Healing Rooms

Welcome to Harmony Vineyard’s Healing Rooms ministry. If you are considering a visit to the Healing Rooms, here’s some information on what will take place.

When you first come in, you will be greeted by the receptionist. The receptionist will ask you to sign your name on the list for the day. This list consists of people who are coming for prayer. You will fill out an information sheet. This sheet is for our information only and is strictly confidential.

We have wonderful prayer teams, and typically you will be in a room where three people will pray for you. The team will have already prayed over your prayer request and will pray according to the direction of the Holy Spirit. We are not counselors, so we will do no counseling.

Both before and after your prayer time you will be invited to sit in our sanctuary, where quiet, worshipful music is playing.

If you have any questions about our Healing Rooms, please give Jon Potter a call at 804.798.3731, ext. 702.

By |2019-05-20T16:35:57+00:00July 10th, 2016|Church News|Comments Off on Healing Rooms

Singing As A Spiritual Discipline

NOTE: This article was originally written by Sean Palmer and reprinted here.

How important is singing to your own spirituality? How important is singing to your church’s worship time?

[I’m using “worship” here as it is often used.]

There’s nothing the church does so wonderfully and terribly as singing. Some folks even make their ecclesial decisions based on whether or not they “connect to God” through singing.

If you’ve spent more than 10-minutes inside an American worship service, you already know how important singing is. Regardless of the worship style of your congregation, the music is important, and usually done well. Music has power. It transforms moments and has the power to embed memories and stir emotions. We are moved by the singing and music in ways little else can or does. For most of us, the music and singing of our congregation is one of the major reasons we picked it.

And that’s the problem.

In the mid-20th century, some traveling and nationally know preachers decided that a “personal Savior” was the carrot-and-stick that would motivate non-believers to come to faith. It worked. For the last 50 years, the sales pitch for faith in Jesus has been a personal one. “If YOU were to die today, where would you spend eternity? If YOU ask Jesus into YOUR heart….If YOU accept Jesus as your personal Savior” and all of that. A measure of individualistic focus is right and good. After all, I live in a world where I cannot make faith decisions for other people. And as a good Anabaptist I would choose not to even if I could. Nevertheless, it’s nearly impossible to imagine that such a singular focus could result in much other than a self-centered faith. After all, we got into this for personal reasons.

And that’s where singing comes in.

Our corporate/common singing, regardless of the musical style of our congregation, is still viewed by too many as an individual pursuit. This is odd, because we can’t do corporate singing alone. We just wished the songs were picked and sang as if corporate singing existed for us alone.

Don’t believe me? Do you know anyone who left their church because of a change in “worship?” In truth, these changes are barely changes in worship. Most churches still celebrate the Eucharist, engage sermons, sing, pray, and – sadly – have announcements. What changes is the singing! And the reason people leave over “worship” is because they no longer “like” the singing…personally.

Of course, we rarely say that out loud. We say, “It’s not what I grew up with. This music doesn’t speak to me. I’m not being fed by this,” or we evaluate the musicality and lyrical content of the music. Don’t get me wrong. It hardly ever matters what style of music you prefer – hymns, CCM, instrumental, Gregorian, a cappella, classical, jazz – all of us do the same thing. And most us are so musically uneducated that our grumblings about musicality are mostly broadcasting our musical ignorance.

Our problem is that we enjoy, celebrate, bemoan, criticize, celebrate, and judge church life based on what we like. We are deciding on the basis of what we like because we’ve bought into the lie that our corporate singing should be personal. Personal worship for a personal savior, right?

But what would church look like if we reframed corporate singing, not in the ever-narrowing category of “worship,” but as a spiritual discipline?

If corporate singing were a spiritual discipline…

We Wouldn’t Expect Immediate Results. No faithful practitioner of spiritual disciplines expects to walk in, practice a discipline for an hour, and leave humming a tune and tapping their toes. In the realm of spiritual practices we know that the blessing is found in the practice itself. You could practice contemplative prayer for years without any tangible outcome, uplifting feeling, or goosebumps, but you come to love and enjoy practicing the presence of God.

