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dancing for Jesus


I often tell people that I have been in the ministry ever since I received Jesus Christ in my life as Lord and Savior on June 1, 1995. I have learned that many have a very wrong idea of what ministry really is and what it means. The general idea of what the majority of people think that it is what they will immediately tell you is, “It means to preach or serve in a local church somewhere.” Though that may be a partially valid definition of the word, true ministry has nothing to do with what you do or don’t do in church or in a pulpit. The word ministry means to serve” or “to wait upon,” and the first capacity of ministry and the most important facet that you are called to is that of ministering to the Lord (Acts 13:1-2). It is to serve Him with a whole heart, loving Him and adoring Him with humility and gratitude. You can be in ministry while you are simply washing plates or walking your dog in your neighborhood. Ministry is not about doing; it is about being!

Some are in the ministry while some have the ministry inside of them.

When someone is in the ministry, he or she can leave it any time; however, when the ministry is in you, no matter what you do in life, you are always in it! That's what I am trying to say here!

I used to dance sometimes just by myself at home. (I still do that to this day!) I would put on some praise and worship music, and while nobody was around I would dance with Jesus with my heart filled with passionate love for my Lord and Lover. However, the Lord started dealing with me to start using the gift of dance for His glory more and to not be ashamed of the gift, which after all He made and had created. He wanted me to use it openly and teach the Church about it down the line. Like everything else He wanted to restore a gift back to the Church which the enemy Satan had perverted. Unfortunately, though, the devil did not have to fight much to take the arts, since a lot of dear but misinformed saints simply let him take it freely (just as they allowed the enemy to do with music, drama, and singing). I thank God that the Lord is raising an army which will take back what the enemy has stolen! (Read: Where does dancing fit in the church?)

For a few years after I gave my life to the Lord it was hard for me to dance in the local church before the Lord for various reasons which I will explain. At the time when I gave my life to the Lord I was a full-time professional dancer and a celebrity in the arts. It came to my attention that some used it wrongly, and so I did not want to be associated with what I saw going on which grieved my spirit. To me dancing for the Lord always has been a very precious, intimate gift.

Well, for many years–as far as I can remember–I have been in theater, singing, acting, or dancing, or incorporating all of the three together in one show or venue. From the young age of eleven, I have been on national newspapers and television, always about the arts. I had become a celebrity in Malta and was gaining attention from the media in the USA as well. So because of my background I was being invited to some churches to share my testimony after I was radically saved and had given my life to Jesus. Through this opportunity, some have found Christ in their lives for the first time. Praise the Lord!

On June 1, 1995, in Houston, Texas in my apartment around ten o’clock at night was when I officially gave my heart to the Lord Jesus and asked Him to save me and change my life. During that time I was dancing with the Houston Ballet. (For a more detailed account of my salvation experience, read my testimony.) I quickly fell in love with Jesus, and I endeavored to please Him in all I did, because I found out that words alone cannot describe how much He loved me. When I danced and sang in various church venues for the Lord, people would very often come and tell me how wonderful I was and how nice this and that move was. I felt that these precious people, without realizing it, were giving more credit and honor to me than to my Savior, with Whom I was and still am in love. I realize that they were doing that to encourage me and support me. However, the more that happened, the more it started to grieve my spirit and the Holy Spirit; I could tell that they had missed the whole point of why I was dancing and singing. I was singing and dancing to my Lord. It was not less than four years later that the Lord started teaching me that rather than abandon the gift altogether, I should learn more about how to communicate it to the body of Christ, how it could bless them, and how I could somehow through my dance lead them before my Heavenly Father. I have had the wonderful privilege of seeing these things happen many times.

While I danced professionally for many years with various renowned theater companies, I always was bold and unashamed of sharing my testimony and faith in the Lord. I talked about Him as many would talk about their loved ones. Because of the relationship I had and still have with the Lord, it became very easy for me to share Him with others. Many dancers and theatrical people have come to the saving knowledge of Christ through such opportunities. These were precious people that no pastor, evangelist, or preacher could reach unless they came into “their world,” so I was an appropriate candidate to bring Jesus to them in their own familiar atmosphere. I often jokingly ask people when I share my testimony the question, Have you ever seen an evangelist in tights?” They normally laugh, and I want them to. However, it is a true fact that there were many times where I would openly share the gospel with a entire dance company in a studio or on a stage during rehearsal. I often held Bible studies for the dancers who had received Christ. Needless to say, I was not always received with great enthusiasm; however, the Lord never failed to touch people in many ways and draw them to His heart. Many times I have seen dancers/artists healed and broken hearts mended backstage, before or after a show or rehearsal.

