No Agenda

Recently I was worshipping and felt that all I was doing was “dumping” my stuff on the Lord.  I think He’s okay with that.  He says, “Come to Me all who are weary…Cast your cares upon Me…”  So “dumping” is often a good thing.  But on this occasion I felt He wanted me to worship Him with no agenda.

Just because He’s great.  Just because of who He is.

As a matter of fact, one way He wins my battles is for me to sit before Him and enjoy Him. Psalm 23:5 says, “You prepare a table before me  in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” An amazing picture of enemies and battle all around me but sitting and feasting on God’s presence.

As I minister to Him, He ministers to me and fights for me.

So as You spend time with Him today, come with no agenda.  Save the prayer list for later (it’s important, too!) and just sit before Him.

You’ll be astounded at what gets accomplished.

It’s What We Do

I was having a conversation yesterday about possible new players for one of our worship teams. The comment was made that this particular person would definitely need us to work with him. It occurred to me at that moment…

It’s what we do.

That’s one of the things that makes the church different from a professional music environment. We work with people. We help them get better. Yes, we want our standard of playing music to get higher, but, at the core, we are about helping people become better musicians and, most importantly, worshippers.

So next time there’s someone who has desire and the glimmer of musical gifting I’m going to remember what we do…

We work with people.

Songs this Sunday

Great week…I was leading at our Syosset location.  One fun thing was having two acoustics in the band.  With the help of our friendly neighborhood capo it made for a nice, full sound.  The more acoustics the better!!

Here’s the set:

Sing to the King (Foote)

Mighty to Save (Fielding)

Hosanna (Fraser)

Hungry (Scott)

How He Loves (McMillan)

We used “How He Loves” as the song weaving through communion, offering, and as a closing song.  This worked really well.  We sang the first verse and pre chorus twice and then played under the pastor administering communion.  We then moved into the second verse as the offering was taken.  As they finished that I stood up the congregation to sing the chorus a couple of times as a nice, big ending.

Here’s the message series roll in video I put together for our new series “Defining Moments.”

Check out more setlists here.

Say Hello to the Sound Guy

Today was a great day…I was at our Manhasset campus. It worked out that one of our new volunteer worship leaders was leading and we needed someone to run audio. That was me. I got to formally introduce Chris and encourage the congregation to support him. He did an amazing job and I’m so excited to see the Lord move powerfully in him.

It was a blast to mix the band. Mixing is such an art and it was fun to try my hand. I think it turned out pretty well. It also gives me great respect for our guys and gals who serve weekly. Between mixing and recording CDs it is not an easy job!

Here’s out setlist for the week at all three campuses:

Your Grace is Enough (Maher)

Better is One Day (Redman)

Revelation Song (Riddle)

Song of Freedom (Original)

Learn to Love (Off our summer intern Christa’s forthcoming EP)

Oh Taste and See (Johnson)

I also spent a good amount of time this week editing a testimony video for the services. Here it is as well…

Check out more setlists here.

Play with Passion

I think one of the hardest things to impart to worship teams, especially volunteer teams, is how to play with passion.  So often they are concentrating so hard on playing the right chords at the right time or wondering if the worship leader will repeat the chorus (maybe even do a song not on the list??:) that playing with heart is not even on the radar. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been in a service and everybody’s just playing along like no one’s listening.  Not to mention trying to follow!

As a worship leader I often try to make up for this by playing with extra passion as if I can force my team to “up” the energy a bit.  This is not the way, I think.  (I tend to do this with a congregation who has the same sentiment — also not the way)

If not, then what is the way?

One practical thing is to somehow get the team to learn the music better.  You can get it to them more in advance, but the key to this is encouraging them to practice on their own.  People live such busy lives that it sometimes seems impossible.  But it’s not!  A relentless focus and lots of reminders are the key here.  You can also refine your rehearsal skills.  People have different styles, but what many teams do is not rehearsal, but just running through songs.

Running music is for after you’ve rehearsed and learned it.  Running unrehearsed music again and again is just reinforcing and solidifying the mistakes.

Another approach is to focus on the spiritual.  You can’t read the psalms of David without encountering passion and exuberance in worship.  The Scripture says David was a man after God’s own heart.  Again and again he says shout, sing, dance, clap.  It’s difficult not to have passion when you’re participating in these activities!  Read these Scriptures with the team.  Talk about them, dig into them…do them.

Before you can lead worship you must learn to worship.

Finally, another way to lead your team to more passion in their playing is to show them great examples.  Thankfully YouTube and the rest of the Web are filled with videos of wonderful worship teams and leaders.  Start your rehearsals watching a song or two and then discussing how what you just watched was different than what happens in your worship times. You don’t need to copy these examples…use them as inspiration.

What are some of the things you do to encourage your teams to play with passion?

Here are a couple of examples…

Sliver of Silver

The iPhone pic below certainly doesn’t do it justice, but the moon was beautiful tonight.  It looked just like its description in one of my favorite old lyrics by Rich Mullins:

Well, the moon was a sliver of silver

Like a shaving that fell on the floor of a carpenter’s shop

I know it’s a little over the top, but I loved it and it taught me a lot about simile…I’m a songwriting nerd, I can’t help it!!