Meaninglessness

Ravi Zacharias has to be one of my favorite speakers.  I love listening to his podcasts over and over again.  I always walk away challenged and inspired.  I have to admit that sometimes I listen again because I don’t get it the first time, but I don’t mind.  Anyways, listening the other day I was captivated when he quoted G.K. Chesterton.

Meaninglessness does not come from being weary of pain.  Meaninglessness comes from being weary of pleasure.

What do you think?

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Weekend Setlist: May 1st/2nd

Not sure if I am leading worship on Sunday yet, but I’m definitely on for Saturday.  So here is what we are looking at this weekend at the Utica Campus of Redeemer.tv.

You Deserve (G)

Happy Day (C)

I Will Sing of My Redeemer (G)

Hope of All Hearts (C)

Stronger (C)

We are currently finishing up a series called Redeemed.  We spent the last few weeks listening to stories of redemption.  At our Utica campus we have heard testimonies from Ken Mansfield, Charlie and Judy Pucillo (church leaders), and Michael Franzese.  This has been a great way to really drive home what Jesus Christ did for us in His death, burial, and resurrection.

Intentional

The dictionary defines the word intentional as being done on purpose or deliberate.  With the craziness of life and leadership in the church it can be hard to be intentional.  I’m not saying that things are not getting done, but if you’re a leader in the church it can be easy to fall into just getting things done.  We gear up for the weekend then we do the weekend then we start again.  In the midst of this we can lose the intentionality with people, our process, and our church.  I am learning this with the process of recognizing, developing, and releasing leaders.  So instead of just allowing the craziness to dictate how people are developed I decided to be intentional.  So instead of just allowing people to grow on their own as they serve I have to create those opportunities.

In our world of multiple services and multiple campuses how do I do this?  One idea I had was to start bringing our worship leaders to the campus that I primarily lead worship at.  I bring them in on the Saturday evening service so there are not schedule conflicts on Sunday.  I am still on the stage, but allowing them to lead.  It gives me the opportunity to coach, observe, and correct if necessary.  I just created the opportunity.  I was intentional.  What can you do this week to be intentional?

Blogging Again

I’m sure if you’re a regular blog reader you’ve seen this tons of times.  A would be blogger gets into the game and takes off like a rocket.  Then as quickly as they started they disappear into the vast waste land of the internet.  So here I am trying to find my way.  But why?

Well, blogging helps me…

  1. It slows me down.  When I slow down its easier to take things in.  Actually, before taking them in I notice them.
  2. It is a another way to learn.  Before I post I want to make sure that what I am communicating makes sense.  Wow, funny this is something else that forces me to slow down.  In sharing my thoughts I may need to do some research.  In sharing my thoughts I open myself dialog.  There will be things that I can teach you and things that I will learn from you.
  3. It is teaching me to communicate better.  Everything in life comes down to communication.  This is an area where I need improvement.  Even while I am writing this I am thinking about what I am communicating and how I am communicating it.  And as I am writing this point I’ve realized that this is another slow me down point.  Maybe God is trying to tell me something.

Weekend Setlist: 10/17

Leading worship only once this weekend and I have to tell you it feels kind of weird.  Tonight was the first night of our new stage set up.  Things seemed to go very well.  I know that we will have to keep working through things, but I am very pleased with the direction that we are moving.  I am so appreciative of everyone who helped make it possible.  Over the last day we took everything off the stage, rewired the stage, moved every back, tested the lines, started tuning in the system, simple EQ, soundchecked, and led worship.  Busy, but worth it.

Anyways, we are in the middle of our Prodigal God series and this week we were talking about redefining lostness.  Our focus was mainly on the older brother.  Now you might be thinking this story is just about the younger because he was lost?  But what about the older brother?  He was in the father’s house, but he did not want a relationship with the father, he wanted the father’s stuff.  He was all about controlling God.  He was also lost.  Here is the setlist we followed this weekend:

Your Grace is Enough (G) – Chris Tomlin arr.

You Deserve (G) – Matt Crocker and James Dunlop (Hillsong United)

God of Agers (G) – Ben Fielding (Hillsong)

Amazing Grace (E) – Chris Tomlin arr.

What’s in Your Heart?

In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the LORD, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the LORD’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.
2 Chronicles 32:24-25 (NIV)

In those days Hezekiah became ill and was at the point of death. He prayed to the LORD, who answered him and gave him a miraculous sign. But Hezekiah’s heart was proud and he did not respond to the kindness shown him; therefore the LORD’s wrath was on him and on Judah and Jerusalem.

