Tuesday, May 26, 2015

The Children's Choir

One of the things that I really believe in, is teaching and mentoring our children to have a love for music and worship.  To do this, we've modeled our Children's Choir program after our Adult Worship Ministry. When the Children's Choir sings on Sunday mornings, they don't sing choir anthems, they sing worship songs and lead us in a time of worship.  When they practice on Wednesday nights, their practice room is set-up with a sound system (with mics) and a computer and screen for running lyrics. We do this so the kids can get comfortable singing into mics and running a sound board and running the computer program that handles our lyrics on the screens.  We're trying to invest in them so that one day, when they are older, they will want to sing in the Adult Worship Choir or Praise Team or serve on our AV/Media Team.

Well, the Children's Choir sang this past Sunday and we took everything they've been doing to a new level.  For the 1st time ever, they sang their song with the Praise Band.  Normally, they sing with CD tracks, but for this song, they wanted to do it with the band.  I think they did a great job!  In fact, the song they sang ("In Jesus' Name") involves a lot of clapping and I think they did even better than the adult choir:) 

Here's a picture of them singing:

With us going to 3 services in October a lot of things are going to change.  One of which will be the Children's Choir singing on Wednesday nights instead of Sunday mornings (the new Sunday morning schedule doesn't leave any time for them to do a sound check and run over their song).  With that change I'm hoping that the Children's Choir can start doing more songs with the band.  Maybe they can even get to the point that they handle the entire worship song set. Wouldn't that be cool!

One last thing-a special thanks to our Children's Choir leaders (Vicky, Sherrie, Kandace, and Jason).  You guys are AWESOME!

To watch the video from this past Sunday, go to: http://subsplash.com/mpbc/v/b8a76da 

Worship Big!


Monday, May 18, 2015

Nah, No Reason

    Well, it happened again yesterday during our second service. Another mishap on stage in the middle of the worship set.  For some reason, things have been happening to me on stage every so often for the last couple of months.  For example, while playing electric guitar, I had a string break on me.  And while playing acoustic a few weeks back, my guitar's battery died in between services and I didn't know it until it was too late to do anything about it.  In another instance, when playing bass in the second service, the sound wasn't coming through for some reason, but later I found out that it had somehow been unplugged from the floor (again, this happened between services). Yesterday during our second service while playing acoustic, I had a guitar string to unwind on me.  Not break, unwind.  How does that even happen?!? These are the types of things I've been dealing with on stage the last couple of months.

    But, you know what?  It's okay.  However, I can't lie to you and tell you that I've learned something from every single one of these experiences.  Sometimes, it just happens and I have no clue why. It's still alright. On the other hand, there have definitely been mistakes in the past that I've learned from.  I remember a particular instance when it was only a couple of weeks after I joined the team as the rhythm guitar player and for whatever reason our lead guitar player told us on Friday that he wasn't going to be able to make it for the service on Sunday.  I was then informed that I'd be playing the lead parts on everything and really didn't have a say-so in the matter.  It wasn't a big deal except it was for a song called "Here In Your Presence", a song that we have done for a while now.  That song had what I thought at the time to be a "crazy hard" guitar solo.  I worked all Friday night and Saturday night learning this solo and by 2am Sunday morning, I was feeling really good with it.  Sunday morning came and played it perfectly through sound check.  Then, in the service, when the song came to the chorus before this solo, my hands started shaking so badly, they became numb.  I couldn't feel anything I was playing.  I muted nearly every single note of that solo.  I was devastated.  I knew I had goofed it up terribly.  I was even looking up to make sure no tomatoes were flying at my face!  I have had moments since then where I didn't play a solo well, or sang a note wrong, but nothing nearly as bad as that.  But, looking back on that, I'm glad it happened.  That instance made me rid myself of so much stage fright.  It made me to not be afraid of messing up no matter how "hard" something may be. I think these moments are good for any musician or singer.  It teaches one so much about being on stage and performing in front of people.   

