Created to Praise

Just me being me the way He made me

Outsider’s Perspective and Awakening August 9, 2009

I visited a new church this morning. It was quite an experience and I’ve decided to share it with y’all. I’m going to start by stating just the facts and then I’ll move on to what I think.

This is a church in Central Louisiana. It’s a fairly large church for this area. They have more than one service each Sunday. The service I attended appeared to have between 350 to 400 people in attendance. Don’t quote me on that though, since I’m pretty bad at guessing numbers. The facilities were very nice, modern and super clean.

We arrived a bit early so the kids could get to their classes. I was very pleased that everyone in the children’s department was so super nice and they had very good security measures in place. This is important in a church of a large size. Also, help was needed finding our way around the facilities and everyone we approached for help was super nice and helpful. In fact, they walked us aaaalllll the way where we needed to be each time, rather than just telling us where to go and hoping we made it. I was grateful for that. Trust me, that kind of thing matters to a first time visitor.

I had been invited to this church by a friend, but that friend had apparently gone to a different service, since I couldn’t find them at this one (she’d told me where to look for her). So I took my seat alone on the second row from the back. I should mention this is a rather large church, but the building was pretty packed, so there weren’t a lot of seats to choose from. However, I did find one with no problem.

When I arrived, they had already started the worship service. The singers were all on the platform singing a lovely, moving song. It seemed to be “special music” though since the congregation was seated and only listening. After that song, the congregation stood and sang a few songs. There was a “meet and greet” time for visitors, then the offering, then more singing, then special music, then the message.

Okay, that’s the basics. Now I’ll tell you what I experienced during all of that.

After listening to the first music special, we were invited to worship with the people on the platform. There were some traditional hymns mixed with a couple of contemporary songs. I knew all the songs they were singing, so it was easy to join in…which is what I did. Y’all know I love to worship. However, I stayed pretty subdued since that’s what everyone else was doing. But you know how it is…you start singing to the Lord and you just find that your hands are raised to Him. I promise I wasn’t loud y’all (I know that is hard to believe, but it’s true LOL) but you’d have thought I was drowning out the choir. Seriously, I was quiet.

Hang on, I’ll get back to the worship in just a sec….let me address the meet and greet first. In a room with over 300 people in it, I was greeted by FIVE people….two who were seated next to me, one usher handing out welcome packets, one lady passing by and one older gentleman. The older gentleman really touched my heart. He appeared to walk all the way over to me from the other side of the room….like he was there JUST to welcome ME. After shaking my hand, he walked all the way back to his seat. That one act of kindness did a lot for me.

Okay back to the worship. So I was singing quietly, but I did have my hands raised. Toward the end of the song, I heard laughter. Thinking little of it, I continued to worship. After the song, I realized the laughter was directed toward me. When I opened my eyes I found some young people pointing at me and giggling. Becoming a bit self concious, I tried to ignore it, but noticed that others were looking at me too. Weird, but okay. After all, I’m the visitor and maybe I was doing something wrong.

Next song, more giggling, pointing and staring. That was enough for me to gather my things and begin to walk away.

But when I got to the back of the church, a song caught my attention. It was one of those songs that uses the Word of God to worship Him. You know what I mean right? Bible verses being the lyrics? Well those songs are so powerful, I just can’t help myself…I have to worship. Those songs beckon you to worship! So I stood in the very back of the church, forgetting everyone around me (sort of) and worshipped. I did keep my voice very very low though, so as not to draw attention to myself. But I couldn’t help raising my hands. I just couldn’t help it. Song over. Hands down. Eyes open. Giggling, pointing, and the back three rows of the church turned around looking at me. Well, that was enough for me. I left. I won’t be back.

I got to the parking lot and told the kids that we were going to worship without worrying what people thought. So we got in the van, turned on a Kutless CD and worshiped. It was awesome! The Lord stepped right into our van and stayed there with us the whole time. Thank you, Lord. I really needed your presence today.

