Soul-Keeping In Ministry

Mark 6

He was surrounded by a large crowd of people, and Jesus sent them all away. He turned them back. The sick, the hurting, the hungry, and the needy were turned away from the Savior and sent back to where they were from. This doesn’t sound like my Lord, is this really in the Bible? Why would Jesus do that?

There are some weeks that seem to end only a moment after they’ve started. The time in a day flies by, and it’s easy to feel as if only a portion of what needed to be done has been accomplished. And while responsibilities need to be maintained, the people in our community have countless needs that still haven’t been met. There are lost, broken, discouraged, and lonely people yearning for community. There are young believers waiting to be mentored. Add into that equation the invitations to get-togethers, parties, catch-ups, and Bible-studies that make their way onto the calendar. Amidst all of these things, we somehow find the time to eat and sleep, but tending to the human soul is often the area that is overlooked. That’s because the warning signs of an unhealthy soul are often hard to detect, but a soul unkept will lead to a life ineffective for the work of the Gospel. 

Jesus said Himself in Matthew 20 that He came "to serve and give His life as a ransom for many." His purpose on this planet was to give Himself away. But our Lord knew that without a healthy soul, He would be ineffective in His mission. All throughout the Gospel, we see Jesus stepping away from the masses in order to spend time with His Father, rest, and prepare for the next opportunity to minister. Though His heart for the people was perfect and unconditionally loving (something we can’t say about ourselves!), the greatest act of love He could offer them at the time was to say no, for a better yes at a later time.

1. Every time we say “yes” to one thing, we say “no” to another.

For some people, it’s just hard to say no. We like to give, offer ourselves, and be available at any moment. But for every yes, there is a no. An effective worker for the kingdom of God isn’t someone who fills every hour of the day. Though a busy day leaves me feeling accomplished, a healthy and successful ministry is not about squeezing into every moment an action or interaction. Jesus had relationship with His Father and listened to Him. He is faithful to tell us when to commit, and when to decline for the sake of doing the better thing. In Luke 10, Mary was found at the feet of Jesus, worshipping Him. But the Word says that Martha was “distracted with much serving.” Oh how such a good thing can keep us from the best thing. When we serve the Lord and one another, we reflect His heart. But don’t miss God’s call to step away and refuel when He calls you.

2. Just because you’re filling a need, doesn’t mean you’re filling it the right way.

Offering an unhealthy “you" could be robbing someone of the ministry God has prepared for them. When I’ve neglected my time with the Lord and my moments of rest, I’m much more prone to dropping all those fruits of the Spirit. Peace leaves first. Patience quickly follows. And joy jumps ship like a coward soon after. I’m more prone to answer back in frustration, lose the love of what I get to do, and grow weary in the process. Though I’m present for the need, I’m filling it with a leaky bucket. Washing a car with dirty water may make it wet, but it certainly won’t end up clean. Take time to allow Jesus to switch out your filter and wash you in the water of the Word (Eph. 5:26). 

3. You cannot advertise a cure to something that you yourself are dying from.

When we minister to those around us, we preach a Jesus that makes our yokes easy and our burdens light. We sing songs of healing, peace, and rest. And perhaps the people that need to sing those songs the most are us! I wouldn’t accept cleanliness tips from someone that doesn’t bathe. And I wouldn’t take financial advice from someone who’s broke. Our message of rest is hypocritical and loses value when the message hasn’t even done its work in us. A worship leader, pastor, or ministry worker who doesn’t take care of their soul is a classic example of the blind leading the blind. You’ll certainly lead them somewhere, but not every destination is a green pasture by still water. You cannot bring someone somewhere that you haven’t been. How can we advertise a cure to something when we haven’t truly found it ourselves? 

How are you at soul-keeping? The Lord may be calling you to do less for the sake of the better thing. He truly cares for your soul. The Messiah-complex of “saving everyone who needs help,” will only mislead people, and burn you out. Plus, if the Messiah himself needed to retreat from the masses in order to spend time with His Father and be renewed for future ministry, then it seems as if we need it as well. Sometimes it can seem impossible to keep up appearances, fulfill man’s expectations, and finish our own daunting checklist. Drop the appearances, let go of those expectations, and let the Lord tell you what the day holds.

