10 Ways To Improve Your Worship Leading…

1. Make sure you are worshipping as well.

If you aren’t into the song, it’s going to be really hard for the people you are leading to be into it as well. They take their cue from you…so lead them.

2. Silence doesn’t have to be awkward.

Scripture asks us sometimes to just be still. When we talk, we can’t hear God speak. Sometimes we need to not talk and let the music speak louder than our words.

3. Be just as good if not a better musician as you are a singer.

There may be some disagreement with this point, however, you don’t want to be a distraction when you lead worship…and if you can’t play well and sing at the same time, it will be a distraction. Psalm 33:3 says, “Sing to him a new song; play skillfully, and shout for joy.”

4. Know your instrument.

This goes along with #3 but, the truth is, people look at you just as much as they look at the words on the screen. With that in mind, if you are looking back and forth between them and your instrument for every chord change…chances are, you are distracting them. Be skillful so you disappear and they can focus on connecting with God.

5. Don’t force people to worship in ways they aren’t comfortable with.

A big part of our job is to create and cultivate an atmosphere where our congregation can connect with God. Not everybody is ready or comfortable with raising their hands, jumping, clapping, etc. Don’t focus on getting people to worship a certain way, but focus on bringing them into the presence of God and He will take care of the rest.

6. Be careful how often you repeat or don’t repeat songs.

We all know how the radio seems to kill really great songs by playing them to death…well that can easily happen in our churches as well. Be careful not to play a new song that you are excited about to death. (i.e. Blessed Be Your Name, How Great Is Our God, Desert Song, Revelation Song, etc.) On the flip side, don’t play a new song every week and never repeat them. It will usually take a few weeks for a congregation to really grasp and pick-up on a new song. So repeat them for a few weeks then put them into a rotation.

7. Understand the different components to your worship team.

You don’t need to be able to play every instrument, but you should have a general sense of how everything fits together. Try to learn the general terminology and major components of each instrument. It’s easier to say, “hit your snare louder” versus “hit that big, white, round thing in front of you louder.”

8. Be mindful of how you direct your team as you lead during service.

Some worship leaders look like Richard Simmons in the middle of a workout when trying to communicate to their team to repeat a chorus or head to the bridge…let this not be you! Basically, be aware of your movements. Let your teams know during practices how you will communicate with them when playing live; this way there is no confusion and everyone will be on the same page.

9. Know the abilities and the skill level of your worship team.

Don’t get your team into situations where they are all in uncharted territory. This is setting your team up to fail and be a major distraction in worship. Meaning, if you discover a great worship tune on Saturday, don’t rehearse it and play it during the Sunday morning service unless your team is ABSOLUTELY capable of doing it. Practice makes perfect. So practice, practice, practice, then bring it to a Sunday morning service.

10.  Keep it simple. (This one is a repeat from Los’ blog.)

You aren’t on American Idol. Your job isn’t to sing TO people and have them go “WOW”. Your job is to get the people to SING with you and TO God.

 

Please let’s keep the conversation going…if there are more that you want to add, leave a comment below.

It’s a boy!

There have been so many recent changes to my life, it’s hard to know where to start. It has been months since I’ve even touched this blog. But I can assure you that change is coming. Both to my life and to the site.

Change is good though. It shakes us out of our normal routines and causes us, again, to full embrace the world around us. By the name of the post, I’m sure you guessed what some of my recent change is, but I’ll go ahead and say it anyways…Abby and I are having a little boy!

We are thrilled. I honestly felt like I knew it would be a boy ever since we first found out we were pregnant. This being our first child, we have no idea what we are doing or what we are going to do, but we are excited to join the club of parenthood.

What I do know, is that God is good. He has been so faithful to Abby and I in the last year of transition for us. We moved back from Nashville at the very end of February, and has met our needs and provided for us every step of the way. And it looks like we will be moving into our first home at the end of February basically to the day that we moved home. It’s really neat.

With all this change that can happen in life, it gives me great comfort to have a relationship with a God that will never change. All my hope, trust, and strength can be found in him because, to put it plainly and simply, he is reliable. That’s why He is our rock.

That is just a quick update for now. More exciting news to follow.

 

Love

Sometimes we need a reminder of even the obvious. Here a reminder of what binds us all.

Love.

If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.

If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.

If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.

Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.

Love never dies.

 

what is your soul worth?

