Posted in Advice For Myself, Worship

PEOPLE ARE LIKE APPLIANCES

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Is a church service, or more importantly, is worship a spectator sport for most people these days? To come inside a building, hear good music and a relevant message to help your life, leave and then head to lunch?  Is this what “Church”  is intended to be?

Standing from the platform looking out on the congregation as I do week to week, I sometimes get the feeling Church is like this for a large majority.  I wonder “Are we just doing what we think is “church?” ” Are we doing what we have ALWAYS done, just because it’s what we’ve ALWAYS done?  Are we just showing up to “make an appearance, and check off the “attend church box” of the proverbial Sunday “To Do” list?

Perhaps its something different, maybe there’s a disconnect happening? Does the responsibility of audience engagement or participation fall solely on the shoulders of the worship leader/team?  If they aren’t clapping, singing or at least smiling in agreement is it a failure?  Are we as lead worshipers truly leading?

Granted, I understand there’s only so much a leader can do.  They lead, but will the people follow? I also realize the quality of the music and sound are just some of the factors that facilitate a great worship experience.  Does the act of worship always involve singing or playing an instrument?

I’ve been a Worship Pastor for almost 12 years now. I have the privilege and responsibility to lead people to focus on God during our weekend services every week.  It’s wonderful. The connection with the people and God through music is amazing, and I love it. Unfortunately, like a lot of folks, I used to believe that worship was ONLY what you did when you came to church.  You know the “worship service?” A time to sing some songs, listen to a sermon and then go about the day.  Granted, It IS a time of worship, however, It wasn’t until I served as a camp counselor for a youth camp did I truly experience worship, and begin to understand that it was so much more than a SUNDAY thing.

Weekends at Church were this amazing time to come together with other people and love on this God we serve through praise and worship in song.  However, at camp, I was having the opportunity to spend time talking to God ALL throughout the day.  Nothing was obstructing that.  Then in the evening we would spend time expressing love to God through song together as a group.  Worship was powerful! You could truly feel the Spirit of God in our midst.  It was a new experience, A deeper experience.

I began to desire that closeness with God even more than I had before. How would I bring this back to our church as a whole?  Everyone had to experience this!  I began to ask myself what was different about being at camp and our normal day to day while Not at camp? Something had clicked with me.  It wasn’t the location, or the method of what we as a team, or group were doing IN worship.  It was the one on one time with God throughout the day that was carrying over into our corporate time of worship that was making the difference. Our life was FOCUSED on God throughout everything we were doing.  Putting Him FIRST in everything, talking to Him throughout the day, and acknowledging him in whatever we were doing was keeping HIM closer.  The result: We were already focused on God when it was time to lead worship that you could just feel His presence instantly.

Okay, So I realize at camp you have the opportunity to take a break from the challenges of life, the stress of your job or school, family responsibilities and other important obligations.  It makes it easier to FOCUS on God when those don’t exist.  I have found that I have to be more intentional about starting my day with God when I am NOT at camp, but it’s not as difficult as it seems.  Its as simple as acknowledging Him when you get up, getting in His word, talking to Him throughout the day with not just the BIG important things, but the small “insignificant” matters that concern us. He’s available for both.

Seek Him and His wisdom.

Going back to my initial thoughts of this post “Is a church service, or more importantly, is worship a spectator sport for most people these days? . . . Perhaps its something different, maybe there’s a disconnect happening? It IS a disconnect.  We, as a whole, are SO overly connected to everything else, we don’t have any spots left over for God. We cannot give him our left overs.  He has to take FIRST spot and allow everything else in our lives to fall in after HIM.  It’s no wonder when we get to service time at church, we appear to be “going through the motions” “just showing up” or “here out of obligation.”  We ARE disconnected. An appliance running on electricity must be connected to its power source to run properly, function as it was created, recharge, and have the power to do all its required to do. In this way, we are NO different from an appliance.

When we are focused or CONNECTED to our POWER source, we are able to run properly, function as we need, be recharged, and fulfill our designed purpose.

As worship leaders THIS is how we help people not miss an opportunity to express love to the Father in worship. We have to help them Connect and STAY connected the other days of the week.  No, we can’t be with them all day every day, I get that.  We can do two important things.

First we can OURSELVES make and keep God FIRST.  Meaning, Is God honored in all we do, say and think?  If He is, we are worshiping HIM.  Second, invest in those we shepherd, when we aren’t on the platform.  When people see we care about them, they are more inclined to follow in areas that are unfamiliar or even scary.  They can trust you.  They see in us something different.  Not the same religion thick behavior that has repelled so many from a relationship with God.  A real, authentic relationship of LOVE for our Lord.

Our ultimate obligation as leaders is to Connect with people, and Connect them to God. Ultimately, We have to connect to God FIRST!

Until Monday through Saturday looks like Sunday, Sunday will never be what Sunday was meant to be, and worship will definitely never be what God intended.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Coffee Haters Need Not Read!

I love coffee!  Really!  It’s one of my very “favorite things.”  As you mentally cue the Rogers and Hammerstein music, just think about it.  Isn’t it a great addition to your morning routine?