Here is one testimony: In one company in Texas for whom I danced, three quarters of the company were saved, giving their lives to Christ. I will never forget that! I remember I had injured my foot after I landed wrongly during a big jump. I heard a snap in my right ankle and felt a sharp pain. I was in agony! However, the Holy Spirit came over me like a river of peace to comfort me and encouraged me softly, whispering, “It is going to be alright.” I recall telling the Lord while I was on my back on the floor in the dance studio, grabbing my leg in pain, “Lord, use this for your glory, and may something good come out of it. I know that you did not do this to me but I want to give this opportunity to you to receive glory and to do something wonderful.” In my spirit I remember hearing the Holy Spirit say softly, “I am going to heal you and I will do a miracle in your foot.” Well, little did I know that through this situation, many miracles were about to take place in a few days.

While I was on the floor in pain, some fellow dancer friends picked me up and carried me on their hands to a place where I could rest. The company director called in the doctor, who, after seeing my ankle, said to me, “You are going to have to stay off your foot for a few weeks, and you may not be able to dance in the show” (I was the lead in the Christmas Show of the Nutcracker). I was not happy to hear that bad news! So I turned around and immediately said to this precious, kind doctor who at that time was a Muslim, “Well, I thank you for all you have done; however, I want to let you know that I will be dancing again soon and I will do the show because Jesus is going to heal me supernaturally” (Rev 12:11; Mark 11: 23-24). He looked at me funny and said, “What do you mean? You have just seriously injured your ankle.” I said, “I know that; however, I know that Jesus is going to heal me.” He looked at me as if I was out of my mind and ignored what I told him, although he still appeared a little puzzled. That night I went to my apartment and the accuser of the brethren,” the devil, came too (Revelation 12:10). He started whispering in my ears, “What makes you so sure that God is going to heal you? You have sinned; that is why you have gotten injured. How can you expect to be healed when you have done so many terrible things! You should be ashamed of yourself.” I was feeling a sense of condemnation coming over me, but the Lord raised up a standard against the enemy and reminded me that my confidence is not in myself (Philippians 4:13; Ephesians 6:10) and that condemnation is not from Him, but from the devil. I was reminded of Romans 8:1: “Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” After that the Holy Spirit led me to read Psalm 103, and I read where the Scripture says, “Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits: Who pardons all your iniquities, Who heals all your diseases; Who redeems your life from the pit, Who crowns you with loving-kindness and compassion.”

I was so touched when I read that wonderful, refreshing Word and remembered what the Holy Spirit had spoken to my heart earlier on the day of the accident. Then I read something that melted my heart and brought tears to my eyes: “The Lord is compassionate and gracious. He has not dealt with us according to our sins, nor rewarded us according to our iniquities” (Psalm 103:10). As I read, I heard the Holy Spirit speaking to my heart saying, “I am not going to heal you based upon what you have done, but I am going to heal you based upon what I have done for you.” Then I remember clearly the Lord say to my heart, “I am going to heal you tomorrow at church so that others may see and believe, and what the enemy has meant for evil I will turn for My glory” (Genesis 50:20).

The next day was Wednesday, and I was picked up from my apartment by a friend from church for the evening service. I walked in the church limping. Unlike other Wednesday services, that night the pastor said, “I feel led by the Lord that we should pray for people in our local congregation tonight, so if you have some need to be prayed for, come out and we will pray for you.” That was it; I knew that this was my time to be healed (Mark 5:25-34). After I explained to them what had happened, the pastor and the congregation gathered around and laid hands upon me. As they prayed over me I experienced what felt like a hot liquid flowing downward from the top of my head and descending to my leg. As the sensation reached my ankle the joint popped and clicked, and the pain departed. I walked out of the church that night rejoicing and praising the Lord for His goodness and faithfulness and for the benefit of which He reminded me! Others in the church rejoiced as they witnessed a miracle on the spot. God’s word was coming to pass!

