Category Archives: Uncategorized

Rest

Written by: Sarah Lee

Rest.

What comes to mind when you see that word?

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines rest as:

  1. A bodily state characterized by minimal functional and metabolic activities.
  2. Freedom of activity or labor
  3. A state of motionless or inactivity
  4. Peace of mind or spirit; free of anxieties

So, tell the truth- how many of us really do this? I know, I know, you are thinking to yourself, “I am a Worship Pastor < (insert your position here), I don’t have time to rest…” (there’s that word again)

Even God rested after speaking Creation into existence, so, why don’t we take the time to rest?

In fact, I would venture to say that most of us carry a lot of stress due to seemingly unending responsibilities. You have services to plan, musicians to schedule, Christmas season will be here in 5 months(sorry if that caused you anxiety), your key lighting guy just got transferred to another state, one of your guitarists moved to a city 2 hours away, a key vocalist needs some time off, or there’s drama on your team. All these things can cause stress and keep you from resting. Understandably, all these things need to be taken care of; but when do you stop and take care of yourself, the capacity of your soul; your core?

The truth is we all have wasted space in our lives. We need to stop at some point, evaluate what is really important, and make hard choices to stop things that are simply keeping us busy or that someone else can do. It’s when we are tired that we tend to give into temptation and sin.

God has designed you to need rest. In fact, physical rest is mentioned over 70 times in the Bible.

Here are just a few verses:

Mark 6:31 And He said to them, “Come away by yourselves to a secluded place and rest a while.”

Psalm 23:2-3 He makes me lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside quiet waters. He restores my soul; He guides me in the paths of righteousness For His name’s sake.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. “Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS. “For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

Psalm 127:2 It is vain for you to rise up early, to retire late, to eat the bread of painful labors; For He gives to His beloved even in his sleep.

Exodus 20:8-11 “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. “Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath of the LORD your God; in it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter, your male or your female servant or your cattle or your sojourner who stays with you.

The above verse is repeated several times. Exodus 31:15; 35:2 Deuteronomy 5:12-15; Leviticus 23:3. I think God wants us to get it- really get it.

I understand our jobs or volunteer positions call for a lot to be done weekly and seasonally, and all the needy people that require our time. And then, to top it off, the Lead Pastor returns from a Study Break with so many ideas to implement that it boggles the mind. I’m right there with you.

I just want you to understand that your calling is important. So important, that you need to take time weekly to just rest in God’s presence.

Here is an idea to get you started. Most of us have 2 days off per week…use one of those days for taking care of the family to do list & other personal things and take the other day to rest, seek God’s presence- just sit still and listen. You may have to work up to one day a week; but before you know it, you won’t know how you ever lived without this quiet time away with God. The books Soul Keeping by John Ortberg and Addicted to Busy: Recovery for the Rushed Soul by Brady Boyd, are excellent resources to help you navigate slowing down and resting in God.

You will find that when you spend the time seeking Him, he will take care of all of your needs because you will ask when you are with Him. (Philippians 4:19, But my God shall supply all your needs according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.) Ideas will flow, you will have less anxiety. (Philippians 4:17, Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. [This requires time alone with Him] And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.) You will even find that your sleep is better! (Proverbs 3:24, When you lie down, you will not be afraid; when you lie down your sleep will be sweet.) < Total truth!!

Don’t get me wrong, you still have to do your work, plan the services, do the rehearsals, take care of your people, deal with the drama, and yes, when your pastor comes back from his study break, there will be all those ideas….But, your outlook on life will be so much sweeter.

It’s incredibly amazing! He is incredibly amazing! It just takes trust, pure trust, to lean back in your Father’s arms and just breathe.

Rest.

Hitting a Wall

Written By: Cathy Little

 

Let’s be real. Being in ministry is not easy. In fact, it can be extremely difficult and painful. Yes, there are beautiful seasons of joy and fulfillment, but eventually, as long as there are people involved and our Adversary is on the loose, it can be messy. If you’re in ministry long enough, you may find yourself hitting the proverbial Wall.

