Unseen Power

28 05 2008

Sound technicians have a stressful job.  Overlooked in terms of gratitude owed, and often first to be blamed when something goes wrong.  Figurative fingers through literal gazes pointed at them as the target of accusation, 1200 eyeballs fixed on them as they sweat to resolve the issues.

From the worship team’s perspective, the sound techs are the ones that have the ultimate power.  We can practice for hours, perfect our transitions and have everything planned to the T.  But the sound techs have at their fingertips the power to make the difference.  In other words, without sound coming out of the system,  we’d just appear to be a bunch of dancing fools (which is entirely possible since we use personal in-ear monitor systems).

What difference can a sound tech make?  Here’s an example.  This was at the beginning of our Sunday Worship Service at Gracepoint a couple of weeks ago.  Everybody makes mistakes. But you don’t always get to hear them talk about it. My favorite part is hearing laughter at the end of the clip. At least they’re enjoying themselves.

In case you missed it, here’s a short transcript of what they’re saying:

[ song intro begins ]

Tim: Where’s james?… Where’s the electric?
Esther: Ok…
Danielle: What’s going on?
Esther: The electric wasn’t up.

[ James’ guitar chord blares out ]

Danielle: Oh.
Esther: That’s bad, heh…
Danielle: Oh my, haha. The wrong guitar was up.

[ song intro begins ]

Danielle: [giggle]
Esther:  The wrong guitar…
Tim: Was it muted [on the board], or was it him?
Danielle: No, it was down.
Esther: It was the wrong guitar was up.
Tim: Hm. That’s not good.

Danielle: HAHAHAHA!

So, yes, sound techs make a huge difference.  Just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they’re not there.  Sometimes the less seen, the more powerful.  

“Can you see the wind? I’ve never seen the wind but I’ve seen the effects of the wind. There’s a mystery to it.” — Billy Graham



27 05 2008

Mark 12:41-13:2

What impresses me?

There are things we look at and evaluate, and we conclude they’re great and impressive.  It could be some giant feat of man, or some trait or ability someone has.  We all want to be impressive.  I do!  I want to be recognized and applauded, and hear, “What would we do without you?”  It makes me feel good.  I look inside, and I find myself impressed with my own talents and abilities.

2008.05.18 Songs
Hosanna – Paul Baloche
Fire Fall Down – Hillsong United
I Surrender All

While the talents and abilities I have are good, I have to ask myself: is that what I’m really all about?  I have to pause and evaluate the criteria I use to evaluate myself and others.  The things I like about myself or consider impressive might actually have very little to do with “what I’m really about.”  When I face the reality about myself, those abilities and likes aren’t nearly as “impressive” as my sinfulness and my capacity to sin.

I used to have issues with anger.  I would burn inside when things set me off.  I knew the insults spoken in the privacy of my thoughts when my oversized ego was nicked.  And even when those didn’t manifest themselves on the outside, I also acknowledge there have been many safeguards that prevented my anger from spilling out and hurting people.  There were even times in my life when these safeguards didn’t prevent my anger from erupting.  Through it all, I’m learning to control my anger, and I’ve received a lot of God-provided grace and healing.  So, when placed side by side with this part of my past, my ability to teach or speak or lead worship doesn’t seem like much at all.

The widow gave out of her poverty an amount unimpressive in the eyes of man.  But in the eyes of God, her humility and heart of surrendering what little she had far outweighed the piles of money or enormous temple stones the rest of the world saw.  If who I am on the inside is what makes a stronger “impression” to God, then that’s what I need to prioritize and deal with.


Modus Operandi

22 05 2008

Austin, TXSome have been asking me if I feel down about so many of our current band members moving to Texas to start our Austin church.  My feelings are quite the contrary.  Yes, I’m losing valuable worship team members, and that might create more work for me here to raise up others to continue on. But I’m so proud of all the people who decided to go, and particuarly thankful and relieved that so many of them are currently serving on our worship team.  It follows right along with our heart and vision in terms of training up.

Those of us in our band who have the responsibility of training know that one of the main objectives is to provide a worship team for our church plants, foreign and domestic.  We need to train somebody to either go and fill that role, or to replace us here so that we can go. That’s the way we do things here.

David LeeIsaac Kim and Dominic MuttoLillianDavid LeeIsaac KimLillian Chung

I’ll go ahead and list out the potential worship team roster that I foresee out there:

Lead: David Lee
Vocals: Lillian Chung
Guitars: Ben Kim**
Keyboards: Dominic Mutto, Joyce Lee*
Bass: Isaac Kim
Drums: Maurice Chung**

* aka. Mrs. David Lee.  We should make them share a mic…
** played a little before, so I’m guessing will be compelled by the Holy Spirit or Pastor Manny to step up.

