Thursday 22 November 2012




When times get tough, I'm tempted to give up. There have been a number if times in my "career" as a worship leader I have felt like giving up. Times when the pressure became so great, I thought it would be better if I stepped off the stage and never went back.
I want to relate a couple of these stories here today.

Some years ago my wife, family and I were attending  a large Pentecostal church. I was a worship leader in the church and we were quite settled there. Our church was undergoing leadership changes and our Music Director had stepped down from the role and he and his family were getting ready to move to a different city. All this was fine, except that the person who took over as Music Director seemed to have a problem with me. I don't know that he would have admitted that, but I had the very strong feeling that it was as if he was intimidated by me. Under the previous Music Director there had never been any problem, and he had never tried to put any restrictions on me. Now though, it seemed that the more I did, the less it was appreciated. That was not reflective of the church community, just of our new Music Director. I did not want his job, and I was quite happy to let him take the reigns. What I didn't like was being "reigned in" by someone with much less experience and for no good reason. I had to make a decision for the sake of unity in the department and my own sanity. I stepped down from the music department to allow him the freedom to run it in the way he saw fit. This was not a choice I made out of spite or to show him up, it was purely to give him room.

The problem was I missed being on the stage. I missed being part of a team that was bringing people into the presence of God. When you have a calling and an anointing on your life to do a certain thing, that calling tugs at you relentlessly.

God is good and some time later we were called to be music directors at an Anglican Church.
We had 5 wonderful years at that fellowship.  I had a mandate from the priest to bring that church into a new experience in music. Though I had incredible support both from the priest and the vast majority of the congregation, it was not always easy, and sometimes there were complaints. It is human nature that people are adverse to change, and there were those in our church who did not want to change from the old ways, and the traditional service. We had 2 churches in that place, one ran a traditional service, the other a contemporary one. The fellowship that I was at had the contemporary service. We did a more modern song service, and used more up to date songs... Well, we used songs that were considered modern, but some  were in reality more than 30 years old. It was lovely to bring this congregation into the more up to date songs and a more modern style of music. We did this over a period of time, slowly adding new music and deleting some of the older, less relevant stuff. It was a transition that took probably 3-4 years, though I never got rid of all the old music.

It was a beautiful time for our family and we were blessed to see that congregation grow 3-fold.
Our perseverance had paid off, and by the time God called us into a new church, we left that fellowship richer in their experience of worship. But we also were richer for our experience, having learnt much more about intimacy with God from the beautiful people at that church.

Our next fellowship was back to a Pentecostal church. It is the church where we now have been for the past 4 years. When I arrived at this church I chose to sit in the congregation for a period of 6 months, which I believe is important for any new musician to a church.

Our new church is currently undergoing a major change. Our senior pastor is retiring after more than 20 years in this fellowship. He is a wonderful man who lives God with a passion, and is all about bringing God and people together. At the same time, one of the associate pastors who is also the Music Director has also handed in his resignation. Life as a worship leader under this man has had its challenges, and there have been a number of times when I was ready to go back to my seat in the congregation. However, God has had different plans, and I am still here, And two thirds of the leadership team is going.

This leaves our church in limbo, at least for a little while. The new senior pastor is not due to start work until next year, and this leaves our last member of staff, another Associate Pastor in charge. A beautiful young woman, mother of two with an incredible heart for people and especially young people. She has a big task ahead of her, but I am confident that in God, and with the loving support of her husband, she will not only rise to the occasion, but also shine in it.
And me? Well, as of this week I am the new ‘Music Director’; not a position I chose or applied for, I was asked. I guess God had plans for me all along. Proverbs 3:6 says:

"In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He shall direct your paths."

Often we don't know where God is going to take us, but when we are faithful to Him, He is faithful to see us through the most exciting life we could ever imagine; and who would have gained that I would find myself back as Music Director once again!


When the going gets tough, it is easy to walk away. We don't want to go through the trials and tests if that means we have to suffer or do it tough for a while. A friend of mine told me the other day: Without a test, you don't have a testimony… and God can turn trials into triumphs".
James 1:2-4 says:

"My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials,  knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing."

There are going to be times in your life, (maybe you are in one now) when patience and perseverance are the order of the day, week or month. My Friend, Jesus persevered right through to His death on the cross. He did that with you and me in mind. Isn't it worth the honour to Him that we do the same, and get through this thing? He has already won the victory and put you in the place of the winner!
Hang in there, whatever it is. God is faithful!
Have a great week.

Friday 2 November 2012

When Hands Are Raised


hands raised{image}

As a worship leader there is no greater satisfaction for me than to see hands raised in surrender and worship to the Lord.  The raising of hands in worship has at times and in different churches been somewhat controversial for all sorts of reasons; and most of them wrong.

Some would say it is showy and we should not make and outward show of our inward worship. A scripture used may be this from Matthew 6:18 :

" that you do not appear to men to be fasting, but to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly. "

Sometimes our conservative culture is the reason we "exercise self control and show restraint in these matters"....

Jesus talked often about doing things in secret, but when it comes to corporate praise and worship, I believe it is a totally different thing. As the word suggests, Corporate is something we do together.

In my experience there are 3 main reasons why people raise their hands in church during worship (other than at the urging of the worship leader)


The first is in jubilation and celebration.

Psalms 111:1 " Praise the Lord!
I will praise the Lord with my whole heart,
In the assembly of the upright and in the congregation."

