Archive for April, 2011


No such thing as Worship Leader Rockstar

I think that as musicians and singers, if we were really honest, we would say that at one point in our lives we wanted to be a Rock Star.  I remember getting my first record deal at a young age and getting to travel some of the world.  Looking back at some of those pictures, I just crack up and realize that I was so far from who God had created me to be.  In fact, I remember one night standing on stage in front of a lot of people feeling so unfulfilled.  After surrendering my life to Christ in 1996, I remember the first time I experienced authentic worship.  It was not about the person leading us in songs, it was not about the incredibly talented band, it was about the simplicity of knowing that God loved me so much regardless of what I had done or where I had been.

There is this perception still today with worship leaders that in order to be “great,” we have to record a CD, go on tour, travel the world, get a number 1 song.  Although these are great tools in reaching people for Christ, God loves giving us our heart’s desire when it points back to Him.  There is no such thing as a worship leader Rock Star.  Our greatness is not defined by the stages we stand on or the accolades we receive by man, it has already been defined by the Creator of the universe sending His son, Jesus Christ, to die for us.  Now that is the greatest value anyone can every show us.

As worship leaders, we are called to point people to God’s love with our songs, music and life.  We are not rock stars, we are just a bunch of broken people that God chose to bless and use for His glory.  A great friend and worship leader here at CBC, John David Martinez, told me one time. “What people remember is not the great guitar riffs but the time you took to make them feel loved.” It is so true.

What does the Lord require but to do justly, love mercy, walk humbly with God. (Micah 6:8)

Here’s a challenge for this week- know your value, walk in that value humbly, point others to God’s love to help them discover their value.


Who’s in charge here?

While catching a flight to Houston, I was amused by an overbearing passenger who was not getting her way. She shouted loud enough for all to hear: “who is in charge here?” I was not close enough to hear the response, but I am sure that this was not the way to get her desires met. She ended up stomping off angry and indignant over the situation.

As I sat there waiting, I began to reflect on the bad responses I have had to circumstances that were not in my control. When things did not go my way I often have acted out my frustration. When I did not get the proper results, I have many times turned to God and cried out “who is in charge here?” Most of the time I get no answer, just silence. You see that question has already been answered – God is in charge here. He does not always do the things we think that He should, nor does He change what the master plan is just to make us happy. God is not going to adjust the tough times so we can have an easy life…God never promised easy; He promised fulfilling and abundant.

Being in charge is God’s job and He does all things well. Most of us want to have everything we wish for instantly. You see, God is not so interested in our comfort as He is in our character. Today instead of asking “who is in charge,” maybe we should ask “what should I learn from these events or circumstances?”


God’s Blessing

“For he says, ‘In the time of my favor I heard you and in the day of salvation I helped you.’ I tell you, now is the time of God’s favor, now is the day of salvation.”

2 Corinthians 6:2

I read this scripture the morning I was taking my two middle school choirs to competition. It was one of those mornings when I was anxious, nervous, and worried about the day’s events. I felt like God just reached down and reminded me that He is always in control.

As Christians, we have no reason to walk in fear. God has promised us prosperity. Even when the path looks dim, He is the light we need to keep walking. The amazing thing is that the more you live for Christ, the more He pours out His blessing upon you…even in the midst of hardship. One of my personal goals is to live a transparent life. Working with middle school students all day and high schoolers here at church I have realized the value of being “real.” I want these kids to see that when you choose to live right you reap God’s blessings. You may not get “caught” in an act of sin, but you are cheating yourself of God’s best for you.

If you draw near to God, He will give you comfort when you need it most. He will remind you that He has your best interests at heart. Let that be your comfort today. Walk in God’s best and be comforted!


Big Platter of God

I saw a Pier One Imports catalog today with a whole section of ‘tiny taste’ serving pieces. There were tiny spoons and tiny bowls and tiny plates and tiny domed serving pieces and tiny cups. This was for your ‘tasting party’ or ‘mini brunch.’

I think the whole concept is weird. For one, I don’t have time to prepare 35 different items for a party. And two, I grew up in the south and we EAT. Mountains of mashed potatoes, messes of greens, second helpings. My kids had me buy bigger, stronger paper plates because the generic foam ones are “too small mom.”

