Friday, November 18, 2011

Praise Him with Dance!

As born-again Christians (and active members of a Baptist church), my husband and I often get funny looks when people learn that we are dancers. God has blessed us with musical, dancing, and choreographic abilities, and we believe He would have us use these gifts to His glory and to spread His Word to an audience unaccustomed to hearing the Gospel.

It is true that the Bible condemns worldly forms of dancing, such as the dance Herodias’ daughter performed to entice Herod to execute John the Baptist (Mark 6:22-28), or the naked dancing of the Hebrews before the golden calf idol they had made (Exodus 32:18-25).

However, about two thirds of the references to dancing in the Bible portray it in a positive light, as a form of praise, worship, and expression of joy. Dancing is contrasted with mourning (Ecclesiastes 3:4; Jeremiah 31:13; Lamentations 5:15), and it was used to celebrate victory in battle (1 Samuel 18:6; 30:16) and the return of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:25). Miriam led the Israelite women in a dance of praise after God parted the Red Sea to deliver them from Egypt(Exodus 15:20-21). David danced before the Lord to praise Him for bringing the Ark back to Egypt, and when his wife Michal disapproved, she was punished by not bearing any children (2 Samuel 6:14-23).

Two of the Psalms call on worshippers to praise God with dance as well as music!
Psalm 149:3 Let them praise his name in the dance: let them sing praises unto him with the timbrel and harp.
Psalm 150:4 Praise him with the timbrel and dance: praise him with stringed instruments and organs.

Through the years it has become clear to my husband and me that our ministry is to dance to Christian music for audiences that may be largely unchurched, in settings that are more secular than sacred. Our prayer each time we set foot on the dance floor is to honor Him with our dance, to dance for His glory, and to soften hearts to His Word. We have been blessed to have missionaries and people in church leadership praying for us in this mission.

If God calls you to a specific work, He will see you through it! God has blessed our ministry by granting us the strength to continue in physically demanding choreography, including overhead lift work, despite my husband’s heart condition (mitral valve regurgitation) and our age. We are old enough to be the parents or even grandparents of most other performers in this style, and we have been dancing together for more than 20 years even though the career of a male dancer in this style is usually limited to 5 years or less because of injuries and overuse.

God’s strength is made perfect in our weakness; His grace is sufficient (2 Corinthians 12:9); and with Him, all things are possible (Matthew 19:26; Philippians 4:13)

Isaiah 40: 29 He giveth power to the faint; and to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall: 31 But they that wait upon the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.

He has opened doors for this ministry exceeding abundantly beyond what we could ask or think (Ephesians 3:20), and it is amazing to look back over the years to see how He began preparing us for it long before we were even saved! (Jeremiah 29:11)

Lately God has also blessed me with Christian lyrics to secular and classical songs, which we dance to in the hope that the audience will be more attentive to the words when they recognize the music, and that the next time they hear the tune, their hearts will remember the Christian message.

Some of our pieces are on YouTube:
“Save Me!” (2011; lyrics/vocal by Laurie Collett)

“All I Need is You” (2011; lyrics/vocal by Laurie Collett)

“Power and Joy” (2009)

“O Holy Night” (2008)

“Silent Night” (2009; Theatrical Waltz)

If you feel so led, please view them. Your prayers for this ministry would be greatly appreciated.

To lead souls to the Lord, believers need to go where the lost are, bringing God’s Word and the good news of the Gospel outside the church (Matthew 28:19-20). In any endeavor, vocation, or hobby, God calls us to do all to His glory, that others may see Him through us and want to follow Him.

Colossians 3: 23 And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as to the Lord, and not unto men; 24 Knowing that of the Lord ye shall receive the reward of the inheritance: for ye serve the Lord Christ.

42 comments:

  1. "If God calls you to a specific work, he will see you through it." i take such comfort in these words today. thank you so much friend. xo

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  2. Dear Emily, You're very welcome, and thank you so much for visiting and for your comment! Praise God that He has a specific plan for each of our lives. He knows what we need to accomplish it before we even ask Him, and He will provide!

