Proclaiming Jesus

by Patrik Peterson (Psalto, Sweden)

This article was first published in the December 2016 edition of the ICDF Newsletter, “Flags & Banners.”

I took part in meetings in public squares containing worship, prayer and testimony, during early “Jesus manifestations” in Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. I felt a need to celebrate and indicate the Lord’s presence in some tangible way during these public events. I took a large piece of blue cloth and put it on a stick as a banner. People asked me “What does the banner mean?” I found some Tipp-Ex and wrote “JESUS” on the cloth. That removed most questions. I used this banner for some time.

After a while, I wanted to make Jesus’ name clearer and more easily visible, so I made it in thicker letters. I also added the crown of the king and the crown of thorns. I have used this banner on many occasions, and it is my favourite banner for outdoor locations.

Later on, I wanted a similar flag in lighter material. I studied carefully the colours of the veil and the tabernacle and made a design with sky blue, crimson red, gold, white, silver, and purple red. I added black to contain the crown of thorns. I purchased white linen and gave the design to a group of flag-making friends named “God is”. They are located in Sävsjö in Sweden. A woman there skilled in the art of painting on silk made the banner for me. The banner floats nicely in the air. I tend to use it indoors during soft music in worship or adoration.

I like to use these Jesus-banners in larger gatherings during worship, when I occasionally feel led to do so by the Holy Spirit. If I am sensitive to and obedient to the Spirit’s leading, the congregation at times responds strongly emotionally to the presence and movement of the banner. This is pure grace – God acts and brings about things that I can not. God uses my movement of the flag as a help to achieve what He desires which often is to stir the hearts of the congregation in awe of Him, or in commitment to Him, or in a conviction of Jesus as victor.

I am sometimes concerned by the over-use of flags in worship. While few spontaneously burst into song or dance, many feel free to use even large flags. Some don’t understand what they do to a meeting. They can disturb and distract. I often begin waving my flag or wielding my banner at the back of the room, where it is not noticed, and I do not move to the front unless urged by the Holy Spirit. I would encourage beginners to learn from those who are more experienced.

Let me also add that this use of flags is not my everyday thing. Usually, I am just a member of a team of many wonderful dancers who celebrate and serve together. We occasionally use flags, banners, scarves, and longer cloth in freedom and many creative ways but most of the time, we just use our bodies. They are perfectly fine 🙂

I came to think of a special choreography that I do to the song “How great is our God”. I like to have a 2.5-m long stick in that choreography. This dance conveys something about God’s power and majesty. People seem to like it. This is usually danced as a solo or duet.

Enacting the prophetic word

by Steven Turner (CDF Britain)

This article was first published in the December 2016 edition of the ICDF Newsletter, “Flags & Banners.”

Over the last few years, God has taken me on a journey exploring the range of ways banners are used. The colours and images on the banners have always been spiritually significant to me but recently I have been discovering how these extend the spiritual impact of my movement as a dancer.

An example of this was when I was privileged to partner with God at a meeting …

Someone brought a word about seeing ribbons come down from God and starting to move around the room. This person explained how the image was about receiving gifts from God and then stepping out to use them. The ribbons were all different colours representing the different talents and gifts of each of us. Now I knew that there was something powerful in this word. The Holy Spirit spoke to me about using the banner which depicts ribbons of different colours and, as I used this, I was able to visually represent what was spiritually going on. This is why movement, banners and ribbons are so powerful when used by someone responding to the Holy Spirit. No longer is a spiritual truth just being spoken, this truth is being displayed in a visual way.

As the meeting went on people were able to listen to God and build on the word that had been given, praying for people to be released into new giftings, and then praying together in groups into specific things that were happening in their local communities. The use of banners and movement made a massive difference in this situation as it shifted the atmosphere and allowed space for the activation of people’s gifts.

It really excites me that, through prayer and working alongside the Holy Spirit, the banner can be transformed from being just a piece of coloured material on a stick, to a powerful visual weapon to be used in worship, ministry, intercession, prophesy and much more…

Prayer from the Flags & Banners Network

This prayer by Darlene West was first published in the December 2016 edition of the ICDF Newsletter, “Flags & Banners.”

Prayer for the Network

The following is my prayer for the Flags and Banners Network.  Perhaps each one can agree in their hearts and we can offer our prayers to the Lord as a sweet fragrance.

