Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Jesus Over Everything

Lately, I’ve been thinking about a most pressing issue. I’ve been thinking about the Church as a whole, and the duties of Christians as individuals. One of our main commands is to simply praise our Savior. As worship team members, that duty is magnified. What we do includes leading the congregation in worship, and potentially prompting them to listen to the Holy Spirit, and what He wants to do in their hearts and lives. This is a wonderful responsibility, but it’s also serious. Sometimes we tend to view leading worship as an obligation rather than a privilege to serve God who deserves so much more. 

I can speak from personal experience when I say sometimes we just don’t feel like doing it correctly. We do it anyway, because we have to. This is not how we should approach worship. As humans, (flesh-driven and selfish as we are) we approach what we do with the wrong perspective. We are “committed” to what we do, no doubt... But, life happens. We are not always going to come to rehearsal with smiling faces and happy attitudes, because stuff happens in life that may contend for our attention and divert our priorities. But we should not let the stuff that happens, shift and change our perspective towards the ever noble commitment of leading worship. Even when we feel “bluh”, we still have priorities to God. 

See, when we think of practices and worship services as something else we have to do, or something we need credit for, we deny God the glory. Worship is centered around approaching God in all His glory, might, and deity to meet with Him and experience His presence. We shouldn’t approach the throne of God unless our hearts are clean, pure, and right with God. We shouldn’t mindlessly play or sing through a song set without taking a few moments throughout to simply acknowledge that we are doing this for His honor. 

As worship leaders, we should set an example. We need to stop bringing our mess into our music and worship. God takes that away, if only we ask. Worship songs are our benediction to God, and we have no right to sing or play it unless we mean it. Don’t get me wrong, I know we are all human, and I know that no one is going to exude expressions of happiness throughout every song, but we need to mean it. We need to return the focus of what we do to Jesus...Just Jesus!  Once we do that, we realize that even though God deserves so much more from His children than what is given, what we give is our best. 

Not only that, but it is our best for Him! And that gives us joy! It gives me joy to know that God changes my perspective if I get bogged down by my responsibilities. It gives me joy to know that, even though I will always have my own problems, I won’t allow them to affect how I praise my wonderful, precious Jesus! He triumphs over our mess, and takes the burden off our hearts so that our minds may be clear as we praise Him. 

So let us make a new commitment: Jesus over everything! With that as our perspective, we, as the body of Christ, can fulfill the great things we are called to do!

1 Peter 4:10-11:  Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God’s grace in it’s various forms.  If anyone speaks, they should do so as one who speaks the very words of God.  If anyone serves, they should do so with the strength that God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ.  To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.

Keep Smiling!

Maddie

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Making a Difference?

I have recently been blessed with a new job with Lowe’s Home Improvement.  This is actually my second go around with the corporate office, but I find myself in a different department this time.  So far, I really enjoy being a supervisor in my department as well as the new focus on values that Lowe’s has adopted.  I didn’t expect that the Lord would lead me back to Lowe’s as I have a strong calling to perform some sort of mission work for the kingdom in which I could truly make a difference in our world.  I thought for sure that Samaritan’s Purse would be on my horizon, but that didn’t quite pan out as I had prayed.  Could it be that I can accomplish just as much for the Lord at Lowe’s as I could with Samaritan's Purse?

During my first 6 six weeks, God has already shown me that I can. Despite working for a retailer that survives because of the not-so-mighty dollar, I have found that I can in fact be a difference maker.  In matter of fact, my own boss has told me that he doesn’t expect me to become a subject matter expert in my department as much as he simply wants me to be me.  How cool is that?  My new team needs a leader who can encourage, engage, equip and empower.  It is my goal to implement our core values into each of my team member’s work-lives.  These values include:  being a part of something bigger, being who you say you are, giving your best, and making a difference in someone’s day every day.

I love serving people.  I love being Jesus day in and day out.  While I don’t have the freedom to proclaim the Gospel out loud to my office, I love having the ability of being who God has created me to be.  Lowe’s has changed, and from what I can tell, it has definitely been for the better. 

