Julie was born and raised in Maryland by supportive, loving parents who brought her up in the Catholic environment. She was involved in all the Catholic "Church traditions", learning religion but unfortunately not relationship. Church was quiet, boring and consisted of sit, stand, kneel repetitions and seemingly brain washed responses. However, In her teens she was blessed to attend a "Charismatic" church with a new form of worship. It was upbeat and not at all quiet! What a Blessing! There were Bible studies and prayer meetings with the congregation speaking in tongues. It was an enjoyable part of her life where she began heavily seeking the Lord. Unfortunately family life got busy and as she grew older her church time slacked off. The world's call became stronger and unfortunately pulled her in. Several years of hard times followed with many failed relationships as she wandered around looking for love "in all the wrong places" but through it all, God had a plan... "For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope." Jeremiah 29:11 God continued to be there through many circumstances in her life....life saving in some. Continually she was seeing God's hand move in her life but still wasn't ready to fully commit - to surrender all.
She got married at the age of 21 thinking she was in love. Many lessons were learned in those two years as her first marriage ended due to repeated physical and mental abuse. This marriage did have an important blessing however, the birth of her one and only son, Joshua! Her son gave her the strength to keep moving forward. She then went into several relationships looking for love, a good man to be a good husband and father. Unfortunately she was still looking in all the wrong places. She however, ended up in her second marriage several years later to a Pastor's son, she met at a bar. (She should have thought more about that one!) This marriage lasted 5 years with the last two being a nightmare of lies and cheating. This marriage resulted in a nasty divorce in 2001 where Julie lost her home, everything she thought was hers and her son was mentally hurt to the point of being admitted to a psychiatric ward at the age of ten for severe depression because he felt responsible for not helping his mother during the abuse. This also prompted Julie to stop going to church as many of the situations happened within the church during this time period of abuse and no one helped her. She stayed out of church for six months. There were so many hard lessons being learned at that time due to poor choices that were made without the Lords direction and approval. Yet God still protected her and her son and her Faith continued to be built by realizing the presence of God in her life. "...we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope." Romans 5:3-4 Through it all God still loved her, still directed her footsteps and still needed her to do kingdom work. "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8
In 2001 after the divorce and the six months out of church a couple Julie knew directed her to a Spirit filled church in Aberdeen, Maryland. At this church, when she walked in the door, she felt loved, she felt like she was home! The church family surrounded her and her son and prayed for them. She rededicated her life to Christ and got back on track. She started going to a women's Bible study facilitated by Linda Burkentine and her son Josh started attending the Youth group, it changed their lives! Praise God!
She was invited to attend a women's Charisma conference in Daytona Beach, Florida with her Bible study group in 2004. After the conference she attended Sunday service at Daytona City Church. This is where she received the vision for this Flag Ministry. At that service she was touched by the Lord. She saw Silk Flags used in worship for the very first time. The Flag Ministry leader was Karen Simmons. As one of the silk flags went over her head during the worship, the presence of the Lord was there, she was knocked off her feet and went down in the Spirit. The entire service was spent on the floor wrapped in a silk flag. She was touched and called by God that day to begin to be equipped for the ministry that would be established for His Glory. The colors began coming to her so vividly; the meanings began to be shown. She could barely stand when the service was over. She was so full of God's peace, so overwhelmed with His love. She stumbled out of that church telling her friends that she was going to do flag worship like that one day. This is also where she became connected with two dear friends, Debbie and Susan.
Then came Fall and in Maryland it is beautiful, That year it was the most visually intense Fall of Julie's life. Her son, Joshua had just started to drive, so she was able to be a passenger in her car. She found herself looking at everything! Every color began to mean something. God kept showing her colors everywhere and what they stood for. It was awesome. She went from a quiet person to someone that couldn't shut up! All she did was talk about the Lord and how awesome he had been in her life to have pulled her out of the pit that she was in, dust her off and continue to work in her life!
Next, thing she knew her church had Karen Simmons come for a women's all night prayer. That was a Divine Appointment! It was an intense time for Julie. She was in awe of the Lord and worshipping Him with the flags. She found herself examining all the different flags that Karen brought, how they were made and the colors. She was glued to her asking questions and getting more information about the ministry. The next thing she knew she was at the store buying different colors and types of fabric. She ended up awake at 3:00 am making flags on her living room floor by using iron-on adhesive and fishing tackle to attach them to the poles as she saw on some of Karen's smaller flags. She didn't know how to sew at this time, but felt lead to make the flags. She went to her pastor at that time and told him her heart's desire; he was in agreement, so flags began to be flown during service. It was awesome! The anointing fell and the enhancement to the worship was tremendous!