Lord, I pray for the Flags & Banners Network and I thank you for creating us for such a time as this, at such an important time in history.

Thank you for handpicking us in our particular nation. Thank you for each nations uniqueness in their particular forms of art that display Your creative heart.

Thank you, Lord, that You are the Source of all creativity and when we’re plugged into You Your Spirit can flow through us to display Your Glory.

Lord, may we experience all of the facets of Your great Love for us, and have the ability to connect with Your heart expressing our passion for You in a multitude of creative ways.

I pray for the Flag Network and ask that you would make us sensitive to hear Your voice and springloaded to be obedient.

Please light the Fire once again in our hearts so we would burn again with the Fire of the Passion of Your Love. Cause us to shed the remains of hope deferred from the last season. Let us experience Your Father’s heart of love in a deeper way than we ever have. Cause us to Know that Your banner over us is Love, and know its deeper level meaning. Take us to deeper places in You.

I pray for Revelation.  First a revelation of what it means, to experientially have: Christ IN US, the Hope of Glory and all that entails.  I ask for a heart change and heart surgery, to remove any debris inside of us.  Bring to the surface, Lord, anything that hinders our relationship with You.  We want 100% freedom IN You, clean hands and a pure heart.  Cause Your Holy Spirit to freely flow through us like streams of living water so that others would be touched by You inside us.

Lord, I ask that You would please anoint us with your Holy Spirit as we teach others and that You would cause those who are flagging to experience You in many ways.  Use our bodies and flags as instruments of praise and worship.  We invite you to melt us, mould us, fill us to capacity with your Holy Spirit, and use us for Your Glory.

I pray for heavenly downloads of combining prophetic dance and flags and that Your Spirit would choreograph us when we least expect it.  Cause our hearts to leap as we let go and allow You to move us.  Cause us to be a blessing to others as we move with flags.  Continue to set people free as You move among us.

Lord, You said that the pure in heart will see God, and we want to see You.  Help us, as artists, to continue to be tender-hearted towards each other filtering offences through Your Holy Spirit so we don’t hold on to anything that is not of You.  We want to have clean hands and a pure heart, free of any offence.

I pray for Favour.  Favour in churches, communities and the marketplace, to wave our banners for You.  May Your Presence exude from within us and through our flags so that the atmosphere around us changes.  We want to be a Presence-driven Network.  Unless Your Spirit goes with us, we labour in vain.

Lord, thank you for the Freedom you’ve given us.  I’d like to pray for more freedom, that you would touch the hearts of our pastors and leaders that they would know the healing impact that flags have.  Give our pastors hearts to embrace the creative worship arts and give us hearts to honor them in all aspects. Please open doors for us to minister with flags in the new year, in places we haven’t done so before.

Father, again, thank you for wiring us in such a fashion as to display Your Creativity, what a blessing, we embrace the gifts You’ve given us and thank You for them.

In Jesus name,

Amen.

Darlene West
Flags & Banners Network Joint-Coordinator

Releasing heavenly power

This article by Marie Bensley was first published in the December 2016 edition of the ICDF Newsletter, “Flags & Banners.”

The reason we use flags is because, I believe, there is a power released from the heavenlies when God sees surrendered and obedient hearts moving out in this way. Anyone can stand in a congregation and sing, but it takes passion, conviction, humility and courage to pick up a flag and announce to heaven and hell (and the assembled congregation) that you are following the Spirit’s instructions.

Many people would love to try to dance with a flag, but are put off by “what others may think”. My answer to that is simple – your audience is only One, the Lord Himself! We must also remember “Man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart” – so you need only to have that willing heart to be accepted by Him.

If this is you: go to workshops, learn all you can, and practise at home before dancing in the church.

Characteristics of a Banner or Flag

  1. Demonstrates God is honoured
  2. Visually portrays a spiritual truth
  3. Enters the realms of spiritual warfare
  4. Proclaims your allegiance
  5. Makes a declaration of your faith
  6. Enhances praise and worship
  7. Ministers healing
  8. Attracts attention for evangelism
  9. Puts the enemy to flight
  10. Releases people who might not dance in any other way

Preparing for Spiritual Warfare

Focus on what you are attacking. Is it personal, family difficulties, church problems, town needs, community troubles, a wider desire to see the nation turn back to God, or a specific event in which you are involved, that needs strongholds to be broken and people protected and covered?

