Julian Michael new EP

I am pleased to announce that Julian has released a new EP called Land. Get more information at his website www.julianmichaelmusic.com


Summer is here, or is it?

I just came home from the airport where I dropped my son off so he can go out of the country for 10 weeks. We did the same thing last year, and it seems we do that most years with him. So now that he is on his way I wondered if this meant that Summer is actually here? The weather has finally warmed up a bit which is a good sign. The sprinklers are currently going outside as we attempt to grow new grass at our Black Forest patch of dirt (okay to be fair, we have grass elsewhere on the property, we’re just hoping to grow it up a bit right out our front door). The Miller moths are swarming and I have albums to mix (2 of them!). Seems like during the Summer I spend many hours in the studio mixing stuff. I am not sure that ever really changes throughout the year, but Summer turns up the heat on studio activity for some reason. I worked hard in the Spring learning a lot of new technique in the studio (and I think my mixes are improving, who knows, it is a never ending cycle). So yeah, I am ready to say Summer is here. I know we could still get some Spring-like weather such as a strange dump of snow (just heard that some ski resorts might stay open until July 4th!). But I like warmth, it makes me happy. So I’ll go there and say Summer is here. Plus, I had an air conditioner given to me for the studio and putting in an air conditioner has Summer written all over it. I get a little nervous about cutting holes in walls so hopefully I can recruit a friend to wield the saw sometime in the next few weeks.

So while my son minsters to drug addicts and AIDS victims for the next 2 1/2 months, I’ll be mixing his latest album “Land” and praising God for my wonderful life. Look for a Fall release of Kirby Beneventi’s new project as well. And yes, I still hope to complete that worship album sometime this year. I got a lot on my plate and its all good. I pray you all are as blessed.

P.S. The resource site is continuing to inch forward and we’re working on more music, so thanks so all of you who continue to ask about how it’s going and pray for us. And if you ever want to hang out in a worship service with us, check out New Covenant Church in Larkspur. We’re there every week!


Happy March 2011. Wow, is it really March already?

Okay I know it’s been awhile and guess what, I’m still kicking. I am working on some really cool stuff for a resource website for Destinysong that will help people play guitar. This is a huge endeavor and it’s occupying most of my time. Julian tracked a new album in January and it needs to be mixed. No rush, our target release is the Fall so I should be okay. And yes I still write songs, just haven’t committed anything to tape so I can’t exactly share it right now. And yes, I still lead worship on a regular basis. Currently I am on staff at New Covenant Church in Larkspur, CO and I also lead at Shirley Strand’s Wind of the Spirit meetings which are twice a month in Colorado Springs. Anyhow, be blessed and continue to pursue transformation in the name of Jesus.


Julian New Album

My son, Julian Michael Burwell is a singer and songwriter. His first project “Time to Move On” was released last Thanksgiving. Well somehow in the midst of a very intense school and travel schedule just one year later he was able to write 8 new songs and record and release them on a new album. It is now available at www.julianmichaelmusic.com. The album is called “Ocean” and shows a real maturation in his writing and performing. I am very proud of Julian and the way he is developing in his walk with the Lord, his schooling, his character development, and as a musician. Once again he plays all instruments on this project which is just crazy to me. Drums, bass, acoustic guitar, electric guitar, acoustic piano, keys, etc. Please support him by checking out the album and grabbing a copy for your very own. Any purchases also support what the Lord is calling to do through Destinysong.


State of the Blog

Hey everyone, I know it’s been awhile since I posted. I suppose that happens at one point or another in a bloggers life so I should cut myself some slack. Anyhow, life is full and enjoyable and yet also extremely busy. I am developing a new direction for michaelburwell.com and it may be that this blog shifts direction to something more resource-based. So while it’s in development I’ll keep this active and you can browse the archives. I suggest starting with the “How to be a Worship Leader” series.

In the meantime, there is no shortage of activity at Destinysong. We recently released Khrystian’s debut project. You can check her out at www.khrystianlewis.com. Support the cause getting your copy of the album. I really like it and am super happy for Khrystian.

Back soon. God bless you all!


how to be a worship leader – part 4

Worship as Our Purpose

Let everything that has breath praise the LORD. Praise the LORD. – Psalm 150:6

Jesus told the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4:23 “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.”

This verse clarifies 4 vital questions about worship:
Who worships? The believer
What do we worship? The Father
When to worship? The present
Where to worship? In the spirit of each believer (where the Holy Spirit lives and leads)

I suggest everyone pick up a copy of Rick Muchow’s “The Worship Answer Book.” Gems like the list of 4 things above can be found all throughout this resource. One thing I love about this list is that it clarifies our role, and the object of our worship so clearly. We are to worship in everyday life, all the time, connecting spirit to Spirit. Non-believers cannot worship; it is impossible. Only a person who has given their heart wholly over to Jesus can actually worship Him. Yes, only the believer can experience the passionate joy of knowing a Savior. It’s our cool, not-so-little club that anyone can join. But sadly even though there is no entrance fee, so many decide against it. So rejoice that we get this opportunity to worship. In fact, this is our real and true purpose once we enter into the club of Christ, also known as “the church.”