I’ve hit the Wall before. It was the most painful, most difficult experience of my life. Days were dark. I felt hopeless. I didn’t have the energy to hold up my own arms, let alone come alongside anyone else. I was in a “tuck-in-and-ride-it-out-survival-mode” that lasted over 2 years. But, the journey through that Wall taught me some important lessons. It brought things to the surface that God wanted to deal with, and I let Him.

The Wall, although painful, can also be very beautiful, for it is in the Wall where God reveals things that He wants to heal in your life. He identifies areas where He wants to bring more freedom. Whatever God reveals, He intends to heal. The Wall is often part of that process because God never wastes anything.

The Wall changed me. And although I wouldn’t wish the experience on anyone, I wouldn’t trade what God did in my life through it for anything.

That was 8 years ago. But, here’s the thing. No matter how profound the healing in your life, there is always room for more. God wants to bring more freedom, deeper healing, and greater intimacy with Him. Just because we may have experienced tremendous growth in our lives in the past doesn’t mean that God stops taking us from glory to glory. He is always about the journey. He’s found in the process.

I just returned from 3 full months of ministry overseas in Scotland and Ireland. The schedule my team and I kept was, to understate it, intense. We were traveling to different locations across both countries running 3-day events every weekend for 8 weeks without a break. We encountered warfare we weren’t expecting or prepared for. We made mistakes and learned some things the hard way. We came home absolutely exhausted, depleted, and a bit bruised and beaten up.

Having hit the ground in the United States just a few short weeks ago, I found myself at the Wall again. Although very different from the Wall I hit before, every Wall brings with it an opportunity for more growth, intimacy with Him, lessons learned and tools to carry moving forward.

Yes, there are lessons and tools from the former Wall that I can draw on again, and there are new lessons and tools being learned and acquired. One thing I know from experience is that the Wall will not crush us. In fact, it will expand our capacity to love more deeply, minister more effectively, and walk in a greater measure of freedom… if we let it.

There are great treasures to be found in the journey through the Wall. I am looking forward to sharing them with you at this year’s Experience Conference.

 

May you be blessed immeasurably today,

Cathy Little

Rest My Soul

Written by: Jason Herbig

Ps 62:1 Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from him. Truly he is my rock and my salvation; he is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

I’ve got a confession to make.

Several weeks ago, my worship team was going to introduce a song by Tim Timmons called “Rest My Soul” (which I heard at the Experience Conference last year along with Tim’s incredible testimony…but that’s not really the point of this). So on that Saturday, I sat down to write out my thoughts for an introduction to the song and as I thought about resting my soul in God, it occurred to me that I had been so busy week that week that I really hadn’t spent a lot of quality time with my God. I had done a lot of things for him, but ironically I had neglected to rest my soul in him or really let him speak into my life.

And while I’m confessing, I should probably let you all know that this isn’t the first time this has happened. In fact, if I’m not vigilant this could probably be every week. I am a natural Martha.

You know that story about Mary and Martha, right? Martha and her sister Mary have Jesus over for dinner and while Martha is busy getting everything ready, Mary just sits and listens to Jesus talk. And when Martha complains, Jesus tells her that Mary has made the better choice. It’s so easy for me to get wrapped up in the preparations of ministry or a service and not take the time to listen and rest my soul in God.

I love the way Psalm 62 ends:

11 One thing God has spoken, two things I have heard: “Power belongs to you, God, 12and with you, Lord, is unfailing love”; and, “You reward everyone according to what they have done.”

It’s a reminder that God is all-powerful – he’s literally the boss of power. And the boss of power loves me with an unfailing love. So what do I really have to worry about?

But then he “rewards” us for what we do. And when I read those words that fateful weekend, it hit me. What is my “reward” for getting all my preparations done and all the busy work that kept me from connecting with God? Exhaustion, stress, anxiety over how my worship comments were going to turn out and what the congregation would think about me. But what’s my “reward” if I choose with Mary? Rest, assurance, peace, the Word of life, and probably a lot more experiences of God to share from.

