Friday, 30 December 2011
Making the Most of your Time
Monday, 12 December 2011
Turning a bad Sunday into a good Sunday
I was rostered on the lead worship this morning , and to be quite honest, with all the Christmas based commitments like carols by candle light, church production, and other, I was completely unaware that I was rostered on until last night.
Needless to say I felt a little "behind the eight-ball" to start with and unprepared even though I still had plenty of time to get ready.
I went to bed really tired from the Christmas production, with a promise to myself and God to get up early the next morning. I did get up at 5:30 this morning and quietly snuck out to the lounge for my one-on-one with my Jesus. I prayed, looked through the music, read a bit of scripture, did a devotion, and chose a couple songs. I spent a couple of hours doing this and then showered, got dressed, made my wife coffee ( a very important part of my day) and shot off to church.
All the time I felt uncertain about a couple of things. Firstly, how was I going to keep it all together and give the God the best I could give Him in my somewhat depleted state of tiredness.
Secondly I was uneasy with my song choice; and yet somehow nothing else jumped out at me when I was doing the song list. This is when you really have to trust God. I also picked a couple of Just-in-case songs.
Practise was terrible! The sound man wasn't cooperating with me, one of my backing vocalists didn't turn up, another one was having a off day, and I was feeling the tiredness building. Not a good recipe for great worship.
I found myself snapping at the sound man, repeatedly asking the bass guitarist to (wait for it:) turn up the volume, and phoning my wife to ask her if she could please come early and grab a mike, because I was desperately short of confident singers.
In short, I felt a little out of control.
Good thing is, when I am out of control, there is a good opportunity for God to take over.
Worship leader, I want to encourage you, when all you have to offer God is 2 widow's mites worth of preparation and practise, He will value that as more than $1000 worth of profession and polish.
That does not negate the need to be prepared, practised and polished, we need all that to be ready at all times. You can not withdraw money out of a bank without first having made a deposit.
So what transpired this morning? The worship went great! God was in the house, and the songs I had picked somehow miraculously worked their way into a beautiful theme of God's undying love, His amazing, consistent and unceasing provision, and how this gives us the ability and capacity to sing :It is well with my soul!" a theme which our pastor picked up on, ran with and a base from which he immediately launched into his message.
When you submit to God and prepare your service, No matter how ill- prepared you feel, God will not leave you hanging. After all didn't He promise in John 14 to send you another Helper?
Have a great Sunday!
Saturday, 10 December 2011
The importance of warming up
How to kill your voice
How not to kill your voice
Learn how to be loud
Vocal Warm ups.
Don't sing tired.
Sunday, 20 November 2011
Karma and Grace
Good Karma, Bad Karma
Karma vs Grace
The prodigal Son
What happens when it all goes south.
What happens between input and output
God hasn’t left the building...
1) Don't drop your bundle!
2) If you can fix the problem quickly, do it.
3) It's better to restart a song than to keep painfully going with a mistake.
4) Back up plans are handy.
God in the house
Tuesday, 8 November 2011
TO HYMN OR NOT TO HYMN
Monday, 31 October 2011
HEROES OF THE FAITH
I read this statement the other day in a devotional:
"Heroes of faith do not seek their own glory. They recognise that their life is an instrument for use by the living God."
On my knees, I can see forever, on my knees, I can face it all,
I feel like I can climb a mountain cause on my knees the worlds a
little smaller and I stand taller on my knees."
That's where he's a warrior; and he fights to see them free.
He's the unknown soldier, the unsung hero, the brother on the street,
He's the unknown soldier, the holy warrior who will never sound retreat,
He's your unseen comrade, and his triumph will be sweet,
He's the unknown soldier...
Saturday, 29 October 2011
WHAT IS WORSHIP?
I think my appreciation of worship is much more full now than it has ever been.
The early years
I was brought up in a traditional Dutch Reformed church. As a young child I had some, although very limited, exposure to Pentecostalism.
When we migrated to Australia, my parents found a new freedom in worship, and they decided to visit a number of different churches. As a result we became quite ecumenical; that is, we worshipped at a number of different denominations.
Worship was differently defined in different churches. I distinctly remember as a young boy the minister would always use the word "Worship" in relation to taking up the collection. "We will now worship the Lord with our free will offerings". So the only form of worship I knew as a kid was the one that cost me money.
Some years later when I gave my life to Christ I began to understand what worship really was ( or so I thought): 3 fast songs followed by 3 slow songs in which the Spirit would move...
Then a number of years after that again I understood that worship was actually the whole music service before the preacher got up the preach. And if you didn't have the right ingredients or formula, well then you didn't have the spirit of worship on you. I was confused.