Understanding Worship as our purpose:

As the church, there is a threefold vision we can claim from scripture as it relates to worship as our purpose.

1. We were created to worship:
“Everyone who is called by my name, whom I created for my glory, whom I formed and made.” – Isaiah 43:7

In other words, God made us worshipping beings. Webster’s definition of “human” is: of or characteristic of people as opposed to God or animals or machines, esp. in being susceptible to weaknesses. You’ve heard “I’m only human” which is meant to say, “I have obvious faults.” Yet a 5-gallon container can hold 5 gallons of water since that is what it was designed to do. As created beings designed to give God glory, we not only have the capability to worship, but the capacity as well since that is our function; it is why we were made.

2. We are commanded to worship:
“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?” Jesus replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. – Matthew 22:36-38

If you take nothing else from this study, I pray that you walk away with this: giving God glory is our number one function. All worship should be focused in this direction, this being our main prize, and main reward if you will: the incredible gift of true relationship with God.

3. The primary purpose of the church is worship:
But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people belonging to God, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. – 1 Peter 2:9

Can you see? We are a chosen, royal, holy, and a people belonging to God. And for what purpose? “That you may declare the praises…” You see, the only reason we exist as a church, is to glorify God. I do not have space to unpack this truth here but I will say, that if everyone in the church understood this purpose more clearly, we would see an explosion of love and service that no revival or humanitarian movement of the past could ever compare to.

In closing, this seems like a good time to revisit the definition from part 1 of How to be a Worship Leader:

Act out your total love, praise, and thankfulness to God the Father, in every action you take and through this example, you will inspire others to do the same

My prayer is that each of you now knows what it means to be a real Worship Leader and that you feel empowered to act this out – even today.


How to be a Worship Leader – part 3

Lead Worshipper vs. Worship Leader

In researching “worship leader” years ago I came across this great definition, surprisingly on a non-Christian website: “In some churches, every member of the choir or band is considered to be a worship leader, by helping to lead the congregation in worship by truly worshipping God with their voice or instrument.” I like this since it not only challenges the traditional view of worship leader but also puts in context the idea of what it means to be a lead-worshipper.

On worship teams that I lead, I teach that while we may have someone assigned the job of worship leader, each member of the team is actually a lead worshipper. I define it this way in our Praise and Worship team manual:

Each and every person on the team is a leader in their position. One description of our role that I believe encapsulates this best is using the term “Lead Worshipper” rather than “Worship Leader.” My interpretation of this is that we all have a great responsibility in each of our assigned roles. Therefore we should see ourselves as leading God’s people from our position. We are all driving to the same ultimate goal, yet each of us has been assigned different responsibilities.

You have been assigned a role in the body of Christ. And from that role I believe you have a responsibility to be a worship leader. I.e. to lead others by your example of being a true worshipper of God. Your sphere of influence is different from mine, yet we are all working to the same ultimate goal: glorification of God in the service of others.

“Worship is our response, both personal and corporate, to God for who He is and what He has done, expressed in and by the things we say and the way we live.” – Louie Giglio

I first heard the term “lead worshipper” from Louie Giglio in a small breakout session at a Passion Conference (to put this event in context, then unknown David Crowder Band was introduced at the late night extended worship session and it was also the first time Tim Hughes had ever played “Here I am to Worship” outside of his home church). To be perfectly candid, at first I thought it was just a cute play on words designed to make everyone who is not leading take more ownership of their role. Let’s be honest, we all have likely been in a position of feeling like we are an “extra” on the platform. And in that context, I suppose the term is helpful, but the true heart behind this expression goes so much deeper.

“I believe you can bring glory to God, regardless of what you are doing, as long as what you are doing honors Him” – Rick Muchow

Rick points out that regardless of our position (on the worship team, in life) we can and should bring glory to God. And if you recall in part 1 that our first and foremost purpose in worship is to glorify God, this means that every time we step onto the platform, or even attend a gathering of believers (see part 2) we have a chance to be a lead worshipper, in that we glorify God with what we do at that very moment in time and influence others to do the same.

To put this in the setting of a worship team, I believe that the bass player or alto singer has just as much potential influence at certain moments in time on the worship gathering as the person who is leading the team. One simple way this happens is that each and every person in the gathering relates to each member of the worship ensemble differently. Some people key in on the drums, some on the harmonies, etc. If you are leading from your position, you will maximize the influence you can have on the gathering. If your heart is one to glorify God in all you do, the likelihood of the Holy Spirit working through you is higher. And with the Holy Spirit comes anointing, and with anointing exponential power to influence others. I have seen life transformation happen in others simply because I was obedient to the Lord in strumming a few chords and singing with the best of my ability in an effort to glorify God. Imagine how humbling an experience that can be, to be truly used by God to bring about change in others and pleasure to the Almighty.

“And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God.” Colossians 1:10

I’ll wrap up this series next time with a final look at worship as our purpose.


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