A Journey To Deeper Streams Of Worship

A Journey To Deeper Streams Of Worship

By Leann Albrecht

As I travel the earth, I see a growing trend that thrills me. It is the desire to encounter God, see His manifest power and have an intimate relationship with Him. It’s not only happening in my own private devotions, it’s also happening in corporate gatherings. In the hearts of people, God is increasing our desire to seek Him.

Even though I was raised in a Christian home and my father was a pastor, I never knew this kind of hunger and depth of the Spirit until recent years. Growing up, I read the Bible and went to church three times a week. You might think being surrounded by hymns and Christian music would translate into experiencing their text, however, I rarely did. The missing part…they needed to sink from my head to my heart.

I was born again when I was three years old and baptized with the Spirit when I was thirteen. Those were real and wonderful moments but my spiritual life remained in infancy. It would be like a first grader who learned the alphabet but never learned to read.  I didn’t understand how to have a deeper relationship with the Lord. I saw others who did, but I didn’t know how to get there.

Since I was a child, my family traveled and sang. Consequently, I achieved a certain level of vocal expertise. However, when I was asked to lead worship, I soon found out that leading was a completely different thing.  I needed a whole other “set of tools” that I didn’t have.  Leading worship required that I lead from my heart and not my head. It was at that point I realized the shallowness of my own soul.

During those beginning years of worship leading, I had the advantage of observing other more mature worship leaders. As they seemed to effortlessly maneuver the waters of worship, I knew I had a long way to go. I suppose I was a little like King David’s wife as she watched him dance through the streets of Jerusalem.  She simply didn’t “get it”. The only difference was, even though I didn’t “get it”, I wanted it. I wanted to be like them. I’m not referring to their style of leading, but to their passion when they worshiped. I longed for the ability that compelled them to go way beyond the written song. They went wherever the Spirit led them. Their depth and transparency of relationship with the Lord was like a huge magnet that drew me in.

I suddenly realized I had been holding back. I had not gotten my eyes off of myself long enough to truly “love and worship the Lord with all my heart, mind and strength.” Mark 12:30
Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. “All of your heart” encompasses your spirit and emotions. “All of your mind” refers to your intellect and allowing the Lord to renew your mind. I Corinthians 14:15
So what shall I do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will also pray with my mind; I will sing with my spirit, but I will also sing with my mind. Romans 12:2Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will. “All your strength” means being physically engaged with an outward expression of the heart.

I was fairly proficient at “singing songs” and I knew how to pick the ones that pleased the audience. I also knew how to arrange them so they flowed effortlessly together, however, I didn’t know how to engage the Spirit of God in the midst of it.

I was so fearful of making mistakes that I posted sticky notes throughout the lyrics to remember all the right things to say and scriptures to read at all the right times. I left no room for spontaneity because I was afraid of an awkward moment where I might look foolish or out of control. All of a sudden, I realized I was protecting myself and my pride. It was evident there was a whole lot of me that I was trying to present rather than focusing on the Lord.

When my desperation for greater personal experience came to a climax, the Lord moved us to another church. I can still remember that first Sunday.  My husband, Carl, and I cried through the entire service. There was a freedom and liberty to move in all the gifts of the Spirit like I had never seen before. There really was no other agenda than to wait on the Lord. There were no time constraints and no one watching the clock to make sure the service was “wrapped up” so everyone could be dismissed after a tidy package of religion. That four-hour service seemed like thirty minutes. Up to that point, we had never experienced a “Presence driven” church. I identified with the desperation to seek and know God. It was exactly what I was longing for.

I began a fast to contend for a greater revelation of Jesus and the deeper things of the Spirit. My hunger grew. I couldn’t get enough of the Lord.  Every time I heard of a meeting where the Spirit of the Lord was moving, I went.  I wanted to hang out with those who walked in spiritual maturity and daily experienced the manifest presence of God. Nothing but authentic God encounters satisfied me. As I sought Him, He pursued me

I devoured the Word and became a shameless spiritual glutton. I dared to ask the Lord for ALL of the gifts…  I Corinthians 12: 4-11 There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but the same God works all of them in all men. Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit the message of wisdom, to another the message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues, and to still another the interpretation of tongues. All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he gives them to each one, just as he determines.

His Word was alive! When I read I Corinthians 14: 1-3 I realized why He emphasized the gift of prophecy. Verses 1-3 Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy. For anyone who speaks in a tongue does not speak to men but to God. Indeed, no one understands him; he utters mysteries with his spirit. But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.

