Oct 31, 2017

On Beauty, Structure, Hospitality, and Worship...

I thought on this day that many in the West "celebrate" or "glorify" the spiritual ugliness inherent in Halloween, I would post something I have been pondering concerning Beauty.  And I want to thank Mat Carson, Director of OM Arts International, for helping me to set my brain on things like this - 

The relational God Who brings order out of chaos has invited us into the process of His ongoing creative acts - right down to having children, refining culture, or shaping the physical and invisible architecture of Worship.

One of the things we have been considering in the Arts, is that "Beauty is Hospitable" - I liken that to the warm feeling of invitation that comes from approaching a well-laid and appointed dining room table. In fact, when it comes to Worship, we are told in the Scriptures that Worship itself is Hospitable - The Lord God has chosen to inhabit the praises of His people.  

The effort God went to in order to give instructions concerning His Tabernacle, His Temple, and the Beauty and Order that went into that, (not to mention the order that is found in our physical universe) demonstrate to us how concerned God is that there is a reciprocal relationship between Worship, Beauty, Order, Structure, all for the purpose of Hosting "right relationship".

But lest we get stuck in the Old Testament, the New Testament has the same instruction - in the unseen recesses of the heart - God still wants to inhabit the praises of His redeemed people, corporately, but also individually - which is why we are all likened to being the Temple of the Holy Spirit. For a New Testament redeemed Jew, this temple metaphor would bring enormous meaning - including Beauty (virtue), Structure (order and governance), and yes, right Relationships.  

Hence the enormous emphasis on Discipleship, and now Spiritual Formation - we have been tasked with the privilege of Hosting well the Holy Spirit, and living our lives out as Living Sacrifices of Worship for the Most High God - to behold the Beauty, the Beauty of the Lord - to inquire in His Temple - The Temple of the Lord (with all New Testament meaning intended!). This cannot be done without some form of governance and structure - God is not the author of confusion or chaos - in fact, He intrinsically reacts to confusion to bring Meaning, and He intrinsically responds to chaos, to bring Beauty and right Order.

And the minute we become more enamored with our structures, or serve our structures, or spiritualize our structural preferences, over maintaining right relationships with one-another and with The Lord God, we have then left Beauty, and strayed into the ugliness of Idolatry...





Sep 27, 2017

As I Come Into Your Presence

This song was written while two precious young women were blown into eternity by a terrorists grenade in the Philippines. God has used their ultimate act of worship to inspire thousands around the world to continue to spread the love and grace of His Son Jesus Christ.

You can see the Video here: 

You can read the full story of their martyrdom here, and scroll down to As I Come Into Your Presence:  https://www.billdrake.com/legacy/legacy-the-song

Jun 11, 2017

Drake's Update Summer 2017!

A long overdue letter!
It's hard to believe that we are already into June!  Where has the time gone?  Well, after a season of unprecedented travel and some health issues, here we are! We are grateful now to be able to give you an update on what we have been doing these last 5 months! 
Personal Stuff
I am very proud of my husband, Bill, for his accomplishment of losing over 50 pounds to date, as it isn't as easy to lose weight with a slow metabolism!.  He is enjoying starting to get a new wardrobe and a better feeling of well-being!

I (Teri) had surgery for a retinal detachment on April 11th.  They say the recovery period is about 8 weeks or more, and presently I am in the 8th week and am enjoying improving sight day by day!  There was no special reason for the detachment other than being over 50 (what?!) and having had cataract surgery (which increases the risk of a detachment) two years ago!  Part of the recovery required me to lay on my right side for 20 hours out of a 24 hour period of time for two weeks!  I listened to a lot of scripture and books as I couldn't read either!  Definitely a trying time!  But thank God my eyesight is about 90% back to normal!

On another note, after spending some quality time with God at a retreat center, I decided I want to return to using my given name of Teresa out of respect for my parents and the name they gave me at birth.  I am in the process of making the change, which might be a bit of a challenge for friends and family after all these years!  But I really felt the freedom to do it, and so I will!  :)  
Now for the Ministry Stuff!
After 25 years of faithful service in OM as International Music Minister, and then founder and Director of OM Arts International, Bill was asked by the International Director of Operation Mobilization to become the Director of Catalytic Ministries.

"What exactly is that?" you might ask!  Well, firstly Bill has not been asked to stop doing public ministry!  He will continue to do concerts, lead worship, evangelize, preach and teach and disciple, and he even gets to continue in his role as Director of Incarnate:  OM Arts' school of mission which raises up other younger Artists to become missionaries.

