Monday, March 24, 2014

Intentionally Purposeful

Dear Blog Reader Family,

I imagine that there are few things that could be more disappointing in this life than to look back over one’s own life and realize that we never made much of an impact with our lives.   Certainly God wants us to be fruitful in our lives and to have a tremendous influence on the people and circumstances around us.

You know, God has given each of us a variety of talents, gifts, likes people with whom we associate.    His purpose for our lives is to build up, encourage and, above all, to point people to look at Christ.    So, knowing that my purpose in life is to have a Godly influence on the people and circumstances around me, how can I best get from where I sit right now…to being able to look back over a life that has been  productive and shows lasting fruit for my labors.

I believe the answer is found in a plan of action that requires Intentionality and Purpose.   There is an old adage in the business world:  Proper Planning Prevents Pretty Poor Performance.     Planning takes thought, insight, direction and above all, it takes a commitment to putting that plan into action.   In our family, we are currently focusing on this concept of being Purposeful in our lives.   To live with Intent.

Scripture is full of examples of men and women who had a tremendous influence on those around them:  Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, Jesus, Paul to name a few.   How can we also live lives that have that same influence on our families, friends and communities?   It takes vision and it takes effort!   It takes commitment and it takes courage.    Are you willing to put in the effort?   Do you have the commitment that it will take to succeed?   Do you have the courage to implement your strategy and stick to it?

If you are looking for help in getting started in this endeavor, let me offer one simple strategy.   There are many ways to go about this endeavor, but this can help you get moving while you work on refining your own plan of action.

-LEARN your gifts, talents and abilities

-KNOW your circle of influence. 

-ENVISION the purpose that God has for your life. 

-PLAN your strategy (long term first then short term)

-PRAY daily that God will help you follow His plan and enable you to succeed. 

Make Intentional living a lifestyle and you had better hang on for an exciting ride.  But don’t sit in the water waiting for life to happen.  Remember that a rudder on a ship is ineffective unless that boat is in motion.  Get your life in motion and give God the rudder so you can look back over your life and see what He has done thru you!!!         


Keith Anderson

Monday, March 17, 2014

Playing Scared

One of the things that I admire most about my oldest son is that he is fearless.  He's not scared to mess-up, make a mistake, or even miss the big shot.  I am not built that way.  I hate to mess-up.  I hate to somehow let people down.  Sometimes I get so consumed with not messing up that I play scared.  And it doesn't just apply to sports.  It also applies to music.  And it happened yesterday.

One Sunday a month, I play the drums to give our normal drummer a Sunday off.  And this month, yesterday was my day.  I'm not a bad drummer.  I would probably be considered to be average (I think, well maybe).  I practice every day and I'm working on getting better.  My goal by the end of the year is to move from being average to being good.  But my biggest weakness is my lack of experience actually playing with other people.  Like I said, I only play once a month.  So, I never really get comfortable doing it.  I'm good when I'm practicing by myself, but playing with other people is just different.  And so, even though I know my music, I still have this fear that I'm going to mess up.  And when you mess up on the drums, it's typically a doozy.

Now yesterday, I didn't have any of those major mess ups (thank goodness).  I did have a couple of small moments that most people would never notice.  Just little things that I didn't play exactly like I had planned.  But when those moments happened, it immediately made me tighten up and get nervous.  Immediately I started playing scared.  Does that ever happen to you?  It does to me, especially when I play the drums.  If I mess up singing or playing the guitar, I typically don't worry about it.  But when it happens on the drums or piano, watch out!  Here comes the worry.  And more importantly, here comes the fear. 

And I've learned that there are typically 2 ways in which to overcome fear.

1)  God takes it away.  I know that may seem like an overly simplistic answer, but it does happen.  There have been circumstances and instances in my life where I was fearful about doing something and God just completely took the fear way.  All at once I was just at peace.  And I must admit, it's pretty cool!  But I must also admit that these instances have been few and far between.  Not that God wasn't willing to remove the fear from me, but just that He had another plan in mind.  Which leads me to...
2)  God keeps putting you in positions where you have to do what scares you over and over again, until slowly over time, the fear leaves.  As much as I wish # 1 would happen when it comes to my drum playing, I'm pretty sure # 2 is what God has planned.  I would love for another drummer to show up and relieve me of my duties as back-up drummer, but I believe that God is going to use this to continue teaching me how to overcome obstacles in my life.  In fact, it wouldn't surprise me if on the Sunday I finally feel comfortable playing the drums that someone approaches me after the service who is interested in playing drums.  

So, until then, I'm going to keep working on the drums.  I'm going to keep scheduling myself to play once a month.  And eventually, with God's help, I'm going to overcome this fear of making mistakes on the drums.  Let me encourage you to do the same with whatever causes you to fear.  Keep trying!  Keep working!  Keep pushing yourselves!  And don't settle for fear when God wants you to be free!

Worship Big!