But am I truly making a difference for God?  

I assist with upset customers who aren’t getting what they want, exactly how they want it or when they want it.  They kick and they scream until they get what they want.  Sometimes they are successful, sometimes they are not.  It all seems so menial in the bigger picture of life and eternity.  Especially now since I have been placed back into the workforce that has taken time away from my family, the church and our worship team.  All areas where I felt that I was making a difference…every day.  Thankfully, I know of a song (go figure) by the group Needtobreathe that has become my anthem since going back to work. The chorus goes:

Oh I am a difference maker.  Oh I am the only one who speaks to him. Oh I am the friendliest of friends of God.

Can it really be this simple?  I believe that it can.  By acknowledging everyone that I come across, by sharing a smile and a simple “nice to see you today”, by treating them like they matter, I can live out the Gospel without preaching it.  I once heard something on the radio that has forever implanted in my brain.  The speaker said that I might be the only Jesus that people encounter today.  As long as I am focusing on being Christ, it will be visible by everyone and then the Holy Spirit can do what he does best…impact lives.

Our Great Commission is for us to go and make disciples of ALL nations.  Each of us have the ability to impact a different piece of the nations, in all different kinds of settings.  If you find yourself questioning the significance of what you do, just as I find myself doing, return your focus to Jesus.  I promise that it is that simple.  He will remind you of what it is that He wants you to accomplish for Him.  Just look at the lives that He was able to make a difference in by simply acknowledging and speaking to them.  I think Matthew would attest to this.

Go make a difference in someone’s life today! 

Have a blessed week,

Scott

Here is the song if you would like to take a listen:

https://player.vimeo.com/video/188001333

Monday, October 10, 2016

Appreciation

October is Pastor Appreciation Month and while I am definitely thankful for Pastor Kevin and Pastor Dale and all they do, with this post I would like to focus on someone else. The person that I am thankful for is a man who doesn't do anything to bring attention or glory to himself.  His only desire is to serve others, the church, and the Lord.  He is extremely selfless and our church wouldn't be the same without him. His name is Jacob Church.

I first met Jacob eleven years ago when he was still in college and he was one of our sound guys.  I never would
have guessed that a decade later Jacob would be on staff at the church full-time as our Media Director and be someone that we couldn't survive without.  He does so many things that people don't know about it, it's unbelievable!  He has been my right-hand man for the last eleven years and the Worship/Music Ministry wouldn't be the same without him.  (FYI-this was the only picture I could find of him.  If you know him, you're thinking, figures.)

Plus, the man has a gift with computers.  When I have issues with my computer, typically all Jacob has to do is walk in my office and it's fixed. I don't know how he does it.  Like I said he has a gift. 

Now, I could probably write paragraph after paragraph about all of the things that Jacob does, but I know that he'll hate the fact that I wrote about him in the first place, so I won't prolong his misery.  I'll simply say, JACOB, I APPRECIATE YOU!!!

If you feel the same, please find him at church (he'll be in the back at the A/V desk-see picture) and let him know.

Worship Big!

Brad 

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

This Is Amazing Grace

With this week's post I wanted to go ahead and introduce a new song that we are learning this month and will be presenting to the church next month.  It's called "This Is Amazing Grace" by Phil Wickham.  It's a wonderful song about the power of Jesus and His "Amazing Grace".

I've been considering it for the worship team for about a year or so now.  Phil Wickham was at my conference a couple of years ago and sang the song then.  It was good, but it lacked the “punch” I was looking for in a worship song for the church.  I think that part of the problem was that he was by himself and wasn't being accompanied by a band.  I’ve heard the song on the radio a number of times since then and have found myself liking the song more and more.  The big question I continued to have about it was how would people respond to it when done live with a band.  Well, that was answered for me at my conference last month.  The house band opened up the conference with it and it was AWESOME!  People were really singing and worshiping.  I was sold!

Here’s the video for it:  

video


I hope you like it, because we'll be doing it live next month!

Worship Big!

Brad