Posted March 22nd, 2012 by admin with 2 Comments
After a nightmarish sound-check (no fault of the excellent audio crew), we had to remove some gear after sound-check to attempt to repair it before our set actually began. Thankfully, God enabled us to keep calm while calling in “experts”, & everything was working properly by about 15 minutes before stage-time.
WECC The Lighthouse 89.3fm are a local Christian station that are HUGE supporters of what we are doing as Saint Lewis, & this is our yearly opportunity to encourage them in return. In years past we’ve fallen into the “concert trap”, viewing this more as a “show” than a worship service – this year I repented of that, & from the first strum of my guitar we dove in deep.
Slowly, the crowds – at first eating hotdogs, conversing with friends on the perimeter, & looking at the merch tents – began to draw together stage-front, & before long a large group of people were gathered, hands raised towards the stars, voices ringing out – even during our originals. This was our set…
A few highlights were:
Usually these sorts of events are frustrating, or at best a labor of love – this was not. Instead, it was a genuine meeting with God.
I believe I learned some things on Friday: trust in the face of defeat; worship, don’t perform; & when the power goes out, KEEP RIGHT ON SINGING.
So be it!
Posted March 5th, 2012 by CyleAugusta with 2 Comments
I’ll be the first to admit it: I suck as a worshiper, and I’m a worship leader, so where does that the rest of the church?
I say this because in the Bible, Praise & Worship are both responses to who God IS and what HE’S DONE… not a response to where WE are or HOW WE FEEL, but you wouldn’t know that looking out over most congregations. That doesn’t mean that we need to fake it – the Bible is full of expressions of Worship that value God even in our feelings of distance – even in our brokenness – even when it feels like God has abandoned us.
The problem is not that God hasn’t given us the resources to walk triumphantly through our disappointments, but that we don’t use them. Be honest: how to you respond to hardship? Where do you turn when trouble comes? Do you numb the pain with drugs, or alcohol, or – try this on – excessive TV or video-games. Do you shop away your heart-ache, or sleep with your boyfriend/girlfriend, directing your focus away from the pain and onto a brand-new circle of guilt and drama? Pornography – squirming in your seats? What about Religion? You know – trying to jump through all the hoops, to obey all the rules so you can feel good about how good you are …that’s religion…trying to earn God favor, or in this case…trying to earn your own favor. There is no life there. Never has been.
But some of us walk into church with some pretty big question, and God does not always choose to answer our questions here and now. He also doesn’t send us to Hell for them. Looking at Job: after losing it all, God’s response to Job’s heartfelt questioning was simply, “Who are YOU?” – not rudely, but in the sense that He didn’t bother answering questions, because behind the questions was a person, and God let Job have a big revelation of God, and the presence of God, instead of answers. And more often than not, that is what we really need: we don’t need philosophical answers – we need His presence, and maybe a bit of perspective – but most of all presence. Think about it – when in a time of heartache, is knowing all the information about what’s going on ultimately what brings you comfort, or is it the people who show they care by coming along-side you: going for a walk, and nodding as you share your heart – joining your team when your playing Halo – meeting you for breakfast?
God is HERE… and in spite of how broken you are, the answers aren’t what’s ultimately going to transform you, but an encounter with the living God, who holds this mess together, and sees the end of it all from the beginning, and still says “it is VERY Good” – that’s a person I can put my trust in, and if He’s really in control, and He’s Good, and He’s here with me, I don’t want to be the one who’s not positioned to receive from Him.
So, I’m going to sing – I’m going to praise – I’m going to pray – I’m going to kneel/bow/clap/fall on my face… I’m going to position myself to hear from and experience a God who is big enough to hold my messy life and our messy lives in His huge hands and ultimately make something beautiful out of them.
In my brokenness, I will seek His presence.
Even in my brokenness, I will seek Him.
So be it.