As we’re getting ready to lead our teams and serve our churches this week, let’s make sure we’re finding ways to rest our souls in God. Don’t let your preparations distract you from the only thing that is truly needed. And if you’re looking for a little extra helping of rest and hearing from God, consider joining us this September at Experience. We have a whole community of worship leaders that want to encourage you, build into you, and help you experience God in fresh ways. I look forward to seeing you there!

TRUE WORSHIP: Obedience Is Better Than Sacrifice

Written By: Cyrena Denniston

I love how plainly the scripture spells it out in 1 Samuel 15:22 about obedience being better than sacrifice. King Saul of Israel had just “supposedly” carried out God’s orders against the Amalekites, and was so proud of himself, because he and his soldiers had brought back the best of plunder from the mission, including the Amalekite king, Agag, when God’s orders were to destroy EVERYTHING! Saul justified his actions by trying to convince the prophet Samuel that he and his soldiers were going to sacrifice all they had kept to honor God. Saul was already on his way out of God’s favor and this just put the last nail in the coffin, and the rest is history. Saul ended up committing suicide and according to the scripture, never repented of his evil ways.

In our lives, we can do the same thing that Saul did; listen to the Lord’s command, but only carry out part of it, still thinking we are going to receive God’s complete blessing. This attitude not only shows a lack of trust in God, but also is basically saying to God, “I know you told me to do XYZ, but I’m going to do ABC, because my plan is better.” Proverbs 19:21 clearly says, “Many are the plans of a man’s heart, but the Lord’s purpose will prevail.” God is our Creator who loves us with an unconditional love. He knew us before we were even formed in our mother’s womb, and his plans for us are to prosper, not come to harm, but to have a secure hope and future.

In the hands of God, we are vessels to be used for His glory to change this world, reach the lost and dying, and live a long prosperous and fruitful life. It is an everyday journey to obey what He asks us to do fully, not half way. This is our “TRUE WORSHIP” to the Most High God! We must completely submit to His will, because His will for our lives is perfect. He is the Rock to which we can run for refuge, He is the Anchor & Lover of our souls, He is the Author and Finisher of our faith. Simply put, He Is!!!

Lastly, here is what God promises if we choose to obey Him; laid out so beautifully in Deuteronomy 28:1-14:

1If you fully obey the Lord your God and carefully follow all his commands I give you today, the Lord your God will set you high above all the nations on earth.
2 All these blessings will come on you and accompany you if you obey the Lord your God:
3 You will be blessed in the city and blessed in the country.
4 The fruit of your womb will be blessed, and the crops of your land and the young of your livestock—the calves of your herds and the lambs of your flocks.
5 Your basket and your kneading trough will be blessed.
6 You will be blessed when you come in and blessed when you go out.
7 The Lord will grant that the enemies who rise up against you will be defeated before you. They will come at you from one direction but flee from you in seven.
8 The Lord will send a blessing on your barns and on everything you put your hand to. The Lord your God will bless you in the land he is giving you.
9 The Lord will establish you as his holy people, as he promised you on oath, if you keep the commands of the Lord your God and walk in obedience to him. 10 Then all the peoples on earth will see that you are called by the name of the Lord, and they will fear you. 11 The Lord will grant you abundant prosperity—in the fruit of your womb, the young of your livestock and the crops of your ground—in the land he swore to your ancestors to give you.
12 The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none. 13 The Lord will make you the head, not the tail. If you pay attention to the commands of the Lord your God that I give you this day and carefully follow them, you will always be at the top, never at the bottom. 14 Do not turn aside from any of the commands I give you today, to the right or to the left, following other gods and serving them.

Let’s choose to give Him our “TRUE WORSHIP” through our obedience to His will EVERY DAY!

Be blessed!

Cyrena Denniston
Experience Conference Steering Committee Member
Worship Leader/Conference Speaker/Lead Vocalists of Seed
Connect with Cyrena on FB:
www.facebook.com/cyrenad & www.facebook.com/Cyrena

Waiting on the Lord

Written By: Greg Williams

I’ve been pondering the phrase, “waiting on the Lord,” and have been praying that God would give me understanding into how to best do this. I’m not just talking about waiting on God’s direction in a particular area of life (decisions, opportunities, challenges, etc.). I’m talking about immersing myself and my family with a focus on the greatness of our God and all that He has for us. It is with that focus and attitude of worship that we strive for Him to guide us in all things. I feel like I’m not alone on this journey of waiting on the Lord. Many of us know and can quote the Scripture passage from Isaiah 40.