That following Friday, two days after my miracle happened, I went to the studio and everybody was asking me, What are you doing here? You should be resting in bed.” I stood in front of the whole dance company and boldly told them to give me their attention for a few minutes. I related to them what happened in the spirit realm the day I was injured and what the Lord had spoken to my heart. I had come to tell them that Jesus loved them all the same and that He wanted to touch them and give them eternal life. It was incredible! I can’t believe how bold I was! They all stared at me as if I fell from the moon; my words took them by surprise. Because of that opportunity, the company manager, many of the dancers, the physiotherapist, and even the doctor’s daughter who was Muslim gave their lives to the Lord Jesus. By the following Monday I was in my dancing clothes rehearsing the role of the Nutcracker prince. I danced in the show as I had believed, and God confirmed His word. Glory to God! That day I was the preacher in tights! God has a great sense of humor!

Today I travel ministering in various denominational churches all over the world. Many are opening their hearts and allowing God to be God. If God can lead someone to repent through a donkey, a whale, or a burning bush (Numbers 22:21-35; Jonah 1:15-17; Exodus 3:1-6), I am firmly convinced that He can lead someone to Christ through a song, a drama, music, and even dance! People are surprised when I tell them that God is not religious. Religion is not at all what God is interested in. True Christianity is a love relationship–not with an entity or a power but with a real Person, Jesus!

The same work that God does through the praise and worship leader of a ministry or a local church is what He does through me when I use the art of song and dance. In the same way that the music minister ushers the body of Christ before the Father with the voice and instrument of adoration, preparing the people’s hearts to bless the Lord and receive from Him (Acts 13:1-2), so also I usher people before the presence of the Lord through the expressive dance. I have found that in the Church of Christ at large there is a drastic ignorance and fear about arts and dance especially. I can understand that! Ignorance always germinates fear, no matter what the subject is! I used to be afraid of God before I learned about how much He really loves me and how He wanted to save me. I used to be afraid of the supernatural move of God because I did not have knowledge about it, but the Bible teaches clearly that fear is not from God and that He does not operate by fear but by love and faith (1 John 4:16-19). I have learned that one’s faith will only go as far as his or her knowledge of that given subject. You cannot believe beyond what you know, and where there is no knowledge there is fear–the opposite of faith (Hosea 4:6; Proverbs 24:5)!

I realize that there isn’t any one minister who is going to have all knowledge and revelation about every subject that exists, because the Bible clearly says that the whole Church of Christ is what makes the fullness of Christ–not any one person or any one group specifically! Each member of the Body of Christ brings something unique to the whole. That is why there is not one person that can know every thing about every matter, for we each know in part (1 Corinthians 13:9; Ephesians 4: 11-12). When the whole Church of Christ comes to the realization of this wonderful truth we will come a step closer to seeing the fulfillment of the prayer of our Lord, ...that we will be one as He and the Father are ONE” (John 17:20-21, emphasis added). First Corinthians 12:27 says, “Now you [collectively] are Christ’s body and [individually] you are members of it, each part severally and distinct [each with his own place and function]” (AMP).

When any one Christian group or denomination say that they are the true Body of Christ or that they are the only ones who have the truth, that is bottom-line, stinking Pride. While I believe that there is only one Christian Church, I do also recognize that there are many congregations and various movements (denominations) that bring something rich and unique and precious to the Church at large (1 Corinthians 12; Ephesians 1:23; Colossians 1:18). We are not here to compete with each other but to complete and complement each other. I thank God for these various groups. Even though I may not be directly joined with them, in Christ we are all one. I thank God also that while I may not agree (or even have to agree) with them in everything that they believe, I still recognize that He is working through them and that He is using them to reach people who are coming to the personal knowledge of Christ Jesus, the Lover of mankind! The nose does not understand what the kidney does, or vise versa. Nor does the nose have to; it is not required to understand. You will notice that the foot and the mouth never meet nor have close fellowship with one another; however, they each are vitally important to make the body as a whole function properly. Therefore, you should express your appreciation to God for every part in your body, because you would not want to live without any one of them. Yet many in the Body of Christ think that they can live without some brothers and sisters in the Lord who may not agree with them in everything. (Oh, how much God puts up with us!)