It wasn't until I spent 5 years at an Anglican church that l really began to get a fuller understanding of what true worship is.
My Priest at the time, Father John, used to say to me:" People have a different way of connecting with God". That's the part where people get that tangible sense of the presence of God. I used to love seeing people "connecting with God" at different places in the service. Some responded in the music (my bit) others in the couple of minutes silence after the music-a kind of quiet reflection time; still others during the communion or the prayers.
It was interesting to see where different people responded to the "tug" of the Holy Spirit. It is this "connection " that points to true worship.
To kiss the face of God
I see true Worship as attaining close intimacy with our God. When we are in true worship, we are in His presence, so much so that you can almost sense His breath upon you. To me true worship is to "Kiss the face of God" it is the ultimate close intimacy, where nothing else matters.
When I kiss my wife intimately, I close my eyes and I absorb her. She and I are one. It is a beautiful example of totally giving yourself. This is what worship is totally giving yourself to Jesus in total intimate surrender. As worship leaders, you and I have the privilege and the honour of bringing people into His throne room; Into the very Holy of Holies. I love that! This is a good opportunity to capture God's heart. This is how I see worship and you and I have an amazing opportunity to experience it this Sunday.
Have a great week!
Sunday, 16 October 2011
Are you desperate enough?
What drives me?
I ask myself the question why do I do what I do? What motivates me? What gets me out of bed in the morning? What drives me?
Other than the obvious answers of : I have bills to pay, my wife makes me, because I would be bored, etc, a deeper look at this question is required.
In every area of our lives there are things that make us tick. There are things that we are passionate about.
I love good coffee.
I love coffee so much that I was willing to make the decision to buy a good machine and find a really good roaster and grind and blend my own bean. The result is that people love coming for coffee at my place, because they are going to get as good a coffee if not better than one they pay money for at a coffee shop.
I am good at my job.
My boss and I started our business virtually from scratch, and we now have 6 stores employ some 33 staff and have a fleet of trucks on the road delivering goods all over the place. we are passionate about our business and want it to succeed and do well. We are keen to have the right people with the right attitude working with us so that our business prospers and in turn our staff share in the profitability of the company.
In order for me to stay on top of my game, I do a lot of research and development. I invent new products and look at ways of doing things better to achieve a better outcome for the client. In turn the clients love our ideas and purchase our product.
There is a cost.
Every time I have an idea, it may well cost us money. Some of my thoughts have cost our company hundreds of thousands of dollars. Fortunately they have been successful and we are on the way to making a profit from them.
There is a risk involved. Every time I have an idea, there is a risk that it won't succeed. That the idea is just too far fetched that people won't see it and therefore embrace it, and no matter how good my idea is, it doesn't get off the ground, and the money spent does not bring a return.
We do our homework well.
We research thoroughly. We build prototypes and test them. All these things because we are desperate to succeed. And then we market the new product and train our staff in the features and benefits of that product.
Are you desperate?
When you are desperate to achieve goals in life, you will do anything for that. Look at great sports people or famous inventors, scientists who have discovered life saving technologies or drugs.
As a Christian you are no different. You have a similar calling. Not only in your life as a student, professional, factory worker, checkout operator, but in your faith.
We all want God to do great things in our lives. We want to see the Holy Spirit move mightily in our lives, families, church services. We want to see healings, we want our churches filled with people who need Jesus.
Or do we??
How desperate are you?
How much do you want to see God move in your service? How much do you want to see the Spirit release His power in your Praise and Worship?
Are you prayed up? Daily? Are you seeking God? Daily and earnestly? Are you making changes in your life that fall into line with a holy calling? Are you doing the R&D; getting into God's word, seeking Him, communing, fellowshipping, meditating on Him?
Yes just as I mentioned all the prerequisites for success in business, there are requirements for successful church.
Proverbs 8:17 : I love those who love me, And those who seek me diligently will find me.
When Lachlan asked me the first time if he could marry my daughter, I asked him what he was prepared to give up to marry her. His answer was hockey. Some months later when he asked me again if he could marry my daughter, I asked him the same question. This time his answer was: "I will give up anything and everything to be with Bethanie"
I am writing this blog from Bethanie and Lachlan's home.
What are you willing to do to see a full and vibrant church of people making strong inroads into your community, where the worship is great, and the Spirit of God manifests himself daily?
Have a great week.
Thursday, 13 October 2011
Today my family passed another milestone.
Yes, it's official. Everyone in my family is a worship leader.