Bill is now in a top, Senior leadership position in OM, where he is the supervisor for all those who are running ministries that are seen to be catalytic ministries for "Planting Vibrant Communities of Jesus Followers Among the Least-Reached" (OM's new mission statement and ministry focus).  As OM moves more and more toward becoming a church-planting movement, there are a number of key strategic ministries that have been raised up over the years that have a demonstrable impact in evangelism and church planting, especially in nations and people's that tend to be in difficult regions of the world that have been resistant to the gospel.  Bill's experience in developing OM Arts was part of the reason why he was chosen for this new role, and as such, he will be overseeing the extremely talented people who run ministries in OM engaging in Arts, Sports, Business 4 Transformation (B4T), Relief & Development, HIV/AIDS, and Justice.

One of the things that makes ministries like this so powerful, is that they all are engaging in cultural universals - these ministries touch culture where culture "lives", and as such, speak to a culture in ways that the culture is already speaking to itself.  These ministries are "Incarnational", in that by engaging in these arenas of life as Christians with those we wish to bring Jesus to, we humble ourselves, we arebirthed into other cultureswe embody Christ in our life and work, and we "dwell with" those to whom we bring the love of Christ.  These four ingredients encapsulate what it means to be Incarnational, as Jesus exemplified for us in Phil. 2 and John 1:14, and we are never more Christ-like than when we are incarnational in the way we approach those we want to reach with the gospel.

The result is that Bill has embarked on probably more travel than he ever has before in his life!  Just this year alone, he has been to Thailand, Turkey, Germany, and Sweden, and before the year is out will be in Hungary, Austria, Canada, South Africa, Zambia, and Moldova, the poorest country in Europe.  These Catalytic ministries are meeting people on the raw cutting edge of life, and are bringing the truth and hope of Jesus right where they live, breathe and work.  It is an incredible privilege to be used in this way, and we look forward to how God is going to use us further in the coming days.

See below for two stories that come from two of these Catalytic Ministries, and how people were brought to Christ, and lives were totally changed!
Teresa's Corner -
I have been working with our team regarding curiculum, spiritual formation etc. for our upcoming Incarnate school starting late January 2018!  We aim to make this the best one yet.  Of course learning from the past year's experience always helps.  I also am available to Bill for some administrative tasks.  I also have 2 young women I mentor regularly and often Bill and I find ourselves counseling with young marrieds and singles as well.  Being available to server in various roles as the Lord leads seems to be the season I am in at the moment.
-----------------------------
Applications are being accepted for Incarnate 2018! If you know of anyone who would like to join us for 90 days to learn how to use their artistic gifts
(visual art, music, dance, and/or drama)
in the ministry, please direct them to
www.arts.om.org/incarnate

We met Nabin* and Suraj* in 2012 through the fact that the OM Nepal guys team used to buy their coffee there.  An investor trip was planned for that August,and in June we had already started putting a business plan together.

 The brothers had many ideas, but we felt that the most critical and 'catalytic' would be for them to acquire a larger coffee roaster.  At the time they were roasting coffee in an old popcorn roaster…roasting 1 kg every hour. 

 We submitted their business proposal and they were able to secure a loan of USD22,000.

They sourced a  roaster in India, and Nabin went for training, and this roaster was able to roast 20kg in 20 minutes.  A 60 fold increase…  This led to an increase in production of roasted coffee beans, more employment opportunities in Kathmandu and rural communities, outreach into communities, strengthening relationships, more finances released into ministries that they support… etc.etc.

 Nabin and Suraj source their coffee from 8 collection centres in the Himalayan foothills.  Each collection centre serves around 10 farmers.  They therefore now have direct contact with 80 farmers, their families and their communities – all in an area of the world that is crying out for communities of Christ followers …

 After the earthquake in 2015, Nabin and his family and church were able to go into these areas, share the gospel of Jesus Christ and minister in practical ways His love to people who had lost almost everything.  Another person working in Nepal has had the following words spoken to him: "Thank you for what you are doing for us.  Our own people are not doing what you do.  We love your religion!" (Matt 5:16)

 By B4T partnering with ONE businessman, we are growing and strengthening the Kingdom of God in a very real and tangible way, in tens, if not hundreds of communities in the Himalayan region… Jesus is demonstrated in word and deed, and people lives are being totally transformed.

