Tag Archives: ministry outside the church

Prophetic Song In The Coffee Shop

I got to play a rickety old piano in a coffee shop yesterday.  The atmosphere was secular, but I was surprised at the flow of the Holy Spirit.  First, I was surprised that it was so easy to get into the flow.  Second, I wouldn’t have expected the sounds He gave.  Third, I saw a vision.  Here’s more about each of the three surprises I received in the flow.

Surprise #1 – the opportunity  I wasn’t booked to play.  JoAnn and I had errands in San Luis Obispo, and we had a free half hour.  So we went to a coffee shop and saw a piano by the back door.  She suggested I play it; I said I wouldn’t try unless they shut off the background music.  Soon, JoAnn was at the counter with the manager.  The background music stopped and I turned to look at JoAnn.  With an imperious wave of the hand she said, “Piano!”  I sat on the bench and reported for duty.

The disciplines I use when I prophesy are the same disciplines I use in prophetic song.  I quieted my heart, focused on Jesus, and kept reaching for a flow of God-given sound as I played.  More about this in my 31-dy devotional, “Learn To Hear From God.  See http://www.squidoo.com/learn-to-hear-from-god-day-3.  Words, music, or both, the principle is the same.

Surprise #2 – the flow. I tried to play something bright and sparkling, but I think the piano and I were both feeling old and spent.  I reached for a sound I use when I want the sound of many waters.  On this piano, it sounded to me like muddy runoff after a heavy rain.  Then I found myself playing dissonant Flamenco melodies with that felt dark and menacing.  Not the usual fare in a coffee shop in a college town on a cool afternoon.

‘what was that?” JoAnn asked when I finished.  “Why did you play that?  It sounded like warfare”

“I saw a vision while I was playing,” I offered by way of explanation.  “That’s why I didn’t play the music I would have ordinarily chosen for the occasion.”

Surprise #3 – the vision  For now, I’ll tell exactly what I saw.  I’ll have to write another article to tell the understanding that came with it.

I saw great clouds of darkness, clouds of the deception that covers the earth in the last days.  They seemed thick and impenetrable, made of well-crafted and interlocking lies that promised freedom while holding everyone in slavery.  They were so pervasive it seemed hopeless to think anything could dispel them.

Then I saw misty wisps of uncreated light, tumbling through the clouds.  The light was the presence of God Himself.  And in His presence, the darkness became laughable.  The darkness couldn’t put out the light, nor would it take a great effort for the light to put out the darkness.  God was laughing at the darkness.  He is not afraid, nor do we need to be.

I’ll write another article, to share   the understanding that came as I finished playing.

So I encourage you to be venturesome in prophetic song.  Take it inside and outside the church.  You never know how the flow of the Holy Spirit will surprise you.

JoAnn and I discussed the experience as we drove to our next appointment.  Was my playing appropriate?  “You couldn’t have found a better place,” JoAnn suggested when I told her what I’d seen.  Was it warfare?  Was it intercession?  We don’t know.  But here’s what I do know:  Light is on the increase, and darkness doesn’t stand a chance — and why should it?

Stan Smith  ::  © 2011, GospelSmith  ::  http://www.GospelSmith.com

Grace In The Hospital

I’m in the middle of a medical crisis, but I got someone to bring my guitar to the hospital so I could pour out my heart to God in prophetic worship.  The crisis?  First, surgery to remove a brain tumor; now, a few months of chemo and radiation.  Prophetic worship helped in more ways than one.

I’ve tried to cultivate a habit of getting into God’s manifest presence as much as I can, and as soon as I emerged from surgery I reached out to God.  His presence began to sweep over me in waves of liquid love.  I wept and wept; sometimes I groaned.  Perhaps you’ve tasted this particular manifestation of God’s presence; if you have, you know it is incredibly sweet.  Sometimes I heard someone weeping down the hall in intensive care, and I would weep too.

I was having a good time in God’s presence, but I began to realize that someone walking down the hall might think I was in my death agonies as I wept and groaned.  So I arranged for my guitar to be brought to me so I could convert my unseemly noises into worship.  When it arrived, I didn’t sing anything I already knew – I simply sang whatever was in my heart.  Those few days were among the sweetest I have ever experienced.

