Saturday 17 March 2012

Keeping the worship passion alive!

By way of introduction. This blog is dedicated to my pastor Brian Clothier who preached on the subject of " Having a fervent spirit for serving God".
The blog is based on my notes taken during the message.

Life is tidal.
It has its highs and lows, its ups and downs. One day you feel great, the next day not so great. You will hear the preacher exhort you from the pulpit: "Don't allow your feelings to determine your level of greatness. "
That's easier said than done. Bad things happen to good people. Life can be tough, and the pain of life is sometimes insurmountable. Excitement wanes, and it causes us to reconsider; do we want to go on and continue doing what we have been doing, or do we just give up altogether?
Here are 5 keys which I believe will help you keep the worship fire well lit and the passion alive:

1) God will give you the energy to keep going.
When we are in ministry, and obedient to God's call, the Holy Spirit energises us. Jesus said: "my food is to do the will of God"(John 4:34). What God has called you to do and what He has gifted you in will energise you. I have known of friends in the ministry and even myself, who, even though tired from the ministry workload, are continually amazed at the strength and vitality they continue to have when doing God's work. My brother once shared with me about a time he was ministering overseas, and the people kept coming to him for prayer. The Holy Spirit was moving in a mighty way and miracles were happening left and right. My brother said that even though he knew he should be really tired as the time was well past midnight, he was amazed at the amount of energy he had. This continued right up until he was back in his hotel room and he collapsed in bed and slept 10 hours! God made sure he had the energy to continue in his anointing as long as was necessary.

2) Don't burn out.
When God finished His creation work, the bible says He rested. Was God tired from making all that stuff? Certainly not! I believe this was set in place for our benefit. No one can continuously work seven days a week. Sure you can do it for a time, but sooner or later you are going to crash and burn. We are not designed to just keep going constantly without a break. What am I saying? Keep a healthy balance between work, ministry and down time. I have been in situations that have required me to work hard and long hours to provide for my family, my Saturdays were then taken up with looking after the maintenance around the house, and looking after kids, etc and then the expectation was for me to be at church early on Sunday morning, ( usually around 7:30am) and be there until 12:30, go home, have lunch and a quick break, ready to start back at church at 4.00pm to get ready for the 6.00pm service thigh would take me through to about 8.00pm. By then I would stagger home, looking for a weekend! This is not sustainable!!! If you are a worship leader and have that sort of demand placed on you, be careful; you run the risk of burning out. Make sure you get down time, and if at all possible, share the load.
Romans 12:11 says: "Don't burn out, keep yourself fuelled and aflame in serving the Master. " God wants us all to serve Him with fervency and zeal.
Successful sports or business people constantly reinvigorate and re-invent themselves. Don't be so driven that you burn out. Maintain the balance of work, rest and play. If you stretch yourself too far you will snap.

3) Passion and Persistence Pays.
Education and/or intelligence by themselves are not enough to make you successful. You may have great musical ability and a beautiful voice. I have met plenty of people with lots of technical knowledge about music and song structure , and yet they have not been able to turn that knowledge into great worship. There is a difference between being really talented and being passionate. Recently I watched a music class give a performance. There were 2 young ladies in particular who both had nice voices. The stand out difference between the two was one girl's passion with which she presented her song. My observation was : she was living her music.
Persistence, consistency, tenacity, passion, desire and enthusiasm are the ingredients that will make an average person superior. Lethargy, complacency and indifference are the ingredients for making a superior person average.
People are looking for strong leadership (including in worship) and generally it is those with a passion that will draw followers, rather than just great and knowledgable thinkers who have no spunk.
If you don't want your fire to go out, watch out for complacency.

4) Watch out for familiarity.
After having done the same thing for so long you become bored with it. We see it in marriage, work, friendships and on the stage. Worship leading is not just about putting together another bunch of songs for this Sunday's service.
How many times have you found a new app for your iPhone, or a new fad going around your circle of friends; you are totally taken in by it and consumed by it until after a while you become bored with it and it dies its natural death.
We often hear about a familiar spirit, one which causes us to lose respect for people or things we should consider sacred or holy. Familiarity is a very dangerous attitude in the ministry. When we become too familiar with worship leading, complacency can cause us to lose our passion. And, let me say, people will notice, and so does God. And I want to warn you, this is not acceptable to God. In fact I believe it is offensive to Him. The anointing will be affected.