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  3. That's wonderful Laurie. Sometimes we get too judgmental with each other and that's sad. So glad you are following the Lord's leading. Sometimes we may seem strange to others- but He's the boss : ) I will pray. God bless you both. And thanks for your encouragement in my work in the Arts. My Mother-in-law thinks I'm crazy. But it's for the Lord.

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  4. As King David danced in public topless, even to the embarrassment of his wife, imagine President Obama or our Prince Charles publicly dancing to the Lord topless. Wow! This would get people talking, wouldn't it?

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  5. Dear Karen,

    Thanks for the kind words, encouragement and prayers!

    When we finally summoned the courage to tell a missionary friend of ours what God had laid on our hearts, he and his wife came to watch us dance. He said "You can't put God in a box, even though people try to! Who's to say that He can't use what you do to reach people just as much as He uses preaching or Bible teaching?" They've been praying for our ministry ever since.

    Your work in the arts is a blessing to very many people, and I will pray that God will continue using you mightily for His glory!

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  6. Dear Frank, Thanks for your comment! I think it would be awesome if we could see any of our political leaders engaging in any form of genuine public worship to our Lord! Come to think of it, there is a clip floating around of Cain singing a hymn (he has a beautiful voice and a sweet spirit in his song). But for the most part, I think we are faced with spiritual wickedness in high places.

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  7. Some people in my church were sceptics for me, because I'm poet. But on these arguments I said that Psalms are poetry. And they are the best poetry on the world. Some Christians exaggerate in this question, because some pastors and other wise people teach them in this way. Young Christians read books, were are written phrases, that we should "avoid world" - it is true, that we should avoid sin and world, but if we start life in total physical isolation, we will be like cult, not real Christianity - the best example for me are medieval European monasteries...
    Heartly greetings for You.

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  8. Dear Zim, As Christians we need to be separated from the world's values, but not isolated from the lost souls in the world, or we would be unable to reach them. There is a saying, "Don't be so heavenly minded that you're no earthly good." May God bless you and your writing and poetry! I am sure God is pleased by poems you write to His glory.

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  9. Love that you look at dancing...
    for Him.
    For His glory.
    Thank you for joining us at NOBH...
    ~Kara @ The Chuppies

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  10. Hi Kara, Thanks so much for visiting and commenting! May God bless you and your ministry!

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  11. What a great ministry. I pray God is blessed and praised through it

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  12. I love how God, our Creator, blesses us with so many wonderful talents and abilities that we can use for His glory. I agree - we can't put God in a box. What's important is our relationship with Him and our heart attitude as we seek to live for Him and serve Him with our giftedness. Thank you, Laurie, for your lovely comments on my last post! I'm pretty new to blogging and am finding it a great outlet for some of my spiritual gifts.

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  13. Laurie,
    Just watched most or all of your videos. What a wonderful ministry, and you and your husband are amazing!

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  14. Dear kathy@takesix,
    Thanks so much for visiting and for your thoughtful comment. God has created each of us to be unique, blessed with different abilities as well as spiritual gifts to glorify Him in a unique way, fulfilling His specific purpose for our life. May God bless you and your ministry!

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  15. Dear Shanda,
    Thanks so much for your comment and especially for your prayers!

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  16. Dear Carol,
    Thanks so much for visiting and for your kind comment and encouragement! I visited your blog and love your advice to "Love God. Serve others. Live Simply."

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  17. What a wonderful ministry! Blessings to you and your husband as you continue to fulfill God's calling on your life! Thanks for linking up today!

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  18. Thanks, Joan, for your kind words and blessings! And thanks also for hosting "The Beauty in His Grip!"

