Worship Nights

4 times a year, we have our Worship Nights.  These nights are my absolute favorite, and I’m not at all ashamed to say it.  The entire night’s focus is putting all glory onto God.  We gather to sing, worship, praise, prophecy, and pray as sons and daughters of the King.

I have absolutely loved what these nights have become.  They started as a small idea to let those who serve Sundays fully enter into worship, not worrying about their Sunday duties.  They’ve transformed into a church wide event, where people show up so hungry to go after the presence of God as we enter His throne room with praise.

Many of you have been to our worship nights, I’ve heard some of the coolest stories that have come out of them.  But many of you who have followed my journey over the past few years, and recently with YEARofWORSHIP have been unable to attend, so this post is for you.

This is the audio of our last worship night.  I set my phone in the back of the room to record it.  Mostly for my mom, partially because I feel I learn a lot from listening back to what we do, but here it is for you.  There are kids and team talking in the back and points, nothing about this recording is perfect, but it’s our heart for worship, and for who God is.

My favorite part starts at around 56 minutes in.  I explain what we wanted to do, but when it happens?  Ah, so amazing.

I love this team, I love what we get to do in this city, and I love that I have an opportunity to pour everything I have into this right now.  If you’re interested in partnering with me, check out the link below.

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2014 in numbers + love.

By the end of this year, our worship team will have:

Played 196 services…

Lead 862 songs…

Lead 27 sessions of worship at special events…

Rehearsed for 308 hours in our studios…

Set up and tore down our gear 441 times..

Did 215 sound checks…

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This team works hard, and I’m so proud of them.  And this is why I’m doing what I’m doing with the YEARofWORSHIP.

I’m doing this because God told me to, of course.  But I really love these people.  I love their hearts.  I love how they worship.  And I love how they love each other.

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I really have the best job in the world.

 

 

“Where there is no vision…

… the people perish.”  – Proverbs 29:18

I went to Savannah, Georgia about a month ago.  The goal was to take a breath away from the crazy world that is New York City.  I had felt bogged down by all the tiny details that are a part of running a worship team.

I wanted God to speak to me on a bigger level, about both my team, and YEARofWORSHIP.

On my second day there, I found myself sitting in an old, beautiful church.

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I sat there thinking how beautiful it was.  And how the buildings where we gather in New York City look nothing like this.  I wondered how we make church beautiful.  God felt that was a good moment to chime in.

“I don’t need stained glass windows and ornate objects…”  He told me.  What I need is…  and what followed has since become the statement I have given my team about what we are building.

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“THAT is what will make my house beautiful” He said.

Well, okay.  Yes and amen.

 

 

 

The Man Came Alive.

10405486_680749502149_7572946143855731276_nI love the song “Great Are You Lord” by All Sons and Daughters, but it came to life for me in a new way this weekend at the Hillsong Conference.

Judah Smith spoke a message where he talked about the verse above.  How we were nothing before God breathed life into us.  My friend Tyler pointed out something beautiful that I hadn’t thought about as well.  It doesn’t say God simply released life, or just breathed life… That He blew life into Adam’s nostrils, He had to get close.  How beautiful is that thought?

God gets close to give us life.  The lyrics of “Great Are You Lord” say:

It’s Your breath, in our lungs,

So we pour out our praise, we pour out our praise.

It’s Your breath, in our lungs,

So we pour out our praise to You, only.

Literally, His breath, His life, in our lungs.  How can you NOT worship with it?

God is awesome.

 

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Kintsukuroi (金繕い)

I recently discovered the art of Kintsukuroi:

Kintsugi (金継ぎ) (Japanese: golden joinery) or Kintsukuroi (金繕い) (Japanese: golden repair) is the Japanese art of fixing broken pottery with lacquer resin dusted or mixed with powdered gold, silver or platinum.  As a philosophy it speaks to breakage and repair becoming part of the history of an object, rather than something to disguise.

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I’m so in love with this idea.  I actually purchased a piece of it the same day I found out about it, because I wanted a constant reminder of this concept.

And this is just art, imagine how the God of the universe feels about repairing broken things.

YOU are not broken.

YOU are not beyond repair.