I have had the privilege of leading worship in churches for many years. As a young father I was privileged to see my wife become a worship leader. She was a little uncomfortable about doing it, but when she launched out she was awesome. Not because I said so, but because people responded to her leading and the Spirit of God was present in the place and that is always a good sign. Her season as a worship leader was not a long one due to the pressures of motherhood. Tambrey spent many years alongside me as a backing vocal. Her support has been invaluable.
Joining the team
As our family grew up, it was so cool to see them join with us on the stage in various capacities as singers and musicians. Now they are all adults. My eldest 2 are married and living away. But I have seen both my big girls bring congregations into the presence of God as worship leaders in their own right. My eldest daughter Zoey is now a worship leader in her church in the town where they moved to 9 months ago. I also hear that the pastor of my second daughter Bethanie recently called her up to the stage to lead the congregation in song. Bethanie was a worship leader in our church before she married and moved away.
Alexie and Jordan are still at home with us, and Alexie has been leading worship in our church for a little while. She is serving her apprenticeship well a d is a confident worship leader. (I have written a blog about her first time as worship leader a while ago, and I will post it on this site soon.)
The latest addition to the team
Today I was privileged to see my son Jordan lead worship for the first time in our church. He did an amazing job! I'd like to think I have had something to do with them becoming worship leaders, however this is not true in the sense that I never encouraged them in it. It has always been the church leadership that has encouraged and called my kids into this ministry.
So there you have it. We are a family of worship leaders. Maybe it's because they have seen me get so much satisfaction and joy out of this ministry that they have felt comfortable in going into it too. Whatever the reason, I'm glad. The ministry of worship is in good hands when we see young, dedicated keen Jesus lovers enter into this ministry. It's not because they are my kids, if you are a worship leader, you too have a responsibility to pass on the baton to other up and coming leaders. Not to create clones, mind you; but to mentor and train them into their own unique calling.
God bless you in your calling. Yours is a unique and Holy calling, give it your best and encourage others in their call as well.
Wednesday, 12 October 2011
Holy satellite navigation (Seeing things from God’s perspective)
Looking at the obstacle
In business as well as in life we come across all kinds of obstacles that hinder us or try to prevent us from reaching certain goals. These obstacles can range from situational to emotional to physical and spiritual. Obstacles are a nuisance and can be down right debilitating; overcoming the obstacles, a challenge.
I'm sure you can look back even at the last 7 days and recognise situations that haven't gone to plan or even went in quite the opposite direction.
What was your response? Or should I say what was your reaction?
The book of James tells us right at the beginning to "Count it all joy, brothers, when you come across all kinds of tests"
But I’m Different
"Well that's easy for you to say, you haven't seen what I'm going through right now!" And you're right. I don't have a clue what's going on in your life: but then again you don't know what my struggles are doing to me either.
But I have learnt something special that I want to share with you today.
Have a look again at James chapter 1 and verse 2, now read the next 2 verses: James 1:3-4
3 knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. 4 But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.
Whoa there! Step back a minute! You mean that if I endure this tough season with patience and prayerful consideration, that good will come of it? Well, yes that's what my bible reads... I have found in life and am finding more and more, the importance and the value of looking past the obstacle.
Examples from History
I want to draw your attention here to the book of Ruth. When she tethered herself to Naomi her mother in law, even though they both were widows with little or no hope of a future, the obstacles in their lives had been great, they had lost everything. a stranger in a strange land, a foreigner with no possessions and no future and a bitter past. Her attitude was: "your people will be my people and your God will be my God." obstacle words? No words of hope and determination. What did the testing of her faith bring? Only the richest dude in town! She ended up lacking nothing.
When Jesus hung on the cross, what did he say to the penitent thief? "today you will be with me in paradise". Don't you think that kind of weird when you really ponder this? I mean, here were 3 men crucified, suffering the most painful torturous death imaginable, and Jesus looks past His pain, and sees the thief with Him in paradise.
We think we're doing it tough when we get a flat tyre on the way to work or someone we thought was a friend spreads malicious gossip about us, but I scarcely think we really understand what real suffering is about; especially suffering for our faith.
Where am I going with this? Little obstacles in our way are opportunities to honour God and grow in spiritual stature. Without the tough times we would not be half the people we are.
I know a lady, a dear friend, 70+ years old and suffering with cancer. Suffering? There is little left of her, she can't keep food down, there are artificial bits added to her body to help make life comfortable. I asked her how she deals with this. She said: " I don't know why God hasn't healed me yet, but every time I have to go to the hospital for chemotherapy or treatment, I look for someone I can encourage and talk to about the goodness of God. I think this is my mission field ."