5) Let others' passion rub off on you.
God's call on your life is about impacting people for Jesus. It is important to be around fervent people, whose excitement will rub off on us. Be spurred on by the passion of others.
John prophesied Jesus would baptise us with fire
Matthew 3:11 says: "I indeed baptize you with water unto repentance, but He who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire."
Get together with God and ask him to revitalise you. Rekindle the fire in your spirit by prayer, reading God's word, getting around great worship, and letting others rub off on you. Don't forget, a jug can not pour out what is isn't filled with. And once you empty a jug, you have to refill it before you can pour more out. I know that statement sounds really simplistic, but the truth of it runs deep. You can not continue to give of yourself in ministry without filling yourself up.
I love going to other churches where I am not known and drowning myself in their worship. I love listening to great live worship music while I travel, and I love getting around my good friends and pastor who regularly encourage me and whose passion for Jesus keeps me charged up!

Well, there you have it. Five important keys to keeping the passion alive. Be encouraged, worship leader; you have an important role to play in the economy of God and in the worship service. Treat your ministry with the honour and respect that God deserves. If you are offering your worship to God, let it be a sweet smelling fragrance to Him. It will be the most important thing you do this Sunday.
Have a great one!


Tuesday 6 March 2012

Life changers, World changers.

The Man in the mirror

Michael Jackson got it right. In the song : "man in the mirror" he sings 
I'm looking at the man in the mirror
I'm telling him to change his ways
No message   could be any clearer
If you want to make the world a better place
You gotta look at your self and make the change"
Change the world, begin with yourself. 

World Changers

Each one of us has a purpose in life; a holy calling. 
It has been dawning on me in recent weeks that God has put us in this world at this time and in this place for a special purpose. There is a reason why we exist, why here and why now. This is a very important thing to realise, because it validates who I am and who you are. Our place and time on this earth is no mere accident, no matter what anyone says. 

Throughout time there have been people whose actions have had a major influence on the course of history: Some to a large extent and others to a small extent, but history makers none the less. These people I call World changers.


In a previous blog, I spoke of the Biblical heroes of the faith who died not ever having seen the fulfilment of the promise of God. Did that make them failures? Certainly not! The fact that they obeyed God in the face of defeat, without seeing the fulfilment of their purpose made them heroes. These people were life changers whose actions changed the World. God had radically influenced their lives to bring them to a complete change of direction. Through their obedience and faith, God was able to change the course of history to set it in the right direction to achieve His ultimate purpose. 
I wonder sometimes what my purpose in life is, and how I could ever make a difference I this world; how I could change the course of history. You know, I may never know. 
Your calling and mine are no different. Who knows just what God has planned for the people that we touch. 

Worship Leader, Life Changer

I love that as a worship leader, I have a privileged opportunity to bring people into the very throne room of God. Only God knows what he will do with that person in that place.  And if that one has an audience with the most high and has a revolutionary revelation, which  changes their life and in turn the course of history, we share in that. I can't stress enough how important you are in the scheme of things.
We have an amazing opportunity to be used of God to be life changers.  
Every piece in a puzzle is needed to complete a picture. I don't know if you have ever completed a puzzle, perhaps one with a piece of blue sky in it. There are many pieces which all look the same. You might say their position in the overall puzzle is not important; they don't display any particular colours or shapes which set them apart and give an obvious clue as to their position in the picture. However, when the puzzle is done and all the pieces are in place, if a piece of that sky is missing, the puzzle would not look right, the missing piece would leave a very obvious hole, and the picture would not be complete as the designer intended it to be. Not only that, but no other piece will fit in its place.  Do you see? 

As a worship leader, your part in the church is vital; you are called to be a life changer. When you lead your congregation in anointed worship, you are bringing them into a life-changing place where miracles happen and where God meets his people face to face. 
As a Christian you are called to be a life changer. Find where you fit. There is a special place for you, and the Designer is looking for you to fill that gap and be that part of the puzzle designed uniquely for you! 

Have an amazing week.