and humble way. This place holds so many memories and life-changing moments for me in times of worship … The Presence last night was just incredible!”

We pray that this recording will help you hear the Melody Of Love coming from the Father’s heart.

Mark your calendar for the album release on May 5!

Preorder Melody of Love today at cfnmusic.com/42.

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