Then came the announcement from Julie’s pastor that he was leaving. He had been called by the Lord to plant a church in Florida. Julie wanted to go so badly, but the Lord's answer was no, not now. A new pastor was appointed and unfortunately he did not have the same passion for the flag ministry. The flags were more and more considered an "interference" and she kept feeling the doors closing in her face. There were so many ideas in her mind, but nothing she could do about them. It was so painful and she was at this point so confused. Why was this desire so strong and yet the doors were being closed? She continued to press in. Julie was then allowed to fly the flags on occasion but only in the corner out of the way. It was so restrictive and so hard for her to stand still there.
Julie then met a man online who seemed to be such a Godly man. They met and he treated her very well, going to church, etc. At this time Julie was facilitating a women’s Bible study at her home, a branch off of the one she had originally been attending and everything seemed wonderful, she felt at last she was serving the Lord and now she would finally have a Godly husband. He asked her to marry him a couple months after they met and she accepted. However, just prior to the wedding problems began to arise, like abusive talk, jealousy, control issues, strange things. Julie cancelled the wedding, her fiance requested that they should go into counseling so Julie was willing being impressed that he would submit to that. Things got better and several months later the wedding took place. It was a beautiful God-filled church wedding. She thought everything was finally going to be the way she always dreamed it would be. But, once again she was blind-sided! The night of their wedding everything changed! It was the most horrible tramatic weekend ever! He had her remove all her pictures of Jesus from her house, which he had moved into, began giving her restrictions on her bed time, what to wear, trying to make her wear heels, pantyhose and dresses all the time, which didn't go over very well. He then no longer authorized the women’s Bible study calling it a gossip party, which it was not, with all of this, arguments began. She was terrified, embarrassed and at a loss as to what to do. She was on her face before the Lord in her prayer room. Unfortunately, he would even come in there and start arguments. Each day started to become a living hell at home, she didn’t want to come home. Her son started to seclude himself in his room again. At church her husband would act like he was the best husband ever. She suffered in silence and didn’t say anything being so embarrassed as this was her third marriage. After three months, the posessiveness, control issues and verbal abuse, turned into an outburst of physical abuse due him wanting to give her a bedtime and this snapped the last straw as Julie flashbacked to abusive times in her past. When she was finally able to break free, she grabbed her purse and her son and ran from her house. She drove to the Sherriff’s office and wrote up a report and had them escort him out of the home. The third divorce followed paid for by Julie, as he refused to pay for anything saying he didn't want the divorce. Along with this she was also still paying for the wedding that he had her put on her credit card. Another lesson? Julie was so confused, but continued to focus on God, she refused to take her eyes off of Him as the Lord only wants what is best for us.
For two years she remained restrained at her church, but obedient to her new pastor and those over her. She continued to make flags at home, not really knowing why, but knowing that she felt an urgency to "Get Ready". One early morning around 3:00 am, as Julie laid in her bed crying, seeking the Lord, seeking answers and feeling so alone. Her eyes were closed, tears running down her face, She felt a hand embrace hers as she heard as clear as can be "You are not alone". Her bedroom door slowly opened and she heard "I am opening another door for you". She was dazed and thinking what is going on?! She leaned forward looking down the hall, no one was there. She just sat there and a peace like never before came over her as she laid down and went to sleep. This began the many "Palm tree" signs, the "Anointing oil" incident and finally the call from her old pastor in 2006 that led to her move to Florida and the door being opened for this ministry.
When her pastor called her in 2006 after all these signs from the Lord were taking place, he asked her if she would be willing to come to Florida to lead a Flag ministry at their church! Julie felt the release and took a leap of Faith. She flew down for a job interview spending the week with her pastor and his family. After returning all her closest friends called a meeting at a restaurant. When they got together, it was just so God, they all announced to one another that they were all moving to Florida! There were four families, Julie and her son . It was truly God calling them all!
Two weeks later and after living in Maryland for 40 years, Julie and her son were packed up and leaving for Florida with everything they owned in a 26 foot truck , with a 12 foot trailer attached driven by a friend of theirs and Julie’s Jeep filled to the roof. Her house had not even been sold yet but she knew that God was in control and she had to go. Her family which was very close unfortunately did not understand the calling that God had on her life at this time. It was a very rough departure to say the least. Her father handled the paperwork and sale of her house. What a Blessing that was.
