Posts Tagged ‘Worship

09
Feb
10

How to be a Worship Leader – Part 2

In part one of this study I defined being a worship leader in these terms:

To be respected, and therefore to influence others for the advancement of the Kingdom via your daily display of heart-felt humble adoration and reverence of God in all you do.

Or to put it more simply: acting out your total love, praise, and thankfulness to God the Father, in every action you take and through this example, inspiring others to do the same.

You may think this sounds intimidating and therefore might wonder, “Do I have a responsibility to others?”

Jesus was once asked the greatest commandment of all and in responding he gave us two. In that second commandment he commits us all to acts of service to others. In Matthew 22:39 Jesus says, “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

The logical result of this order of things that God has put before us is simple; you are not the priority, God is #1 and the service of others follows. God didn’t tell us to love ourselves first, then treat others in a similar way. No, he directs that the capacity we have to exalt ourselves needs to be spent in exalting others. Put plainly, it is to be God first and others second.

So how do we do this? A systematic Bible study reveals a 4-part doctrine, or foundation of worship:
Biblical worship must be done in love. No love – no worship (1 Corinthians 13)
Biblical worship is always accompanied by humility and reverent fear (Isaiah 66:2)
Biblical worship is commanded by God (Luke 10:27/Matthew 22)
Biblical worship involves surrendering your entire life as an offering to God (Romans 12:1)

Love, humility and reverence, obedience, surrender…

This begs the question, so how in fact do we lead others with our worship of God? The four foundations of worship is a lot to handle, and I will admit that I do not always feel capable of being a worship leader. Most of us feel handicapped in our ability to influence others, especially when it comes to relationships. In her job my wife works with disabled children every day. To put the concept of being handicapped in perspective for all of us, here is a revelation that she discovered:

My life is forever changed because of what I have learned about the power that He {God} really did create us all equally! I remember when I asked God what makes handicapped people different from me or the all the other people, Why did He create them so different? And He spoke to me very clearly and said, “The difference between them and you is that their handicaps are on the outside in plan view for everyone to see and yours are on the inside and can be camouflaged so there is really no difference”…So I learned we are equal!

We all have the similar levels of deficiency; some people just have the ability to mask theirs a little better than others. So I say, get over it, don’t be intimidated by people’s camouflage and begin to see yourself as a leader from the position that God has planted you in. Yes that’s right, no matter where you sit in the sanctuary for a worship service, no matter what chair you find yourself at during the work week, no matter what group of people you find yourself in relationship with inside or outside the church, all of us are to be leaders from whatever position we hold. God gave us a beautiful picture of how the Body of Christ works together in Paul’s epistle 1 Corinthians chapter 12. In part he says, “in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.”

Since we have been given a responsibility to lead, and God placed us where we are at, it seems we all must step up and claim our position of authority in Christ and how we interact with the world and others. And yet you still may not think of yourself as a leader. The next time we will cover the idea of being a lead worshipper vs. being a worship leader.

02
Feb
10

How to be a Worship Leader

When you hear the term “worship leader” what comes to mind? Likely it is this: a man or woman who is a musician, typically one who plays the guitar or piano, standing in front of a group of people singing songs that you are invited to follow along with, and in following this person’s lead, you will hopefully connect with God.

That is not an inaccurate picture since the official definition of “worship leader” is: a musician or singer who leads a congregation in musical expression of worship. Most people do not consider themselves worship leaders and additionally, they believe they never will be. This is based in the notion that to be a worship leader you must be a vocalist or instrumentalist. I challenge that today, and suggest that being a worship leader is not predicated on whether or not you can lead people in song with your voice or with an instrument. Stick with me and I think you will find that not only can you be a worship leader in your own right, but that you actually have a responsibility to be a worship leader.

Let’s start with a breakdown of what the term worship leader actually means. This may seem obvious, but to be a worship leader, you must first be a leader.

A “leader” is defined as a person who “leads or exhibits leadership.” Leadership can have a formal aspect, as in most political or business leadership, or an informal one, as in most friendships. Speaking of “leadership” usually implies that the persons doing the leading have some leadership skills or competencies. Several types of people may provide or exhibit leadership, including:

– A person in the position of authority
– A person in a position associated with expertise, skill, or experience
– A group of respected people

You can see that leadership implies a relationship of power — the power to guide others. Better put, it is the ability of an individual to influence, motivate, and enable others to contribute toward the effectiveness and success of the organizations of which they are members. All of us have been the benfactors of leaders and leadership in one form or another.

