Thought for Today

This little nugget… a pearl of wisdom, is this:

Before you place a complaint…. be informed.

Chances are if you wait to be informed before you voice a negative… you may not ever need to place that complaint. Tweet

That goes hand-in-hand with assuming the best in people… doesn’t it? (Click to re-read an old post about assumptions we make!) 


Dream Big, Sustain that Joy.

I think that joy is different than happiness because happiness is circumstantial.

Joy is hard to sustain. It just plain is.

I want to encourage you today that when surrounded by negativity… don’t miss a beat. Don’t fixate on the negative you hear. Just keep personifying joy through trials. {Tweet}

Focus your efforts on who God says you are; because, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10

Draw Near to God, He is already Near to You

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Recently I thought I had too much on my plate. I exercised my ability to say “no”, and took my day off seriously. Looking to the future: I tossed the idea of cutting down my hours at work. I wanted to work on future details of our family, make our house a home, and visit my family back home more.

None of that was the plan, for now.

In a recent turn of events I was asked to take on more of a leadership role at the Church, with more responsibility, with pay cuts and budget cuts all across the board for our church.

So. I dropped my plans and fell on my face before Jesus. He has been my Rock. I have peace. I have joy. I am brave.

I know God will make it possible for me to plan our future as a family, cook, clean, plan visits, have people over, take care of our pets, enjoy life… all while taking on this important calling. I just need to listen to His voice.

I’m ashamed to say in these times of turmoil… they are the sweetest times of worship for me.

Why can’t I seem to be this close to my Lord during the good times?

I realized today that I find the most peace and joy in the trials– not because God has changed, but because I have. Tweet this.

Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you {HE IS already close by}. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. James 4:8

God Is For You (Just ask Samuel)


I always identified with Samuel as a child. Not that my mom dropped me off to live in a temple… or that I was a boy… or that my name was Sam… but just the “called by God” part.

I loved his boldness! He didn’t CHOOSE grow up literally in the church– God and his mother had an amazing relationship and that’s just how he ended up there.

But as I said a while back, I have been reading through the Bible this year, yesterday was the book of 1 Samuel.

I love how God brings out new things each time we seek Him through His word. God speaks in the book of Deuteronomy that prophets’ words had to come true, or else they were considered a false prophet.

If what a prophet proclaims in the name of the LORD does not take place or come true, that is a message the LORD has not spoken. That prophet has spoken presumptuously, so do not be alarmed. Deuteronomy 18:22

God also said that not many people heard directly from God after Moses and Joshua, unless the Spirit of the Lord came upon them. Pretty cool stuff.

In those days the word of the Lord was rare; there were not many visions. 1 Samuel 3:1

So I’ve always wondered why God allowed Samuel to get up three times before Eli realized God was asking him to converse with him.

To me, if Eli hadn’t witnessed Samuel directly hearing from God… then he wouldn’t have taken the upcoming bad news as God’s words. He would’ve probably been angry with Samuel and called him a false prophet (poor kid… right?!).

So God has a conversation with Samuel that night. He tells Samuel that Eli’s sons’ sin was noticed and since Eli turned a blind eye, they would all pay the price.

The next morning, Samuel was afraid (rightfully so) to tell Eli. But because Eli witnessed that it was the Lord speaking the night before, he is eager to hear what the word from God was.

But God protects his righteous. Eli urges Samuel not to lie to him.. to tell him everything God said. So Samuel delivers Eli the terrible news, and Eli says, “Well… He IS God.” (pretty much.)

I love verse 19 and on.

The Lord was with Samuel as he grew up, and he let none of Samuel’s words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba recognized that Samuel was attested as a prophet of the Lord. The Lord continued to appear at Shiloh, and there he revealed himself to Samuel through his word. 1 Samuel 3:19-21

All we need to do in tough situations is do exactly what God tells us to do… no more, no less. He will take care of the details!

What you Believe about you is not who you are

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“Worry is a down-payment on a problem you may never have.”

I found this article I’d like to share particularly helpful!

“A stands for: Activating Event
B stands for: Belief
C stands for: Consequent Emotion”

… what do you believe about an actual situation that came to pass? If you’re like me… you belive it’s all your fault and that everyone hates you because of it. Everyone thinks, “She’s such a failure.” That’s what these voices say! I want them to stop.

The article goes on to say that labeling irrational thoughts is one of the many steps to recovery from anxiety taking over your life. Call a spade a spade. “This is an anxiety attack.” or, “That thought is irrational. Lord, who do You see me as?”

I hope this is as helpful for you as it was for me. 

You earn the right to sing new songs by singing their favorites.


Just like you earn the right to speak by listening, as a worship leader you earn the right to play new songs by first playing their favorites. {Tweet this!}

At first this didn’t sound fair, or even Biblical. But in a brand new congregation this is essential.