When they arrived in Florida they ended up within a 5 mile radius of all the families that had moved to there, How God is that! A church called Holy Fire Ministries International was born and lead by her dear friends and now Pastors, Ron and Linda Burkentine. Pastor Lamm and his family took Julie and Josh into their home for 10 months. The kindness and patience of her Pastor’s was so appreciated! They welcomed Julie and Josh and treated them as family! During this 10 month time period, God continued to enlarge the Flag Ministry and as Julie searched for a job, and a home she took a break one day and sat on the beach at Fred Howard Park in Tarpon Springs looking at the small waves coming in and the sheer beauty of the day that God had made. She was given the name of the ministry and the ministry’s bible verse - WAVES OF WORSHIP was born! She sketched the "Logo" on a scrap piece of paper and placed it in her bible. Shortly after this Julie and her son were blessed with jobs at the same location (a blessing because they only had one vehicle). The flag inventory continued to grow as Julie purchased a sewing machine and began sewing flags. All she did was work and go home and sew flags.
Julie was then let go from her first Florida job, just three months after receiving it. This also happened the day after her Bible study group had lifted her up for increase. She knew it was God moving her, so she thanked them packed her things and left. Yes, they thought she was a bit strange when she thanked them for firing her. A month later she was blessed with a better job, close to her son's job, which helped with their transportation issue. She was now working for a Christian boss and was given her own office! WOW, we serve an Awesome God! Several months later her group lifted her son up for increase, yes he was laid off and the next thing they knew he was working as her assistant! WOW! Again!
From a previous God connection, her dear friend Susan, whom she had stayed with back in 2004 when she came for the Charisma Conference - oh yes, such a small world and whom Julie now lived about a half hour from her house, Julie was taken to a women's conference sponsored by Susan’s church, Faith Outreach www.faithoutreachcenter.org and met Laura Ragano who lead the Flag Ministry . The connection was immediate and yes, come to find out she is friends and received direction on the ministry from Karen Simmons! Laura had many hand painted silk flags which fascinated Julie. She was asked to worship with them during the conference. What a blessing! She was blessed to fly a billow for the first time. This is when Julie felt the strength and anointing over Laura as she held the corner of the billow next to her and then released it for someone else to take her place. They exchanged information and the Lord has blessed Julie with her dearest friend and so much knowledge about the ministry through her. At this time Julie began to meet "Kingdom Connections" everywhere she went! She found Pastor Joe Brown www.flagworship.com on the internet. His church was in Ellenton, Florida near Julie’s Grandmother who lived in Sarasota. Julie visited her parents who were down for a visit with her Grandmother and went to meet Pastor Brown. She found out that he also knew Karen Simmons. We were connected by the Flag Ministry. Julie spoke with her Pastor and Pastor Brown later came to her church to show the congregation what she wanted to do with the Flag Ministry by presenting a Flag Worship Concert. It was awesome! Julie continued to press in and began doing "Presentations" , their first being Christmas of 2006. With the help of some wonderful young ladies at Julie's church, first Addie, then Shanel and finally Brandi, the ministry began touching so many lives.
Next Julie was blessed with a home! The house was an adventure in the beginning that God turned beautiful! God is always in control! The home was farther from her church and job, but closer to her friends and the beach, which was a blessing. Julie spent a lot of time walking the beach with the Lord, it was such a wonderful peaceful time collecting seashells with Him!
Daily, more and more ideas kept coming, which brought more and more flags. She then was blessed with the Kingdom Connection of a gentlemen named Gene Dolash www.genedolashministries.com. He portrays the High Priest at the Holy Land Experience www.holylandexperience.com in Orlando, Florida. He was at her friend's church, Holy Fire Ministries doing a teaching on the Tabernacle of God.
Julie was also at this same time connected with a new friend, Laurie who introduced her to the "Wing" flags. She showed Julie her idea and she went with it and added what God showed her and the "Worship Wings" were born.
A couple months later, Julie met Bobby Bennie. Bobby was saved "By Accident" by this it truly means by accident...an auto accident! He was coming home from work one evening and his car was hit and totaled by a woman who was on her way to a Bible study. The woman invited him to her church which was Seabreeze Community Church. He went and in time dedicated his life to the Lord.
Bobby and Julie met on the internet at the end of December 2007. Julie was weary of a "relationship" online, due to the previous experience with her third husband. She quickly let him know that she was completely God focused and extremely busy with the flag ministry. They continued to chat online, discussing the word in detail. Then on January 20, 2008 he showed up at her church. Her spirit jumped when she saw him and at that moment, she didn't know it was him! He called her the “Daughter of the King”. They were both moved by the new worship song that day - "Moving Forward".