“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it. And what do you benefit if you gain the whole world but lose your own soul? Is anything worth more than your soul?” Mark 8:35-37

This verse helps put in perspective what truly is of importance in this world. Jesus share, really, the reason for living. At the end of the day, this life and the things in it are temporal…they will fade away and won’t ever be able to truly satisfy us.

So what’s the point if we gain the whole world but lose our soul?

It is about our souls. Our bodies won’t last. Our souls, however, last forever. Knowing with absolute certainty the state of your soul and where you will spend eternity can give you unbelievable peace of mind. There is no fear of death or of what comes next. You already know…and it’s really good. So essentially we need to protect our hearts because the real question is:

Is anything worth more than your soul?

This life puts so much emphasis on its “things”. It’s about what your status is, who you’re voting for, how much money you have, what car you drive, the stores you shop in, how many things you have. But what really does that do for you after this life? You can’t take any of it with you. And from what I’ve heard, the wealthiest people in the world, are also some of the most unhappy people. So “things” don’t equal happiness. Things will fade, break, and let you down.

But God asks us to lose our lives for his sake…And in that, we’ll gain it back for eternity with him.

Worth it.

So, is your soul worth just things? Or is it worth eternity?

“Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.” Proverbs 4:23

the power of “yet”…

“Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this: The faithful love of the Lord never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning. I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!’” Lamentations 3:21-24

The first 20 verses of this chapter open up the author (probably Jeremiah) essentially explaining all the ways in which he has been hurt and wronged. He has felt betrayed, has been physically hurt and abused. He has felt alone, depressed, helpless and devastated. He has felt mocked and with a sense of peace. He has gone through some intense suffering. He ends verse 20 saying, “I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.”

Can anyone relate?

Of course we can…this is how life goes sometimes. It will kick us down and cast us out. It will mock us and take away our peace, joy, and strength. Ultimately, life will never truly fulfill us, never meet our needs, and never come through for us in our most desperate times of need. Life will let us down.

But here’s the turn.

In verse 21, he says the most powerful word to me in the whole chapter…

Yet.

Yet changes everything.

Yet offers hope. Yet doesn’t set absolutes about your situation, instead it offers a more objection description of what your going through. And this is what happens in the verses above.

He still dares to place hope in that reality that Gods faithful love never ends. That his mercies never cease, in fact, they are new every morning.

That’s the truth you need to take from these verses. That though you may be going through pain, God is your strength. Though you may be experience sorrow and frustration, God is your joy. Though you may be feeling lonely, lost, and bruised…God is faithful to be your hope, comfort, and source of love.

God promises to never leave you, never forsake you, never steer you wrong, and never change how much he loves and cares for you.

Choose to use “yet” today in your circumstance. Dare to hope in who God is.

“But I called on your name, Lord, from deep within the pit. You heard me when I cried, ‘Listen to my pleading! Hear my cry for help!’ Yes, you came when I called; you told me, ‘Do not fear.’” Lamentations 3:55-57

Death By Living Book Review…

 

It’s hard to know where to even begin with this book. This book poetically implores the reader to not let life merely pass by. This book challenges you and makes you rethink how you view life. (In a good way)

Author N.D. Wilson has a way with words. He is an incredible storyteller, and has a gift to reach inside his head, locate his dreams, and put words to them. He’s got a fresh voice.

For me this book was not a quick read. I found myself pondering many of his thoughts. A couple of key takeaways I got from this book were: We are all characters in a much larger story, and we are not the author. We are not even the main character. We were specifically designed, made, placed, and meant to play a specific role in the story. It’s quite poetic.

The story of life.You can almost feel the strain in his fingers as he tries hard to impress upon you how fully your life was meant to be lived.

This book covers so many things. But mostly it’s about life not being about us. We are meant to live our lives for others. It’s an excellent reminder that we all need all the time.

“We were meant to live for so much more.” Switchfoot

God Won’t Quit On You…

“Praise the Lord! He is good. God’s love never fails. Praise the God of all gods. God’s love never fails. Praise the Lord of lords. God’s love never fails.” Psalm 136:1-3

Thank God for His love this morning. It is easy to forget how much he loves us. It’s a love that we can hardly fathom. Sometimes the hard thing about Christ’s love is that fact that we don’t deserve it. We live in a culture where you have to do something to deserve something. Everything is based on our performance. But not with Christ. We will always fall short, never measure up, and forever miss our mark. And when we compare that type of “performance” to the earthly standards of love… well no wonder we feel like throwing in the towel. We would be an outcast.