 PS. Spin-offs of High Mountain Coffee has been the opening of Kathmandu Café, Grace Café, and soon to be opening a third café.  This has led to twenty or more people being trained as baristas, and others in the catering business – a key issue in Nepal, a country that loses many, many people to overseas work, pulls families apart and breaks down the social fabric of the society… and all hear the Gospel!

The Lock and the Door 
 (In a Middle Eastern City) 
 
The young artist looked at the painting she had just completed, and wondered,
"How could God ever use this?"

This artist, in a Muslim country with a team of visual artists for a short term mission trip, had struggled to render the concept that OM Arts had asked the team to paint: I am the door, those beautiful words of Jesus that invite us to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But she had painted a lock—a heavy, massive medieval kind that looked impenetrable and imposing. Through the keyhole another door was visible, slightly open with light emanating from it. How could this communicate? How could God take that which she had painted and use it for His glory?

The old man strolled slowly through the open-air art gallery that had suddenly appeared in the plaza. He surveyed the beautiful pictures of doors and gates. There was one that captured his attention; it was of a lock. He stood stunned, as the revelation hit him. Someone had painted his life, his longing, his desperate condition of being locked out from the light. Light that he just knew was there for him, but had been so elusive in his own religious tradition. He knew in the moment he saw the painting that the artist who painted it had the insight and wisdom he had been seeking his entire life.

The young artist approached the old man with a translator, and asked him why he was staring spellbound at her painting. Through tears, the man said to her, "My entire life I have felt locked out from all God had for me. I can see it through the keyhole, but I can't get to it. Can you please tell me, what is the key that will unlock the door of my life, and let me run into the light of God?"

At that moment the young artist had the privilege of sharing the love of Christ with this man
right there in the plaza. The Holy Spirit had used her painting to unravel this man's heart, and draw him to the Father heart of God. 

The near future...
Our next ministry trip takes us on our annual Bill Drake Band tour in Hungary!  We are privileged to be doing this trip with our daughter, Sharayah, and our Hungarian son-in-law, Bence.  That's where it all started for them anyway back in 2010!  We will be doing 10 evangelistic concerts in 14 days.  Some of the venues are outdoor in a town square, another includes a drug rehab center and then crossing the border into Vienna.  All concerts are done in partnership with local churches and OM Hungary.
------------------------------------------------
A few weeks after we return, Bill will be going to Canada to lead worship for a missions conference and then to Zambia and South Africa for a variety of different kinds of strategic ministry from teaching, evangelizing, helping with church planting, and mobilizing Africans in to mission.
Thank you for your interest, prayer and support for us!  We appreciate having you all our our prayer and financial support team!
Prayer Points
  • Safety and favor in Hungary - we will be doing a lot of driving and with all the terrorist attacks going on pray for none to come near us.
  • Safety and favor for Bill while traveling to Canada, S. Africa and Zambia.
  • Wisdom for Bill as he takes on this new Senior leadership position in OM.  Bill leads the Catalytic Ministries Division of OM International, and as such plays a very strategic role in seeing vibrant communities of Jesus followers are planted amongst the least reached peoples of the world.
Donate to the Drake's ministry (USA)
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P.O. Box 444
Tyrone, Ga 30290

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Feb 26, 2017

The Creative Process

He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end. - Eccl. 3:11

Meditating this morning on the mysteries of the Creative Process, inspired by a colleague who wrote insightfully about nurturing his desire to "Listen".  It has been obvious to me that in his artistic work, he has been learning to "perceive" better and better, as it has beautiful impacted his artistic expression... 

I have been using that paradigm much lately when explaining "how the arts work" to people who are just beginning to notice their power, their allure, their ability to engage at the most visceral level:

- that we all "Perceive" things, but Artists are granted by God with that innate ability to see further, deeper, wider - its part of the prophetic nature of the arts... and true "listening" is part of the art of perceiving...

- and then of course there is the "Process" part of it - and that brings in all our filters, our experiences, the nuanced hues of our differing rainbows, all pointing back to the God of Restoration, but at the same time allowing us to put our own autographs on things as small "c" creators...

- and then "Production", that sometimes glorious, sometimes tortured process of giving birth to something that at once produces stretch-marks and relief, a product that comes from the convergence of those internal forces of perception and process, incarnating something that tells a story, invites a journey, confronts a stronghold, brings reconciliation - so many uses God has for the things He helps us procure... 

