Monday, March 24, 2008

What a Love...

Our worship leader, Carl Setterlind often says that our desire should be to sing to an audience of One. We should desire to get out of the way and let Christ take center stage. However, the choir wouldn’t be able to do that without strong leadership. Praise to Him, we see that week after week on Sunday and Wednesday when we hear Carl's heart and know the heart he has for worship.

Several years ago, I was in a church where our music was a “show” and never a worship experience. At that time, I knew there was much more to worship than we were doing. I had read The Power of Praise and Worship by Terry Law, Lifting Him Up : How You Can Experience Spirit-Led Praise & Worship by Ron Kenoly, and Extravagant Worship by Darlene Zschech. I knew there had to be more to worship. We had worshipped with Ron Kenoly and Don Moen at services in Greenville. I had experienced a deeper and more real worship and so much desired that for every day and every corporate worship setting. I remember once saying to friends that I desired the same level of worship at church in a corporate setting that I had in my bedroom during my quiet time. But, that wasn’t happening at our church. I wanted that because I loved the people I worshipped with and wanted them to know this kind of intimate worship…the kind where you may be in a room of 3,000 people but in your heart it’s just you and God.

From the first day we walked into Biltmore to the present, we are reaching that level of worship and even more. Carl leads us right to the throne room and face-to-face with Jesus. It is a wonder to me that we aren’t all falling prostrate on the floor on Sundays. I loved what Carl said a few months ago about falling on our knees during the music time. I love Jim Henry's sermons but the music portion of worship at Biltmore leads us to worship and softens and prepares our hearts to receive that which God speaks through Dr. Henry in the spoken word.

I also love what Carl said recently about going deeper and further than we’ve gone before. There is so much more which God desires of us and I think we can go further and further and deeper and deeper all the way until we are actually standing in the throne room of heaven one day. When we go “between the lines” of the printed order of worship, we are being Spirit-led and we will definitely go places we haven’t been before.

When you’ve been where we’ve been in a church with division, strife over which songs/hymns/choruses are being sung and which are not, how many verses of each hymn are and are not being sung, there is no comparison to what we experience at Biltmore in true worship of the Living God. I am so grateful for our worship leader and for his leadership and willingness to follow His leading. We are often asked why we’re driving 45 minutes from Travelers Rest, SC to worship at Biltmore three times each week? My answer is always that it is truly a God-thing. We are going for no other reason than God is blessing us and He led us there. I praise Him for his leading and for His anointing on that place. I don’t want to be anywhere He hasn’t led me. I praise Him that He is allowing me to be a small part of something so wonderful.

This weekend at Biltmore will never be forgotten. Saturday night with a SRO crowd, all in one accord, was one of the most awesome experiences of my life. God truly came and dwelt among us as He inhabited the praises of His people. Then to have Him revisit us again 3 times on Sunday morning was truly awesome. A friend of mine posted on Facebook that "All I have to say about the services is 'Glory, I've been to church.' How awesome all of the services were. It was summed up well after the 11am service when our singles minister said 'all morning it just kept building and building.'" Unless you experienced it, there are really no words to describe what God did. During the song, "His Name," the congregation stood with arms upraised, not because the choir was good, but because they knew the presence of a Holy God and they stood in reverence of His presence.

I wish all my friends and family could have experienced it. It was a powerful and holy experience.