Monday, February 29, 2016

Dear Every Student I've Ever Taught,

Dear Every Student I've Ever Taught, 

The single most important lesson I could ever teach you is the one thing we're not supposed to tell you in public schools. Your musical ability is a gift from God, a special privilege that allows us to enter into His Presence through worship and also to encourage and build each other up. Your gift is meant to lead others in worship and into a relationship with Jesus Christ. Your gift opens the door to invite heaven to come to earth. If you use that gift to gain glory and honor for yourself it can destroy you. If you use that gift to give glory and honor to sinful things, you open the door for evil and spiritual darkness to step right into your life. You are created in the image of God, inherently creative, brilliant, intelligent, talented and capable. You are a precious treasure with a wonderful gift that is meant to serve others and worship God. One of the greatest joys you will ever find in life is to use that gift for the Amazing Purpose God intended it for. You've probably heard me ask "How goes it? "Dear Friend, I pray that all may go well with you and that you may be in good health, even as it goes well with your soul." (3 John 1:2) ‪#‎Peace‬

Sunday, February 7, 2016

What Makes Worship So Special Here?

Today I had the privilege of speaking with a choir director visiting from another church, who asked several questions about how we do things at Gateway. They want to have worship like we have. It really got me thinking about what it is that makes our services so special. It isn’t that we have perfect systems in place or always do everything right musically, because we don’t. But there are 3 things that really do make a huge difference….

1. The servant’s heart of the singers and musicians. People submit their gifts and talents to be part of something that is bigger than they are. We worship by sacrificing selfish ambitions on the altar of peace. There are some phenomenal musicians and singers who could do anything they want to with their abilities, and choose to use them for what they were meant for: To bring glory and honor to God and to serve the church and to humbly be part of the team.

Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves (Philippians 2:3)

Be shepherds of God's flock that is under your care, watching over them--not because you must, but because you are willing, as God wants you to be; not pursuing dishonest gain, but eager to serve; not lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock. (1 Peter 5:2-3)

2. A Musical Offering. We give our very best musical offering. Gateway songs declare the Gospel, they teach treasured truths about God and provide a vehicle for heartfelt expressions of gratitude and praise. We place a high value on musical excellence. (Wonderful, singable melodies and carefully crafted, memorable instrumental lines help too)

Through Jesus then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that openly praise, celebrate, profess and give thanks to His name. (Hebrews 13:15)

3. The Presence of God. This single most important thing is that our worship services are all about God’s Presence. Our mission is to help people experience God in the greatest way possible. Music is not meant to be used as a gimmick to make church “hip.” It is a precious gift that serves to help us connect with our Creator. We welcome God into our services and provide an atmosphere where believers join together in powerful worship, where hard hearts are softened by the Holy Spirit so that unbelievers can meet God as deaf ears are opened to hear the good news about Jesus and spiritually blind eyes see the truth about who God really is.

Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise. Give thanks to him and bless His name. (Psalm 100:4-5)