With my whole heart. That would indicate with every effort I can muster.
The Hebrew word for praise here is 'Yadah' The translation for this word praise is: literally, to use (i.e. hold out) the hand; physically, to throw (a stone, an arrow) at or away; especially to revere or worship (with extended hands); "
In Psalm 150 we read these words:

"Praise the Lord!
Praise God in His sanctuary;
Praise Him in His mighty firmament!
Praise Him for His mighty acts;
Praise Him according to His excellent greatness!
Praise Him with the sound of the trumpet;
Praise Him with the lute and harp!
Praise Him with the timbrel and dance;
Praise Him with stringed instruments and flutes!
Praise Him with loud cymbals;
Praise Him with clashing cymbals!
Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.
Praise the Lord!"

The word for praise here is 'Halal ' (from which we derive the word hallelujah. Halal means praise, Yah is God. )
Halal means:  to make a show, to boast; and thus to be (clamorously) foolish; to rave; causatively, to celebrate; also to stultify: — (make) boast (self), celebrate, commend, (deal, make), fool(-ish, -ly), glory, give (light), be (make, feign self) mad (against), give in marriage, (sing, be worthy of) praise, rage, renowned," get the idea.
When we praise God it involves an outward manifestation of joy, celebration and great noise, and the raising of hands...


The second reason we raise our hands is in Adoration. It is when we have such absolute love for our saviour, we just want to be closer to Him.
One of my favourite memories of when I was a young father of small children, is coming home from work in the afternoon. I would drive up our driveway and beep the horn. The next thing Tambrey would open the front door and all the kids would come piling out and run to the car to see who could get there fastest for me to pick them up. Those kids adored their father!
That's what it's  like:  when a small child raises its hands to its parent looking to be picked up, held and cuddled. It's very relational and intimate.  When I raise my hands to God in this way, it's like I want to be close to Him; to hug and love Him, to hear Him whisper in my ear: "I love you, son!"

Psalms 63:4. "Thus I will bless You while I live;
I will lift up my hands in Your name."
Psalms 134:2. "Lift up your hands in the sanctuary,
And bless the Lord."


When you watch a war-time movie or a Wild Western, what is the term used when a surrender is forcibly demanded? "Stick 'em up! "; "Hands up". When the white flag of surrender is raised, and those that are surrendering have their hands raised as the "I give up" symbol.
The raising of hands is commonly associated with surrender. Christians who raise their hands will often do the same for the same reason, but with one difference: when I raise my hands in surrender to God, it's not because I have a gun at my head. My surrender to God in worship is out of love and total commitment.  I have a mental picture of surrender in which I am down on my knees, with my hands raised before a crucified Christ. I want to be surrendered to the One who surrendered everything for me and gave up His life so I could live... I surrender.

Exultation, Adoration, Surrender.
All three motivations for the raising of hands are voluntary responses. All three responses are motivated by love. When hands are raised, I see people connecting with God in an intimate, joyful, exuberant, surrendered display of affection and Worship.

Whether you choose to raise your hands or keep them by your side, is up to you. Whether someone else chooses to or not, should be their decision. Personally, when I am in a place of intimacy with God, I can't help but raise my hands.

Do you raise your hands?

Have a great week.

Wednesday 19 September 2012

Love God


We live in a "What's in it for me?"-world. Our decision making is based on "how does it make me feel?" We look to satisfy our needs, and as long as we are ok, well that's a good start.

As Christians, it seems our faith is often manipulated the same way. Our prayers are based on what we think is best for us and our situation, and our assessment of answered prayer on how it has benefited us. I'm not sure that this is correct thinking.


{image source}

The Greatest Commandment

When Jesus was challenged by the Pharisees with the question: "Which is the greatest commandment?" in Matthew 22: 37 Jesus replied, “You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind."

He added to this that second most important commandment was (vs39) :"love your neighbour as yourself". 

The response Jesus gave was not at all what the Pharisees expected, and it left their arguments dead in their tracks. 

See, I like to think that the Pharisees were looking at a legal-if you don’t do it you will go to hell- kind of greatest commandment, whereas Jesus was talking about the most awesome, lose out if you miss it- greatest benefit to those who live it-kind of commandment.

God-thinking turns World-thinking totally on its head. Sometimes embarrassingly so. God-thinking is so at odds with what society teaches and yet it works. Society says: "Look out for number one; if it feels good do it; you deserve this; pamper yourself; you will feel great if..." God wants us to be Christ-centred, others-focussed, totally selfless. He wants us to focus our love on Him.  Love God. 


What's in it for me?

This is one of the most selfish, self centred statements ever to pass the lips of men. The conditional premise of doing anything in the community of Christ is often perceived as "if I do this thing, I will get return". 

Giving is the perfect example. Jesus said in Luke 6:38; "Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”

Most people I know (including me) have used this as the secret formula for wealth. I guess in a way it is, but not in the context that we would like it to be. Investing into the Kingdom of God is important. The question is: am I giving to get or am I giving to give?

We need to turn our thinking around and focus on our total motivation for anything we do in life:

I work and in return I get paid. I give to God of my time, talent and finances because I love Him. I know that He is not only able, but also true to His word in looking after me. My attitude to God is relational, one of faith and trust, not a business deal. We cannot out-give God, so don't try. Give out of relational response, because you love Him.

When I think of my relationship with God, I often compare it to my relationship with my own children. I am motivated by my love for them and respond to their relationship with me. When one of them comes to me with open arms and hugs me and tells me they love me, I just want to bless them. (What can I do for you, how can I bless you?) Their love for me invokes an even greater response of love back. I think in a way that this is how it is with God; we obey his commandments because we honour, love and respect our Heavenly Father and He in return blesses us with answered prayer, provision, peace and His presence. 