Let me remind you, my friend, that whatever God accomplishes through each one of us He accomplishes in spite of us, not because of us! That has helped me greatly in life to walk in love with my fellow brothers and sisters, to offer thanksgiving to God for each one of them individually, and to see them as Christ sees them! This truth is a good thing to keep in mind; for it will help you to stay humble before the Lord and to not be puffed up with pride.

By the Lord’s grace I endeavor to teach the Body of Christ on one specific area where they lack knowledge and commitment at large, and that is how to be intimately in love with Jesus and arrive at a place of abandonment with Him. In the time in which the Church lives right now, we need more than ever before to come to the place of intimacy and utilize every means possible to arrive at and stay there.

Think about a man and a woman who are in love with each other. You may find one couple who feel romantic going to a candlelight dinner. Another couple may feel like going on a walk by the seashore, while another may prefer taking a ride on a motorbike. Yet another might enjoy taking a hike in the woods. I said all this for one specific reason. I really believe that there is a place of intimacy that is experienced through dancing with the Lord in the spirit and dancing before Him. I know that something I would like to do with the woman I am in love with is dance! There is an intimacy and sweetness and purity in it. As a matter of fact, what do a bride and a groom do at their wedding reception? They dance! The Bible says that the Bride will dance with her Bridegroom, Jesus (Jeremiah 31:3-4, 13). Scripture declares also, “The Lord your God will exult over you with joy. He will rejoice over you with shouts of joy, dances, and twirls, spinning wildly out of control over you” ( Zephaniah 3:17).

The Holy Spirit is not religious! He is not grieved because of dancing (at the appropriate time). He is grieved with people whose hearts are filled with pride and arrogance. When we realize that this Christian walk is from beginning to end a love romance/relationship, we will find out that to God it does not matter whether you dance, jump, run, or sit still–or even sit on your head if you want to! What He is always looking for is a pure heart after Him. I believe that we as Christians have many good reasons to dance. If we dance in celebration of what He has done for us–on the cross on Calvary, how He forever washed our sins away, made us His children, and gave us eternal life–I tell you, my friend, we should be dancing until Jesus comes and after that!

God gave principles in His Word; however, man, tragically, is always trying to incorporate methods that ultimately end up shutting God Himself out of the Church! I once heard a preacher of a denominational church say, “We are proud that we have not changed in our church, and we plan to remain the same.” When I heard that, it grieved my spirit, because unfortunately he fell under the category of religion and bondage again to man’s ways (Roman 8:14-16). To God, dancing is never the issue. Music, singing, or drama is not the issue, for He made them all. To God, the heart is always the issue (1 Samuel 16:7). We are not going to fail if we don’t dance or if we do. If we experience failure, it will be because our hearts are lifted up and knowledge puffs us up (Proverbs 16:12, 18:12; James 4:6). The Bible states, “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up” (1 Corinthians 8:1); therefore, we are admonished, “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flows the springs and the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

As I minister in and teach this God-given tool of dance, my mission is not to replace “true worship” with dance. Worship is much more than just vocalization of words to a melody or a series of graceful bodily movements! True worship, as I already stated, is a heart condition–and a lifestyle (John 4:23-24; Ephesians 5:18-21; Romans 12:1). My heart is to teach the believer that there is a part of the worship experience that is known through dancing before the Lord. In participating in the dance, one quickly learns that in order to arrive at that point of intimacy with Jesus, a lot of his or her flesh has to die. One must make the decision to forget about the people around him or her and just fall madly, passionately in love with the true Lover of our souls, Jesus Christ. You cannot dance being self-conscious! When you dance before the Lord, whether in a set of choreographed movements or spontaneously, you have to become God-conscious. David became God-conscious when he danced before his King. He did not care what others said or thought about Him (2 Samuel 6:12-23).

The Bible says about God that all things were created in Him and for Him (Colossians 1:16). In everything we do in everyday life we are admonished to walk in the Spirit. Whether we speak, walk, preach, sing, or play an instrument, we must do it in the Spirit. Whatever we do out of the Spirit is of the flesh, and that is sin. Some think that you should only dance in the Spirit if you want to do it the right, Biblical way, especially in the dispensation in which we now live. I agree 100 percent! However, the need for acting according to the Word of God does not apply only to dancing but to everything we do in life (Galatians 5:16-18). One can even be preaching or singing or playing a worship song and doing it in the flesh. I know because I have encountered the preaching of the Word and the singing or playing of worship music in the flesh much more often than dancing in the flesh!

