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.

 

 

 

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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Victory

Have you ever cheated when reading a book, and flipped to the last page to see if the hero made it out alive?

Or read a spoiler online about a movie you’re going to see to avoid living in an hour and 30 minutes of the unknown?

Does he get the girl?
Do they win the war?
Does she live or die?

When you know the outcome, it changes the way you read the book, or watch the film. Different things pop out that foreshadow the ending. Or the battle scene isn’t as anxiety ridden, because you know they will win.

Can I tell you something? The battle’s already been won. The victory is done. Do you know this? And I mean KNOW know this. Like, LIVE this KNOW this?

How differently would you live you life when you had this realization, constantly in the front of your mind? Can you imagine the peace, clarity and wisdom that you would have, in abundance, if you lived like you knew that God already has it taken care of, and the battle has already been won?

YOU GUYS. THE. BATTLE. HAS. BEEN. WON.

When Jesus died on the cross, he said, “tetelstai,” meaning “it is finished.

So what happens when the storm comes, but this time, you know that you come out of it, unscathed? What happens when you enter the fight, but this time, you know that He has overcome?

You walk through it with peace and rest.

Return to your rest, my soul, for the LORD has been good to you.
Psalm 116:7

God is good, and He has overcome.

 

 

 

 

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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.

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. 

Happy 2014!

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That’s weird, but I’m excited.

I feel a lot of expectation around 2014, and I’m starting off the year by casting vision.

I put this on my wall, which is in reference to Habakkuk 2:2-3.

It’s a constant reminder for me to constantly dream, put it on paper, and pray to be in alignment with God for the vision He has for me, my life, and my calling in this new year.

I believe this will be a big one.  Our lead pastor, Paul, said the word God has continued to give him for the year for our church is unprecedented.

Heck yes, sign me up.

Happy 2014 friends!

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