So often we show up to our Sunday church service, sing the songs, enjoy the teaching and the fellowship, and then go about the rest of our day when church is over. We perhaps spend some time reading the Bible during the week, and attend the Wednesday night prayer meeting. On the busy highway of life, we'll take a brief exit to refuel, only to get right back on afterwards and keep driving towards a dream we can often times never fully articulate.
In the midst of this highway of life rises one distinguishing feature that should cause us to take the next exit, find directions to a small stable in an obscure town in Galilee, and camp there for the rest of our lives. What God did is outlandish and staggering.
The eternal God from everlasting became a human being.
The course of heaven and earth were forever altered when the second Person of the trinity took on flesh. If we truly make the confession as a "Christian", this is what we believe. But our belief should not stop at simply a bland doctrinal confession. It should radically affect the way we spend our money, our energy, and our Tuesday afternoon, Friday morning, and Sunday evening.
I want to let you in on some of the questions I have been asking myself these past few weeks. If I honestly believe that God became flesh, why do I still see Him as a floating blob of light in some ethereal realm that sort of looks like a human? Why is His life not real to me? Why do the stories of His life in the four gospels often times seem like fairy tales? Why does heaven seem like a pipe dream instead of a real, concrete, physical place where that Man sits right now?
Jesus is a real man. One day, I will stand across from Him, look Him in the eyes, shake His ruddy hand, and smell His sweet breath. He is my Creator and my God.
I’m continuing a series on my blog interviewing some musicians from IHOP-KC. If you have not yet read part 1 and 2 of Cassie’s interview, be sure to read them here and here. I asked Cassie about her thoughts on a somewhat controversial subject for some – secular music. I’ve written some of my own thoughts about this here and here. I hope you enjoy this final part of her interview!
Josh: Hi Cassie, well here comes the big question that I am sure everyone has been waiting for… What do you think about prophetic musicians and secular music? For a musician desiring the spirit of prophecy, is secular music ok to listen to?
Cassie: Well, let me start by saying that I believe the Lord is the Creator and with that the originator of music. He has designed His throne room (Rev. 4) to have continual music through song, in words or instruments. We’re musical because He’s musical. Music is the one universal language. It is the highest form of entertainment or worship in every culture. I believe there is music that is pointed directly to God, I believe there is music that is pointed directly to Satan, I believe there is music that exalts the world, which is the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life (1 Jn. 1:16). I believe there is soulish music the expresses the soul in it’s emotions of pain, joy, anger, sorrow, and confusion. I believe there is music that is factual and describes the practicals of life. i.e. If I write a song about my car it’s neither worship to the Lord nor satanic worship, it’s a song about my car… I believe the Lord can use songs that were once not directed towards Him specifically, however, if then used by a worshipful heart, would receive the worship and is pleased. Obviously this list isn’t exhaustive, but my point in saying all of this is that there is music that is definitely worshipping Jesus, music that is definitely worshipping Satan, music that is definitely worshipping the world/man, and then there is music that isn’t clearly one or the other, it may be describing universal emotions, or can be a silly song about my car I drive, which neither leads me to a place of directly worshipping Jesus or the other.
This past weekend, I traveled to a weekend event in College Station, Texas organized by the Luke18 Project, the college campus division of IHOP. The Luke18 Project’s vision is to raise up prayer furnaces on every college campus across the US. Brandon Hammonds, a fellow intercessory missionary here at IHOP, is a part of the Luke18 ministry and organized the whole trip this past weekend. Justin Rizzo and I flew down with Brandon to Houston on Friday and were hosted by an amazing family in College Station (about an hour and a half outside of Houston).
College Station, Texas is the home of Texas A&M University, one of the largest campuses in the nation. Texas A&M was well-known several years ago as the campus that had a massive bonfire accident where several students lost their lives. The Lord has recently been stirring prayer on the campus, and the Griffith family that hosted us for the weekend has carried a vision for a house of prayer on campus for a while now. We believe that our trip was just another spark for the fire in the Spirit to burn even brighter.
I'm continuing a series on my blog interviewing some musicians from IHOP-KC. If you have not yet read part 1 of Cassie’s interview, be sure to read it here. Cassie is the bass player on Laura Hackett’s team at IHOP-KC and has played with Misty Edwards, in addition to being part of IHOP-KC’s nightwatch for many years. This is part 2 of Cassie’s interview where I asked her questions relating to being a prophetic musician as her full-time occupation.
Josh: Hi Cassie, thanks for doing this once again! So many people were encouraged by part 1 of your interview. I know you have many thoughts on Christians and secular music, but I think we’ll save that for part 3 of our dialogue. But let’s jump right in to part 2! You said earlier that you often like to sing in the Spirit and with your understanding as you play on stage. Do you think there is a formula or method for becoming “anointed” as a prophetic musician on your instrument?
I'm continuing a long-running series all the way back from 2008 on prophetic music where I interview musicians, singers, and worship leaders from IHOP. If you have not read the other interviews, be sure to read the ones from Justin Rizzo, Jordan Vanderplate, Francisco Arteaga part 1, part 2, and Gabriel Hancock part 1, part 2. I love running with these guys (and gals) because they share the same vision as me for the spirit of prophecy on their music. This time, I interviewed Cassie Campbell, a bass player in the house of prayer who has played a lot with Misty Edwards and many other worship teams here. I hope her words and thoughts encourage and provoke you!
