Food For Thought- Stage Design

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http://thecreativepastor.com/how-to-create-big-stages-with-small-budgets/
I love the thoughts, here! Be sure to read comments, too. There are gems in there like this one from Jon Carlson:

“A newer look is with twine and nails created in to words/shapes which can make a great stage design. I have seen it on a large and small scale. I believe Passion or Catalyst did it this past year. All you need are some nails, or screws, thicker twine and plywood for the background. Add some nice lighting and it makes it look spectacular!”

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Being Brave in the New Year

 

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Interrupt Anxiety with Gratitude…
Philippians 4:6-8 (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. And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.

“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7. Some very key people in my life have needed me to open my mouth and to help them through some things. I grabbed God’s lifeline and for these various events, friends, gatherings, encouragement-sessions, what-have-you… I found the strength to speak out against what plagues me… because others were hurting, too.

Have you EVER met ONE Christian who can do all those things? I have not.

God has told me that every disease that plagues us doesn’t melt away instantly, although he is the Healer. Some, he uses to define you, shape you… so you’ll share with others.

I broke down and cried right in the middle of leading the congregation on Sunday. As my heart wept, my voice cracked and I backed away from the mic, down to a whisper in total weakness and brokenness. To me that’s not a failure… but a victory. I claim it as victory when the Holy Spirit moves on the hearts of his worshipers and whispers gently, I don’t love you in bits and pieces… but gave my life to save you. You’re everything to me… would you give everything back? Stop holding all your fear and anger and hurt inside. Let it out. It’s okay to let your guard down with me. I am the Lord your God.

I’ve definitely been walking through a season of dark depression and unexplainable anxiety.

The word cling in the dictionary means:
a : to hold together
b :  to adhere as if glued firmly
c :  to hold or hold on tightly or tenaciously
2a :  to have a strong emotional attachment or dependence
2b :  to remain or linger as if resisting complete dissipation or dispersal

I’ve written God’s word all around my home, office, and car- to encourage myself! This morning I spoke at a breakfast study. I encouraged the other ladies to do the same: posting encouraging scriptures all around them, to see God in every situation. That’s why I’m posting my thoughts from our study today.

See.. if you put good IN…. good will come OUT.

Max Lucado said, “God says don’t worry about your future. He is the author of your story and He’s already written the final chapter.”
If you recount God’s victories in your past, you can KNOW there’s triumph in your future, just like Moses and God’s people did in Deuteronomy 6:1-13 (NLT):

“Listen, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord alone. And you must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your strength. And you must commit yourselves wholeheartedly to these commands that I am giving you today. Repeat them again and again to your children. Talk about them when you are at home and when you are on the road, when you are going to bed and when you are getting up. Tie them to your hands and wear them on your forehead as reminders. Write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates. {Then… what will happen?} →
“{THEN}: The Lord your God will soon bring you into the land he swore to give you when he made a vow to your ancestors Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. It is a land with large, prosperous cities that you did not build. The houses will be richly stocked with goods you did not produce. You will draw water from cisterns you did not dig, and you will eat from vineyards and olive trees you did not plant. When you have eaten your fill in this land, be careful not to forget the Lord, who rescued you from slavery in the land of Egypt. You must fear the Lord your God and serve him.

Being brave. “The giant in front of you is never bigger than the God inside of you.”

Like the nation of Israel was promised the Promised Land, and they feared the people that lived there… we sometimes fear the very things that God has promised we’d overcome. (Numbers 13)

Sometimes we make a habit of telling our all-powerful God how powerful our enemies are.

Yet we serve Jesus… who stared death in the face and won. We have nothing to be afraid of. We can take his power into our daily lives, with us. Whatever struggles come our way we can know God will protect us, sustain our energy to complete the task, and remove obstacles– in his way and in his time.

I’ve come to realize that in life: I have got to live inside my head, with my perspectives. If I worry about where my life is going, I’ll feel like it’s going nowhere. However, if I grab a hold of my my life like an overcomer, brave & courageous- know the Lord my GOD is with me wherever I go… I can do anything- through Christ who gives me strength.

That’s why I decided for my Christmas gift this year, I wanted to tattoo this scripture upon my left forearm.. the arm I see every time I play or hold a mic:
Exodus 14:14 (NIV)- “The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”
the lord fights for you
Even when you’re just not doing all right… you can cling; adhere as if glued firmly: to God and His promises. This will enable you to be brave.