God’s love for us is manifest all around us. His promises of supply, protection, care, guidance and companionship, are littered generously throughout scripture.

Matthew 6:27-33

Which of you by worrying can add one cubit to his stature?

28 “So why do you worry about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin; 29 and yet I say to you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. 30 Now if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith?

31 “Therefore do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat? ’ or ‘What shall we drink? ’ or ‘What shall we wear? ’ 32 For after all these things the Gentiles seek. For your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. 33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you."


Surrender & Submission

Loving God is about surrender and submission. I like to think of it this way: When 2 armies are at war, and one surrenders to the other (white flag and all that stuff), normally it is the capturing victorious army that dictates the terms of the surrender. Funny thing about Christianity is we want to do all the surrendering on our own terms: “Well, God, I will give you these parts of my life, but I am going to hang on to this one...” That doesn’t work. Never has, never will. God wants total surrender, not a partial one. Why? Well, for starters, Jesus was willing to give everything He had and everything He was up for you and me. He set the standard of total surrender when He went to the cross. I really think in His own flesh He had some serious reservations about the whole suffering and dying thing. In the garden of Gethsemane He prayed: ... “Let this cup of suffering be taken away from me.”(Matt 26:39) But He was driven to total Surrender to God’s will by His total love for you and me! The other reason I believe God wants all of us in Surrender to Him is because only He knows the plans He has for us, “plans for good and not for evil, to give you a hope and a future” (Jer 29:11), and He can’t bring that to pass if He doesn’t have our total, confident, submitted trust.

2 Chronicles 15:2

“And he went out to meet Asa, and said to him: “Hear me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin. The Lord is with you while you are with Him. If you seek Him, He will be found by you; but if you forsake Him, He will forsake you.”

When we walk away from God, we leave Him virtually powerless to work in our lives.  

I am realising more and more that relationship is the key to life. When I have great relationship with my wife, things go really well for us. When I focus on doing my own thing, and put her second, our relationship suffers. It is no different in Christianity. God longs for relationship with us. He is looking for ways to bless us. When we stop loving God to pursue other things, we stop His ability to bless. It is like cutting off the line of supply. We are not wired like that. God made us for relationship with Him. Love Him. Today!

Have a great week!


Tuesday 4 September 2012

Thirty Years On. Life, Marriage, Children

It's been a while since I posted a blog page. I've been busy. I've had a lot on my plate. At my age, you just get busier. I now have grand children in my life. 5 years ago I would not have imagined that I would be sitting here today talking about a grandchild, much less two! But here I am. They are beautiful. A girl and a boy. Mayana and Reuben. We drive up to see them, and then they come to see us.
And so I  keep busy. Last weekend, we drove up to see them.
My Eldest two daughters, both married, both live in the same town. Zoey and Peter are the proud parents of our grandchildren. Bethanie and Lachlan live about 5 minutes from them by car. Zoey and Bethanie are both teachers at the same school (although Zoey is on maternity leave). Peter
Is a teacher at a pre-school and Lachlan is finishing his teaching degree. Having them all living in the same town has definite advantages, both for them and for me. Zoey and Bethanie have become very   close and both couples get together socially regularly.
Tambrey and I miss out on this so we have to travel up to make up the short fall in access place. This is one of the important reasons I run out of time. I love having time with all of my Maryborough mob; family is very important to me, and the fact that they live in the same town means we can visit everyone in one trip.

Our youngest two, Alexie and Jordan, both live at home with us. Alexie is studying Nursing and Jordan is doing a music degree. Both lead interesting and full lives. They are both heavily involved in our church and youth ministry, and volunteer regularly of their time to it each week. Alexie is the unofficial assistant and right-hand to our Youth Pastor, Michelle and the two have become inseparable best friends. She spends two days a week unpaid with Michelle working organising youth programmes and church administration and the like. Alexie and Michelle have become involved in a local High School where they run a mentoring programme for troubled and at-risk teenage girls. This programme has become so successful that the school has asked them to extend the programme to 2 days a week, and open it up to more girls.
Jordan is in classes 5 days a week in an intensive Music degree, the first year of which gives him a dual diploma in music performance and music law. This term his week has been reduced to 4 days and so he too volunteers his time at the church office, helping out wherever they can.

What's with the 30 years?

I titled this blog 30 years on because recently Tambrey and I celebrated the 30th anniversary of our first date.  It was 30 years ago that I took an innocent country girl into the big city, showed her how the other half lived and went to the movies. We saw Chariots of Fire and walked around the city square. I'll never forget seeing those beautiful big blue eyes getting bigger and bigger as we experienced one religious group after another trying to convert us to their way of faith. We had young Christian zealots over in one corner who despised everything the mainstream church stood for saying all was based on pagan philosophy and ritual, Christianised by the early church and nothing to do with true faith. In another corner there was a local youth group doing street witnessing, praying together and singing Choruses accompanied by guitars. And last and most colourful were the Hare Krishna's in full get up complete with tambourines singing and offering peace cookies to all passers by.

For a young country girl whose regular Friday nights only exposed her to the locals pouring out of the pub in various stages of drunk, this was quite a sight, and she was tightly wrapped around my arm as we made our way around. I can say what we have been tightly wrapped around each others arms ever since!