Using your Flags and taking the Offensive!

Pray in the Spirit so that you choose the colour of your flag or streamer which depicts the warfare that is on your heart.

Remember – you are the weapon. The flag has no powers in itself. It is cloth and pole! It is what you invest into it by your warrior prayer that makes the difference.

You may choose flags, ribbons or a staff, or any artefact that the Lord directs you to. Use them creatively as an extension and demonstration of your prayers and desires.

Marie Bensley
Flags & Banners Network Joint-Coordinator

It’s Like Electricity

From the Networks cyberforum:

“Like the choreography of a beautiful dance, the different ministries of God’s dance partners in the church are working together to bring God’s plan to fruition. God wants to dance with us.” (Brian Johnson – ‘Come Dance with Me’)

Some of you may remember the time when ‘dance in church’ was totally unheard of, and would have caused several heart attacks if it had happened! My background was a small church where dance was ‘of the world and therefore of the devil!!!’ However, I loved to dance. As a small child I did every dance activity at school I could as I was forbidden to do it at home.

As I get older the desire has not diminished. I still love to dance and have lots of opportunities to do so. At the church we attend now every Sunday you will see me with my flags dancing, encouraging the others and the children to join in.

When I dance for the Lord I know I am in that place He wants me to be. I lose myself in His presence.

In the film Billy Elliot the panel of interviewers at the Royal Ballet ask him what it feels like to dance. He hesitates but says, ‘it’s like electricity!’

I feel that too, only my description would be Spiritual electricity from the Holy Spirit.

Bless you all as you fulfil your destiny in Him as you dance.

5 Questions Answered: Flags and Banners CyberForum

Welcome to our first blog posting in the Flags and Banners Network!!!

golden flags

Darlene West is happy to give permission to use this flagging-in-action photo

HERE ARE THE QUESTIONS that we asked in this last CyberForum before Christmas 2014.

What would you answer?? If you don’t want to miss out in our next CyberForum, please contact us (go to the Contact Us page for our email addresses).

Darlene West, Andrew and Marie Bensley – ICDF Flags & Banners Network Coordinators

1. Do you mostly worship with flags: at home or church or prayer meeting or other?
2. Do you use your flags daily, weekly or monthly?
3. How many flags do you personally own?
4. What is your favorite flag at the moment and why?
5. Have you had a special ‘moment’ lately when your heart leaped while using flags?

6. Other sharing ?


HERE ARE SOME RESPONSES:

Janet (Canada)
– My heart is always impacted when raising the flag in praise and worship, but yes, just 2 days ago I was worshiping at home with the gold/red/green flags and found a breakthrough in the the desert that I’ve been experiencing for a few months.

-Today, during our church worship time, I began the time with the gold ones,welcoming God, calling down his glory, raising the banner to communicate to the people to alert themselves to His glory. The songs lyrics that were sung confirmed and mirrored my intercession through the flag. I was about to trade the gold ones for the white ones, when I noticed the son of a friend who carries a heart for Canada, he was searching for a flag but not settling on one, I offered him to use my white ones and he said yes. It was such a joy to my heart to see the young man raising the banners. I trust his father and mother were blessed as they observed him. The sweet love of God settled in and I raised the blue/burgundy flags,praising Him for his love and faithfulness. I believe He was victorious in touching hearts today. I love it! 🙂

Ann (United Kingdom)
At our “Dance in Worship” group – although we have a lovely space in the church building where we dance – the ceilings are too low for us to use flags, as we have to be careful of the lights!   So we dance with pom-pom shakers.  These are bright and colourful and can be used expressively too.   These are very good to use in Christian fellowship groups on movement for elderly people, as the shakers are easy to manage and hold.   When our ‘Dance in Worship’ group dances in churches we love to use flags then.  I have two shimmering ‘golden’ ones which I bought from Marie & Andrew’s stand at the Christian Resources Exhibition. The material is so light that it moves beautifully through the air.  I find it a joyful experience to dance with flags in the open air, which we’ve done in the past at a “Praise in the Park” Christian event.  It was so amazing dancing to praise music on the grass and in the sunshine.