2 Chronicles 32:24-25 (NIV)

But when envoys were sent by the rulers of Babylon to ask him about the miraculous sign that had occurred in the land, God left him to test him and to know everything that was in his heart.

2 Chronicles 32:31 (NIV)

Have you ever heard someone say that how you deal with adversity shows a lot about who you are?  I’m sure you have and while this is true we do need to look at the other side of things.  How do you deal with the good things that come to you?  Hezekiah was ill to the point of death and when he prayed God gave him a miraculous sign and healed him.  But the Bible tells us that Hezekiah did not respond to the kindness shown him.  After experiencing the wrath of God he repents and God removes His wrath.  A little while later it said that while some rulers of Babylon (to ask about the miraculous sign) were visiting God left Hezekiah to test Him and see what was in his heart.  In experiencing displays of God’s power and success at every corner the greatest challenge he faced was how he would respond to these good things.

Success can be one of the greatest test we face.  This is a tough test because our natural tendency is to gravitate towards pride.  Instead of an attitude of thankfulness and remembrance we might experience some short-term memory loss and think we did it all.  Instead of praise for God and others our language might be filled with personal pronouns.  These are signs that you are failing the test of success.

So if you are in the midst of this test how do you pass?

  1. Remember – Remember ultimately God is the source and remember you probably didn’t do this alone
  2. Thankfulness – This is one thing that God absolutely loves.  Say thanks for everything you can think of.
  3. Watch – Be mindful of the pronouns you use.

Sunday Setlists: 7/11 – 7/12

This post will be part of Fred McKinnon’s blog carnival called Sunday Setlists.  Worship leaders from all over are sharing about what’s happening in their services.

We had another great weekend at church.  Since our worship pastor was out of town last weekend and will be out of town through next weekend I am picking up an extra weekend this month.  I am blessed because I have strong teams around me and for most of the services I will have at least one person leading with me.  The only obstacle we have had to really deal with is the conflict that summer and volunteering brings.  There has been a lot of swapping and playing with the schedule.  Anyone else dealing with that?

Over the last 2 summers our sermon series have centered around one book.  This summer we choose the book of James.  This shouldn’t be too bad for developing set lists for the weekends.  This weeks sermon was more of an introduction to the book of James.  With the set list we decided to focus on our response to adverse situations that sometimes fill our lives.  As Christ-followers our response to adversity should be different from those who are not following Christ.  We always have a reason to give God praise.

Home (E) – Marty Sampson

Let Everything That Has Breath (E) – Matt Redman

Blessed Be Your Name (A) – Matt and Beth Redman

The Stand (A) – Joel Houston

Still (C) – Reuben Morgan

Called from/Called to

So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant.
1 Kings 19:21 (NIV)

So Elisha left him and went back. He took his yoke of oxen and slaughtered them. He burned the plowing equipment to cook the meat and gave it to the people, and they ate. Then he set out to follow Elijah and became his attendant.

1 Kings 19:21 (NIV)

Elisha saw this and cried out, “My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!” And Elisha saw him no more. Then he took hold of his own clothes and tore them apart. He picked up the cloak that had fallen from Elijah and went back and stood on the bank of the Jordan.

2 Kings 2:12-13 (NIV)

I can’t remember where I got this from but Peter Marshall once said, “a call of God is a two-sided call–there is a call ‘to‘ a work, and there is a call ‘from‘ the present work.  In the story of Elisha we see the call to and the call from take place.  In both instances Elisha decisively walks away from what he was doing to embrace the new season.  It’s not that what Elisha was doing was unsuccessful or bad but God was calling him from that to what was next.

I think it is harder to move from something we enjoy or have found success in, than it is to move from something we hate or have had difficulty with.  Regardless of what God is calling us from we need to completely embrace the new.  Elisha set the example.  He literally destroyed what represented the past so he could walk into what was next.  If you are in that transitionary season of being called from something to something what do you need to destroy to move forward?

Don’t stop

Good things grow even in the darkest times. – pg. 26 Inc. June 2009

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 (NIV)

This really stuck out to me.  It was in reference to creating a start up in the midst of a recession, but I think this can be applied in every aspect of life in every season of life.  Beyond this quote as Christ-follower  I must also remember what God’s word tells me in Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Inspiration

Inspiration is the impetus that causes a burst of creativity. – Amy C. Cosper Editor-in-Chief Entrepreneur

Today what will inspire you to bursts of creativity?