30 years on, we have done much, lived in places where there was no tv and no telephones. We have experienced poverty and homelessness and seen God prove Himself faithful time and again. We have seen our children grow into incredible strong young people of God; independent,  capable, motivated and passionate.  We have never gone without a meal. We have had all our needs met at the times when we needed them met. We have had the privilege of meeting and having fellowship with some of the most amazing people that God ever put on this Earth. We have had the privilege of being an answer to prayer many times and in some of the most surreal situations.
We have walked where no white man has walked (literally). We have been to places that we might only have dreamed of. I have made music to crowds of thousands, and ministered to young people going through difficult times. Tambrey has blessed scores of people that God has put across her path; speaking into their lives, taking them to achieving things they never thought possible.
30 years on as we look back we can see the path that God has taken us on.
It reminds me of that scripture in Jeremiah 29:11.

I know the thoughts I have towards you says the Lord; thoughts of good and not of evil to give you a hope and a future...

And in Proverbs 16:9

A man's heart plans his way,
But the Lord directs his steps.

God had and still has great plans for us and if I had known then what I have experienced since, I may not have been so keen to pursue this path. But looking back I have no regrets. We have had no shortage of tough times and situations, but God has brought us through every one. And not just barely but triumphantly. What I can honestly say is that these times, times of trial and triumph have defined us and our family, shaping us into what and who we have become.  And through it all, as the song says, I've learnt to depend upon my God.

The one thing I keep on seeing is the closer we draw to God, the closer He draws to us. He blesses us beyond what we have ever dreamed. And as I look forward to the next 30 years, sharing them with the loves of my life and being introduced to new ones, I pray that together we will continue to grow closer and more dependant on Him. Because that is where the blessing comes from!
Have a great week.

Sunday 22 July 2012


The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full. (John 10:10)
Have you ever wondered what is to be truly full? I was in a prayer meeting on Sunday morning, and I got the overwhelming sense of God's presence. The word that kept coming to me was “Fullness”. As I meditated on that word, my mind was filled with pictures and scriptures pertaining to full.  

Full of God

I don't know about you, but I want God's best for my life. I know that when am close to God, He fills me with Him; not just that goose-bumpy feeling of warm fuzzies, but a true sense of the reality of His presence. I think clearer, I have a greater sense of where I am and where I am going, and a knowledge that as the hymn says: "it is well with my soul". 
The more of God I put into my life, the more He fills me. 
God wants us not just to experience but to live in the Fullness of Him. The word Fullness brings to mind all sorts of pictures. 
Psalm 16:11 says 
“You will show me the path of life;
In Your presence is fullness of joy;
At Your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”  
Just read that promise a couple of times and be filled with the beauty of it.
This verse speaks of the promise of God; He shows us the path of life. 
It speaks of God's presence bringing pleasures and fullness of joy! And it speaks of forever! 

The Promise of Fullness

The Christian life can be full of hard times, heart ache, trials, and all the stuff we would rather not have in our lives, but the promise of God in John 16:33 is: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”
"In Me". 
When Jesus is in me and I am in Him, the promise of God is complete. 
Full is not almost or part. In God's economy, near enough is not good enough, and almost does not qualify as complete. When the Bible talks of full it always speaks of excess. God is an extravagant God.
Jesus gave us the instructions of how to live extravagantly and in God's economy: Luke 6:38: “Give and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.” 
Here Jesus Himself teaches us of God's measure of economy. However what we often don't understand is the measure He speaks of. In Matthew 13:23, Jesus talks of the sowing and harvesting law. 100 , 60, 30 fold increase! God's economy of scale is extravagant; it is one of multiplication, pressed down, shaken together, full and running over! That speaks to me of being completely full. 
Malachi 3:10 says:  ”Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it."
Again this speaks to me of God's extravagance. When we believe in Him, when we trust Him with all we have, and when we fill ourselves with Him, he pours out His blessing beyond our capacity to contain it! 

Getting Full and Staying Full. 

How do I get this fullness and keep it? 
When I have a meal, I normally eat until I feel full. Sometimes I over- eat and then I feel over-full. But no matter how much I eat today, tomorrow I will want to eat again. I continually need to fill me up with food in the same way as I continually need to fill my car with fuel, or at least if I want to keep going places in it. The same is with God. I need to continually fill myself with God. I can't just go once and expect that that's enough. 
God is a supernatural God. That is beyond natural. That is full and overflowing. God is not the God of near enough is good enough. God is the God of enough and to spare. He talks of abundance, not of a lack! 

When a friend of mine purchased a car, he never washed it, maintained it or had it serviced. He would purchase a new car about every two to three years, because that is how long the old one would last. My Father in Law is almost OCD about his cars. He washes, polishes and vacuums them meticulously and often. His cars always look great, and when he goes to sell them, he inevitably gets top price for them. 
We need to maintain our spiritual bodies in the same way.  That means continually being filled up with God; Staying in tune with the Holy Spirit through giving ourselves to prayer, study of the word, fellowship with other like minded people and worshipping Him both privately and corporately. 

Be Filled

Are you full yet? Do you have a hunger to be filled? Being filled is a daily requirement.  When you fill yourself with God, He will fill you with Himself. Pressed down, shaken together full and running over will God pour into your bosom. 
If you want the fullness of God, be Fully Filled with God! 
Ephesians 3:19: (that you may) “know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God."
Ephesians 5:18: "Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit."
May you be filled with all the Fullness of God!
Have a great week! 


Friday 20 July 2012


Are you passionate?

Are you passionate about leading worship? Are you sincerely fanatic about having the Holy Spirit turn up and move in your worship service? 
I have written and spoken many times about the passion of Worship Leading; it is something I'm passionate about. Those of you who listen to our weekly podcast: "the worshipleaders podcast"  will have heard me talk many times about the importance of preparation, prayer, a great well prepared songlist, etc.   But the one ingredient that leads to great worship is Passion. 