We Could Sing On Behalf Of Others. There are songs I hate, like “Amazing Grace.” I’ve never liked it, but I know “Amazing Grace” is tremendously meaningful for others. A friend recently shared with me the place of the song “Amazing Grace” in the recovery movement. The song means a great deal for members of AA and other recovery groups. Those folks are in my church. As a spiritual discipline, I can sing that song – though I despise it – on their behalf. I sing, therefore, not because it’s efficacious for me, but those around me.

We Could Be Less Manipulative. I hate to be the one to tell you, but many worship experiences are designed to manipulate your feelings. That’s not all bad. Church leaders should want you to do something at the end of a service, and music is frequently used to disarm congregants toward that end. Christian musician, Rich Mullins, was once approached by a fan. The fan said, “I was really moved during the song, going into the third verse. I felt The Spirit.” Mullins responded, “That wasn’t The Spirit. That was just when the kick-drum came in.” Perhaps, as a spiritual practice, all of us would be more open to simply allowing God to move in our midst rather than modulating up the last chorus, jumping around, turning up the volume, and hosts of other tricks we invent to gin up the congregation?

We Could Hear The God of The Desert. Perhaps God doesn’t want us to sing the songs we love. Might it be possible that some of us have come to praise our worship and worship our praise and the call of God for us is to go into the desert; to experience emptiness in an area of life we have come to overly depend? If so, could all of the church-hopping and in-fighting over music over the last 20-years been our avoidance of entering the space in which God wants to lead us. Could it be possible that one of the reason we are not experiencing greater engagement with God is because we have abandoned His voice and chosen a tune we like. We must never forget, before Jesus begins His life of impact, He goes into the desert.

We Could Actually Praise God. We have to ask ourselves serious questions about the nature of who we worship for when we walk out of common worship upset with God-directed music and lyrics, regardless of whether or not the praise team was “singing our tune.” If corporate singing were a spiritual discipline God would be at the center of it and in God’s presence, humankind has always simply bowed.

I am coming to the belief that reframing common worship as a spiritual discipline is the only way to rescue the church from never-ending and bloody worship battles that maintain the unity of the church. What ideas do you have?

By |2019-05-20T16:41:52+00:00November 10th, 2014|Church News|Comments Off on Singing As A Spiritual Discipline

Day 6 – Oct. 19th

Joseph’s church is not big and fancy. They meet in a room in the school, where they add a few things to the basic concrete floor and cinder block walls to make it look a little nicer. A music stand serves as the pulpit; adults sit in chairs and children on benches. There are ceiling fans and open windows, but it is still hot, even at mid-morning.

But the people have come ready to praise God and be fed from the word. Their praise is enthusiastic and joyful. They sing. They clap. They dance. The worship band plays while different people come up and sing – one person, a husband and wife, children – and through all of it the congregation’s joy and enthusiasm never wavers.

By and large these people don’t have a tenth of what the average worshiper in America has, but they seem ten times as grateful for what they do have. And there is no doubt in their minds about Who has provided it.

I was honored to preach to them. I talked about the kingdom, about identity, and about impartation. Then we prayed for all of them, with sweat stinging my eyes and rolling off my nose. God spoke to His people this day, and I am so glad I got to be a part of it.

After the service they served everyone a meal. A bowl of rice with some cabbage and a piece of fish. The first real African meal we’ve had here. Joseph has been very protective of our stomachs. He has traveled extensively and has experienced digestive issues himself, so he was always making sure the food we were eating was suitable. “It must be very hot” was his constant mantra, as it is during the cooling process that bacteria can proliferate.

To simplify Joseph’s life of taking us everywhere and to get us closer to downtown Ouagadougou, we checked out of our hotel and got a room at the Hotel Splendid. Not entirely a misnomer, but not exactly the Ritz, either. Tomorrow is our day to poke around the downtown area, doing some sightseeing and a little shopping. Then Joseph will come to pick us up, take us to the airport, and bid us adieu.

