Do you remember the first time God "broke through" into your life? Your memories of what God has done might be the very vehicles the Holy Spirit wants to use to launch you into a fresh season of hunger for more. Memories were never meant to be memorials; memorials serve as a sign, yes, of where you've been, but also pointing towards what's ahead. Consider the moments where heaven and Earth collided, and you felt that, somehow, you were caught in the middle of this sacred collision. Think about those times, seasons, moments, services or meetings, where you felt as though you could touch God (or, more often than not, where you felt as though God touched you). So I ask again: Do you remember those breakthrough encounters?
When Heaven Crashes Down
I do. Back in July of 1999, I started to attend a local nondenominational church in South Florida called Christ Fellowship. The Lord has initiated a sovereign spiritual search in my heart. I had previously been attending a local Baptist Church, but as I received my driver's license and was able to venture a little further, I started attending this exploding mega-church. At first, I was baffled by the contemporary praise and worship. I didn't quite know what to make of the singing, clapping and exuberance in the congregation as they engaged the Lord in songs of praise and worship. I thought it was creepy, to be honest.
Until Holy Spirit visited me. Sovereignly and without warning, during a worship set, I felt electricity in my hands. Literally, my hands started to slightly vibrate as the worship team lead the church in a chorus about the nearness of God's presence. So here I was, interested in the things of God, yes, but not quite sure what to do with a God who refused to remain in the conceptual realm. My concept of God was that He was real and He did send Jesus to die for my sins. Doctrinally, I thought I was OK.
Maybe you're OK, doctrinally and theologically. But on that day in July of 1999, a breakthrough took place. The God I saw as a theology break out of that realm of concept and idea, and crashed into time and space—right there, upon me. I felt Him, and I've been pressing into His presence ever since. I prophesy that in the days ahead, we are going to have more and more reports of people feeling like God crashed in upon them.
This has a point. From that moment onward, I sought someone—anyone—who could help give me language for what transpired during my encounter with God. Over the years, I am beyond grateful for the men and women the Lord has brought into my life to help me make sense of what took place. But one who will always have a special place in my heart is Darlene Zschech, worship leader and author of some of the most groundbreaking modern hymns in circulation: "Shout to the Lord," "Worthy is the Lamb," "The Potter's Hand," and "The Victor's Crown" to name a few.
Less than a year after my Holy Spirit encounter at Christ Fellowship, I attended a worship event where Darlene was leading in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I had never experienced anything like that. The level of radical passion for God's Presence exhibited by this woman inspired me. In fact, I am absolutely convinced that that night, I received an impartation from the Holy Spirit, through Darlene. Definitely not an impartation to sing or play any kind of instrument. Heaven's no. It was an impartation that deposited an unquenchable thirst in my heart for Holy Spirit's presence—yes, to experience deeper dimensions of Him myself, but also, to help bring others into the place of encounter.
I do believe that Darlene carries this grace, and it is actually transferable through her music and worship!
An Impartation of the Breaker Anointing
Fast forward until now. For the last few years, Darlene has been emerging from a very dark season of dealing with cancer. By God's grace, she is on the other side—the winning side, I believe—of the battle.
On this side of the conflict, Darlene presents a brand-new album of worship songs, Here I Am Send Me. I didn't want to simply write a review. Truth be told, any review I would write of Darlene's albums would be five stars, amazing all the way. She is a general and mother in faith who knows her way into the presence of God, writes songs out of the place of encounter (not simply an obligation to fill up an album) and sows these songs into the body of Christ. I offer a prophetic perspective on what I believe this album will release into your life.
Here I Am, Send Me carries a powerful breaker anointing—a manifestation of God's presence that possesses the supernatural ability to break, cancel or shift whatever is coming against you. Darlene writes and sings, not as a spectator to battle, but as a very well-acquainted survivor and overcomer. As one who confronted a true valley of the shadow of death, the songs she is now releasing from this season are anchored in the unchanging nature of God, while also declaring the Spirit's power to overcome.
