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Tommy Tenney
Interviewed by Matt & Laurie Crouch

"Brokeness on earth creates openess in the heavens." "His presence--it will mess you up. "


Credentials:
Founder: GodChasers.Network
Author of...
God Chasers
God's Dream Team
God's Secret to Greatness
Secret Sorces of Power
God's Favorite House
XTreme Godchasers
Answering God's Prayer
The Daily Chase

Contact:

Interview Topics:

Worship
Worship is the only part of our service that God gets anything out of. God doesn't learn anything from my preaching or anybody elses teaching. I get a mental picture of God taking notes and saying, "I didn't know that. Michael, Gabriel, I want to remember what Tommy just said." He doesn't get anything out. Preaching and teaching is for us. It's really to raise up worshipers. What I'm about is restoring passion for two areas. The presence of God and the unity of the body. Unity is the basket that God weaves to holds what He wants to pour out, and the size of our container will determine the amount of our filling. I want to get people so passionate about God until He rips the heavens and visits.

Magnify the Lord
Tommy Tenney Interviewed by Matt & Laurie Crouch "Brokeness on earth creates openess in the heavens." "His presence--it will mess you up." Credentials: Founder: GodChasers.Network Author of... God Chasers God's Dream Team God's Secret to Greatness Secret Sorces of Power God's Favorite House XTreme Godchasers Answering God's Prayer The Daily Chase Contact Tommy Tenney: www.GodChasers.Net Interview Topics: (click topic to jump within interview) Worship Magnify the Lord Birth of God Chasers Changes from Divine Encounter True Worship Come as a Child Growing Down Emptiness for Neighbors People Problems Unity--God's Dream Team Esther Story & Movie Why Esther? Worship Worship is the only part of our service that God gets anything out of. God doesn't learn anything from my preaching or anybody elses teaching. I get a mental picture of God taking notes and saying, "I didn't know that. Michael, Gabriel, I want to remember what Tommy just said." He doesn't get anything out. Preaching and teaching is for us. It's really to raise up worshipers. What I'm about is restoring passion for two areas. The presence of God and the unity of the body. Unity is the basket that God weaves to holds what He wants to pour out, and the size of our container will determine the amount of our filling. I want to get people so passionate about God until He rips the heavens and visits. Back to top Magnify the Lord {{Matt Crouch reads from God Chasers}} Let me read this. "When you have an encounter with the presence of God, the problems that loom so large that they blocked out the light of hope itself suddenly seem to be so much smaller that they've lost their power to control your life. Did the problems change? No. Your prospective changed. Now you view them from eternal prospective of heaven as God always intended." {{Tommy explains}} Do you want me to tell you how I learned that? My four-year-old daughter taught me. We were flying, and she's been flying with us since she was a baby in arms. At four years old they suddenly come alive and notice things. We had just taken off the runway, and she looked down and sees the houses getting smaller and says, "Look daddy! Look, little houses, little cars, little people." I said, "No, those houses are the normal size, normal size people." "No daddy. Little people. Little houses." I tried to explain to her that it's perspective that the higher you go, the smaller it got. All of a sudden the Lord whispered to me, "That's the way it is with me, too." If your problems are too big, your perspective is too low. Did you go in a church where the presence of God came, and you had a lot of problems, Things you're worried about, and you get caught into the worship, and you leave the church service, and it's not that your problems went away or even got smaller. It's just you feel better. Everything is okay. Why? Your perspective of God just changed. You got higher. They got smaller. He got bigger. That's the true definition of 'magnify the Lord.'

Birth of God Chasers
{{Matt Crouch:}} Now in that book, it talks about an experience that you had, one particular experience that revolutionized your thinking about what sure is and how church should be conducted. We're you hungry or dissatisfied prior to that point or did you run headlong into a brick wall and it changed your prospective like a hammer being hit over your head? What started? {{Tommy Tenney:}} Both. Pregnant with the purposes of God. But I didn't know it. All I knew was that I had to have Him. I went through nine months of the dark night of the soul where I questioned everything. I was successful as far as a lot of men gauge ministry success. I was as busy as I wanted to be and go anywhere and preached in large churches and did this and that, but I got so hungry. Until, I don't even have words to put it--really hungry people don't care about etiquette or manners or going through motions. Manners, napkins and pinkie extended sipping, is only for those that want to nibble on or'dourves. When people get hungry, look at videos of starving people, they lose their dignity, survival. I got to a place that my spiritual survival depended on my ability to connect with him. Almost at the point of despair, I didn't catch him. I went into an 8:30, early morning Sunday service, and God knows if any services are dead it's the 8:30. I don't know if God was awake. We walked in. From the moment we walked in, I don't know how to tell you. It's very difficult for me to talk about it. It was incredible. And it wasn't anybody preaching. It was his presence. The service came to a complete stand still. The musicians fell on their faces. It was like -- the noise of the silence was deafening. And I leaned over to my wife, and I said, "I don't know if I've ever been this close," and I made one of the few really good decisions I made in my life. I'm not going to get this close and stop now. I said, "Jeannie go up and just begin to do what you do. Lead us just softly." I don't know how to explain what happened. To talk about it trivializes it. We trivialize God's vocabulary. We get up and arrogantly pound the pulpit and clap our hands and say the glory of God is here. Right? Bible says the mountains melt like wax at his presence. I didn't say God wasn't there, but not all of God that could be there was there. If the glory of God ever shows up you wouldn't be standing.