    Again, I can't always tell you why these things happen. Sometimes, it seems for no reason at all.  As much as I hate it when something like that happens and in the moment I just feel like walking off stage, I do know that God still shows up.  God still works.  He doesn't leave the room just because a guitar string broke or a microphone is accidentally left on mute.  Jesus is still honored.  To me, that's all that matters.  



Thursday, May 14, 2015

Taking Jesus Too

So, vacation season is coming up.  Some of you are looking forward to the time to get away to the beach, the mountains or…you name it.  It’s easy to let the thought of vacation distract us from our spiritual, as well as earthly, duties.  It’s easy to forget to thank God for those blessings we experience every day, and praise Him for His constant love and guidance.  We forget to worship.  What is worship?  Worship is talking to God; it is hands raised out of reverence, songs of praise lifted up, just the word “awe”.  Yet,  the thought of a getaway can easily cause us to lose our focus.   Jesus said in John 15:4 “Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.”  How can anyone expect to grow in their walk with Christ, if they do not abide in Him?  Abiding in Him means to remain in Him, or keep to Him.  We cannot bear Christian fruit if we are not walking in Him.  If we remain in Him, and give all praise and glory to Him, we can know His peace.  That is the whole point of a vacation right?  Most people go on vacations to escape the stress that life brings and just relax and have a little peace.  Well, I’m going to tell you something that I am just beginning to discover myself… The stress will only become more and more burdensome as life goes on.   

So, as you begin to think about that long awaited summer rendezvous, think of how much more meaningful it would be if you could rest in the peace that only God can provide.  Because if you give all burdens to Him, and praise Him through the storm, He can give you peace that surpasses all understanding.  John 14:27 says “Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you.  Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid.” So let’s worship Him for all He’s done and continues to do.  Then, we can rest in His peace and the bliss it brings!  So, when you go on vacation this year…don’t forget to take Jesus with you:)


Tuesday, May 5, 2015

We've Come a Long Way

So, yesterday afternoon, our Media Director got the video from the music and worship time on Sunday (May 3rd) edited and uploaded to our website (http://mpbc.ws/media/).  And as I always do on Monday afternoons, I watched through the entire video a couple of times to make notes of things to fix and of the things I liked. As I was watching the video it occurred to me:  WOW! WE HAVE COME A LONG WAY!  

What I mean by that is this. When I started at MPBC (almost 10 years ago) we were still in the old building (now called the Prayer Chapel). The room had one speaker (which was
blown), the piano wouldn't stay in tune, and the beautiful stained glass windows let in so much light on sunny days that it washed out the screen and you couldn't see the song lyrics. The band consisted of me and the pianist and a few IWORSHIP videos. The church already had a large choir (with lots of talent), but no praise team.  So, I had to lead every song.  And that's how we started.

Fast forward 10 years (almost) and you get this:

The band now consists of drums, synthesizer, piano, bass guitar, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, and occasionally violin. We have 2 teams of singers and 2 teams of band members. Everyone in the band uses in-ear monitors and most of the singers do as well (we hope to have everyone covered by the end of this church year).  A few of us have already switched from music in notebooks to music on IPADS (once again we hope to switch everyone else soon).  We have begun using multi-tracks (explained here:  http://mpbcworship.blogspot.com/2015/01/whats-next-part-1.html under Praise Team # 4).    We have LED lights on stage and out in the congregation.  We also have 3 projectors that just project videos and images that cover the entire front wall (called environmental projection). We have multiple screens, 4 cameras, and lots of speakers that actually work. Our Audio/Visual Team rotates 8 people (16 on the team) through different stations (sound, lights, computer, video camera, etc...) each Sunday.  And we still have the best and most talented choir around.

So, I say all of that to say this:  THANK YOU!!!

Thank you MPBC for loving worship and music.  Thank you for giving me and our worship team the freedom to try new things.  Thank you for investing in what we do.  Thank you for singing and raising your hands. Thank you for the kind and encouraging words when we need to hear them most.  Thank you for bearing with us when we are working out the kinks on something new.  Thank you for not complaining when we don't sing your favorite song.  Thank you for telling us you didn't "notice" when we messed up.  And thank you for being willing to change to help us as a church continue to grow.  You are the BEST!

Worship Big!