A few weeks ago, Sarah and I had the opportunity of a lifetime. We traveled to Bulgaria with a team from Global Celebration and ministered to the Roma Gypsy community. To say that this experience was life changing would be cliché, but it was truly life changing.
The Roma Gypsy community is one of the poorest and most discriminated people groups in the world. In a country that can be considered by the majority of the world to be a developing nation, many of the Roma still live in an underdeveloped world. Many times, they are reduced to making their homes in what would amount to the locallandfills. During this trip, we had the opportunity to feed over 5,000 people. We were able to provide food baskets to roughly 100 widows, who otherwise would have very little. Each night, we would gather in what seemed like their town square, but was really nothing more than an alleyway, to worship. Over 1,000 people would pack into this area to sing and offer praises to God. It was truly an amazing sight.
Over the four days there, we visited three different Roma communities. Each time, we worshipped God together and loved on each other. I hugged and kissed more strangers than I had ever done before in mylife. But with each interaction, I saw the love of God flow, not only through me, but to me. In each face, I could see the face of Jesus looking back at me. With each embrace, I could feel the embrace of the Father. Every interaction brought me deeper into an encounter with the joy of the Lord. The presence of God began make tangible with each passing moment. We saw signs that would make you wonder. We saw people be saved, healed, and set free. We saw a passion and hunger for the presence of God unlike anything I had ever seen before. I found myself processing with the Lord. I had gone there to give, but ended up receiving so much more. Here are two things (of the many) I learned from my beloved Roma
I LEARNED THAT WORSHIP IS EASY. We are the ones who over complicate it. Sarah and I had the opportunity to lead worship alongside some amazing local worship leaders. We didn’t speak the same language, but as our hearts united in worship, we would see the presence of God fall. As the worship would go out, people would respond. It didn’t matter how in tune my guitar was (most of the time it wasn’t). It didn’t matter that Sarah was singing in English. All that mattered was at that moment God was present. I looked out onto a crowd of close to 1,000 people, completely engaged with the worship being lifted up. They were completely engaged with the presence of God. They didn’t need to be led in worship; they led themselves. Throughout the crowd you could here the chant of Isus (Jesus) rise. There was a moment where Sarah would back off then the Roma leader would step out and the presence of God grew thicker. Then he would look at her and she would step forward with a prophetic song in tongues and the presence of God grew even thicker. It was a moment that no one wanted to see end. I processed with the Lord why it seemed so easy to lead worship here. His response was, “It’s because they made this about me and not them.” I began to ask myself, how many times I have made worship about me, my encounter with God, and what I got out of it. I realized, that by doing that I was actually worshipping myself and not Him. I witnessed people who had nothing, give Him everything. When was the last time I had really given Him all?
This was my first international trip. I went in completely not knowing what to expect. As I result, I had a sense of expectancy, but no expectations. When we set expectations, we set our selves up for disappointment when those expectations are not met. Expectancy knows that something is going to happen because God is good and as a result whatever happens is good.
Our first night in the city of Kazanluk, Bulgaria, I was asked to preach. I had the privilege to prophecy over this community, see people healed, delivered and give their life to Jesus. I personally started to move in ways I hadn't seen before. It was like there was such a high demand on what I was carrying; that things flowed out of me, some of which I didn't know was there. I have dreamed of seeing the Lord move like this in the Church in the United States. But here I was, in what the locals called “the hood” seeing an outpouring of the Holy Spirit that I have only dreamed of. It broke my heart not for the Roma, but for the Church back home. I asked God why I hadn’t seen this type of move back home. The Lord’s response to me was, “You’re not really hungry for me to move this way.” This was the most direct that He had spoken to me on this trip. I really wrestled with this one. I thought I was hungry, but I had become “mentally” hungry. I wasn’t truly hungry.
We know all about “mental” hunger. That’s the hunger you feel from boredom. You spend the day, lounging around the house, with not really much to do, so you go to the refrigerator and grab something. It doesn’t really satisfy you, so you return twenty minutes later and eat some more. As believers, in the United States, we have become “mentally” hungry for God. The reality is that we have become bored with our own spirituality, so we say we are hungry. We go to our “spiritual refrigerator”. We know we can go to any church website and stream a sermon. We can turn on the T.V. to TBNor God TV and grab a quick bite. We can easily go and download a Bethelpodcast. All those are good, but are cravings aren't satisfied, because we are still bored with where we are.
True hunger, puts a demand on God that causes Him to move in ways we haven't seen before. That’s what the Roma were doing. Their hunger created a move of God that actually created more hunger. As I stood on that platform, I could feel a hunger in me rise, like I hadn’t felt in a long time. I believe, when the Church, in the United States, becomes that hungry, we will see a move of God unlike any other move in history.