28 Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the Lord, the Creator of the ends of the earth, neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable. 29 He gives power to the weak, and to those who have no might He increases strength. 30 Even youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, 31 But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint.  – Isaiah 40:28-31 (NKJV)

This passage has brought much inspiration and reassurance to me over the years. However, lately I have tried to dig into the passage a little deeper to glean some new insights into this timeless truth from God’s Word. Let me share three thoughts with you in hopes that they will help to strengthen your walk with the Lord.

Waiting starts with ADORATION. We must acknowledge God’s greatness, and, additionally, surrender our lives to His glory. This may seem easy in some respects. However, let me encourage you…it is not a one-time act, but rather an ongoing lifestyle. I know how hard that really can be when the rubber meets the road in life’s more challenging seasons. Whether we are on the road of suffering, or things seem to be humming along, we are to bless the Lord with all of who we are…for His renown, and for His glory.

Waiting continues with ABIDING. We abide in Him as the well-spring of our existence. He sustains us, and in Him we find our strength. Proverbs 18:10 reminds us that “the name of the Lord is a strong tower, the righteous run into it and are safe.” In the happiest of times, or when life seems to be at its lowest point, we are to continually pull close to the Lord Jesus. We are to praise Him at all times (Psalm 34:1), giving thanks to Him on the mountaintops, and pleading for His guidance to navigate the storms of life when we find ourselves in the valleys. I am thankful for those who have written songs like Never Once, Sovereign Over Us, and You Never Let Go. Singing expressions like these, as well as hymns like It Is Well with My Soul and Great Is Thy Faithfulness have helped me to exhibit “strength for today and bright hope for tomorrow.” I sing out of obedience to God’s Word, to receive joy, but I also sing because of the joy set within me as a result of Christ’s work in my life. Praise His holy name!

Waiting is ACTIVE. It is not passive, but an ongoing and continual process. Just like the youth Isaiah described in this passage, sometimes we are running, and other times we are walking, but all of the time, we are moving. We cannot allow ourselves to become stagnant, stale or stationary. If we do, then we may delay or miss the promise found in this passage and so many others throughout Scripture.

Waiting on the Lord is not always easy, but practicing this will give evidence of our obedience to God’s call on our lives, and there is a sweet reward awaiting us there. May we wait on Him!

In closing, I hope to see you this September in Orlando at the 2016 Experience Conference. If you’ve not yet signed up, go ahead and register today.

Why Experience?

Written by: Jerry Newman

I love The Experience Conference! You know, after 32 years in ministry, I have attended a great amount of conferences, but nothing like the Experience Conference. Why do I love this conference so much? Well it started when I signed-up to attend the first conference 5 years ago. About 2 months before I arrived, Paul Smith (a member of the steering committee) called me to ask how he could pray for me. He showed a great deal of interest in my life and ministry, prayed with me, and told me he would continue to do so. In fact, since then Paul has become a friend and I assume he is still praying for me these 1825 days since that first phone call. What is really a blessing for me is, now, I also pray for Paul.

In arriving at the conference in Orlando and a group of worship pastors (from the steering committee) were there to greet me and once again, they prayed for me. Needless to say, I was overwhelmed with emotion. You see, in my life as a pastor I spend a great deal of time praying for others, but rarely does anyone take the time to stop and pray for me.

Colossians 1:9 states: “And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding.”

You know, that prayer-time with Paul Smith five years ago created in me a love for this conference. As you consider attending the conference this year in Orlando, know that there is a group of us praying for you. The minute you sign-up, we as a committee and staff, personalize that prayer and pray for you by name. Our prayer is that you will “Experience” the presence of God and take something away from the conference that will revitalize your life and ministry. We also pray you develop new friendships with people you can count on in difficult times and times of rejoicing.