 

Bobby Bemis is the Fort Lauderdale Campus Worship Leader here at Calvary Chapel. Bobby is an incredible songwriter, singer and musician, teacher of the Word, and worship leader. He also loves ice cream!

Nurturing Creativity

NURTURE: To care for and encourage growth or development.

Here are three things we need in order to nurture a community of creativity:

1) WE NEED A START

I know this seems obvious, but without a spark of inspiration or a small idea or thought, we simply don’t have anything to nurture.  

A couple of years ago, I was in the market for a new car. After a time of scouring AutoTrader.com and looking around town, I found a Hyundai Sonata in my price range that looked like a fancy Jaguar. What I began to notice after purchasing it and driving it around was that A LOT of people have them too. The point is this, before buying my car I had never seen one before. Correction, I had seen them, but I had no need to pay attention to them. 

This is very much the same as the beginning of songs, once we set our minds and hearts to ‘seeing’ ideas for songs, we see them everywhere. Just like my Sonata. 

I once heard these initial elements called “Song Seeds” and I loved it! These seeds can be found anywhere and they primarily come in 5 forms:

Lyrics - these can come from prayers, reading, sermons, books, movies

Melody - a series of notes played in succession

Rhythm - could be a groove played, or a rhythm of notes you like

Chords - can come from another song, or playing/practicing, creating a new sequence 

Concepts - these are themes we would like to write about, e.g. love of the Father, God has sustained us etc.

Each of us usually has one specific Seed that we see most often - mine are lyrics. But all of them are the right way to start a song! Collect often, pray for them often, and allow yourself to catch that spark of inspiration no matter where it comes from. 

2) WE NEED TO INVEST TIME

I touched on this in one of the last blogs I wrote, but often we water a seed, we spend time on it, we add to the melody, chords, lyrics, etc., but sometimes it is hard to see the growth come quickly. We may find ourselves getting stuck and/or frustrated. I can honestly say that I’ve been there and struggled to come back from it.

But here is what I have learned; every time I invest into a song, even if I think nothing has come of it and it seems the same at the end as when I began, I choose to think that I am thirty minutes closer to the song being finished. I might have three hours of approaching the song and leaving empty-handed before it grows into something beautiful, but I have to see the process through, and even see the empty handedness as okay and not get frustrated by it.

3) WE NEED OTHERS

For me, the best way to nurture creativity is through community. We as humans were built by God for community. We need each other! We need the wisdom of others, we need other’s strengths to meet our weaknesses, we need to receive words of encouragement and we need to give them.

I know that sharing the things you have created with others can be frightening. What we have to do is trust that the product of a healthy creative community far outweighs and outshines the product that can come from us alone.

We have to remind each other that we are all on the same team, that we are all fulfilling the commandment of “singing a new song to the Lord”, we need to celebrate one another, and rejoice in every song seed, every thirty minute 'empty handed’ session, and sing aloud each others triumph in completing a song.

I personally have a few like-minded creatives around me that I run everything by. I trust them, their opinions and their unique gifts. I also trust them to hold me accountable to my creativity. It is in this atmosphere that my creativity grows and is nurtured to a greater level then it could have ever been by myself.

 

Jennie Reynolds is the Artist Track teacher at Ocean's Edge School of Worship. She is an excellent teacher, music artist, musician, wife and friend. Learn more about Jennie

Balancing Home Life With Ministry Life

Have you ever noticed something out of order? Maybe it’s not alphabetical, or not color-coded in the right way - whatever it is, it sticks out because it’s not ordered correctly.

God has a created order for us, and it’s good. We can trust it and rest in it. That doesn’t mean there is not going to be tension, but in the tension we can understand our priorities in the areas God has blessed us.

If you have a family and are blessed to be a leader serving others, you know the tension of leading your marriage and family well, and leading a ministry area or non-profit well. The beauty is in the pursuit of balance. Our home life and ministry life are not enemies, and don’t have to be at war with one another, but we are stewards of both, and at times one may require more attention than the other.   