Just like you really want to teach them your experiences with God through your repertoire, they really want to show you their church’s history and repertoire through their favorites.

Just like you want to show them your musical skills, they want to show you their music so they can show you how they can sing along well. They want to feel valued and show you they can be really good, too.

I’ve gotten this all wrong before. And still do. And you know what? God isn’t necessarily smiling on either side of this equation!

Swallow your pride as a musician. Let it all out to your Creator. He knows. Ask Him to heal up whatever holes other churches or people in authority over you in the past have carved. Ask Him to point them out, and fill them with His Son’s Love.

Then, meet those people where they’re at. Find a band member who’s good at their instrument and knows what the congregation likes. Ask that person to periodically meet with you to help you select good repertoire.

Ask God to humble you and help you muck through the pain of doing so. I promise there will be growing pains. But God will let grace flow from your ministry, and others will jump on board to your leadership train because you took the time to listen to their wants and needs.

They don’t care how much you know
until they know how much you care.

It may not always be the most fair or even Biblical– but in your role as minister, which is more important? The music or the relationships?

It’s literally taken me years to realize this. I kind of feel like a jerk! Ask God to heal that, too.

“Lord, please forgive me for not seeing this simple truth sooner when your Holy Spirit tried to reveal it to me. Show me how to lead with firmness when needed, but softness toward the hearts of the congregation even if it means laying aside my rockin’ playlists. Make me like a little cloud of grace, where people feel loved by You when I am near them, and to be like a contrail of grace that lingers long after I’m gone. Make me more like Your Son. Bring on the growing pains. Cultivate in me a pastor’s heart for your sheep. Amen.”

Instead of saying I’m a music minister– in your head, rearrange it to say Minister of Music. Ministering to their hearts and needs is first, music is just the avenue + as a result, comes second. {Tweet this!}

You don’t have to be a doormat to be a servant-leader.

A few tips for dealing with “Post-traumatic-personal-playlist-loss” disorder:

  1. Pray over those K-love | Emerging Voices | Hillsong faves of your’s and see which fit their hearts. Make sure they’re catchy and easy to sing. In doubt of that? Ask a friend who is your average melody-singing worshiper and see what they think. Then do them as a special with your spouse, best friend, one of your students, or talented band member.
  2. If there are a few songs you just know God wants to add to the repertoire for worship set- start by doing it as a special, offering, or prelude for 4-6 weeks. I’m not joking! That seems like forever, but I’ve heard it takes 3 times to stick, and with members coming and going out of town- your best bet is 4-6 weeks. The band won’t resent the extra rehearsing. I promise.
  3. Put 3-4 of these songs’ mp3s in the pre-service countdown slides, announcements, or welcome video… and leave them there. (i.e. don’t put a new 3-4 each week!)
  4. Especially if your senior pastor loves these songs- meet with him or her, too. Ask him or her to go more in-depth about what they like to sing. It’ll show respect and earn trust.
  5. Less is more. Introduce them one new one at a time, and stick to your guns. Wait for another 4-6 weeks after the in-the-service-debut so it catches on before adding another new one into the mix.
  6. When you do their favorites, whether they’re a million years old or not- just freshen it up a bit. Write your own electric tab or drum part and meet with that band member to rehearse. It will change the entire sound- plus build a relationship with that one person!
    Sometimes, if there’s a song they love but you hardly agree with theologically: just throw it in (I call it the ‘ole “Father Abraham”).
    I’m not saying become a people-pleaser. But just once in a while it’s okay if it makes them happy. I think God understands the mildly shallow or inaccurate lyrics. As long as it’s not heresy, throw it in once a quarter or something!
  7. Pray, pray, pray. My friend, church elder, and guitar student Coy reminded me that we have already been given all the authority from God to pray over the congregation’s needs. Pray for soft hearts, pray to be used + poured out, pray to be an ally and friend to the congregation. Pray they will see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven. Pray you’d be softened, too.

Blessings on you and your ministry. Thank you for reading. If you need prayer, feel free to contact me on my |Contact Page| or even just to say hi.

I pray that God can give us all strength to be worship leaders that lead more like Jesus!

Psalm 119:9-11

How can a young man keep his way pure? By guarding it according to Your word. With my whole heart I seek You: let me not wander from Your commandments! I have stored up Your word in my heart, that I might not sin against You.

Guard every thought and action you have by checking it against what God says to do first.

Give God your everything: not your most tired, bored, half-distracted mind… He wants all or nothing because He is a Jealous God and worthy of it all.

M&M. Memorize & Meditate. Lock it away in your heart so there is no room for anything else in there but God’s grace for others, godly actions and desires!

All I want
All I need
More of You
Less of me
Take this life
Lord it’s Yours
Have my heart
Have it all