Thursday, February 23, 2017

Reflecting Jesus

Recently, I read a quote from Mother Teresa that I thought was quite interesting.  She said:

"How sad it is when someone comes to you looking for Jesus and all they see is you."  

For such a nice lady, OUCH! 

Now, I'm pretty sure she didn't say this in the context of music and worship, but I do believe it applies to us worship leaders as well.  I've always told worship teams and choirs that our job is to point people to Jesus.  That's it.  We just use music as a tool and vehicle to lead people to Him.  We shouldn't be on stage to receive any glory ourselves.  Because nothing about entering into the presence of God should exalt us.  Our job is simply to reflect the glory of Jesus and become more like Him (2 Corinthians 3:18).  

So, let me ask you a question:  When you stand on stage and participate in leading in worship, who do people see?  Do they see you or do they see Jesus?  If they are truly seeing Jesus, then AWESOME! That is the goal.  But, if they aren't, why not?  What's getting in the way of you reflecting the glory of Jesus for others to see?  

Is your heart not right?  Is there some sin or sins that are holding you back?  What about your attitude? Is there some part of you that is intentionally trying to draw attention to yourself?  Are you prepared spiritually? Musically? Emotionally? 

Whatever the cause, it is our responsibility as worship leaders to do everything we can to make sure that people see Jesus, not us. Remember, the glory is His.  We just reflect it.

Worship Big!


Monday, February 13, 2017

Find the One


Basically, each song has a different time signature, a different pace, and when I play, I am hitting one or more pieces of the drum kit at these different times throughout the entire song. It could be on the hi-hat, rack tom, kick drum, floor toms or cymbals. Each song has different combinations throughout: the verse, different from the chorus, different from the bridge. Then you must end the song at the same time as other band members.  Other times I may drop out and the piano still plays, or it's just the singers who continue. Then occasionally, I, or we, must stop in the middle of a chorus or bridge or interlude and all come back in at the same time or different times depending on the song.


That's complicated and crazy and hard to keep straight.
You know that's how our lives are also. I believe in a church the size of ours, we have people whose lifestyles are totally different from even the person they sit behind during service. MPBC on any given week will see construction workers, retired people, newlyweds, cat owners, cat haters, people with a long commute, New England Patriots fans and everything in between. Each individual person has their own family and friends, health issues and debt. 

So, the parallels between the drums and the lives of the people are that they are both crazy and each one is different from another.

I have only been playing with the band for about 15 months and in that time I have gotten off beat "uh plenty". When I first started, it was very hard for me to get back on track with the rest of the band.  But as time has gone on and I continued to mess up I found that if I could only find the 1 (which if you look at the example in the beginning, you can see it just repeats itself, so the 1 will come back around), I could get back on track. The trick is being able to recover quickly and don't let that short time of being off beat ruin the rest of the song or set list.

Now comes the encouraging part of the blog.

HARD and REAL as it may be, it is simple.

All the people with different cars and job titles, get off beat in life. Whether it be your tongue that just won't stop moving behind your teeth, a temper that shows itself in the ugliest of ways, that credit card limit, or you may just be feeling burnt out and tired of everyday life. Find hope in knowing that God is always in the restoration business, just as He did with David and Peter when they got "off beat". As we go through this life, our faith and joy often depend on what's happening in that moment in time. Coincidentally, in the measure or two that I'm off beat, I feel the same way, with my mind racing to find the 1 and get back on track.

The "off" moments in our lives will last longer than one song or set list, but as we get "off beat" and try to find the One, know that Jesus will never evade a heart that searches for Him.

Just as God is in the restoration business, Satan is in the guilt business. He will tempt you with many of your weaknesses after you have been humbled before God and gotten back on "track". Satan's goal for the Christian is to make them a rusty tool, dusty and sitting on a shelf. Since he cannot have your soul, he wants you to be unusable for anything that will point to Christ. 

Similar to the drums, if I held on to those times I messed up and kept my focus on that, I would not be able to play ever again because I  would feel like such a failure.  And believe me, that's where Satan wants to keep me.

