Archive for the 'The Church' Category

Light Bulb Moment

By drewDecember 16th, 2010Blog, Leadership, Music Biz, The Church, Worship1 Comment
Pic-Light Bulb

I love it when the Lord gives me an “A HA” moment.  You know what I’m talking about?  One of those sudden realizations that something you’ve heard before but didn’t quite understand, now makes sense.  It could be something that you thought you understood or something you’ve heard all your life but all at once if feels like the “light bulb” pops up above your head like you’re the star of a comic book strip, and you finally ‘get it’.

I’ll never forget one of those moments I had early on in collage.  I had listened to Christian music off and on for a while and specifically to this one song several times, but for some reason one day driving in my car, the message of this one song jumped out at me like the bright light of Jesus on Paul’s road to Damascus.  WOW!  This wasn’t just some song and melody, there was a major message that it was conveying and I just got it!  It floored me.  I remember having to pull the car over to the side of the road and just weep.  God used those songwriters so powerfully that I was undone for a moment. What happened in that moment is a major factor in why I do what I do today. Not only was what they said an awesome truth of God, it was something that I personally needed to hear for that specific moment in my walk. Only God could orchestrate that kind of moment and to this day I’m thankful for it.

I believe those times are essential to faith as well as ministry.  People have to come to a place in their lives where the Lord opens their eyes or draws their hearts to see truth.  We can’t do it ourselves.  We can’t wake up one day and just say, “Ok, today I’m going to think of God, or remember His goodness.  I believe every moment we experience that draws us to the Father is due to the Father drawing us.  Our God pursues us so passionately and sometimes even then, we pat ourselves on the back for having a bible study or making a godly decision, but God and God alone is responsible for our being drawn.  It is however our decision to do it – that’s free will.

Every person that comes to know Jesus has to realize our savior is not just the key figure of the Christmas story or the topic of Sunday School, but a real God who became a real man.  He died on a real cross, and shed real blood for each of us.  Only then can God become real to us.  Even in ministry, we each have to come to the place of realizing that our lives can mean more than taking home a paycheck or being the “star” worship guy.  Instead, God has given us a platform that is not for us, but for others.

What is it that the Lord wants you to finally “get”?  What truth have you allowed to cruise over your head and not enter your heart?  Take a moment and ask the Father to draw you, to open your eyes to what “A HA” moment you need right now to bring you to your knees or a tear of conviction to your eyes.

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Broken Bread and Poured Out Wine

By drewSeptember 2nd, 2010Blog, The Church, WorshipNo Comments
Grapes-Communion

Broken Bread And Poured Out Wine

I love learning about history – going to places built by our forefathers, or even just engaging in Discovery Channel shows about a war or invention from long ago. The specifics don’t really matter to me. I just love seeing where we’ve come from and trying to imagine what it must have been like back in that time, whenever it was.

My wife and I live in Franklin, TN and there’s a lot of Civil War history here. Around every corner is an antique shop with Civil War era relics and treasures. I love seeing old remnants of the soldier’s uniforms and weapons. I stare and wonder what that soldier was like, what life must have been for him. There’s just something interesting to me about the fact that others have gone before us, to fight for our freedom, to build a great nation, or to raise the family in which I can trace my heritage.

A few years ago my wife and I were with my 93 year old grandmother looking through her pictures, complete with horse and buggy and frowning ancestors (I’ve always wondered why turn-of-the-century folks didn’t smile much). As I looked through these old pictures I couldn’t help asking myself “what in the world do I have in common with these people?” My only reasonable answer was blood. They’re my relatives. These were my people. As I begin to think of them as family, they didn’t just look like people in an old photo anymore. I found myself wondering about their lives and their families and their faith.

Sometimes I think we need to remember that as believers, others have gone before us. We’re not reinventing the wheel here. Amazing, passionate men and women have led the way for us so that we could be who we are today as the church. Why is it that we so rarely think of them? I guess we’re too busy with tomorrow to think about yesterday but sometimes I think it’s a great and important thing to do.