Quite a lineup, no?  Let’s continue to pray for jobs for all the people who committed to go out there to be our Gracepoint Fellowship Church – Austin!


20 05 2008

The last words of the Bible are “Come, Lord” (maran ‘atha), sentiments of longing for the second coming of Jesus Christ. It’s a sentiment that I’ve experienced recently in light of the current status of this world. Food shortages, earthquakes and cyclones, pain, suffering, death, grief and mourning. There was even a shooting last week over at the UC Berkeley campus.  When you look around at the world in all its dark reality, you get the strong sense that this world just isn’t the way it was supposed to be.  The Christian worldview explains that God created a perfect universe for us to have authority over.  When man denied God’s authority over us, we denied the authority God bestowed upon us over creation as well. 

2008.05.18 Songs
God of Our Yesterdays – Matt Redman
You Never Let Go – Matt Redman
What a Day – Greg Ferguson

I experience the sentiment also when I look inside myself and see the darkness within me, the sin that I own, yet owns me.  The brokenness of this world isn’t just the world being so in and of itself, but my brokenness causing it to be so, as well.  Natural disasters destroy lives and ruin homes. My sin destroys relationships with others and with God, and ruin and defile my own soul, making an indelible mark on the moral fabric of this universe. 

These are the things that bring me to long for heaven, long for Jesus’ return, when all that is broken and ruined in this world will righted, and “every tear will be wiped away. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain.” That’s what Christians have to look forward to. A greater reality than our current state here on earth. What a day that will be.


Render Unto God

13 05 2008

Senior Sunday. We celebrate the graduation of our Seniors, many of whom have been with us since their freshmen year at Cal. A chapter in their life ends as another begins, moving on to graduate school or entering the workforce. The closing of a chapter in our lives means an opening of a new one. It’s important to have the right perspective when making that move.

2008.05.11 Songs
The Lord Reigns – Gateway Worship
Offering – Paul Baloche

Charles Stanley said, “Life at its very best is to know the will of God and to live in the center of it”. The ways that I’ve personally experienced blessing as a result of sacrificial obedience to God’s will and purpose testify to the truth of Stanley’s words.

We’re all going to give our lives for something. But will that “something” be worth my life? If God truly is the Creator of all, then the Bible’s claim that my life is best suited and thrives under his care and control. I wanted to bring us all to remember in what ways that has proven true in our lives, to apply it to the unknown future as a commitment to be made available for His kingdom’s cause.

July Practice Schedule

13 05 2008

To accommodate for the worship team training on Thursdays in July, we’re going to change the practice time to be on Wednesday (at your current respective times).  This is for both SF and Berkeley Bands.  This is only for 4 weeks (July 10, 17, 24 and 31).

Please let me know if this will be a problem.

Refusing Authority

4 05 2008

All we have is given us by the one true Authority. God is the “author” of the universe, and so therefore rightfully claims authorship — or authority — over all, which of course includes you and me.  But does even a day go by in which my actions, decisions and perspective don’t evidence the contrary?

2008.05.04 Songs
No Other Name – Todd Fields
All Because Of Jesus – Fee
The Stand – Hillsong United

My son, almost a year and a half now, likes anything that has a screen that lights up (eg. my cell phone). Many times, he’ll be holding something that belongs to me, and I’ll ask him to give it to me. He’ll hold it, pulling his stubby arms away from me, look at me and say, “No!”  The look on his cheek-dominant face tells me he genuinely believes that what he’s holding is rightfully his, and that it would be morally wrong for me to take it from him. 

Jesse KimCute for an 18 month old. Not so much for a 31 year old, who needs life to go a particular way that’s most convenient for him, without speed bumps, setbacks or road blocks. Many people (myself included) want to feel like they have life under their control. But the truth is that feeling is at best an illusion.  More often, things don’t pan out the way that we expect.  When that happens, those of us who need that sense of control don’t respond too well — frustration, stress, unhappiness and then lovelessness often surmount. It’s holding my life and pulling it away with my own stubby arms, claiming it for myself.

What I have to do in those circumstances is acknowledge my own lack of control, and God’s rightful claim of authority over my life.  How might God want to speak to, teach, or even use me in these circumstances?  He has all authority, and so my perspective needs to shift from myself being the main character to Him, which is in fact, reality.  I need to change from tightly gripping my own life — my agenda, schedule and convenience — and offer it back into the hands that gave me my very life, and all that I have within it.