Watching Transformation

The students and staff at the Pennsylvania Worship Arts Weekend.

Thank you for praying for the Pennsylvania Worship Arts Weekend! As always, I loved watching God weave together the various strengths and experiences of our staff team into a tool to encourage growth in the students. Each student band had two or three of us helping them with music, sound, and communication. As the communication coach for one band, my job was to encourage them in their stage presence and expressiveness.

My favorite moment in rehearsal came after my band had worked hard on both the music and communication of one of their songs. Scott, the music director I was paired with, walked up to each music stand and swiveled it around so the students couldn’t see their song charts. They reacted as you would expect, with groans and anxious faces. But Scott made them play the song anyway…and to their surprise they made very few errors.

Then Scott had them play it again from memory. He encouraged them to focus on worshipping God instead of on the music this time, because they already knew the music. The transformation was wonderful! I watched their tension melt away as they began to freely express their love for Jesus in their faces and body language. And what’s more, their music was more expressive, too!

You can watch a recap video of the Pennsylvania Worship Arts Weekend below.  (And yes, I’m in it briefly!)

Please pray that the students will continue to apply what they learned at the Worship Arts Weekend, not only in music and communication but in spiritual things like dealing with sin and walking faithfully with God. Thank you for your prayers!

Conference Praise and Prayer

PRAISE

In December and January, thousands of college students across the US attend Cru Winter Conferences during their winter breaks. Each conference is crafted to help students move toward God, toward others and toward a life well-lived for Christ. The one thing we hear the most from attendees all over the country is: “God changed my life at winter conference.”

I worked at the conference in Indianapolis, which was held between Christmas and New Year. I was part of the tech team, running lyrics and speaker slides on the big screens. And yes, as you can tell if you look closely at the picture, I was sitting behind the screens seeing everything in reverse. :-)

Over 1500 students attended this conference and participated in a day of outreach when they partnered with local churches to distribute food boxes in the inner city of Indianapolis. These “boxes of love” opened doors for conversations about Jesus. In a nutshell, here’s what happened:

2168 spiritual conversations, 770 gospel presentations, 421 local church connections, 238 Spirit-filled life conversations, 80 people accepted Christ

Praise God for what He did in these lives!

PRAYER

This coming weekend (February 22-24) I will be on the teaching & coaching team for another of our Worship Arts Weekends. College students involved in musical worship for weekly Cru meetings on their campuses will come to a church camp in western Pennsylvania to learn and grow in both art and heart. Although these conferences are much smaller than Cru’s winter conferences (currently 29 students are registered), God still works in big ways.

Please pray for me as I coach and teach:

  • I will coach one student band in communication skills, encouraging them to apply the principles l will teach in my session on communication in leading worship.
  • I will also teach a session on a Biblical view of excellence, especially as it relates to worship leading.
  • During the breakout sessions, when students attend clinics related to their specific skills, I’ll teach about running lyrics and media.
  • Please pray that God would prepare both my heart and the hearts of the students for what He wants to do in our lives.

Thank you
for your prayers!

Worshippers Out Of Rebels

I’m writing this from our ministry’s biannual staff conference in Colorado. One of my favorite things about these conferences is that we spend a large of amount of time every day in worship through music and/or prayer. I love how A. W. Tozer links the purpose of Jesus’ life and ministry with our worship:

Why did Christ come? Why was He Conceived? Why was He born? Why was He crucified? Why did He rise again? Why is He now at the right hand of the Father? The answer to all these questions is, in order that He might make worshippers out of rebels; in order that He might restore us again to the place of worship we knew when we were first created. Now because we were created to worship, worship is the normal employment of moral beings.

A. W. Tozer, Worship: The Missing Jewel of the Evangelical Church

The phrase that blew me away was this: “in order that He might make worshippers out of rebels.” I had never thought about it this way before. What a wonderful way to summarize God’s purpose for His creation! As His child, all I do in both this life and the next is to be an act of worship to Him. And Jesus Great Commission to His church will be fulfilled in worship:

After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”
-Revelation 7:9-10 (ESV)

Be Thou My Vision

In honor of St. Patrick, here is another of my favorite hymns. When this post originally went out on Friday, I unintentionally plagiarized, because I neglected to include the source of the following description! The Cyber Hymnal is a searchable online database of thousands of hymns, with lyrics, MIDI files, scores, pictures, history and more. I loved the story of Patrick at Slane Hill found on that website, so here (with correct attribution, this time!) is the entry for Be Thou My Vison from The Cyber Hymnal.

Words: Attributed to Dallan Forgaill, 8th Century (Rob tu mo bhoile, a Comdi cride); translated from ancient Irish to English by Mary E. Byrne, in Eri, Journal of the School of Irish Learning, 1905, and versed by Eleanor H. Hull, 1912, alt.

Music: Slane, of Irish folk origin. Slane Hill is about ten miles from Tara in County Meath. It was on Slane Hill around 433 AD that St. Patrick defied a royal edict by lighting candles on Easter Eve. High King Logaire of Tara had decreed that no one could light a fire before Logaire began the pagan spring festival by lighting a fire on Tara Hill. Logaire was so impressed by Patricks devotion that, despite his defiance (or perhaps because of it), he let him continue his missionary work. The rest is history.

Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart;
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art.
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night,
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light.

Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word;
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord;
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son;
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one.

Be Thou my battle Shield, Sword for the fight;
Be Thou my Dignity, Thou my Delight;
Thou my soul’s Shelter, Thou my high Tower:
Raise Thou me heavenward, O Power of my power.

Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise,
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always:
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart,
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art.

High King of Heaven, my victory won,
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heaven’s Sun!
Heart of my own heart, whatever befall,
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all.

Glory Be To God On High

I remember singing this ancient hymn of praise regularly in church while growing up. I knew that it was part of the traditional liturgy and old enough to have a Latin name (“Gloria in Excelsis Deo”), but I had no idea how ancient these words were. According to the article on it in Wikipedia.org, one form of the song dates back to at least the third century, if not to the first. I was singing words that had been said or sung by Christians practically since the church began! What an incredible thought!

Originally in Greek, then translated into Latin, this version is from the 1928 Book of Common Prayer. It’s a wonderful example of praise, in any language.

Glory be to God on high,
and on earth peace, good will towards men.

We praise thee, we bless thee,
we worship thee,
we glorify thee,
we give thanks to thee for thy great glory,
O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father Almighty.

O Lord, the only begotten Son, Jesus Christ;
O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father,
that takest away the sins of the world,
have mercy upon us.
Thou that takest away the sins of the world,
receive our prayer.
Thou that sittest at the right hand of God the Father,
have mercy upon us.

For thou only art holy;
thou only art the Lord;
thou only, O Christ,
with the Holy Ghost,
art most high in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

– ancient doxology

Scroll to top