Mr. Big Stuff, Who Do You Think You Are?

God has called me to lead His people in worship. I would love nothing more than to be able to lead the people that God has placed me in front of in a way that they don’t experience me, but rather they experience Christ. This is my goal week-in and week-out as I lead here at church and other venues. I dream about creating music that the church can use to voice what Christ is doing in their hearts as an offering of worship back to Him. There is incredible power to be found at the center of a worshiping church that rallies around the cross each week, and I want to be a part of leading people to that experience. I also want to mentor the next generation of believers/worshipers so that long after I have gone on into eternity with Jesus, they are still worshiping the same Creator and Savior.  My identity is found in Jesus and Jesus alone.  It is not in music, an instrument, a certain church, a given preacher, a style, or a preference.  I am first, and foremost, a follower of Christ and worshiper of Him.

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Published in: on December 11, 2012 at 2:49 pm  Leave a Comment  
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You are holy, great and mighty. The moon and the stars declare who You are.

Have you ever thought about the fact that worship is not about us?  It really isn’t, you know?  It has everything to do with God.  We are pouring out ourselves so that we can be filled with Him.  Our worship is a response to all of the things that God has done for us.  When we weigh out all of the things that He has done for us, we truly have no other response than a genuine, biblical worship that involves thanksgiving, praise, and adoration.  I wonder if any of you have taken to time to think about what we are actually doing when we worship.  Worship should be an engagement between mankind and God, between the finite and the infinite, between humanity and deity.  It is an opportunity for us, as humans, to thank Jesus, as God, for the many things that He has done for us.  There are no rituals that must be performed or special words that must be said, only there must be a heart willing to connect with the eternal greatness of the Creator.  Think about that this week as we are inching ever closer to Christmas.  It is the point where the eternal God intersected with temporary humanity in order that we may have life.

Published in: on December 8, 2009 at 4:35 pm  Comments (1)  
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“Then we will see the glory of the Lord, all eyes will see…”

I have begun reading a book entitled “Engaging With God: A Biblical Theology of Worship” by David Peterson for one of the courses I am taking this semester at seminary.  I have been challenged and uplifted by this book in just the first few chapters.  I love the way that Peterson thinks and articulates his thoughts.  On page 100 he writes, “New-covenant worship is essentially the engagement with God that he has made possible through the revelation of himself in Jesus Christ and the life he has made available through the Holy Spirit.”  I love that thought.  So often we think about what we, as humans, can bring to the table in worship.  However, in all truthfulness worship does not even originate within us.  We worship because God allows us to do so.  We have nothing to offer on our own, and the only way that we ever have anything to offer back to God is because he gave it to us to begin with.  When we come into worship we have nothing of our own to offer back to God, but rather we give back out of the overflow of what God has filled us with.  On page 101 Peterson writes, “God’s presence and God’s glory…are fully and finally experienced in Jesus Christ.”  The Old Testament understanding that the presence and glory of God dwelt only in the tabernacle or temple was done away with in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  As Jesus is revealed to us, the very glory of God is revealed to us as well.  Think, then, of the implications of knowing Christ ever more intimately.  We begin to understand the glory of God more intimately as well.

You and I were made to worship…

We are created in the image of God to be His representation here on earth.  This is not something that should be taken lightly by anyone.  When we have this understanding of ourselves and what we were created as, it necessitates that we live a certain way.  Wayne Grudem wrote,

Every single human being, no matter how much the image of God is marred by sin, or illness, or weakness, or age, or any other disability, still has the status of being in God’s image and therefore must be treated with the dignity and respect that is due to God’s image-bearer.”

I truly believe that if people could get this concept into their minds, then the world in which we live would be drastically different.  There would be no problem between races, classes, cultures, or economic levels, because we are all created in God’s image and deserve respect as being His image bearer.  This fact should cause us to break out into worship, because we get the specific privilege of bearing God’s image.  The creator of the universe chose to impress His image onto us, and we truly have no other response than unadulterated and unhindered worship of that Creator.

I been gone so long, I almost can’t remember…

I know it has been forever since I blogged.  I have had a really busy month of August so far.  It has been a productive month though.  I have started back to seminary this week, so all of that is getting under way.  I think that it is going to be a great semester.  I am taking four of the last six classes that I have to take for seminary.  It is exciting, but crazy at the same time.  At times over the past three years I have thought that I would never get finished, but it is actually here already.  I will be graduating in May with a Masters on Divinity with a Specialization in Worship Studies.  I cannot believe it.  I will have a masters degree.  How crazy is that?  I am excited though.