Don’t blame God
This beautiful lady does not blame God for her obstacle, she praises Him in it. I'm not saying she's hyper faith, she's certainly not in denial, how can she be? But she loves Jesus and knows that whatever she faces, she is a part of God's bigger picture, and she has her part to play in it. She rarely misses an opportunity to attend church, and she always looks amazing.
This lady has her eyes firmly fixed on the goal of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
Count it all joy... Keep your eye on the call... You have a holy calling, and obstacles will get in your way.
I see the Bible, God's Word, as a kind of holy roadmap. The Holy Spirit is like the voice on my Spiritual Sat Nav.
When God directs you to go somewhere, He usually means for you to get there. And when you stray off the directed path, the Holy Spirit gently re-writes the route to your goal. When you come across obstacles in your way, preventing you from reaching your holy calling, God's Word is there. His Holy Spirit is the voice in your ear to direct and guide your path.
Are you listening? Are you hearing the voice? Like the Sat-Nav, He never loses patience, he's just saying:" take the next turn..." and directing you back to the call.
Have a blessed week.
Tuesday, 11 October 2011
Love is the principal thing (Part 2)
In part one of this blog, I started to speak about the reasons why we are in relationship with Jesus, and everything that is involved and included in this...that Love is the principal thing. I then left you with a challenge...
Did you do it??? Did you read and meditate on Psalm 91? Isn’t it the most amazing piece of scripture? “He who dwells in the secret place of the most High...” and right down to :” With long life I will satisfy him and show him My salvation” Such love, such intimacy...
Why did I challenge you to read this psalm? You are a worship leader, whether at the front leading the singing, or at the back, keeping the beat, or somewhere in between, you are a worship leader. If you can get a revelation of what this psalm is saying, then you will find it much easier to communicate that love and intimacy to the church today.
Worship leading can be a real struggle. Why do I do it, especially week after week, and especially when the congregation seems so unresponsive, and unappreciative? The reason I keep coming back to this wonderful call is the title of this blog: Love is the Principal thing.
Response to rebellion
As a parent, I have experienced in my own children rebellion, un-appreciation, ignorance of my instruction, un-responsiveness... but never once did I stop loving them, never once did I give up reminding them, encouraging them, disciplining them, loving them. Now that they are older, and mostly independent, they have a much greater appreciation of what Tambrey and I did for them all those years ago. In doing what we did, we helped to build their character and personality, and we helped shape their sense of intimacy with Jesus.
Worship-leading is not that far different. You have an amazing opportunity to impart into this congregation principals of worship, grace, mercy and love. Even though it may seem to be falling on deaf ears, your job is not to reap the harvest, yours is to sow and to water and to nurture. Many is the time when I have walked away from the stage exhausted and drained, feeling that the worship had gone absolutely nowhere, and wondering if God was in the place at all. Then someone would come to me later and say: “Erick that worship really ministered to me today, thank you!” Wow! The challenge is: am I doing this for earthly reward or for a heavenly one?
The Principal Thing
Today I have been reading a book by English author Adrian Plass. It is called “Jesus: Safe, Tender, Extreme” He makes this statement which really brings home my point about the principal thing: “The sacred and mystical truth is that when we Christians touch each other, we are touching Jesus. When that touch is the touch of care and love, heaven smiles on us...”
John 15:12-17 says this (Words of Jesus, written in red): “This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that to lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do whatever I command you. No longer do I call you servants, for a servant does not know what his master is doing; but I have called you friends, for all things that I heard from the Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you that you should go and bear fruit, and that your fruit should remain, that whatever you ask the Father in my name, He may give you. These things I command you, that you love one another.”
How strong the instruction, how beautiful the promise, how pertinent the reminder. The very instruction Jesus starts with is the same as the one He concludes with: “That you love one another”. Bear in mind, dear worship leader, that this is a command. See, sometimes with your family, your worship team, your congregation, your Pastor, things aren’t going to go the way you planned or even wanted. The principal thing is love. Let love be your guide and your motivator. This week you have the opportunity to bring your congregation into “the secret place of the Most High”. Whether your worship experience is a fantastic time or it all goes pear shaped, remember: LOVE IS THE PRINCIPAL THING.
God bless you real good, and have a great week!
Monday, 10 October 2011
Love is the principal thing. (Part 1)
Greetings from China!
As I sit here in my comfortable hotel room in China, listening to Worship music streaming through my computer, my thoughts are with everyone out there today who is at Church, participating in the anointed worship, diligently prepared by you, our faithful Worship Leaders, taking in the anointed Word of God, a message in-season, prayerfully prepared by our Pastors, refreshing us from the week past, and re-charging us ready for the week that lays ahead.
