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Gatorade, Champagne or New Wine
Gatorade, Champagne or New Wine ... Which would you choose?
I had a dream not long ago, in which I was drinking a bottle of Gatorade as I was walking past several people who seemed to be thirsty. After offering them a drink, they each took a tiny sip (certainly not enough to quench their thirst). Since to my dreaming mind, Gatorade would signify a drink that would offer a quick boost, but not be the most satisfying or nourishing alternative, I pondered the dream's meaning and while doing so, light was also shed on a recent experience.
The day before, I had gone out for a celebration with friends, and one of them had ordered champagne before I arrived, the cost of which unexpectedly ended up being split by the group. The amount of my portion was more than I had in cash. Several of us didn't drink the champagne except perhaps for the toast, so the glasses bubbled away festively during our celebration. Nonetheless, it was purchased FOR us, so we owed the price (and at that point, I was thankful for a checking account!)
The next morning, after my Gatorade dream, in thinking over its meaning, the two instances seemed to be related. The comparison helped clarify some things I'd personally been pondering for a long time, considering music and ministry. Perhaps the comparison will speak to your own heart as well.
It seems perhaps that there are times in which we sadly offer spiritually/emotionally thirsty people a sip of Gatorade that barely TOUCHES their thirst, let alone sustains them for the long haul. At other times/in other ways, we offer champagne that appears attractive on the surface, promising to bring cheer to the soul, yet often serves more to intoxicate than to nourish or fulfill any deep longing. In some ways it APPEARS to be authentic, but somehow leaves much to be desired.
All the while, there is conspicuously placed in the center of life's table an ornate, beautiful and inviting chalice filled to the brim with New Wine. This new wine has already been purchased and poured, yet it is often left sitting on the table untouched, let alone tasted.
So how does this relate to Music and Ministry?
Offering thirsty souls Gatorade would be analogous to singing popular love songs or engaging in self-help/pop-culture discussions to alleviate a bit of pain or bring momentary joy, yet producing little true healing, restoration or satisfaction of any deep inner hunger or thirst.
Champagne, on the other hand, might be more like using emotionally and/or rhythmically charged (Christian) music to develop, inspire or attempt to create an atmosphere of worship, or using topical preaching or teaching to stir the emotions, motivate or inspire, while providing little lasting, effective inner strength or fulfillment.
New Wine, in a league all by itself, would involve music that is straight from the Holy Spirit, alive, active, speaking more deeply to the soul and spirit than any human spoken words.... Could be fast, slow, loud, soft, but absolutely REAL and from the heart of Jesus, bringing contentment and satisfaction to the soul, and deep fulfillment and nourishment to the spirit. New Wine ministry would be filled to overflowing with the Person of Jesus, deep, true, honest, pure, allowing the Word of God to speak for Himself in many ways. Hard to put into words, but easily identified when TASTED.
Taste and See
Interesting that Jesus' first miracle in Cana of Galilee was at a wedding during which He changed the water into wine (John 2:1-11). That was obviously very high quality Wine, as the master of the banquet seemed so impressed that the bridegroom had saved the best until now. Did you ever wonder why, when his mother came to tell Him in the first place that they had no more wine, His response was: "My time has not yet come."?
Interesting that a couple of chapters later in the book of John, Jesus is interacting with the woman at the well (John 4:4-42), Jesus says to her: "If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water." (John 4:10) He certainly seems to care about thirsty souls.
"Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters; and you who have no money, come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and your soul will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me; hear me, that your soul may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you, my faithful love promised to David. See, I have made him a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander of the peoples. Surely you will summon nations you know not, and nations that do not know you will hasten to you, because of the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, for he has endowed you with splendor. Seek the LORD while he may be found; call on him while he is near." (Isaiah 55:1-6)
In Matthew's gospel, Jesus says that men do not "pour NEW WINE into old wineskins. If they do, the skins will burst, the wine will run out and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins, and both are preserved.' " (Matthew 9:17, emphasis mine.)