 

7 Steps to Becoming a Happy Person Others Wants to Be Around

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The corollary to the principle “you see more of what you notice” is “you get more of what you notice. If you catch people doing what is right and complement them for it, guess what happens? They start doing more of it. This is not manipulation; it is influence. It too is contagious!

7 Steps to Becoming a Happy Person Others Wants to Be Around.

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

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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

Clear The Stage

Just a heart cry today!

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols
Jerk the pews & all the decorations, too
Until the congregation’s few, then have revival
Tell your friends that this is where the party ends
Until you’re broken for your sins, you can’t be social
Then seek the lord & wait for what he has in store
And know that great is your reward so just be hopeful

’cause you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; worship is more than a song

Take a break from all the plans that you have made
And sit at home alone and wait for god to whisper
Beg him please to open up his mouth and speak
And pray for real upon your knees until they blister
Shine the light on every corner of your life
Until the pride and lust and lies are in the open
Then read the word and put to test the things you’ve heard
Until your heart and soul are stirred and rocked and broken

We must not worship something that’s not even worth it
Clear the stage, make some space for the one who deserves it

Anything I put before my God is an idol
Anything I want with all my heart is an idol
And anything I can’t stop thinking of is an idol
And anything that I give all my love is an idol

’cause I can sing all I want to
Yes, I can sing all I want to
I can sing all I want to
And still get it wrong
And you can sing all you want to
Yes, you can, you can sing all you want to
You can sing all you want to
And still get it wrong; worship is more than a song
Worship is more than a song
Worship is more than a song

Clear the stage and set the sound and lights ablaze
If that’s the measure you must take to crush the idols

The Grass Is Always Greener

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Every job, church, area of the country, relationship, apartment or house has it’s own set of blessings and circumstances to be worked through. Right?

Having had a lot of homes in a lot of different states, I am slowly learning this. I’ve had some tough conversations with God about this. (He always wins)

What I realized is: as the honeymoon phase of a new place, situation or friendship wears off (if there ever even was one); we start to whine at God. Why doesn’t my situation look as rosy as theirs? God, I didn’t say I thought being a minister was easy, but why _____ circumstance? 

If I’m being blatantly honest I’m comparing myself to other ministers, maybe people I’ve looked up to. Because isn’t that what internships and jobs do to you? You learn under the tutelage of different professors and pastors. Then when you go to fly free, you compare yourself to them. Maybe in an unhealthy way.

I know that comparison is the thief of joy, yet I still covet another person’s conflict management skills or circumstances.

And God revealed a simple yet profound truth: I signed up for trials and problems to solve by going into full-time vocational ministry, but I always want someone else’s trials and problems.

I was also shown that someone else’s trials and problems may look easier to deal with from my vantage point.

I saw this quote on facebook this morning, “Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. {So} Be kind. Always.”

How true. I can’t sit there an wonder what it would be like to have someone else’s position, resources, circumstances, or even relationships. God isn’t ignorant, and telling Him I would be better suited to handle different situations is like calling Him just that. I mean, He literally hand picks relationships and situations- already knowing the skill sets He has given us to deal with it. Sometimes they’re skills we do not yet possess and He wants us to develop them.

Even if it hurts, that’s the realization we all need to come to, because nothing on God’s green earth is a coincidence.

“Don’t worry about the wicked
or envy those who do wrong.
For like grass, they soon fade away.
Like spring flowers, they soon wither.
Trust in the LORD and do good.
Then you will live safely in the land and prosper.
Take delight in the LORD,
and he will give you your heart’s desires.
Commit everything you do to the LORD.
Trust him, and he will help you.
He will make your innocence radiate like the dawn,
and the justice of your cause will shine like the noonday sun.
Psalm 37

TRUST Him, & He will help you. Do you feel like you have a “cause” that is not going anywhere, no one will listen or trust you, or believe in you? Maybe the trivial circumstances in your field of ministry are bogging you down, and you feel like the “bigger picture” is being forgotten because of it? {AndHE will make the justice of your cause shine like the noonday sun.

God has not turned a blind eye- he’s still working the situation with His hands. It’s just your responsibility to respond always first in prayer, read God’s word, then His grace will flow out of you. He’s got the rest.

Does anyone else resonate with this? I don’t know about you- but this passage from God’s lips really spoke volumes to my heart today.