The NYC Subway and How You Play Music

Last year, I visited New York City with our church’s youth group.  I had been to NYC once before, when I was a teen.  This time, I had the responsibility of leading the group.

We were using the subway system as our only method of transportation for the week.  To prep for it, I studied our routes on the MTA site, charted our courses, and downloaded an app.  I typed out a card with the entire week’s schedule, the departure times, what stations to enter what train and when.  I had it all laid out.

Read More

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Service Planning: Overuse or Neglect?

Worship leaders at times fear repeating a song too often.  We’ll pass over a song as we are planning because we feel we’ve sung it too recently.

While there is a danger in wearing out a song (and I’m sure each of us has that song the congregation feels we sing too much), I have found the opposite to be true.  Repetition is necessary.

There is a point in time, somewhere between

Read More

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Helpful Resources: Song Select

You spend hours searching for the perfect song. Then, when you find it, it’s in the wrong key!  You’re leading the youth group in a worship service, and you know that no one is going to sing that high!

You could plug it into Finale, but you don’t have the time.  You could ask the pianist to transpose it, but she doesn’t do that.  What are you going to do?

Read More

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Music: Creating Moments that Last

photo credit | jerjones |morguefile.com

photo credit | jerjones |morguefile.com

Music is a passion of mine.  Learning it and creating it has been a major part of my life since my first piano lesson in second grade when Mrs. Croker taught me the black notes using the song “Peanut Butter and Jam.”  From the Broadway tunes I grew up singing to the moments of meaningful worship in church, I have always pursued music.  Now, as a part of my vocation, I get to lead a group of committed people in using music to worship.  It’s an awesome privilege!

Yet, if you’ve been involved in music for any length of time, you know that along with the times of inspiration come the challenges of planning a schedule, finding music for your musicians, balancing budgets, organizing rehearsals, rehearsing the music, and then executing well. No matter how much you love what you do, there are times of simply grinding it out.

What keeps a musician going when the notes become blah and the schedule becomes repetitive?

Read More

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

Book Review: I Am a Church Member by Rainer

I Am a Church Member by Rainer is a quick, easy read that will inspire you to keep a positive outlook on church membership.  Rainer begins the book with a story of two church members who have become friends.  As they meet for coffee weekly on Monday mornings, their friendship deepens.  At one of their meetings, one shares with the other his discontentment with their church.  He is becoming increasingly discouraged by the inconsistencies of the people of the church.  He doesn’t understand how his friend is still joyfully serving.

Read More

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

If Jesus had not risen… part 2

Earlier today, I wrote about what would be true if Jesus had not risen.

We often live as if the resurrection power of Christ is non existent.  As I pondered these thoughts, I couldn’t help but think of this video that I had seen.  Let it impact you.

Video Credit – ministry127.com

When we live without the resurrection in our view, we are a generation that lives without power.

Because of the resurrection, this generation can be different.  You don’t have to fall into the trap of dead religion, but you can trust in the Christ who is living right now, who, by His Spirit will radically change you into an un-recognizably different person. Today, start depending on the same power that raised up Jesus from the dead!

Are you trusting in the power of God today?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

If Jesus had not risen…, part 1

Today, we celebrate.  We remember.  We sing.  We rejoice!

But take a moment to consider “what if.”  What if Christ had not risen again?

Paul follows this trail of logic in I Corinthians 15:14.

And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.

So, what if Christ had not risen from the dead? Or, in other words, does the resurrection make a difference?

Read More

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

God’s Faithfulness in Relief

Image Credit firebrandphotography | Bigstockphoto.com

Image Credit firebrandphotography | Bigstockphoto.com

Tonight, I came across this draft that I wrote June 4, 2012, but never published.  I wrote it during the time when God had made the next step (moving to Anderson, SC and accepting the Youth/Music Pastor position at Oakwood Baptist) clear to us, and we were working hard to make it happen.  We were taking steps of faith and did not know what would happen next.  Seeing these words against the backdrop of what has transpired since then places the faithfulness of God in stark relief.  Here is what I wrote:

God is taking Candy and me through what could be considered the greatest test we’ve faced during our married lives.  As I posted here, we are in the process of moving, which poses challenges that, frankly, are beyond us.

To be honest, even thought it’s a challenging time, I’d rather be in this position than any other.  God has clearly revealed the next step to us.  Candy and I are united in following His plan for us.  By leading us in this direction, God is keeping us in a position where we have to depend on Him.  Ministry had been running smoothly according to my plans, but that could have continued in self-sufficiency.

Read More

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

This Step, by Faith

Image Credit HappyAlex | Bigstockphoto.com

Image Credit HappyAlex | Bigstockphoto.com

This post will be short.  Candy and I are busy getting things together for our move to a new ministry.

I’ll simply say that God has been good to us in giving us clear direction for the next step of our lives.  We are convinced that God is moving us to Anderson, SC to minister at Oakwood Baptist Church.

I will be the music/ youth pastor, along with leading the high school choirs in the school.  We are thrilled with this opportunity for several reasons.

  1. I am overjoyed at the privilege of serving on staff at the place where I was shaped and molded as a child and teen.  I hope to give back to those who have invested in me.
  2. The Lord has been turning my heart toward pastoral ministry.  I am excited to have a chance to exercise that calling while serving the youth of Oakwood.
  3. We greatly anticipate giving evidence of God’s grace at work in us over the recent years.  This ministry will be a testimony to the power of the gospel to change a timid boy into a leader for Jesus sake.
  4. My grandfather served as pastor of Oakwood in the 60s.  I am grateful to be able to follow in some of his footsteps.

We are sad to leave the people of Eastside, but we know that we are doing so in the will of God.  I know God has a great future in store for the church.

We a grateful for the many who are praying for us.  We ask that you would continue to do so.  Our desire is for God to use our lives for His glory and to display to others the gospel of Christ.

I may post more as time allows.

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail

The Extreme Importance of a Heart of Worship

image credit LincolnRodgers | bigstock.com

image credit LincolnRodgers | bigstock.com

A heart of worship is crucial in proving to a non-believer that faith in Christ is authentic –  that it’s real.

By “a heart of worship” I mean a heart that is riveted by the awesome beauty and majesty of God.  A heart focused on the death of Christ for our sins and His resurrection.  A heart that says “God is so valuable to me that other things are dim in comparison to His worth to me.”  A heart that motivates a Christian to count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. Philippians 3:8

I have the potential with my life either to say, “God is worth my life’s pursuit, and He’s worth yours, too.”  But it could also communicate, “I say Christ is everything, but I don’t really mean it.”

Let me say it this way.  When a person who doesn’t believe Christianity sees me live a life not marked by worshiping God, my life invalidates the message.

The life invalidates the message because inherent in the message of Christianity is the truth that something greater demands the focus of my existence.  Something bigger than money, sports games, the economy, clothing stores, and even relationships.

Not just something greater. Someone greater.

Someone who abandoned heaven for a decaying world.  Someone who endured excruciating agony for the salvation of men.  Someone who is and will forever be glorified with a name which is above every name. Philippians 2:9

Don’t misunderstand me.  God’s Word is the power that does the work of conversion – often in spite of us.  But my life can hinder the Word from even being heard.

A life that doesn’t scream, “God is amazing,” also says, “The message of Christianity is fake.”

God, revive in me a heart of worship.  Help my life to say loudly, “God is worth what His message says He is worth.” Keep me from living a life that discounts your truth.

How do you think a life of worship can help win validate the message of the gospel?

Facebooktwittergoogle_pluspinterestlinkedinmail