|Why We Worship Conference: Johannesburg 1999|
It was neither politically motivated nor humanly contrived fervour that drove the young man, but rather the uncontrolled, furious passion that comes from being in the very throne room of God.by Charles Webster
Nkosi, Yamakhosi! he cried. Oh God, my God! This was the impassioned cry from the lips of the shyly charismatic lips of Silulama (Slu) Maphongwane, young Sowetan worship leader and anointed child of God.
Like the praise singers of old, the young African worship leader showered praise on the object of his worship, only this time, that object was no earthly leader. It was neither politically motivated nor humanly contrived fervour that drove the young man, but rather the uncontrolled, furious passion that comes from being in the very throne room of God.
Slu, along with Cape Town Vineyard worship leader, Simon van Niekerk, joined forces with Brent Helming and Rita Springer out of the US this week to give vent to South Africas cry for the flow of the Holy Spirit. With a combination of rearranged Vineyard songs like Brian Doerksens Pour out my heart and locally-written material from the likes of Slu (Culani), Sibusiso Ntsala (Praise Psalm, Moving with the Lamb) and Van Niekerks Vula Amanzi (Let the river flow), worship leaders and delegates alike were able to give expression to the philosophy of catching, rather than teaching, believers the art of drawing near to the Fathers heart.
Worshipping, and being ministered to by God truly cannot be taught. And it cannot be manufactured like the adulation heaped upon men by praise singers either paid for the job or whose lives depend upon the quality of that adoration. The wondrous worship fronted by the leaders was complemented by profound insights into the heart of the worshipper and the issues that confront all, and prevent many, from finding or even seeking the face of God to kiss it. Danny Meyer, visiting speaker from the Columbus Vineyard in Ohio, used the passage in Luke and its powerful imagery to point out the worshippers need to realise that only sinners can ultimately know their need for salvation and fully appreciate that salvation when, inevitably, it is forthcoming from the gracious hand of Jesus. His wife Penny spoke from Ephesians and, at least from the perspective of this humble observer, reiterated our painful lack of ability to do anything to earn Gods unconditional favour.
Workshops ranging from equipping sessions for worship leaders to programs designed to improve the non-musicians ability to engage in and fully experience intimacy meant both practical and spiritual needs of the delegates were addressed.
Were half way through right now. It is the writers prayer that this tone, and intimacy continue, and that those in attendance are able to truly assume the title of Praise Singers.
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