Saturday, July 29, 2006
I saw this on "Church Marketing Sucks" and thought it was pretty cool. Some very cool thoughts on how God can build churches. 2 year thoughts.... In two weeks, we turn 2. It seems like yesterday we were trying to get this thing started. I have looked at so many pictures and video getting ready for this service and I have laughed more the this week then I have in a long time. I am a blessed man. What has happened here is an amazing thing and only God can get the glory. I look at other plants who have more education then me, are better speakers then me, are in larger cities then me, had more money when they launched, look better (that isn't too hard), and yet very few churches are doing what God is doing at RSC. I don't say that at all to be cocky, I say it to give God glory for all that HE has done. IF God can use me, HE can use anyone. Read More
Tuesday, July 25, 2006
Sunday, July 23, 2006
Today, I was baptised. It was a pretty cool experience and stirred up some thoughts that surprised me so I thought I'd share. I've been walking with the Lord for about 7 years now, but for some reason had never been baptised. I've been involved in a church for a long time, got a job at a church and even seen dozens of baptisms before taking the plunge (pun very much inteneded) myself. So while I expected emotions to come surrounding the event, I didn't quite know what kind to expect. What I felt, and what surprised me the most was that I felt a little embarassed. Not embarassed about Jesus or anything; I love Jesus. I think He's great, and every day I am falling more in love with Him. I was embarassed, however, because I thought that people would say, "I can't believe you haven't been baptised yet. aren't you going into ministry?" It's weird to come face to face with the reality of how much I've bought into my own hype. A lot of who I am and what I do is about people thinking I'm someone; people thinking I am capable or even that I know what I'm doing. I didn't want to be baptised because I didn't want people to know that I hadn't taken what I considered to be a "beginner step." What was cool though, was that no one said that. I got hugs, and congratulations and people saying it was so great. No one else had bought into my hype and it made me realize that what people love is when we are real. They want us to be authentic. I learned that what I want my life to be about is Jesus, not this image of myself that I've created for others to be impressed with. Today, I was baptised. As a declaration to the world that I am passionately in love with Jesus and that I want to follow Him. Praise God for an opportunity to understand more and more who He is and who I want to be...and that I didn't even get water up my nose.
Thursday, July 20, 2006
Check out this article. Apparently my generation thinks email is just a little too slow. Email is so last millenium.
Young people see it as a good way to reach an elder – a parent, teacher or a boss – or to receive an attached file. But increasingly, the former darling of high-tech communication is losing favor to instant and text messaging, and to the chatter generated on blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.
Well, I said I would post tonight and so I'm going to give it a shot. The more I think about this, the more excited I am, for what this could be. I think that as we bounce ideas back and forth, it will help us all to not only be better worship leaders, but better worshippers. So many times, whether leading or being lead, my worship is bogged down by unfair expectations. I often times expect people to take me places, or the band to be completely spirit-led, or even expect God to give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Ultimately, however, worship is not about that. I wrote a blog about what worship is and what it isn't a couple of weeks ago, so rather than repeat myself, I want to talk about what the responsibility of a worship leader is and since so many of us, I believe, go into worship with the same unfair expectations the job of a worship leader is that much more important. A worship leader's job is to point the eyes of the people to the King for as long as possible. This doesn't just mean while he or she is on stage, but in conversations, phone calls, rehearsals, emails, the works. Worship is about God, seeing Him for who He is and then responding. You have to be wrapped up in the person of Jesus and have a burning passion for others to know Him too. That's why missions and worship are not mutually exclusive, but instead, worship should lead to missions. This doesn't mean you have to be on all the time. It doesn't mean that you can't be authentic and have a bad day from time to time, but it does does mean that your job is much more than playing a few songs on Sunday morning. This means that it is your job to get the band focused on leading people to the throne room. It's more than musical, it's about your band thinking in terms of worship, not music. Guitar solos, drum patterns, sound issues, vocals, whatever. They all need to be thought of in the frame work of worship. Musicians should think more of making much of God than of making much of themselves. What do you guys think? let me know. Next time, I'll talk about how we do this.
Wednesday, July 19, 2006
Okay, so a couple of weeks ago, I changed the name of my blog and as I've been thinking of what to post, I believe that I have narrowed my focus. You see, I've been inspired by Carlos Whittaker and Phil Ayres, both blogs about leading worship (they are different though and you should check them out). I've thought maybe I would blog about my experiences as a worship leader, but the next month or so would be pretty boring cuz I don't start at Clovis Hills until September 1st. Plus, I'm young and still learning and maybe thinking that those blogs may not be that helpful because I'm still learning myself. So what I've decided to do is blog about an area that I feel I do know a little something about, and that's what worship should be. Not how it should sound or what it should look like, but what it should really be. I've been thinking about this a lot lately and feel like there's some stuff there. I'm hopefully going to post the first part of this blog series tonight, which I think will be called
what worship should be(not a particularly clever name since I just told you that's what this whole things going to be about, but bare with me). And then from there, I want to break it down into catagories like, but not limited to,
The worship leader's responsibility in worship,
the people's responsibility in worship,and maybe even
what does monday look like?So stay tuned, I think it's gonna be fun.
