Leading worship can be a struggle sometimes. We look at the congregation that we pray all week will be engaged in worship and more often than not we see what we perceive as boredom. Mouths moving to the words but facial expressions that downright alarm us sometimes! And we feel desperate. So we sing louder and smile bigger and wave our arms at them and occasionally we stomp our feet and “yell” at them. “SING OUT! BE FREE IN YOUR WORSHIP!” And behind the smile we panic. These people think I’m crazy, we say to ourselves.
I was talking with my mom the other night and I was really stressed out over all the things I wanted to do. I have a finger (or five) dipped into so many things, that I begin to really struggle with keeping up. I am one of those people who tend to take on too many tasks; I have become an “I can do it all” person. I find myself so overwhelmed with the amount of tasks I’ve given to myself, I feel like I’m failing at everything I’ve set out to do, so I abruptly withdraw from it…sound familiar to anyone?
Have you ever had anyone ask you what the name of the perfume or the cologne that you were wearing was, or tells you how good you smell? Sometimes we recognize someone who has entered the room that we are in without even seeing them merely by the fragrance that they are wearing or exuding. I would like to relate this to what happens in our lives when we become the ‘true worshipers’ that God is looking for. (John 4:23-24)
I have been involved in Worship Ministry for the past thirty five years and the last twelve years I have been the Worship leader at my local Church. I have also been involved in Intercessory prayer in one way or another, mostly in my own personal time as well as our weekly corporate time of prayer at my local Church. For some time now we have been combining worship and intercession when we meet to pray. There has been a noticeable difference in the atmosphere and momentum of both our worship and intercession.
David sang in a Psalm, I will enter Your gates with thanksgiving in my heart.
What can I give back to God for the blessings he’s poured out on me? I’ll lift high the cup of salvation-a toast to God! I’ll pray in the name of God I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do, and I’ll do it together with his people. When they arrive at the gates of death, God welcomes those who love him. Oh, God, here I am, your servant, your faithful servant: set me free for your service I’m ready to offer the thanksgiving sacrifice and pray in the name of God. I’ll complete what I promised God I’d do, and I’ll do it in company with his people, In the place of worship, in God’s house, in Jerusalem, God’s city. Hallelujah! (Psalm 116:12-19)
Sing a new song to the Lord! Let the whole earth sing to Him! ~ Psalm 96:1
I’m thinking of the effects ‘wind’ has on me…there are the blustery winds of spring. I call them ‘Winnie the Pooh days’. They bring anticipation of change and with it usually, the motivation to work…like preparing the soil to plant new crops or flowers. It is like an ‘awakening time’ that is also evident in nature; things coming to life, new beginnings. This brings to mind the times of worship when we just spontaneously begin to sing our praise to the Lord. A new, fresh song, birthed from the heart of our spirit. The melody and lyrics flow like the winds of spring, bringing a sense of refreshing and renewal. I love those times.
Be still, and know that I am God. Psalms 46:10
Over the past few months and especially the past several weeks I have been limited in the use of my right arm due to an injury and surgical repair of the rotator cuff in my shoulder. What was more of a nuisance as far as pain and limitations, at times became more intense, to say the least, after my surgery. I was told that the injury would not heal on its own but would have to be repaired surgically and then heal. The physical therapy is the most important part of reaching the goal of regaining the strength and use of my arm. The down side is that it is very painful! I have to willfully submit and be still and relaxed as the therapist manipulates my arm and shoulder instructing me in how to do certain routines of exercise. I now understand the cliche ‘No Pain No Gain’.
A few weeks ago I found myself reading a newsletter article, “The Next Big Thing,” several times. Did I understand correctly that this article was written by a successful worship leader in a thriving church? I went to his web site and looked for confirmation. I checked out the blog … did I read it right….did he really say, “I’m so impressed with NBT I’ve decided to join them?” I wanted to believe he was quoting someone else.
I have lots of struggles. Woe is me. Nothing like a good pity party is there? This is how it goes with a few of them. As a worship leader/song writer/worship team member I’ve often found myself making comparisons. You know, I compare my voice, musical ability, song writing skills and leadership style to others. I don’t make it easy on myself either. It’s always Matt Redman, Brian Doerksen, Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche, etc. The “biggies” of course. And you know what? I never seem to measure up.
Did you ever notice that God doesn’t waste a thing? I’ve found that He will use anyone, any situation, any and all circumstances (be they good or bad) to burn off the impurities in our character. This process is known as refining or purification (Malachi 3:3). Let me assure you that it isn’t always a pleasant experience. It rarely is and I do have a few impurities. Let me give you a for instance.