Josh: Hey Cassie, I'm so glad we've been able to finally connect and do this interview! Before we jump in to your thoughts on prophetic music, give the readers a little bit of your background. Where did you grow up and how did you get to IHOP-KC?
Allow me to ask a bold question. Are we more in love with the idea of Jesus, the power of Jesus, or the doctrines of Jesus than we are in love with Jesus Himself?
I’ve written on this topic in these past articles here and here but I’ve been been personally convicted again lately by the way I would answer this question, because I have had a wrong understanding about what a “relationship with Jesus” is for so long.
Unfortunately we’ve made a relationship with Jesus to be something completely different than what it should be. Men are sincere but misdirected in their pursuit of intimacy and relationship with God. Intimacy with Jesus has been characterized by a nebulous, intangible warm fuzzy feeling on our hearts during a prayer meeting or worship gathering. If someone has memorized the Bible and can speak eloquently, or they have lots of “intimacy language” we often say that they “know Jesus”. With this false idea of intimacy, Jesus is not a real human to us in the same way that the people close to us like our family, friends, and coworkers are. As this wrong mindset progresses in a downward spiral, the incarnation becomes only a doctrine that we adhere to, and Jesus becomes nothing more than a fairytale-like figure that sits on a cloud in the heights of the heavens.
It’s hard to believe that the KC onething conference is over and another year has passed. Paco and I were walking into Bartle Hall the day before the conference started agreeing together that it had seemed like we were just there only a few months ago.
For those of you who were able to watch the onething conference via the free webcast, I hope you were blessed, encouraged, challenged, and provoked to pursue Jesus and give Him the preeminence in your life in a new way.
There were over 20,000 in attendance at this year’s conference and for many, it was a life-changing 4 days. The Lord in His kindness broke in and set many free from wrong paradigms, self-hatred, a spirit of fear, a religious spirit, depression, suicide, and anxiety, bringing joy and freedom, a greater love for the Word, and a passion for souls. Many experienced physical healing and manifestations of power and of the wine of His presence. The worship from Cory Asbury, Misty Edwards, Matt Gilman, and others was faith-filled and anointed. Our (Justin Rizzo’s team) set on Tuesday morning was great!
All of the conference teachings were knit together in a common theme, centered around the supremacy of Christ, His purposes, His desire, and His heart to heal and deliver. Wes Martin spoke on the centrality of prayer and the identity of the church as a praying people before Jesus returns. Corey Russell spoke on the passion and desire of Jesus towards us from His prayer in John 14-17, and how the knowledge of His love will stabilize our hearts in the midst of a shaking world. Misty Edwards examined the ultimate purpose of our life and powerfully explained that it must be centered around the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.
“Anyone contemplating the life of Jesus needs to be newly and more deeply aware every day that something scandalous has occurred: that God, in His absolute being, has resolved to manifest Himself in a human life. He must be scandalized by this, he must feel his mind reeling, the very ground giving way beneath his feet; he must at least experience that ‘ecstasy’ of non-comprehension which transported Jesus’ contemporaries (Mark 2:12; Mark 5:42; Mark 6:51).”
- Prayer by Hans Urs von Balthasar, p.159.
It’s Christmas time yet again in our world. While the rest of the world is giving gifts and taking days off from work, there is a greater invitation for us as believers in Jesus. More than gifts, vacations, and Christmas parties, we have the invitation to experience the “ecstasy of non-comprehension” as we look at the little baby lying helplessly in that foul-smelling feeding trough, knowing that we are beholding God Himself - the creator of the world and the sovereign ruler over all things.
I was talking with a friend this morning about a passage I’m sure many of us know well:
“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you.” (John 15:4-7 NKJV)
How do we “abide” or “remain” in Jesus? It’s something so much easier than we’ve perhaps believed it to be.
“Abiding” in Christ is not some ethereal, high plane of being that we ascend to after years of grueling spiritual abandonment and sacrifice. The enemy has tried to convince us otherwise, but it is not something reserved for a select few monks or nuns, nor is it something that can only be had by the “really spiritual people” through some special means of prayer.
This weekend's onething conference was held in Raleigh/Durham, North Carolina. It was my first visit to the Tar Heel state. The Raleigh/Durham/Chapel Hill area is home to 5 or 6 major college campuses, including common household names like Duke University and UNC. One of the major reasons onething wanted to come to this area was to strengthen the prayer movement on the local campuses. I'm sure there were young adults in attendance from all of the area campuses. The estimate I've heard was that somewhere around 1500 young adults were in attendance for the evening sessions!
We opened the conference on Friday night with Justin Rizzo leading worship and Corey Russell speaking. Justin led the room into God's presence through some familiar and some new songs, and most of them engaged with the Lord right from the start. Corey called the attendees into having a focus and fascination with the Eternal One, not with the temporal pleasures that defile the heart. He was used mightily by God and people were set free of their addictions, habitual sins, and demons of self-hatred and comparison.
Saturday morning's session was led by Justin and Corey again. Both the worship and the teaching were a natural follow-up to the Friday night session, and we all felt that the Lord wanted to "fill the vacuum" that was left in the hearts of the attendees the previous night. Corey's message was mainly focused on John 17:26 and the God of desire. After calling them to a higher vision the previous night, Corey spoke on the One who could bring them into the satisfaction and longing they were made for - Jesus Christ.