We asked eight bands and soloists who played the fest to give us their impressions of what they saw and heard at CROSS RHYTHMS '99.
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Thank you Cross Rhythms.
This year proved to be another exciting time at the Cross Rhythms Festival. I was quite amazed to hear the same theme expressed through various international speakers and performers. Did you hear the harmonies? Were you in time with the rhythmic patterns? In general, what I mean to say is, did you get good stuff?
The Lord constantly put out a challenge and a promise through both festivals. It was a similar promise that resonates through the book of Haggai. Here was a group of people who faced all the typical life dynamics that we face today. There were daily pressures, demands, expectations, things to do with family, friends, churches, etc and little left to give.
A little over 25 centuries ago, a prophet was led to the calling of men, women and children to the righteous priorities of God, he was the prophet Haggai. He knew what was important and what had to be done and challenged God's people to respond. Many of the people took time to reflect and take inventory of their lives because of the strong challenge and promise from the Lord through the prophet Haggai. "Is it time for you yourselves to be living in your panelled houses when this house remains a ruin?" Haggai 1:4 The speakers and performers at the both festivals this year initiated the same type of challenge.
God asked his people how they could live in luxury and comfort 1 when his house was lying in ruins. Throughout Scripture, the temple was always the focal point in relationship with God, but it was still demolished. The people had been exiled many years ago and the temple work ceased for over 15 years. "Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price; therefore, honor God with your body." 1 Corinthians 6:19
The interesting thing about the festival this year was the harmony and rhythm of both speakers and performers as they conveyed in unison these basic building blocks of the faith along with the promises of God. "Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever. Hebrews 13:8
The prophet Haggai pointedly addressed the problems in faith and so did those who spoke and performed at the festivals this year. In Haggai's day, the harder folks worked, the emptier their lives were because they were caring for their personal needs while neglecting the work of the Lord which always leads to empty lives, selfish living, disappointment and no vision. The good news is that 23 days after the prophet spoke the people began to apply some of the principles they learned and began to enjoy the good fruit of following God's principles, namely working on the temple of God.
In order to understand or begin to understand the focal point of Cross Rhythms: For Such A Time As This, one must spend time working on the temple of God. A gentle reminder, "Do you not know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit..." I Corinthians 6:19 This involves prayer, worship and spending time with God and allowing God to help you unlearn many of the things you have learned in order that you may be used by the Holy Spirit to conquer and destroy the stronghold of the devil and his punk friends at this late stage of spiritual history.
It took the people in Haggai's time 23 days to catch on! Have you caught it yet? More than 23 days have gone by since the prophets and worshipers have passed through the grounds of Cross Rhythms and Roots & Branches. Lives have been eternally changed. How about yours? Have you caught it yet? Remember, in Haggai's time the people needed some time to reflect on what was said by the Lord through his servant. Perhaps you are still reflecting, Don't take too long - You are missing some great blessings. "Give careful thought to your ways " Haggai 1:7 Don't forget, if you have placed your faith in the shed blood of Christ, then your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit. Go get the materials and work on your temple, Work on it some more, Don't give in, don't give out, just keep on getting the materials and before you know it you will become a skilled warrior ready For Such A Time As This. Keep drawing from the endless well of Grace and Mercy you will find all you need there for the journey.
Speakers and performers came from different parts of the world but the harmonies and rhythms were in unison and it is important that we as a people recognize our responsibility as Christians in the world For Such A Time As This.
Along with many exciting Christian acts from around the world, I was pleased to take part in the live broadcast from the Welcome Party in the Powerhouse on the first evening of Cross Rhythms '99 and thoroughly enjoyed the contributions of the Psalm Drummers with their energetic percussion praise.
As the weekend progressed, I was particularly impressed by the variety of talent on offer in The Playground arts tent. I was blessed and moved by "The Lament Of Jephthah's Daughter", an outstanding prophetic dance presentation of Judges 11 by contemporary choreographer and dancer Vivienne Tsouris focussing on the consequences of absorbing non-biblical cultural traits.
I enjoyed the exhibitions of water colour paintings by Robin Armor and of contemporary icons by Dimitri Tsouris, a Greek artist who is exploring orthodox faith and associated contemplative images of the past, and I braced myself, managing to avoid the onslaught of shaving foam, for the constructive mayhem of zany fun-loving "Bananas For Jesus" Nick Breakspear. Nick's wake-up call to the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, a subject very close to my heart as a Messianic Jewish violinist and particularly relevant to this year's festival theme For Such A Time As This (Esther 4:14). All in all, a very varied and full programme for '99.
Things were still fairly quiet in the main area as we set up our gear ready for our gig in the Fireworks tent but slowly and ; surely more and more people headed on in. We started our set with the opening track "Your Love" from our new album 'Bramph!' which is all about God's great love for us and how we cannot live without him. The crowd continued to grow steadily (with help from the NSC groupies) and even a few people got up and worshipped with their dancing feet. Finally the 40 minutes were up and we found ourselves playing our final song ready to exit the stage for Psalmistry.