Thursday, April 26, 2018

What You Do

We all have something we aspire to be great at.  Whether your gift is singing, playing an instrument, playing a sport or something in between, you want to be good at something.  I think it's human nature and it pushes us to push ourselves from within.  As Christians, we want to lay our absolute best before the feet of Jesus.  But what does that mean? What is your best?

In the time that I've spent on our worship team, I've served in a few different roles, and continue to jump around.  I really enjoy playing electric guitar one week, bass guitar the next, maybe some acoustic and some occasional piano playing here and there.  That's what keeps me on my toes.  I remember when I first started as a volunteer on the team.  Playing rhythm electric every other week was plenty to keep me busy.  Since then, things have progressed.  I've journeyed through several different internal musical paths on the type of musician that I wanted to be.  Early on, even before joining a band or team in some capacity, I wanted to be the among the best guitar players; guys that I would read about in Guitar World magazine.  Don't get me wrong, I still want to be the best that I can be, but the inner-workings and the details of that goal that I had as an 8 year old, just learning to play guitar, have changed.  

Being a part of a worship team with different instruments and different people has really helped me to see what I can be good at.  A few years ago when we decided we wanted to record our own worship album, I saw something inside of me being brought to light. Something that I never knew was really there.  I had an opportunity to arrange music and to hear it in a different way than ever before.  Those are the things that led me branch out my range of ability on a worship team.  

As a 26 year old, I still want to be the best guitar player that I can be.  I've played guitar now for 18 years and I'm definitely not the greatest. I'm not like some 13 year-olds on YouTube who can shred unbelievably.  I'm way far from that.  I'd be a fish out of water in a 5 piece Jazz band. Those things serve me no purpose in my career and field of study. But is it okay if I say my goal isn't to be the best among everyone else?  But, if you need someone who is versatile in a worship setting who has a decent ear for what needs to happen and where things can go, then I'm your guy.  It's my goal to be the best that I can be.  The best guitar, bass or piano player that I can be.  The best husband and father that I can be.  The best follower of Jesus that I can be.   

I've learned that there will always be someone who is seemingly better or more talented, but so what?  Be the best you can be today.  Become great at what YOU do.  Let that be your offering at the feet of Jesus.



Friday, April 20, 2018

Enjoying God

Recently, I was reading a book about worship and the author wrote something that really caught my attention.  He wrote that "a lot people know God, but not everyone enjoys Him".  Now, I believe that statement can correspond to many different aspects of the Christian life, but I would like to focus on how I see that affecting worship.  

As a worship leader, I see people each and every week given the opportunity to participate in worship and experience the presence of God.  Some choose to participate and others don't.  Over the years I've learned that some people just won't sing or clap or even smile.  And I guess I've learned to just accept it.

Now, these are good, Christian people.  They enjoy God's promises, His protections, His provisions, and His precepts (and other words that start with a p), but for some reason, they don't enjoy His presence.  It's really kind of sad.  And it's not that I'm upset at them for not participating in our times of worship.  I realized a long time ago that it's not my job to make people worship.  It's that I want them to truly experience the life changing presence of God for themselves.

Because, ultimately, we want our times of worship to be the highlight of people's weeks.  We want them to experience the power and awesomeness of God's presence in new and amazing ways each time we gather!  We want people to do more than just know God.  We want them to enjoy Him!

So, as worship leaders, what can we do to help them?  I believe the biggest thing we can do is to set an example for them.  The Bible says to sing (Psalm 95:1) and clap (Psalm 47:1) and lift up holy hands (Psalm 63:4).  So, that's what we need to do.  We need to remember that people are always watching us.  We have to demonstrate for people what true Biblical worship looks like.  And if we can do that, then maybe we can help people experience and enjoy the presence of God in ways that they never have before.  

Worship Big!


Thursday, April 5, 2018

I Say Go For It

In some of the blogs I’ve written for the worship blog I will end it with the words “I say go for it" followed by my name. I would like to explain what I mean by that. Anyone who knows me well would most likely say that I’m always up for an “adventure”.  Whether that be trying spicy food or skydiving, it's true for the most part. I’ve heard professional musicians and movie stars when asked about giving advice say “take every opportunity you can”. In other words go for it. They say this because, with every time you do something, new especially, you learn and grow from it, even if you fail (this is very important). 

When Nikki and I joined MPBC we joined the choir shortly there after, and I’m glad we did. Through this we met, and made friends with a lot of people that otherwise we may not have. Also through this I began to kind of be interested in learning the drums. I just wanted to try it. I could hear the basic beat and I thought why not? I took lessons for a while from Brad and practiced at home on my basic electric set by Yamaha. I then began to learn more advanced things and I got an acoustic set. After about a 1 1/2 years of practice, I started playing with the worship team. 

I’ve been playing in the band for about 2 ½ years now and you know what, I’ve still got a lot to learn. But it’s been worth it. When I was a younger man, and played ball, I would be so hard on myself for messing up one little thing that I would get in my own head and then mess up even more.  It would feed on itself. As I get older, I realize that time keeps on ticking at the same rate, 1 second per 1 second, if you mess up or not. It could be a total train wreck on stage on Sunday and eventually the set list would end, and Monday still rolls around.

So, where does this help or encourage you? Whatever it is you are thinking about trying, TRY IT. If you want learn an instrument, go back to school, teach a Sunday school class, learn to crochet, or start a dog training school, I say go for it. Obviously you should seek wise counsel, and pray about all things, but what I’m saying is don’t live life in fear. Fear will handicap you if you let it. 

To expand a little more, I would also say that “going for it” doesn't mean without control. For example, the way I play the drums on "I'm Going Free (Jailbreak)" is different than how I play on "What a Beautiful Name". One is fun and one is powerful. So, when each song comes around I try to play it in a way that compliments the message. Imagine if we played "Lord, I Need You" the same way as "Victor's Crown"? It would not fit the song. 

Anything new you try will be the same way. You will need a different mindset to start a business than you would to learn an instrument. Both are challenging but in different ways. But they both require a first step. Whatever it is you decide to go for, go for it to the fullest measure that it will require. Be bold in the face of a challenge, trust in the Lord, and realize that you may fail. But in the words of… well maybe you know who said it, "Failure, the best teacher is".

1 Corinthians 9 24:26- Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives a prize? So run that you may obtain it. Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air.

I say go for it!