Friday, June 30, 2006

TNC Staffers blog

Mike Fiedler and Chuck Young have entered the world of the blog...joining myself and Mr. Tanner. Check out their blogs here: Mike Fiedler ~~ Chuck Young

I guess we'll be the church were everyone but the pastor blogs!

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Whatever Happened to Worship?

So lately I've become very influenced by a mid-1900's preacher by the name of A.W. Tozer. Some of you may remember me blogging about a book of his I read a few months ago, The Pursuit of God. Now I've picked up another of his called Whatever Happened to Worship? I've read a few pages and Wow! it's already good.

I think I'm going to post some thoughts on each chapter as I read through it...if you want to read through it with me, pick up a copy at Family Christian Store or through Amazon. Here's a nugget from the book:

"I can safely say, on the authority of all that is revealed in the Word of God, that any man or woman on this earth who is bored and turned off by worship is not ready for heaven." Whoa! Did he really say that? That's a pretty bold statement...but it's true. Think of every picture we're given of heaven in the Bible. It's either a celebration or it's facedown worship. There's no yawning or rolling eyes. Just hardcore worship of the Triune God - Father, Son, and Spirit.

I can tell this is going to be a fun adventure through Tozer's thoughts on worship...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Reflections on Facedown

The day after Facedown always brings an afterglow for me. My mind is consumed with the night, thinking on the entire service...trying to unpack everything that went on. So I thought I'd list a few of my favorite moments:

- The thunder that the clapping hands made. What a joyful noise!
- The "That's My King" video. What a cool video! (Here's the link if you want to see it again: That's My King)
- The excitement and celebrative spirit of everyone there. (One guy even told me of his 70+ year old mother who was there that said she still had energy to burn after the night!)
- I loved the part on "Marvelous Light" when I went to tell everyone to put their hands in the air and they already were...and not only were all hands in the air, but everyone started singing without me!!!! AWESOME!
- Most importantly, I loved the fact that God got every single bit of praise, recognition, admiration, love, attention, affection, sound, word, voice, noise, and heart in the place. HE WAS THERE WITH US!

Thanks again to Steve Law and Jeff Kumrow for putting the recording together. Also, to every single production team member that put time and effort into setting up, running the service without a glitch, and then tearing down everything. And lastly, to the band for all the long hours in a hot auditorium making music together. I'm humbled and amazed at what God has done!

All glory and honor be to the Lord.

"...and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people...and they shouted for joy and fell facedown." (Leviticus 9:23-24)

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Day 12: It's finally here!

We are finally here...the day of Facedown! I am so pumped about it if you can't tell! God has been so good to us in getting here. I'd like to say I'm particularly blown away by and humbled to be apart of a group of individuals like the band. They have put a ton of work into getting ready for this recording. Hats off!

As the day moves on, I'd like to ask you to pray for some specific things:

1) Pray that God will be glorified.
2) Pray that we will focus on meeting Him rather than on recording a CD.
3) Pray that my voice gets better (I oversang a bit at practice Wednesday night--not good!).

Have an awesome day and we'll see you tonight! We're gonna PARTY!

Day 11: Only 1 Day Until Facedown!!!

It's almost here! I'm so excited about this edition of Facedown for so many reasons:

1) It's Facedown. I'm always excited to see the body of Christ so consumed with God that they don't care what they sound like or what they look like!!!
2) We're recording it!
3) The cool moving lights will be back.
4) Above all else, God will be lifted up and glorified!

As you go through this day, think about the song Radiate that we do at church. Psalm 34:4-5 says "I sought the Lord, and He answered me and delivered me from all my fears. Those who look to Him are radiant, and their faces shall never be ashamed." God radiates with praise. The sun shines it. The stars reflect it. His people live it and shout it! As we enter tomorrow night, we ask that God will come and illuminate that place, so that we can come and radiate with His praise!

Remember, worship is our response to God revealing Himself to us.

Lord- Illuminate that auditorium tomorrow night. And as You do, we shall respond with our voices in unison, radiating Your praise! Amen.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Day 10: Filled With His Glory

Habakkuk 3:2 - O Lord, I have heard the report of You, and Your work, O Lord, do I fear.

Whether you've been a part of it or heard about it, I'm sure many of you know of the amazing things God has done and is doing at TrueNorth. Many of you have been introduced to TNC because someone has told you to "come and see." God is definitely moving in our area and we have had the pleasure to be a part of it! But it isn't because we've done anything...