Wow, has it been a week already?

By |2019-05-20T16:43:41+00:00October 20th, 2014|Church News|Comments Off on Day 6 – Oct. 19th

Day 5 – Oct. 18th

Saturday was a low-activity day. Joseph needed to prepare for the evangelism event that night and Jim was still fighting off the effects of whatever virus caught him. Eventually Joseph came by and took him to his house where his wife Aimee administered a malaria test. To everyone’s great relief the test was negative for malaria, so they went to the hospital and got some antibiotics. Jim’s health has been steadily improving since he started taking them. Our biggest concern was to make sure his fever went away, as that could trigger a health screener to pull him off the flight as a precaution, fearing Ebola.

Interesting note: The United States has more confirmed cases of Ebola than Burkina Faso, which has yet to have even one. Says something about the wisdom of closing your borders to people from the areas of highest infection, which are still Sierra Leone, Guinea, and Liberia. All are on the coast of western Africa, and B.F. is shielded from them by a combination of Côté d’Ivoire (the Ivory Coast) to the southeast and Mali to the northeast.

About 50-75 people, mostly children, attended the outreach on Saturday night. The team begins playing worship music about an hour before the event as a way to stir up interest. Joseph is very canny about the ways of the people and knows that as he preaches through the loudspeaker, those who can’t come to the event in person out of fear of being seen associating with Christians are still listening in their homes.

If all this sounds a bit extreme, I actually saw a father come and pull his daughter out of the event. Joseph says he saw another one as well. There are actually some children of Muslim parents who attend the school, so for the Muslims here there is not a universal avoidance of all things Christian. It all depends on which mosque you attend, and there are many in the area to choose from.

By |2019-05-20T16:47:37+00:00October 19th, 2014|Church News|Comments Off on Day 5 – Oct. 18th

Day 4 – Oct. 17th

This morning we went to the school to see a sort of field day. There was a bicycle race and a soccer game, but the activity had to be limited because of the heat. Evidently once you’ve had malaria the virus remains with you for life, Exposure to a lot of heat can trigger a new onset of the virus, so the teachers try to be careful and limit the children’s activity on really hot days.

As an aside, we met Joseph’s wife Aimee today. She came home from the hospital last night and looked remarkably good for someone who had been so sick. She is a very sweet and gentle person who I look forward to getting to know better.

It is really awe-inspiring to see the respect “Tonton (Uncle) Joe” has with the children. As soon as he starts to speak they get quiet and listen. They came out of the school in class groups and he lined them up around the soccer “field” (basically a big dirt lot with cones marking the boundaries). In no time he had them all lined up perfectly, surrounding the field. Then he went over to get the bike racers lined up.

While he was over attending to that, something we had never seen before happened. A bunch of the smaller kids broke ranks, went over to this mound of dirt, opened their trousers or hiked up their skirts, and began to pee. At first I was a bit shocked, but then thought back to the bathroom breaks I have seen Miss Natasha oversee for the Angeldeer pre-school. This looked much simpler, though I feel as if the landlord (and the parents) might take issue with it.

After lunch Jim said he wasn’t feeling very well, so we took him back to the hotel to rest. Joseph and I went back to the school where six of us, including his mother, walked the area in teams of two to promote and evangelistic event occurring tomorrow and to pray for people. Watching Joseph at work is amazing. His rapport with people is so genuine, and they are always happy to see him. He even took me across the street to meet some of the Muslim leaders at the temple. Keep in mind, this particular sect of Muslims is somewhat on par with Boko Haram, the group in Nigeria doing a lot of kidnapping and murder. And yet these men were all very gracious and smiling. And thankfully none of them were carrying machetes.

While out walking around, Joseph preached to the gospel to a group of about a dozen people, and eight of them accepted Jesus as their Savior. I got to pray for a barren women who wanted triplets. When God answers this prayer I may have a namesake running around Ouagadougou, as she said she would name three boys Joseph, Jeff and Jim.

