Friday, July 1, 2011

Worship vs. Jesus


Musicians will play anything. It's true. After leading worship for the past 15+ years I've discovered that most musicians love to play/sing and will jump at any opportunity to do so. I hear it all the time

"I love (Style)  but I am in a band that plays (Style). "


"I really wish I could be playing (genre) but I've been with this (genre) band for the past several years"

You can see it in examples like this:
Katy Perry- Former Worship Leader
Sheryl Crow- Former back up singer for Michael Jackson
Run DMC and Aerosmith... need I say more?

It might sound strange to the non-musician but to those of us who love music its all too familiar. The true musician loves to play and most will give up almost anything to play on a consistent basis...  Including Sunday mornings. I find that one of the biggest struggles for Worship leaders and Musicians alike is the constant tension of their love for music and their love for Christ.

While we could spend hours writing and discussing why this is I think there are some simple ways to make sure this is not the case for you or your worship team.

1. Identify the truth.
Ask yourself: "If God were to take away my ability to sing, play, mix would I still be content in serving Him?" Your answer to this question will be the ultimate test of your heart for serving God and serving His church.  Christ teaches us in Matthew 6 that where our treasure is there are heart will be also. Is your heart on serving Christ or playing music?

2. Do something other than music
Worship in its purest form is described in Romans 12:1 as offering "your bodies as living sacrifices holy and pleasing to God". Did you notice there is not one word about music in that description? Sacrificing ourselves for the kingdom of God is our ultimate goal in worship and for the musician the best way to give up ourselves is to give up our music. Before I get tons of angry e-mails from angry Worship Leaders because their worship team has quit, I do not advocate you quit using your God given gift to do something like park cars or hand out bulletins. You've been given a gift of music and giving that gift back to God is important in your relationship with Him but it is Him we serve and a good dose of giving yourself to him in other ways is a great reminder of why we worship.

3. Personal Worship Time
The most powerful worship times you have in your life should be off the stage. Do you solely rely on your participation in the worship team to connect with God? This can be a big indicator in a musicians motives for playing on a worship team. The Bible tells us that Christ "often withdrew to lonely places and prayed" (Luke 5:16) because of His desire for time with God. This is an easy change, get in the Word and on your knees. Your personal time with God will be the biggest influence on your ability to lead worship with your team. Don't underestimate the impact God will have on your ability to focus on Him first and your gift of music second.

4. Do the Hard Work
I often tell my worship team that playing on Sunday mornings is the blessing and our worship is given in the rehearsals or extra time we put in to making sure we bring our best to God on Sunday. It can be very easy for us to rely on our talents and just show up to play on Sundays. God is not looking for another good musician, He wants the very best of you. The time and effort we give up in order to give God our best is a direct reflection of how important God is to us.

Ultimately when we lead worship, whether consciously or subconsciously, we are telling people from the stage this is how you worship. Your church wants you to lead them, not play for them or sing to them. If God is not more important to you than your music, He wont be to the people you lead.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

A Little Creativity

I don't usually like receiving those cute little stories that jam up our in-boxes on an hourly bases but I read this one and I am glad I did... (this doesnt give you permission to clog up my inbox with cute little stories by the way) Enjoy!

A blind boy sat on the steps of a building with a hat by his feet.  He held up a sign which said: "I am blind, please help."  There were only a few coins in the hat.
A man was walking by.  He took a few coins from his pocket and dropped them into the hat.  He then took the sign, turned it around, and wrote some words.  He put the sign back so that everyone who walked by would see the new words.
Soon the hat began to fill up.  A lot more people were giving money to the blind boy.  That afternoon the man who had changed the sign came to see how things were.  The boy recognized his footsteps and asked, "Were you the one who changed my sign this morning?  What did you write?"
The man said, "I only wrote the truth.  I said what you said but in a different way." I wrote: "Today is a beautiful day but I cannot see it."
Both signs told people that the boy was blind.  But the first sign simply said the boy was blind.  The second sign told people that they were so blessed that they were not blind.  Should we be surprised that the second sign was more effective?
We have the greatest message that could ever be told to any and all who are willing to hear. How we tell that story can and will impact those who hear it for a lifetime. It is an incredible responsibility we have to tell the story but what's even more incredible is that God trusts us to share that story.  Don't  take for granted that your method can impact your message. A little creativity can go a long way...