This visit today was NOT a good experience for me. However, it rekindled something in me that I thought had possibly gone away forever. I wanted sooooo much to shake that whole church…the whole building…to get their attention. I wanted to shout to the rafters “DON’T YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’RE MISSING??!?!?!? HE LOVES YOU! WHAT ELSE COULD POSSIBLY MATTER? WORSHIP HIM!!!!!”

My desire has always been to worship. But more than that, I want others to worship with me. I don’t really know how to explain it well, but if people would just have that ONE moment where they realize how worthy He is….they just won’t be worried about much else anymore. I love to be there when they have that moment. I love to see the transformation in them. I love to worship with them after that. It’s fantastic! And when you’re in a room full of people who’ve all (or mostly all) had that moment, it’s SHARED worship. Somehow it brings people closer together as they draw closer to the Lord. Ugh. See I told you couldn’t explain it well.

But I want that again. I want to worship with like-minded people. I want to sing to my Lord without ridicule or shame. I want to raise my hands to Him and pour out my love on Him while He pours out His love on me and those around me. I want to, once again, stand in the doorway of the Holy of Holies and say to everyone….”I’m going in to worship and I invite you to come with me.”

Today’s experience was anything but great but something wonderful came out of it. The Lord reminded me who I am. I am a worshiper. All of us are, actually, just some of us haven’t realized it yet. LOL But seriously, He has called me to a purpose and it’s time I got to it. No, I’m not going to start hitting up local churches for a worship leader job. HAHHA To the contrary, I’m hoping He never asks me to do that again. But I AM going to worship. I am going to find a congregation of like-minded people and I am going to stand in the midst of them as together we worship our God. It’s time I got back to being what He made me to be.

On a side note, I should mention….there are most likely some God-fearing, loving & wonderful people in that church. In fact, I have no doubt that I met some today. But it was made perfectly clear to me that I don’t belong there. But now I have hope that there is SOMEWHERE for me and my family where we will belong…and I’m determined to find it. ūüôā

 

Were They Reached? June 17, 2008

A couple of weeks ago I read this over at Los’ blog. And then a few days ago I read this. I’ve been mulling over this in my head for a couple of weeks and thought I’d share some of my thoughts with y’all. I may be dead wrong or I might be right on target. Who knows? These are just my rambling thoughts.

I’m not leading worship anywhere anymore, so this may not even apply to me. But I’m always evaluating myself, making sure I’m not doing things for the wrong reasons or out of emotion, etc. And these posts by Carlos really made me reflect on my time as a worship leader.

Even when I was on the road, singing secular music (totally for the money), I always said “If you can’t sing with passion, don’t bother singing at all. You need to really know what you’re singing about before you open your mouth.” Well if that applied to secular music, then imagine how much more it applies to leading worship.

Every week I prepared for worship by first checking my heart. It could not be about me. Yes, I prepared vocally, but my primary focus was the spiritual preparation.

So when I stepped onto that platform, my heart was all for Him. Every note I sang was filled with passion for Him. But how did that convey to the congregation? I don’t know. How did the first time visitor see it? How did the lost person sitting way in the back see it? Did they see it as something they wanted to join in authentically? To make a real connection with the Father? Or did they see it as “Becky in Concert”?

I’m afraid my passion was often viewed as “Becky’s trying to put on a show.” I hope I’m wrong. I really, really hope I’m wrong. But I’m also realistic. I’m a very loud vocalist who is best at powerhouse songs. So when one of those songs was on the set list, I sang it to the best of my ability (because He deserves no less) and with all my heart. But nobody can see my heart. They only see the girl on the stage singing loud and moving around a lot (I do move around a lot when I worship….I just can’t sit still).

I wanted so much to engage the congregation…to invite them in to worship with me. I would talk to them about this amazing Love, about how awesome He is. But I don’t know if I ever really got through. How can I know? Just like they couldn’t see my heart, I couldn’t see theirs.

