So as it is my Spiritual Birthday today, I decided that today would be a great day to start something new. A little while back, in a rough patch of life, Jesus had me come out of it by writing something. So I started a book. As a worship leader, it is a good reminder to me on where I need to lead from. So I have decided to share my very little book in chapters to my blog. I may make some major edits to it and try to self publish it at some point. But let’s be real. I’m a blogger so this is where I will start. So here you go. Chapters 1 & 2 of More Than A Song: Living a Life of Worship. Subsequent chapters will come out each week on Thursdays. Enjoy.
Chapter 1 – Expertise?
And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love.
(Romans 8:38 NLT)
For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord . “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.
(Jeremiah 29:11 NLT)
Worship the Lord with gladness. Come before him, singing with joy.
(Psalms 100:2 NLT)
So who am I and what could I possibly have to say in a book called “More Than A Song”? Why would I be drawn to write a book like this? What clout might I have that “qualifies” me to write this?
I have none. I have no special training. My college degree is in media communications. So I’d quicker be able to build the marketing campaign for this book before finding myself the author.
I’m a pastor’s kid who took 26 years to see Jesus for who He is and give my life to Him. I’m a pretty typical pastor’s kid by definition as well. Kind of ended up doing my own thing. Walking away from the church and any semblance of spirituality for quite some time. Lived many years as a bitter angry person who knew better. Even as a Christ follower, my pastor father can’t stand that my ears are gauged, my lip is pierced and my arms are tattooed and soon to be more tattooed. And let’s not even start on when I had long long hair. He hated that.
At the end of the day though, I am called to be a worshipper. Yes, I play music. Yes, I lead worship. Yes, I sing well and I play the guitar. I can lift up his name in a song on Sunday morning and lead a room in singing from the top of our lungs to a Father who loved us so much that He gave His one and only son to die on our behalf and then be raised from the dead to put sin and the grave to death in our place.
So you would think that this should be about being a worship leader. A guide to leading your church in songs and how to connect it to the message for that
morning. And while I do hope that some worship leaders out here capture some of that, it’s not the point.
And I’ve gotta be honest with you. I AM NOT AN EXPERT. I’m just not. I’m a guy who finds himself broken and in need of a savior every day. Even as I start writing this book, I am coming out of a hard spot in my life spiritually and circumstantially. Everything did not look all peachy for quite some time but Jesus is faithful and I find myself on a massive upswing. But I clearly heard Jesus say “You actually know me enough to know what this means and you can do this and lead others in it. And through this you’ll find yourself closer to me.”
So I guess that means that I am writing this out of selfish motive if you want to look at it that way. I want to find myself closer to Jesus. I want to find myself more like Jesus. I want my life to be
surrounded by Jesus’ love and favor and his peace and goodness. It just so happens that He made me a decent writer and gave me a heart that wants to see others living a life marked by all those things I just mentioned.
So you still don’t really know what this book is about. I’ll make it simple and plain. So if through the rest of these pages, you find yourself confused on the topic, then you can refer to this page and see it clear as day.
We are called to worship with our whole lives.
Worship is more than a song. Yes, it is culminated in raucous singing and praising his name. But worship starts and grows in our day to day. In your coming and going. In the good and the bad. We worship the name of Jesus Christ. Worship is more than a song.
So I want to expound upon the things that I find in my life that help me to lead a life of worship. So when I go in on Sunday mornings to lead that song, my life and heart are already in sync to what I am doing. What are the things that help us live with our eyes on Jesus everyday?
So, lets go.
Chapter 2: Turkey Day
Enter his gates with thanksgiving; go into his courts with praise. Give thanks to him and praise his name.
(Psalms 100:4 NLT)
So it’s almost Thanksgiving as I begin writing this. It’s a few days away. A time to spend time with family and be grateful for, ya know… stuff.
Side note… I used to not like pumpkin pie. I have issues with weird textures. But have you had pumpkin pie? It’s great! There is one you can find in your grocers freezer that has pecan pie crumble on top of it. Amazing. Do yourself a favor and get one.
Just had to get that out there real quick. Back to the point.
Giving thanks is kind of the perfect place to start this book about worship. I mean that’s pretty much how the Lord’s Prayer starts. And in prayers to lead people to Jesus, we start with thanking Him.
