Mighty Protector

I was reading Acts 23 this morning. Paul has been arrested and a plot is set in place by 40 men to ambush and kill him. But a relative hears of the plot and alerts Paul who in turn alerts his jailer. The jailer’s response is to send Paul out of Jerusalem   with an armed guard.  Verse 23 tells us that two hundred footmen, seventy horsemen and two hundred spearmen were assigned to escort Paul to Caesarea.

Paul must have been fearful. I can imagine the pressure he must have been under.

I’m amazed and reassured by the Lord’s response to the dangerous situation Paul was in. He sent 470 men to protect Paul from the 40 men who wanted to kill him. What a picture this is of God’s faithfulness and ability to protect us!

The Song Within Your Heart

What is the song in your heart?

So, you are a believer, you know Jesus as your personal Saviour (rescuer, somebody who rescues somebody or something from harm or danger. Your redeemer, liberator). I wonder if that is the song in your heart. Are there victorious, uplifting words knocking about it your head or are there defeating, death words running through your thoughts?

A few years ago, I felt really challenged by the Lord. He told me to leave the Church I was in and move to a Church where nobody knew my name or recognised me. I did it; admittedly I ignored the Lord on the subject for a few months and then cried for a few months before making the bold move. I knew it was going to be tough because the Lord had told me it would be. He was right.

During this time I really related to a song by One Republic called Stop and Stare. I was so out of my comfort zone, I’d given up everything to follow God to a place where I felt scared of what the future held but had a burning desire to go deeper and further and grow in the call on my life to lead God’s people in worship and the song with in my heart was ‘stop and stare, I think I’m moving but I go nowhere’. These words were not giving me the strength and courage I needed to hold onto Jesus and move into the next phase of my life.

One day as I was parking the car outside my house I was singing ‘I think I’m moving but I go nowhere’ and I felt the Holy Spirit say to me ‘stop singing that’. I felt the Holy Spirit say ‘you are moving, you are going somewhere’ so I stopped singing the song. The lyrics of this song were feeding my unbelief about things working out for the future. What I needed to hear were words that fed my faith and anchored me to God so I started listening to an old Hillsongs track (lyrics below) in my car the words from this song gave me strength and Jesus’ perspective on my situation. Things did work out, I did move on I am still going somewhere.

All The Power You Need – Hillsongs

My God can never fail,
He’s been proved time and again
Trust Him and see
He’s got all the power you need

He’s never early, never late
It takes courage, it takes faith
Trust Him and see
He’s got all the power you need

What are you listening to? Is it feeding your faith and empowering you or is it bringing you down? If it is bringing you down stop listening to it and find something that is full of the Holy Spirit and let it get into your heart and mind and take you from strength to strength.

CHM Conference with Jen Rees Larcombe

Leading worship at The Christian Healing Mission’s conference on Saturday was amazing. The glory of God as Jen Rees Larcombe puts it came twice during the times of worship. We were all caught up in the presence of our loving God who came to heal and set us free. Jennifer’s teaching was honest and accessible and the testimonies were powerful. I’m still getting revelation and more freedom a couple of days on. I’m sure you can get the talks from The Christian Healing Mission.

Writing a Song 4 – Purpose

anju-ebanks-june-2010Here’s what I wrote on the scrap of paper I started this song on.

Song vision – reveal adoptedness, ask for God to make it real

Is it true that you came to save me?

Is it true that you came to take me home?

To give me your name a new identity

a place in your home and in your heart?


What I was trying to do in these initial thoughts was to capture the heart of an orphan.  I think orphans lack a sense of self, a sense of identity and are desperate to belong but even if they are adopted they still carry a deep sense of abandonment.swirls-2_21 I want to recognise this deep need and ask God to meet it in this song.


Writing A Song 3 – Vision

anju-ebanks-june-2010Next I find it useful to ask myself what is the vision for this song? The answer to this question helps me to gather my thoughts and to clarify the song writing process.  The theme for the new song  I’m writing is ‘Ask God to reveal my adoptedness and make it real.’  I recently found the piece of paper that I had originally written the vision for this song on.  The firstswirls-2_21 thoughts or expression of the song make interesting reading, I’ll share the words in another post.  When I’m stuck and or  reviewing the song the song vision helps me to keep it focused and moving in the direction I originally intended.