Ryan Walton is the worship leader at Flood church in Sacramento. I stumbled upon their website and thought his about me was pretty cool. I changed a couple of things and made it mine, but I think it's a pretty cool attitude to have for someone in leadership. Enjoy. About Me I actually have no idea what I'm doing. I am the blind leading the blind and the broken healing the broken. I am a 'work in progress' and sometimes I change my mind just to make sure that it's still there. I have good days and bad days. I don't always like everyone I know. I've had some terrible church experiences. Both my finger and my heart have both been broken. I've doubted my faith, bought clothes to try and fit in, and even lied in order to make people think I am cool. I often put hope in things that are hopeless, faith in princes, and love in a world that revolves around me. I'm terrified of being alone and yet weary to give my heart away. I've voted democrat and republican. I've broken promises and compromised my integrity. I've judged other people and treated people unfairly. Finally, you should know that through it all, I've discovered that I am in desperate need of a redeemer. Through the despair and pain, I've tasted heaven and experienced this man Jesus in the lives of people I have known. It is my truth, my heart, and my life. It is in my desperation that I see...and in my confession that I am free.
Sunday, July 09, 2006
So I was thinking about the name of my blog in comparison to the content and realized that rather than commenting on the Church the Bible and the emerging culture, I want to talk about Jesus. Not that those comments and discussions aren't welcome, they certainly are, I just wanted to give this little corner of the world wide web a new focus. So here's why I went with Jacob's Well. It's taken from John chapter 4 where Jesus meets the Samaritan woman. This has long been my favorite passage of scripture, only because it's the first example of cross-cultural ministry in the new testament (which is pretty cool), but also because I believe gives insight into our condition as humans. You see Jesus calls this woman out as having had five husbands and now living with a man who is not her husband. In asking her for a drink she is shocked that He would even talk to her a "half-breed" and asks Him if he is greater than Jacob who's well this is (hence the name). Jesus' response is to tell her that if she knew who He was she would ask Him for water and that she would never be thirsty. So what does this have to do with the name change? Well, Jesus doesn't tell her that it's wrong for her to want love (presumably why she runs to guys) he tells her that she's drinking from the wrong well. We are all tempted and have desires and wants and needs. The problem is when we run to things that won't satisfy to fill them. Counterfeits (and there are many in my life) prevent us from walking with and seeing Jesus as the source of all joy and satisfaction. So if my blog is about anything, it's about trying to see Jesus for who He really is. Ahh! Now that's refreshing.
Friday, July 07, 2006
Well, after nearly 10 months of searching and praying and wondering if the Lord wanted Jenn and I to pursue this crazy worship thing, I have found the perfect job in an unlikely place. Clovis Hills Community Church in Clovis, Ca (the neighboring town of Fresno, where I grew up) has offered me the job of music director, which I am very excited about. It is amazing to me how the Lord provides. Over the last few weeks I was realizing more and more that I probably just need seasoning at a small church and maybe need to work part time for a little while, but God has taken care of me. This job is full time, an opportunity to work with a great staff who cares about helping me grow and developing me more as a leader. It means working with a tremendous group of volunteer musicians ( I was blown away by their band) and it's a situation where I'll be able to grow as a musician and worship leader, without the pressure of leading worship every week. I will be in charge of the music department, rehearsing bands, auditioning people and working on the creative arts team which has a couple of stellar people already on it. I start in September and the more I think about it, the more blown away I am that the infinte God of the universe who is so vast and big is at the same time passionately concerned with me and my wife and desires that we are in a great situation. And that He would take us through this process of finding the perfect fit, which I believe this is. I confess though that I am a little overwhelmed at the size of this thing and self-doubt begins to creep in more and more. It is however, an opportunity to lean wholly on Jesus and trust Him with everything, which is a great place to be.
Monday, July 03, 2006
I've recently started (again) the book Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. It's a book on the attributes of God and written in response to what Tozer calls
the lose of the concept of majesty from the popular religious mind.Tozer says that
The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men.His belief is that this was not done intentionally but unintentionally and slowly over time, and that her unawareness makes the situation all the more tragic. Reading this book (which is very short and easy to read by the way) resonates so deeply with my heart as I think about how to help people understand true worship. I'm not only talking about singing songs or coming to church but how do we get to a place where we are struck with the reality of God. What could happen with our lives or our communities if we lived in light of the reality of God? I think it is here that the problem lies. We know, at least in theory, that to be fully engaged with and in the person of Christ, our lives would be drastically different. I think we know that to get there would, in addition, require surrender; a handing over of our lives and our comforts and our dreams to God. For some reason though, we are afraid. We are terrified that if we were to give our lives to God and open ourselves up to be changed it would mean the entire world seeing me for who I am and could mean a drastic change in my world.
What if I surrender myself to God and I don't like what he does with my life?
What if it means being uncomfortable?
Does God know better what I need than I do?These questions are the crux of Tozer's book and I believe the reason that we can't give ourselves over to good in worship. Simply put we don't trust Him.We don't believe that God can provide for our futures, so we try and make it happen on our own and pray that He'll bless our efforts. We don't come to Church or walk through life with an expectancy of meeting the Lord, because we don't really believe He's there, or if we do believe He's there, we don't think He can do anything for us. Tozer says that this innacurate view of God is the reason for all of our theological inaccuracies and morever, the reason for all of our sin. Oh, that we would think rightly about God. Would we continue to run to T.V., sex, money and any thing else if we understood that God and God alone is the source of infinite satisfaction and Joy? If we understood fully or at least more fully, that God is capable of anything and desires for our good, would we trust Him more with our lives? Worship, whether through music or interaction with others or any other activity should be the joyful expression of our hearts celebrating the person of God. We should at all times be amazed and overwhelmed at His willingness to be huge yet here and His passionate care for us, His people. I suspect however, that the definition of worship I just gave is not the one we would all use to describe our lives.