Changes from Divine Encounter
I used to pursue ministry to man. I wanted to be a good preacher. I wanted to win souls, and not that any of that is bad. That's the only thing I knew. Now I pursue ministry to him. And whatever comes out of that and what I've found is if you pursue him, he said "If I be lifted up, I will draw." And we have spent incredible amounts of energy trying to gain the approval of man when if we gain the approval of heaven, we want to attract man to our services and we really need to attract God to our services. He said if I be lifted up, I'll draw. We have spent our energy in the wrong area. We try to draw man and we need to attract God, and he said you won't have to worry about man. If God ever really shows up in the house, they'll tear the roof off to get to him when they won't cross the street to get to us.

True Worship
Why spend all your energy trying to perfect your temporary assignment and not spend your energy trying to perfect your permanent. There will be no Pastors in heaven no music directors in heaven no board members Sunday school teachers. None of those. They are temporary earthly assignments. Your permanent assignment is worshiping. Like I told you a while ago, I don't mean it as a trite phrases. When I grow up I want to be a worshipper. I want to be the kind of worshipper God can't turn away from.

Come as a Child
He'll silence the angels. He's enthroned with our worship. He'll abandon the heavenly throne to come take up residence with our earthly worship. It's not our strength that appeals to him. It's our weakness. Our daughter Andrea is taking these little gymnastic cheerleader type things and she always wants me to watch her new trick. They're pitiful. This is not Nadia Comineichee. This is Andrea with her little tricks. She says, "Watch me daddy," and maybe her trick is standing on one foot. "Daddy come outside and watch me." I've seen it, and maybe I'm tired and I'm reading the paper or whatever. She can't pull me from my LazyBoy to see her trick. All of a sudden she falls and she hurts herself. "Daddy, I've fallen and I can't get up." Do you know what I do? The paper goes one way; the door may come off its hinges, but I go find out what happened to my baby. I run. Why? Her strength didn't pull me into her dimension. It was her weakness. And we come to church wanting to put our best foot forward and display our strengths and say, "Listen to our singing," and we perfect our preaching and singing and say look at us. He says I've seen your tricks. By the way, I'm not impressed with your stained glass or steeples. Have you seen heaven? Have you seen the angels? That doesn't impress me. Have a child say I've fallen and I can't get up, and he'll rip a hole in the heavens. The Bible says, "He tore down the middle wall." He will remodel heaven to make a way of access if he has to come through the wall. He'll come through the flesh anyway to get to you. Why? Not because you said something neat, preached a good sermon or the choir hit the high note. Not because you display your strength. You put your weakness on display. He's attracted to our weakness. Brokenness on earth creates openness in the heavens.

Growing Down
And you know when a kid reaches 14, 13, 15 somewhere in there? I call it the arrogance of adolescence. They think they know everything. As a parent you say, 'I understand and I'll put up with it.' The church has put up with our juvenile arrogance of our immature adolescence. He says okay. Instead of growing up, we need to grow down. None of us can turn our back on a baby. Remember the guy, I started to tell you, that had the withered hand. When he was in the synagogue with Jesus on that day, Jesus said, stretch forth your hand. And he didn't say which hand. He said your hand. He had one good hand, one bad hand. Something about the presence of Jesus made him feel like it's okay to pull my weakness from the folds of my garment and it's okay to show my weakness. We've created an environment of artificial perfectionism in the church where people feel they can't display their weakness. Everybody comes with plastic smiles and pretend everything is okay. We create an environment where they have to keep their weakness hidden in their pocket. If we create an environment that it's okay to not put your best foot forward. Put your crippled foot forward, put your withered hand forward. You would be surprised. Anything exposed to the gaze of Jesus whatever was withered becomes whole. You just have to show it to him. As long as you keep it hidden, he can't help you. If you can ever have the courage to just say, "Here."