Victory Releases New Realms of Authority
I believe when you experience a certain aspect of God—particularly through a miracle—that miracle enforces your authority to release victory over that specific area to others. In other words, if the Lord sustained you through a battle with cancer, and ultimately empowered you to walk out on the other side victoriously, I believe you walk in an increased measure of authority to pray for those dealing with cancer/terminal illness. I understand that Darlene's healing was not instant; it was still a miracle of God: God working through her doctors, God working through mass prayer efforts, God working through all of His different means to destroy cancer in her body. I prophesy right now that the songs on this album will fill you with fresh faith in the largeness of God, the greatness of His power, the enduring nature of Jesus' love and the supernatural assignment of breakthrough. Darlene's miracle has reinforced the cry of her heart: "Send me to the nations, send me to my neighbor ... here I am, send me."
Darlene's personal encounter with God during her valley of the shadow of death, I believe, will impart fresh faith to you to contend for breakthrough by pressing into His presence. Worship is not a formula. It's not like we follow the Paul and Silas strategy so that when we're in a bind, we refer to the "Praise Strategy for Breakthrough," sing songs of praise, and then expect God to come through. And yet, He consistently comes through. Why? Praise enthrones Him. His presence manifests in an atmosphere of true praise, and when His presence comes, His Spirit moves. Where His Spirit moves, His kingdom is advanced. And where His kingdom comes, darkness is pushed back. Disease is healed. Torment is broken. Miracles are the normal offspring of atmospheres under the influence of Holy Spirit's presence. And you don't need a church service to create an atmosphere of presence; you can do it simply by giving Him praise wherever you are, in whatever season you're in, simply because He is worthy.
The Songs and Sounds of Breakthrough
Whatever season you are facing, there is a song of breakthrough for you on this album. Just soak it in. The album does not rush, as most of the songs are six minutes-plus. Here are just a few highlights:
"You Are Great" opens the album with a triumphant anthem announcing the greatness of God, co-written by a fellow general of worship - Martin Smith (formerly of Delirious). Just get ready. What begins as an announcement of praise transitions into a bridge that will usher you into His glory: We stand in awe.
"You Will Be Praised," co-written with Jenn Johnson (Bethel Music) and Paul Baloche ("Open the Eyes of My Heart"), is a beautiful reminder of the constancy of God's presence with us, no matter what season we are going through or what opposition comes against us. Through every storm, You will remain.
"Daylight" continues to remind that this is not some template worship project where every song sounds exactly the same. It begins very tenderly, once again celebrating the constancy of God's presence, but then celebrates the magnitude of the one who is ever present with us. "You're the God of Angel Armies," heaven wings over me.
I could provide enthusiastic thoughts about each song, but, I do encourage you to prepare your heart for "Kingdom Come" and "Beloved." Wow. "Kingdom Come" is a prophetic announcement of the ever-advancing, ever-increasing kingdom of God on Earth, while "Beloved" (combined with "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross") crescendos into a powerful expression of spontaneous praise that charges the atmospheres with Holy Spirit's presence.
The Assignment of Breakthrough
Breakthrough has a sound—and an assignment. Darlene's personal breakthrough has, I believe, brought her into a new dimension of worship where her songs carry a fresh impartation and anointing to release faith over those she is leading.
You don't need to be a worship leader or singer, though, to release the sound of your breakthrough. The essence of this album is captured in the song, "Here I Am, Send Me." This beautifully puts lyrics to the assignment of breakthrough. Likewise, when you receive a miracle or breakthrough, there is an assignment that accompanies this: Testify. Declare. Announce. Why? Because we want to see God do it again! Your testimony of breakthrough, like Darlene's songs, imparts breakthrough faith into those who hear your story. When you share about who God is and what He has done for you, it actually imparts faith in the person listening. They start to believe God can move for them: "Surely, if God did it for you, He can do it for me too."
Yes, He can!
Larry Sparks is co-author of the book, The Fire That Never Sleeps, with Dr. Michael Brown and John Kilpatrick. Larry's mission is to help teach all believers how to experience and sustain personal revival—enjoying a deep relationship with God through encountering the presence and power of the Holy Spirit. To this end, he maintains a blog through Charisma magazine, is a published author, teaches revival seminars, and is the co-founder of Renewing South Florida, an organization committed to uniting the local church for regional outpouring. Larry holds a Master of Divinity from Regent University and presently serves as vice president of publishing for Destiny Image Publishers.
You can receive daily empowerment for personal revival from Larry on Facebook (facebook.com/larryvsparks).
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