Did someone out there see authentic worship and want to experience it too, without knowing how? Did I, in some small way, help them to connect with Him? Or did I just confuse them more? Did someone out there get the impression that I was putting on a show and get turned off completely? What could I have done differently? What could I have done better to help them enter into His presence?

How many people left empty because I didn’t do enough?

I guess if Carlos, who is a fantastic worship leader, asks himself similar questions, then I’m not so bad. But I can’t help but feel like I could have done more, done better, done something.

Lord, if anyone was reached while I was leading worship, it was all You. But I am so grateful for the chance to have been a part of it. Thank You. Thank You so much. And I know You have a plan for me, I just don’t know what that plan is. But however You want to use me, I’m all Yours. I’ll do it with all my heart. But I need You to help me. I’m so weak and so unable to do anything on my own. Please help me. And please show me where to go and what to do. I feel so lost right now. I can’t even take the next step without Your help.

 

Creative Chaos April 25, 2008


I’m a day late but here’s my entry for Creative Chaos.

Starting Sunday night, I will be working with the Youth Praise Team.  They have only been together for two weeks (this will be their third) and they are already off to a good start.  Speedy (our Youth Pastor) has been working with them, but he has so much on his plate already.  This will release him to focus on other things.

We’ll be laying the foundation for a strong team.¬† We already have a drummer, bass guitar, keyboard, lead guitar and two vocalists.¬† We would like to add a couple more instruments and a couple more vocalists.¬† So if you are a teen who is looking for a way to serve in the music ministry, please let me know!

Also, I am going to have some adult musicians partner with these teen musicians to kind of mentor them.¬† Music lessons are good and we definitely want the youth to keep taking them.¬† This mentoring program will be to help them musically and spiritually.¬† There’s much more that goes into leading worship than just music.¬† Most teens are surprised by that when they first start.¬† These mentors can help guide and grow them in the area of worship.

So that’s what happening creatively with me this week.¬† I’m excited about the future!

 

You Can Bite Back! April 24, 2008

Filed under: Charity,Church Life,ministry,Random Stuff,Thoughts on Worship — 6kids1me @ 9:11 am

Tomorrow is World Malaria Day.¬† Did you know that?¬† I just found that out.¬† So I’ve been reading up on malaria.¬† The statistics are shocking to say the least.¬† I first read about it on Crystal’s blog and then started digging deeper for info. This is from Compassion’s website:

*Malaria kills one million people each year

*Most of these people are children

Here’s what shocked me the most….malaria is easily prevented.¬† One major tool in fighting malaria is a mosquito net.¬† A mosquito net placed around a child’s bed will protect them from the disease bearing mosquitos that bite them while they sleep.

Here’s another shocker…a mosquito net costs only $10!¬† I can do that!¬† For $10, a child’s life can be spared.¬† For less than it costs to feed my family at McDonald’s, I can save a child’s life.¬† Yes, I am donating.¬† Would you join me?¬† Click the link below, give $10 and save a life.¬† After you do, please leave a comment here and let me know.

 CLICK HERE bite back against malaria!

 

Uncomfortable Worship April 20, 2008

Filed under: creativity,ministry,Thoughts on Worship,worship,Worship Leader — 6kids1me @ 10:50 pm

I’ve been thinking lately about what “sacrifice of praise” means.¬† I may be dead wrong on these points, but here are a few of my thoughts on this.¬†

1.¬† When my brother was killed in a car wreck last year, everyone expected me to take some time off the worship team.¬† My heart was broken.¬† I had a hard time even thinking straight, so how could I help lead worship?¬† But deep in my spirit, I knew that I still needed to offer my worship.¬† Yes, I know that worship is more than music.¬† But when you’re heart is so heavy that there’s no song left, what do you do?¬† I sang anyway.¬† Regardless of my circumstances, He is still worthy of worship.¬† It wasn’t easy.¬† It was a sacrifice.¬† And He gave me more comfort during that time of worship than I had ever known before.