And that leaves me with the beauty of Philippians 1:6 converged with Ephesians 2:10.  Seems the Apostle Paul understood a bit about the Creative Process as well...



Aug 26, 2016

Light Into Darkness


The Bill Drake Band at Rackeresztur, Hungary

The Bill Drake Band has toured in many countries all over the world, and as such, we have been in a variety of circumstances – on a ship in Turkey, in a prison in the UK, playing on truck trailers in Azerbaijan, and setting up the drums on table tops in Serbia!  But rarely have we had the opportunity to do a concert in a Roman Catholic Church, and even be allowed to carefully move some of the more “valued” items on the platform, such as a statue of the Mother of Jesus, or a solid stone lectern used for the Scripture Readings. 

But the little Catholic Church in Rackeresztur (pronounced: ‘rats-care-est-tour’ whilst rolling all the “R’s”!) Hungary, not only allowed us to do so, but welcomed us with open arms to bring the message of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the men of the local drug rehab center and their extended families. 

We arrived at the rehab center for lunch, and were treated to a great Hungarian meal.  Marcel, one of our translators, noticed a young man looking extremely dejected, as he was apparently being enrolled in the drug rehab center.  Hovering nearby, his mother was extremely distraught, while his father, obviously distancing himself from what was an embarrassing and disappointing situation, was trying to stay detached.  The mother was trying to get her son to go to his father, but neither man was willing to bridge the gaping chasm that was separating them. 

Later, after setting up, respectfully moving certain religious paraphernalia, and sound-checking in the difficult space, we started the concert to a hall nearly filled to capacity.  After the first three songs, I usually share my testimony, and this time was no different, emphasizing the part where my dying mother prayed for me even though I cursed Jesus in her face.  I shared how I rejected God after her funeral, and went out and trashed my life. 

As I was sharing, many in the room began to tear up, and some began to weep.  That particular testimony ends with me sharing how Jesus Christ saved my life, and how I hope my mother can see her prayers have been answered.  I close with dedicating my next song, There’s a Place of Immeasurable Blessing, to all the mothers in the room who pray for their children, regardless of where they might be at with God in the moment.  It was obvious to all of us that the story and song had a deep impact on the audience.

At our next tour Devotions, my daughter Sharayah humbly shared that she had had a vision during that part of the concert.  She said through great emotion, that as we sang the lyrics,

There’s a place of immeasurable blessing
There’s a song that cannot be unsung
There is God Who inhabits our praises and sings over us

…it appeared to her as if the painted ceiling of the church opened toward the back of the sanctuary, and angels began descending into the church, and began processing up the aisle.  They were carrying torches, and bringing light into the areas and hearts in the room that were dark.  As the song finished, repeating the same opening lyrics, Sharayah felt as if God were impressing on her, “These messengers of mine are inhabiting My presence.”

Others in our Devotional time recalled that many responded to the Lord at the end as we impressed upon them the message of reconciliation from 2 Corinthians 5:17-21: 

17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come. 18 All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; 19 that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. 20 Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God. 21 For our sake he made him to be sin who knew no sin, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.


Marcel then shared the epilogue to his story:  During the invitation time to the concert, he noticed that the father of the troubled son had moved next to him in the pew, and had his arm around him.  Praise God for the ministry of reconciliation. 

Aug 5, 2016

The Arms of Jesus

By William Trimper & Sarah Liu

 

Bill Drake Band at the Rakospalota, "Youth Women's Prison"

 

This was the second time we have presented a Bill Drake Band Concert at this facility. Both events felt dark, lonely and heartbreaking and we prayed hard for God to reach out to them thru Bill Drake's ministry in music and words.

 

Just before the inmates arrived, a leader of the prison told us we could have some limited contact with the women, but no photo's were to be taken of their faces. After the concert was over, the women would immediately be taken out of the concert area. We also had restrictions as to the area we could walk around the campus. He also told us to sit in the back row and the next row in front of us would be where the more hardened women would be required to sit. One mother-killer was also going to be in that row!

 

After that row filled up, and all the other inmates were still waiting to come in, the women began to ask about the 8 year old Chinese boy who was with us, and what his name might be. "Sarah's son, Casson" we answered. When they all turned around to look at Casson, he began to hand Salvation Bracelets to each of these woman in the last row, bracelets with the colors: Black, Red, White, Blue, Green and Gold.  One woman happened to speak English and listened as we explained what each color represented for a person who trusts Jesus Christ for Salvation.  She promised that she would share what the colors meant with the inmates.

