Monday, April 26, 2010

The Choice

Earlier in my twenties I struggled with depression. This is not to say that I considered myself "depressed' but I test high as a melancholy and had a tendency to complain...a lot. I never saw the class half full. My friend and I used to go walking every morning and I would complain about my job the entire time. I struggled physically on those walks, especially when it came to walking up one of the many hills in our neighborhood.

Fast forward. She challenged me quite a few times and as a result I started changing my tune. I specifically remember one morning making a decision to not complain. I decided that I would only speak positively over my job even if I didn't believe everything I said. Do you know what happened? I charged up those hills! I had been walking in defeat for so long and suddenly I had a new energy about me! What about my situation had changed? Me.

Philippians is quite possibly one of my favorite books of the bible. So much in those 4 chapters speaks deeply to me. Particularly the 4th Chapter. Here are a few of my favorites...4:4 "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again, rejoice!"....4:6 "Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done. 7 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 finally 8 "...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."

No where in that passage does it say, sit back and let God fill you with peace. Every part of it starts with us being responsible for our own emotions, our own decisions of how we decide to react to our daily lives. Don't worry...well, for some of us that takes an act of God! But it can be done if we fix our thoughts on the positive. The bottom line is we have to make the choice to not worry, to pray about everything, to be thankful, to fix our thoughts....THEN God will fill us with peace.

Ps Jill Sweetman has an incredible revelation/message on going to Vision vs. Complaint. Hearing her revelation on it has given me a revelation that has changed my thinking and transformed me. Let's say you're in a church that doesn't have a good kids dept, if it bothers you enough than I would suggest that you may be passionate about it. Now you can do two things, you can go to complaint, talking to others about how much of a failure the whole thing is. OR, you can go talk to the person running it and see if you can help. Maybe the person running it has tried everything to make things better but can't seem to nail down some specific areas and you're just the person to fill in the blanks.

Or what about in a marriage. We can easily go to complaint if our husbands don't help us around the house or with the kids but have we been nagging him to death about it instead of making it enjoyable for him to get involved in? We choose what kind of life we want. We choose what kind of relationships we want. We choose what kind of church we serve. But it doesn't come with out action on our behalf.

Choose vision and then, take action.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Worshiping out of the Anointing: Part 1

Isn't it sad when you those foundational truths sneak up and smack you in the know, the ones that you've grown up knowing, the ones, that if asked to preach on, you could do it without notes...I had one of those moments this past weekend.

When I took the job as MD at C3church my Pastor, Dean Sweetman, asked me to put raising people up as one of my top priorities. There's a lot to that request and I was, and continue to be passionate about it. For a long time my heart has been to teach people how to be worshippers, no matter what their function. How to identify what your connection point with God is. It all starts with our own personal relationship with God and flows from there. I heard a pastor preach recently that ministry is the overflow of our time spent with God. WOW! Same goes for anointing. We have no anointing if we haven't spent time with God. Pretty simple right? Well, it goes even deeper.

God gives us grace. Imagine a cup, When you spend time with God he fills that cup up. When you minister (lead worship, preach, prophesy, ect) you pour out some of what's in that cup. You can continue to pour out but eventually you'll be ministering out of your gift instead of anointing. I could say a lot more on that and will at a later time...

I felt the smack this past Sunday morning. We were having a decent morning technically, but I was having to lead the band behind the scenes a good bit and was feeling a little tired from that. I remember asking the Holy Spirit, "Why does this have to be so hard?" And He said..."Because this isn't time to fill yourself up. You're ministering now, pouring yourself out. This is about other people connecting with Me." ouch. A foundational truth I know, but forgot along the way.

Now, this doesn't mean that we won't get a little top off during worship but if we come in on Sunday morning and say, "this is my time to worship" We won't be leading anyone anywhere. We're worship-LEADERS. Whether you're a drummer, BV, sound matter's if you've got a fresh touch of God on your life. How much more will God move if 20-40 people are operating in the anointing vs one? It's not that God can move any less, He is all-powerful, able to do more than we can imagine...but think about it this way...If you were invited to a party by a really good friend but you weren't close with anyone else attending, you may still go, but the richness of the experience would be vastly different to going to a party with 20 of your closest friends.

It's vitally important that we fill ourselves up before and after we minister, otherwise we're operating out of our gift not the anointing.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dream Come True

I'm sitting in LA this morning after a full on Sunday. Worship was fantastic yesterday morning in ATL and last night in LA. I can't believe this is the life I have now. I put frequent travel to Asheville and LA last year and almost immediately Asheville happened. We began traveling to Asheville every Sunday afternoon. We'd finish up our two services in Atlanta, grab our gear and our girl, pile in the car and take off up 85. 2 hours and 45ish minutes later we'd arrive. We'd unload, set up, soundcheck, worship, listen to a great message, tear down, eat dinner and drive back home! Crazy? No! We loved every minute of it! Was it hard sometimes? Sure. But look at what we were doing! Week after week, people that had given up on church came back to know God in a genuine way. Their hearts were starting to be restored by the power of God and we were helping to make that happen!

Wow, just got a little teary at the enormity of it all.

1 year later I started traveling to LA once a month. Same thing...morning in ATL...pack up head to the airport and about 6 hours later arrive at LAX. My heart has started connecting to the wonderful people of the LA church. The culture here is completely different to Asheville and ATL, but it's beautiful! Young people that came here to chase a dream are starting to find a brand new one! The loneliness they face when trying to "make it" melts away when they walk in the doors of our church. I overheard two girls last night saying, "everyone is so friendly here!" That's the beginning expression of God's love to them. It's the easiest thing we can do for this crowd to show them a relevant kingdom of God.

I can't help but wonder what the rest of this year will many more times will I take that 3:05 flight out of ATL? Or...where's the next destination? It really is a beautiful season.