2.¬† Music is what’s easiest for me.¬† I am a singer.¬† It’s a major part of who I am.¬† And when I sing to Him, I really am giving Him all of my heart.¬† But is that a “sacrifice of praise?”¬† I’m not so sure.¬† Since it’s so easy for me, where’s the sacrifice?¬† Am I really offering Him what’s precious to me?¬† In a way, yes.¬† Music is precious to me.¬† But is it a sacrifice?

So that’s what I’ve been thinking about lately.¬† I want to do more than what’s easy for me.¬† I want to offer more.¬† I have nothing that’s of any use to Him.¬† But I know that He wants something more than “easy” from me.¬† It’s time to get uncomfortable.¬† It’s time to step out of my easy offerings and step into real sacrifice.¬† Now how do I do that?¬† Well, I’m not really sure.¬† Gotta think about that.¬† But I’m willing to bet that since I’m saying this, He’ll show me something right away.¬† He’s good like that.¬† lol

So what’s your comfort zone in worship?¬† What comes easy for you?¬† And what is something you can offer that is a “sacrifice of praise?”

 

In Action April 16, 2008

Filed under: Church Life,ministry,Thoughts on Worship,worship,Worship Leader — 6kids1me @ 9:41 am

Gut check.¬† I am overwhelmed.¬† I just read this post over at Carlos’ blog and I am in overwhelmed.¬† For those who don’t click, here is the gist of it….

Carlos was leading worship at his church and looked down to see this….

Love…real love….Christ’s love….in action.

The guy in back is named Matt.¬† The guy in front is named Jefferson.¬† I don’t know either of them, but they both touched my heart today.

Jefferson has cerebral palsey.¬† So does my daughter Stefani.¬† What’s heartbreaking about CP is that most people don’t bother to look beyond the disability to see the person inside.¬† Stefani is a bright, funny, amazing girl and lots of people are missing out on that because they don’t see past her CP.¬† That’s sad.

But Stefani loves to worship.¬† She gave her life to Christ two years ago.¬† Since then, she has loved Him and loves to worship Him.¬† And when she sings to Him, she holds nothing back.¬† It’s beautiful.¬† Just beautiful.¬† And we could all learn a lot from Stefani about not holding anything back when we worship.

But what I really want to focus on in that picture is Matt.¬† If that’s not a picture of Jesus’ love, then¬†I don’t know what¬†is.¬† Look again.¬† He’s holding Jefferson up for worship.¬† WOW.¬† I’m assuming that Jefferson expressed to Matt that he wanted to stand during worship.¬† So Matt, realizing that Jefferson could not stand on his own, lifted him up and held him that way for about 20 minutes.¬† I say again….WOW.

Romans 15

 1We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

 2Let every one of us please his neighbour for his good to edification.

Thank you, Matt, for being that example.¬† Thank you for showing Christ’s love when you thought no one was watching.¬† Jefferson isn’t the only one who was blessed.

Thank You, Jesus, for holding me up, because I am unable to stand on my own.  Thank You for being my strength, because I am so weak.  Thank You for seeing past my weakness and loving me anyway.

 

Guilty April 15, 2008

Do you listen to Christian radio?¬† I do.¬† It’s not the only genre of music I listen to, but it’s the majority.¬† The problem I have with Christian radio is that, like most pop stations, it will play a song into the ground.¬† You get a good song, like “Open the Eyes of My Heart,” and people connect with it.¬† Then¬†the song is played¬†500 times in a one month period &¬†people start to get aggrevated with it.¬† So songs that we really liked before, we’re just sick of now.

But here’s the kicker….

When one of those over-played songs come on the radio, I roll my eyes and turn it off.¬† Then I start to feel guilty.¬† I start thinking, “Hey, the message is still good.¬† It still says what my heart says.”¬† So I turn it back on.¬† Then I remember why I turned it off in the first place.¬† No matter how good the message is, I’m still sick of the song.¬†

And that’s okay.¬† You know, when David was playing the¬†harp for King Saul, I bet he didn’t play the same song over and over again.¬† And if he did, maybe that played a small part in why Saul decided to kill him.¬† I’m just saying, is all.