Monday, May 26, 2014

Progressing Sound

    Worship music is changing.  This is something I've noticed lately and have been paying a lot of attention to.  Now, modern day "contemporary worship music" is no longer just an acoustic guitar led song with an accompanying piano and a djembe.  Music, not just worship or Christian music, is constantly changing.  In the present time being, we are in a really interesting stage in music.  It seems we are branching out from the acoustic guitar or piano led material.  For example, New Life Worship has a new song out that our Praise Team does called "All To Him".  I love this song for many different reasons.  The lyrics are simple yet powerful.  Also, there is the music aspect..  Here is a Youtube video of the song:

New Life Worship - All To Him :

    Instead of starting off with a strumming acoustic guitar or piano chords, this song does something else.  The electric guitar (yes, I said electric guitar) starts off with a nice distorted sound and playing a fairly simple riff to lead in the piano.  The piano actually has a delay on it!  Imagine that!  The piano riff is also arpeggiated and sounds really nice with the guitar. The second time through the drums come in playing all over the toms. All of this sounds great together.   In the verse, there is a really nice spacious sound that is something beyond just keyboard pads.  My point is this is something that was never heard in worship music even 5 years ago.  You may be thinking, "Where is the simplicity?".  That's the great thing, it isn't complicated.  Everything works together so well, that you really don't notice everything that's going on, it all just works together.

    How did we get here?  Well, just like any other music genres, it progresses.  The style of worship music that is popular today really kicked off with songs like "Open the Eyes of My Heart", "Shout To the Lord", "I Could Sing Of Your Love Forever" and many others like that.  Then, later on, groups like Gateway Worship, came out with their version of "Revelation Song",which introduced distorted electric guitars, huge lead riffs and massive sounds.  This is a song that we still do in our church and people LOVE it!  The congregation, the singers, musicians; everyone still greatly enjoys that song.  Let's face it: the song rocks.

Gateway Worship - Revelation Song :

    Now, we are at a different point in music.  Vertical Church Band recently came out with a song called "God, You Are My God".  This song re-introduced the 1980's music sounds with big bass riffs and drum patterns.  This also introduced the wide use of the synthesizer that is used in a lot of worship music now.  Now, Hillsong has their "White Album" out, which is a collection of club remixes of their most popular songs, played and arranged on not much more than a synthesizer and computer sounds.  That one is extremely popular.

Vertical Church Band - God, You Are My God :

Hillsong White Album - Like An Avalanche :


    My point is that music constantly changes and will always do so.  The song "God, You Are My God" also proves that old sounds come back around and become popular again.  It's very unpredictable which makes it really exciting.  Where is worship music going in the future?  Who knows..?  Time will tell.



Friday, May 23, 2014

The Beacon and the Lantern Room-How Clean Is Our Vessel?

Since first joining MPBC in 2012, I am humbled at how God leads me to new areas of service to Him.  These are often areas of service that are in the most outer realm of my comfort-zone.  Just standing before several hundred people worshiping my King can barely be accomplished with a heartbeat below 120 BPM :).  He then (via the ever-looming sign-up sheet of our worship leader, Brad Cordray) leads me to this modern day journal entry thing called “blogging”.  So here goes…stay awake and “track with me” as Pastor Kevin says, and we’ll see where this leads.

As I began praying, asking God what I should share, the
word “lighthouse” kept coming to mind.  While I have always thought lighthouses were amazing in their look and purpose, even living in this great State of NC where our coastline is peppered with so many, I have never visited a lighthouse in person.  So I began reading, learning more about them, and in turn, several things came to my mind and spoke to my heart. 