After a couple of days in intensive care, therapists began coming.  Did I know my name?  Yes, Stan Smith.  Where was I?  Sierra Vista Hospital in San Luis Obispo.  What day of the week was it?  It was boring to have to answer these questions again and again, but it humbled me to realize that not everyone bounces back after the surgery I had had.  I began to realize how good God had been to me.

Then a therapist noticed my guitar.  I got it out and began to play.  I’m not much of a guitarist anymore; I’ve played for 3-5 hours a year for the last ten years.  But I could still play a little, and the therapist said she’d never seen anyone playing guitar less than 24 hours after brain surgery.  So this time, it became part of my testimony as God was healing me.

My playing was dreadful.  The strings kept buzzing; it turns out my left hand was too weak to hold the strings down when I played chords or scales.  I’ve been regaining strength since then.

My singing voice was also weak, partly because I was weak all over after the surgery, and partly because of the tube the anaesthetist had had to put down my throat.  Someone made a video of my playing and singing; later the video got posted on FaceBook on the Friends Of Stan Smith page.  The music really is dreadful.  I’m thankful that people have added enough entries since then that the video is hard to find.

A third thing happened.  II Chronicles 16:9 says the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth, so He can show Himself strong in behalf of those whose hears are perfect towards Him.  Heart perfect towards Him?  Alas, mine seems to flicker.  Can this verse be for me?

Then it occurred to me that if Christ lives in Me, He is the One with the perfect heart.  So a spontaneous song bubbled up:  “The eyes of the Lord run to and fro, looking for someone to whom He can show Himself strong – Here I am Lord, look at me!”

It was very childlike and I’ll probably never sing it in public, but it made my faith soar like a rocket.

In the last two or three days I was in the hospital, the nurses were encouraging me to keep my door open when I played because they said my music was so peaceful.  My hands were now strong enough to play.

So I thought I’d share this small testimony about prophetic song.  I’m glad to use it in the sanctuary, but I’m glad it’s also something I can do at home – or in the hospital, or anywhere else I happen to be.

Stan Smith  ::  © 2010, GospelSmith  ::  http://www.GospelSmith.com

Testimony: God’s Noticeable Presence

When a congregation gives themselves to God in prophetic worship, God often gives His manifest presence to us.  Yesterday I heard a testimony of a way God showed His presence outside the meeting.

A team of Korean ministers had come to the Santa Maria Valley Healing Rooms for a conference.  Rick Taylor, the leader of the healing rooms, has been contending for an atmosphere of God’s glory in all their gatherings and in their times of ministry one-on-one.  For the Saturday sessions, they had invited Peggy Cole to speak in the morning and the afternoon.

My role was very small:  to help with personal ministry when the opportunity arose, and to play keyboard to back up the worship team.  The worship team did a great job and God was good to us; we went into a prophetic vein in worship in both sessions and the presence of God was very intense.

Between sessions, Peggy went back to her hotel to rest.  As she walked through the hotel lobby on her way to the afternoon meeting, a man in the hotel greeted her and said, “There’s an aura of light all over you, and I think it’s the presence of the Holy Spirit.”  She asked him if he knew the Lord, and he replied, “I’m  Orthodox.”  (Peggy didn’t say whether this meant Eastern Orthodox or Jewish Orthodox.)  So Peggy asked if she could pray with him; he said yes; soon a prophetic word flowed out of the prayer.

Peggy shared the story humbly and tearfully, and urged us all to expect God to do the same in our lives.  Her testimony made me think of a Bible study someone told me about recently; he had looked up the word “overshadowed” in the New Testament and found that the same Greek word was used when the Holy Spirit overshadowed Mary and when Peter’s shadow was healing the sick in Acts 5.  There is a Holy Spirit “shadow” you and I can have as we learn to cherish God’s manifest presence.  Peggy walked in it Saturday, but it’s for all of us.

The School → A Larger Venue

However large or small your role as a prophetic musician, your doing the three activities of the online school can help enlarge your ministry.  I’ve listed 15 ways your ministry as a prophetic musician can grow in another article; in this one I want to list a few ways the Online School assignment can help you get there.

