WITHOUT QUESTION, one of the most powerful and intimate corporate experiences with God I have ever been humbled to be a part of has happened at the last two Kingdom Songs Writing Retreats in Franklin TN. I know, I talk a lot about Kingdom Songs. Well, God has done SO much in and through those two years of retreats that I can't contain it. As soon as it seems like the dust has settled and I've gotten all that God has for me from them, more is revealed.
Both years, at one point during the retreat we were blessed to have Michael Farren lead a Worship set during the morning session. If you don't know who Michael Farren is, Google Him. Michael is truly one of the most prominent Worship Writers in the Industry today. More than that, anyone that has met Michael will attest that he has one of the most genuine Christ like hearts of anyone they have ever met. There is no primadona, no diva, no arrogance of any kind you can find in Michael. All you find is Love, Humbleness, Kindness, Grace, and a spirit of giving; which to be truthful caught me off guard in first meeting him. Michael's at the top of the heap and will kill me for saying it, but it is true. God has bless him to be among the very best worship writers in the industry and I was pleasantly surprised that someone of his stature in the industry would be so kind and humble, and it be genuine at the same time. Anyway, at the onset of Michael taking the stage, before a note was played, Michael asked all of us to hold out our hands in a receptive fashion. The first year I remember as if it were just two seconds ago. The 40 or so of us held out our hands, as did Michael. And. Then. There. Was. Silence. We collectively held our hands for well over a minute and at first there was an awkward silence as many really didn't know what to do in the silence. However, this quickly turned into one of the most beautiful moments I have ever been a part of. Tears were running down my face within a minute as I looked around at a silent room of 40 or so people with their hands held out in corporate receipt of God. And not a word had been uttered. The word Beautiful belittles what we experienced. After what I would guess was at least two minutes, Michael began to encourage us to prepare ourselves to receive God and what he was going to pour out into us. The action of holding our hands out collectively in a posture of receipt is what was so profound. We prepared to receive, and not only receive it; but accept what we were to receive. This past year Michael did the same thing and it was just as profound to me.
That day, groups of three of us each were to be paired with a Pro writer for an afternoon writing session. Man God knows what He is doing. As they called out names, I was paired with Jeff Markey, Kristen Fuselier, and our Pro was Jonathan Lee. We soon found a place outside to meet and we began by telling a bit of our personal stories, then we shared struggles we had been dealing with, and moved on to song ideas. Let me stop and say, I don't think Jeff, Kristen or I would have want to be paired with anyone other than Jonathan that day as Jonathan is a true gift from God. Man you see Christ in him. He was so transparent in his own struggles yet at the same time knew the Authority God has empowered us with and led us with and in that as we wrote.
From what I remember, after several minutes of talking, there was collective remembrance of what Michael had led us to do that morning in putting our hands out in the posture of receipt. We began talking about what we needed to receive from God and reflected on our individual struggles we had each just verbalized. We all agreed that we wanted to write a song around the concept of receiving God's blessings and things we were in need of. A declaration of "We Receive" was what God poured into us. I am by no means saying this in a braggerdly way, but I have been in several hundred writing sessions over the past decade and a half, and this one is truly one of a handful where people that had just met each other for the first time were literally finishing each others sentences. It was truly a Holy Spirit driven session to say the least. Ill say this and you won't believe me, but the rough phone recording I have has birds singing and what sounds like a stream running behind us as it was recorded. Completely surreal! We finished the song and collectively agreed this was a song that we each needed to sing ourselves. Again, a declaration of receipt.
To me the words of the Bridge sum up the essence of the song:
You Offer, Your Freedom, You Offer, Your Goodness, You Offer, Your Kingdom, So We Reach Out, and Take It
The following is Kristen and her twin sister Kellie's fully produced EPIC recording of the song which became the title track for their debut Album. "We Receive" by Kellie & Kristen will also be featured on "Our Love Resounds, a Collaboration of Praise" Part 2 to be release VERY SOON!
I have seen a lot of much needed discussion as of late in worship forums about being a producer in worship; an not simply being a consumer to which I agree wholeheartedly. I have a half written blog as we speak titled "Consuming Worship, a Divine Line" which speaks to that point. God has shown me through "We Receive" that we as worshipers need to come to him in a posture of receipt. But, it has also shown me that we need to come not just to receive, but to accept. God offers his Freedom, His Goodness, and His Kingdom, but how often do we reach out and take it. How often does God put his blessings before us, for us to freely take, and we look the other way, or even blatantly reject them due to pride or feelings of inadequacy, shame, or guilt. I can honestly say I have many, many times. YES we are to be producers not simply consumers in Worship; but, God wants to bless His Children, He LONGS to bless His children and we all too often don't come with attitudes of expectation or receipt. Just as a child in the natural knows he has the right to reach out and boldly take a gift or blessing from their father, so should we also from our Father in heaven.
In Closing, let this be our prayer, "Lord Here We Are, We Come With Open Hands, To Receive Your Love that Knows No Ends, We're Undeserving, But You Give Us Mercy, WE RECEIVE!"