Things are going great with the family.  Both of the girls are doing great, and they are growing and developing so quickly.  AG is so incredibly smart, and she remembers everything. (And I do mean everything.)  But they are doing great.  Kim is doing great as always.  She is as beautiful as ever and as wonderful as ever.

Last night I started a new series with the youth about the book of Titus.  I think that Titus holds some things that will truly benefit the youth and me as well.  I just introduced it last night and we talked about Paul’s greeting to Titus.  I think that it is time that youth get a better understanding of what it means to be a young man or woman for Christ.  It does not mean that they float through life until they graduate high school or college, but rather they can make an impact for the name of Jesus even now.  I think that it is important for our kids, and us for that matter, to understand that we are not really of that much consequence in the grand of the scheme of things.  As teenagers, and as adults, we so often think so highly of ourselves, but really we are tiny people on a tiny little orb called earth floating through the vastness of space.  However, we have a God who knows us by name, and He wants to have a relationship with us.  He also wants us to shine Him to everyone that we come into contact with.  I think that the series is going to be great.

I hope that everyone feels up to date.  I hope that everyone has a great day.

Right now, this is a moment made for worshiping…

So little did I know when I wrote my blog yesterday that I would be meeting my new daughter today.  Sophie was born this morning at 10:21 AM.  She weighed 8lbs. 9oz., and was 20 in. long.  She has a head full of jet black hair.  It has been a whirlwind of a day though.  We arrived at the hospital last early this morning around 1:30AM.  We walked around the halls from 2:15 until 3:15, and then we were admitted into the hospital around 4:00AM.  They broke Kim’s water at 5:30, and Kim started pushing about 9:50.  Sophie was here a mere 30 minutes later.

It is truly a moment made for worshiping when a new life comes into the world.  It is simply amazing that God orchestrates this entire miracle that takes place in a woman’s body.  I was singing that song by Steven Curtis Chapman as Sophie was delivered.  It is such an emotional experience as well.  It is, all at once, frightening, awe-inspiring, amazing, exciting, and life changing.  I truly cannot even explain the great honor I feel in knowing that God would trust me to be the father of two stunningly beautiful little girls.  I know that there are going to be times that are tough, but it is going to be an amazing journey along the way.  I will check in soon, but in the meantime here are a couple of pictures.

Published in: on June 3, 2009 at 7:17 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Let me sing, louder than creation to you…

Ok, so it has been a couple of days since I blogged, but give me a break.  I am a very busy man. 🙂  The title to my blog today is part of a song by Todd Fields called Let Me Sing.  You should listen the rest of the words to the song by clicking HERE.  Now that you have heard the song we can move on.  I just listened to it again, and if the words to that song donot lead you to worship then something is severely wrong with your head.  Yes, all of creation declares the glory of the Lord, but I want to be one who is singing louder than all of creation back to Him.  Jesus said that if we don’t praise Him then the very rocks will cry out.  I can promise you this:  as long as there is breath in my lungs there will be no rock to cry out on my behalf.  I will praise the Father and the Son all the days of my life, and then I will do it for all of eternity in heaven.  I cannot wait for that day to come when I close my eyes in this world and open them to see the face of my Savior.  I simply cannot help but to tear up as I even type those words.  Think about it!  As a Christian, the very next thing I will see after I close my eyes and breathe my last here on Earth will be the face of Jesus.  WOO-HOO!!!  It makes me want to shout!  I cannot wait to meet my Savior face-to-face.  Don’t get me wrong.  I do not have some morbid death wish right now.  I claim the words of Paul when he says, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.”  I love getting to be a very small part of God’s bigger plan while I am here, but just think of the reward that awaits when I get to heaven.  I think that it is awesome! 

Another cool thing is that Kim and I have some friends who adopted a cute little baby boy this time last year, and tomorrow is his first birthday party.  We are so excited for little Eli.  I think that the party is going to be one kicking shindig.  I am looking forward to it. 

