Sunday, May 19, 2013

looking back, sliding forward

I've written before about the Jesus Movement.  I remember what it started out as and what man made of it within the end of a decade.  I've written before about Jesus Music and how by the early eighties, the street level music turned from outward to the world to inward.  Jesus Music suddenly seemed to become Contemporary Christian Music (CCM);  how man took a movement and turned into to a profitable industry.  The passion seemed to be lost for the most part.  By the early eighties, young talented Jesus freaks became rock stars, heard not by the world, but as celebrities for Christians only.  I've talked about it.  I've written about it.  It wasn't all bad, but the movement, like a wave, rushed in to suddenly ebb.

In the late '70's Fred Field once told a small gathering of us (during a planning session for an  outdoor music festivals) where he saw where Jesus Music headed.  It was not good news and it did play out the way he foretold it.  Everything was going to be repackaged and given a glossy point of purchase display.  I was in my late teens at the time and I didn't like what Fred had said.  Jesus Music was going through a change, it was going mainstream, an industry to be made of it.  Maybe Fred wasn't getting and giving a prophetic word, maybe he was just relaying to his Alabama brothers and sisters here what he was already seeing happen in California.  
The Jesus Movement wave hit Alabama about three to five years after it hit California.  Often people in Alabama catch waves/trends a few years later...God has a reason for it.  Either way, he gave us the heads-up through Fred.

This weekend God winked at me.  He let me know that his movement forty years ago never ebbed or faltered...not one iota.  What I experienced throughout the seventies was only the moment the fire started...when God struck the match.  Man will do what man will do and man did.  God's purpose and plan will always continue in spite of man. 

This weekend I quietly realized that the Jesus Music didn't turn into CCM. Jesus Music did change back in 1980, but not the way I had interpreted.   The real Jesus Music turned upward.  Instead of music sung ABOUT God, the music transformed into singing TO God.   Worship and praise, music that God literally inhabits.  The music didn't die, God just picked up the tempo and enabled us to sing a higher octave.  God gave us a glimpse with the late Keith Greene.  He was there, leading people then in worship.  He was not wanting to be the CCM rock star - he was leading us toward the next stanza.

God gives us music.  God gives us voices to sing and hands and wind to play instruments.  We can fill our human vessels with anything we desire, but we were made to worship our Creator.  We were made to be inhabited by him and for his Spirit to inhabit our praise. Man will natually abuse and misuse the gifts given to him.  We have a free will after-all ... BUT we were created to worship.  Our voids were formed to be filled with His wholeness, with His holiness.

So the movement never stopped.  The movement never ebbed.  The movement was never hijacked or perverted by man and his manipulations.  Man can get caught up, sidetracked and lost along the way, but man cannot hijack a real move of God.

In no way was this a great revelation this weekend.  God just clarified this with me because He loves me and knew that it puzzled me down through the years.   More important things happened this weekend at the Living Sacrifice Worship Conference.  I just appreciate God caring enough to connect a few small dots for me.  It's obvious now as I look back at it. 

I'd like to thank Danny Daniels, Chris Lizotte, John and Marie Barnett for visiting the body here at Gadsden Vineyard Fellowship to lead us into worship, to help all of the worshipers here to go further up and further in.  You each taught us to be better worship leaders, better followers of his Spirit.  I can't write about what just happened this weekend because I'm still reeling from the worship and absorbing what God just did for me and the fellow members of spiritual kinfolk here.  Thank you again for coming and being a living sacrifice.  
 This was more than a mere 'event' for each of us here in Gadsden.  This is a moment in our church history that God used each of your seasoned saltiness to lead us, to release us into singing that higher octave. 

I'd also like to thank all those Jesus Freaks who were there when the fire started and carried the flame, those who made an impact and influenced my life and music: Keith Green, Larry Norman, Randy Stonehill, Mark Heard, 
Fred Field, John Michael Talbot, Randy Matthews, Noel Paul Stookey, Malcolm Wild and Alwyn Wall.

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