God

Everlasting God

I have been wanting to use multi-tracks in live worship settings for quite some time, but it has not been until recently that I have learned how. (http://loopcommunity.com has tons of helpful tutorials). Over the past couple of weeks I have been working on recording different songs that we play often at our church. I got together with a member of our worship team and we recorded our own arrangement of Everlasting God that we can use in our worship services.

Leadership and Calling Part 3

The overall message that I want to say in this post is this: Leaders who trust God, point to, and exalt Christ through word and deed will thrive.

Leading people in worship is amazing. It is an honor and great privilege. It is an absolutely joyful blast. And it is a gigantic responsibility and can be challenging at times.

James 3:1 “Not many of you should become teachers, my fellow believers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.”

Leaders will be judged more strictly. Plain and simple. This doesn’t mean that everyone else gets a free pass and can do whatever they want, but it does mean that those of us who have been called to lead will be held accountable for how we lead the people that God gave us to lead.

In John 14:6 Jesus says, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

Being a good leader is not about being eloquent with words. It’s not about being the “best” or the “coolest hippest dude on the block.” Leaders lead well when they point to and exalt Christ through everything they do – words and actions – on stage and off stage. Anytime we stand up on the stage we need to clearly communicate our purpose – Christ. Boom that’s it. I love the way Bob Kauflin says it “Glorify God the Father, by praising the Son, through the power of the Holy Spirit.”

The other side to the leadership coin is trusting God. This is of MASSIVE importance. If you are in a trial then trusting in God will help you find peace in knowing that God is in control and will see you through. If you are on a mountain top then trusting God will help you keep a right perspective – you are where you are at because of God’s blessing. Therefore, give thanks to God.

We trust God to stir in hearts, draw people, and change lives. We pray that we would be vessels that exude the power of the gospel, but no matter how loud we play and sing, no matter how eloquent we are with our words, it is the Spirit of God that opens our eyes to see Him, our hearts to receive, and moves us to true and genuine spirit and truth worship.

Don’t let unfortunate circumstances cause you to doubt your calling as a leader of worship. As a leader there will be times when you are uncertain how your leadership is being received. But if you are pointing to and exalting Christ and trusting in God to move in the hearts of people then you are leading well. 

Carrying the Burden

Being a leader is a huge responsibility. There are good days and bad days. Days of great reward and days of great struggle. When the organization succeeds, we celebrate. When it fails, we feel the weight of the responsibility. In the times of struggle it is easy to feel like we alone bear the burden. In Numbers 11, that is how Moses was feeling. Let me set the stage for you.

God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt, he provided leaders for them, he provided food for them, and he even instructed them to build a structure – the tabernacle – that would make a way for him to dwell among his people. God was abundant in his goodness towards the Israelites; yet, despite that, they were professionals when it came to being an ungrateful and complaining people. They began to grow tired of the food that God was providing for them and they remembered what food they had available to them while in Egypt. They said…

We remember the fish we ate in Egypt at no cost—also the cucumbers, melons, leeks, onions and garlic. But now we have lost our appetite; we never see anything but this manna!”

Okay, so, the food in Egypt was available at no cost….mmm…they might not have had to pay for it, they just had to be slaves. And if the Pharaoh decided he wanted to kill all new born Israelite males then he could do that. So, none of that sounds like a good set up.

Quick side thought, do you ever find that you complain about God’s abundant goodness and blessing in your life? 

Nonetheless, the Israelites complained. It was in this moment that Moses, more than ever, felt burdened to be able to step up and lead the people God called him to lead. But there was a problem. Moses felt like his knees were buckling under the weight of leading these immature infants on his own. He turned to God and asked…

“Why have you brought this trouble on your servant? What have I done to displease you that you put the burden of all these people on me? 12 Did I conceive all these people? Did I give them birth? Why do you tell me to carry them in my arms, as a nurse carries an infant, to the land you promised on oath to their ancestors? 13 Where can I get meat for all these people? They keep wailing to me, ‘Give us meat to eat!’ 14 I cannot carry all these people by myself; the burden is too heavy for me. 15 If this is how you are going to treat me, please go ahead and kill me—if I have found favor in your eyes—and do not let me face my own ruin.”

Moses was at the end of his ropes and he let God know it. So, the Lord responds to Moses by saying…

“Bring me seventy of Israel’s elders who are known to you as leaders and officials among the people. Have them come to the tent of meeting, that they may stand there with you. 17 I will come down and speak with you there, and I will take some of the power of the Spirit that is on you and put it on them. They will share the burden of the people with you so that you will not have to carry it alone.

One of the most beautifully amazing things about God is that he hears us and he cares for us. He does not want to set us up for failure. If we need help he is all to willing to reach out and lend a hand. So, when Moses was in need and overwhelmed he cried out to God and God answered by providing Moses with other people that would share in the burden of the people so that he would not have to carry it alone.

In your own life, if you ever come to a point where you feel like you are under too much pressure, have too much responsibility, or feel like you are a one man football team then know this: God. Provides. When Moses felt overwhelmed by having to lead the Israelites he turned to God and said, “I can’t do this on my own.” We can do the same. We can turn to God and say, “Lord, I can’t do this on my own. I need help.” And he will help. One of the most powerful ways that God helps us is by calling other people to be there for us. Think about how God freed the Israelites from slavery. He called Moses. When Moses was overwhelmed he called seventy other people to help carry the weight.