Second, and hopefully just as obvious, to be a worship leader you must also be a worshipper.

The English definition of worship is: honor and adoration, admiration and respect, directed to God. Now while the English Bible uses one word for Worship, the Hebrew and Greek texts use 10 different words to define it. In the New Testament, two of them particularly are noteworthy:

Proskuneo (e.g. Matthew 2:2, John 4:24): it means “to kiss the hand,” or “to bow down,” it is the word used to signify humble adoration and reverence. And second, Latreuo (e.g. Philippians 3:3): used 21 times in the NT, it means “to serve” or “to minister” it suggests rendering honor, or paying homage.

The act of worshiping is fundamental to who we are as people. Christian theologians have defined humanity as “homo adorans,” which means, the “worshipping man,” and thus the worship of God is at the very core of what it means to be human. Rick Warren puts it this way, “Worship is any expression of our love to God – for who he is, for what he said, and what he’s doing.”

Rick suggests that “any” expression is valid as an act of worship. I agree with him. You see, as Christians, we are instructed that everything we do on a daily basis needs to be offered up to the Lord as worship: “So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God” (1 Corinthians 10:31). Thus, we can conclude that worship involves offering ALL we have to God: “Therefore, I urge you brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God – this is your spiritual act of worship” Romans 12:1

Therefore, I define being a worship leader in these terms:

To be respected, and therefore to influence others for the advancement of the Kingdom via your daily display of heart-felt humble adoration and reverence of God in all you do.

Or to put it more simply: acting out your total love, praise, and thankfulness to God, in every action you take and through this example, inspiring others to do the same.

You may think this sounds intimidating. Next time, I will provide some insight into understanding our responsibility to lead.

17
Dec
09

State of the Music Biz and the Indie Artist

I spent some time today reading about the state of the music biz and it was a bit depressing and demotivating. Musicians and industry people complain and bemoan the fact that folks are downloading and sharing all sorts of music for free. I.e. there is no money in it anymore. The big rant is that the average artist can’t make any money, etc. and no one seems to know who the enemy is. There are equal parts of bashing iTunes to praising it; there is the whole P2P thing (basically if you are just a little tech savvy you can find any movie, music, video game, etc for free on some version of a peer-to-peer networking site), burning CDs, sharing files, etc.

I may be wrong but it all seems to go back to that time vs. money thing. If I want the music quickly and easily and in the format I desire (CD, mp3, iTunes, etc.), I will pay for it. If I have the time to ask my friend for a loaner, or burn a CD off my buddy’s computer, or am willing to invest the effort in some torrents software (avoiding all the viruses), well I can get it for free. People share stuff they like, so burning a CD for a friend is quite normal anymore. When I was a kid we used to make compilation tapes of our favorite songs, theming them based on things like “driving music” or “mellow stuff.” We would title our compilation tapes and then pass them about to friends. Tapes like “in your face,” “burn,” and “closers” were pretty cool stuff; you can imagine the types of songs I put on those tapes. We never felt we were stealing or ripping anyone off. In a way we were paying homage to artists we really liked and the artist got even more popular to our circle of friends. Today it’s even easier; you can make a playlist in iTunes or whatever software you use, and share it around (making a tape would take me an hour or more; making a playlist takes less than 30 seconds if you know what songs you want). Same deal I guess but it removes something crucial from the picture back in the day: relationship.

Which leads me to a thought about the ranters out there who are complaining about the state of the music biz. What’s missing here is relationship. Technology is the thing that has enabled independent and unsigned musicians to easily get their stuff out there for people to hear but now it is what they are bashing. USB drives, flash cards, cell phones, smart phones, digital downloads, etc. have all in one way or another made hard copy music (records, tapes, CDs, reel-to-reels, you name it) near obsolete except to a niche market, the exception being where the medium makes sense (see time vs. money comment above) in communicating a message that would be lost if this specific medium was not employed. So we all can share stuff for free now, which gives us exposure, but free = no money so we cannot get paid for it. Heres the scenario: I drop hard earned cash on studio time, then pay money for artwork and to have the CD replicated, and I’m don’t sell anything. Oops.

