Working In Our Waiting

waiting

Waiting.  No one likes waiting, at least I’ve never met anyone who likes to wait.  We live in a fast-paced world, demanding speed in almost every part of our lives.  From fast food to high speed internet to 2 day Amazon Prime shipping, efficiency is King in our world.  But we can’t stop there, we not only love getting what we want quickly, but we also loath it when things don’t work quite quickly enough for us.  Bad traffic, buffering internet, or heaven forbid,  Siri doesn’t understand our voice commands and we are suddenly acting like a 5 year old on the toy isle.

I’ll admit, I’m one of the worst.  My #1, all time, biggest pet peeve is wasting time.  Every time I drive through Dallas, Texas I swear to my wife that “Dallas traffic is a direct result of the Fall of man!”  Why?  Why is it that I, we, are so bad at waiting?  I think it’s because in our minds waiting = wasting.

So much of our identities are wrapped up in what we can achieve.  We want to control every minute of our lives so that we make sure that we stay on track and don’t fall behind everyone else.  Wasting time to us is wasted opportunity.

The truth is, we couldn’t be farther from the actual truth.  But, in order to see it, we have to slow down and look at our life with a different perspective, God’s perspective.  God often has a different plan for our lives than we do, and God’s plan often involves, yep, you guessed it, waiting.  It almost doesn’t make sense to us, that is until we realize that in God’s economy waiting doesn’t equal wasting.  The reason is because waiting is one of the ways that God chooses to work in our lives.  We see this repeatedly throughout the Scriptures.

God has given us waiting as a gift.   Every moment of waiting is an opportunity to seek God.  When we are uncomfortable, longing for something that’s not fully in view, we can look to God, trusting Him to provide our future.  While we wait, God works in us, transforming us into His likeness.  Years ago God gifted Israel with the promise of a coming Savior, and in their waiting, He did amazing things, things we long to see in our day.  He’s done the same for us.  He’s promised that He will return for us.  We can rest assured that He will do what He has said.  He’s faithful and He’ll come again.  But in the mean time we can also begin to see that He’s working, not wasting.

What are you waiting on this Christmas season?

 

BOGG 2014 Song List

10505395_640998752662140_2477687098983583335_n

 

Hey Friends,

We had an awesome time last week worshiping with the students and adults at Bogg Springs camp!  Here’s our song list from last week for those that are interested.

 

Monday Night Session 

Go – Hillsong United

This is Amazing Grace – Phil Wickham

Oceans – Hillsong United

Sinking Deep – Hillsong Young and Free

Just As I Am – Brett Rutledge arrangement

Tuesday Night Session

Wake – Hillsong Young and Free

Only King Forever – Elevation Worship

Cornerstone – Hillsong Live

Found – We The Union

Forever Reign – One Sonic Society

In Christ Alone – Passion 2013 arrangement

 

Wednesday Night Session

This is Amazing Grace – Phil Wickham

Come Thou Fount – All Sons and Daughters arrangement

Sinking Deep – Hillsong Young and Free

Found – We The Union

Oceans – Hillsong United

 

Thursday Night Session

Wake – Hillsong Young and Free

Only King Forever – Elevation Worship

Sinking Deep – Hillsong Young and Free

In Christ Alone – Passion 2013 arrangement

Found – We The Union

Just As I Am – Brett Rutledge arrangement

 

Morning Session Songs

Alive in Us – We The Union

10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman

 

** The “We The Union” album was on pre-release at The Bogg.  If you didn’t grab a copy but want to buy the songs, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram to keep up to date with our album release.

SOAR 2014 Song List

the house art

 

Last week I had the privilege of leading worship at the SOAR conference with my band “We The Union”.  It was an unforgettable week!  For those that are interested, here’s the song list from last week.  .  .