So, today, consider this. If you need help maybe God has placed someone in your life that is there to share in carrying the weight of the burden with you, or maybe God is calling you to help carry someone else’s burdens.

Lazy Busy | Desiring God

Do you ever find yourself struggling with being lazy?

Do you need some motivation for the hard work ahead?

I read an article that talks about how the Bible doesn’t speak so highly of those that are lazy. The Bible is an advocate for hard work.

God promised that he would work in everything for our good, not our comfort.

You can read the article by clicking the link below.

http://www.desiringgod.org/articles/lazy-busy

Problems Make Great Breakfast Food

Expect problems and eat them for breakfast.  – Alfred A. Montapert

Problems arise when you least expect them. Often when you are perfectly prepared you are perfectly positioned for something to go wrong.

Let me explain…

When I plan and prepare I manufacturer a vision for the outcome of events – the order in which things are supposed to happen, the specific way each thing is supposed to be done, and the overall “feel” or “mood” that will be created.

Inevitably though, the vision I have seldom ever comes to fruition. It might turn out in a similar fashion, but hardly, if ever, exact. Often times, in the moment, when something turns out differently than I thought it should have it creates an awkward moment. I might stutter, go off on a tangent, try to save the moment but most likely fail, or just flat out get frustrated and do my best not to show it. In any case, I feel as though the moment is ruined, or, at least, not as impactful as I planned.

Is preparing good? Absolutely. Is it good to have a vision for the outcome of events? Yes….however, I think when preparing and manufacturing that “perfect” vision it is important to keep a few things in mind.

1.) “Many are the plans in the mind of man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.” We spend hours preparing and then in an instant “the cards get thrown out.”  Always pray and seek God’s direction THEN plan accordingly.

2.) Plan to fail. Be ready for things to go wrong. When you have a structure in your head and in the moment it derails, more than likely, it feels like you just ran off a cliff, but consider for a moment that you didn’t crash. Maybe you just turned on a different set of tracks that takes you to the same destination. Embrace it. Planning to fail can lead to success.

3.) Follow the leading of the Holy Spirt. In your personal preparation for a Worship service God may lead slightly different than he will when everyone is gathered together on Sunday. For example,  you may plan to finish one song and then transition directly into the next song, but in the moment you might feel the prompting of the Spirit to say a prayer, or quote a scripture, or share something on your heart. You may be hoping that after the last song the congregation will continue singing the chorus or bridge section of the song, but in the moment the Spirit might lead to just simply end the song. Embrace it. Don’t fight it.

As a leader, the absolute best thing we can do for the people is to follow God’s leading. We want to lead people down the path that leads to Christ, not the path that leads to us being happy that our plans went exactly like they were “supposed to.”

Follow God’s leading and eat your problems for breakfast! …or lunch or dinner. 🙂

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Have you ever been frustrated by things not going according to plan?

How do you plan and prepare so that you can be ready for anything?

God’s Blessing

Where should I begin…..?

So, in college I was constantly surrounded by people who had “awe inspiring talent.” Like, they literally caused my jaw to drop at how talented they were. When they would open their mouths to sing, grab the guitar, sit at the piano, or put the horn up to their lips to play people in the room would drop whatever they were doing and just listen. I was surrounded by people who were so talented that when they started doing their “thing” people were captivated by it.

I remember having conversations with my friends that would go something like this,

Person A – “Dude! He is amazing! If I only had a fraction of his talent then that would still leave enough room to be great!

Person B – “Yeah man, I am pretty sure he just tanked up on soft drinks and cheese right before he started singing and he still sounds like an angel.”

A few weeks ago…or so, my wife and I were at a Kari Jobe and Cody Carnes Worship Night. Kari and Cody have recently been married so they had a ton of family there. Before the night officially started Cody came out and played a few songs. Just him, his guitar, and his voice. It was amazing. Like totally awe inspiring. I leaned over to my wife and said “Man, if I was half as talented as this guy I would still be good because he is blowing my mind right now.” She responded with “Couple things. Man. I’m not a man.” Just kidding, she didn’t say that but it would have been hilarious if she did 🙂

She said something to the effect of, “You are good at what you do. God has blessed you with passion and talent. And you continue to serve God in what you are passionate about and cultivating the talents he has given you.”

My response, “………..(flat-line)”

It was in that moment that I realized, that I spend so much time thinking about how amazing everyone else is that I COMPLETELY overlook the way that God has blessed me and my life. It was in that moment that I realized that God’s blessing wasn’t enough for me. I wanted more. I was jealous. I want the voice he has. I want to be able to write music like he writes. The list goes on and on and on, etc.

So, today, I would encourage you to pause for a minute and consider the way that God has blessed you or maybe the way that he has gifted you and remember that God loves you and created you in a specific way for a specific reason, He gives everyone passions and talents according to his good pleasure and his plan. So, yes, that means that other people will be able to do things that you simply cannot do, but that also means that you will be able to do things that others can’t do. I think God designed is like this on purpose because He wants us to be in community with each other. I need you and you need me. The sooner we all get rid of the “I can do everything on my own” the better because God did not design us to live apart from one another. He designed us to be in close relationship with one another and to need each other.

1 Corinthians 12:27

27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.

The Sunrise

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This is a picture of the sunrise this morning. It reminds me of the fact that God willingly veiled His glory and walked among us. He suffered and was tempted in every way, just as we are – yet did not sin. So, let us approach God’s throne of Grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. God is for us. He knows the struggle we face and he wants to help us through it.