Writing A Song 1 – Inspiration

anju-ebanks-june-2010I think the starting point for writing a song varies hugely depending on your personal strengths and preferences. Musicians will probably come up with chords and melodies first, while lyricists will come up with words first.

My personal approach swings between the two, sometimes I have a great chord structure and the melody sings itself,  sometimes I know what I want to sing about and the musical part takes a bit more time.  I can find inspiration from aswirls-2_21 drum beat or a bass line and sometimes I am inspired by someone tinkering on the electric guitar.

I’m currently writing a new song, in the next few weeks I’ll share my song writing  journey with you.

Vocal problems

anju-at-premier_3If you have a sore throat and need to sing through it there are a few things you can do.  Firstly if you can rest your voice you should, you don’t want to damage it.  If you feel that you can sing through or you have a few days to get your vocal chords fit and healthy I would steam 3 times a day for a couple of minutes.  My vocal coach says that steam is the only thing that gets down into the chords and it can help the healing process.

Another thing that I do when I feel that a cold is coming is use saline nasal drops. The drops wash out the back of the nose where the cold virus incubates.  As soon as you or some one around you starts sneezing use the drops until the sneezing stops.  I managed to avoid colds for the whole of last winter by doing this.  Although I’ve just had a virus that I couldn’t shake.  It works most of the time.    swirls-2_21

Evaluating Our Effectiveness In Ministry

img_5946-31Knowing that we are effective in ministry can be a real confidence booster.  I spent many years leading worship and not wanting to know what the Lord was up to because I felt that it was none of my business to know what God was doing in people’s lives.    Having said that I was lacking confidence because I really didn’t have a clue if what I was doing was of any use to the Lord or the people that I was leading in worship.

We don’t need to know the details of what is going on in people’s lives but to know that what we are doing is effective is encouraging.

Have you heard people say  ‘you can’t see the wind but you know it’s there because you can see the wind moving the trees’ I’ve found this so useful. When you are leading worship look for the wind in the trees.  Are people engaged and worshipping? Can you visibly see people being ministered to by the Holy Spirit, have their expressions changed?  Do they look more peaceful? Are they deep in worship with their arms out to God and clearly connecting?

Another way to know that God is moving is to ask people you trust for feedback and yet another way is to encourage testomonies so that we are all encouraged.

I’m finding it difficult to gauge how things are going in one setting that I’m leading worship in at the minute so I have started to ask the team that I’m working with what they feel is happening.  Now I’ve realised that at the end of the session they are encouraged to write down what the Lord did for them and said to them, so they don’t forget.  I’ve seen everyone that can write, write something down.  This is my wind in the trees for that situation.swirls-2_21

Always check your motives when asking for feedback and receiving encouragement.

Healing

Last week I led worship in a lovely church in Battersea.  The congregation were lovely and there was a real sense of community.  I was leading worship and John Ryeland was speaking so the emphasis was healing, healing and more healing. 

As I led worship, you could feel, hear and sense the power with which the Holy Spirit was ministering to members of the congregation.  It is such a privilege to be involved with worship in this way.

John spoke really well, he is very funny and has a wonderful ability to win over his listeners, in fact I think he has us all eating out of his hand very quickly.  John and I have been exploring prophetic singing, he says lets sing about this and I say ok (I really appreciate his direction).  Once John had taught us about healing he invited me to sing prophetically, the team moved around ministering to people. 

The congregation were clearly moved and many of them received healing from the Lord.  We listened to many testimonies about what the Lord had done.  One lady said that she had met so powerfully with the Lord that she knew she would never be the same again,  another lady said that she had felt full of fear but no longer felt fearful and that the Lord had calmed her fears and another lady said that she felt the Lord had healed a long term condition that she had been suffering from.

In the words of my pastors woo hoo!