Carol (United Kingdom)
Recently within my own church flags have been used at times of intercessory prayer.  An area shaped like the Middle East was taped onto the church floor and as we prayed we laid down specific flags.  I.e.  The Israeli flag and the Jerusalem flag as we prayed for Israel and the peace of Jerusalem in the height of the recent conflict.  At the end of the prayer session two purple flags, one with a Crown and the other with Jesus were placed over all.

Sandy (Canada)
In our fellowship, flags are used every Sunday.  Various congregation members of different ages, pick up a flag here and there, and join in mostly to the praise songs in the worship time.  There have been times that the young people really take off, and vigorously dance and flag, which we all love to see.  Then, there are times that I look around, and the grandmas have the flags, and they are expressing praise in the flagging.

Marrilea (Canada)
Our flags are available to everyone during our Sunday worship services, but they are almost exclusively used by children and teenagers.   As such, the flags we have available are easily used by little hands and shorter dancers.  Once in a while someone will choreograph a performance of the young dancers using the flags on a special occasion.

I think my heart leaps the most when I see another dancer, no matter what age, get lost in a worship song to Jesus.   Picture a little princess with a sparkly flag pulling her dad over to dance with her, and it is so beautiful.

Our church has been cautious in welcoming flags, but the children have really paved the way for people to be more comfortable with this style of worship.

Jacqueline ( Australia)
Child Like Faith: On Sunday 5/10/14 picking up my flags as a dashed out of my home and  jumping in to the car, heading for church for morning prayer.
Praise and worship time a little girl aged 3yrs, came to the place I stand the flags in church. Encouraging her I gave her the firer flag, and placed her out the front so all could see her, stepping back to watch her, boldlyshe start dancing with the flag, all eyes on her, blessing people with her praise to the Lord.
Proverbs  22:6 Train up a child in the way he should go. It gives me a joy in my heart to see children taking up a flag in church
Training of the next generation is so important,We are to be bold like this little one  moving forward in God.Faith like a child.

Brig (United Kingdom)
I use flags on some Sundays in the Church of England church we attend, and once a month outside the church building as part of our monthly Prayer Cafe outreach. Being away, I missed that last Prayer Cafe, and, interestingly, the team leader wrote to say that the warfare which goes on when I use flags close to where team members are inviting passers-by in for coffee, home-made cake and prayer, was noticeably missed. I also use flags regularly in the park opposite our house – our garden isn’t really big enough

Shena (United Kingdom)
Today was another special moment in my church. The youth joined my ladies dance and flag group.  We used the twirling flags using them symbolic to represent the flame of the Holy. Twirling them to a song called City of Lights. I feel so blessed as my Pastor and Church Leaders support this Ministry of praise and worship. They have made a place in the church and welcome spontaneous  worship every week. Even the toddlers have their own corner to dance and use flags in. The worship team include dance and flags at every rehearsal. It is incredible and often my heart is overwhelmed as the presence of The Lord fills the church. Praise Jesus for His promise of drawing close to His people as we draw close to him using our hearts, bodies and souls in worship in love and awe for all He is to each individual. Love Him Love Him Love Him. What a Great God we serve.

Gloria (Canada)
I think that my favourite locations for  using my flags are using them when I am holidays. There is something amazing about worshiping the Lord in the majestic mountains or on a beach with the sun setting.

My absolute favourite moments have been to place a flag into a person’s hands who has never worshiped before and watch the tears stream down their faces as they encounter the Lord in a most intimate and profound way. 

Positioned to Receive, Ministry back to Him

When I thought about the topic: Ministry Through Dance, the first thing that came to me was: am I being ministered to by others through dance, or am ministering to others.

If I’m being ministered to, through dance, I place myself in a position to receive. We prosper as our soul prospers and dance has a way of ministering to the mind and emotions as well as to one’s spirit. Dance is like a word-picture to me or like a parable. When I can’t remember a sermon, I will remember a dance. I remember being ministered to, deeply, through a dance 10 years ago, how a troupe of dancers were on stage and the dance morphed into a groom pursuing his bride. 20+ dancers were on stage. It was Holy Spirit choreographed and has left an imprint on my soul and my spirit to this day. I would say I was ministered to, in a deep way, that particular day.

When I’m dancing with flags I’m not thinking about how I’m ministering to others. I’m more so moving with how the Lord is moving me, to minister back to Him.

Thanks,

Darlene West

Flag & Banner Network