I listened to some old music today...
Well, maybe not classic oldies, but definetly music that reached back to my past.
Back in the late 90's, God was doing some powerful things in Pensacola, Florida. You probably heard bits and pieces...like most moves of God, it suffered from a major lack of understanding. A sleeply A/G church with a 2200 seat sanctuary was suddenly hosting services five nights a week, many with crowds of up to 5,000 people who would camp out on the front lawn all day to get a seat, whether in the main auditorium, in a class room, or even a video equipped tent.
We visited a number of times in those years, and none of the principles involved had the effect that Lindell Cooley did. He was an animated, mop haired white guy with a huge grin and a black voice. Every service started with about an hour and a half of worship. I know this drives some of you crazy, but I'm telling you...it was incredible.
Lindell led from a keyboard and absolutely romped through the worship time, his voice always lagging a half step behind the music in a way that added a bluesy touch. Swinging wildly from honky-tonk to aggressive rock, Lindell's set list would include Vineyard staples, the latest Delirious music, and hymns.
Two songs really stood out to me. "History Maker" sounded like U2 when Delirious played it (come to think of it, "Happy Birthday" sounded like U2 when they played it, but that's a different post...). Lindell americanized it - listening to it today I realized that his version sounded a heck of a lot like Journey. Another song was an old hymn written by William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army called "Send the fire". When Lindell sang "the revolution now begins...", it was easy to imagine Booth setting England on it's ear with his passion for social justice. Booth was relevant when relevant was a concept, not a magazine.
Listening to those songs today, my heart was reminded of all that God did in our lives in those years. Some people move out of the box. We had our box burned down around us. We were doing ministry the best we could with what we knew and what we had...those nights in Pensacola simply showed us there was more than we ever imagined...that we could be revolutionaries too.
It gave me great joy to crank that cd up this afternoon, and even greater joy to watch Zion, who at 2 1/2 is too young to remember those days, dance around like a madman when Lindell belted out "...now I know that God is for me, not against me!"