Passion is the Glue

Passion is the glue that holds everything together. In life, love, work and play, we see time and again that those who are passionate about what they do succeed well. My eldest daughter is passionate about anything to do with art, craft, or creativity. The result is she's a great cook, photographer, knitter, sewer, jewellery maker and general craft person. Her blog  will testify to that. 
My son is a brilliant musician. We gave him drum lessons when he was younger, but then later when he wanted to take up the bass guitar, I told him he was on his own. Well, with the help of some friends, some chord charts and a whole lot of YouTube, he became a brilliant Bass guitar player. He did the same with rhythm guitar, and is currently doing a music degree at University.  
What makes these two so good? They are passionate about their interests, and will put serious time into getting it right. When they get it wrong, they don't simply give up and say:"well that's too hard", they keep practicing until they get it right. 

The reward of Passion

Part of my profession is as a furniture designer. There is a lot that goes into getting the final design right. It has to be practical, useful, workable, and safe. When I design a chair, it needs to be comfortable, it has to tick all the boxes that require it to be a saleable item. A single design can take over 12 months to come together to finally reach production. And the cost is often many hundreds of thousands of dollars. But when I get it right, many people benefit from the design. 
I am passionate about good furniture design, and the result is people buy my product.
The light globe you switch on when it gets dark is the result of someone's passion to create light without the use of a naked flame. It was not an instant success, but many failures went into getting it right. The car you drive is the result of decades of passion poured into getting a better, more comfortable, more efficient mode of transport. 

Great Passion equals Great Worship.

Great music is the result of Passion. Great preaching, the result of Passion; great worship-leading, the result of Passion. 
Today you can overcome mediocrity by firing up your passion. 
2 Timothy 2:15
Study to show yourself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Jude 20 Says: Beloved, Build yourself up in your most holy faith, praying in the Holy Spirit.

There are many scriptures exhorting us to draw near to Him (James 4:8).
When we allow God to envelop us with His presence daily, when we draw near to Him, when we study His Word, and spend time getting to know not just about Him, but also to know Him, our passion will rise. And when you are passionate about God, and about great Worship, you will have great Worship.
 Luke 10:37b: Go and do likewise!

Have a great Sunday!

Monday 9 July 2012



Everywhere we go we are bombarded with "stuff"! Especially "stuff" that others want us to be aware of. Whether we want to be made aware of it or not has no bearing on anything. Sometimes I feel as if I should be walking around with my eyes shut! Some of the "stuff" I am confronted with is trying to pull me in directions I don't want to go. It is telling me to do things I don't want to do, and attempting to influence my thinking in areas that go against my upbringing and what I know to be right. Everywhere  I go, fiction is being sold as truth, stories are told only from one point of view, and often these stories are slanted to suit the teller's desired aim. 

Fictitious ‘Facts’

Remember the movie "The Da Vinci Code"? A totally fictitious movie based on a novel (fiction made up) by author Dan Brown in which a murder mystery ends in a search for the Holy Grail. In this movie / book, Brown refers regularly to Biblical characters, and writes those characters into places and situations of his own imagining, that have no bearing on historical truth whatsoever. 
To this day people will totally discredit the Bible after having seen this movie. They see it more as a historically accurate Documentary Drama than the fictitious story it was written as.  

Why do we do that? Why do we so often take a story of fiction and presume it as truth? Is it that we have a need to believe in the unbelievable? Is it that it is written in such a way that in our minds this is conceivable, therefore it must be true? Or is it simply that because it is written about a historical character it must be true, whether history confirms it or not. 

 As a Christian, that would lead me to ask: then why is it so hard to believe the Bible, which has amazing and fantastic stories which are historically true and accurate accounts of God's chosen people and their journey to the ultimate promise of God?


One of my teachers in high school used to talk about the GIGO affect; Garbage In, Garbage Out. 
What we take in, we put out.  The Bible puts it this way: "As a man thinks in his heart, so is he" Prov 23:7.  
I also like what Jesus says in Luke 6:43-45:
“ For a good tree does not bear bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. For every tree is known by its own fruit. For men do not gather figs from thorns, nor do they gather grapes from a bramble bush. A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks."
What goes in, sooner or later has to come out. And this applies not only to the food we eat, but to everything we take into our bodies. What we see, what we listen to, what we read, what we imagine and dwell upon. When we take something in (digest it, whether physical or through sight, sound and thought), sooner or later it will affect and become part of who and what we are. 

Years ago as a teenager, I was listening to some fairly heavy metal rock music. The music and lyrics were anything but honouring to God. As I lay there on my bed, letting the music feed my soul as it were, I began to get a heaviness on me. I had never experienced it before and have never experienced it since. It was like a huge heavy weight had descended on my body and it felt like it literally trying to push me through the mattress. It became difficult for me to even breathe. This was such an oppressive force, it really frightened me. With all the strength I could muster I started to call on the name of Jesus. Not much came  out of my mouth at first, but as I kept calling out His name, each time the words came out easier and I felt lighter and soon the oppression left me all together. I destroyed the tape, and never listened to that music again. 

What am I saying? Be careful of what you allow yourself to take in. The things I watch on TV or the Internet. The magazines and books I read. The music I listen to. The games I play.  The conversations I sometimes am a part of.  All these have an effect and are Part of the makeup of who I am and what I become. The jails are full of people who ended up there because of the influence that some form of media had on them.  


