Monday, April 13, 2009

The "Goosebump" Factor

Have you ever noticed how with worship songs particularly you can sing some and feel nothing yet sing others and have your hair stand on end and tears fill your eyes or other assorted manifestations?  This can happen when you are at home listening to particular worship CD's or MP3's - it can happen if you are watching worship DVDS.  But it can also happen when you are in different churches.  You can go to some churches and be there for years but only once or twice experience - what Ern Baxter called - "the Goosebump Factor".

Stanley Jebb once called it the "Deep Bass Note of Worship" - many, many years ago in Dunstable.  There are of course many other ways to describe it and many attempts to explain it.  But the clearest example for me was yesterday (I'm still in Bristol) when I was showing my dad my discover on You-Tube of the wonderful Grapevine worship videos.  I was explaining how the video I posted yesterday along with my miracle moved me to tears.  I played him Chris Bowater's leading of "The Power of the Cross" - and we both agreed it had the "Goosebump Factor".  Here it is;

But out of interest my dad found and played Keith & Kristyn Getty's version of "The Power of the Cross".  And neither of us felt anything.  No goosebumps.  No hair standing on end.  No tears.  Nothing.  What does this prove or suggest about worship songs and the manifest Presence of God hovering and touching those individual worship songs?

Well if Jonathan Edward's is to be believed - it neither disproves or proves the Presence of God.  It can mean that the manifest Presence of God was touching those songs powerfully from Grapevine and not the more professional rendition of the Getty's.  But it can just be a psychological reaction to videos that we liked and those we didn't!  Just as I could have spent 2 years in a church and felt nothing of the Presence of God apart from once or twice purely because of my bad attitudes.  But on the other hand it could have meant that church wasn't open to or welcoming of the manifest Presence and power of God.  Ern Baxter used to say that Beethoven or Mozart can achieve the same results as powerful worship songs!

So what you may say?  Well it's just an observation that occured to me as I was thinking about driving back up to Birmingham and home!  But it made me grateful that God has built "Goosebump Factors" into us.  We are not just brains and intellect that must focus on theology and doctrine.  He has given us in His divine sovereignity emotions and feelings (or affections) that are meant to and designed to react and respond to His awesome Presence when it falls on a person or a movement or a nation.  May it be so soon in the United Kingdom again as You have promised!


Jamie said...

Hey, Dan,

I've been mulling this one over since I read it.

My thoughts: The manifest prescence of God isn't God coming "upon" me. It is my recognition of Christ IN ME! Goosebumps or any other emotional response do not have to accompany this recognition, although they can and do at times.

I'm much more interested in God getting OUT OF me than into me...where He already is! I have become the tabernacle of God.

So, the manifest prescence of God is no more than me resting in what is ALREADY true and allowing Him to flesh that out in my everyday life. ALL THE TIME. Christ being LITERALLY formed in me. Jesus in a Jamie suit.

That is what creation is groaning for: our recognition of our true identity and authority. I'm ready for people to be healed just by my shadow falling on them. How about you???

Chris Welch - 07000INTUNE said...

I think it's cool us bandying around these two sides of things.
We get more light when we share. Certainly both things were happening at the pool of Bethesda. There was a real angel touching the pool, but only periodically. But there was a real Jesus saying to the 40 year's crippled man...hey d'you want some of this NOW? I guess meetings are a blend of the two. No doubt about the increase of anointing in the worship these days. Peter Stott emailed us from Spain about a man just being healed in the praise this weekend in Seville. But then there's the preaching of the Word as Jamie has written, which is in effect God saying "How would you like your own tool kit rather than coming to the doctor's surgery every week."

But about secular music here's an interesting one. Sting's backing band has Bradford Marsalis the saxaphonist. His brother is also world class...Winton Marsalis the jazz and classical trumpeter. But the thing is they are a New Orleans black family. And they probably grew up in worship in a great black church. So on Sting's "Bring on the Night" CD there is one incredible bit where the combo kind of wind down from improvising- can't remember the track- probably "When the world is running down"- then all of a sudden it's like they get second wind and go in to a kind of supernatural overdrive...and I kid you not...Christian or not...whoever listens to this feels the hair on their neck rise up. Now what is that about?

Also , regarding Beethoven and Mozart...some of the greatest players of the last 50 years have been Jewish...and no small quantity have been through concentration camps...and something of that experience comes through when they play these awesome pieces...where does supernatural gifting end and superb playing from life experience begin??? I'm really not sure.

Dan Bowen said...

That's a really good thought Jamie! Really, really thought-provoking. And as for shadows falling on sick ... yes please! I'm ready! Just get that unbelief out!!

Jamie said...

OK, Dan, let's keep going...

What if the two angels seated at the head and foot of where Jesus' body was laid in the tomb represent the cherubim on the Mercy seat on the ark? Showing us that Christ has now become the Mercy seat, right? Which makes us the ark that He covers. Our wood(humanity) is overlaid with gold signifying His life inwardly and outwardly manifesting through us. We contain the pot of manna(Christ, the Living Word), the rod that budded( our wood, His LIFE), & the law(The Spirit of the Life of Christ in us). Although we are the container, he clothes us in righteousness inwardly and outwardly. And we HOLD and display HIS PRESENCE because God met with the people between the wings of the cherubim. He still does. IN US! He meets US there but also the world sees Christ in us! This IS MATURITY! Christ IN ME! This isn't an OCCASIONAL thing. THIS IS NOW!!

I'm going to be sharing a vision I had about this...check in on me sometime... :D

jul said...

I agree with both perspectives in a way...I know God is in me and with all the time, but I experience him in different ways at different times. Like being with my husband in a way, there are so many different ways to be with him! And they're all good but different, sometimes there are more goosebumps than other times.

I think that God manifests his presence in different ways at different times. Though Jesus promised to never leave us he also promised to be with us where two or more are gathered, so there must be a different dynamic when believers meet together.

As far as why some seem to manifest God more than others? Sometimes I think it may be due to some having more of an awareness and understanding of who Jesus is and who they are in him. They are free to be and then Jesus comes shining through more easily...just thinking here, but it seems that in my own life I am far more conscious of and able to enjoy God and his presence under grace than I was under law and condemnation. Not that he wasn't with me before but I didn't know it and couldn't enjoy it. And maybe now I am more perceptive in a way and can much more easily see God in those who are not living as much in the flesh under law....I don't know...

Jamie said...

I was thinking today about zoe & pnuema...the life of God and the Breath of God: the Spirit. Although we have both maybe the Spirit can feel like an actual breeze moving among us sometimes. Maybe the Spirit blows from one believer onto another...when what is in us is released. Just thoughts...

jul said...

Jamie, that's an interesting thought...I think we have often reduced fellowship down to something so earthly when it is something so heavenly charged with supernatural power. True fellowship involves dynamic fresh experiences and revelations of God that flow back and forth between us, divine unity happens and we can't help but become a powerful unstoppable force as we join together in his love.