Farewell fair WordPress

Hey folks. I have enjoyed blogging for a while. It has recently become increasingly difficult to do so…especially since I’ve been “micro-blogging” via twitter. I will forgo blogging here at Worshipguy for some time. I do not foresee stopping forever, but for now I will – especially since my new ministry position is challenging me greatly (in time as well as other ways).

Thank you for your comments and support. Please…please…come over to twitter and follow me (1worshipguy). You don’t have to make twitter updates in order to get my updates…you can just join and be a reader (follower). Please leave a comment if you’d like some help setting up your twitter account.

Thanks again and God bless.

Who are you?

In Acts, chapter 19, there’s a verse I’ve heard before. But today, it hit me strong. It was during Paul’s missionary journeys. Paul was in Ephesus for over 2 years preaching and teaching. While there, God even blessed handkerchiefs that touched Paul so that they were carried to the sick, and just by touching the handkerchief that touched Paul, the sick were healed.

Other Jewish leaders, not Christian, were trying to drive out evil spirits in Jesus’ Name as well. But one day, an evil spirit answered these Jews and said, “Jesus I know, and I know about Paul, but who are you?”

What are you attempting for the Kingdom? For the Name of Jesus? Are trying to do it in your own power so that even the demons say, “Who are you? We don’t know you.” Or do the demons shudder at the thought of an encounter with you?

Are you doing anything for the Kingdom? Are you attempting to accomplish anything for the Name of Jesus? Your silence, your in-activity, or maybe your apathy…those are all victories for the devil. Our country is in a downward spiral spiritually as much as any other way because even the demons laugh at us and our feeble, faith-less attempts. Hebrews 11:6 says, “Without faith it is impossible to please God.”

What are you doing for the Kingdom of God? What are you attempting in the Name of Jesus?

East Pickens Baptist Church

Okay, so it’s been a few days since my last post. I do have a great excuse though…it is my first week at a new ministry position and that takes a lot of preparatory work. More on that later…

I am in my first week as Pastor of Creative Worship at East Pickens Baptist Church in Pickens, SC. Several things drew me to this church…first and foremost, God’s direction. Some of the other drawing cards were two separate services covering traditional worship in one and contemporary worship in the other. Though blended services (a mixture of the two) are another alternative, it is very difficult, almost impossible, to meet the needs of everyone. Those who prefer traditional, only get a portion of their needs met. Those who prefer contemporary, the same. Though splitting into two services does create somewhat of a void between the two groups of people attending the separate services, this difficulty can certainly be overcome in many ways (church-wide fellowships, somewhat frequent joint services, specific prayer for the “other” service, etc.)

A second aspect that drew us here are the abundance of young families. With Heather and I having our first child in December of 2008, we felt a strong desire and need to be surrounded by people in the same stage of life. The contemporary service is overflowing with young families. The young couples Sunday School class is already busting at the seams. We are very excited to be a part of this.

A third part of this draw is that East Pickens is a mission-minded church…an “others-focused” group of people. The local church is not designed to be a place just to take care of our own (“us four and no more” or the “country club mentality”). The church does meet the needs of its own (see the book of Acts), but it must reach outside the four walls to others. We got a packet of material from East Pickens in the interview process. Included in that was a calendar of events for the next 6 months or so. That list included mission trips to Romania, Thailand, Nova Scotia, South Korea, Peru, and Blufton, SC. That blew me away…and with Heather’s background in missions, she was quite impressed as well. A church not thinking of itself but others…what a concept.

Another drawing card for me specifically were the connections made in the interview process. When I was in college, I played disc golf (a specialized golf course that uses flying discs – like Frisbees but smaller). I haven’t played in a long time…talked about it, but haven’t. There is a group here, a large group, that plays on an almost weekly basis. I will definitely be hooking up with them. Secondly, Heather and I have been trying for over a year to sell my motorcycle. It just hasn’t happened…but we think we know why now. Probably a third of the church ride motorcycles (estimate based on the very large number of people I talked with that ride). I’m seriously looking forward to that!

So there’s the low down on some of the things that drew us to East Pickens. This isn’t all inclusive though. The people are great, the staff is awesome, the facilities are nice, etc… So to those of you at East Pickens, I’m ready…are you?

