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 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.

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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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.

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!

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. ❤

Guide to Awesome : PART I

I. EMBRACE WHO YOU ARE

I’m short.  5’1.5″ short.  I often say 5’2, but it’s a lie.

I used to wear shoes like the above constantly in high school in an attempt to fight my vertical challenges.  (Granted now it’s nearly impossible to find me in flats, but it’s not to fight the lack of height, it’s because I just reallllllly love my ankle boots.)

Believe it or not, there was a phase when I was the tall girl.  Yep.  Believe it.  I was the tall one in 5th grade.  I played center on my basketball team in 6th grade. Then everyone else continued growing, and I didn’t.  I went from playing  center in 6th grade, to forward in 7th, to guard in 8th, to…  dancer. (quit sports, shorties don’t rock in basketball)

Short jokes were annoying to me, and I was constantly cast as children in the shows I would do.

Then eventually I realized…  (this is pure wisdom, wait for it…)

WHO CARES?

Like, really?  Yes, I’m close to legally being a ‘little person’, I’m terrible at drawing, and I will always have to stand in the front of group photos.

More importantly, I’m a follower of Jesus, passionate, and incredibly loyal to the people I love.

Even without all of that, I’m a daughter of the King, and loved by the Creator, so…That’s the end of it.

Embrace who God made you to be, and do it with enthusiasm.

“For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb.  I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, and that my soul knows very well.”  –Psalm 139:13-14