Summer Training

29 04 2008

For four Thursdays in July (10, 17, 24 and 31) we’ll be having focused training for our current worship team members and trainees. This will assume that the participants have solid fundamentals of their respective instruments. 

The instructors will compile a list of songs that we currently and/or frequently do at a typical event (Sunday Worship Service, Gracepoint Monthly, large group Bible study, etc.).  We’ll divide into sections for the first three weeks, when the instructors for each instrument will demonstrate and teach how they play each song.  For the last session, we’ll all get together with a full setup and go through the songs, giving everybody a chance to play with other instruments.

The location and specific times are still TBD.  All current worship team members and trainees are required to participate.

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Dramatic Measures

25 04 2008

When Jesus "cleansed the temple", he went to dramatic measures to communicate the seriousness of the issue. People were supposed to go to the temple with their animals to present as an offering. The priests would take it and slaughter the animals to atone for sins. The "business-minded" capitalized on the situation by even unfairly profitting off the temple "exchange rate" and the selling of animals immediately adjacent to the temple.

2008.04.27 Songs
Marvelous Light – Charlie Hall
Not to Us – Chris Tomlin
Mercy of My God (Let Me Be) – Caedmon’s Call
I Will Offer Up My Life – Matt Redman

This degree of blindness warranted Jesus’ dramatic measures in hopes to wake them up, so that they could open their eyes and see what they were doing.

There are times when God has used dramatic means to get me to wake up, to open my eyes to my own blindness, to show me that who I think and feel I am doesn’t really reflect reality, doesn’t reflect the truth.  Christians are a people who has been "brought out of darkness into his wonderful light".  Light exposes what’s hidden in darkness, the truth laid bare for all to see.  Sometimes that’s not a pretty picture, but it’s the truth nonetheless.  Welcoming light into our lives needs to be a priority because God is a God of truth.  I need to accept the truth understanding that the means by which it is delivered are methods God has deemed necessary to awaken me, especially if the darkness is my own blindess.

I want to be open and humble, to hear whatever God has to speak to me through his word, reveal any truth I’m hiding in the darkness of my own blindness, that I might offer up something glorifying to Him.





Surprised by Grace

25 04 2008

One way to assist people getting to practice on time is by instituting a monetary fine if a person is late. Everybody is on board with this, and we use the proceeds for dinner or breakfast for everybody anyway, when time permits. But as of late we’ve gotten quite lax on this, not having charged anybody in at least the last 2 months.

Last week, only 4 of us were there on time. I told those on-timers that I would “lay the smack down”, only partially understanding what the idiom meant. As soon as 7pm hit (according to Verizon time) anybody to walk into our Northloop building after that would officially be late.

Everybody got there, and I said that they’d be fined. They protested and cried out for mercy. I said, “I’ll leave it to the other three who were on time to decide”. One said “justice”, another said “mercy”. The third “on-timer”, Dominic (keyboards), wasn’t in the room at the time. I said that it would be up to him when he returned to the room, at which point Jeff (electric guitar) defeatedly said, “ah, it’s over. No mercy comes from that guy”.

Dominic returned to the room. I didn’t tell him that his vote would be the swing when I asked him what his vote was. He calmly said, “I say let them off this week”…

Now whatever spiritual lesson you might want to gather from this, I’ll leave that up to you. My take away lesson is, “you never know when you’ll be surprised by…”

 

 

“… Dominic.”

 





Process of Refinement

24 04 2008

1 Peter 1:6-7

The song set emerged from reflecting over refinement and what that entails. To purify gold, I heard that you heat it up to melt, which separates out the impurities so to remove them. Personifying the gold (to apply the metaphor), I can’t imagine the refining process to be a very pleasant one for the gold. But endured, refinement would be for the best, to remove the impurities.

2008.04.20 Songs
Blessed Be Your Name – Matt Redman
Rushing Wind – Keith Green
At the Cross – Hillsong

Looking back over 13 years of being a Christ-follower, I see the most difficult times are often coupled with times of personal spiritual growth in some way. Pastor William mentioned to me that in history the church grew in times of persecution. William and Esther walked with me during very difficult times of my personal failures which resulted in decisions and behavior that revealed who I really am on the inside. But through those times of greater self-understanding, I came to know the love, grace, forgiveness and/or restoration God gives a little more than I did before. That can’t be a bad thing.

Why is it refining fire? Perhaps because it’s often a bit frightening and it will hurt. But if my worldview is a Christian one, then God is trustworthy beyond whatever difficulty may come my way in this lifetime. Furthermore, I can even welcome and embrace those difficulties if doing so makes me more fit for the life to come.

And finally, I must not forget that the greatest difficulty was endured by one — not for his own benefit but for mine — on the cross, where my Savior died for me.