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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“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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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.

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.