In the Hebrew, the word Meditate has several meanings /uses:  to ponder: — imagine, meditate, mourn, mutter, roar, speak, study, talk, utter; to moan, growl, utter, muse, mutter, meditate, devise, plot.
When we dwell on something for a time or repeatedly think about it, when we constantly bring it to mind, we are meditating. 
Last week I had something happen to me that was grossly unfair. For days all I could think about was this circumstance and how it was affecting me. The more thought I gave it, the worse it became in my own head! Why? Because it was my meditation. Instead of taking it to God, and focusing on the Holy Solution Provider, I was becoming obsessed with the unfairness of the situation. It made me angry, it made me upset, it completely consumed my thinking.

What we Dwell on

Whether we think so or not, when you look at the meanings of the term, we meditate all the time. We need to re-train our thinking to honour God, and to benefit our own bodies. A negative meditation will have a negative effect on our whole being. (I'm sure as you read this you can think of people who constantly seem to be depressed or in the doldrums). In the same way when we allow ourselves to meditate on the good stuff, (the God-stuff) it completely changes our whole being. The great thing is that when we meditate on the Answer, the answer is not far away! 
Look at these scriptures: 
Joshua 1:8
This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

1 Timothy 4:13-16
Till I come, give attention to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. 14 Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership. 15 Meditate on these things; give yourself entirely to them, that your progress may be evident to all. 16 Take heed to yourself and to the doctrine. Continue in them, for in doing this you will save both yourself and those who hear you.

Philippians 4:8
Meditate on These Things
8 Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.

Have a great week! 
If you are reading this, why not drop me a comment?


Saturday 23 June 2012

God Love Church Worship

Christianity is not about what we do as much as what we allow Jesus Christ to do in us.
It is not about what I am but what He has made me.
And it is not about who I am but who I am when I am in Him. Jesus said :John 15:4 Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.

The greatest act of love the world will ever know is what Jesus did for me. John 3:16 For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
Doubt and fear, are the great deception used by the devil to separate us from God's love. Many times (over 60 times in my bible) and to many different people In old and new testament it is said: Do not fear or: fear not.

Communion brings me to the place where Jesus gave up all he had and all He was in order to rescue me from the disaster that was awaiting me. He took upon Himself all that I deserved in order that I might enjoy all that He has.
Thank you Jesus for the broken body and the spilled precious blood; for the principal thing called LOVE. Amen.


Friday 22 June 2012

Am I Too Old to Lead Worship?

It occurs to me when I walk into most Pentecostal churches and the music is playing and the team is up the front doing their "stuff" that the average age of those presenting the worship is mid- to late twenties. (At least they all look very young to an over- forty -year-old!). I look at this sight and it causes me to ponder: Am I too old to lead worship? 

The First time I was Too Old

The first time I ever felt like I was too old was about ten or twelve years ago. My wife and I had just made a decision that it was time to leave the church which we had been a part of for the past 5 years to help a friend launch a new church at another end of town. 
Our friend was in his early twenties and he gathered around him a number of other young people as well as some  middle aged couples (of which we were a part). 
I initially joined our young friend to help with the worship team, and though he frequently asked me to play guitar for him, he only once asked me to lead the Worship. This "rejection" of my abilities and anointing really messed with my head and brought much self-doubt into my thinking. I felt all of a sudden that the Worship Leading ship had sailed, and I wasn't on it, I was too old. 
The thought of being too old when I was just about to turn forty, really shook my confidence. I became very unsure of myself and what God had planned for me for the rest of my life. I couldn't believe that I could be dropped so quickly and so unceremoniously from being a Worship Leader one week to a has-been the next.  

I’m Not Ready, I’m Not Too Old!

I went to God on this matter and complained bitterly. Surely this wasn't the end? Surely I wasn't to be relegated to the pews for the next 60 years without any musical input? (I plan to live to at least 100). 
God showed me that he wasn't finished with me yet. One of my favourite Worship Leaders in the world is Robin Mark of Revival in Belfast fame. I have a number of his records and was privileged some years ago to attend a meeting in which he led Worship. God showed me that he is one of a number of Worship leaders in the world who have been around a while and fall among the Not-so-young.  This was greatly encouraging to me, especially at that time. 

It was in the midst of my turmoil that I visited a local Anglican church one afternoon and the priest asked me if I would be interested in helping him out with the music once in a while. His only musician had busted up with her husband and left the church and he was desperate. Well, we were an answer to each other's prayers. He had a need for a musician and I needed an outlet. I said I would love to help him out. The next week I turned up and did the music for him and for the first time in a while I felt truly appreciated for what I brought to that church. The priest came to me at the end of the service and said:" That was great Erick! I really would like you to pray about coming to help us out once a month to do the music at our church. "  My response was that I wouldn't have to pray about that, I would love to come and help once a month! "In that case," he said, "I would like you to pray about coming once a fortnight!" We were hooked! I had instantly gone from being retired to being the main event. Not only that, but we were a package deal. My wife is a singer as are our daughters. One of them played keyboards and in time our son joined the team to play drums. Moreover, we had gone from being the oldest people in the Church to the youngest.  God is Good! 

I became the music director at that church and we saw the church double in size over the next 5 years, with many young families joining our  fellowship. It was a great time for us as a family and for me personally as a worship leader. We were more than tolerated, we were celebrated!  

The Next Step in The Journey

Why do I tell this story? For this reason: if you feel like you are too old to lead worship, God may just be preparing you for the next place. Worship leading is not about age, it is about relevance. If you can bring the anointing to the fellowship, using songs that appeal to all generations across the church, including some of the great new songs that are constantly being released then you are not too old to lead worship. 