Your morning may go something like this…You start by rubbing your eyes while you put water in the water reservoir.  Next, scoop out your desired amount of grounds into the filter, or place your favorite K-cup into its proper holder. Then press start and you wait…The glorious smell, oh my goodness, the smell of freshly brewed coffee. It’s a beautiful thing.  If you are like me you take this time to prep your coffee cup with your favorite “additions.”   I personally prefer 3-4 teaspoons of honey, and about the same in creamer.  My husband and I love honey in our coffee.  You should try it if you haven’t.

After this, you remove the pot and begin to pour that wonderful piping hot liquid into your favorite coffee mug.  I pour it sort of in a circle so to melt and mix the contents of my add ins.   This helps avoid the need to stir, a trick I learned from my friend Pastor Ken.  FINALLY, you take a drink while sitting in front of your Bible, computer, phone, tv, or your desk.  Wherever you take the time to drink your cup it’s “almost” downright MAGICAL! You are sort of transported to a place of blissful happiness.   Laugh at me if you want. You know I am right!  😉

Yes, as you can see, I really enjoy my coffee.  It’s such a small thing, I know.

Maybe that’s part of the problem with this microwave, entitled, “nothing impresses me anymore” society in which we live.  We don’t take time to enjoy the small things anymore.   We have a tendency to take things for granted.

Wouldn’t our lives change for the better if we could learn to once again appreciate the small things?  If we could, the Big moments in our lives would be the”BIG” things they are supposed to be.

So, have that cup of coffee.  Take a whiff of an old leather bound book.  Walk barefooted in your yard.  Catch the contagious laugh of a child, and LIVE.

Appreciate the small things. . . and when you do, savor them sip by sip.

Posted in Advice For Myself

Maybe I Should Just Quit….

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All of us living and breathing belong to or are a part of something. It could be a civic group, a bible study, an extra curricular group, your church, your job, your family, friendships, your marriage, etc..

Woah, Brandi, you might be thinking! What in the world have you been eating? What point are you trying to make?

I was thinking again and wanted to point out that when you are a part of something; on purpose or accident, it’s a wonderful thing, and it can be a challenging thing, right?

We all go through ups and downs in this vapor we live called life, and unless you are under a rock living you are going to have the “goods and the bads”. Just as life is full of choices from what’s for breakfast, to whom will I marry? Bottom line, We have a choice on how we will handle the ups and downs.

How many times has the “downs” got to you and you said “maybe I should just quit?” Your words echo in your mind as you repeat them quietly.

When things are going smoothly, the birds sing Disney songs when you get up in the morning, everyone smiles when you enter the building/ house/ church, people want your autograph, you make everyone around you happy, no one disagrees… Blah blah blah. (Insert sarcasm and a needle scraping across a vinyl record that was playing). Yeah okay, this really happens. Ha!

No, on the contrary, it only seems like its true because it’s something new. You haven’t had to get into the tough decisions where you don’t get along with everyone. You haven’t had to tell someone, No! There hasn’t come a time when you are “dog tired” and don’t want to do “it” anymore.
No those moments haven’t happened yet so it’s easy to be excited about everything. ( it’s new for crying out loud ). (New house, new marriage, new car, new job, etc…).
No, it’s not hard to be excited about these things.

It’s hard when you have to endure things. It’s hard to “stick it out” when the fun isn’t so fun at the moment. The newness has worn off.

Are you gonna say ” this ain’t for me, Jack” and run away? Perhaps you are going to be the person that says ” I’m not gonna give up, I’m not gonna be a quitter.”
I mean, Who wants to be known as someone that just quits or gives up at the first sign of challenge or resistance? I hope your answer was “Not me.”

God doesn’t want us to quit. Let’s go to The Word for answers. Hebrews 10:36 says

For you have need of endurance, so that after you have done the will of God, you may inherit the promises.

Want a real life example-let’s use Jesus .
He was new to his ministry, 30 years old and going around preaching- it was “new”. He was healing the sick, raising the dead etc… People we’re flocking to him in droves, it had to be exciting. Then comes the endurance part. He was beaten, spat upon, rejected by those closest to Him, crucified on a cross.

Should He have quit? Could he have quit? Sure He could have! However, He had endurance. He knew that quitting wasn’t an option. He knew that His Father had called Him to a specific purpose…. To create a way to God, to live with Him forever.

See, we are all called to a purpose. To be a spouse, a friend, a parent, a coworker, a president, a teacher, a leader, a family member, etc… We have to stand firm and know we are called to finish the tasks.

Furthermore, To quit means to stop or quit an action or an activity. I know we all have quit things from time to time. There are even THOSE times when we do need to step away from whatever it is.

Perhaps though, Maybe the real activity we should be quitting should be the act of giving up, the I’m tired of this situation, so I’m going to “bail” or it’s boring now and I just don’t want to do it, anymore. I’m saddened to see that this world has become less committed to anyone and everything.

Let’s not be a quitter, let’s endure whatever it is. Maybe, Just maybe, we are to learn something in the uncomfortable moments while we are “doing the will of God.”

Remember, we never know who’s looking at us, who may be learning from our example, or who may be counting on us to lead and/ or finish the work.

Jesus certainly didn’t give up. He ENDURED the cross for me and you.

Have endurance!! Don’t stop! Don’t give up! Don’t quit!

Be remembered as one that NEVER gave up, not as one that completed nothing.