Friday, 30 January 2009
I doubt it's necessary.
I doubt that other people stare at these questions for so long and ponder about what to write.
I'm weird that way, though I wish I wasn't.
I've stared at it since yesterday and it's still not yet half filled.
But it boils down again to that question: what do I really believe?
Not just the pretty words, easy to express. What does my worldview truly show? Have I truly embraced the Kingdom and the life of the King, or am I merely splashing in the shallows?
Tuesday, 13 January 2009
And yet, I maintain two blogs because this one contains things I don't want all my 'regular' readers to read. I have clothes I define as 'okay for church stage', 'okay for church but not for stage' and 'not so okay for church'. There are CD's I think of as 'okay' and 'not to listen when certain people are in the car'.
I'm saying that I should be one. There should be no sacred and secular. And yet there is.
Monday, 12 January 2009
On the same random thought, as the people were scattered during the uprising of Babel, does it necessarily mean that only the Jews (or the forerunners of the Jews) were the ones who kept the word and knowledge of God?
It seems not, because in a classic foreshadowing, the King of Salem took bread and wine, the Holy Sacraments and blessed Abraham in the name of the Lord. And Abraham gave him his ten percent, acknowledging him as a priest of God.
Gen 14:18And Melchizedek, king of Salem, the priest of the Most High God, took bread and wine,
What made Jacob any better than Esau?
The fact that he desperately wanted the blessings of God for the firstborn whilst Esau saw it as nothing?
Esau didn't have to sell his birthright. Even if Jacob refused to feed him, he could have gone to any of the other tents in Isaac's settlement. Any one of them would go out of their way to do a favour for the obvious heir. Why not? When he got into power, he would have his favourites, wouldn't he? Why not wriggle their way into his favour now in anticipation?
But Esau didn't think of the future. He thought only of his hunger in the now.
In a time where birthright determined your status and all that you would ever have in life, he threw it away for bread and bean stew. How silly.
Gen 25:34Jacob then gave Esau some bread and some of the bean stew, and when Esau had finished eating and drinking, he just got up and left, showing how little he thought of his rights as the first-born.
Sunday, 4 January 2009
Backup singers. Vocalists. What do you call yourselves? It doesn’t matter. Keep in mind that there is no distinction in the team. Your role is being there to worship in song and to spur people on to worship. You may have different functions and responsibilities, but ultimately, what you are doing is simply availing yourself for God to use you and your gifts.
The worship team is meant to be that – a team. It sometimes feels as if there are two things going on at the same time… the musicians are working out their chords and the frills… and the vocalists are sitting around, waiting. That’s not how it works. As much as you need them to play right, they need you to sing right. They can’t continue playing if they can’t hear you sing – they won’t know where you are. The guys working the sound system can’t mix you right if they can’t even hear you. They can’t hear you if you’re not even singing. Everything has to work together.
I think one of the main things to remember as the worship team, whether you are playing an instrument or singing, or leading worship, is that this is your sacrifice to God. Yes, in some ways it’s about the music and how it sounds, but the core of it is your heart. You may be in a bad mood, you may not feel like worshipping God, but the fact is that you are on the team – you have a responsibility to lead people into the presence of God, no matter whether you want to or not.
If it were solely the responsibility of the lead worshipper, you wouldn’t need to stand on that stage and hold that mike. The thing is, people are reactive, rarely proactive. They are going to react to what they see, in spite of what they feel. And if they walk into a service and see the vocalists being lackluster and half-hearted, they are not going to be excited about singing to God, no matter how awesome the music is, or how passionate the worship leader is.
On the other hand, there’s a thin line between passionate, proactive worship, bringing your all and mere performance. Charismatic worship is becoming very rote. Fast songs – jump, clap, shout. Slow songs – raise your hands, close your eyes. You know by heart the outward actions and it’s as much tradition as it is church culture. That is something you have to decide. What you have responsibility over is why you do it.
What is the purpose of this? Awesome music, check. Raw emotion, check. Focus? Always remember the purpose of all of this. Your purpose – worshipping Jesus. When the music fades, when all is stripped away, what is there left? Think about that.
If you must have an audience, let it be Jesus alone. Anything other than that, there is no point. Get out, join a band. Go ahead and show off. So this is YOUR sacrifice. It is you, giving up the glory of yourself, for the greater glory of God.
Your responsibility is:
• To know your songs, LYRICS especially
Make sure you are familiar with the songs that your leader has selected. You can’t lead people into His presence if you are struggling to remember the tune, or the lyrics. It’s hard to even worship in song if you don’t know what you are singing. Understand the lyrics. DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU ARE SINGING? What does this mean to you? What does it say about God? It’s the easiest to lie to God in a song, because you hardly ever think about what you are singing.
• To practice, practice and practice!
When the musicians are working out their notes or timing or sequence, practice your parts (if you sing parts), get to know the song. As much as the musicians need to practice their instruments and get them in tune and in time/rhythm to play together, your instrument is your voice; SO DO YOU. The musicians can practice like crazy and get that perfect start / stop peak… but if you don’t know when to come in, there’s no point in all that work.
• To be a part of the team
Understand what it means to work together. Listen carefully to each other. Singing as a team is more than just knowing the words and the tune. It’s also knowing how to flow together. Different worship leaders have different styles. Different musicians have different strengths. Some will give you cues; some expect you to dive straight in. Remember – THERE IS NO DIVISION between musicians and vocalists. Learn to resonate with them.
• To bring a worshipping heart
You’ve practiced hard, you’ve done your homework, you’re nervous about singing it right… but when it’s crunch time, give your all and focus on just one thing – bringing worship to Jesus.
Saturday, 3 January 2009
I wonder why my greatest successes bring me as much embarrassment as my greatest failures. Am I afraid of success? Or am I just afraid of anything at all that will make me different from everyone else, even whilst striving to show that difference, that excellence, just to be noticed?
What is it that drives me to be alone, and yet makes me despise the isolation that I willingly place myself in?What is it that drives me to seek praise so desperately and yet makes me ashamed, unwilling and embarrassed to receive that praise?
Maybe my biggest success is my biggest failure, because I know deep down that I have missed it. That I'm still seeking my own vainglory, no matter how much I tell God it's really for Him.
And maybe even in doing this I am glorying in my own words.
Give us clean hands, give us pure hearts, let us not lift our souls to another.
You search me. You cleanse me.
Friday, 2 January 2009
On a random thought, is it possible that the story of Adam and Eve is merely that - a story? Or that out of all the people that God made, he chose to tell the story of the lives of one specific couple?
Take it this way - God chose only to tell the story of Israel. He doesn't say much about the other nations, except where their lives intersect with that of His chosen nation. And yet we know that there were many other nations and there were many other lives and many others who had chosen to follow God in their own way and culture. Why not the same with Adam and Eve?
Because even before the story of Adam and Eve, God had already said that He created man in His image, male and female.
Gen 1:27And God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.