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Breaking the Tension


It's way past 11:30

My mind will not shut down

I am awake when I should be sleeping

Reviewing the goals I wrote for my ministry teams five days ago

Actually since I changed every one of them I cant claim I set them last week

I love visioneering and creating and setting goals for huge accomplishments

But I am a dreamer and narrowing my focus is all but impossible

I will do my best to narrow big dreams

In to short concise statements

Then sleep until 5:30


Saturday, November 28, 2009


I love Christmas... I really do. It is one of my favorite times of the year. It always has been. There are so many blessings that come with Christmas, blessings that go way beyond the presents. Family, friends, traditions and memories collectively accumulate in to an annual celebration of blessing until one of two things occurs:
1. Our hearts become overwhelmed by the blessing and we in turn offer grattitude in humble and sometimes uncomfortable ways.
2. We become so accustomed to the blessing that we assume the blessing as if we somehow deserve to be blessed and in turn discard our gratitude.

These two scenarios play out in Luke 17 as Jesus was traveling to Jerusalem. Luke tells the story of ten men with Leprosy meeting Jesus as he entered a village between Samaria and Galilee. He says they stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice for Jesus to have pity on them. Jesus, of course, did take pity on them and then instructed them to go show themselves to the priest. While the men were on their way to see the priest they were cleansed of their sickness. One of the ten, noticing he had been healed made his way back to Christ. The bible tells us that he "He threw himself at Jesus' feet and thanked him." Jesus was obviously perplexed that out of the ten men only one came back to thank him and asked the one, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine?"

I don't know, nor will I try to understand, the hearts of the nine men who did not come back to see Jesus. They may have been so overcome with joy that they were quick to run and tell their friends and family about their new and improved lives or maybe they were filled with such emotion, they got caught up in the moment and lost track of where the blessing came from. I do know this, they accepted the blessing and discarded the one who blessed them.

In our world, where anything we want is only as far away as we are willing to go, it is easy to assume the blessing and discard the gratitude. We see it play out every year about this time; Thanksgiving becomes a speed bump on the road to Christmas. People almost treat it as though the four day weekend was conceived to make time in our busy schedules for hanging lights and setting up the tree. As much as I love Christmas and all the joy the season brings I think it is very important that we do not forget the gratitude that goes along with the Thanksgiving holiday.

This Thanksgiving holiday, don't skip the gratitude and go straight for the blessing. Before the tree goes up, before the lights turn on take time to thank God for what He has done. Go back to God, realizing that He has given you so much and thank Him for the blessings that make your life possible. Even when the rest of the world forgets, you be the one to go back and fall at the feet of Christ Jesus, then you can go on living the blessing he so graciously gives to all of us.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

21 Random Thoughts

1. I love the holidays! They remind me that tradition means something and that new traditions are essential for creating new memories.

2. Basketball provides lots of life lessons for me.

3. I may be addicted to social media. Determining boundaries has proven to be difficult.

4. Emotion can be your worst enemy or your best friend and sometimes it's one disguised as the other.

5. Learning and Mentoring go hand in hand. Keeping what you learn to yourself is arrogant and self serving.

6. I haven't written a song in 15+ years. Disappointing

7. "If you build it, they will come" is not a biblical concept, neither is "God helps those who help themselves". Both are quotes, one from a movie the other from a founding father.

8.The Matrix was a revolutionary Movie... to bad the sequels were not. A lesson we could all learn from.

9. The experiences God used to change our lives will not be the same experiences He uses to change the lives of those around us. We are not called to recreate for others what God created for us.

10. My life is a musical.

11. Only God can change your life. No church, religion, government or person can change your existence, no matter what they promise. No they can't.

12. I have many pet peeves... most of which are things I hate about myself.

13. Exaggeration is just a rationalization for lying.

14. I need Jesus as much as anyone.

15. To ignore any one part of the Gospel is to ignore the whole.

16. You cannot claim to follow Christ and reject His body. Quit pretending that you can. If you are not a part of a church body find one or finally admit you just hate the fact that Christ died for all the people you can't stand.

17. When we are in the worst economic crises since the great depression, discourage your wife from wearing the dress made with real sterling silver.

18. When God invests in you, make sure you provide a good return on His investment.

19. I love my job but it can be very hard at times.

20. Love God more than you love your spouse, love your spouse more than you love your kids and love your kids more than you love anything left in life. Not the other way around.

21. Creativity is.

The Church Office

We had a blast with our 2009 Annual Thanksgiving Banquet at FCC. For those of you that were not able to attend I am posting this video so you can share in the experience. Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


For the past several weeks I have been using a new (to me) social connectivity tool called Twitter. Twitter asks one simple question "What are you doing?" and gives you 140 "characters" to answer. This simple phrase has sparked a movement on the internet that is quickly redefining how we communicate over the internet.

Tuesday's Question of the week: What are you doing?