Session 1: 

SOAR Opener

Go – Hillsong United

This Is Amazing Grace – Phil Wickham

Only King Forever – Elevation Worship

Forever Reign – One Sonic Society

Forever – Kari Jobe

Never Ending Love – We The Union

Alive In Us – We The Union

 

Session 2:

Only King Forever – Elevation Worship

Wake – Hillsong Young & Free

At Your Name – Phil Wickham

Come Thou Fount – All Sons and Daughters arrangement

Sinking Deep – Hillsong Young & Free

10,000 Reasons – Matt Redman

 

Session 3:

Go – Hillsong United

This Is Amazing Grace – Phil Wickham

Found – We The Union

Forever- Kari Jobe

Just As I Am – Brett Rutledge

Majesty – We The Union

 

Session 4:

Wake – Hillsong Young & Free

Only King Forever – Elevation Worship

Found – We the Union

Never Ending Love – We The Union

Oceans – Hillsong United

Sinking Deep – Hillsong Young & Free

 

***If you were at SOAR I would love to hear what songs spoke to you the most.  Or maybe you’ve got a cool story to share about something God did in your life involving one of these songs?  Just leave a comment below to let me know.  Thanks!

** The “We The Union” album was on pre-release at SOAR.  If you didn’t grab a copy but want to buy the songs, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, and/or Instagram to keep up to date with our album release.

It’s Not About The Singing

instruments-microphone-51094

- Worship has become about a performance.

- The songs are too high and complicated to sing.

- I prefer the older hymns.  And hymnals.

- I prefer the newer songs.  And projectors.

- The music is too loud.

-The music isn’t loud enough.

- The room is too dark and the lights are too bright.

- The room is too light, I’m too easily distracted.

According to various blog and Facebook posts this last week, these are some of the reasons given on why there is a decline in congregational singing in our churches.  There is definitely a contingency of people who are pointing their finger at the modern worship movement and calling out its flaws in an attempt to answer the question “Why does there seem to be a decline in people singing in church?”

And I must admit up front, I have thought about this question a decent bit over the last couple of years as well.  At times I have noticed a decline in singing in the church, and quite honestly, there aren’t many things that sadden me more.  However, I have currently come to a different conclusion than some of my brothers and sisters in Christ. (I say currently only because I think our thoughts are never to be concrete, rather, always evolving and improving)  And while I am certainly not trying to discredit everything that I read this week, because much of it was well thought through and written, I do want to offer a different answer to the question.

Why do we gather?

I believe that the answer to our question is as simple as answering the question “Why do we gather?”  If our answer to this question is centered around any one of us, then all of the excuses above are completely valid.  I’m guessing you see where I’m headed with this.  Although we could get very detailed here, the most simple and central answer to the question “Why do we gather?” is “We gather for God’s glory”.  When exalting God is the central reason we gather, something amazing happens, unity.  We are unified not because we all look alike, like the same things, and agree on everything.  Rather, we are unified by the Gospel of Jesus Christ and united to exalt Him.

When I look at the Scriptures, worship (including congregational singing) seems to be a pretty simple concept.  It tends to go something like this. . .”In response to all that God has done, the pinnacle being the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus, offer all of yourself to him as sacrifice of worship.”

When we look at corporate worship from this point of view we see that congregational singing isn’t fueled by personal preference, it’s fueled by the grace of God.  We don’t sing because we love the songs that are chosen, we sing because God chose to send His Son to die for our sins.  Worship is not “good or bad” based on how much we like or don’t like it, our worship is good only because God sees it through the perfection of Christ.  Me choosing not to worship through singing has less to do with what the church is doing wrong and a more to do with my heart being selfish.  

At our core, we all want things done our way.  Corporate worship is no exception to this.  But worship doesn’t fit inside the box we try to create for it.  Worship is much bigger than any one of us.  It’s cross-cultural, includes all genres and ethnicities, and it is not confined to what we imagine it to be.  You see, worship becomes a difficult subject only when we pretend it should be done a certain way.

