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.

 

 

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“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 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.

Goodbye Pride

For practically all of my life I’ve been a very ‘can do, and do on my own, I don’t need anyone’s help’ kind of person.

This can be incredibly problematic at times.

Example 1: I’m very short.  I often try to pretend like I’m not by doing things that a short person shouldn’t do.  It usually ends in injury or embarrassment.  (Or both.)

Example 2: I think I can handle far more than I can, then I overwork myself, get sick and frustrated, and turn into a not pleasant person to be around.

I like to do things on my own.  I am capable, I am independent.  Asking for help is almost as bad as my fear of spiders (arachnophobia, though I did google if there is a phobia associated with asking people for help.  There isn’t).

And then…  God messes with you.  He has this funny way of finding your ‘thing’, and prodding it until you give it away.

In March, God first suggested me taking a leap of faith, take a season to focus on worship, and raising sponsorships.

I said, ‘Absolutely not, God.  That’s lazy.’  And that was it.

Fast forward a month, in a tearful conversation with my lovely pastors Paul and Andi, where Andi says, ‘Why don’t you just take a season to focus on worship, and raise sponsorships…?’

Okay God, I hear you.

So yesterday, I held my breath as I published the post on Facebook about YEARofWORSHIP.  Some knew about it,  and were already partnering with me on the journey, which I have been so thankful for.  But, yesterday, I publicly said via social media…  I’m following God’s call, AND I NEED YOUR HELP.

And you know what’s cool?  Though it’s slightly nerve-wracking, I know God has this.  He’s asked me to do this, and I know he’ll provide.  And I know He will set aside people that believe in this call, and I won’t have to do it alone.  AND IN THE END, all the glory goes to God.

So, goodbye pride.  Here’s to following Him.

 

(PS-Check out the site, it’s pretty.)

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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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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.

… 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.