Soaking:  Get Your Marching Orders, And Get Wisdom

Soaking is a time to receive anointing, inspiration, and direction.  This will show up most often in your music itself.  But from time to time, God will lead you to expand into new ministries.

For your new ventures to succeed, you will need a steady flow of direction from God.  Soaking will help you receive this.

Equally important, He will give you the kind of wisdom that will enable you to get along with others who are vital to your success.  Pray often for the wisdom from above that James 3:13-18 tells about.

Encouraging:  Build A Team
The ministry of encouragement is an opportunity to get into a prophetic flow.  As members of a prophetic worship team learn to hear from God as they minister to people on their own time, they will be better equipped to flow in fresh prophetic inspiration in the church.

Further, musicians are famous for their tendency towards pride.  Develop a culture of supporting and encouraging one another within your church.  It isn’t about me and my gifts; it’s about you and your gifts.

If God leads you into a venue beyond the walls of your church, a ministry of encouragement will help foster the teamwork that will make you effective. Are you hosting a workshop to train other churches in prophetic song?  Celebrate their gifts and breakthroughs.

Are you playing in a secular environment as an evangelistic outreach?  Treat the people who have opened their doors to you with grace and kindness.  Your encouraging them – not flattering them or buttering them up, but really being there for them to keep them in prayer when they have needs – will help keep the doors open for your ministry.

Journaling:  Follow Through

Jesus commands us to count the cost, and this certainly applies to taking prophetic song into new ministry opportunities. Are you biting off more than you can chew?  What kind of teamwork do you need, and what steps are you taking to build and maintain a stable of prophetic music ians?

Don’t jump into new ministry opportunities unless you can see that God has been working to prepare you for them.  This isn’t a question of talent; the issue is whether you can follow through faithfully in your commitments.

Your journal will help you record the heart-searching you go through as God leads you into new ministries with prophetic song.  This will help you later if your commitment is tested, and it will help you make Spirit-led and responsible commitments.

There’s More…

As God opens new doors for your ministry in prophetic song, share about it by posting a comment on this blog.

Stan Smith  ::  © 2009, GospelSmith  ::  http://www.GospelSmith.com

15 Ways To Reach For A Larger Venue

As you spend time soaking in God’s presence, sometimes He will send you into new and larger venues.  I’ve listed 15 ways God might lead you, and I’m sure you and He can think of more.

Hold this list before God and take time to soak.  Let Him send you.  There’s a right and a wrong way to step into new ministries; James 3:13-17 describes them both:

Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show by good conduct that his works are done in the meekness of wisdom.  But if you have bitter envy and self-seeking in your hearts, do not boast and lie against the truth.  This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual, demonic.  For where envy and self-seeking exist, confusion and every evil thing are there.  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.

Prophetic Song As A Soloist

1. God may open a door for you to play or sing background music during prayer meetings or altar calls.

2.  As you cultivate a relationship with the pastor and the worship team, God might use you in the church to release the gift of prophecy in song.

3. Pray about serving a 24/7 prayer ministry on a regular basis with your gift of prophetic song.

4. God might lead you to raise up other prophetic musicians by building a team that can play and sing together.

5. To use your gift in evangelism, look for a coffee house or a piano bar where you can play and sing.

Prophetic Song As A Worship Team

6. In addition to the usual worship services in the church, God may lead you to serve in other ministries.

7. Expect God to release more and more supernatural ministries in the church as you flow in prophetic worship.  Elisha called for a minstrel; trust God to use you as He used the minstrel.

8. If your region has a 24/7 prayer ministry, look for ways to supply prophetic minstrels who can participate.

9. Put on regional gatherings that will help train other churches in your area to flow in prophetic song.  Lend your prophetic musicians to other churches so you support their quest to get into a greater flow of the Holy Spirit.

10. Look for ways to take your worship ministry to the streets.  Through prophetic song, you can introduce non-Christians to the manifest presence of God.

Prophetic Song As A Church

11. Commit to lavishing time on God in worship.

12. When God releases prophecy in the church, whether sung or spoken, honor Him by responding to the prophetic word.

13. Use prophetic worship in your prayer meetings and altar calls, and support regional 24/7 prayer ministries.

14. Look for ways to raise up new prophetic musicians.  Encourage new musicians who step up to serve on the worship team.  Consider allowing God to use your church as a training ground for prophetic musicians in other churches as you host workshops or seminars.