Monday, March 10, 2014


With this week's post I wanted to write a description for what the dedication of a worship team member looks like.  For most of the church, being really dedicated means coming to church at least 3 Sundays a month and occasionally showing up for Bible Study/Sunday School.  But for the worship team at MPBC, dedication means something completely different.  It looks like this:
  • Staying at church until after 10 p.m. on Wednesday nights for rehearsal when everyone else is gone by 8 p.m.
  • Showing up between 7:30-7:45 a.m. every Sunday morning to do a sound check before the early service begins when most of the people who attend this service show up at 8:45 a.m. even though it starts at 8:30 a.m.
  • Practicing on your own for an hour each night to learn a new song so that you are prepared for rehearsal.
  • Leaving a day late for your vacation so that you can sing/play on Sunday.
  • Coming home a day early from your vacation so that you can sing/play on Sunday.
  • Passing up other positions of service within the church because you are the only qualified drummer.
  • Getting up ridiculously early each Sunday morning to get your kids ready and out the door so that you can get to sound check on time.
  • Constantly hearing your kids say "Why do we have to listen to the praise team CD again in the car?"
  • Learning how to "lead a song" and also how to "not lead" the same song.
  • Listening to me sing tenor directly into your ear buds.
  • Learning two different alto parts because Team 1 and Team 2 sing them differently.
  • Showing up at what feels like 6:45 a.m. the Sunday after the time changes and not complaining about it.
  • Being willing to fill-in at a moments notice if someone gets sick.
  • Learning each guitar part just in case it's needed.
  • Learning the tenor, lead, and baritone parts just in case they are needed.
  • Leaving sick kids at home with your spouse so you can still come to church and sing/play.
  • Rubbing smelly oils on your back so it will loosen up and you can come play the drums.
  • Rehearsing one Sunday afternoon a month to prepare for the 1st Wednesday service.
  • Never getting to drive to church with your spouse.
  • Learning new worship songs on top of learning Passion Play songs, making Passion Play costumes, teaching Sunday School, directing VBS, having jobs, families, and hobbies.
  • Putting up with me.

Worship Big!


Monday, March 3, 2014

Why So Many Singers?

Recently I was asked why we use so many singers on our worship team during our services?  We typically have 8 people singing on our worship team at each service.  That is definitely not the trend in modern worship settings.  Most churches now a days are only using 2 or 3 singers at most to lead in worship.  In fact, when you hear worship songs on the radio it is normally only one singer (the lead) and then one more person doing a harmony part.  And I get it.  I get the simplicity.  Having only 2 or 3 singers is definitely easier (certainly easier to schedule), but here are some reasons for why we don't do it that way.

1)  We are a baptist church with a rich history of choirs.  The great thing about choirs is that you get to sing so many harmony parts.  Typical choirs consist of sopranos, altos, tenors, and basses.  That's 4 separate parts.  I like the fact that we honor our past in the way we do modern worship.  While only 1 person leads each worship song, on choruses you get to hear harmony parts (soprano, alto, tenor, and bass/baritone-which doubles the melody).  For a hundred years our church was accustomed to hearing the choir sing harmony parts.  It seems wrong to completely take that away from them just because we are doing some new things with our worship music.

2)  We want people to participate in worship.  People are more inclined to sing if they hear someone singing their musical "part".  For example-if you are a soprano and the worship is being led by a man (singing lead) and a woman (singing a tenor/alto harmony) are you going to feel comfortable singing?  You would probably feel as if you were singing all alone.  I don't ever want people to feel that way here.  If you sing soprano, we've got someone you can follow.  If you sing alto, we've got someone on that as well.  We want to do everything we can to encourage you to sing, participate, and hopefully experience the presence of God.

3)  We have really talented singers with hearts that long to lead in worship.  How do I tell a soprano that she can't participate in leading in worship just because she doesn't sing alto?  Or a bass because he can't sing tenor?  That just doesn't seem right to me.  If God has equipped someone musically and given them a desire to lead, it's my responsibility to get them involved and give them opportunities to lead and to sing.   

4)  My own personal musical history and preferences.  When I was in college I was in a musical ensemble that traveled all over the state of South Carolina doing concerts at churches, schools, and other events.  That group normally consisted on 8 singers (2 sopranos, 2 altos, 2 tenors, and 2 baritone/basses) plus a full band.  So, when we sang (the contemporary Christian music of that day) we used a lot of harmony.  And I got used to it.  I enjoy it.  And let's be honest, there's nothing quite as powerful as an ensemble singing a rock ballad in 3 and 4 part harmony.  It fills up the sound in a way that a soloist and the band just can't accomplish on their own.

So, that's it.  I know that the way we do things at MPBC is probably not the normal way of doing things.  But I do believe it is the best way for us to do them.  Plus, it means that we can take modern worship songs that other groups are doing and put our own little spin on them.  I'm good with us being a little bit different than everybody else.

Worship Big!