A dance you won’t soon forget

 

What excuse do you use for not being all you were created to be?

The Brook

Just go here…trust me.

A date with my wife

Tonight is something I have been looking forward to for quite sometime now. My wife and I do things together, of course…even “date” things on a regular basis. BUt I rarely get a chance to do one of those “impressive,” all-inclusive, dinner-and-a-show, trying-to-leave-an-impression dates. You know what I mean; those dates before you were married, where you tried to do and say all the right things because you were head over heels for someone. I’m taking my wife, along with some good friends, to a nice, somewhat gourmet, meal and a Broadway show at the Fox THeatre in Atlanta, GA. I have yet to tell her what show, so I won’t say it here either (since, on occassion, she has been known to read my blog). We won’t have many more date-nights within a few months with the arrival of our first child in December (see the ultrasound post). We are very excited, but know that we’re in way over our heads!

Thanks for your continued reading of this humble blog. Please take just a moment and let me know who you are and why you might have found this blog (and continue to read it!) Have a blessed day!

Communicate positive…not negative

Blogging is great…more-so for the connections you make than the contributions you make (speaking of me of course). I’ve been reading several blogs a day. Most of them from fellow worship leaders. One in particular says something that’s been on my mind a lot recently and I wanted you to read it. I think it has a lot to say about worship…it’s quite difficult to love God without loving others. This blog speaks to that in the words we say.

A Worshipful Heart – by Jan Owen; Communicating the Positive

A further thought on this, do we speak to ourselves in this way? Do we tell ourselves all the bad things we notice, how we look, what we think, how we feel? What’s wrong with reminding yourself of the good things you do, say, or think?

Me Worship

This video is really funny, but sadly too true. How can we as worship leaders lead our congregation away from me-ism? Please post any comments or ideas you have tried in your church that seem to have helped fight the rampant me-ism.

Follow Me – part 3 of 3

Part 1 and Part 2 have taught us that we each have a specific God-designed role…a role that no one but us can fulfill. If we followed Jesus like we believed it was our one, eternal, irreplaceable role, how would it affect us? How would we approach life? How would we approach our role on this team (church, band, singers, staff, etc.)?

I think it’ll change three things about us.

1. It will make us hold everything loosely.
The one thing that will never be taken from us is the only thing that really matters – this role as a follower of Jesus Christ. You cannot be wrapped up in all these replaceable roles. Define yourself as a great “whatever” and eventually another, better “whatever” will come along. Do you really want to live with that hanging over you all the time? But if our identity is set as a child of God – a follower of Jesus – then you can welcome more change to all things around you. Those changes are less shocking or disgusting when you are centered in the fact that the one thing that will never change is your role as a loving follower.

2. It would keep you from comparison battles.
Whenever comparing things, Jesus often stopped the disciples with this question, “What’s that to you, you follow me.” Simply put, just concern yourself with following Jesus and everything else will take care of itself. Reminds me of “Seek first His Kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt. 6:33).” Comparisons can destroy a church, a team, or even a person. It can rob us of any joy with any success. Remember the famous phrase from The Purpose Driven Life, “It’s not about you?” If that’s true, the correlary is that it’s about Him, Jesus. And to that, there is no comparison.

3. Following Jesus like this will remind us of Kingdom things.
(This excerpt is from Worship Leader Magazine, July/August 2008: “Follow the Leader”)

“If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself, take up his cross and follow me.” If He (Jesus) were speaking to our generation, I imagine He would say, “Check your egos at the door. I have no need for your resumes. I’m not impressed by all that you’ve accomplished or any accolades you’ve received. Stop your love affair with titles and positions. This is not going to be about your gain. It will be for my glory and for your good, but not for your gain in the way you have thought of gain. End all this talk of success and influence. My way is through the cross – becoming low, emptying yourself, serving others. To come after me is death. Death to your agendas and selfish ambitions. This is not about a church or a brand or a ministry or a star. It is about a kingdom. And there is only one King. Deny yourself. Take up your cross. Follow Me.”

 

When we understand that we are in this because we are following Jesus…the one thing that can’t be taken away, the only role in which we are eternally irreplaceable, we start to understand the kingdom. It is a kingdom much larger than us and our dreams and talents and gifts and passions. It is a kingdom that was here before we showed up and will continue to grow long after we’re gone. In this light we understand that there is nothing wrong with discovering our gifts or unlocking our potential or finding our strengths; it’s simply that those are not the reasons we began following, nor are they reasons to continue. The Kingdom is not a means to our self-fulfillment; the Way of Jesus is not our path to self-actualization… This is about Jesus and His Kingdom.

 

The best teams are the ones that understand that they are part of something far greater than themselves. If there were any team that has reason to believe that, it is we, the church. To remember the kingdom is to remember that we are still members of that first team that Jesus began thousands of years ago. And the mission is still intact. (End of excerpt).

 

So before we rush off to find the cure-all team-fixing technique; before we seek to find the root problem of our churches; before we seek to place blame for our problems on programs, schedules, or people; before we give up in seeing God’s glorious plan – we would do well to hear the words of Jesus again: “Follow Me.”

We’ve made this hard. It really is that simple…”Follow me.”  So…who or what are you following?

Follow Me – part 2 of 3

Yesterday, I spoke of Fantasy Football and how each player performed their role so that the team could shine. In the same way, we, as the church, should work as a team to ensure that Jesus shines like he should. Today, I’ll expound upon some of those ideas as they relate to our teamwork as a church (or a smaller choir, band, vocal team, or staff).

So here we go…our youth pastor, Adam, spoke on Sunday night about how God wants us to get in the game. He doesn’t want us to be a spectator…He doesn’t even want to settle for us being on the team but sitting on the bench. He wants us on the field, in the muck and mire, getting dirt under our fingernails, getting the work done – IN the game.

Just like each person on a sports team has a specific role to play, so do we, as designed by God. But in all the jobs we can hold – choir member, praise singer, instrument player, preacher, worship leader, etc…- someone else can do them. You are replaceable.

But one job you are called to do – you cannot be replaced, only you can fill that role – that God-given role. The most sacred, the most permanent of all irreplaceable roles is our role as a loving follower of Jesus, a child of God Almighty. You may say, “Wait a second…anyone can choose to be a follower of Christ, everyone has that opportunity.” Yes, that is true…however, no one can take your place. No one can give God your heart. No one can love God for you. Angels can praise Him; rocks can cry out; the heavens can declare His glory day after day after day…But only you can love Him like you can love Him.

Tomorrow, we’ll look at how following Jesus with this in mind – that no one can do or be what God designed you to do or be (or do be do be do) – might just change some wonderful things in your life.