Balance is a constant struggle, and sometimes feels like an unattainable goal. So instead of balance, look for health. God has set our marriage above all other earthly relationships, and our relationship with our kids next. Scripture tells us to look for and empower men and women who have healthy homes and marriages. When a family is right in their relationships, we can trust those same leaders to steward health in the family of God.

Problems arise when we treat home and ministry as independent entities, when they should be intertwined. If our spouses and children are bought into the mission of the ministry, they will embrace the community of the Church and that creates relational health! But if home isn’t right, and leaders continue to serve the church, they are careening down a path towards a destroyed home and marriage. If I’m not first serving my spouse and then my kids, how can I serve the Church-the very Bride of Christ?

I’ve created a short list of questions to ask yourself if there is health at home. Honest responses will show you where God is calling for growth, repentance or change!

  1. Am I, my spouse and children personally connected to Christ through His Word, through prayer and the Spirit?
  2. Is my home under the covering of God through my local church? In other words, do we sit under the teaching of a pastor’s pulpit, embrace the accountability in community and submit ourselves to pastoral authority?
  3. If you asked my spouse or kids where they ranked in importance compared to the ministry, what would they answer?  
  4. Who gets your best? Home or ministry?
  5. When I’m home, am I fully present or am I disconnected from my family while being around them?
  6. If there’s a conflict of time or attention, who usually wins? Home or ministry?

I pray that you would hear the voice of the Lord in these questions - His heart for us is health and wholeness. He doesn’t call us to sacrifice our marriages and kids on the altar of the Church. He wants our marriages and families to be healthy, so we can serve others and be an example to the believers in Word and deed!

 

Andrew Wooddell serves as the Worship Pastor of Calvary Music and Executive Director of Ocean's Edge School of Worship. He is an excellent musician, and a loving husband and father. Learn more about Andrew.

What To Do When Your Church Is Not Responding

Picture this; you, the Worship Leader have spent hours planning and praying through your worship set to make sure you have the right songs for your church in the right keys for your team. From there, you’ve spent even more time rehearsing with your band to get all the transitions and other seemingly minor but essential details squared away. But now you’re walking off the stage after worship asking yourself, “What just happened? Why wasn’t anyone singing? I didn’t even do a new song!”

I believe we can all identify with this situation. We've all been there! And if you are like me, you instantly question everything you thought you knew; your gifting, your calling, etc. But I have good news for all of us, it doesn’t have to stay like this.

I believe that participation in church comes from, and is dependent upon, the health of the relationship between a church and its worship leader(s). And just like a relationship between a close friend or a spouse, a healthy relationship only comes from meaningful conversation and intentional time spent with one another. In other words, you need to know a person and be known by that person for a healthy relationship to exist. So that means, participation from your congregation starts in the hallway, the fellowship hall, or wherever it is that the church is together and interacting with one another. Without meaningful conversation with your church body, you cannot fully lead them.

Now, I understand that this can be a daunting concept. Whether you lead worship at a church of 15 people or 15,000 people, initiating intentional conversation can be difficult. Let’s be real, the numbers can scare us! If you’re an introvert like me, you might be asking yourself, “How am I supposed to have meaningful relationships with everyone in my church?!” The answer: one at a time.

North Point Pastor Andy Stanley puts it this way, "Do for one what you wish you could do for many." The weekly challenge I have set for myself is to have one new intentional conversation a weekend. As each week goes by, I continue building relationship with those I have previously met while also being intentional to meet another person. By doing this I put aside the overwhelming and impractical pressure to meet everyone in a given weekend.

Now, I’m not saying that you need to go and spill your guts to every member of your church (that can come off as insincere and a little needy), but you do need to have conversations that go beyond the small talk that we often find ourselves defaulting to. A few ways to do this are:

1)   Keep the conversation moving! Ask questions that warrant more than a “yes” or “no” answer.

2)   Keep it specific! Ask them about their passions. What do they like?