Emptiness for Neighbors
Remember the widow lady, gather the vessels and not a few? She had no idea that her future supply of oil and finances and provision, that her future was going to be determined by the amount of emptiness that she collected. The scripture says the oil kept being poured out not until the oil ran out. It's upside down in God's kingdom. The oil kept being poured out until the emptiness ran out. If we held up a glass of water not one more water can be put in that glass than the volume. The volume of the emptiness of that glass determines how much it will hold. When she began to collect these pots and pans and vases and whatever, she had no idea her future depended on the amount of emptiness she collected. We want to collect fullness. Look at this guy. I'm not impressed with that. Emptiness empresses me. It cries out for his fullness. This is something God just spoke to me. I'm continually learning. I'm not sure; it made it in this God Catches. She collected emptiness from her neighbors. When we go to church, we're not just worshiping for ourself. We're collecting the emptiness of Los Angeles, of Dallas, wherever you are, and holding it up to him and saying, "Look how empty they are." Not just how empty we are. And however much emptiness we collect, see, we have held up thimble size containers and said, "fill this," and he fills that. That's why the books on unity are so important to me. When a church a local body gets in unity, then God visits and fills that church. What would happen if churches got in unity? The size of our unity determines the amount of our visitation also. When he begins to pour himself in the container, he'll never run out of himself. The container is what determines how much he can fill.

People Problems
{{Matt Crouch:}} How do you get sick of everything else and not get sick of people? You know that's an honest question from me. {{Tommy explains:}} Jesus had people problems. And I have people problems. But my biggest people problem is me. So if I'm going to be very judgmental about everybody else, I have to remember. I've been places and I'll put it in some generic phrases. I felt like the church was really ready for something to happen and the Pastor wasn't. And sometimes the Pastor was ready and they weren't. And sometimes both were and I wasn't. "When are you going to move on this congregation or that Pastor?" He told me, "How long do you think I waited on you?" And I said, "Okay. I got it." Tommy's biggest people problem is Tommy. God has problems with flesh.

Unity--God's Dream Team
God's Dream Team is about John 17 where five times Jesus prayed for unity in the body, and I develop it further in the second book: Answering God's Prayer. When he prayed five times, One two three four five, Five times for unity in the body, it's the only unanswered prayer I can find that Jesus ever prayed. He could pray three words and raise the dead when he said Lazarus come forth. Not that his prayers aren't powerful. His biggest problem wasn't raising Lazarus, his biggest problem was raising only Lazarus. "Lazarus come forth." One-third of that prayer isn't to wrap him up and make it more powerful. It's to make it smaller. There is a day he'll say come forth, and the grave will give up every occupant. If he prayed three words and raise the dead. And five times for unity in the body and it not yet happen, here's what it tells me. It's easier for God to deal with a dead carcass than a live ego. What's the solution? Go ahead and die. You're more use to God dead. "I beseech you brother by the mercies of God that you present yourself a living sacrifice." Not a dead sacrifice. He just wants people who will sacrifice their agendas, and most of us would probably rather God resort back to animal sacrifices than agenda sacrifices. If he wanted another goat or sheep, we would buy another goat or sheep and give it to him. We only have one agenda. And when he asks for that we say, "That's a little much."

Esther Story & Movie
I've been stuck in Esther for about six months, and it's twisting in my spirit. One of the things we've kicked around. I'm going to write a book about Esther. It will be sort of a fictionalize account of the book of Esther, explaining Esther. It's not just printed ink on a page. It comes alive. Esther was a peasant, and it's about how she became a princess. She soaked in the oil for six months until there was no smell of the earth. She smelled heavenly so when she went to the king, she found favor in his sight. One of the things you and I talked about this afternoon, 'Esther,' they said, 'you can get whatever you want to take with you into see the king, whatever you want to wear.' If you want a yellow bunny sweater thing, that's fine. Whatever. Esther couldn't find anything. There were other girls that picked out the dress they always wanted, color they always wanted. Esther told the Kings chamberlain. (that means the guy that has the key to the king's chamber). He knows the king. He knows how much sugar in his coffee and how much cream in his coffee and knows what the king likes and don't like. Esther went to Haggai and said I'm having problems. I can't find anything. Esther want to go to another shop? Whatever you want. It's the King's express card. Whatever you want. He'll spare no expense to prepare you for his presence, To boldly enter the throne room. When she said you don't understand, it dawned on me. It's not about my favorite color. Or my favorite dress. I have no idea what the Kings favorite color is or the Kings favorite style is. You know him. You tell me. Haggai's antennas went up and said we may have found one who is interested in the king and not kingdom. Not a gold digging bride who just wants to be the queen but somebody who wants to love the king. It unfolds from there until what happened when she entered his presence. What the presence of the king can do. One night with the king changes everything.

Why Esther?
I'm a God chaser and I'm in pursuit of his presence. If you have an encounter with him, you can't live anywhere but the palace. I'm stuck on Esther. A palace is just a house if the king doesn't live there. Maybe a big house. Maybe an elaborate house. Wherever the king is, it becomes a palace. Sometimes the church is overstuffed with the machinery of man and the stained glassed is right and the steeple is high and the music is just right. But a palace is not a palace if the king is not there. I'm calling for people to get hungry and pursue the presence of God. Hunger attracts him. Weakness pulls him from his dimension into ours. You're a worshipper. Your worship can bring God right into your living room. You can be a God chaser and a God catcher. Just tell him, "I want you, daddy." And he'll smile. Then after favor comes, purpose destiny.