I may need to dwell on this one a bit more but for now I will say that indie artists will make money on the relationship end of the spectrum. I.e. at shows, person to person, via their website, etc. I once heard that the best musicians in the world will never be known. So even if a musicians song is the best of its kind, they cannot just toss it out there in internetland and hope they will make money. The internet is not a winning lottery ticket that requires no work. If their song is *really* popular (your goal right?), people will share it (equals free, not your goal right?). This will make that artists popularity increase within certain circles and niches, but that still doesn’t necessarily translate into money. If money is what you are after you have to have a product that people cannot get without paying for it. A product that differentiates from all others on the market. That, my musician friends is you. You, in relationship with that person. This could be face to face, could be via a social networking, could be on the web, but the bottom line is people will only pay for what they do not already have, or if they need more of something expendable, or if the perceived value is high enough. Free is the new black so music is devalued. Yet it is still a necessary part of our cultural fabric (nothing God invented will decrease) and so if you want to make money off of it you will need to add the relationship component. This usually happens at a gig.

Even artists on major labels have this issue. I read an article about someone who sold 2 million units of their song/album and ended up owing the label over $200,000. The only way the label got that many songs sold is through heavy promotion like an expensive video, etc. The only way the artist will pay them back, according to the article, is by touring.

Touring…as in gigs right? Relationship wins every time.

Want to hear some free music? Visit http://www.destinysong.com/worship/Audio.html

For an interesting, and occasionally colorful article on this subject, read this from respected veteran rocker John Mellencamp in the Huffington Post. Linking this does not suggest I agree with his political views, but if you read the article you’ll get a great look into the history of how we got to where we are today. Click here.

11
Apr
09

Destinysong

A year ago today I was rejoicing in a successful evening of Easter services (and preparing for more on Sunday!).  I rejoiced in the opportunity for believers to celebrate our Savior’s resurrection and those who made first time decisions for Christ.  It was by far my favorite Easter program I ever had the fortune of participating in, let alone to lead.  (For video of that service, check out the videos section of this blog.)  It was a weekend of rejoicing for all God had done, and continued to do in many ways in our lives.  This weekend we have a different kind of milestone to celebrate.  God is so good.  A few months ago, a very Holy Spirit inspired couple asked a simple question to Dina and I, “when will [we] build the studio?”  Little did we know they were planning to mobilize this effort.  See, it has been a dream of mine to have a professional recording studio located right in our own home for many years.  We have built 3 home studios (2 in basements and 1 in a bedroom) and have produced several projects out of these studios (and actually ended up with a few good ones).  But I always wanted to take it to the next level.  The first time Dina and I drove onto our property here in the Black Forest we saw a detached and oversized garage and the first words out of our mouths were “that’s where the studio will go.”  Well here we are some years later and the dream has come true.  In the most unlikely of times and under the most unlikely of circumstances, inspired by our amazing friends who have sacrificed in a huge financial way, propelled by big vision from the Lord for change in the world, and seen to fulfillment by a small group of believers who still believe in miracles, Destinysong is now a reality.  Today, Dina, Julian, Jasmine and I put the finishing touches on the studio and officially moved in our first bits of gear.  I stood in amazement that God would bless us in this way.  And the elation I felt one year ago in the fullness of how great an Easter Celebration could be, is only eclipsed by my utter astonishment at how the faithfulness of a few can birth a vision into a reality.  I have been posting pictures on the Destinysong website for the past 3 months to show the progress of the building project, and as soon as the weather clears, I’ll snap a few more of the beautiful, final product.  Check out our website here (or click on the link in the sidebar) and I pray that all of you are blessed as you celebrate the resurrection of Jesus tomorrow!

31
Mar
09

CompassionArt

Okay so is it just me or does anyone else feel the drought in new worship music releases?  The “latest” worship albums I have been spinning are all from last year.  So do yourselves a favor, stop what you are doing right now and go out and get the newly released CD “CompassionArt.”  This CD was totally an unexpected pleasure to acquire.  To give you a framework for it, this project is the vision of Martin and Anna Smith (Martin being of delirious? notoriety).  The idea is to get some of the best worship songwriters in the world together (Martin, Darlene Zschech, Chris Tomlin, Israel Houghton, Matt Redman to name just a few), link people up in two’s and three’s and see if they could whip up some righteous new worship songs (my verdict is they succeeded).  Secondly, get in the studio and have a bunch of these same songwriters and some cool guests (Kirk Franklin, Leeland, Any Grant, etc.) record a full blown album that sounds great (again, my verdict is they succeeded) and have all proceeds go to charity (and yes, this means ALL proceeds including an agreement with CCLI to not bank off of church play).  This album was a pleasant surprise and I recommend it to anyone.  Go get it!