Let me say here too, in my humble opinion, worship leading is not about conforming to and following the latest trends in what songs are being recently released. It is about following YOUR anointing. I said before we are to remain relevant to our audience/ congregation. But this mustn’t be constrained to the latest releases. A good friend of mine is music director of a large church with 7 music teams and worship-leaders. He tells me the one thing that keeps the worship fresh and alive in his church is the variety that each individual worship-leader brings.  Not one of the worship leaders is a copy of anyone else. Each one brings something unique. That is God. He gives each of us a unique set of fingerprints. He wants us to be different, that's how He created us. Let's use that individuality to His glory in leading worship too. 

When are you too old? When you decide you are...And I figure on leaving that decision until I'm in my late eighties. 

Have a great week. 


Sunday 10 June 2012

When is it too loud?

When it's too loud

Years ago when I was in a Christian rock and roll band, we used to have a saying :" if it's too loud, you're too old. "
it's a funny saying and for a rock band it's probably right. However, As a worshipleader I'm not sure it fits in the music service.

When we lead worship, we have the amazing opportunity to bring people into the very presence of God. This is our calling, our priestly responsibility and our privilege.
When we lead people in worship, there is a number of essentials that go into the mix to make for a great worship service.

The Essential Mix

Prayer and preparation are on the top of the list.When I lead worship,  I spend a number of hours in prayer and preparation. I give myself to reading God's word and there are a number of devotionals I love to read. During this time I pray about the songs that I am going to do for that meeting.
Another important ingredient is great unity in the band. At practice and on the day of the service, it's important that we have a like mindedness and a singleness of purpose. This includes every member of the team: drummer, bass guitar, lead and rhythm instruments, vocalists and the sound man/woman. Unity is imperative to a great worship team. Scripture says that when we have unity, God commands the blessing.
Song choice and good flow from song to song is also very important, as is knowing when to modulate, when to have light and shade (loud and quiet).

The last thing I want to mention here is the reason for and the theme of this blog.
I visited a Church recently and while I enjoyed the service, in the worship I was "confronted" by a wall of sound. While the music was good and the mix was balanced, it felt more like I was at a concert than at a worship service. As I observed the band and the interaction with the congregation I couldn't help it think that something was missing.

Worship involves everyone

Worship in a church service should be a corporate event. That means that everyone should be involved in the worship, the band and the congregation. I could not hear any of the congregation singing. Come to think of it, I couldn't hear my own wife. Her lips were moving but I couldn't hear her. If you are in worship and you can't hear the congregation, it's too loud.
It's important to have a good sound balance coming from your front of house. If its too soft you have no control of the intensity of your mix and people can't hear you. If its too loud, people can't hear themselves, and that doesn't lend itself to great corporate worship.

Everyone involved in the production of the Worship service is important and a good mix is vital to the success of each service. 

For more help on this subject and many others, check out our website and free weekly worship leaders podcast on 

Have a great week!


Friday 8 June 2012

What do you believe in?

I am becoming increasingly aware of the amount of religious material available to us in recent years.
When I say religious, I don't mean Christian; I mean things of every other religion on the world. Buddhist, Islam, New Age, eastern philosophies, the list goes on. All are being seen as "fashionable" , rather than religious as such.  I can't walk into a garden centre or landscape supplier without being bombarded with Buddhist statues and shrines, or down a weekend market without walking past a fortune teller or two, healing crystals, incense... It's all there!

 The Shrinking Church?

One would have to agree that if there is a supply it would follow that there is a demand.
And yet it appears that church attendance is waning especially in the western countries, and people are increasingly dissatisfied with what is "on offer" in the main stream churches today.
 It causes me to wonder: if churches are on the decrease because people are increasingly claiming to be Atheists (Denying the existence of God) or Agnostic (having no formal belief system or religion); and yet there is an increase of all the eastern and new-age religions, what do we really believe?
This also leads me to think that while people may say they are atheist or Agnostic, they still have a need to believe in something or someone higher than themselves.

The Need to Believe

I have heard it said that in each human being is created the need to search for its creator. We all have a "built-in God seeker" as it were. Some people choose to ignore it (atheism) others seek it out in human relationships, philosophies, religions of all types, etc. we all need to belong, be loved and be valued. This is how we are wired.
I am disturbed by the fact that people are leaving the church and the Christian faith in search for the Truth.   Jesus said: "I am the way, the Truth and the Life. No man comes to the Father but through me. " (John 14:6). Why are we leaving the truth in search for Him?
My thinking is that Christianity is not considered fashionable, in fact many people (especially young people) think it is definitely old-fashioned. They also see it as boring, and the "churches are just full of hypocrites". We are guilty of not showing people the Truth. In fact, we have made church a social organisation that is relevant only for a certain section of our community. An Anglican priest once told me about his church that it is fast becoming a boutique religion, suitable only for a dying group of people.  In other words, he was saying that he feared that the church has lost its relevance.
Now I want to be absolutely clear here that in no way do I believe that every church and church organisation is in decline and no longer relevant. There are some large churches that really are impacting our community and society in a very positive way, and making a real difference in people's lives.
Jesus said "You will know the Truth, and the Truth will make you free" (John 8:32).

Do you really know what you believe?

My challenge is that knowing what you believe is about studying it in intimate detail; seeking out the paths to better understanding what you believe.
I know my wife. I spend time with her, have conversations with her, hold her hand and kiss her, I listen to her (not often enough she says) and hear her thoughts, opinions, values, fears, and passions. Spending quality time with her makes me know her. Because I invest time in our relationship, I feel I truly do know her.
My concern is that as Christians, we do not spend enough quality time getting to know our saviour. We make no time for intimacy, and through a lack of this knowledge we actually miss out on God's amazing best for our lives.
If we don't know our Saviour, who also happens to be the creator of the universe, then how can we actually know what we believe?

Carnality has taken hold in the church.