3)   Listen first, speak second. No matter how awkward it may feel, don’t make the conversation about you.

4)   Give them your undivided attention! Make eye contact. Put away your phone! This shows that you are genuinely interested in what they have to say!

One thing that I have found to be beneficial in this journey is to include my team in it too. In doing this, we as a team are capable of meeting and loving on more people than any one person ever could. Every once in a while, we have a couple people in the green room share who they have met from the congregation recently, and they share something they learned about that person. We then get to celebrate the things God is doing in our church together.

Know that none of this happens overnight. We need to remember that in ministry, we’re playing the “long game”. We’re not looking for the shallow relationships that come from quick temporary results, but rather, we are holding out for healthy and lasting relationships that in time will stretch far beyond the four walls of the church.

God has placed you both physically and geographically where you are to love His people. No one else is exactly where you are, and no one has greater potential to influence the people God has put in your church. Let’s love His church well! Let a unified and involved worship experience be the byproduct of a church that loves each other well.

 

 

Zach Reynolds is the Worship Leader at the Calvary Boynton Beach Campus. Zach is an excellent leader, husband to Jennie, musician, songwriter, and he also teaches at Ocean's Edge School of Worship. Follow Zach on Twitter.

 

 

A Matter Of Time

Psalm 139: 7-12

Where can I go from Your Spirit?

Or where can I flee from Your presence?

If I ascend into heaven, You are there;

If I make my bed in hell, behold, You are there.

If I take the wings of the morning,

And dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea,

Even there Your hand shall lead me,

And Your right hand shall hold me.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall fall on me,”

Even the night shall be light about me;

Indeed, the darkness shall not hide from You,

But the night shines as the day;

The darkness and the light are both alike to You.

 

As a child I used to play hide-and-seek with my parents. I remember racking my brain in search of the most ridiculous, inconspicuous, and dangerous inlets and corners within the house to stump my parents. We weren’t a family of abundant means, but a child cannot always assess distinctions between a 1,500 square foot apartment and a medieval palace – especially when the powers of imagination are at work.

I must say that I made the most of that space. I remember performing all sorts of crazy contorting feats with my tiny body to elude my parents, from scaling the harrowing shelves of Mt. Linen Closet, to shrinking down to near microscopic size to fit into my entertainment center cabinet. But no matter how much creativity I could muster, there were only so many possible hiding places and only so many positions in which I could place myself. They always found me. Being found out was my fate. Of course, it never stopped me from trying. I was always willing to push the limits, even though it never ended in surrender from my parents.

Okay, corny analogy alert: in many ways, I still feel like that little boy hiding from my Dad. I know that He has me; I know that He knows me better than anyone else, but that doesn’t stop me from trying to hide my weaknesses. I often think to myself, if God is invisible and if He normally doesn’t audibly reply, then why is it so hard to tell Him the truth? Am I doomed to repeat the cycles of inauthenticity and complacency in my spiritual life, just so that I can remain comfortable?

The truth is, the love of God is so magnetic that it is inescapable. In Psalm 139’s grand exposition, David gives us insight into one of the most beautiful mysteries of God. In Romans 8:39, we find that no power in heaven or hell can ever separate us from His love. This means that as His children, even our straying and our weakness puts us on a collision course with the divine. We are constantly heading toward the very thing our flesh pushes against; the transformative love of God.

Does this mean that we sin in hopes that we might be closer to Him? Does this mean that we purposely wander off because He will inevitably find us? The answer in scripture is a resounding “no”. In Romans 2:4, the Apostle Paul poses an important question: “do you show contempt for the riches of His kindness, forbearance and patience, not realizing that God's kindness is intended to lead you to repentance?” The truth is that when our spirits truly acknowledge that this is how much God loves us – when we truly grasp this reality – it compels us to do nothing else but respond. That is the space in which we meet God. When I was a near-atheist a few years ago, I reached a point where I had to earnestly ask God to show Himself to me objectively. He revealed Himself from every angle imaginable; using people, science, and the experiences I knew to draw me back home. This is why the Gospel is such amazing news for us. We can be assured not only that we always have a path home, but also that God Himself meets us on the path and walks us back to safety.