But that’s the beauty of God’s love. His love for us isn’t based on what we do, it’s based on what He has already done! His perfect love won’t change or run out because He is perfect. He won’t fail us because he simply can’t.

Be encouraged today that NOTHING can separate you from God’s love.

Nothing.

Because it is not based on your efforts but Gods. He will never give up or quit on you. Never.

Jud Wilhite in his book, Pursued, puts it like this:

When you doubt and struggle, when you falter, when you fail and fall into sin, when you lose your temper and say things you deeply regret, when you give up on yourself, when you do the same sin for the 337th time, when you quit rejoicing in God, when you fail to love your family, when your friends give up on you, when your family gives up on you, when you fail to see how your life will make a difference, when you feel worse now than when you first came to faith, when you’ve quit…God won’t quit on you. 

Today, think about Christ love. Focus not on your faults and failures but on his deep affection for you. When you get your focus off yourself and on Christ, that’s when change can happen…that when healing can come.

God won’t quit on you. He pursuing you today.

“Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death? No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love. No power in the sky above or in the earth below—indeed, nothing in all creation will ever be able to separate us from the love of God that is revealed in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:35-39

“Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life, and I will live in the house of the Lord forever.” Psalm 23:6

 

christianity is relationship not rules…

Here is a quick reminder to us all to remember that our faith, our belief in Jesus Christ, is about our relationship with him. It isn’t about a book of rules that we have to follow in order to win a prize.

We have been saved by grace through faith, and God even gave us the faith to believe so we can’t say that any of our works saved us. Don’t fall into the trap of making Christianity into a bunch of do’s and don’ts. Christ brings freedom, joy and peace…not oppression. (Of course, as we begin to know and understand who God is, we will naturally become more like him, resulting in doing and not-doing certain things.)

Here is a nice little quote from Jud Wilhite’s book, Pursued: “The religion approach to Christianity says, ‘Read the Bible so that you know what to do.’ The relationship approach says, ‘Read the Bible so that you know who God is.’”

“God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.” Ephesians 2:8-10

faith breeds joy…

“Because of our faith, Christ has brought us into this place of undeserved privilege where we now stand, and we confidently and joyfully look forward to sharing God’s glory. We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they help us develop endurance. And endurance develops strength of character, and character strengthens our confident hope of salvation. And this hope will not lead to disappointment. For we know how dearly God loves us, because he has given us the Holy Spirit to fill our hearts with his love.” Romans 5: 2-5

I love this passage of Scripture. Our faith breeds joy! From joy comes confidence and trust and endurance. God wants us to be so confident in his love for us, and so confident in the hope of our salvation, that we can rejoice even in the midst of storms…that we can have joy in the middle of life’s trials.

The truth is, this life will have storms. (Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows…John 16) So I think we need a bit of a shift in our thinking. I think we need to stop tiring ourselves out trying to always avoid storms or ignore them when they are around. (Not that we should be looking to set ourselves up for them either) There will be storms, we know that, so we might as well learn how to not only endure through them, but flourish in them.

This only happens we can put our hope, our trust, and our confidence in Jesus. We can rejoice in our trials because of the confident hope and trust we have in Him. He gave us his Holy Spirit to prove how much He loves us and to fill our hearts with that love.

Amen.

Trust His Instructions…

“Every part of this plan,” David told Solomon, “was given to me in writing from the hand of the Lord.” 1 Chronicles 28:19

In 1 Chronicles 28, we have the story of when God gave David the instructions to build the temple. The plans, of course, were to be handed down to Solomon, who would actually be the one to build the temple. As he was explaining to Solomon the instructions in great detail, he said that every part of the plan was given to him from the Lord.

That’s a great little sentence.

That led me to the thought  that God gives us specific plans for our situations. And upon further consideration, I think the better stated truth is that, God gives us the exact instructions we need.

Think about that.

When God talks to us and tells us something, it may not always seem very specific in the sense of being overly detailed. However, it is specific in the sense that God specifically gives us exactly what we need to hear from Him.

I love that.

God knows our needs. He knows the areas in which we need to grow and develop trust in.

This gives me confidence in following the plans and callings on my life. I can trust that God gave me those instructions and that, since they are His, I will be successful in them.

So today be encouraged. Whatever God is saying to you, you can trust that he is giving you exactly what you need and that your victory rests in the Lord.

 

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