As we know, the lighthouses’ main purpose is to warn ships of impending danger and guide them safely on their way.  I learned the world’s first recorded lighthouse was the Pharos Lighthouse in Alexandria, Egypt.  (Here’s a trivia thought for the day…) Built in 280 B.C., it stood 450 ft tall with a bonfire lit nightly that could be seen more than 30 miles away.  This lighthouse was used for more than 1500 years (Wow) before it was destroyed by an earthquake in 1303 A.D. Over thousands of years lighthouses have served as important guides through storms, fog, and away from many unseen dangers. While there are several rooms within a lighthouse, it is the lantern room which is the most important room of the lighthouse, as this is where the beacon is located.  The walls of the lantern room are made of glass,  totally surrounding the beacon.  This glass needs to remain clean at all times to let the brightest of light shine.  This is one of the many responsibilities of the Lighthouse Keeper. 

The same holds true for us as a worship team.  We are the lighthouse keepers of His Light-His Beacon.  We are His Lantern Room.  It is through our hearts that the light of His Beacon shines.   The cleaner our hearts, the brighter the light, the light that draws others closer to Him.  Living our lives in such a way that people say to themselves, “there’s something different about him/her and I want to know how to experience that peace, joy and love in my own life.”…You are the light of the world-like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.  No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket.  Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.  In the same way, let your good deeds shine for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly father.  Matthew 5: 14-16

We continue to see this world darkened with sin more and more each day, so without the light of Christ shining brightly through us as Christians, this world will only become darker with time.  In a dark sky, all darkness looks the same.  That is why we have to be different-sanctified-set apart. We have to shine and shine brightly.  We have to look different to our co-workers, our neighbors, and sometimes even our friends and family.  Different in our speech and our attitudes. They have to see the realness of our lives, consistently, and in turn, want that same light of Jesus to shine in their heart and lives too, but it’s only through the cleansing of our own heart can they see the truest and brightest light.  Unconfessed sin can slowly begin to haze the glass of our “lantern rooms”.  This even small haze of unconfessed sin distorts the light and begins to destroy the fellowship with Christ…But God showed His great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners. Romans 5:8.  As we come before Him, we need to remember what a friend we have in Him, tell him everything, confess it, turn away from it-He knows it all anyway, and He loves us in spite of ourselves. 

It is often in the darkest of night, in the mist of the storm, fog sets in.  This fog can further reduce one’s visibility which makes seeing the beacon’s light and staying the course even more challenging, especially for those who are lost and needing Jesus...Then He said to the crowd, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross daily, and follow me”. Luke 9:23

That is why we have to make time for Him by continuing to read, study and pray so that once again His light can shine the brightest through us, to the hearts of those around us-those in our lives who are drifting off course. Those heading straight for the cliffs that will damage or destroy them in this life and their life as they enter into eternity.

The brightest beacon shines through the cleanest vessel. Help us Lord as a Worship Team to allow your Beacon to shine through us, guiding us daily in a life of worship and praise…no matter what.

Love in Christ,


Monday, May 12, 2014

Who Leads When I'm Out?

The very 1st post on this blog was about these guys:

This is the worship team at Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church.  The picture is a little bit old, so we've actually added a few new members, lost a couple of older members, but the vast majority of the team is still intact.  In fact, we have grown to the point of having 2 rotating teams.  I say this because I leave Friday to go on vacation.  Now, during the first couple of years I was at MPBC, I would worry every time I was gone.  Who is going to fill in for me?  Who is going to lead while I'm away?  Can they handle it?

Well, I don't worry about any of that anymore.  These guys have it covered.  They have gotten accustomed to leading worship as a team.  And that includes the times I am gone.  When we first started out, I led every song for every service.  Not anymore.  Now they lead.  I still lead a song or 2 each service, but they lead the majority of them.  So, now they are used to leading.  And even better than that, they excel at it.  And when I am gone, I know they've got it covered.  In all honesty, now when I'm gone, I worry more about if anyone actually misses me?

Just kidding:)  I say all of that to say this, I am very blessed to work with and serve with the worship team at MPBC.  There aren't very many worship pastors who can take a Sunday off and the music and worship never misses a beat.  Well, I can, and it's because of the wonderful musicians and worship leaders we have on our team!

Worship Big!