Those that Came Before Us

I’ve waited a few weeks to post this as I know the rumor mill regarding my parents, but after the “revelation” I’ve had over the past two weeks, I want to share something I’ve learned.

My Dad’s in the middle of some transition and he’s moving to Nashville. While he gets planted in this community, he’s staying with us. I shared this with a couple of friends and they shared their concerns/hesitations about this. We had a few of our own, but something hit me like a lightening bolt: I’m getting the opportunity to return the investment my Dad made in me.

My parents are both pretty wise, both are “people” people. They instilled leadership, solution finding, and excellence in me for as long as I remember. Almost all of the blessings I enjoy in my life today are as a result of what they invested in me. Dad staying here with us for a few weeks/month while he gets his roots planted in Nashville is just a chance for the investments my Dad made in me to be returned to him. Most folks don’t get to give back to their parents until their old… we get to do it today.

Are you investing for your future in your relationships, not just your 401K?

mjd

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What I was made for…

Last weekend was such a reminder about who I am, who Chels and I are together. We entered into this season of our lives a year ago knowing that it would be tough but rewarding. It has been and will continue to be, but leading has put the taste of it in my mouth again. I miss it.

For me, it was another moment when I remembered that music is not a talent that I have, it’s a gifting that I’ve been given. I had quit even praying for the opportunity to lead again. I’ve taught so hard for years now that each of us has to use the gifts we’ve been given so the church can be what it was made to be. If you’re a teacher and you’re not teaching, the church is hurting. If you’re a prophet and you’re not prophesying, the church is hurting. I started praying again for the opportunity to lead, for Chels and I to lead together. Not to be on staff at a church, or move, or leave our home church, just for the opportunity to lead again…

Chelsea and I had this discussion on Sunday on the way home from leading worship at FC, and I prayed God, open the doors and i’ll walk through them. We got a phone call from another worship leader after the conversation asking us if we would be interested in leading worship with them in January. The answer was an easy “yes” after the prayers. So here’s to us praying for more opportunities and taking them as God opens those doors…

mjd

Unintentional Worship

I’m in Kincardine, Ontario. It’s a small summer-resort town on the coast of Lake Huron. I went to the beach last night to watch the sunset. There were dozens of people on the beach playing games, talking, and taking pictures. For the 30 seconds when the sun disappeared, the people all got quite and turned their attention to the sunset in chorus. I was standing back behind the people, so watching the whole process was incredible. Immediately after the sunset, a bagpiper (this community has a strong Scottish heritage), stood on the deck of the lighthouse and “serenaded” the community.

I’m sure there were few believers there with me on the beach tonight, but unintentionally stopped, took a second and worshiped God on the beach last night. They acknowledged the beauty of His creation and the majesty of His master plan. As a believer, it was moving to watch their unintentional worship…

Did you take 30 seconds to worship the creator yesterday?

Lessons Learned: 06/22/2008

-Write what you learn and review it often – everyone has experiences, few truly learn from them.
-LAX sucks, allow yourself 3 hours to get out any time you fly out of here.
-The wedding you perform is never about you – your humor, your performance, your approval.
-Address animosity and anger with tenderness, love, and compassion – you never know what’s going on behind the scenes.
-Nobody likes surprises – unless it’s their birthday.
-I should be developing a Personal Development Plan – I don’t think that’s going to be fun.

Buying a Home

This whole process in not easy. We’re having a hard time finding what we want – and we don’t even know where we would want what we want. We have 3 months until our lease is up on our apartment. Our apartment is great – 1,600 s/f. But I’m ready to have a yard, a back porch, and no third floor (we’re in a 3 level town-house). I don’t want to settle for whatever isn’t right for us.

Every need we’ve ever had, God has set the supply right in front of us – apartment, cars, furniture, instruments, money for specific bills… so whenever I don’t feel like we’ve seen it, I struggle with moving at all (revisit the story of Saul and the Amhalikites (sp?)). 3 months to go – I’m sure we’ll know for sure when the time comes.

mjd

DTRs

I’m not sure if anyone else still says this, but growing up, we had a friend who dreaded DTRs (talks where you Define the Relationship). I think most of us have weeks, even months and years that we avoid DTRs with God, because we’re afraid of when the truth comes out. When you compare your relationship with others, you come out smelling like roses, but when you actually sit alone with the Lord and ask Him if he’s pleased with you, and if you’re living up to His expectations – you’re afraid of what he might just say.

Funny thing with Him is – he forgets. No really, he does. We blame our fear of DTRs on realizing what God thinks of us – but he always thinks of us with love. The truth is we hate DTRs because it must result in change in us. DANG! That’s tough.

Have a good night, friends!

mjd

Worship Leader, Worship Pastor, or Musician

I was recently talking with a friend who’s launching a church and he asked me what my expectations would be if I were interviewing or hiring someone to lead worship for a church plant – here are my thoughts.

-I’ve seen 3 camps of people who lead worship. None of these are worse or better than any other, they’re just based on the needs and vision of the church.