It made me think about having a tiny concept of what God can do for us. Some Christians sign up for the “just enough God” program. “Just enough” to get them into heaven; “just enough” to slap a Christian label on their not so different lifestyle; “just enough” to be able to call on God in time of crisis. “Just give me a tiny taste of God” they think. “Don’t be messing with my everyday life.”

Nope, that’s not for me. I want God to mess with my job, my family, my home, my sin, my habits, my waking, my sleeping. Psalm 139 closes with: “Search me and know my heart O God, test me and know my thoughts. Point out anything in me that offends You and lead me along the path of everlasting life.”

I want to feast from his banqueting table and get full. I want to “taste and see that the Lord is good.” I want every blessing, every trial, every circumstance that brings me closer to Him and gives glory to Him. I want the big platter of God. And a second helping.


The Blur Factor

During busy times of ministry, things begin to seem like a constant blur. There is so much detail to attend to that we have a tendency to neglect what can help us the most. Time alone with God is what I need to calm my spirit and get my heart prepared to lead people into His presence. If we rush in and give God a token of our time, He does not have entrance into the secret places of our heart.  Jesus was often leaving the rush of the crowd to be alone with the Father. Jesus, being God himself, seemed to need the time of quiet and peaceful contemplation in order to be prepared for the daily pressures of His ministry.

If Jesus needed it…I’m just sayin’.  “Be still and know that I am God”

This is good daily practice, but it is especially needed during this Passion week. Have a blessed Easter season.


training up the next generation: part 1

How many times has this happened to you?

A student comes up to you and says they play an instrument, and they want to be in your praise band. You have no idea how this students ranks skill-wise, or where he or she is at spiritually. You tell them to call your office, or message you on Facebook, or you take their number. You lose their number, or they never contact you.  They find you the next week, and you set up a time to “audition,” and one of you has to cancel due to scheduling issues. You never see the student again.

All too many times I have let students slip through the cracks because I did not have a system in place that was geared towards handling these kinds of approaches from students.  I kept putting off launching a “system” because the idea seemed too daunting of a task.

Several months ago, I was at a Tuesday night rehearsal for one of our main services, and noticed a technique I hadn’t seen before. The worship leader had invited players who expressed interest in joining the group to come on Tuesday nights and play “unplugged” alongside other members.   I was on acoustic that night, so I had one of the new folks shadow me.  He was a high school student who was passionate about worship , and really wanted to improve his skills.

Over the next few weeks, Brandon and I became training buddies. I let him play right next to me and pointed out things during practice – like how to read a tricky chart, or where to listen for a change in the drums, etc.  He was learning more and more every week, and we were also getting to know Brandon’s heart, in addition to his skill level and dedication.

I began to think…what if?  What if this shadowing technique could work on a bigger scale with my student bands?  What if this was the solution for receiving the constant influx of potential new players?

In the next few blogs I will let you know what happened to the “what if?” revelation I had.  It has revolutionized my approach to training and mentoring, and I have never been so excited about raising up young students to be worship leaders!


Loving God, Loving People

28 One of the scribes came and heard them arguing, and recognizing that He had answered them well, asked Him, “What commandment is the foremost of all?” 29 Jesus answered, “The foremost is, ‘HEAR, O ISRAEL! THE LORD OUR GOD IS ONE LORD; 30 AND YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH.’ 31″The second is this, ‘YOU SHALL LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:28-31

What is the most important actions in a Christian’s life? When Jesus was asked to tell us what the most important commandment was, He gave this reply in Mark 12: Love God and love people. The first one is most important because until you learn to love God, you will never be able to know how to really love people. Loving God is a definition of Worship. Loving people is the definition of Ministry.

As a pastor, I often seem to get things a little confused with all the tasks assigned to me. But if you asked me why I felt that I wanted to be in ministry, I would have told you that I wanted to help people to know God. To sum it up, I have 2 goals in life…knowing Him and helping others.

If the formula worked for Jesus, there is good chance it will work for you.

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