15. Have soaking meetings.  Train the congregation to be still in God’s presence, watching and listening for His direction.  Train the whole church to take their part in cherishing God’s manifest presence.

Stan Smith  ::  © 2009, GospelSmith  ::  http://www.GospelSmith.com

How To Encourage

The assignment calls you encourage five people each week, and you’ll need to spend time soaking to let God show you how to do it.  Nevertheless, I’ll give you three ways God has led me to act on the assignment – these examples show what sort of things to expect God to lead you to do.  Then I’ll list two passages of scripture that expand the word “encourage”.  As you spend time soaking in God’s presence, He will show you more.

Examples Of Encouragement.

You can encourage people face-to-face; by phone or email or with cards; and at home.

1. I’m planning a soaking meeting at the Healing Rooms in Santa Maria – this will be a small way I can wash their feet and value the people who serve by ministering healing.

2. I was talking long-distance to a friend who – barring a miracle – is losing his sight.  He wants God to use him, and regrets that he didn’t take time to study the Bible when he was able to see and read.  I promised to send him my CDs that go with the Online School Of The Spirit.

3.  Often when my wife goes out to do errands, I take a moment to lay hands on her and speak a blessing on her outing. I won‘t claim this is why she often finds remarkable bargains, but it does encourage her and make her know I love her.

Two Scriptures That Expand The Word “Encourage”

1. The Purpose Of Prophecy, I Corinthians 14:3. “He who prophesies speaks edification and exhortation and comfort to men.” Edification is building people up; exhortation is stirring them up; comfort is cheering them up.  As you align yourself with the Holy Spirit’s motives, you can expect a greater flow of His anointing in your life.

2. Jesus’ Mission Statement, Luke 4:18-19. The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He has anointed Me (1) to preach the gospel to the poor; (2) to heal the brokenhearted; (3) to proclaim liberty to the captives and (4) recovery of sight to the blind; (5) to set at liberty those who are oppressed; and (6) to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.”

“But what does all this have to do with prophetic song…?”

I know; you could do all this stuff without every playing or singing a note.  But as Jesus said, from the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks – and to extend His thought, the voice sings and the hands play.  It all starts with the abundance in your heart.

A ministry of encouragement will cause your heart to overflow with the Holy Spirit.  And this is what God commands in Ephesians 5:18-20 –

…be filled with the Spirit, speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord, giving thanks always for all things to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ…

Prophetic song flows out of a heart filled with the prophetic Spirit, and a ministry of encouragement will help you stay filled with Him.

For more, see Encourage People And Grow In Prophetic Song.

Stan Smith  ::  © 2009, GospelSmith  ::  http://www.GospelSmith.com

Prophetic Song And The Church

Use prophetic song to augment the many ministries of the church.  They don’t all happen on Sunday morning.

Many passages of scripture illustrate the diversity of ministries in the church, but to see how prophetic song can fit with other ministries, we’ll use the great commission.

Matthew’s version urges us to make disciples; Mark emphasizes our taking the gospel outside the church; Luke notes the need to wait on God for the empowerment of the Spirit; John urges us to shepherd God’s people.  Prophetic song can help us with each facet of the church’s mission.

Matthew:  make disciples. Colossians 3:16 says, “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.”  This verse makes it clear that our worship music helps us not only to commune with God, but to teach one another.

What are psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs?  Without becoming took technical, psalms are scripture songs, hymns are worship songs people have already written, and spiritual songs are fresh prophetic songs.  They all help the church with its mission of teaching and discipling.

Mark:  spread the gospel. Worship is a ministry that can give a sample of God’s presence to nonbelievers.  Many who are unmoved at the preaching of the word will meet the conviction of the Holy Spirit when the church gathers to worship.  This can happen inside or outside the sanctuary.

In John 12:32, Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all people to Myself.”  The immediate fulfillment of these words happened when Jesus was crucified, but a secondary fulfillment happens when we lift Jesus in praise and worship.  Many churches have found this principle to be a key to revival.

Prophetic song helps fulfill this mission, for the Spirit of prophecy is the testimony of Jesus.

