|Interview - Scott Brenner by Daniel Park
Quiet Time and Worship
Scott Brenner is the founder and leader of Tribe of Levi Ministries International, an evangelistic revival ministry. He is concurrently serving at Oryun Church in Seoul, Korea, as worship pastor. He is married to Sunghee and has two beautiful children, Joshua and Esther. LL: Tell us about your call and how it changed your life. SB: I grew up in a Christian home and received Christ when I was five years old. My father led me to Christ. I received my call to ministry at the age of thirteen at a Baptist youth camp. The Holy Spirit impressed upon me a call to a lifetime of service to Christ. At that time, I was not fully aware of what it meant to be called to a lifetime service. As a result, yielding to His calling did not happen right away. I wrestled through my teenage years, trying to please God in place of that call.
However, the turning point of my life came when I met a great Christian roommate at Baylor University during my freshmen year. He was a spirit-filled Christian who loved God with all his heart. I thank God for sending him in my life, as he was a great model of servant evangelism. His witness was an example and an encouragement to me. At the age of eighteen, I surrendered unconditionally to the will of God, which led me to change schools to Liberty Baptist College (now Liberty University). I also changed my major to pastoral studies. I began to study to be a pastor, and began to devour the Bible avidly, as my love for God grew stronger.
After I completed my bachelor’s degree, I went on to law school. Although I was aware of God’s call upon my life, I believed that my vocational call would be somewhat similar to the Apostle Paul, who was a tentmaker by vocation, but was called as a minister. Likewise, I believed I would serve God vocationally as a lawyer. But after law school, God made it clear to me that I was to serve Him full-time as a minister of the gospel. During my years of law practice, He gave me a number of confirmations indicating when it was time for me to step out. Trusting in God’s timing and plan, I stepped out in faith. I had already been active for many years in lay ministry and worship leading. I now devoted myself to serving God in full time ministry, becoming involved in many levels of ministry. Eventually, I was ordained at Sojourn Church, a wonderful church in Dallas where my wife and I were married. After serving at that church as a music pastor for a number of years, I served with Pastor Mike Bickle at the International House of Prayer in Kansas City. During that same period of time, my family and I were traveling back and forth to Korea for ministry. God had led us during that season to launch the ministry of Tabernacle of David in Korea, which is another whole story itself. This is basically a condensed story of our journey in following God’s calling. I can confidently say that it’s been a great journey.
LL: You have launched a new ministry called “Tribe of Levi.” What is the vision of this ministry?
SB: In many ways, Tribe of Levi is a follow-up to the vision and ministry of Tabernacle of David in Korea, which was also a worship and revival ministry. Tribe of Levi is a worship ministry, but at the same time it is an evangelistic ministry. We are evangelistic in nature, in that we believe it’s important that we proclaim the gospel through our lives. Worship is a lifestyle. As Levites, we are to live out the gospel and feed on the gospel. We are to be His message.
The vision of the Tribe of Levi Ministry is to raise disciples who are completely devoted to Christ. We strive to be transformed into the character and image of Christ, so that we can be sent by God to penetrate the contemporary culture with the light of Jesus Christ. As Christians, we should always remember that we are in the world but not of the world. We are to be so influenced by the gospel, by Jesus, that we become His influencers to the world.
LL: Where is the Tribe of Levi Ministry based?
SB: Our local church membership is at Oryun Community Church in Seoul. I currently serve on staff at Oryun Church where I lead worship for the fifth worship service and also occasionally preach. I am also the conference director for Glory, which is Oryun Church’s annual worship conference. A number of our Tribe of Levi members also attend Oryun Church, but some of our members attend other churches.
Tribe of Levi Ministries is an independent itinerate ministry. We are an evangelistic association committed to the great commission. Our ministry’s weekly Bible study, Lifeline, meets regularly on Tuesday nights at Moriah, a Christian café located in Seoul. While we are committed to serving the local church, at the same time, we are called as a ministry to serve the greater body of Christ. We minister throughout Korea in many cities, and also minister internationally. As a ministry, we also host a number of conferences and seminars throughout the year. A significant part of our ministry mandate is to call people to a lifestyle of consecration. We believe that as Christians, we are to lay our hopes and dreams on the altar of consecration. By experiencing the brokenness of consecration, we can be broken and blessed and sent out by God to the world as His messengers.
One of the central themes for Tribe of Levi Ministries is personal consecration to God. We express that message of through a number of different avenues. We are currently producing our first full-length Tribe of Levi worship CD. We are also working on a number of other ministry resources to be released in the future, which we are excited about.
LL: What do you believe is the importance of worship in one’s life?
SB: The word worship comes from an old English word “worthship.” It speaks of what you value in your life. Jesus said in the sermon on the mount, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21). Jesus was speaking about the concept of worship. Worship is all about where you place your worth and what is important to you.
Christians tend to think of worship in terms of music and what we do on Sundays. Congregational worship is indeed part of worship. Our corporate worship service is an expression of our true worship when we gather together as saints. As the Bible commands us, we should not forsake the assembly of ourselves together, because the life of Christ is expressed in community. However, we should not forget another important aspect in our worship: our personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Our devotional life to Christ involves a lifestyle that must be lived out twenty-four seven. We should remember that our corporate worship on Sundays is not a substitute for a daily encounter with Christ.
Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer to pray about our needs. “Give us this day our daily bread” (Matthew 6:11). Praying for our daily bread includes prayer for our physical needs as well as our spiritual needs. However, Jesus also said in the Sermon on the Mount, “Don’t worry about your physical needs because your Father in Heaven knows what you need before you ask.” It can be inferred, therefore, that the more important aspect of our daily bread is our spiritual daily bread, which is Jesus himself. A daily encounter with Jesus is the essence of our Christian life. Jesus said, “I am the living bread that came down from heaven. If anyone eats of this bread, he will live forever. This bread is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world” (John 6:51).
LL: How does God speak to you in your quiet time? Has there been a specific example?
SB: Of course, God speaks to us through His Word. We read in John 1:1 that “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” The Bible tells us further that the Word became flesh, Jesus Christ. We need to have a thorough understanding that Jesus comes to us as God’s message. Words are intended to communicate. The Word of God is God’s message to us. If we want to hear the voice of God, we need to meditate in the Word of God. When we read the Bible, we can listen to the voice of God through His Word. It is important to recognize that there is no shortcut around it.
I usually spend my quiet time alone with the Bible, praying and waiting on God. I will read the Bible text, and also meditate on what the Word of God is saying. When approaching the Word in a devotional context, we should come hungry for relationship with Jesus. At the same time, we cannot interpret His Word subjectively, that is, in whatever way that suits us. God’s Word has objective content and an applied context. However, God always wants to speak to our hearts through His Word. We must be open and willing for His Word to speak and work in our lives.
When we approach God’s Word, we must have a willingness to say, “Lord, I’m laying down my agendas to receive yours. I need You to speak to me.” David prayed in Psalm 139:23-24, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” This is an important prayer to pray when we have our devotional time because we are giving God permission to speak into our lives.
Secondly, we need to learn to recognize the voice of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit never says anything that contradicts the Bible. But we must first have a willingness to hear what the Spirit is saying. Jesus said in John 10:27, “My sheep hear My voice.” Here, Jesus is using the analogy of a shepherd. We know that a shepherd speaks to the sheep in a human language that those animals cannot speak or fully comprehend. How then do they recognize and follow the shepherd’s command? As the sheep spend time with their shepherd, they have established closeness with him through which they have learned to trust him. Although they do not speak his language, they recognize the sound of his voice and understand the basic commands. They are responding because there is a trust relationship. Likewise, God often speaks to us and we may not understand, for He speaks to us by the Holy Spirit. But if there is closeness to Jesus by following close to Him, then we’ll be able to recognize his voice when He speaks to us. It is the closeness in the relationship with Jesus that enables us to hear the Holy Spirit’s voice.
LL: Is there anything that you would like to tell the readers of our Quiet Time Magazine?
SB: Yes, I would like to strongly encourage all the readers to meditate on the love of Jesus Christ on a daily basis. The Gospel is the message of God’s unconditional love expressed through the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. His love invites and draws us closer to Him. It’s His kindness, His mercy, and His grace that draws us close. The scriptures tell us that the kindness of God leads us to repentance. Repentance is turning away from anything that is not of God, and turning to God. God is love. As we meditate on God’s kindness and love, it will cause us to turn from worthless things to God. As believers, we need to meditate on His love, because that is the reason God sent His only begotten Son into this world.
Meditating on God’s love also allows us to feel joyful, because it feels good to be loved by another. As believers in Christ, as those who have received His perfect grace and love, we are able to experience the fullness of joy and peace in His presence. Psalms 16:11 says, “In Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.” If you are a believer, you can experience fullness of joy and peace in God’s presence. We are most satisfied when we are in His presence.
A daily encounter with His love will ground us, change us, and secure us. The Lord wants to wrap His arms around us. He wants us to experience His love. Worship is a good way to begin devotions. I often spend unrehearsed, unstructured time worshiping in the presence of God, loving the Lord and pouring my heart out to Him. It’s amazing how your perspective changes when you worship. In times when you feel weary or frustrated, worshiping the Lord will allow you to be free from anxiety and gain a heavenly mindset once again. Loving and praising God is all about getting your mind set on things above, not on things of the earth.
Devotion time involves worshiping God for who He is, before we have asked Him for anything. This gives us a heavenly perspective, so that when we begin to make our needs known to God, it is in faith and not in anxiety. If we begin our devotion time by only asking God for things before we have begun to exalt Him for who He is, our prayers often are laden with anxiety, and can fall to the ground. We must first gain a heavenly perspective. We must first understand who God is, and that we are His beloved, His chosen ones in Christ. Then our perspective changes. When our perspective is aligned with heaven’s perspective, then we can pray in faith and according to truth.
Devotional time is a time for refocusing and getting re-anchored. Once we have that heavenly mindset, we begin to confess the truth of God, praise God, and make our own needs known. Jesus taught us to pray for what God wants before we pray for what we want. “Your Kingdom come, Your will be done on earth as it is in heaven” (Matthew 6:10). There is not necessarily a right or wrong way to spend your devotional time, but I do believe there are basic principles that can help us have a meaningful time together with the Lord.
LL: Great, thank you so much for your insights.
SB: You’re welcome!