I want you to know that while you are attending the conference, we are there to help you. Galatians 6:2 says: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.” Personally, I am troubled at the statistics of discouragement in ministry. According to recent statistics, 1500 pastors leave the ministry permanently every month in the United States. 80% of pastors and 85% of their spouses feel discouraged in their roles. 70% of pastors do not have a close friend, confidant, or mentor. Over 50% of pastor’s spouses feel that their spouse entering the ministry was the most destructive thing that ever happened to their family. One out of every 10 ministers will actually retire as a minister. 97% of pastors have been betrayed, falsely accused or hurt by trusted friends. 94% of pastor’s families feel the pressure of ministry and church-life. 70% of pastors have no close friends. 90% of pastor’s report working 55 to 75 hours a week. 7000 churches close the doors each year. The Experience Conference cares about you! We want you to know that all of us are available to spend time with you discussing difficulties in your ministry you may be facing. Also, for more difficult issues there are professional counselors available to talk to you. You know, your spouse needs the Experience Conference as much as you do. They feel the pressure of ministry as much as you do. It would not hurt your kids to come as well. I am a pastor’s kid and know how much a conference like this would have encouraged me.

So in a nut-shell here it is. We love each of you, pray for you, care about your lives, family, and ministries. We desire to see you leave the Experience Conference ready to go home and continue your God-given, called purpose.

Walking Out Our Identity

Written by: Matt Howard

Just over 4 years 6 months 3 days ago, my wife and I said hello to the greatest little miracle in the world. We called her Penelope Jane. A 6lb. 7oz. human was placed in my arms as someone I don’t know called me something completely new…

dad.

Dad, that has a ring to it. There is something about that title, and what comes with that title, that has changed and rearranged my life. There are those of you who are reading this recalling your own memories of these moments. Please don’t “turn me off” at this point.  Finish the post first.

Being given a new title in any capacity is an exciting thing. In many cases it comes with significant pluses that help impact our lives for the better.  Yet, there is also a component of a name change that doesn’t get spoken of as much. It’s called responsibility.  For me, being called “dad” brought a terrific smile to my face, yet it also brought terror.  This name brings with it a whole new level of responsibility, a level that I’m not sure I was ready to have attained at this point in my life. I found that this little girl quite literally walks the way I walk. (That would be with my hands behind my back and my right hand clasped around my left wrist.) It’s kind of humorous to watch, I’ll be walking and she’ll follow me doing the exact same thing. I love her, immensely.

Without going too far down the rabbit trail of fatherhood, let me make my point.  There are many times throughout life where we encounter name change. (Read “identity” change).  Grade schooler. Middle School student. Collegian. Graduate. Father. Mother. Manager. Burger Flipper. All of these, and anything else not named, are changes in our identity. They mold us and shape us into something different than we were before.  And there comes an increase in responsibility with each different level attained as well.

Jesus gives each one of us a new identity the day we call on Him as savior.  Scripture tells us that we are called “heirs.” That title brings with it a lot of great things. It also brings a responsibility. You see, and heir is more than just one who carries the name of the one who sits on the throne. An heir is an ambassador of the throne. Every word, every action, every non-action reflects either positively or negatively on the throne.

Let’s roll this a little further up the hill. For those called to ministry, we get an even further defined identity. We are called out, set apart for specific service to the King of King and Lord of Lords. Not only do we carry the responsibility of representing Jesus well, we also have to teach others to do it well. We are called to point towards the only one who is worthy of praise. We are called to not only discover what it means to live a life of giving glory to God, but to help others discover that incredible gift as well. I don’t know about you, but at times I feel wholly inadequate in that task. That is until the Holy Spirit reminds me of a truth I so easily seem to forget. As a heir, I have access to an intimacy with Jesus that can and will fill me with His power. He has equipped me with a collegiate education and training through conferences like the Experience Conference to keep me focused.

Let’s be ambassadors that spread the hope and grace of Jesus Christ every where we go! Remember, whether we know it or not, there is always someone watching how we walk throughout this life.