Musician
I’ve seen lots of this in Nashville. This category (for me) is made of great players and vocalists who stand on front of the stage. Their ability to lead people into worship is non-existent. They deliver a good quality show that people applaud – often people just sit and watch these people exhibit their talents on the stage. These folks are most commonly found in the extreme seeker-sensitive church or in new church plants who are just looking to fill spots. The guys usually practice a chart according to a CD and they don’t vary. If it’s a single chorus, they’re going to keep it that way.

Worship Leaders
These folks are typically passionate about leading people into worship. They’ve taken it from musicianship to helping facilitate and serve others. These folks usually spend time prepping by writing charts, working arrangements, and plugging in the right musicians to the right spots. They do a good job on the stage of not just standing and singing but actually prompting the band of where to go (repeats, breaks, etc.) and helping the worshipers by giving them directions (sing that again, feeding the next word or phrase) and sometimes change songs on the spot to follow what’s happening in the room at the time. These folks often have good relationships with their teams and have developed great leadership skills.

Worship Pastors

My dad had this title at FC – I had this title at UC. I hear a lot of churches toss this title around and give it to lots of people who aren’t (and more importantly, aren’t interested in) pastors. Pastors are shepherds – more than just a leader, they shepherd the people who serve with them. They usually exhibit all of the items I wrote about in the Worship Leader section. The problem with those who are Worship Pastors, is that Sr. Pastors are often looking for less pastoring and more music-oriented serving from them. Another problem worship “pastors” run into is that they tend to draw people to themselves rather than to the vision of the church. It is good to have these folks in a church plant when you’re short on staff – they can multi-task to handle music and and shepherding people in the church.

What do you think?

mjd

Worship Pastor, You’ve Got to Read This

HOLY COW! This may be “old hat” for some of you, but I just read a story for the first time in my life.

Background: Moses and Aaron have been implementing a ton of rules from the Lord – hundreds of rules about sin, sacrifice etc. (See Numbers 1-15) In Numbers 15, someone breaks the Sabbath – this is the first time it happens so Moses and Aaron pray for the appropriate punishment – God says stoning. Do you feel like that’s a little rough? Would you have urged them to reconsider?

Here it is: Korah (a Levite – you’ve got to read this post to understand more about the responsibilities of the Levites) gathers two families and 250 chief priests together and rebel (just in speech) and say, “You have gone too far! For all in the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Why then do you exalt yourselves above the assembly of the Lord.” (Numb 16:3)

Moses’ Response: (worship leaders and other non-senior pastors, you’ve GOT to get this) “It it too small a thing for you that the God of Israel has separated you from the congregation of Israel to bring you near to himself, to do service in the tabernacle of the Lord and to stand before the congregation to minister to them, and that he has brought you near him…what is Aaron that you grumble against him?” Did you get that? Do you understand what’s happening? They enjoy eating from everyone else’s fruit (they get a take off of the sacrifices from the tabernacle), they live near the presence of God (they actually are distanced from the rest of Israel.) Those closest to the King – set to minister to the Lord and His people, to watch His house are not worried about everyone else – they don’t like being told what to do!

The Result: They die. The two families are swallowed by the earth and the 250 chief priests are killed with fire. The people grumble the next day about the destruction Moses has caused. God begins a plague among His people and Moses and Aaron begin to make atonement for them and only 14,700 die.

This has some crazy deep implications for church leadership today. Make no mistake – character issues and sin has to be addressed within church leadership – but the rebellion cloaked in “caring leadership” brings death to the leaders, and even worse – to the camp.

I’ve got to chew on this one…

mjd

For more posts on the Levites:
The Levites Who Forgot their Jobs
The Levites: Taking a Shortcut
The Levite Priests: Representing All People
The Levite Priets: A Dirty Job

ARC: Greg Surratt

I really enjoyed this session. Greg’s an excellent speaker who just lays it on the line – who he is – when he speaks. He’s the pastor of Seacoast Church, which has 12 campuses all over the Carolinas. He said he classified modern church history in 4 movements (please keep in mind this is my interpretation of his interpretation, lol):

1. We want revival! It’s the movement where people would speak about the presence of God falling and even see it happen sometimes (Toronto Blessing and Brownsville), but in most churches, there was no true evangelism. The revival everyone wanted seemed self-serving. Altar calls at every service.
2. Seeker-Driven. This was the Willow Creek age – very performance driven. It was during this movement that excellence really began to play a large role in planning and execution. Watch us worship God. No altar calls, no communion during services, etc.
3. Seeker-Sensitive. This is the Saddleback era. Excellence was still very important, but after you were done watching, we wanted you to eventually come with us on our journey. End with a committment prayer and dismiss, no action on decisions during services.
4. Experiential. This is when the church realizes that we live in an experience age. People can get cheaper mp3 players, but they get the iPod, they could get cheaper coffee, but they want the experience of Starbucks.

Greg was at a place where he felt like he wanted the experience. He had the experience in many different places, but not at home in his church. They changed their format to 10-15 minutes of worship upfront, followed by the message, and a response time. During the response time, they have “stations” set up: the cross for people to nail sin to, communion in another area, candles and intercession in another. They said it feels kind of like chaos, but since doing it, they’ve seen people who were skeptical about it, engage in it and thousands more are becoming a part of their house.

What do you think?

mjd