4.20.14 Worship Rewind

Worship Rewind 2013

  • God’s Not Dead – Newsboys
  • Our God – Chris Tomlin
  • That’s Why We Praise Him – Tommy Walker
  • Glorious Day – Michael Bleecker

I don’t have to say how amazing today is. Considering it’s Easter Sunday, I can imagine every church across this nation was busting at the seams with guests and energy in celebration of our risen savior. No doubt GraceLife proved the place to be. I loved getting see everyone and celebrate and worship with them in the hope that we have in Christ.

We started with God’s Not Dead. The big deal about this song today was during the bridge, all the kids of the church came up front and prepared to sing the chorus so when we got to the chorus, the band dropped out and the kids led us singing the chorus. The band came back in and finished the song.

After the welcome, we went into Our God. I love this song and very much enjoy singing it.

Coming out of Our God, Thomas kicked off That’s Why We Praise Him. I got a little funky on this song and played some cool licks. I started off with a jam lick then began the original intro guitar lick. A measure after that, the bass came in. This song went very well today. I think it also speaks to the moment. This song does a great job teaching why we praise God.

Lastly, one of may favorites that we do each Easter is Glorious Day. I think Michael Bleecker’s version (the actual guy who revamped the hymn) does a much better version that Casting Crowns. I could tell that the songs were speaking to people today. I love it when God is moving and we haven’t even gotten to the sermon yet.

I thought Pastor Carlo knocked it out of the park today. He got real with folks and probably stepped on some toes. What’s church unless you walk out with a few bruised egos, eh?

In the video below, my wife recorded God’s Not Dead. At 0:50, you’ll see my son climb up on the bench. At 1:15 you’ll see me lift my hands and immediately after my son raises his. I love it!

I Love Baseball but I Love My Wife More

circa 2003

circa 2003

For those who know me, I am crazy about this sport where you toss a ball and a hitter swings a bat, hits the ball and runs around some bases hoping to score. It’s the only sport where the offense does not have control of the ball. It comes in different names (Baseball, Softball, T-ball, stickball) and different age leagues (Little League, High School, College, Minor League, and Major League). I’ve spent most of my life watching it and some of my life playing, coaching or umpiring. I’ve read the rule book for fun and actually have a copy of the original rule book from the 1880′s. I simply love this sport.

Occasionally, I get the opportunity to play men’s softball and I got that chance last night. When I showed up, I was told I would be playing catcher (my ultimate favorite position) and this was a league with stealing (does it get any better). We were the home team and by the time we were up to bat, we were down by 11 points. By the last inning, we had tied and took the lead. The opposing team went ahead in the last inning but we had one more at bat. We ultimately won with a walk off hit 20-19.

I went 2 for 4 with one RBI and a fielder’s choice. One guy got his first homerun. I had one guy steal on me and I attempted to gun him down. It would have been a bang-bang play but the pitcher caught it as I threw down. It was a great game and to come from behind twice to win felt so good.

After the game, I was handing the “coach” my jersey when he asked me if I wanted to play out the season. I remarked I would have to talk with my wife. He quickly grabbed my jersey and walked off.  I caught up with him later to clarify. I told him I would probably be able to play but needed to speak with my wife. I felt there was some feeling of “whooped” as most men tend to think when a man needs to discuss things with his wife. I immediately told him that it was important to me that my wife and I talk when a long-term commitment needs to be made.

A lot of men these days tend to think that they are the rulers of their household and what they say goes. It’s the culture my dad grew up in but today is different from then. Plus, I truly believe that my wife and I are one (Mark 10:7-9). This means any commitment to something that will last a while needs to be discussed to be sure we both agree. I can’t just run off and play softball with the expectation she will be fine staying with our three-year old.

Proverbs 15:22 says Plans fail for lack of counsel, but with many advisers they succeed.

You want your marriage to fail. Don’t talk things over with your spouse and watch it crumble. Keep things from your spouse and keep running off to do your own thing without respect of your spouse’s opinion and watch your marriage implode.

I was not embarrassed to tell him that I needed to discuss it with my wife. She’s the most important person in my life aside from my child and God. We’ve simply decided that any long-term commitment MUST be discussed regardless of how exciting it may be.

I love baseball but I love my wife more.