Teamwork: Worship Leading Essentials

Written by: Scot Longyear

During the Experience Conference I was discussing worship with a new friend.  We had just finished lunch where he had met my team. “Scot, your team really seems to get along.  It’s like they actual like each other.  I wish my team was like that.”   I was both excited and saddened by his comment.  I was excited that he had sensed a deep level of teamwork within our leaders. I was saddened that he did not have it with his team.

What if you could have a team with a deep sense of teamwork?  Before you shake your head and say, “Not my team,” know this: teamwork is possible. However, teamwork does not just happen.  Teamwork is developed intentionally.  Here are six steps to turning any group of people into a team.

1.  Pray.  You are going to need the leading and work of the Holy Spirit.

2. Establish leadership. Flat out, there HAS to be a leader. I have been a musician in bands where there was no leader. It is uncomfortable. Band members need someone to take the lead, establish direction, and make decisions. Leadership frees up the team to do their role. We tell our team members that we all throw creative ideas into the arrangements, but someone has to be the one to make the final decision. That is the job of the leader. Leadership is an essential in teamwork.

3. Establish expectations. When we audition potential team members, we lay it all out. We expect each team member to be Life Journaling. We expect them to model their personal life after Christ. We expect them to be proficient at their instrument. We expect them to show up on time. We expect them to be a team player. We try not to pretend that everyone knows the expectations. On occasion, I have had to have conversations with members of the team to gently say that some expectations are not being met and find out what is happening. Sometimes this goes well, other times, and other times not so well. We use a huge amount of prayer, honesty, compassion, and love.

4. Establish the win. What does a successful worship gathering look like? This must be answered early on. Because there are many different ways to define a win, the leader has to make it crystal clear.

5. Care for your team. Recently we had a leader, Floyd, come in and observe our rehearsals. He wanted to get a behind-the-scenes look at our worship ministry. He wondered how well we got along. That’s when it dawned on me. As I looked around at our team that night (they were packing up), I was struck with how good of friends I am with the team. I have been in most of their homes. I know their families. We share experiences outside of worship leading. We live life together.

You must see your team as more than musicians filling a slot. They are people. People with hurts, disappointments, and untapped dreams. It may be that the songs you play are less important than the people you play them with. Care for them.

6. Play. The bestselling book FISH! (by Steven Lundin and others) is a great resource which, among other things, challenges us to play and have fun with our teams. Great team leaders play with their teams. It doesn’t take much time for our team to start verbally slamming each other, throwing jabs back and forth, all in fun. As a worship leader, you have one of the most enjoyable roles on the planet. Relax and enjoy it! Teamwork can not only make or break a worship gathering, it can make or break a worship leader. If your elementary report card continually said, “doesn’t play well with others,” you better get a grip. Fun is critical to worship leading.

Take heart.  Establishing teamwork is possible.  Be patient, it will take time. Be prayerful, it will take the work of the Holy Spirit.  My hope is that one day people will look at you and say, “Wow! Your team really seems to get along.  It’s like they actual like each other.”

 

 

  • Scot Longyear is a Senior Pastor (and former worship pastor) at Maryland Community Church, one of the top 100 fastest growing churches in the US.  Scot also serves as the Pastor of the Experience Conference.  Catch Scot at an upcoming Experience Conference or on his blog.

How We Worship

Written by: Jeff Calhoun || Director of Contemporary Worship and Adult Discipleship @ Hopkinsville First United Methodist Church

If you’re reading this, you probably have something to do with worship in the local church. You either lead it, plan it, produce it or support it in some way. You pray about it and think about it. You find creative ways to offer it. You have conversations with friends over coffee about new ways to do it. You read articles, go to conferences and take classes to learn how to do it better. You may have even gotten a nasty note in the offering plate telling you to stop doing it the way you’re doing it.

Me too.

And then the other day I’m reading this short little book by Richard Rohr about spirituality and the twelve steps called “Breathing Under Water” and he nonchalantly slips in this little parenthetical phrase that stopped me in my proverbial tracks…

“Jesus never once said ‘worship me’ but often said ‘follow me.'”

WTF…What The Filioque (you Trinitarian theology buffs will get that one. If not, just google it)

Doesn’t he know what I do for a living. Doesn’t he know how much time and energy I put into worshipping Jesus? How many chord charts I print out; how many hours I spend on planning center; all the rehearsals and meetings etc.etc?