When we show up to church we must remember just how much we all need Jesus.  As soon as we forget the immediacy of the Gospel, we begin to think that church services are about us instead of God.

In closing, I believe that there will always be tension in the “how” of worship.  But, that tension should never keep us from giving the “Who” of worship the glory that He is due.  Let’s lose the cynicism and gather to worship unified by the Gospel and united for His glory.  And for crying out loud, sing!

 

 

 

 

Jesus, Community, and what little I know about Revival.

fire-sparks

It was my senior year of college and I found myself on stage in front of an auditorium full of my peers.  I was leading them in worship with some of my closest friends.  The atmosphere was charged with energy like that of a summer lightning storm.  We were nervous, yet hopeful and expectant that God would move in a powerful way that night.  But that moment hadn’t snuck up on us.  We had been gathering multiple times a week praying, sharing life, and sometimes even fasting for our campus, asking God to do something amazing among the student body of Ouachita Baptist University.  During those years God did something among that small group friends that I look back on now and long for.  

Although that night was nearly 5 years ago, I continue to long for some of the same things that my friends and I sought while in college.  I still want to see God do something amazing in my church, in my city, and beyond.

I’m guessing that if you’re a follower of Jesus you probably also want to see a movement of God in your church and community.  You might even be actively praying for it.  If so, here are some of my thoughts on how we can see real revival happen in our day.

1) Seek Jesus.  This has to be where it all starts.  More of Jesus, less of us.  A desire to know Him and make Him known.  If we desire revival, but don’t genuinely desire Christ-likeness, then as crazy as it sounds, our revivalism is really more about making much of ourselves rather than God.  A genuine “hunger and thirst” for Jesus (Matt. 5:6) has to be our passion.  It’s a godly desire.  And it’s the spark and kindling for revivals fire.

2) Community.  Something powerful can happen when Jesus-followers get together to seek Him.  Although, it’s not guaranteed.  Something about our fallen nature makes this difficult.  This is  what I do know, when seeking Jesus is at the center of our community, things change.  Our masks come off because there’s no need to impress one another.  We realize that “all are one in Christ” (Gal. 3:28).  God’s grace connects us to Him and to other people.  We’re freed  to really be known by other people.  We’re privileged to be a part of each others redemption story.   When this kind of transparency takes place, it creates momentum.  It’s the fuel that feeds revivals fire.

3) The Journey.  A revival is not a one time event, it’s a series of events.  To revive simply means “to renew” or “to set in motion”.  Perhaps one of the greatest ways we can bring revival to our communities is to change our view of what it is to see revival take place.  In my opinion, any time a single person experiences a “renewal” in the grace of Jesus, we’ve seen revival.  Any time a group of people are “set in motion” for God’s glory, we’ve seen revival.  Each of these events is a revival fire that burns bright for God’s glory.  Only God Himself sees the big picture, the thousands, millions of revival fires burning around the earth at one time.  While I certainly hope that I get to see the day when hundreds and thousands of those fires catch one another’s flame and set a global fire for God’s glory, I know that I’m not in control of that, God is.

My friends and I led worship with all of our hearts that night.  Students read the scriptures and sang for over two hours.  When the service was scheduled to be done the student body began to call out songs for us to play.  No one wanted to leave.  So we worshiped with passionate singing and dancing late into the night.  It was awesome.  I’ll never forget it.  I believe we saw revival on that night.  As I look back on it I realize, however, that night was only one of the many revivals that happened that year.  Most of them happened in small ways; sharing life over coffee, laughing together, supporting one another, and praying together behind closed doors.

Today, I sense something similar happening.  There are revival fires burning all around, I see some of them, I hear about some of them, and  Jesus is at the center of it all.  I’m not saying that something unbelievably amazing is about to happen, but I’m not not saying that.  I’m trying to remember that my part is singular in focus.  Seek Jesus.  Believe.