Being thankful is not something that our culture, as a whole, is very good at. Yes, as a child we are taught to be polite and say please and thank you, but as it goes its not our normal bend. Our normal bend is to selfishness and wanting more and getting more and all that.
Now, I am not one of those elitist guys who thinks he is above the culture and is better than everyone. I am well aware of the fact that I am speaking about myself. I’m just as selfish as the next guy. My dad grew up relatively poor and made a good life for himself. Put himself through tons of schooling. Worked hard so his family could have more than he had and do better than he did. That was a regular prayer he had for his 3 sons. That we would do better than he did.
That’s pretty noble. But something was missing. At least in my interpretation of it as a kid and young adult. My dad was regularly grateful for what he had. But I for the longest time just heard “get more”.
I still complain if I don’t get the gift I want. I spend far too much time working the system so I can get a new guitar or pedal. I find myself often wrapped up in what others have that I don’t. I think we all do this and forget being grateful. Having good health and being grateful for it sounds weak compared to having a nice big tv. No one would ever think this stuff out loud or believe that that is
actually how they felt. But in the end, it’s the gross truth.
That started making a change in my heart a little bit ago. Something clicked while sitting with my daughter when she was about 6 months old. She had been sick for a couple days and this day she started feeling better. Her entire demeanor changed. Her eyes lightened up. I was holding her and she looked right at me and gave me the biggest smile.
Now she has smiled at me before obviously. But something shifted in this one. In her face and smile I saw how good my life actually is. A beautiful daughter. A gorgeous wife who loves me. A solid roof over my head. Money is coming in. I have a great family and true friends that I can count on.
Is my daughter always that smiley? NO! She is a very particular little girl who got the gift of volume from her daddy. And every bit of the diva parts of my personality. Is my wife always loving and happy with me? Nope. Sometimes she gets on my last nerve. And a lot of things have shifted a lot since that moment with my daughter. Life has had a lot of ups and downs and probably more downs. But man, Jesus is faithful. I have so much to be grateful for.
And that’s where real truth comes in. Jesus is remarkably faithful. Faithful and true will be tattooed on his legs when he returns. They are part of Him. They are who He is. They are His character.
So why do we live like we do? We live broken and as if we are without. But we have the ultimate gift giver just waiting to lavish His kids.
Phillipians 4:6-7 (NLT)
Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus
So that’s how I pray these days. That’s how I am spending my time and trying to live daily. Yeah I still want stuff. I want things I don’t have. And who knows if I will ever get them. But I know He is good. He will provide for my needs better than anyone else. And He knows the desires of our heart and is willing to shower His kids with presents. So I pray with anticipation and knowing He is for me.
So, when I head into lead worship on a Sunday morning, thankful is where I want to find myself. I don’t want to have to be creating it on the spot. I know how I have done at being grateful that week when I worship in song. I find myself tearing up at His goodness. By the time I get to Sunday morning, singing is just an outward expression of what is true on my heart.
Everyday is not awesome. Today is about 4 years from that moment with my daughter. And as I said, life has had a host of downs over the last several years. Not worth mentioning. If you are curious, you can go check out my blog where I write a lot of stuff.
But way more now than that little moment with my daughter, I have so much to be grateful for. I have so much to praise Him for. I have so much that I am undeserving of.
Day to day, He continues to wreck and rebuild me. He continues to shower goodness on me. I still don’t always see it or acknowledge it, but it is there when I choose to look.
So I want you to try a couple things today.
1. RECAP: Take a little bit of time and look back over some of your life a little bit. Look back over the last week. I guarantee there have been some great things to be grateful for. If you are having a hard time thinking of any, ask Jesus and ask people around you. Even the smallest of things is something worth holding on to.
2. SOAK IT IN: Sit for a minute and take it all in. Spend some time with it. Let it roll around in your spirit. If you have to, write some things down. Cause you may need a constant reminder in the hard times. We have a tendency to be forgetful. You want to find ways to start keeping stuff front and center in your world that are really important. If you make regularly reflecting on the positive a part of your life, you’ll have a great base when the harder times do come.
3. START YOUR MORNING WITH THIS STUFF: I am so bad about this but I try to do it. My whole day is set up better when I start here. It just gets you on the right foot right out of the gate.
So what do you have on your paper?
See you next week!