Just the word “prophetic” used to scare me. I had the impression that being a prophet was only for a chosen few who were perfectly holy and I was far from that. In fact, the few people that I knew, who were prophets, were really strange folks.  They actually acted like they were from another planet and I certainly didn’t want to be like that. But as I sat under teaching concerning prophecy, the fear of it melted away. Prophecy simply means hearing God speak and then delivering that message. That’s the interaction I longed for as I led worship.

Then I realized the missing part of my relationship was friendship and fellowship with Him. I had never looked at it that way before. Furthermore. I didn’t know He also desired to have that with me. John 15: 13-15 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you.

Before long I became comfortable with Him and intimate conversations seemed natural. The more our relationship grew, the more I fell in love with Him. My heart awakened to His kindness. Time and time again He showed me His unconditional friendship and how He didn’t measure me according to my past. He saw me through His eyes…not mine. Sometimes I would sit for hours just soaking in His company, drinking in His presence. Before then, I had no idea I was so loved. Love changes people and His love radically changed me. As I humbled myself and opened my heart to Him, He began to teach me His ways and reveal His thoughts to me. Amos 4:13
He who forms the mountains, creates the wind, and reveals his thoughts to man, he who turns dawn to darkness, and treads the high places of the earth— the LORD God Almighty is his name.

The fact that the Lord was speaking to me made me realize it’s possible for every Christian to hear the voice of the Lord. If He would speak to me, He would speak to anyone.  John 10:27 My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. Listening to the Lord requires lingering in quietness to hear Him speak. Not praying or singing or studying but simply waiting on Him. I give God space in my life and He responds. Deuteronomy 4:29 But if from there you seek the LORD your God, you will find him if you look for him with all your heart and with all your soul. He is always communicating with us. Revelation 3:20  Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him, and he with me. The more often we allow time with Him, the better we get to know Him and the more finely tuned we are to His voice.

Another notable transformation took place. The more I received His love; the more fear faded away. And I was afraid of a lot of things! 1 John 4:18There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. I realized, if I was afraid of what people thought of me, I would never have the courage to be His voice in the earth. That fear is gone! Now, all I want is to be His mouthpiece declaring truth that will set others free. John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

The way I lead worship has dramatically changed from those beginning years. I expect the Lord to speak and sing through me on a consistent basis. Now, I am comfortable not being in control. Songs that are written are merely the launching pad for spontaneous songs of the Spirit. It is an honor to host His presence.

 

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Comments

  1. Ryan Dahl says

    Great word for me today, Leanne. I’ll have what she’s having ;-). Your voice is prophetic to me.

    • Thanks, Ryan. Blessings to you at Praise Charts. We use them regularly.

    • tim childs says

      Awesome Leanne,

      I can see Gods Spirit all over you…. Keep up your Boldness an your never ending Kingdom work..

      Blessing to you an Carl … you are very special people…

  2. Hi,
    In-fact, i don’t know how to describe you. You are such a blessing to those who have direct and indirect contact with you. I have never heard or read this kind of message you are passing out for those that who do not know their left from right. God will continue to bless you and enlighten you more and more in his presence. YOU ARE INDEED GOD’S GIFT TO THOSE WHO HAVE EYES AND EARS, TO SEE AND HEAR. Remain bless and continue to grow higher in the Lord’s strenght cause He will never depart from you and your wonderful hubby. PLEASE REPLY BACK ,IF YOU EVER READ THIS.

  3. Carl and Leann what is happening to you guys is so awesome. It was an incredible pleasure to do sound for you at the mega-church in St. Louis, I prayed every time I did sound that we would create an environment where people would have a head on collision with the love, compassion, and power of God. The first time I stepped into the grocery store that preceded the mega-church it was like walking into a sea of the power and love of God. My mind had no idea what. was going on, but everything in my spirit jumped up and down. I knew in my spirit I had to have what I saw going on around me. That one day completely changed my life for ever. You guys are walking in that kind of power and it is AWESOME!

    Heavenly Father continue to pour your power, love, and compassion through Carl and Leann. May they truly set the captives free. Amen

    Andy

    PS it was fun to take lessons from Carl., even tough I was too busy to uh practice… 1 e and ah

    • Wow…thanks, Andy. Actually it was walking into that same store front that also changed my life. I had just moved back from NY and attended with my parents one Sunday morning. I’m happy that passion and love for Jesus has captured your heart too.
      Thanks for your post and prayer!!
      Many blessings to you.

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