The final thing that I will leave you with for today is the recount of an incident that occurred yesterday evening as Kim and I were leaving the house to go out for a few minutes.  As Kim and I were getting the munchkin into the car, we both heard a noise.  Kim said, “What was that?”  I responded with, “I sounded like someone yelling outside.”  I thought nothing of it, but then I heard the sound again.  This time I thought to myself, “That does not sound like someone yelling.”  I stepped outside to listen again.  I heard the sound a third time to which I responded, “Oh heck naw!  The people across the street have a goat in their backyard!”  Sure enough, Kim and I both heard the goat bleating across the street.  It was the craziest thing that I had been witness to in quite a while.  I thought Kim was going to fall out of the car she was laughing so hard, and I was simply speechless with astonishment.  I mean really who has a goat in their backyard in a suburban neighborhood.  I think they only have it there for one reason.  They are going to fatten that thing up and kill it and roast it.  Of course, you have to understand that these are people who seem to be a bit strange.  They always have about 47 cars in their driveway, and they like to yell at each other outside as opposed to inside the house.  I don’t mean anything ethnically off color by this, but they are Hispanic and Hispanics do historically eat goat meat.  Not that there is anything wrong with eating goat, but they could at least go buy some that was already slaughtered.  I just think that whole situation is funny though.  I thought that you might find it humorous as well.

Well, I guess that I will talk to y’all later.  Have a wonderful day!

Published in: on September 5, 2008 at 10:07 am  Comments (2)  
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I will not be silent no, I will not be quiet anymore…

My post today will be short and to the point.  I know that I am beating a dead horse, and there have been far more eloquent people to address this issue before I have.  However, why is it that music, and more specifically its volume, such a source of contention in churches?  I truly do not understand why people get so up in arms about it.  If the music is too loud, then  certain people complain about it.  If the music is too quiet, then other people complain about it.  There simply is no way to scratch everyone’s itch when it comes to worship music.  Therefore, I will give you my humble opinion on the subject.

I am a person who grew up in a first baptist church that was considered very conservative in nature.  It was choirs and hymns every Sunday.  By no stretch of the imagination could the church have been considered “contemporary.”  Thank the Lord that it has changed since then, but that is another story.  I said that in order to let you know where I am coming from in this conversation.  I do not come from a vineyard background or from some ultra-progressive emergent church background.  However, I love the new music that is coming out.  The thing that upsets me most is that church members, young and old, seem to be more close-minded than ever these days.  Older people tend to want to sing only hymns because “that is the way it has always been done.”  On the other hand, younger people tend to want to sing only new praise choruses.  I find myself right in the middle.  I love the new praise music and the new/revitalized hymns that are coming out, but it would be tragic for the church to lose sight of the hymns that have grown the church over the past 200 years.  These hymns chronicle the movements of God among His people over history, and they tell the story of His people’s love for Him.  The newer songs are the voice of the people now.  God is stirring again in the hearts of young people, and it is of utmost importance to not quelch that.  I just don’t understand why there can be no happy medium.  I try my absolute hardest every Sunday to strike that balance.  I am of the belief that, as a minister of music, I have the responsability to reach as many people as possible with a certain style.  Unfortunately there will be outlyers on either side of style that I employ on a given Sunday.  I am not saying that those people do not matter, but I am saying that it is strictly impossible for everyone to be happy with the type of music played at every single service that is planned.  Fortunately, that brings me to another point.  I cannot compute the comment, “I just can’t worship to that kind of music.”  My question in response is, “Does the worship come from the music or from the worshiper?”  I think that one could deduce from my tone that the worship has nothing to do with the song itself.  Worship is not a song.  Worship is a way of living.  I am not saying that a song cannot inspire someone to a deeper level of worship, but all to often people rely solely on the song to bring them into worship and that cannot be the case if true worship is going to take place.  For real worship to occur, the preparation has to have began long before one is seated in a sanctuary or worship center.  The preparation should have been taking place the entire week prior to that point when he or she sits down in that room.  This leads to my final point.  A worship service is not for you.  We have such a consumerist point of view in the church today.  A worship service, on any day of the week, is a time for us to pour out or gratitude and worship to God.  It is not a time for us to sit and be fed.  We should leave a worship service totally spent, in that we should be pouring all of our energy into the worship of God the Father.  I hate it when I hear people say, “I didn’t get anything out of that service.”  What an incredibly arrogant thing to say!  That service was not for you, about you, or concerning you.  That service was for the Lord, and he is the one who should be getting something out of it.  I am not saying that you cannot be blessed by what takes place in a worship service, but what I am saying is that the primary focus is not us.  If you are prepared for worship, and you come in with the attitude of giving back to God, then the outcome will be much different every time.

Sorry that was not very short, but it was important for me to say that.  Hope that it spurrs conversation or gets you thinking.

Published in: on August 21, 2008 at 2:32 pm  Comments (2)  
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