This is my second week away from the Studio, and I really miss Darin, Suzie and Chris. These guys are the high-light of my week! We talk with each other, joke with each other, share Jesus with each other, pray together, eat together, laugh together, and we share our thoughts, experiences, highs and lows of life, the church and specifically aspects of Worship leading.
We are in this together
In all of this, we all feel very much a part of you and your world as you join us on the Worship Leaders Podcast each week. It is an honour to have you join us each week, sharing those experiences, and allowing us to encourage you from the Word of God and by the example of our own lives. Thank you!
There is really only one reason why we record the Worship Leaders Podcast each week: you! We are so passionate about this thing we call worship; the act of falling on our faces before a Mighty, awesome, majestic, righteous, loving God; a God who is not too busy to be intimately interested in every part of my life, who knows the very number of the hairs on my head!! (Matt 10:30). Our desire is that as we share that Passion with you, that it will rub off onto you, encourage you, build you up and charge you up in your holy calling.
My Week in China
It has been a busy week here in China. I have spent the past week in a half star hotel. The bed felt like it was made up of layers of re-cycled worn-out carpet, there were things not working, and every night upon my return to my room there would be an array of business cards slipped under my door with photos of scarcely-clad women on it and telephone contact numbers. As if! I have been married to the most amazing woman in the world for about 28 years! No one could come close so I am definitely NOT interested. I ended up that week with a sore back and neck, tired of walking through the Fair I was attending. So now I am in a 5 star Hotel, enjoying some of the creature comforts like a comfortable bed. (Phil 4:12 I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound!)
The thing about all this is that as I am away from family and daily routine, it is easy to forget the things established at home; Prayer, devotions, giving myself to the study of God’s word. And yet here it is so much more important even than at home. I am in a strange land, with strange customs, where communication is difficult at the best of times and almost impossible most of the time! So I need Jesus, my constant companion; and the Holy Spirit in me to guide me to the right people, the right business deals, keeping me safe from danger, and keeping me safe from myself.
I am not alone!
Am I on my own? Yes. Am I alone? Certainly not! Jesus said: I will never leave you nor forsake you. (Heb 13:5) See, no matter how I look at it, Jesus loves me, this I know! He is my constant companion and my guide and protector. The reason why we record the Podcast, the reason God gave His Son, the reason Jesus will never leave me nor forsake me; the principal thing is LOVE!
At the completion of reading this, I challenge you to do something radical: Get out your bible, and read Psalm 91. All of it. Then take some time out to meditate on it. This is one of the most wonderful Psalms about the promise of God to those who are intimate in Him... but I am giving it away. I dare you! And let us know what you have discovered.
God bless you real good this week.
Sunday, 9 October 2011
ATTITUDES OF A WORSHIP LEADER
You are an anointed Worship Leader. Follow these principles, pray up and get excited, and see God move in your worship of Him!
Saturday, 8 October 2011
INSTRUMENTAL WORSHIP LEADING
Bruno had been diagnosed just not that long ago with Mesothelioma, more precisely malignant mesothelioma, a rare form of cancer that develops from the protective lining that covers many of the body’s internal organs, the mesothelium. It is usually caused by exposure to asbestos.(courtesy of Wikipedia)
He didn’t get much notice about his impending appointment with destiny, but he spent his last months on this earth talking to anyone who would listen about his Saviour, Jesus Christ, and how we can have the True Peace that only comes from God.
I want right here and now to dispel that myth. Anyone who occupies the “stage” whether you are the song leader, a musician or a backing vocalist, you are a Praise and Worship Leader. Yes, even the drummer is anointed to lead worship on his instrument. How? By playing your instrument to God, and worshipping Him with your instrument you are being a praise and worship leader.
An old pastor of mine used to say: “Leaders lead by example”. You know, even when you are not occupying a spot on the stage, and are standing in the congregation, you are still called to be a Worship Leader right there from where you stand. Your very act of worship will encourage others and lead them to do the same.
20 years ago, I was in the same church as Bruno. I remember even then in worship, the Spirit would come on him as he played. The result was that people would be released, there would be healings and other miracles.
2) Bruno was skilled in his instrument. He was well practised and well rehearsed in the instruments he played as well as having a good knowledge of the songs.
3) Bruno was obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit. When the anointing came on him, he did not back down, or quit, he played and played to God, to the best of his ability.
4) Bruno did not outplay his anointing. He knew how to be sensitive; when to play, and when not to play; when to play loud and when to play soft. His playing was not ego driven, it was not to show off, but to honour God and worship Him. .