But he’s right. Jesus wasn’t looking for worshippers, he was looking for followers.

Because he knew…

the only way we would ever become the worshippers the Father seeks (John 4:23) would be to first become the followers Jesus leads.

So, think about these things:

    • Don’t let your occupation smother your vocation:Occupation=leading worshipVocation=following Jesus
    • Teach your teams how to follow Jesus and do the things he did and true worship willhappen e.g. care for the sick together, feed the hungry together, help the poor together, welcome the stranger together, clothe the naked together, visit the prisoner together.

When creative leaders give themselves to these pursuits, powerful and authentic worship will be unleashed and you will see the Father’s will be done and His Kingdom come on earth as it is heaven.

There Is So Much More

Written By: Cathy Little

Imagine, if you will, that you are going to the beach.  This is not just any beach. You are in fact going to a tropical island in the South Pacific.  You are heading to a place of lush greens and fragrant flowers, of brilliant rainbows and colorful sunsets. You will be enjoying the local cuisine and tropical beverages and freshly squeezed juices from the fruit trees that grow nearby.

This is the most idyllic place you can imagine. The hospitality of the locals and resort accommodations are superb. The scenery is breathtaking. What
you are seeing and experiencing is new to you.  It is peaceful. It is alluring. It’s beyond anything you’ve ever imagined. At this point, you might even be thinking that you are experiencing a tiny little tasted of heaven.

Ahhh. Feel the breezes. Smell the flowers. Enjoy the sunsets. Drink in the view.

So now that you’re here, it’s time to go to the beach!  Grab a beach chair and umbrella and feel the sand between your toes as you claim your very own 3′ x 5′ piece of ocean front property.

Are you there?

In this moment, all that you can see, hear, taste and experience is absolutely phenomenal, but, it is not all that there is.  If you stay here on the beach, you will miss it.

There is a whole world teaming with life that lies beneath the surface of the water you’re looking at from your spot in the sand. There are tropical fish that are brilliant in color and busy with activity.  There are reefs that are sculpted and alive with a variety of coral. There are sea turtles gently going about their business, resting unde a rock, surfacing to breathe, feeding on the algae, and being fed upon by the fish eating the algae off their shells.

Beneath the surface, you’ll feel like you’re swimming in a fish tank…or that you’re playing an extra in the movie, Finding Nemo.

There is an entire ecosystem that is completely alive, fully functioning and very, very real, yet fully “other” from where we live.

If you never get in the water with a mask and a snorkel or a dive tank… you’ll miss it.

Yet, how many of us are content to stay on the beach…in our comfort zones…in the familiar?

Many of us, when it comes to worship, like to stay on the beach.  We stay not only in our own comfort zones, but also in the comfort zones of those that we’re leading.  We find our groove and stay there,  satisfied with the way it’s always been done. We find what seems to work and stick with it. We, in essence, build a monument that holds us to the way it’s always been.

When the children of Israel were wandering in the desert, they. followed the cloud by day and the pillar of fire by night.  This was how God led them. When He moved, they moved.  When He stopped, they stopped.  They encamped around His Presence.  The Tabernacle, which represented the very Presence of Yahweh, was not made of wood and stone.  It was portable. It was meant to move whenever and wherever the Presence moved, and that’s where the Israelites stayed… In His. Presence.

Let us never be satisfied to simply sit on the beach when it comes to worship. There is a whole other world waiting to be explored and experienced.  Let us continue to pursue the deeper waters of His Presence. Ask questions. Search out His heart.  Invite Him to reveal Himself to you more and more.  He wants you to know Him even more than you want to know Him.  He is more eager to meet with you than you are to meet with Him.  Allow Him to rock your boat a bit.  Allow Him to stretch you.  Let Him move you beyond your comfort zone.  Let Him teach you how to swim in the depths of Who He is like you’ve never known before.

You cannot lead people where you have not gone or are unwilling to go.  If you want those you lead to dive deep, you have to dive first.  There is so much waiting for you.

There is so much more.

Don’t miss it.