Somewhere many leaders in the church have lost (or never found) their way. I think many leaders actually desire and believe that skillfully played (Psalm 33:3) worship is Biblical, but their reality is far from it. Add to that the pervasive, yet Biblically suspect, culture of inclusivity or volunteerism at any cost..and the price begins to drain the worship experience.
Some leaders who read this may retort, “thanks for stating the problem, but what is the solution?” Experience has taught me two things. Change the church by showing them how is should be, and back it up by teaching boldly what God intended.
I really appreciate those of you who have continued to read this blog after I, well, didn't ship what was promised. Three songs by the end of June. Hopefully the latest CD, "Buried Thoughts" is sustaining you for now.The irony, of course, is that I have been in a very creative time where I have written 3 new songs and even "shipped" one by recording a demo, charting, and leading it in church. The reality is, however, that in music, creation is the first phase of the shipping process, and for the most part the easiest. Producing something worthy of purchase is more difficult, especially in this day and age.
So I must humbly change my shipping goal. One song by the end of August. It will be available to purchase as a single via CD Baby by then, and by iTunes a few days or weeks later. Depends on iTunes.
I am very excited by this song, it's message is strong and different is some ways for me, and I will endeavour to tell its story with it to give it context.
I have been going through a personal process for some time now. It is ongoing for sure. It is spiritual, and it is practical, and it is too big to unpack in one blog post, but I will try and give you encouragement from the encouragement I am gaining through this process.
I am doing several kinds of looking up right now:
To God: In a liberated way I am giving up. I am realizing that if I truly believe that Yahweh is the Creator of the universe and loves me, than I better be prepared to accept that He can and wants to make my life full and better. I have to believe so I am looking up to Him.
To the Future: I will combine two thoughts here. I believe the place that I am going is higher and better than where I am now. I am excited and hopeful for the future. I also realize that up means I will be working hard and climbing. Any place with a view has stairs.
To Positive Role Models: I am embracing a far more positive outlook, as the little train that could, I am embracing the hopeful statement of "I think I can." I am choosing to import into my being sermons, positive learning, positive music, well anything that speaks to the best that God can offer us in this world. Anything that can give me the vision to achieve my best here!!
Life is Good. Look Up.
I very recently wrote a new song/chorus for church called "Abundant Life". The lyric is largely Psalm 23 with a little sermon content added in. Mike Stone, Senior Pastor at our church, has been leading a sermon series with some others on the teaching team on the names of Jesus. One of the sermons took in the story of Jesus turning water into wine. Two things hit me that day, I have definitely felt like the poor Father of the Bride for a long time…..no wine left and a bunch of angry guests about to turn on me, but…., Jesus is able to create and turn the water I offer Him into more quality wine than I can drink.
Two Sunday's ago I introduced the song in church and last Sunday I was blessed by another worship leader leading the song for the congregation, very fun to have someone else lead your song!!
Another great Sunday at Forestview leading the music part of the worship. Introduced a new chorus that I wrote based on some learning I have been doing from the current sermon series. I have a rough demo done, but I find myself wishing these days that I had a band that could lay down a nice version of the song in a day or less, or that I had the time to program the whole thing. I will work to get it and the other songs done asap.
On a similar note I was reading worship leader magazine this week and there was an article on the lack of enthusiam/participation during public servies in the singing and worship time. The perspective given was great and counter-cultural. My take on it is this. Singing worship songs publicly is odd. When fully engaged (something I think rarely happens en masse) we are singing at the top of lungs to a God we do not physically see. It would be humbling to do that to a king on earth that we do see, how much more to gather and do it to what appears to be air.
But that’s just it, isn’t it. The process is about pleasing God. Although I believe the response from God is one we benefit from, I believe that our only goal coming in should be to please God. Think about this. If we truly believe that we serve the God of the universe, it does not matter how we arrive to worship.Whether poor, sick or hurting, or properous, healthy and happy, God is still our answer, our provider, our healer, our friend and our life-giver.
Although it would be cool to say it is for a gig, I am heading on a whirlwind fly-in-fly-out day of meetings in Miami for the day job with www.ftccanada.ca to connect and strategize with our partner from Haiti. Will be interesting to get updates and plan for the next phase of relief.