4 Ways the Magi Could Impact Your Christmas Season

star_trail_tree_silhouette_night_sky1

Can you imagine what it would have been like to be one of the first people to see Jesus?  The Messiah was long awaited and desperately needed, just the news of his soon arrival made Elizabeth’s baby leap for joy and caused the mute Zechariah to speak again.  In the story of Jesus’ birth, the Magi are some of the first men on the scene of the Savior’s birth.  Their reaction was one of the most pure expressions of worship the Bible gives.  Here’s what I notice about their worship.

A) It was joyful.  Matt. 2:10 “When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy.”   I love this. . .wise, educated, respected men rejoicing exceedingly and with great joy.  Knowledge of Jesus should always lead to fervent worship.

B) It was humble.  Matt. 2:11 “And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him.”  Worship often times involves both joy and humility, rejoicing and bowing.  This is because God is both transcendent (beyond us) and immanent (close to us).  His grandeur inspires awe and wonder, while his nearness brings peace and joy.  We see this also in Psalm 2:11 which says “Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling.”

B) It always centers on Jesus.  This one is pretty simple.  Matthew says “they worship him.”  They didn’t worship the mystery of the moment, they didn’t worship Mary or Joseph, they worshiped Jesus, God in flesh.

C) It includes giving.  Matt. 2:11 “Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.”  Worship always includes self-sacrifice.  The Magi brought gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.  But they also gave time, energy, and devotion to Christ as they worshiped.

We see these same truths about worship throughout scripture, and hopefully they make their way into our personal lives and our churches each week.  Often times, however, the latter isn’t always true.  In fact, if we’re not careful, our personal worship and corporate worship will revolve around the exact opposite of these.  Instead of our worship being  joyful and humble it will be greedy and judgmental.  Instead of focusing on Jesus, our worship will focus on our personal preferences And instead of coming to give in worship, we’ll come as consumers, ready to take in what’s been prepared for us.

I’m in no way pointing a finger or trying to be pessimistic, I simply want to point out how quickly we can get away from worshiping Jesus and focus on ourselves.  The beauty of this Advent season is found in its invitation for each of us to re-live the story of Christ’s life, death, and resurrection.  The magi teach us a great lesson in worship, pointing us back to Jesus, personal sacrifice, and humility.

 

 

Songs from SOAR 2013 (w/ iTunes links)

970076_531569213551750_1788195053_n

Here’s a list of the songs that we led last week at the SOAR conference.  I hope this is helpful to those of you who are interested.

Freedom Is Here – Hillsong United (Live in Miami)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/live-in-miami/id496131626

Forevermore – Jesus Culture

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/forevermore-live/id578670133?i=578670143

One Thing Remains – Brian Johnson

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/one-thing-remains-live/id415036948?i=415037143

In Christ Alone – Passion (Let The Future Begin)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/in-christ-alone-feat.-kristian/id606305346?i=606305380

Your Great Name – Natalie Grant

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/your-great-name/id482115414?i=482115422

Alive In Us – Original (Klayton Seyler, Alan Thomas, Aaron Williams)

Here For You – Matt Redman

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/passion-here-for-you-deluxe/id419443180

Forever Reign – One Sonic Society

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/forever-reign-live/id376473219?i=376473234

How He Loves – John Mark McMillan

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/how-he-loves-single-version/id379151208?i=379151391

Never Ending Love – Original (Klayton Seyler, Alan Thomas, Aaron Williams)

Go – Hillsong United

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/go/id413410016?i=413410153

Set A Fire – Jesus Culture

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/set-a-fire-live/id578670133?i=578670390

Just As I Am – Brett Rutledge

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/just-as-i-am/id551221994?i=551222235

The Stand – Hillsong United

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/the-stand-live/id361893973?i=361897031

Revelation Song – Passion (Let The Future Begin)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/revelation-song-feat.-kari/id606305346?i=606305372

 

 

 

 

 

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 50 other followers

%d bloggers like this: