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.

 

 

The YEARofWORSHIP Video

If you’ve already visited YEARofWORSHIP, you may have seen the beautiful video made by my dear friend, Shawna Kaszer.

In April, when the decision was made to go in this direction with worship, I had coffee with Shawna, and told her about my very basic plan.  She asked me how I was planning on raising the sponsorships, and I really had no idea.  Like I mentioned in Goodbye Pride, asking for help is absolutely one of the hardest things about this whole journey for me.

So she said, ‘why don’t we make you a video?’  And bam, here we are.

Honestly, I had concerns that it would be weird.  Not because Shawna wasn’t capable, but I didn’t want to make something all about me.  But I love the finished product.  I love that it’s not all about me, because this isn’t all about me.  YEARofWORSHIP is about my team.  It’s about our church.  It’s about building and growing a community of worshippers in a city that influences the world.

If you haven’t yet, please watch it.  And tell Shawna how awesome she is.

And Shawna…  thank you.  Thank you for believing in me, thank you for making this, thank you for being awesome.

Why Worship?

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I’m a terrible blogger.  I’ve been silent.  But this time around, I’ve had pretty good reason.  Hooray for big changes, and even bigger leaps of faith.  Before I get into that, let me talk about worship for a second.

I used to be ‘that person’.  The person that would stand during worship, slightly judging everyone around me with their hands in the air, or God forbid, DANCING during worship.

I thought everyone who did these things was simply putting on a show.  I was raised Catholic, we sang hymns out of an old book, that was the extent of my worship.  I got to college where I studied theatre and had no revelation of worship.  I saw the hands, wanted to physically put them down for them, because I was the one sitting in the pews sobbing the whole time.  Something was missing.

Once you have revelation on WHO God is, you won’t be able to help yourself.  Do you know all of the names God goes by in the Bible?  Let me give you a small sample.

  • Jehovah Rapha – The Lord that Heals
  • Jehovah Raah – The Lord my Shepherd
  • Jehovah Jireh – The Lord Provider
  • Jehovah Shalom – The Lord of Peace
  • Jehovah Mekoddishkem – The Lord Who Sanctifies You
  • El Olam – The Everlasting God
  • El Shaddai – Lord God Almightly

If God never did another good thing in your life again, if there was ONLY the Cross, He is deserving of praise.  BUT, He continually does do good, and will…  Now seriously, how could you help yourself?

The word “worship” comes from “worth-ship”, or to put worth on something.  I think it’s interesting, that in both the original Greek and Hebrew meanings of the word we use as ‘worship’, it actually has nothing to do with music.   The word they use actually translates closer to bowing down.  In bowing down to God, we are submitting to his authority, and being obedient.

What I love about this, is that everything we do is an opportunity to worship.  The way we live, the way we serve, the way we give, the way we love, is all worship.
I can barely articulate my heart for worship because I try, then my heart wants to explode, then I’m left speechless because it’s so good.  It’s so so good.  Why?  Because it has absolutely nothing to do with us, and absolutely everything to do with the King of kings, and the Lord of lords, and the Alpha and Omega, and the Creator of the Universe, and the lover of your soul…
So, why the silence?
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Very long story short, I am taking a year to volunteer my time + energy + heart to fill a gap that our church currently doesn’t have the resource for.  I will be working with our staff to help run our worship team, whatever that may look like at the time.  I am working on raising sponsorships to be able to do this, so feel free to check out the site for a little more information.  It is a work in progress at the moment, but we’re getting there.  Please keep in mind, I am NOT asking you (as a reader) for money.  If you really feel like you want to support this, amazing.  What I’m asking for is prayer for the year itself, and an abundance of vision, growth, and right placement for what God wants us to be doing.
I am so excited for what’s to come, and the crazy stories we’ll be able to tell. 😉  Leaps of faith + obedience usually set up some pretty awesome scenarios.

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. 

Comparison

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This is one of the most true statements I have ever heard.

And I am more guilty of it than I’d like to admit.

Up until a couple years ago, I was an actor.  That world is grossly FULL of comparison.  People can get a part over you because of their eyes are bluer, they are 3 inches taller, they chose to do the triple pirouette when you only chose the double…   It’s a business, I get it, but it sticks with you.

It’s been a journey to adjust my thought process, and something I still work on daily.

Part of the time, I’m simply being ridiculous. But the other times, I have something else to blame…

The first half of John 10:10 says:

“The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy.”

But luckily, the verse finishes:

“I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.”

We were not made to live in comparison.  God created us perfectly.  And we are to have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance.  I’m very aware of how this is easier said than done.  But whenever this happens, and I realize how ridiculous I’m being, I remind myself of how much God absolutely adores us, and I realize, I don’t have time to live in that.

I am called to create, to worship, to sing, to praise, to laugh, to learn, to lead, to follow, to disciple, to love, to forgive, to grow… and  to do it all as me.  Oh, I’m not like that other girl?  GOOD, I’m not meant to be.

Like I said in Guide to Awesome : Part I, embrace who you are.  Because you were made in the image of God, and THAT, is perfection.

Momentum

We had a retreat for our Visionaries in Washington DC a few weeks ago.

One of our guest speakers was Steve Dubbeldam, who has had many successful businesses.  One of the most current is Darling Magazine, which he started with his wife.

Something he said that really stuck with me was this:

“Don’t stop moving, don’t lose momentum.  God will redirect your steps if you’re moving in the wrong direction.”

I’ve been thinking about this a lot, and I believe if, with the right heart, you are found moving in the wrong direction, God will gracefully redirect your steps.

There can be moments, even seasons, in life where you know there are steps to be taken, but you’re just unsure of the direction.  What do you do without any new word or revelation?

I believe we need to continue on with the last thing God has spoken, and stay in that until he has called us to whatever is new.

Since Steve talked about this, I’ve been looking into the idea of moving forward in the Bible.  And I’m really loving what is said in Philippians 3.  Read the whole thing if you have a couple minutes, but I want to highlight verses 10-16.

 [For my determined purpose is] that I may know Him [that I may progressively become more deeply and intimately acquainted with Him, perceiving and recognizing and understanding the wonders of His Person more strongly and more clearly], and that I may in that same way come to know the power outflowing from His resurrection [which it exerts over believers], and that I may so share His sufferings as to be continually transformed [in spirit into His likeness even] to His death, [in the hope].  That if possible I may attain to the [spiritual and moral] resurrection [that lifts me] out from among the dead [even while in the body].  Not that I have now attained [this ideal], or have already been made perfect, but I press on to lay hold of (grasp) and make my own, that for which Christ Jesus (the Messiah) has laid hold of me and made me His own.  I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.  I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward.  So let those [of us] who are spiritually mature and full-grown have this mind and hold these convictions; and if in any respect you have a different attitude of mind, God will make that clear to you also.  Only let us hold true to what we have already attained and walk and order our lives by that.

Mmmm, that’s good.

The end goal is to pursue Him.  I love verses 13 and 14…

I do not consider, brethren, that I have captured and made it my own [yet]; but one thing I do [it is my one aspiration]: forgetting what lies behind and straining forward to what lies ahead.  I press on toward the goal to win the [supreme and heavenly] prize to which God in Christ Jesus is calling us upward

In writing this, and looking into moving forward, and motion, I started to research Newton’s Laws of Motion. The first law, states this:

I. Every object in a state of uniform motion tends to remain in that state of motion unless an external force is applied to it.

I do think we need to do everything in our power to continue moving forward, and having momentum in our lives.

But, take heart my friends, God can move in any circumstance.

…unless an external force is applied to it.

God is the most powerful external force that was, is, and is to come.  Ever.

So really, I just want to encourage you, if you do feel stuck, unable to move in any direction due to any reason, have faith that God can move anyway.  Let your faith partner with God’s ability to be the external force in any circumstance.

Be strong and take heart, all you who hope in the Lord. – Psalm 31:24

Giving Thanks

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving.

Since it’s the day after, I want to share something I was thinking about yesterday.

During our dinner, we went around the room and talked about the things we were thankful for.  And I started to think about how these moments shouldn’t be special occasions.

I’m not literally saying we should go around the room every time we are all together, but about constantly, in all circumstances, giving thanks.

1 Thessalonians 5:18 says:

Thank [God] in everything [no matter what the circumstances may be, be thankful and give thanks], for this is the will of God for you [who are] in Christ Jesus [the Revealer and Mediator of that will]. 

In everything.  Always.

That is all, have a wonderful weekend. ❤

Current Picture of Perfection

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Don’t get me wrong, I love New York City.  But right now, this is looking pretty perfect.

Don’t mind me, I’ll be researching cabin rentals upstate…

A New York Minute

What does that even mean?

There’s been roughly 79,200 minutes since my last post.  (I’m super good at blogging.)

But I’ll tell you, life in New York City is never dull.  Let me recap the last 79,200 minutes, in brief summary form.

We launched our night services from our new venue, where we got to sing the first song I’ve written.  Was pretty surreal.

Celebrated two of my dear friends with a beautiful wedding weekend in Montauk.  Jessi is a fantastic blogger.

Followed by a birthday BBQ for my best friend.  Who doesn’t love birthdays, BBQs, and besties?

Got last minute tickets to a concert in Central Park to see John Mayer, Alecia Keys, and Stevie Wonder with 2 of my pretty cool friends.

(Hi Tyler, no more yelling about updates.)

Was deeply influenced and inspired at the Hillsong Conference in NYC.

Then I quickly flew to Hawaii and enjoyed mornings like this:

And sunsets like this:

I returned refreshed, and started writing a new song.

Then, our worship team had one of the most influential nights I think we’ve ever had.  Where God blew our expectations out of the water.

And now it is Fall in New York City, where you can’t help but to love every second of it.

It’s been good, and I apologize for my absence.  But I’m back, and I’ll do better.  😉