Big News

Sent this out to the email list earlier..

Well, tomorrow it’s official: I’m the new worship pastor at Shelter Rock Church in Manhasset and Syosset, NY (Long Island).  The Lord has opened this door and Olivia and I are excited about following Him in this next season of our journey.

We’ll continue to live here in Manhattan for the time being and God blessed with a car for the next while so the commute will be a lot easier!

The job at the NFL was an amazing blessing.  I’m so grateful to my boss there.  Not to mention it was a pretty cool look into what goes on in a pretty popular sport :).

Thank you to everyone for praying.  There’s a new time of hard work and transition starting so I ask you to pray again.

Hopefully, you’ll get lots of new songs and you can also watch the services live here.

Hope you’re having a glorious holiday season so far.  God continues to lavish us with His incredible gifts.

Oh the Wisdom

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. 1 Kings 3:10

I want what I ask of God to please Him.  I just want to please Him.

I started reading 1 Samuel a couple of weeks ago and have just kept going because the stories are so good.  I’ve made it to Solomon (1 Kings) now and I know there are some major failings coming up, but the beginning of his reign over Israel is unparalleled.  Such promise.  Such presence of the living God. 

Oh to have a desire for wisdom that pleases God.

Oh that my desires please Him.

Oh that the ultimate yearning in my heart is for Him.  I believe this pleases Him the most.

And now, O LORD my God, you have made your servant king in place of David my father, although I am but a little child. I do not know how to go out or come in. And your servant is in the midst of your people whom you have chosen, a great people, too many to be numbered or counted for multitude. Give your servant therefore an understanding mind to govern your people, that I may discern between good and evil, for who is able to govern this your great people?”

 

It pleased the Lord that Solomon had asked this. And God said to him, “Because you have asked this, and have not asked for yourself long life or riches or the life of your enemies, but have asked for yourself understanding to discern what is right, behold, I now do according to your word. Behold, I give you a wise and discerning mind, so that none like you has been before you and none like you shall arise after you.  I give you also what you have not asked, both riches and honor, so that no other king shall compare with you, all your days. And if you will walk in my ways, keeping my statutes and my commandments, as your father David walked, then I will lengthen your days.” 1 Kings 3:7-14

In-Ear Monitors and Leading Worship

It took me a long while to get used to playing/singing with in-ear monitors (IEM).  I’m sure part of it was my own slow adapting, but there’s still part of me that goes back and forth on their usefulness.  As a worship leader, I believe one of my jobs is to respond to what is happening among the worshippers I am leading.  The IEMs cut you off from hearing them.  Sure, you can have audience mics, but they’re never going to be anywhere near perfect and they are the first things that get cut in a “crisis” situation (you worship leader out there know what I mean).

I remember I was having a conversation with an experienced engineer and he told me that hearing the congregation was not important – that it did nothing more than to build up the leader’s ego.  I completely disagree!

There are not many greater privileges than hearing the people of God sing to Him.  To hear them cry out to Him.  It moves me and I believe it moves the heart of God (See Genesis 18:16-33 (Abraham); Exodus 32:7-14 (Moses)).  Why would I want to do anything that impedes this?

All this said, IEMs can be a good tool.  You can definitely hear yourself better and if you use click tracks or loops they are an absolute necessity.  They can truly improve some musicians’ playing and/or singing.  Wedges can make getting a good house mix difficult (especially with an inexperienced engineer) – I am well aware of this.  But, there is a lost art to getting a good wedge mix AND a good house mix.

A good balance is to use one ear.  You need to trade ears often as you don’t want them to wear unevenly :).  I know many don’t advocate this, but some find it to be a good compromise.

The key is not the choice between IEMs or wedges.  It is the worship leader/team’s ability to hear and respond to those they are leading.  That should have higher priority than the technology we use to hear ourselves.

Beloved

Olivia and I have been reading through Daniel the last couple of weeks and have been moved by his life and what God did through him and for him.  One thing that struck me was when the angels of the Lord came to him, they called him “greatly beloved” or “highly esteemed (NIV).”

To have Gabriel or Michael say this about you, to you, is mind and spirit blowing.

To hear that this is common knowledge in the heavenlies is beyond anything I could even write.

Daniel 9:23
“At the beginning of your supplications the command went out, and I have come to tell you, for you are greatly beloved; therefore consider the matter, and understand the vision…”
Daniel 10:11
And he said to me, “O Daniel, man greatly beloved, understand the words that I speak to you, and stand upright, for I have now been sent to you.” While he was speaking this word to me, I stood trembling.
Daniel 10:19
And he said, “O man greatly beloved, fear not! Peace be to you; be strong, yes, be strong!” So when he spoke to me I was strengthened, and said, “Let my lord speak, for you have strengthened me.”

This word “beloved” has begun to really impact me.  I was listening to a teaching yesterday and the speaker called the listeners “beloved” several times.  How amazing it is that the Church is Jesus’ beloved (Ephesians 5:25).  His desire and whole heart of love is for the Church.  For the Church of which I am a part.

I am His beloved.

Song of Solomon 2:16
My beloved is mine, and I am his.

You and I are the beloved of God…this is so undeserved, so extravagant, that all we can do is turn to Him and praise Him, fall on our faces and worship Him.

Play, sing, worship like someone who is the beloved of the Creator of the Universe!!

This is Good…

The Church must repent of its idolization of “cool,” in which we dishonor our parents, spite our brothers and sisters in the faith, and merely set ourselves up for the sins we perceive in them — appearing “of the times.”

Quote from Jared Wilson’s Blog.

Crying Out

worshipWhy are there so few opportunities to worship the Lord together?  It’s so wonderful, so amazing and makes us (hopefully) more like Jesus.  As we praise we are filled with more of the Holy Spirit.  He baptizes us anew.  We see more of His fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, and self-control.  Who wouldn’t want more of that (especially those who live with us:)?

When I was in Illinois, there were two fellow staff members and a few others at the church that loved to get together informally and worship.  Usually around the piano and sometimes with a guitar we would just begin to sing and proclaim Scripture.  There were prayers for each other and various needs we were aware of.  We would cry out for God to move in the upcoming services.  Sometimes it could be dry and just us singing a few songs before we went about our day, but often it was so much more.

Many times we would sing, “I’m falling on my knees” from the song “Hungry” and everyone would be on their knees.  It wasn’t uncommon to glance over and see someone on their face, prostrate before the Lord.  We all looked for times when we could slip away and worship…it was such a delight to get in God’s presence and focus on Him.

So many amazing things were happening at the time in the church body and I believe this was a key to that.  People crying out to God for Him to make His presence known.

Sunday morning meetings are wonderful and I’ve known the presence of the Spirit in powerful ways during these times.  But there are so many other items that must be attended to (announcements, etc.).

I miss the fellowship and power of those intimate times with a few – two or three – singing and declaring the goodness of God.

With the current change in seasons I have a renewed longing for those times.  I long for the expectancy they produced.  Anything could happen – Jesus could do anything and He was doing it.

Lord, may it be so again in greater measure.