I have seen a counterfeit five-dollar bill because there existed a real and genuine five-dollar bill. The devil does not create any new things or come up with any new ideas; he has never done anything original! Just as there is wrong, or counterfeit, dancing in the church there is real and genuine dancing that, whether choreographed or spontaneous, glorifies the Lord. I learned an important principle in life a long time ago: no matter how much we may know about any subject from the Word of God, there is much more that we do not know.

As I minister and teach about Biblical dancing I integrate it into our intimate relationship with Jesus. The believer as a follower of Jesus, as I said earlier, has much to dance about. There is not one Jewish person I know that does not dance–and our faith is a Jewish faith! There have been many times when I shared my testimony, danced, and sang, and many have been brought to the Lord upon hearing and seeing through this type of ministry what the Lord has graciously and generously done in my life.

I also teach through demonstration certain expressive worship movements that Christians can incorporate into their daily lives, their intimate time with the Lord, and their churches. At times, after certain believers began including dance in their lifestyles, some had a tangible experience of physical healing in their bodies and some with broken hearts were healed. This is not a new concept; David played the harp and King Saul was set free from demonic oppression. However, I am sure that it was not the harp music in itself that healed Saul. There were many other harp players in Israel, but not all had the heart of a worshiper. The Bible says that God was with this harp player. It was the anointing of God upon one with the heart of a true worshiper that destroyed the yoke, and David definitely had such a spirit! I have heard a lot of good singers but very few worshipers! There is a big difference between the two, my beloved friend (1 Samuel 16:14-23)! I also have heard a lot of preachers but very few ministers. The dance is a unique ministry that both blesses the Lord in an intimate way and brings a refreshing to the person whose relationship with the Lord has gone stale! One can perform the dance of rejoicing over the victories that God has given to His people (Exodus 15:20-21). One may express the prophetic dance, which often communicates divine thoughts, ideas, and purposes and is a visible, nonverbal expression of what the Holy Spirit is saying (Psalm 149:1-3, 7-8; 2 Chronicles 20:13- 30; Joshua 6:1-21; Acts 21:10-11).

Only God knows how many more ways we can use the gifts that He has given us to bring forth messages of deliverance, hope, and love...if we purpose not to limit Him! Dancing before the Lord in its purest form is an outward expression of an inward heart condition–love toward God. Remember that God works in principles, not methods. Sometimes we in the Church act too sanctimoniously! We forget that all that God created was for Him and His people, not for the devil and his demons.

God made all things beautiful, but the devil stole from man God’s precious gifts and perverted them. We too often forget that we are called to take back all that the devil has thieved from us as part of our inheritance (Matthew 16:18-19). Dance is just another one of the many blessed expressions of worship that God has given to His people. We should not abort it and freely let the devil and the world have it and pervert it any longer. Like many other things, God is restoring the arts to Himself that through everything He may receive all the glory and honor that is due Him!

This is Scripture that speaks prophetically about the people of the Lord and His bride:

For long ago, the Lord had said to Israel: I have loved you, O My people, with an everlasting love; with loving-kindness I have drawn you to Me. Again I will build you, and you shall be rebuilt, O virgin of Israel! Again you shall take up your tambourines, and go forth to the dances of the merrymakers. Then the virgin shall rejoice in the dance, and the young men and the old together, For I will turn their mourning into joy, and will comfort them, and give them joy for their sorrow” (Jeremiah 31:3-4, 13).

Praise the LORD! Sing to the LORD a new song, and His praise in the congregation of the godly ones. Let them praise His name with dancing; Let them sing praise to Him with timbrel and lyre” (Psalm 149:1, 3).

Beloved friend, God loves you passionately! God wants to use the arts to bring Him glory, too. Whether you sing, dance, act, mime, play an instrument, or paint, you can and should do it unto the Lord and for His glory (Colossians 3:17, 23). He is the One Who gives gifts! We did not gift ourselves. Above all, He wants your heart! Once you give Him your heart, then whatever comes from your heart will automatically become His! Let all the people of the Lord praise Him forever! Amen!



 
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