YOU are a daughter or a son of the creator of the universe.  And HE adores you.  HE restores you, and the way He restores you is more beautiful than gold.

“The Lord is close to those who are of a broken heart, and saves such as are crushed with sorrow for sin and are humbly and thoroughly penitent.”Psalm 34:18

“He refreshes and restores my life; He leads me in the paths of righteousness [uprightness and right standing with Him-not for my earning it, but] for His name’s sake. “Psalm 23:3

With God, YOU are restored.

With God, YOU are made new.

And with God, it is EVEN BETTER than before.

 

 

 

 

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Forgiven

Brian Johnson – Forgiven

This song has been completely ruining me lately.

At our Good Friday service I struggled to sing any of it with our worship pastor, because I was a crying mess.

When I talked to our lead pastor Andi about doing this song last week to go with her “Forgiven” message, a tiny part of me was hoping she’d say no, because it overwhelms me (in the best possible way).

Thankfully, grace covers my emotion when I need to lead others, but man, I am so wrecked by His love. It makes no sense. It is good and abundant and covers us when we are both ugly and beautiful. When we are something to be proud of, and when we are not. When we are forgiving and unforgiving. When we are holy, when we are worldly. When we are kind and when we are mean. When we are generous and when we are uncharitable. His love always covers us. His love is always overwhelming.

I was listening to the Brooklyn recording of worship on my way to our Union Square service last night and I had an image pop into my head. It was nothing crazy, just an image of what the song is saying, but once again, I cried.

I saw myself at the foot of the cross. Beautiful, whole, and clean, wearing white and flowers, the perfect version of me, crying on the ground, being comforted and embraced by a bloodied, beaten and crucified Jesus.

That might sound a little brutal, but that’s what He did for us.  We are beautiful and perfect and whole because of the cross. It is incredible, and I am undone.

And this is why we worship. How could you not?  How could you contain a love like this?  How could you not be on your knees?  Once you know, you are never the same. Once grace, mercy and love catches you, you are never, ever the same.

God is so so so so so good.

… and we can’t help ourselves.

A handful of my worship team did Bethel’s WorshipU over the Fall.

I took so much away from it, but one of the things that has continued to stick with me the most, is one of the last sessions I watched.

I quickly fell behind in WorshipU, busy work/life made me choose to skip a few sessions, and I skipped a 2.5 hour worship session, led by Sean Feucht.

My friend Tim pointed out a section that made the entire thing unmissible, and I’d have to agree.

Sean was talking about why he worships, and his answer astounded me.

“We’re totally inebriated and intoxicated with the beauty of who He is, we can’t help ourselves.”

It floored me.  It is the most beautiful answer.  And it begged the question: How often is that MY answer?

Our worship should always come from that overflow.  Regardless of life’s current situation.  We should always be absolutely in awe of who HE is, in every circumstance.

This post is a simple one.  I just wanted to share the thought, because it was incredibly impactful for me, even months later.

 

A Song of Victory

My friend Tyler sent me this song a little while ago…  But for some reason, this past week, it’s lit a new fire.

Will Reagan – Take Back

With the Wind at our backs
And in the strength of the Lord
We will rise on the wings of the dawn

We’re gonna take back all the enemy has stolen

With the Wind at our backs
And in the strength of the Lord
We will rise on the wings of the dawn

We’re gonna take back all the enemy has stolen
We’re gonna take back all the enemy has stolen

It’s in the Blood of the One who’s Worthy
I know God has not forgotten all that’s lost and broken
So come and see the turning of the tides
Come and see his sons and daughters rise

For how could He who did not spare His own Son
Not freely give us victory against the darkest of nights

We’re gonna take back all the enemy has stolen
We’re gonna take back all the enemy has stolen

We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell
We’re going to plunder the pits of hell

It’s in the Blood of the One who’s Worthy
It’s in the Blood of the One who’s Worthy

You’re Worthy
You’re Worthy
You’re Worthy
You’re Worthy

 

Proverbs 18:21 says: “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and they who indulge in it shall eat the fruit of it [for death or life].”

There is so much power in the words you speak AND the words you sing.  Sing from a place of victory, for the battle has already been won.