However, the Holy Spirit being a comforter will ease our minds about the mistakes we make and remind us that God is not a condemner, He will not kick us while we're down and He will not leave us in our affliction. Those things come from the evil one. If we get hung up on our past mistakes and constantly condemn ourselves, then we will never be able to serve Christ to the fullness of his will. What would have happened if Peter didn't forgive himself for denying Christ three times? If he would've said "I'm too much of a failure because of my past transgressions?" As Peter was restored by Christ on the shoreline, we also can be restored through Christ.

I hope you can find encouragement in knowing that no matter how off beat you are, you may even have stopped playing altogether, if you can find the ONE, then there is hope for serving God through the rest of your set list.

I say go for it.


Monday, February 6, 2017

The Power of Music

Music is a powerful thing. Music has been a part of my life for as long and as far back as I can remember. I remember sitting in Dad’s car as a little girl and listening to classical music. He always said it made a person smarter. I remember my first piano lesson and how I hated it and Mama telling me that I would learn an instrument and learn it well so I had better find one that I liked and stick with it (it wasn’t the piano) 😃 I remember Daddy would sometimes pull out his old tape of instrumentals composed by Michael W. Smith and he would have us close our eyes and try to imagine seeing heaven for the first time. I remember singing my first solo at church when I was about 6 years old. And from the time that I was about 4 or 5 until I was 14 Mama and Daddy would sing a hymn to me before bed every single night. 

One of my earliest memories of actually feeling the Lord’s presence in my life very much involved music... I was about 5 or 6 and we were singing the song “Shout To The Lord” one Sunday morning at church. We always showed a video during the song of different things in nature…. One of the things on the video was waves crashing in the ocean. I remember standing there, singing along, and when the waves part of the video came on the screen I felt the Lord speak into my spirit and say “Do you see that? I made that. And this music. Those notes that make up this song? I made that too.” I came home from church that day and told Mama that when we sang “Shout To The Lord” I felt Jesus. 

That’s the especially beautiful thing about music. Still to this day when I hear those songs by Michael W. Smith I remember thinking about heaven. Or when I hear certain hymns I think about being little and the feeling of peace, safety and contentment I felt as I laid in my bed, in my little pink bedroom, with Mama and Daddy sitting on both sides of me singing those old songs with such rich and meaningful lyrics. Music has a way of embedding itself in our minds and bringing back memories, thoughts and feelings…. and for me, it has and always will be a source of peace and comfort. I have this thing that I do when I’m feeling afraid or overwhelmed. I sing. I usually sing a hymn or a worship song and I’ll sing it until the feeling passes. After the car accident I was in back in December I had dreams about it for about 3 weeks. Almost every single night I would wake up in a sweat after dreaming about the crash in slow motion over and over again. Every night that I had a dream about it I would turn on my light and sing “It Is Well With My Soul” or “Tis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus” and slowly, but surely the fear would dissipate and I would go back to sleep. 

I love when I’m onstage on a Sunday morning or Wednesday night and I close my eyes during a song and listen to all of the voices around me. I love that God is using something so near and dear to my heart to bring people closer to Him. I love when people say that something I have sung or played has made them feel the presence of Jesus in their lives. There is nothing else like it. I am so thankful for the power that music carries. It has brought me out of many a dark place. I encourage you, the next time you’re at church, to close your eyes during one of the songs and just listen to the voices around you. It truly is a powerful thing.


"Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations. He has remembered his love and his faithfulness to Israel; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our God. Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth, burst into jubilant song with music; make music to the Lord with the harp, with the harp and the sound of singing, with trumpets and the blast of the ram’s horn— shout for joy before the Lord, the King. Let the sea resound, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it."-Psalm 98

Wednesday, February 1, 2017

For All You've Done

I'm excited to announce that our Worship Ministry's 3rd album will be here and available for purchase on Sunday, March 5th.  The album is called "For All You've Done" and features
7 songs (covers) that our church currently sings, 4 original songs that we've written and arranged, and 1 song off of our very first album that we've rerecorded.  With this week's post I would like to give everyone a sneak preview of the album.  The link below is a medley of the songs on the album. 


"For All You've Done" Medley Link

Worship Big!