It was the first time the worship team had played it and Julie flew a pure white silk flag that was still at the church, from the flags that she had borrowed from her friend Laura for their Christmas presentations. It was awesome! It was the turning point in both of their lives, God was making all things new! They went out to lunch after service that day and then to one of her favorite beaches to stroll. It was chilly that day so they held hands and walked close together, God made the connection. They both had a passionate heart for the Lord and connected deeply in worship and the Flag Ministry.
On January 23, 2008 Laura contacted Julie by the direction of the Father to teach her how to make the Silk Flags. They set an appointment for February 23, 2008. On February 5, 2008, about two weeks after this call Bobby proposed in Julie’s living room as they were worshiping with Wing flags, listening to Paul Wilbur. On February 13, 2008 Julie's church blessed her with her first bolt of Silk just in time to take it to the appointment with Laura.
During this same time period, Julie was invited to do the flag worship for a large conference in Sarasota, Florida, the Sarasota Worship Festival scheduled for January 26, 2008. This was a divine appointment as the woman sponsoring this conference received a prophecy which included the name of our ministry! The Prophetic Word given to Rev. Deborah Blumer over the New Beginnings Worship Festival was “THE MOVE OF THE LORD IS COMING IN WAVES OF WORSHIP THROUGH THE ARTS” WOW again in more ways than one! The headliner for the festival was Paul Wilbur, www.wilburministries.com a major Christian recording artist that Julie was a big fan of. Julie contacted and invited her dear friend Laura and her flag team as Julie didn’t have any silk flags at this time. She had her church's worship and drama team participate and the conference organizer blessed Julie with 35 tickets to the entire event at no charge! Julie then blessed Bobby with a ticket as well. He came and video taped and took still pictures as we worshipped. It was awesome! God was glorified and it was such a blessing to be a part of it! Bobby and Julie shared their first dance together to "Dance with Me" sung by Paul Wilbur as the director had asked that the flags would be down and only dancers dancing for that song. Another blessing!
As Julie was leaving that evening, Laura planted a seed and blessed her ministry with it's first silk flag - a plain white one, representing Holiness, Purity, Surrender, the Bride of Christ! The same flag that Julie was flying to the song "Moving Forward" the day Bobby came to her church the first time! Julie was so full of joy and overwhelmed by the love of God!
Bobby and Julie were married on March 15, 2008 at Fred Howard Park having their wedding pictures taken on the beach. The same beach where Waves of Worship received it's name and where they took their first walk together the day they met, less than two months prior. WOW our God is an Awesome God! Their wedding song was "Moving Forward" and as it played Laura flew their white flag and Julie’s dearest friends, Linda, Susan and Laurie flew wing flags around them!They went to the Holyland Experience for their Honeymoon and had an awesome time celebrating the Lord! There they ran into Gene Dolash again. He gave them his business card and told them if they ever needed his help to contact him.
As Bobby became more involved in the flag ministry, God started touching the hearts of married couples and the men in the congregation. The young women who had so wonderfully helped in the beginning of the ministry began to each go in different Godly callings. God was starting a new thing with our ministry!
Then in May a new job came to Julie, doing the same work she had done when she lived in Maryland. The position was four miles from her home instead of her usual ride of thirty miles one way! God is good. During the same weekend that she received her new job, Julie’s son was in a serious auto accident in which his car was totaled. Thanks and Praise to God, he was protected and not seriously injured. He however had to leave his job also because he no longer had transportation to get there. Three months later he was blessed with a new better job less than a mile from their home. Glory to God!
In August of 2008 Bobby and Julie contacted Gene Dolash and he came to their church and worked with Waves of Worship in a Tabernacle, Flag and teaching Presentation they titled "Extravagant Worship". The anointing was extreme! They again were borrowing flags from Laura.
In November 2008, Bobby built their first silk flag frame, which became a very important piece of furniture in their living room! God then began directing them to start designing and selling their flags. God kept telling Julie, "Get Ready! Get Ready!" Their "Flag Arsenol" as they call it, then began to grow daily, with so many ideas for the silk flags they still have many on paper waiting to be made.
They were blessed by their dear friends, Pastor Bruce and Kim Hale from a Maryland church, Calvary Temple of Praise as they were the first church to purchase silk flags from the ministry, namely the "I AM" Silk Flag. What a Blessing! Thank you so much!
Bobby and Julie continued ministering at their Home church. Then more and more they were called out to minister at other church locations and conferences and through Bobby stepping out in the Flag Ministry, the men at each event began to step out. Marriages were touched and God began a work by using us as vessels to teach not only the flags but to minister to other through our testimonies. It has truly been a blessing being a part of God's plan.