During the Last Supper (the Passover Seder meal at which Jesus gathered with His disciples the night before He was crucified), Luke records the following: "In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, "This cup is the NEW COVENANT in my blood, which is poured out for you." (Luke 22:20, emphasis mine.) That blood represents the NEW covenant, one in which HE has fulfilled the requirements FOR us, as opposed to the OLD covenant in which WE had to try hopelessly to fulfill them.
"For if there had been nothing wrong with that first covenant, no place would have been sought for another. But God found fault with the people and said:
'The time is coming, declares the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they did not remain faithful to my covenant, and I turned away from them declares the Lord.
This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time, declares the lord. I will put my laws in their minds and write them on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people. No longer will a man teach his neighbor, or a man his brother, saying, "Know the Lord," because they will all know me, from the least of them to the greatest. For I will forgive their wickedness and will remember their sins no more.'
By calling this covenant 'new', he has made the first one obsolete; and what is obsolete and aging will soon disappear." (Hebrews 8:7-13)
Again, from a little later in Hebrews: "When Christ came as high priest of the good things that are already here, he went through the greater and more perfect tabernacle that is not man-made, that is to say, not a part of this creation. He did not enter by means of the blood of goats and calves; but he entered the Most Holy Place once for all by his own blood, having obtained eternal redemption. The blood of goats and bulls and the ashes of a heifer sprinkled on those who are ceremonially unclean sanctify them so that they are outwardly clean. How much more, then, will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself unblemished to God, cleanse our consciences from acts that lead to death, so that we may serve the living God!
For this reason Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, that those who are called may receive the promised eternal inheritance--now that he has died as a ransom to set them free from the sins committed under the first covenant." (Hebrews 9:11-15)
The writer of Hebrews also says that we come to "Jesus the mediator of a new covenant, and to the sprinkled blood that speaks a better word than the blood of Abel." (Hebrews 12:24) Perhaps the word that Abel's blood speaks would express a desire for vengeance, and the word of Jesus' blood (New Wine, if you will) would resound with forgiveness.
Which Will You Offer?
If you are involved in music and/or ministry, what will you offer the thirsty souls around you? A sip of Gatorade to last them a moment or two? A glass of Champagne to cheer their heart and entice them, and promise more than it can supply? Or New Wine, filled to overflowing with the Person and abiding Presence of Jesus, allowing His Spirit to do a deep abiding and lasting miracle within, allowing His FINISHED work to do for them what you could never do?
Quench Your Thirst
There is a remarkably beautiful and inviting chalice filled with New Wine sitting within reach on the Table of Life. The Wine has been poured; the price has already been paid. In fact, you OWE that price if you don't know the One Who paid it for you. The price is WAY more than you could ever afford; no bank account could ever contain that much money.... But HE graciously paid for that New Wine, and offers it to you, freely, as His gift to you. He says rather "come to the waters ... you who have no money, come..."
Will you let it sit there, bubbling away, looking beautiful and enticing, but never reach out and TAKE it?! Or will you grab hold of it and "taste and see that the LORD is good; blessed is the man who takes refuge in him." (Psalm 34:8) Let the flavor and aroma take your breath away, and feel that New Wine flood your inner-man with healing and joy ... deeper than you ever dreamed possible. Oh yes, it IS possible. Praise our Risen Savior Jesus, the Messiah, the Holy One....
" 'I, Jesus ... am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the bright Morning Star.'
"The Spirit and the bride say, 'Come!' And let him who hears say, 'Come!' Whoever is thirsty, let him come; and whoever wishes, let him take the free gift of the water of life." (Revelation 22:16-17)
Praise You, Jesus, for Your precious Blood, that flows freely, with healing in its wake.
If this discussion has stirred up any questions for you, feel free to email me back (lisa @ shiningriver.com, leave out the spaces...), or if you'd like to know more about coming into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, feel free to visit the following URL: http://www.lovinggrace.org/fellowship/salvation_prayer.html
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