Please pray for healing for Jim; he still is not feeling very well.

By |2019-05-20T16:48:09+00:00October 18th, 2014|Church News|Comments Off on Day 4 – Oct. 17th

Day 3 – Oct. 16th

One of the reasons for this trip was to scout the location and figure out some of the logistics for future missions teams that may come here. Much of the 16th and part of the 17th was spent learning two important lessons for the future: 1) Wait until you get here to buy a SIM card for your phone, and: 2) When coming to Burkina Faso, definitely leave home without your American Express card (but bring cash or a Visa card).

The highlight of our day was our visit to the crocodile compound. According to legend, the crocodiles are the protectors of the nearby village. If you are from the village you can even swim in the water with the crocodiles and supposedly not be bothered.

After arriving we walked a good way in the heat (it was about 100 degrees) until we came to a small marsh off to the side. This is where “the aged one” lives, the one who is king of the crocodiles. He was coaxed out of the water with the sounds of a live chicken. When he was fully on land the guides said “Go ahead, it’s okay to sit on him.” Say what? While admittedly a bit apprehensive, since Joseph said all his children had done it I figured it was reasonably safe.

Joseph went first and then it was my turn. I lowered myself until I was hovering about 2-3 inches above his back. They guides said “No really, you can sit on him.” So I just plopped down on his back, all 250 lbs, of me, thinking about what a great life I’ve had. The crocodile didn’t even move. Jim and I talked about it later and figured “the aged one” knew the drill by now – that if he just lets these idiots sit on him he gets a whole chicken afterward. Which he proceeded to swallow whole and then slowly back up into the water.

It is good to be the king!

By |2019-05-20T16:52:21+00:00October 18th, 2014|Church News|Comments Off on Day 3 – Oct. 16th

Day 2 – Oct. 15th

Today we took a trip out to visit the tribal chief who has sold Joseph some land, and to walk the land and meet the pastor who lives there. I was once again amazed at the vast number of people who live and/or have shops along the roadways. And I use the the term “shop” very literally, as these are not at all like the shops we normally frequent.

The chief was a delightful man with a great sense of humor. He didn’t understand anything we said, nor did we (Jim and I) understand anything he said. So Joseph did all the talking, this time in a language called Môré.

We listened and looked around at the chickens, goats, and other assorted animals that would wander by while we sat there. Joseph always brings the chief some gifts, so this time it was several loafs of bread, a new cell phone, and a Casio watch Jim donated to the cause.

When it was time to leave Joseph asked him if we could take his picture. He said yes, and that he especially wanted his picture taken with me! So we took several pictures, including maybe the first selfie on record featuring a Burkinabé tribal chief.

From there we drove on a series of paths that one would be generous in calling roads. Swerving around potholes and driving around trees, we eventually arrived at Pastor’s John’s house, which sits at what will eventually be the front gate of the church/school complex.

After visiting for a while we walked the property’s boundary, which have been marked by planted eucalyptus trees. Large concrete boundary posts mark the corners. Pastor John has something of a green thumb and has had success growing beans, corn, mullet, and watermelon. He also has chickens, guinea hens, sheep, and some goats. He speaks a dialect called Gourma, so once again Jim and I were only able to talk to him through Joseph.

That morning when Joseph picked us up he told us that his wife, Aimee, had come down with malaria. Evidently once you get it from mosquitoes it stays in your system and can reoccur during periods of stress, overwork and fatigue. Aimee is pregnant, and so after a night of vomiting she was taken to the hospital by Joseph’s mother. He dropped us off at our hotel, which is where we stayed the remainder of the day while he went to the hospital to be with her.

Not sure what tomorrow will bring … other than searing heat, of course!

By |2019-05-20T16:52:57+00:00October 16th, 2014|Church News|Comments Off on Day 2 – Oct. 15th

Even though we have returned to indoor services, we will continue to livestream on Sunday mornings via our Facebook page at 11:00 AM EST. We hope that you will join us, either in person or online.

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