In November of 2008 they were lead to the Coffee Spot House of Praise, a Christian Coffee House located two miles from their house. God connected them with some new ministries, a Hebrew Roots Family, Phil and Karen Conrad of Beit Y'shua Fellowship, and Linda Pangourelias who leads the Daughters of Zion Dance Ministry. What a blessing! Another answered prayer for Julie as it had been her heart's desire to dance for the Lord and incorporate it with the Flags. God is so good! Amen! They also met Suzi Herman of Creations Anew Flags. God began to change Bobby and Julie's lives for the better in the years to come through this precious Family. That December they met up again with Suzi when they went to her church for a concert.
This new group, Beit Y'shua Fellowship which was dearly considered their Hebrew Roots Family, worked together on a Passover Celebration that was held April 18, 2009. This event had been seen by Julie two years prior with her Pastor as a friend was dancing in it. Julie was given a DVD of the 2007 Presentation when they were discussing the event and as they watched it, Julie saw herself in the video! When she went back to the pictures which she had taken at the event, most of the pictures included the new friends that God had now connected her with! God is Awesome! Next, Julie contacted Gene Dolash as a High Priest was needed for the event. He came and participated. It was truly a blessing to all who participated and attended and has continued to be an annual event for Waves of Worship. In December of 2009, Bobby lost his job and during his time of searching for employment, he designed two Silk Flags, "Freedom" and "Victory Camo" and worked on outlining and dying some of the ordered that were coming to help Julie while she was at work. In January of 2010, Julie lost her job. So, they were both unemployed at the same time. There was no panic as the Father provided for them through many people including anonymous donations slipped into their door. HalleluYah! Waves of Worship continued to get more and more calls for ministry work and more and more orders for flags! Praise God! Their dear friends, Steve and Patty from their Home church would cover for them when they were away on Sundays. In February of 2010 Bobby secured a new job close to their home. Julie continued to look for work and work at home on the Flag orders. Every time she would go out to look for a job, a lot of orders would come in. So with peace she decided to stay at home and run the ministry full time.
In November of 2010, Bobby and Julie were asked by their Pastor to make a choice between their Home church and their ministry. This came after they had been in prayer about stepping out of the church to minister outside the four walls. His request for a choice was their confirmation from the Lord. They were released to step out and go deeper into full time ministry. They were then lead to become members of Beit Y'shua Fellowship and began to study the Word in the Hebrew perspective each Saturday, celebrating the Shabbat! This turn of events opened so many more blessings and so many doors as they were able to minister at more places and area churches.
The next three years were spent ministering at many different places, including out of state events. We were blessed to meet many new friends and Kingdom Connections. New Flag designs kept coming. Their garage was made into their flag workshop for the silk frame. In 2012 they began getting the word from the Lord to "Get Ready" they continued moving forward, even attending a conference named "Get Ready". As they continued ministering more and more children as well as adults kept coming to them in the middle of worship to use the flags, unfortunately after several failed attempts to allow this, they had to stop allowing people they did not know use the flags unless they were given proper training. We must be skilled at what we do, and using flags for worship is much more than just waving a flag. Bobby and Julie started to feel the need to teach the children as well as the adults. Bobby was given the teaching "The Heart of Worship" and so we began more teaching classes and connections to begin teaching children.
Near the end of 2012 they began to feel a change in their fellowship group and in prayer began to feel the need to move on. The next thing they knew, after a conflict in their views they were told that the "group" felt they would be "happier elsewhere". Which even though it hurt terribly they knew at that moment God was in it and He had already been telling them to "Get Ready" so they moved on. The hardest thing about that move, was that the group even though they had been like Family and were dear friends since 2009, cut off all contact and would no longer speak to them. It was very sad.
Bobby and Julie immediately began getting more and more invites to worship events and then they were connected with a new Home Group to study and worship with. There was a huge release and great joy! They thanked our Heavenly Father for continuing to protect and direct them and they look forward to what the Lord is going to do with the ministry in the future. All the Glory to God as HE continues to make more and more Kingdom connections for this ministry!
Waves of Worship is humbled and honored to be used as vessels to further God’s kingdom by teaching about the Heart of Worship, to Worship in Spirit and in Truth and to make instruments of Praise to honor our Heavenly Father. The Father has continued to meet the needs and direct this ministry in each and every area! Amen! I look forward to what the Father is doing and count it all joy that I have been called to be a part of HIS plan! Amen! All Glory and Honor to our Lord! WOW! LOOK WHAT THE LORD HAS DONE! Yes, what an appropriate name the Lord has given this ministry...WAVES OF WORSHIP - WOW! THE BEST IS YET TO COME!