Habakkuk 2:14 says that "the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." What an image! How do the waters cover the sea? Completely. And so it is with the glory of the Lord. The earth is completely covered with His glory. From the beautiful nature He's created to the countless lives He has changed. All of it has one purpose: reflecting His glory.

I'm excited to see God's glory lifted up at Facedown. And my prayer is that the recording does that very thing: lifts Him up and brings praise to Him!

O Glorious One- Blessed be Your name and may Your glory be lifted up for all to see. Consume this recording project so that it is filled with Your glory! Amen.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Day 9: Pursuing

Colossians 2:6 - Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, rooted and built up in Him and established in the faith, just as you were taught, bounding in thanksgiving.

Something Steve said in his message on Sunday really struck me. He mentioned that he's concerend that we tend to reduce salvation to a transaction - an exchanging of goods (our sins for His life).

There is a lot of truth in this. Yes, it's true, that Jesus' blood was shed to redeem you and me from sin's power. But He also shed His blood so we could have a relationship with God.

God is actively pursuing our hearts. He desires a close, intimate relationship with us...but all relationships are a two-way street. We must also pursue Him. After all, we love because He first loved us.

Father- thank You for Your sweet love. It blows my mind to think that You are pursuing a relationship with me. Help me to pursue You everyday. Amen.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Day 8: Psalm 84

God led me to Psalm 84 this morning. I love this Psalm! Verse 1 says "How lovely is Your dwelling place, O Lord of hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints, for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God." Now that's poetry!

This is the cry of my heart. The things of this world bear down on us and we can get so consumed and stressed out with those things. My heart longs to be in the presence of God in those sing for joy to our living God! It's a place I never want to leave.

This stirs to mind a song Zak and I have been working up for Facedown. The words in this song, "Holy Ground", are really powerful and help remind us that we should always approach the Lord with reverence and a desire to see more of Him. I'm so excited about this song, I hope to post it on my purevolume site today or tomorrow!

O Lord of hosts- as we stand on holy ground, may our hearts be filled with love and joy for You. Let us enter Your courts singing praise and bowing low before Your holiness. Let Your name be lifted up and be glorified!!!! Amen.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Day 7: Reflections

Just a short entry today. I have to say I was in awe by God today at church. In both services I felt God's presence in a strong way. Steve even made the comment that nobody wanted to leave!

I'm looking forward to that feeling Friday evening. As the song "Revolutionary Love" says, "I don't want to leave this place. No, I never want to leave this place."

Lord- I can't wait for Facedown...the energy and environment are always to so cool and amazing! Let Your glory be bright when we gather together to worship You! Amen.

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Day 6: The Nearness of God

"But as for me, the nearness of God is my good." (Psalm 73:28)

"...let us draw near with a sincere heart in full assurance of faith..." (Hebrews 10:22)

"Draw near to God and He will draw near to you." (James 4:8)

O Holy God- our hearts cry is to be near You. When we gather, we come for lift You up and to dwell in Your Presence. Purify our hearts as we await next Friday night, giving us sincere hearts. Amen.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Day 5: Worship 7 Days a Week

I'm going to let the late A.W. Tozer take it today. This is a great thought:

But the Lord is in His holy temple. Let all the earth keep silence
before Him.
--Habakkuk 2:20

So I've got to tell you that if you do not worship God seven days a
week, you do not worship Him on one day a week. There is no such
thing known in heaven as Sunday worship unless it is accompanied by
Monday worship and Tuesday worship and so on....

We come into God's house and say, "The Lord is in His holy temple,
let us all kneel before Him." Very nice. I think it's nice to start
a service that way once in a while. But when any of you men enter
your office Monday morning at 9 o'clock, if you can't walk into
that office and say, "The Lord is in my office, let all the world
be silent before Him," then you are not worshiping the Lord on
Sunday. If you can't worship Him on Monday you didn't worship Him
on Sunday. If you don't worship Him on Saturday you are not in very
good shape to worship Him on Sunday.

Lord, permeate my whole life with a spirit of worship--all week
long, every day. Amen.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Day 4: Expressing The Response

Only eight days until Facedown! I'm so excited about next Friday night. Lots of stuff has been going on to get ready and of course there is the recording! I was talking to some friends last night about it and it hit me. We're not just recording the band. We're recording TrueNorth. