By Kevan Breitinger
Originally published in CMcentral.com (now CCMmagazine.com)
Learning Curve: On Hearing God and Leaving the Land of Ur, Part 2 (read Part 1)
As spring moved into summer, the Lord’s directions continued and became more specific. Chris, his wife Tiffany, and their two oldest kids came out to Nashville for The Call in early July, an event celebrating a movement of God’s people toward prayer, fasting and worship for spiritual breakthrough. They were ministered to greatly and felt increasingly sure of God’s direction for the family. The Lord gave more details immediately following that experience, although not necessarily the ones they might have hoped for.
“The day after the Call was Sunday,” Chris recalled. “We were visiting the church we felt the Lord would have us commit to, when the Lord spoke to me and said clearly, ‘Are you ready for everything to be hard?’ I had been standing up, but I sank to my seat, put my face in my hands, and said, ‘No, Lord, I’m just not ready for that. But I’ll still obey You.’”
I was curious to know if Chris had shared that word with his older children. “Yes, they received it,” he answered. “And my wife and I received it also, but nobody liked it,” he laughed. “We came home and got ready to go, and saw, in the following weeks that, in fact, everything was hard. But we got together everyday, sometimes as a family, sometimes as a couple, asking God to empower us. We did a lot of spiritual warfare,” he added.
By summer’s end the family was ready to go. They spent the first day on the road, stopped in Phoenix to spend time with family, and started their second day of travel early in the morning. Chris’ wife and oldest son were in the second car, following Chris and the other children. Forty minutes into the trip, a newly replaced tire on the second car delaminated and then exploded. “I happened to be looking in the rear view mirror when I saw the car swerve across the road,” Chris said, “and then I watched it flip over and over. I immediately turned around and rushed back to the scene where I found the car completely crushed. I was able to make eye contact with my wife and son, and realized they were alive, and I was even able to pull my son out through a window. He was OK, but the car was completely crushed around Tiffany. She was in a little pocket just big enough for her body. But her vital signs were good, and once emergency crews could cut her out of the car, she was Helivacced back to Phoenix.”
Imagining the horror of watching that car flip, I asked Chris about his thoughts as he and the kids drove back to the Phoenix hospital. His reply was as candid as always. “I was really battling with the image I had seen in my rear mirror,” he admitted, “truly feeling overwhelmed by it. But I began to pray, and as soon as I did that, I instantly had another vivid picture of the accident in my mind. I saw hideous demons rushing at the car, tearing at the wheels, trying to destroy the car. The image merged with my memory of the car rolling and flipping. Then I saw a picture of angels rushing in and battling, one in particular covering and protecting my wife’s body. It was a quick, one-second image that flooded my mind. I’m not sure if the Lord was giving me something to help heal my memory of the incident, or if He was showing me what actually happened in the spiritual realm. Either way, it reminded me that even in the darkest times, the most intense times of battle, He is there, fighting on our behalf.”
Chris and the family came to depend on that belief as they waited in Phoenix through several days of difficult surgeries and painful skin grafts for Tiffany. While some speculated that this could be a closed door, their closest friends and family affirmed them in their desire to press in and not yield to the enemy’s schemes. Eventually, Chris and the children continued the drive to Nashville while Tiffany flew out later with her parents. The new home would be a house they had rented sight unseen, as finding a house to rent had been as hard as promised. But they were finally on their way again, on a journey that, as Chris said, “looked a lot different than planned.”
“I think we had this idea of getting here, unpacking, and picking up where we left off,” Chris shared, “spending time with God on our knees to get the next instructions. Instead, our first four weeks in mid-September here were chaotic, consumed with follow-up surgeries, procedures and therapies. Our kids are home-schooled by Tiffany, so we were all displaced in every possible way. There were definitely times of discouragement. Our prevailing thought was one of wonder at the Lord’s graciousness in keeping Tiffany from worse injuries, but our day-to-day reality was that my wife couldn’t feed, clean, or dress herself, for an extended period. Yet the Lord kept us buoyed with the truths that He spent so much time teaching us before we left: He is always good and always faithful, in every circumstance. We had to step back from our emotions and trust the things we know.”
The Lord also used the Word to encourage and direct Chris. Shortly after the family’s arrival he was reading in 2 Kings 3 and was greatly encouraged by Elisha’s call for a musician to prepare his spirit to receive prophesy. “As we had talked about moving to Nashville, I kept hearing that a great prophetic work was being birthed in the city. And being here now I can’t help but sense it,” he added. “I don’t have any specific prophetic gifting, but the Lord used this verse to show me that behind every great work there are other laborers, or in this case, musicians.”
Chris’ recent worship album, “Liquid Worship,” has been very well received, giving every indication that he is laboring in his appointed place as a worship leader. But the Lord had surprises for Chris in that area as well. “Making the album cost us a ton. It went way over budget, and we used our house to pay for it, which I wouldn’t recommend anyone doing,” he laughed. “And as I thought through how I, an independent non-touring worship artist and worship leader, could sell enough CDs to recoup, I began to sense the Lord saying, ‘I want you to give it away.’ I struggled with it from the very beginning,” he confessed. “But through this whole process of our being broken down, the Lord has absolutely confirmed it, saying, ‘I want you to give it away, and don’t think twice about it. It’s not a promotion, it’s not a great marketing idea, it is simply a matter of obedience.’”
As Chris faces hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills now, the Lord’s timing is especially interesting. But he has given himself over completely to God’s leading in this, actually finding unanticipated healing along the way in emotional areas himself. The Lord has also opened up unexpected opportunities within the Body of Christ, as well as the media. Both local and national attention has been paid to the exciting new worship project. Worship Leader magazine included “Your Ways Are Higher” in its Nov. SongDISCovery CD, and Riverspring Music featured “Saturate Me” in their Nov. CD. These however are not the events that excite Chris the most.
When Tiffany was laying in the hospital, following the accident, she recounts that every time she woke up she heard “Thousand Praises,” from the new album, singing in her spirit. Chris Nesbitt writes his music to edify and encourage the Body of Christ, so this is the kind of response that means the most to him. “I would rather have 100 people download the album for free than have one sale,” he shares. “I want the songs to be freely available to the Church, without terms,” he adds emphatically.
The story of the Nesbitt family’s walk of faith doesn’t tie up neatly with a pretty bow. Chris and his family are still pursuing intimacy with God. “While we’re waiting on more direction, we want to be ministering, everywhere we go, to serve and not be idle. That’s a highlight for our family,” says Chris, and you can hear the genuine excitement in his voice. “Our circumstances don’t matter. It’s not about the circumstances. It’s about the God we serve.”
It certainly is. To download the eleven tracks of Chris’ Liquid Worship in high resolution mp3 files, visit www.chrisnesbitt.com or www.liquidworship.com. You will find much more than just free worship music.