4.13.14 Worship Rewind

Worship Rewind 2013

  • Let God Arise – Chris Tomlin
  • Beautiful King – Jonathan Lee
  • Healer – Hillsong
  • Jesus Be The Center – Israel Houghton

It’s a blessing to have someone in your own church family to fill in leading worship. I have the honor of having a young man to disciple and allow occasionally to fill in if I’m going to be gone or if I’m preaching. This Sunday, I had the privilege to bring the word and Tony did a great job leading worship so I asked him to write the Worship Rewind. Here is musical worship from his perspective.

The worship team was on fire today! There were a few hiccups, but overall I am pleased.

Let God Arise- This song is a favorite of mine to play whenever I am leading worship. Kevin played the intro riff on the bass with me and it really beefed the song up.

Beautiful King- Normally I play this song on a clean channel and I play the chords during the intro, but today I kicked on some distortion and played the riff that was written for the original version of the song.

Healer- I felt that this song wasn’t played as well as it could have been played but it didn’t bomb which is always a good thing, especially if you’re leading. Our pianist, Heather, played this cool melody on the pads and it sounded great.

Jesus At the Center- Today was the first time I played this song with the full band, so I got to try some new things. There are definitely things that we’ll change the next time around.

It’s always a privilege to lead with the whole band, which is something I don’t get to do often. I appreciate Kevin for giving me the opportunity to lead worship.

4.6.14 Worship Rewind

Worship Rewind 2013

  • You Are – GraceLife Worship
  • No Turning Back – Chris Tomlin
  • Give Us Clean Hands – Charlie Hall
  • Our God Reigns – Delirious

We started off with You Are which is an original for our church. We began with the chorus to set the song up. Upon starting, there was hardly anybody in the room. Most people were out in the foyer talking or outside enjoying the sunshine. I was beginning to wonder if anyone was going to come in. ;)

After announcements, I told the story of inviting a woman at the coffee-house to church and as I was talking to her, her soldier husband came in. I had to assure him I was only inviting them to church and that I was absolutely not hitting on her and that I am a very happily married man. It was an awkward moment and so I shared just to encourage folks to invite others to church and share a war story of my own in inviting someone to church.

We started No Turning Back different than normal. Thomas played four-on-the-floor and the bass came in with 16ths. It created some nice energy and by this time everyone had found a seat.

I then read Psalm 130 and prayed.

Moving into Give Us Clean Hands. It’s been a while since we played this song. It was great to pull out an old one with a powerful message.

We then transitioned into the chorus of Our God Reigns from Delirious. Chris Tomlin made it popular playing it at Passion a few years ago. It’s a powerful chorus. Sometimes we just need to sit on an idea and sing it, meditate on it, consider it and let it move us. This song has the potential to do just that.

It was a great time of worship along with an amazing message on the baggage of abandonment.

You Situation May Be Bad But God Is Still Good

There is suffering, life is hard but God is in control, He is sovereign.

3.30.14 Worship Rewind

Worship Rewind 2013

  • Everlasting God – Lincoln Brewster
  • How Great Is Our God – Chris Tomlin
  • I Stand Amazed – Hymn
  • 10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman

It was great to back at church today with my GraceLife church family. I was out last week visiting a friend but I didn’t get to take off leading worship. I still played guitar last week for my friend at his church. But it was good to be back worship with GraceLife. I feel like the Spirit was really moving today and saw people lost in worship like never before. I watched people connecting and crying whether tears of joy or sorrow, decisions being made for Christ today and no one can take credit for it but God. He moved and it was awesome to see it happening.

We cranked up Everlasting God and it was sounding cool till I came in. I hit the wrong first note but quickly got on track playing the right riff. Whoops.

After announcements, We went straight into How Great Is Our God. I may have sung the chorus a few times too many but… I felt like we needed to. I felt like people were connecting and although some have an issue being too repetitious in worship as if worship leaders are trying to conjure up some type of emotional response, that’s not my intent. If the church is worship and connecting with God, then sometimes a chorus needs to be repeated.

I Stand Amazed is another example. I repeated the first verse because I’m not a worship jukebox. I pastor with worship music so we sang the first verse then I made mention of the power God has to remove our sins and cast them as far as east to west and we sang the first verse again to set in our hearts the truth of the first verse.