Where do you find yourself today? Do you feel as though God is detached and unconcerned? Do you feel that you are hiding yourself from Him, in fear of the pain of vulnerability? Maybe you are a Christian, but feel lost beyond the point of being found by the love of God. My prayer today is that the Holy Spirit will lead you to the pursuing, relentless love of Christ that pulls you toward Him at every step. May you be encouraged in knowing that the hand that holds you will not let go.

 

Vagner Lage is our Plantation Campus Worship Leader. He graduated from Southeastern University and is an avid fútbol fan, a great musician, husband, and friend. Follow him on Twitter.

Song Story // Still You Are Good

And Miriam answered them: “Sing to the Lord, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea!” -Exodus 15:21

"As good as this song is, how much better it would have been had it been sung before the Red Sea parted, had it been sung by the children of Israel before they were rescued." - A Pillar By Day, June 11

This is an excerpt from a devotion that was sent to me last year - I’ve attached it at the end of this post because it truly is a beautifully written invitation to us, and the invitation given is where the song ‘Still You are Good’ came from.

Exodus 15 - its the song sung by the Israelites after they have walked through the Red Sea on dry ground. We read their joy, their praise, and their gratefulness of the miracle that they have just experienced, that once again their God was faithful and that their deliverance came. 

I have sung many of those songs in my own life - financial provision, healing, deliverance - but if I am honest, I think I have yet to sing the same song when faced with an un-parted red sea. The response of the Israelites to being enclosed with a wall of sea and Egyptians behind them was panic - and that very same response is what I often see in myself. 

The grace of God, however, always invites us to make a different choice. I believe the choice for us is to praise Him before our seas ever part and to praise Him even if they never do. We know that God is Good, that He is for us, is the great I Am, Alpha and Omega, all powerful, all loving, full of grace, and full of mercy. He is also the same yesterday, today, and forever. Which means that He is worthy of praise today, worthy of praise tomorrow, worthy on this side of our unpainted sea, and worthy, if by His mercy, we get to cross it. 

So, this is the decision I want to make, to be found singing of God's goodness when it's not looking good, to be found trusting in an unfailing Hope even if things don’t look hopeful. To be found praising Him while faced with the impossible. And to confess that if not, He is still good. 

 

Daily Devotional - June 11

And Miriam answered them, Sing ye to the LORD, for he hath triumphed gloriously; the horse and his rider hath he thrown into the sea. -Exodus 15:21

As good as this song is, how much better it would have been had it been sung before the Red Sea parted, had it been sung by the children of Israel before they were rescued.

To you who are boxed in, with your back to the Red Sea, this is your moment; now is your opportunity for greatness. You see, once the Red Sea parts - once the financial crisis is over, the relationship is restored, the disease is healed - you will no longer have before you the opportunity for greatness. Then you can be grateful, but only now can you be great.

When the hour was dark, when nothing was externally right, there in the middle of a black, bleak night, what did Paul and Silas do? They sang songs of praise. And so intriguing was this to their fellow prisoners that when an earthquake caused the prison doors to open, they chose to stay in the dungeon with Paul and Silas rather than to flee, to remain imprisoned physically in order that their souls might be set free (Acts 16).

So too, you who are in a dungeon financially, relationally, or physiologically have a unique opportunity to show us greatness. And once this experience is over, you’ll never have the same opportunity again. 

“I want to be like David,” we say. “I’d like to grab some stones and nail Goliath.” You can. There’s a huge giant before you, a giant headache, a giant heartache, a giant problem. Are you going to be like Saul and his men, murmuring and complaining, depressed and discouraged? Or are you going to praise the Lord in the face of the giant who seems to stomp up and down the valley of your life day after day? Ninety-nine percent of people will choose to be like Saul. This is your chance, however, to be a David. 

