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Saying “I Do” to Jesus | My 7 year wedding anniversary

Today is my 7 year wedding anniversary.  I’m very thankful for marriage, the gift that God has given us to experience companionship and intimacy.  I strongly believe that anything God labels as “good,” higher principalities and powers of evil are seeking to destroy! Our hearts and minds are all twisted with the wrong ideas about marriage, intimacy and true love.  The first relationship was between God and man, but it was the first time that God declared something not good. “IT IS NOT GOOD for man to be alone.”  Flesh on Flesh Relationship was a solution to earthly loneliness.  But the physical relationship between man and woman was never meant to exist without a spiritual relationship with God.  We will always long for that “third dimension” to our lives.  God himself, reveals the whole of who he is as the TRIUNE God, the three-in-one.  Without God, you will always find yourself looking to fill that empty void with something or someone else. Your spouse, alone, will NEVER be able to fulfill the third dimension of ANY earthly experience.  Around three years ago, God brought me to the scripture about how Jesus loves us first, before we ever choose to love Him.  Often times, we do anything and everything within our earthly power to manipulate someone into loving us.  With Jesus, He loves us FIRST! Don’t expect perfection from your partner alone. It is through Christ’s love, that our love for each other is perfected!

This praise & worship song, “Jesus, I Do” speaks of the concept that Jesus is pursuing us, even if we’re not pursuing Him. His divine plan for our life is for us to accept Him as the ultimate sacrifice. We get to trade in all of our superficial relationships in this world, for an everlasting relationship with someone who knows EXACTLY what it means to LOVE us, unconditionally.

No one. Not your mother, not your father, not your husband, not your wife, not your children, not your boyfriend or girlfriend in passing……..can give the kind of love that casts out FEAR.

Have you ever felt afraid that your significant other would cheat on you or betray you? Have you dealt with insecurities that are rooted in a childhood of “feeling unloved?”

In I John 4:18, God tells us that there REALLY IS a perfect LOVE that CASTS out ALL of that FEAR, ANXIETY, WORRY, DRAMA, JEALOUSY and everything in-between. But most of the time we misinterpret and try to look for that perfect love in a human being. Or else we try to love someone else PERFECTLY and get disappointed really quickly, because they don’t give us the same in return. JESUS is the only one who can offer you LOVE with no strings attached, casting out all fear, so that you don’t have to wring your hands wondering if HE is going to “come home at night.” Because Jesus said, in Matthew 28:20, “I am always with you, to the end of the ages.”

Say “I do” to Jesus, and He will never divorce you. He won’t force you to say “Jesus is the way.” But He is waiting for you to accept His love.

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Music Director or Worship Leader?

Bethlehem Praise Team

Dear Music Director:

Do you feel like you’re on the fringe of what God is doing in church?  Do you feel stuck in-between two identities, “music director” and “worship leader” as your church wanes with the times?  Directing music and leading worship are two distinct job descriptions that leave some of us feeling awkward with one foot in one role and another foot in the other.  Some churches have done away with choirs altogether, in exchange for a smaller, more “professional” group of Nominingue Church Choirmusicians who “lead the congregation in worship.”

This setup may lead congregational members to feel isolated, intimidated and uninvited to participate in the music program.  Some pastors are afraid to do away with the choir altogether for that very reason, in fear of cracking the church’s foundation.  Directing a traditional church choir is a completely different ballgame than leading worship as a part of a praise team.  For those of us who do not have the luxury of starting from scratch, the solution that I’ve found to work is turning the traditional church choir into a hybrid church choir with a praise team feel.

A modern Western worship team leading a contem...

A modern Western worship team leading a contemporary worship session. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In a church, that is building on existing habits formed many tree rings back, it may require some time and hard work to form your new identity, taking care to replace the old habits with new ones that are centered on new objectives.  Take note, that OLD habits aren’t necessarily BAD habits and NEW habits aren’t necessarily GOOD ones.

Unfortunately, most of the resources available to churches today are in an EITHER/OR format.  Either they cater strictly to contemporary churches who already have the “praise and worship” bit down, OR they cater to churches who are still happy learning the traditionally arranged anthems, having not yet made the transition to a more “contemporary” service.

Most church music producers/publishers take a song that is traditional and force it into being contemporary by adding a drum track to the song demo, happily cranking out a few chord charts for band members.  But this still does not fully support the “hybrid praise & worship choir” approach.

Publishers like Word Music and LifeWay (Worship) might beg to differ, saying that they have created exclusive branches of their business for churches just like ours, for music directors just like you, who feel stuck between two conflicting identities in leading worship and directing music.  But I beg to differ.  On this site (praiseandworshipsongs.net), I will outline several needs that I’d like to petition Church Music Publishers to address.  I’ll also share ways that our church music department is taking a hybrid approach to our music program as a whole.

Blessings, ~Your Fellow Church Music Director