There are a lot of ways to draw from and remember the past. We can sing hymns and tell the stories of the amazing and colorful writers who gave us such melodic theology and beautiful music. We can read their biographies or examine their artwork. But my favorite thing to do as a believer is to remember those who’ve gone before by taking communion. When we read those words of Christ saying “Do this in remembrance of me”, I begin to try and wrap my brain around all those followers of Christ who read that same scripture and then were obedient to the Lord by observing the elements. Think of all the styles of churches both in faith and construction as well as generation after generation of believers following this commandment. I’m sure it looked quite different from one country to the next, different languages and methods but all with the desire to be obedient to Christ and to follow His example in remembering His death.

“Communion” speaks of two different types of remembering. One is personal – thinking of how the Lord has redeemed you and given you grace and mercy, that in His goodness you recognize that He has forgiven you and given you life. But the Bible also uses words and phrases like “we” and “together”. Many of those scriptures are talking about our collective remembrance of Christ and the price He paid for His church.

For me, it helps to know that I’m not alone in this journey. My community is not the first one to struggle with issues of faith and living for Christ but that I’m joined by a cloud of believers around the world dating back to Passover, up to the Last Supper, continuing all the way to today and well into tomorrow. It reminds me that I’m stronger for being a part of this family of faith, blessed to continue the journey that so many have started before me. As I look around the sanctuary, I am reminded that Christ and His death as well as the faith of our fathers are what we all have in common. The blood.

I encourage you to gather your worship team, your staff, your wife and children, your small group, whatever, and take communion truly as a family. You won’t believe the difference it will make in your worship. Worship was meant to be offered in community and communion is meant to be a fabulous expression of it. Don’t just rush through. Allow the power of the Holy Spirit to cleanse and convict us, to bring to our minds the very real and transforming moments of Christ’s grace over us. You might want to incorporate a hymn to help drive home the practice of remembrance. Encourage each other, and remember that you’re not alone but carrying on a tradition of faith thousands of years old.

Broken Bread And Poured Out Wine

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Show Up

By drewAugust 27th, 2010Blog, Featured, Marriage/Family, Mission/Justice, The Church, WorshipNo Comments
Show Up

Conflict and struggle can be hard to face, but how we respond will not only show if we believe in ourselves, but what we believe about God.

As a kid I remember at times being bullied and pushed around, not from kids my age because I was always a big kid, but usually from older kids.  (Doesn’t matter how old we get it, seems there will always be bullies.) I remember a few instances where the bigger kid would challenge me to a fight and like the wild west, he’d throw down the charge, “Meet me behind the school after class” or some other frightening phrase like it.  I remember carrying fear around with me all day like the books on my back, dreading and counting down the minutes until the show down.  It took everything I could muster to just show up.  Uncertain of victory or utter annihilation the one thing I could not do was not show up.  Like some unwritten code in my DNA as a man-child, I had to at least be there, to not run from the challenge, I may not have been able to walk away from the scene but at least I would show up.

Sometimes the first step in frightening battles we face in life is to just “Show Up”.  As men living life in the everyday mundane rat wheel it’s sometimes hard to find the strength or will to “Show Up” for the things that matter most.  Serving our families, praying for those we love, listening to a friend instead of talking about yourself, reading scripture or having consistent integrity.  Sometimes these things feel like the hardest, most impossible tasks of our day but still we must “Show Up”.  Being consistent as a Godly man is so important.  Trying to not be overwhelmed by always sizing up the opponent or big picture of paying bills and working more than you’d like or the effort to serve when you’d rather be served. But instead, take one day at a time, one loving act of kindness, one extra minute to care.  Soon we find that a few extra moments of selflessness and a couple of extra efforts of serving, make the difference in the lifetime of a child or the quality of a marriage.  Before we can be used of God to fight some battle waiting for us in our destiny, we have to be committed and determined to at least “Show Up”.

Once we’ve made the decision to follow through we must then “Stand Firm”, when I think about this phrase I have visions of William Wallace (Braveheart) or Maximus (Gladiator). These men were resolute in what they believed and fought for it, even at the cost of their own lives. Most of the time however, the Lord just wants us to stand, He does the fighting.

2 Chronicles 20:17 says “You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, and the LORD will be with you.”

I think it’s so interesting that the Lord would have us dress up in our battle gear, and even take formation and prepare our footing for a fight, and then tell us to watch because the battle is His.  Almost as if to say, I’m allowing you to feel apart and encourage you, and even giving you the deep honor and pride of feeling important and useful and needed, but I’ll do the fighting.  As a kid I played every sport under the sun and in each one, some of the basic instruction included having the right footing, whether blocking out in basketball or blocking an offensive line man to make a tackle in football, the most important part of each was learning to stand firm and to be ready for the challenge.  Each of us struggles with temptation and failure but we have to be committed to getting back up after we’ve been knocked down and stand firm for the next challenge.  We often walk away with a black eye or a limp, but we can hold our heads high and our hearts steady when we Show Up and Stand Firm.