The difficulties in the lives of any great man or woman in Scripture weren’t pleasant, weren’t easy. We know how their stories end - Joshua, Deborah, Gideon, Jeremiah, David, and Paul - but when they were living out their stories, their trials were every bit as brutal as your situation. Yet, they chose by God’s grace to be great, to be heroic. And we are the richer for it.

When there’s an ugly giant before you, or prison bars all around you, it’s your chance to be great. Don’t miss it, because, although opportunities for greatness come to everyone, they usually only come once or twice in a lifetime. Will your story be one of mediocrity, or one of greatness? It all depends on what you do this side of the Red Sea.

 

This Daily Devotional is an excerpt from the book "A Pillar By Day" by Pastor Jon. "A Pillar By Day" is a collection of 365 short devotions from the Old Testament books of Genesis through Deuteronomy.If you would like your own copy of "A Pillar By Day" you may click here to go to the SearchLight Store.

Song Story // Higher Than I

SONG STORY – HIGHER THAN I

 PSALM 61
1
Hear my cry, O God;
Attend to my prayer.
2 From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
When my heart is overwhelmed;
Lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
3 For You have been a shelter for me,
A strong tower from the enemy.
4 I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah
5 For You, O God, have heard my vows;
You have given me the heritage of those who fear Your name.
6 You will prolong the king’s life,
His years as many generations.
7 He shall abide before God forever.
Oh, prepare mercy and truth, which may preserve him!
8 So I will sing praise to Your name forever,
That I may daily perform my vows.

I first read this Psalm in 2013. It wasn’t the first time that I had read it, but it was the first time that the words came alive in my heart. It was a simple prayer of deliverance that I found myself uttering just as the psalmist David had done hundreds of years before.

As a songwriter there are moments we have that we long to capture in song, and this for me was one of them. The words "higher than I" to me longed to be sung. So I logged it in a book of ongoing ideas, and there it remained until April 2014.

I know the date because this is when for us at Calvary Chapel, our hearts grew heavy and overwhelmed, just as the psalm described, with the announcement that our senior Pastor at the time would step down due to moral failure. Our world was shaken, our church very much in shock, and our hearts mourning for that which we had lost.

It was not long after that some of the women from our department were offered a time to meet with Suzanne Sauder, just to allow us to express how each of us were doing and the thoughts and fears we had since the news. We gathered, we shared, and we prayed.

At the end of our time Susanne shared the verse that she had been clinging to. Psalm 61:2;

"From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I"

Oh how our God is in all things! He knows all things before they ever come to pass. He that will sustain us and carry us, our shelter, forever. In every season we can imagine and every one we could never fathom, still our God will lead us.

The song was finished in 2016. Start till finish, I have seen our God be ONLY faithful. He has never wavered in leading us, He is our shelter even in the unimaginable, and for that He is worthy of all honor and praise.

Song Story // O Come What May

Psalm 27:1-3

1 The Lord is my light and my salvation;
Whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the strength of my life;
Of whom shall I be afraid?
2 When the wicked came against me
To eat up my flesh,
My enemies and foes,
They stumbled and fell.
3 Though an army may encamp against me,
My heart shall not fear;
Though war may rise against me,
In this I will be confident.

 

There are some days when it seems like everything and everyone is against you. Nothing seems to be going right, the worst possible scenarios appear to be playing themselves out, and it feels like you’re fighting all alone. The psalmist knew this feeling well. You can hear in the pangs of his writing that loneliness, persecution, and fear camped outside the door of his heart. But in the greatness of his trial, he knew that his God was greater. In the darkness, the Lord was a brighter light. In the attack, the Lord was a stronger shield. He knew that trouble, pain, and fear had no power in the presence of the Almighty.

“O Come What May” is a song that was written in celebration of this fact – because Christ is immovable, we are immovable. Whatever may come, Jesus Christ will never change. And because of the consistency of His character, and His commitment to His children, fear has no place to stand. It should not be our circumstance that defines the way we see God, but the character of God that defines the way we see our circumstance.