 

Living Water

God gave me the most vivid and clear vision I’ve ever had about 6 weeks ago.  I had a pretty good understanding of it, but it wasn’t until last week that I felt I got the last piece of what God was communicating, and naturally, I’m excited to share it, because it blew my mind.

I’m mostly a ‘to the point’ person, so I’ll do my best to paint this picture for you.  (Descriptive writing was not my strong suit)

In the beginning of the vision, I saw a heart.  Around the heart, was a dam.  Water started to pour out of the heart, and the dam was broken.

I then saw myself standing on this really beautiful piece of land, it wasn’t like anything I have actually seen before.  As the water continued to pour out, it covered the land.  But it was calm, and nothing about this was scary.  As the water rose, I rose with it, standing on the water.  It got to a point, where I was so high, I looked up and saw God.  He was sitting with Jesus, looking down onto the land with absolute adoration.  When I looked back down, I realized I was in a position where I was seeing the world, exactly the way God saw it in that moment.

The water receded, and the land was even more beautiful than before.  Everything was clean.  Everything was new.  Literally, sparkling.

SO, fast forward to last week, I was talking about this vision, and someone said to me, ‘it’s interesting it was water, like living water.’

YES.  I was so overtaken by the beautiful scene that God has given to me, I didn’t immediately tie it to scripture.

John 7:37-39 says:

“On the last day of the feast, the great day, Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.  Whoever believes in me, as the Scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.’” Now this he said about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were to receive, for as yet the Spirit had not been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified.”

I knew this scripture, but I felt what God showed me is not only will living water (the Holy Spirit) flow from your heart, but you can see the world the way He sees it when this happens.

This was all weeks ago, and I’m still blown away by it.

What’s crazy awesome, is God WANTS to give us so many things.  The outpouring of the Holy Spirit, seeing the world, and His people, the way He sees it…   And it often seems the only thing that truly interferes, is ourselves.

For me, I am doing my best to not be in the way.   To stop second guessing, self editing, and just be a conduit (see what I did there?) for Him to do what He wants to do through me.

It is,  by far, the best partnership that we will ever get to be a part of.

 

Conduit

God has been up to something at Liberty Church.

I can’t explain it, but I’m glad I can’t.  The second I can comprehend what God is up to with my little human mind, He’s not really God anymore.  I’ve learned to embrace and love the unexpected.

Two pretty cool things happened Sunday night, one of which I shared with my Worship team, and I want to share with you as well.

I led worship at our Brooklyn Community on Sunday morning.  We did the song “Set a Fire”.  I was walking to my apartment, from the train, and praying those lyrics.

Set a fire, down in my soul.  That I can’t contain, and I can’t control.  I want more of you God.  I want more of you God.

I was praying and asking God for more of Him, in every second of my life.  To have more Words for people, to see more healings and miracles, to be full of Him in every single thing I do, and to be used for His glory.

Then I just heard God say, “a conduit.”

I knew what this word meant, but wanted to look it up when I got home to make sure I was right.  This is the definition.

con·duit

noun \ˈkän-ˌdü-ət, -ˌdyü- also -dwət, -dət\

: a pipe or tube through which something (such as water or wire) passes

: someone or something that is used as a way of sending something (such as information or money) from one place or person to another.

YES.  (God nailed it, as He does.)  That’s exactly what I want to be.  I simply want to be the thing that God has to pass through, (when He needs me to be that of course, otherwise i’m happy to get out of the way) to send his love, mercy, grace, Word, etc., to others.  That literally, I am a vessel that’s only used for Him to pass through, from one place to another, from one person to another.

When I’m leading worship, I often pray, and picture, that I am solely a vessel for what God wants to do on a Sunday.  That what comes out of my mouth is from Heaven, and goes directly out into our House.  That I am a pipe or tube voice through which something (such as water or wire anything God wants) passes.

God blows my mind, and I know He continually will, because He’s God.  He ALLOWS for us be used in this way, which doesn’t make any sense.  He sent Jesus to die on the cross for us, then chooses to partner with us to build His Kingdom.  He created EVERYTHING, and yet He lets us play a part.  This makes no sense, but I am forever grateful that we get to be used for His glory.

To be a conduit, from Heaven to earth, is a goal I’m incredibly excited to live for.