Author Archive for Philip Vega

13
Sep
11

I’m okay! I’m okay. I’m okay?

About two months ago, I led worship for CBC’s middle school and high school camps. On the second day of the first camp, I decided to ride a mountain bike through the trails on the campground with some of the guys. I stumbled upon every twelve-year-old boy’s dream: a steep hill. How could I resist? A bike, a really steep hill…how could this be anything but a blast?

Well, I was right. It was a blast! There was, however, a minor hiccup in the fun. No big deal or anything, I just hit a bump going 25mph or so and flew over the handlebars, landed on my shoulder, and tumbled 45ft from where the bike stopped.  No biggie.

Once I caught my breath, we all laughed at how amazing that was. It had to have been pretty funny watching 200 pounds of man flying that far through the air. I’m okay! I’m okay. I’m okay?  Suddenly, I realized that something was wrong with my shoulder. It felt funny, like it was drooping a bit. Then I realized I couldn’t really move my arm much.

Uh oh.

Off to the emergency room. You know it’s a good injury when the doctor and the x-ray tech are staring at the display on the x-ray machine with wide eyes and open mouths. It was my collarbone. Snapped it like a twig. The doctor also said I bruised the ribs on the left side of my body, and that all of the muscles on the left side of my torso would be in constant spasm from the trauma. Awesome.

Fast forward.

It’s Saturday, the second to last night of high school camp. The pain has gotten worse each day since the accident.  We finish our first set of songs and I’m in a pretty overwhelming amount of pain. I’ve always felt like I had a pretty high threshold for pain, but at this point I was sure it was too intense to play the final set. We got back up and I made it through the first song and most of the second. The pain was so intense at this point that my body just stopped working. My legs buckled and I hit my knees. Curled up into a ball and weeping from the immense pain, I knew I couldn’t go any further.

The students and band continued to worship. One of our students came and put one hand on my back. The other, he lifted in the air while he continued to worship. A moment later, it happened. The immense pain was replaced by the immense weight of the Spirit of God in the room.  All at once, the students, adults, and band began to hit their knees. There was worship, then quiet reverence. Nobody moved. Nobody left. Over two hundred of us sat there, enjoying the presence of the Spirit, some for the first time.

It was in this quiet reverence that He whispered something to my Spirit: “I don’t need you to be ‘on your game’. I don’t need you to play the right chords or sing the right notes. I don’t need you to pick the right songs. I don’t need your talent. I don’t need your skills. I need you to say ‘yes’ to Me.”

I broke.

Too often, as a worship leader, I’ve tried to create this moment. I’ve tried to create it with the perfect song or the perfect set list. I’ve tried to create it within the confines of my own skills and abilities. Wow, what a small box to ask God to operate in.

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I have already forgotten the pain I experienced that night. However, I haven’t forgotten the weakness I felt. I don’t ever want to.  In my most profound weakness He showed me His incredible strength. It is an experience I will never forget.

God, continue to show me my weakness. Continue to teach me to surrender to You. Help me to say yes to You. Help me move out of Your way.

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22
Aug
11

Guitars, amps, pedals, oh my!

I get asked what gear I use a lot. So I figured I’d put together a rundown of my current setup. So this can be a list of gear you might want to buy, or avoid at all costs if you hate my guitar tone. Either way, here it is:

My workhouse guitar is a G&L ASAT Classic Bluesboy. I’m running that into the Visual Sound – Visual Volume pedal. From there, into a Keeley Compressor (two-knob model). Then, into a Keeley modified – Boss BD-2 Blues driver. Next up is the Keeley Katana Clean Boost. Last up is a Boss DD-20 Giga-Delay with a Boss FS-5U non-latching foot pedal set up for tap tempo (when playing lead, I will sometimes add a Keeley modified- Ibanez TS-8 that is post-delay for extra color).

From here we go into a Lancaster Brutis 15 amplifier (15 watts, Class A). Out of the amp, we head into a custom-made 1×12 EXT speaker cabinet that houses a Jensen P-12N.

In my next blog, I’ll make a list of all the gear I wish I had. Although, you’ll probably get bored after the first 20 pages…

17
Mar
11

Toys, Toilets, and God’s Love

Three things that probably aren’t often mentioned in the same sentence, but the first two are the things that made me consider the third this morning. I’ll explain:

I have three beautiful daughters. They teach me so much more than I teach them. This morning, Adyson (four) was playing with her toys in the bathroom instead of brushing her teeth. I heard a devastated cry coming from her restroom. When I got there, she struggled to tell me through her tears that her toys had fallen into the toilet.  My first thought was to say, “oh well” and flush them down the toilet, thus teaching  a *valuable lesson* about obedience. As I looked into her eyes, I couldn’t imagine the pain I would feel watching her as her favorite toys got flushed. So instead, I prepared myself mentally for what I had to do.

I know what you’re thinking. “Please tell me the water was clean.” Well, technically it was a fresh bowl of water, but is toilet water ever really clean? No. Never. And I refuse to discuss this further.

Just as I plunged my hand into the toilet, I looked at Adyson and said, ”this is how much I love you.” That’s when it happened.  At the exact moment I spoke those words, I could feel God saying the very same words to me. “This is how much I love you.”

Now, I’m betting that God wasn’t trying to tell me that He literally put His hand in a toilet for me, but the analogy resonated in my heart. He put his hands into the depths of my heart. He reached into the filth of my sin and placed His hand on my life.  No matter how many times Adyson has been or will be disobedient (and trust me, that’s a lot) I still love her. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I’ll stick my hand in the toilet again if she didn’t learn her lesson, but I love her the same regardless. Yet, how much greater is God’s love for me? How much more does He care for me? When the storms of life (or maybe the toilets) come, He is there. He might not always fish my toys out of the toilet, or He might not retrieve them right when I ask Him to, but He will surely comfort me in a loving embrace.

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Nothing can separate us from the love of God. When we choose to play with toys instead of brushing our teeth, when we choose to listen to our flesh instead of His voice, still He loves us more than we can ever begin to fathom.

God, today I worship You because of Your unfailing love, a love that I cannot reach the end of. Help me to listen to Your voice, trust Your word, and surrender fully to You. Thank you that when I don’t listen and my toys fall in the toilet, You still love me the same.

Romans 8:38-39 (New International Version)

38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,[a] neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, 39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.




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