Evian Roller Babies

Okay…nothing to do with worship whatsoever…but I gotta get me some of this water!

Whatever You’re Doing…

You gotta check this out…Sanctus Real’s new music video for the song Whatever You’re Doing. From their new album We Need Each Other availabe now wherever you buy music. www.sanctusreal.com

Follow the Leader

We use a lot of sports analogies when talking about our Christian life. My favorite, being an Alabama Crimson Tide fan, is the analogy of football. You’ve got some basic membership levels with football…first you have the starters (the players that get on the field of battle); then you have those on the team, but sitting on the bench; then you have the fans, the spectators, in the stands (or more often from the recliner at home) cheering them on.

In the Christian life, God doesn’t want you to be a spectator. He doesn’t even settle for you to be on the bench. He wants you to not only be on the team, but actively playing on the field.

In all the ways we can play on the field (preacher, teacher, singer, musician, techie, etc.) – every single one of those are replaceable – someone else can do that job. Chances are, someone else can do that job even better than you.

But one job you are called to do – you cannot be replaced – only you can fulfill that role – that God-given role…

The most sacred, the most permanent of all irreplaceable roles is your role as a loving follower of Jesus, to be a devoted child of God. No one can give God your heart. No one can love God for you.   Rocks can cry out; angels can praise Him; the heavens can declare His glory day after day after day – but only you can love Him like you can love Him.

If you followed Jesus like you believed it was your one, eternal, irreplaceable role, how would it affect you – how would you approach life and your function on this team (within your local and global church body)?

1.  I think it would make you hold everything loosely.

The one thing that will never be taken from you is the only thing that really matters – this role as a follower. You cannot be wrapped up in replaceable roles – define yourself as a great “whatever” and eventually another, better “whatever” will come along. But, if your identity is set as a child of God – a follower of Jesus – then you can welcome more and more change to all things around you. There is no opportunity or position that can’t be shared or given away. In fact, you’ll find it better to do so.

2.  I think it would keep you from comparison.

Whenever they began comparing things, Jesus always stopped the disciples with this question: “What is that to you? You follow me.” Comparison can destroy a church, a team, and even a person. It robs of the joy of success. Remember Rick Warren’s famous phrase, “It’s not about you?” The other side of that is “It’s all about Jesus” (or as my former pastor used to say, “Every decision is a spiritual decision.”)

3.  I think following Jesus like you should, would also remind you of Kingdom things.

“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 ambition. 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.’” (excerpt from Worship Leader Magazine, July/August 2008, p. 28)

So before you seek to find what the root problem is in your church. Before you seek to place blame on schedules or programs or people or personalities…before you give up on seeing God’s glorious plan for you and your church – we would all do well to hear these words of Jesus again: “Follow Me.”

(Many concepts here are from Worship Leader Magazine, July/August 2008, “Follow the Leader”, p. 24. I took these concepts and created a devotional thought for my choir at FBC Elberton. All copyrights belong to the owner, Worship Leader Magazine and author, Glenn Packiam.)

Music Ministries Farewell Party

HUGE thanks to FBC Music Ministries for a terrific sending off party. The food was excellent (I think there are STILL some chicken fingers Renee is trying to give away). I especially loved the chocolate chip cookie mud pie thingy that Eula made…unbelievable! It was all excellent.

The company was amazing as well. Almost 50 people showed up…the first time in my three years that everyone showed up on the same night! (Just kidding). I had great conversations with a lot of people and I certainly appreciate all the well-wishes and blessings. Though a few tears were shed, I was able to choke mine back (amazingly). Knowing it would be the last time I would see many of them for a long time, I tried to soak it all in.

Thank you for the plaque. It is very nice and gracious of you to do that for me. You keep telling me that I was the best music minister you’ve had…but I can’t help but think how much better the next guy/girl might be! I look at all my inadequacies and hope the next music minister can add those into an already successful and growing music ministry.

Just don’t forget what you put on my plaque…”Soli Deo Gloria” (to God alone be the glory)…glorify Him in all you do and He will lift you up, bless you, and call you His own.

Thank you tremendously for an awesome 3 1/2 years of service together for the Kingdom. God bless.