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  19. I grew up in a church that frowned on dancing. No, they didn't just frown on it. They condemned it. One preacher I remember saying he would rather his daughter be so clumsy she couldn't walk through a door than to take ballet. How sad. I never completely agreed with the condemnation probably because I had taken tap dancing and ballet when I was younger. I love that you pointed out how that most of the time dancing is a positive in the Bible. Thank you for sharing. And you keep dancing to the glory of God.
    Blessings,
    Charlotte

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  20. Dear Charlotte, Thanks for sharing your experience and for your encouragement! When we joined our church, the bylaws actually prohibited dancing, but the Pastor we have now studied all the references to dancing and concluded that since most of them are positive, it would be unBiblical to condemn it. So our bylaws now prohibit "worldly dancing," because as is the case with music, writing or art, dance can be a form of praise and worship to God's glory, or it can be used to provoke evil and sinful thoughts.
    God's blessings to you!
    Laurie

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  21. What a lovely post! I love how you support your faith through dancing, and support your commitment through bible verses listed in your post. ~Lori

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  22. Dance is beautiful, artistic, creative and joyful -- all wonderful ways to honor God. Would love to see you two on the dancefloor in person!

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  23. Dear Lori, Thanks so much for visiting & commenting and for your kind words!
    Happy Thanksgiving to you!
    Laurie

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  24. Dear Michelle, Thanks so much for your encouraging comment! You're invited anytime! We dance mostly in FL but other places too. Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family!

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  25. Blessings Laurie and WOW! You are in great shape, both of you and what a blessed JOY it is to see people dance!

    I love dance and I dance in church! So I truly believe what you have written here in many points. In fact, I was drawn to this post instead of just your first on your blog (if time permits, I will return there) but I'm enjoying your dance videos, only 1 on your YouTube but "sitlift" had more...

    This spoke to me: "If God calls you to a specific work, He will see you through it!" Amen! I love the scriptures that you used also on dance
    and the contrast between good and worldly dance...

    I do believe this is a wonderful ministry and that of course, a wonderful way to reach the lost! One can bring glory to God in all of the art forms; dance just happens to be
    controversial but it is a beautiful expression of who God created us to be and move and have our being! Especially your beautiful theatrical moves! I am in awe and it is clearly God's grace and miracles that allow you both to continue to lift and move like that... such strength, grace and beauty.

    I do not know how you found me... since I'm not linked to Spiritual Sunday but I'm glad God sent you my way to delight my heart this evening. It reminds me of ice dancing also! To God be the glory!

    I was going to just come over and tell you what a beautiful comment you left me and I don't think I've ever been invited to follow in such an elegant way. I do not do the "following" gadget deal since I follow only Christ but I did add you and your blog! I hope we become better acquainted. Thanks for your visit! I hope my long comment does not scare you away. I have an Advent post that should be posted by now. I want to leave you with your beautiful opening words to me:

    "Christ is our treasure, and the Advent season is an especially sweet time to seek Him, remembering His first coming and eagerly awaiting His second coming!"

    This truly is a blessing to me today and I also think your dancing is a sweet time to glorify Him!

    Thank you Saved by Grace Laurie,
    Peggy

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  26. Dear Peggy,

    Thank you so much for visiting, for your warm and kind comment, and for adding Saved by Grace to blogs you read. My husband and I so greatly appreciate your encouragement and enthusiasm for our ministry! May God bless your dance ministry too! I hope you will share your dance videos also.

    It is only by God's grace that we are able to do this at our age, and to Him be all the glory! We thank Him every day that His grace is sufficient, that His strength is made perfect in our weakness, and that with Him, all things are possible. We have a poster in the room where we practice that says "Believe in miracles -- with God all things are possible!

    Our prayer is that souls would be saved, hearts softened, and seeds planted through this ministry.

    May God bless you and your dance and blogging ministries!

    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  27. I love it! And I'm so glad you linked up at Jumping Tandem! Thanks so much for sharing the beautiful gift of dance.

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  28. Thanks, Deidra, for visiting and commenting! Thanks also for hosting Jumping Tandem!

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  29. Blessings Laurie,

    My post yesterday for Giving Thanks was the kind of dance I like to do... though I am not trained in ballet or any form of dance, so I am sharing the link to that post (but I have many of this type in a playlist at You Tube but not any of me personally). It probably would have been easier to just give you the You Tube link! Hope you enjoy it as I do yours! Thanks for dancing to Him! To God be the glory and may He continue to bless you both and your ministry in Dance! I'm blessed watching and listening to you still.