I then read from Psalm 23 making mention of all the things God does for us; leads, guides, protects, makes us rest, comforts, prepares a table in the presence of our enemies, and anoints our head. All David mentions that he does is dwells in the house of the Lord. When we stay in the presence of God, He takes care of us in so many ways. It truly is more of a relationship than a religion.

10,000 Reason was so good and when Pastor Carlo came up, we sang verse 2 again. It was a great time spent with God leading us in worship and speaking truth and grace over us.

We did have some issues with the sound system. The monitors were jacked up a little but we finally got them worked out. The overall sound had a chorus effect to them and although nothing had been changed, many of the main levels had to be brought down considerably. Pastors mic was cranked so loud in the monitors, we all heard the sound drop when he turned it on. It was picking up the room sound that it sounded like we were in a valley with a lot of reverb. Hopefully, we can’t get these bugs worked out before next Sunday.

I’m not gonna sit here and complain about the sound when God done so much work in people’s lives today. It was so amazing and never gets old to watch God do His thing, whether it’s my life or others. I love it when God does God things!

The Tension Between Making Jesus Famous and Being Appreciated

Tensions are not easy to deal with. Feeling the tension between two ideas is the same as being put between a rock and a hard place. We’ve all been there. I don’t think anyone is immune to being put in such a situation. It makes you wonder what you should do. Some tensions are easy in theory but much harder in practice. Other tensions, well, they just plain suck. There is no easy answer. Both sides are a difficult decision.

Occasionally, there is a tension I wrestle with. I won’t deny it. I’d be willing to bet that if you are in leadership in a church, you probably deal with it too. It’s the tension of making Jesus famous but being appreciated for doing it. You see, recently I took a day off (supposedly) from leading worship at my church and visited a pastor friend who has been my best friend in life and ministry for nearly twenty years. However, when I showed up, he hugged me and his first words were thank God, I don’t have to play guitar today. We have that kind of relationship. So I ended up playing guitar for his worship leader that morning.

After church, we sat around for about four hours talking about everything; church, theology, the band we used to play in, farm work, horses, family, work, life in general. The whole time we sat talking I never received one text, Facebook message, email, phone call or anything from anyone at my church saying they missed me. I know that my church appreciates what I do. I have relationships with enough of those I worship with to understand they appreciate what I do. But…

I do wrestle with this tension. When I ask myself why I do what I do in church leadership, it’s because I want to see Jesus made famous and I want to lead people to the knowledge of His greatness, not mine. I enjoy that too. I like seeing people being led to the cross and learning that Jesus is all we need. The pastor in me says, there is more in Jesus, taste and see that He is good. The tension is, people recognizing the love I have for leading them to that knowledge.

I think we all want to be acknowledged for the work we do. We use it as some kind of metric to determine if we’re being successful at what we do. You can’t measure spiritual growth per se. You can recognize it when it’s happening but measuring it is something else. We all want to measure how successful we are at reaching others, making an impact in other’s lives or leading others to new heights in their spiritual walk. This measurement is usually made in the comments section of life. People tell you how you’re making a difference and if they don’t tell you, you wonder if you are making a difference. We tend to believe that if we are not making a difference in the making-a-difference job field then maybe we should stop trying.

On the other hand, maybe I am being successful because as John said, “He must increase and I must decrease” (John 3:30). Maybe, they are recognizing Jesus more and me less and I should be ok with that.

 

It’s a slippery slope. It’s silly, I know.

But I’m human and my flesh screams acknowledgment. My spirit screams Jesus. My life screams tension!!!!

I don’t write this to receive pity. God forbid. I write this because maybe I’m the only one (without doing a Google search) that deals with this and wants to publicly acknowledge it. It happens. I believe all Christians deal with this tension. We want to be appreciated. We also want Jesus to be appreciated. So our flesh battles against our spirit. Who should be appreciated more? Of course the answer is Jesus.

I also don’t write this to give some brilliant answer of how to overcome it. I’m not that Christian. It’s simply a tension I deal with. I pray through it. I ask God to help me give Him the glory even when I wonder if I’m doing any good. I don’t think there is a way to overcome this tension. Even the bible mentions that our flesh wars against our spirits and will until the Day.

So here we are. Maybe you and definitely I. Dealing with a tension to be appreciated in the flesh and lead folks to appreciate Jesus in the spirit. How do you handle this tension?

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