I was talking to a dear friend and mentor about this recently, and she raised this subject with me as a great concern. As Christians, we are not separated anymore, she said, we have so much of the world in the church, it is difficult to differentiate us from the world. The result is that we just don't appeal to people who are looking for truth and belonging.
Romans 8:6 "For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. 7 Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. 8 So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 But you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. Now if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is not His."
Here is a warning that what we have been rescued from, we are not to allow back into our lives.
Being separated from the world does not mean we are exclusive from the world, but that we set the standard that people should aspire to.
This means being above reproach! Christians should have greater levels of integrity than anyone else. Christians should know what our faith demands of us, and how the Holy Spirit helps us to achieve that.
Our faith is about relationship with the Creator of the Universe; the Saviour of humankind. We have the Answer living in us! If we really know what we believe, we know that!

I mentioned integrity. Sadly I think this is a quality that is missing in many Christians today. We just don’t walk the talk. I said before, we should be setting the standard. What was it that attracted early seekers to the church? They were different. The Bible says: “together they had all things in common.” Together. Unity. Blessing. There is great reward in intimate relationship with Jesus, but there is also a cost.

You can't give what you don't have.

 If you don't have it in you, you can't give it out.  What we believe should not only affect who we are, but also influence those we come in contact with us.  If I don't know what I believe, how can I share it with others; either verbally or by example?
This is an important question. However, a more pertinent question is: if you don't know what you believe, where will you spend eternity?
The last thing I want my God to say when I stand before Him is “Depart from Me, I never knew you”
Food for thought?

Have a great week!


Thursday 10 May 2012

GRACE... AGAIN (part 2)

GRACE, AGAIN. (part 2).

In this blog, I continue the thoughts about the Grace of God, how we understand it, versus what the Bible teaches. (please see below for part 1)


Romans 8:1 :"There is therefore now no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit."
Romans 8:5-8
"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, nor indeed can be. So then, those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
Galatians 6:8
Those who live only to satisfy their own sinful nature will harvest decay and death from that sinful nature. But those who live to please the Spirit will harvest everlasting life from the Spirit."


Read this passage twice:
John 15:1-8
“ I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit He prunes, that it may bear more fruit. You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me.
“ I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned. If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so you will be My disciples."

In Me

I want you to notice two things:
1) the phrase "in Me" is in this passage 6 times;
2) 5 times it is preceded by the word Abide.
The true key to our Christian life is in this passage in a nutshell: We are to abide in Christ. To be grafted in the vine means that the vine has to be cut in order for the graft to be inserted. The graft then has to take on all the nutrients that flow through the vine to assure its survival and ability to bear fruit.
If you have ever had a go at grafting, you will have found that sometimes a graft doesn't take. The graft then has to be removed because if it doesn't it will draw unnecessary nutrients from the vine that will not benefit the graft and may cause damage to the vine. Once the graft is removed, it is destroyed.
Note also the warning that Christ gave in verse 2: "Any branch IN ME that does not bear fruit, He (the Father) takes away, and every branch that bears fruit He prunes that it may hear more fruit"
In this verse I see judgement and grace.
In Me means grafted. No fruit means no change. No change means the Father cuts off that branch and throws it away. This is judgement.
Bearing fruit means that God by His Grace prunes us: SO THAT WE MAY BEAR MORE FRUIT. Grace makes up the shortfall. God wants us to be fruitful, and then he prunes us (takes away the stuff that holds us back) so that we may bear more fruit!
I saw a great definition of grace on Facebook the other day: "Grace: God's divine power exerting Influence upon the heart of man. Grace doesn't grant us permission to live in the flesh, but the power to live in the Spirit." Col Stringer.


Let's look at this next scripture:
Hebrews 12:1-2
"Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God."
You know what? Life isn't easy. Doing things God's way can be tough! But God gives us the instruction manual AND His Holy Spirit to help us and guide us. And the great cloud of witnesses are cheering us on!! God knows the pitfalls and downfalls of this life. Jesus walked this earth and experienced all the troubles, problems, challenges and temptations that this world offers and He overcame. We too can overcome. The Bible says in Revelation 12:11; " by the blood of the Lamb and the word of our testimony." hallelujah !!


I want to pull one more scripture about grace out and present it to you. It is the parable of the lost sheep.
Jesus talks in Matthew 18 on the subject of who is the greatest in heaven. Basically He says that unless you become like a little child, you can't even get into the kingdom of heaven! (vs3)
He then likens greatness in the Kingdom to the humbleness of a little child. Ok keep that thought in mind as you travel to verse 12 & 13:
Parable of the Lost Sheep
“If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them wanders away, what will he do? Won’t he leave the ninety- nine others on the hills and go out to search for the one that is lost? And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice over it more than over the ninety- nine that didn’t wander away!"
This is a great passage on God's grace. Jesus will come looking for you when you become lost! And before you think about grace applying to people in rebellion, I want to point out the Jesus is still talking about little children. Little children are easily trained and corrected and when lost, they want to be found.
When thinking about the sheep I also think of the passage in John 10:27-29
"My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me. I give them eternal life, and they will never perish. No one can snatch them away from me, for my Father has given them to me, and he is more powerful than anyone else. No one can snatch them from the Father’s hand."
Don't you just love Grace??

I hope this study has helped you as it has me get a better understanding of the Magnitude and the Magnificence of God's grace. I pray that you don't abuse it, and that you learn what it means to abide in the Vine.
If this has helped you, or if you disagree, please drop me a note.
Sorry it is such a long subject, but I think we are far from finished with the discussions and the discoveries of this thing called Grace.
Have a great week!