    Peace and Love in Christ,
    Peggy

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  30. Dear Peggy, That video is beautiful! I'm sure your dancing is beautiful too as you do it purely as an expression of worship to Him. Thanks so much for the uplifting words and encouragement, and blessings, peace and love to you too!
    Laurie

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  31. Laurie:

    I just went over to view a couple of the videos. The dancing (and your singing) is beautiful. I have always enjoyed watching figure skating and ice dancing. The choreography here reminds me of the elegance of ice dancing.

    I think that with many things, such as dancing, Satan has taken it and made it into something evil. He always tries to conterfeit what God has made for good. I see nothing wrong with dancing as a ministry and it is a way to reach those who would not ordinarily be reached for Christ. (My husband was raised Baptist, so I understand that you would sometimes get those funny looks.)

    I am also encouraged by your comment, "If God calls you to a specific work, He will see you through it!" I have always enjoyed writing and I believe God has called me to write for Him. Although my blog posts are not as refined as something I would submit to a publisher, I do see it as a ministry.

    Thank you so much for linking up at Reflections of His Grace. You have my prayers for your ministry.

    Blessings,
    Joan

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  32. Dear Joan,
    Thanks so much for taking the time to view the videos, and for your kind words and encouragement about the dancing and singing.

    (I do much of our choreography, and I went from ballet in childhood and adolescence, to figure skating and ice dancing in adulthood, to ballroom dancing in mid-life and finally this form of adagio partnership dancing in late life). It's amazing how God prepares us for the ministry He has in mind for us even before we are saved!

    I love the point you make that Satan takes what God has created for good and tries to counterfeit it and use it for evil. That is so true for dancing, and even for singing and the visual arts.

    You write beautifully and with the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, and your blog posts are a worthy ministry indeed! God has blessed and will continue to bless you with all you need for this work to glorify Him.

    Thanks so much for your prayers for our ministry -- they are deeply appreciated.

    Love in Him,
    Laurie

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  33. I watched one of your videos, how beautiful! Thanks... may we forever dance for His glory!
    Barbara visiting from www.mylifeasanadventure.com

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  34. Dear Barbara, Thanks so much for viewing, visiting and commenting! And thanks for the kind words. May all we do be to glorify Him!

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  35. Hello Laurie,
    I believe that dance can have a place in worship.
    What a lovely ministry.
    I like what you said to Zim..'don't be so heavenly minded that you are no earthly good'.
    Words to think about.
    Finding a balance is important.
    God Bless
    Barb from Australia

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  36. Dear Barb,

    Thanks so much for visiting and for your encouraging and thoughtful comment. Balance is so important in the Christian life -- taking the time to sit quietly at His feet and listen to His voice, yet going forth in the world to spread the Good News as He has commanded.
    God bless you too!
    Laurie

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  37. Hi Laurie - I just wanted to pop over and say thank you for linking up. I look forward to seeing you there every week. You are a blessing to me.
    God bless
    Tracy

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  38. Hi Tracy, You're very welcome, and thanks so much for hosting the link-up and for your kind words. You are a great blessing to me also!
    May you have a blessed week in Him,
    Laurie

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  39. I am 45 unfit and overweight and I have just started to learn ballroom dancing with my 3 daughters.
    Dancing is a beautiful form of art. As our heavenly father created us in his image we too have the ability to create especially when inspired by him. Your dancing is truly amazing and anything we give over to him with our whole hearts he will use for his Glory. Thank you for sharing. I am sure that those who watch what you do are blessed by it and brought closer to our amazing God.
    Blessings Nell

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  40. Dear Nell, Thanks so much for visiting and commenting!

    Ballroom dancing is a wonderful way to get and stay in shape, and it is especially wonderful that you can do it with your family.

    Thank you so much for your encouraging and kind words about our dance ministry. We pray every rehearsal and performance that the Holy Spirit will work through us in the choreography and dancing. He is the best teacher and source of inspiration!

    Happy dancing and God bless you!
    Laurie

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  41. I think the Silent Night is my favorite!!

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