Luke:  tarry and receive.
More than any other worship style, prophetic song fulfills this part of the great commission because it can’t flow unless the musicians quiet their hearts and wait for God to give inspiration.

God won’t be hurried.  Jesus is Lord, not a convenience whom we can fit into our schedules.  Those take time to linger in God’s presence will experience an empowering and will receive fresh anointing again and again.

John:  feed my sheep.
This is a personal and intimate ministry, for as Jesus said, the Shepherd knows the sheep and calls them by name. No form of worship is more intimate than prophetic worship because it is a style that is spontaneous, unrehearsed, and very frank.

Zephaniah 3:17 says that God rejoices over us with singing as He works His redemption into our lives.  He might be impatient, but instead He sings for joy.

There is a tender song that restores our souls, and there is a militant song that drives the wolf away.  Both are part of the ministry of the Shepherd.

When you press into prophetic song, think diversity. God will give a variety of sounds and flavors to reflect the diverse commissions He has given the church.  A team of musicians will be better able to reflect this diversity than a single musician can – and two teams will be even more diverse than one.  If you have enough musicians to form two or more prophetic worship teams, go for it.

Stan Smith   ::  © 2008, GospelSmith  ::  http://www.GospelSmith.com

Equip With Prophetic Song

Use prophetic song to equip the church for harvest. Prophetic song isn’t just an avenue for personal blessing – it will also prepare us to be a blessing to others

A clear biblical picture of prophetic song occurs in Revelation 14:1-5, where a choir of 144,000 sang a new song to God.  Harps were playing – they used musical instruments.  They sounded like many waters – each singer had his or her own personal river of God flowing out, Just as Jesus promised in John 7:38.  No one could learn the song – it was spontaneous, not learned or rehearsed.

Scholars may or may not agree with me, but I believe there are many such choirs in heaven.  There is nothing magic about the number 144,000.  “Whosoever will” can partake of the waters of life.

Revelation 14 is a rich chapter, but I want to focus on one aspect of the choir:  what their song accomplished, and what this means to us on earth.

The choir of 144,000.
Verse 3 makes it clear that the singers were redeemed from the earth – human, like you and me.  They are blood-washed saints, people who have sought spiritual purity – the pure in heart shall see God – and they follow the Lamb wherever He goes.

Following Him may be the secret of their music, for He is able to pour a song through them that no one can learn.  This song releases three angels and their proclamations.

The three angels.
All three proclaim judgment in one way or another, crying out into the second heaven.  Many have taught that intercessors need to make second- or middle-heaven proclamations, but this chapter shows people worshiping God while angels speak into the second heaven.

The first angel brings the everlasting gospel, calling people into the fear of God and into worship.  The next two angels proclaim judgments that bring cleansing in the heavens and the earth.

In other words, as the church is worshiping God, the angels make proclamations that will pave the way for the gospel to make a greater impact in the earth.

The two harvests.
Verses 14-20 tell of two harvesters, Jesus and an angel.  Jesus comes on a white cloud of glory, reaping in the earth what He sowed at the cross many years ago.  His is a harvest of souls.

By contrast, the other harvester is an angel, gathering the harvest of the vine.  It’s a harvest of the wrath of God.  These are disasters that come upon the earth – wars, plagues, famines.

Back to those who follow the Lamb…
Angels will do their part in the second-heavens and in the judgments coming on the earth.  But God has called us to worship Him, to follow the Lamb daily, and to engage in the harvest.

We have a few things in common with the heavenly choir of 144,000.  We can worship, singing a new song to God.  We can follow Jesus.  We can seek purity.  And we can stir heavenly activity as we worship.

The angelic part is wonderful, but far more wonderful is the coming of the Son of Man in the cloud of His glory.  There is an ultimate second coming of Christ, but many of us have had foretastes of His coming as we worship.  His presence comes among us.  Heaven draws near.

As Jesus said, “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to Me.”  Our fervent worship creates a revival atmosphere in which it is easy for people to come to Christ and be deeply transformed.

And when the Harvester comes into our midst, what will happen if we learn to follow Him into the harvest?  As we worship, we can hear from God and learn His ways.

Sing a new song to God.  He will use it to equip you for the harvest.

Stan Smith  ::  © 2008, GospelSmith  ::  http://www.GospelSmith.com