Any structure is only as strong as its foundation. The home I live in, the place I work in, and the stores I shop in are only standing because of the strength of their base. The greatest monuments and buildings in the world would come crashing down if their foundation was found to be unreliable. But Christ is our firm foundation! He is the Rock of our salvation! We are built on His support and it’s immovable and unshaken. And we believe that whatever may come today, His faithfulness to us will carry us through to tomorrow. In this, you must choose to be confident. "I will not fear, for You are here. Oh come what may, Jesus You stay the same."

 

Bobby Bemis is the worship leader at Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale and teacher at Oceans Edge School of Worship. He is an incredible leader, discipler, musician, and songwriter. He graduated from Trinity International University and loves ice cream!

Creating A Culture Of Honor

Romans 12:10  

"Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another."

Over the past year, God has been undeniably stirring our hearts to begin cultivating an intentional culture of honor in our staff and student body. We have been humbled and amazed by His blessings on the journey thus far, and we are only just beginning to realize the tremendous gift that God is granting us. I pray that as you read this, you will be stirred up to invite God to search your heart and, like we have, allow Him to remove anything that is hindering a culture of honor in your heart.

Honor is sort of an uncommon word. We hear it when talking about war veterans or in reference to how we should treat our parents, however, the practice of honor is meant to extend well past our relationships with our elders. According to the Word of God, honor should entirely shape the way we are with one another. It should be the foundation for how we form our actions, words, thoughts and decisions in all of our relationships. As we began our journey to understand and cultivate honor in our culture, His Word provided us with some building blocks about the nature of honor and how it behaves. We learned that it is kindly affectionate, humble, loving, and respectful. It considers the other person more significant and it is submissive. It is also kind, tender-hearted and forgiving. But, we soon found out that even if we set our minds and hearts to treat one another this way, we could still fall short in true honor. We realized that the only way that honor was going to be infused into our culture would be by receiving revelation from God. Honor is far more than a kind and uplifting word, or letting someone go in front of you in line, it is an entire mindset shift about the position we hold in relationship to one another and the kingdom of heaven.  

Honor is having “this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus.” (Phil. 2:5) It is having the same love, thoughts, behaviors and actions toward others as Christ has for us. God began to show us that if we do not first receive and understand the position of honor that He has granted us, we will never be able to give it away. We are a lowly, rebellious, self-seeking, people who are prone to wander, yet have been given a seat at the family table of the Lord of all the earth. We have been entrusted to house His very presence in our broken, sinful bodies and are called sons and daughters with the same inheritance of Jesus Christ in His kingdom. We have been freely given His gifts, His voice, His identity, and His authority and yet we deserve none of it. If we knew that if we could just manage to comprehend the reality of honor that God has chosen to give us, we would be forever changed in awe and humility. And then, if we could fully receive the position of honor that God has granted us through His Son, everything, yes everything would be touched by it’s effects.  

God chooses to look upon us through the lens of His grace and reality of the work of Christ on the cross. He sees us perfected, no longer scarred by our sin or bound to its effects. He sees us as He created us to be; profoundly effective priests and kings, carrying His kingdom of love with great ease and yet great power to the world who does not know Him. He sees us as able, powerful, beautiful, necessary and worthy. And then He simply asks us to give the same honor away. “Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God. But if we love each other, God lives in us, and His love is brought to full expression in us.” (1 John 4:11-12) This is a primary desire of God’s heart for His people; that in all things, the measure that He has given to us, we would give to one another. 

As the revelation came, so did the evaluation. We began to allow Him to examine our hearts and our culture to expose any ways in us that were not freely bestowing honor. And although we discovered that we are miles and miles and miles away from loving like Him, we are compelled more than ever to pursue His heart and to be changed into His likeness in this area. We realize more than ever that cultivating a culture of honor is going to take work. It has to be cultivated and practiced. It needs to be a discipline and it has to be agreed upon and held accountable by all of us. But we want our culture to be on earth as it is in heaven, and the culture of heaven is a culture defined by honor.  

If you are reading this, it is not by chance. God is not only desiring for you to more fully receive the position of honor that He has granted you, but He is appointing you to grow and carry out a culture of honor in your life. Please, let us know how we can pray for you, and keep us in your prayers as we press on to know Him more.