On another note, the aforementioned delirious? just released a live CD/DVD project recorded on their tour stop in Columbia.  Just watching and listening to these guys I always am amazed at their humility and talent and how much they have paved the way for all modern worship over the past 15 years.  If you have never truly experienced d: this is certainly a good starting point.  That said, it’s a bittersweet offering since it’s likely their last.  Martin and Stu have decided to focus their efforts on future CompassionArt projects and so they have announced the band will shut er’ down at the end of this year.  Sniff sniff.

18
Jan
09

When all Around Has Fallen

One the best songs ever written is “When All Around Has Fallen” by Martin Smith of delirious?  This song has ministered to me over the years on many occasion.  Music has a unique quality in that, even when we are not open to it, it has the power to pierce through our human walls and drive an emotional lightening bolt or even act as warming honey to our hurting souls.   Sometimes, even at the most unsuspecting of moments, music calls and draws us out from the darkest places.  But just as powerfully, it can take an emotional and spiritual high and, just like lift to a bird or airplane, raise us up even higher than we thought possible in a magical kind of way.  It is no wonder I have come to the conclusion that music was created by God, for His purposes.  It is a supernatural thing.  

The song “When all around has fallen” acknowledges our human frailty, but also honors the true faithful.  (The line “you used to be a king here” makes me think of the times when we find ourselves on the mountaintop, and we live there for some time, there creeps in a sense of ownership and appointment by God.  Yes, God does use man to accomplish His purposes, and chooses to promote and to cast down.  This is a radical concept and reality that affects us all.  But I have seen that some people focus on the “anointing” a bit too much, often in my experience, to the point where they are looking and seeking for an anointed person, and when they find that person, they lift them up.  They feel compelled to tell that person how anointed they are and they lift that person onto a pedestal.  This can create in a person like myself a strong sense of obligation to fulfill those people’s needs and expressed desires.)

Martin Smith has a way of being open and honest in his lyric writing.  Often times I feel as if I am getting a peek into his personal journal when I listen to his music.  That certainly goes for this song.  It expresses in a profound and deep way the things I have walked through the past few weeks.  Today I was on my way back from a lunch with a dear friend and local worship pastor and I put this song on.  I stopped by our regional park and just sat and listened to it and let the words minister to me.  I’ll admit, any song that has a Jesus perspective in it sometimes comes off as irreverent to me.  I often think, “who is man to think he can identify with Jesus?”  But since I have been through a personal tragedy of lifetime-changing proportions, I am just now beginning to understand what Paul refers to in Philippians 3:10 as the “fellowship of his suffering.”

“I want to know Christ and the power of his resurrection and the fellowship of sharing in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death”

This past year contained the most shocking surprise of my life; that of betrayal.  I never thought the things that transpired were possible to happen to my family and me.  But for some reason, God allowed this to happen.  I praise God that in times like this we can turn to Jesus and he will lift us up, carry us, and give us the peace that passes all understanding, reminding us that the really important things in life are unchanging.

When All Around Has Fallen

When all around has fallen your castle has been burned
You used to be a king here now no one knows your name
You live your life for honour, defender of the faith
But you’ve been crushed to pieces and no one knows your pain

Come, come lay your weary head be still my friend
Come, rise I’ll place my sword upon your shoulder
Come, rise with me

When tomorrow has been stolen and you can’t lift your head
And summer feels like winter your heart is full of stone
Though all your hopes have fallen your skin is now your only armour
Wear your scars like medals defender of the faith

Come, come lay your weary head be still my friend
Come, rise I’ll place my sword upon your shoulder
Come, come lay your faithful head, be still my friend
Come rise with me

Written by Martin Smith ©1995 Curious? Music UK

18
Nov
08

The Stand – Bad Capo

Okay here’s what happens when your worship pastor screws up and accidentally capos one fret off.  No joke.  I slammed that capo on the guitar so fast I was 1/2 step off from the rest of the band.  This might be one of the funniest things I have ever done in a live setting.  Listen as everybody in the band tries to find what key we are in.  The semi-tone dissonance borders on making you nauseas.  I want to formally apologize to the team for embarassing them in front of a full house.  This thing actually gets more hilarious the more you listen to it.  Click to listen:  The Stand – bad capo




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