 

Bill Drake's testimony is used tremendously among any Prison Ministry and our team was praying for the Holy Spirit to speak softly to the hearts of these young women. 

 

Sure enough, one of the young women directly in front of Sarah Liu (dancer, media person and evangelism team member from CVCC), began to weep; softly at first, then harder and harder. Sarah has a mother's sensitivity, and felt the need to offer a tissue, then a soft voice, more tissues and then hugs, not to just one, but three, one on each side of the original woman had also broke down and was weeping.

 

Sarah recalls, "When I used my whole arm to hold the original girl, that girl started to kiss my arm many times and that caused me to tear up immediately. Then when as I wiped the tears off her face, the girl kissed my face, as I leaned into her.  Nearby, another girl didn't cry, but always was staring at me. I felt she was so hungry for love, so I held that girl also, as my heart was being broken for what was happening to them. I wish I had more arms to hold all the girls who were crying at that moment!"

 

Sarah softly asked them, "Did Bill's testimony about his mother touch you? " to the first

woman to cry. She said yes, then Sarah asked the second the same question, and she too said yes! Then Sarah asked the third and the terse response was, "NO! I don't have a Mother!" Sarah and others think she had just found the mother-killer…

 

Sarah made sure that every woman in that row had a "Hungarian Gospel Tract" in their hands as they were led away. How thrilling for us to have the privilege to pray for each of these women as they passed by us and back to their confinement areas. They were short prayers, but we know God heard every one of them. (Psalms 116)

 

Only God knows for sure how many girls came to Christ that day, and if the "Mother-Killer" will come to repentance and reconciliation. We are praying for that to happen!





Aug 4, 2016

You Just Found Him

By Bence Fonyad & Bill Drake

Bill Drake Band at Baracska Prison - Hungary

I would like to share a story with you from yesterday when we had a concert in Baracska, a male prison. This is another testimony of how Jesus is lining up encounters for us decades before we even show up. It also testifies to the reality and significance of Romans 12:1, which says to present our bodies as a living sacrifice. Basically showing up at a certain place at a certain time in this case regardless of opposing circumstances.

The inmates at Baracska responded very well to the Bill Drake Band concert.  At the end, when Bill gave the invitation, at least a third of men (around 30) raised their hands to indicate that they wanted to receive Christ; to surrender to "The Lamb" before every knee will have to bow to "The Lion".  It was an awesome sight to see these convicts being set free from spiritual chains in Jesus name!

Some inmates were chosen to stay behind to help us load the equipment and they started to talk to me. One of them was a gypsy man named Csaba (pronounced Chaba), and he just began to share his son's story with me:

His son had an accident about 20 years ago when he was almost four. He was playing outside and fell off of something, got hooked into a rope or something, and basically got hanged by his throat. He was taken to the hospital where they said he will most likely not make it, but even if he did, he will have severe brain damage. He spent the night on the ICU where his bed happened to be between the beds of two old ladies. One of ladies died during the night. 

In the morning the son woke up and was completely fine and wanted to have his favorite breakfast!  Later Csaba asked him what happened during the night, and how does he feel now?   The son shared that a guy with a shiny face in a white robe came to him in the night, stroked his face and told him he needs to go back because he's got nothing to do there yet.  As he was going back through some kind of a corridor he saw one of the ladies who had been in one of the beds next to him coming past him...

The father then said to me, "Three year old kids don't lie about things like this. They don't make up stories like this either.  Ever since then I have been looking for this man with a shiny face in a white robe, and I wanted to know who he is."

I then asked him, "Have you found Him yet?"  He said, "No".  I immediately replied that he actually had just found Him and His name is Jesus - the Savior that we all had just sang and talked about during the concert, and Whom so many just received when they put their hands up to indicate their surrender to Him.  I told Csaba that he can get to know this Jesus better from the Bible and through a personal relationship with Him. 

After this I prayed with Csaba, and asked Jesus to meet him, in the same way He did with his son. Csaba was saying he will try hard to meet Jesus, but then I told him, "No need to try hard, He will come to you so just expect Him to show up sometime soon."

Csaba shared proudly that his son is a successful young man today, who speaks 4 languages.

As we drove away from the Prison, I was reminded again that God meets us right where we are at, reveals to us what we need to know, and is always waiting to receive those who will humbly receive Him.