 

Jessica Busboom is the Director of Oceans Edge School of Worship, and the Worship Leader for Eikon, both ministries of Calvary Chapel Fort Lauderdale. She is an amazing wife, friend, sister, daughter, and mentor to many. 

The Role Of A Music Director

Have you ever been in a situation where you’re about to finish a section of a song, but aren’t really sure about what comes next? You look to your fellow band-mate and they look even more confused than you do, you look to your lead singer (whose eyes are shut, and is giving you no sense of direction), and by the time the next section of the song comes everyone on the platform goes into a different part of the song. This my friends, is what we call a train wreck. One of which could’ve been easily avoided if only we had someone who would take the reins, communicate, and steer everyone in the right direction. 

The role of a music director is far greater than just being the point person on the platform. A music director translates the musical desires of a worship leader before, during, and after a worship set, bringing clear communication to musicians, singers, and at times even the production team. It’s important that a music director knows what the end goal is before these communications even start. It's much easier to effectively and clearly communicate the small steps when you know what the big picture is.

Here are a few practical tips that may help you be a more effective music director:

Establish a Language: Have you ever had to communicate with someone who doesn’t speak the same language as you? I have, and it wasn’t fun. For some reason, I thought speaking slower and louder would help them understand me, but the barrier here was that we weren't speaking the same language. Making the terminology known amongst your team is extremely important in order to communicate effectively. Things such as the Nashville Number System and knowing the difference in between Stage-Right and Stage-Left (I’m still confused as to which is which) will help you communicate your vision.

Think Ahead: Remember that you are the worship leader's mouthpiece to the band when on the platform. It's your job to keep close attention to whoever is leading during the set and communicate to the band where they want to go. If the worship leader wants to repeat a section, it’s up to you to make sure the band knows, and that it's executed well. Anticipate what is about to happen so that you can clearly communicate to the rest of the team. If there is no direction from the worship leader, you'll have to take the wheel and guide the team.

Be Prepared:  As a musician, it's vital that you come to rehearsal prepared, that you know your parts, and that you are able to perform them well. As a music director, however, you'll need to know everyone else's part as well, not just your own. Make sure you take some time in the rehearsal to listen to everyone else—it’s your job to make sure the song sounds like it should.  Also, take some time to figure out what the worship leader’s vision for the set is before rehearsal, so that you’re not changing arrangements on the spot and wasting time. 

Set Your Team Up for Success: Supply resources that can help them better prepare as they practice on their own.  You want to make sure you are a good steward of your team’s time, and preparation is key to accomplish that. As much as you can, have accurate charts, MP3's, and arrangement notes available beforehand.

Relationships: This may be the most important part of being a music director. Leadership is all about relationships and showing God's love to others. When addressing your team be kind and uplifting, remembering that we are called to build people up, not tear them down. If people know that you genuinely love and care for them, they are more likely to trust and follow you. Send out a text during a week when they’re not serving just to see how things are going and if there's anything the need prayer for. Remind yourself constantly that they are more than a name filling a position on Planning Center, but a brother/sister in Christ and a child of God. Be their shepherd, and they will respect your leadership.

Lead in Christ:  Remind yourself of the why behind the what—you are helping lead God’s people into His presence. It’s important for our hearts to be in the right place as we continuously seek excellence and exalt Jesus Christ through music. Everything that we do on and off the platform must point to Christ. Don’t let the truth of His love be overshadowed by pride or arrogance, but let the love of Christ pour out of you as you lead your team. Do everything in your power and ability to give God your best—but don’t lose sight of what is most important in the process—worshipping our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus did everything well. As His disciples, we are to do the same thing, knowing that it's only by the Spirit that we're able to do so. May God be glorified in every part of our lives. Mark 7:31-37

 

Jay Alves is the Hollywood Campus Worship Leader at Calvary Chapel Ft. Lauderdale. He is originally from Sao Paulo, Brasil and grew up in Boston, MA. He is a loving husband, father and teacher, and absolutely loves ice cream.