God asks us to trust Him with the battle but also to “Be Strong and Courageous” in the middle of it. God has promised, ‘the Salvation of the Lord’, and the assurance that you are not alone.  Maybe every fear is not completely subsided but there is a sense of confidence and faith and trust in the One who will fight the fight for you.

Deuteronomy 31:6  “Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Go back in your memory and be encouraged by the innumerable amount of times that God proved Himself before you, provided a way or answered a prayer. We must trust that God goes before us and loves us enough to call us into the action.  Let’s stand next to Him ready and willing to offer our lives, yet with the faith that the fight before us is His, and that we must not fear for He is with us.

One thing I remember about those school ground challenges is that I never knew when those days would come, that hasn’t changed as an adult. We have no idea what God is going to allow us to walk through from day to day, but whatever we face, we can trust He has allowed it in our lives and He is with us through the fight.

Praying that I/we will be willing to SHOW UP, to STAND FIRM, and BE STRONG AND COURAGEOUS.

Stand Firm

2 Chronicles 20:17 (Whole Chapter) [Exodus 14:13, 14 ] You will not need to fight in this battle. Stand firm, hold your position, and see the salvation of the LORD on your behalf, O Judah and Jerusalem.’ [ 2 Chronicles 20:15 ] Do not be afraid and do not be dismayed. Tomorrow go out against them, [2 Chronicles 15:2; 32:8; Num 14:9] and the LORD will be with you.”

1 Corinthians 16:13 (Whole Chapter

Be watchful, [Gal 5:1; Phil 1:27; 4:1; 1 Thess 3:8; 2 Thess 2:15; 1 Corinthians 15:1 ] stand firm in the faith, [1 Sam 4:9; 2 Sam 10:12; Isa 46:8 ] act like men, [Eph 3:16; Eph 6:10; Col 1:11] be strong.

Galatians 5:1 (Whole Chapter) [ Christ Has Set Us Free ] For [Galatians 5:13; Galatians 2:4; James 1:25 ] freedom Christ has [ John 8:32 ] set us free; [ 1 Cor 16:13 ] stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to [Acts 15:10 ] a yoke of [ Galatians 2:4] slavery.

Ephesians 6:13 (Whole Chapter) Therefore [1 Pet 4:1 ] take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in [Ephesians 5:16] the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.

Philippians 1:27 (Whole Chapter) Only [Philippians 3:20 ] let your manner of life be [ Eph 4:1 ] worthy [Greek Only behave as citizens worthy] of the gospel of Christ, so that whether I come and see you or am absent, I may hear of you [ 1 Cor 16:13 ] that you are standing firm in one spirit, with [Philippians 2:2; 1 Cor 1:10 ] one mind [Jude 3] striving side by side for the faith of the gospel,

Philippians 4:1 (Whole Chapter) Therefore, my brothers, [Or brothers and sisters; also verses 8, 21] whom I love and [ Philippians 1:8 ] long for, [Philippians 1:4; 2:16; 2 Cor 1:14 ] my joy and [Prov 16:31; 17:6 ] crown, [Philippians 1:27] stand firm thus in the Lord, my beloved.

Be Strong and Courageous

Deuteronomy 31:6 (Whole Chapter) [Deuteronomy 31:23; Josh 1:6, 7; 10:25; 1 Chr 22:13; 28:20 ] Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, [ Deuteronomy 20:4 ] for it is the LORD your God who goes with you. [Josh 1:5] He will not leave you or forsake you.”

Joshua 1:7 (Whole Chapter) Only be strong and [Joshua 23:6 ] very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law [Joshua 11:15 ] that Moses my servant commanded you. [Deut 5:32; 28:14] Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success [Or may act wisely] wherever you go.

2 Samuel 10:12 (Whole Chapter) [ Deut 31:6 ] Be of good courage, and [1 Sam 4:9; 1 Cor 16:13 ] let us be courageous for our people, and for the cities of our God, and [1 Sam 3:18] may the LORD do what seems good to him.

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