Travel God Moments Posted February 3, 2019

A broken moment with Carol Cymbala.

There are many reasons to visit New York City, but visiting the Brooklyn Tabernacle is a must for any Christ follower with a heart for singing. Clocking in at five Dove Awards, six Grammy Awards, and numerous video and album releases, the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir is an ensemble unlike any other. A music conference is held at the church every year where participants can rehearse and sing on stage with the choir. I had the honor and privilege to do so in 2017.

During a Q&A session, director Carol Cymbala talked about the requirements to sing on stage. If anyone was being held back from "giving their best to the Lord", their spot on the stage had to remain vacant. It may be a strict policy, but any unaddressed sin would negatively affect the group and their performance. I was feeling fine for most of the trip, but I went to the final rehearsal feeling like I had swallowed a ten-pound dumbbell. There was a massive amount of guilt accumulated from things that happened days, weeks, months, and even years ago. I was horrified that I did not become aware of this sooner, and that I had not been able to give my best to the Lord for so long.

There was a special time after rehearsal dedicated to praying for each other's needs, but Carol wasted no time coming to me. She could have picked anyone in the thousand-plus attending to sit down and talk with. After a few minutes, she put her hand on my shoulder and began to pray. At that moment, I felt something in my heart -- as though a thick, wicked vine had been ripped clean out. Every part of my life that had become numb became over flooded with emotions. I cried uncontrollably for half an hour, with Carol beside me the entire time.

The theme for the conference that year was 'Sing for Joy.' That is exactly what I during the Sunday services, free from the depression and indifference that plagued my life. I never felt happier than the day I sang on stage with The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir.

Since then, I have become aware of some other hurts and sins buried deep within my heart. The reason why I am vulnerable, upfront, and honest about myself is because I can't afford not to expose these things. I have brought so much trouble and pain upon myself because I narcissistically ignored the warning signs. Only now do I have an idea of what was robbed from me -- years full of joy and effective ministry that I can never get back.

That is why it is imperative to guard your heart. King Solomon said we should do this "with all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life (Prov. 4:23)." Your heart connects you to God and others, and is the source of everything that you do. Any sin taking root will poison the spring.

That is why we ought to make war with our sin. Romans 8:13 says "For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live." By default, we are full of sin and utterly hopeless to fix ourselves. But someone who is empty of sin and self but full of the Holy Spirit can touch lives, win souls, and change the world (Acts 1:8). And when you are a thorn in Satan's agenda, he will certainly not let it go unnoticed.

That is why Apostle Paul tells us to put on the full armor of God (Eph. 6:10-18), which includes Truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, salvation, the Word of God, and prayer. Many things are mentioned because we cannot underestimate our enemy. Satan will use anything if it can make us lose heart. And if we are not careful, we can lose everything else.

But I do these things not out of fear, but out of love for the One who created us (Jn. 1:3), reached out to us (Jn. 3:16), died for us (1 Pt. 2:24), gifted us with His righteousness (2 Cor. 5:21), and has chosen us before the foundation of the world to be holy and blameless (Eph. 1:4).

Jesus gave His heart for us. He has given us His best.

The least we can do is to give Him ours.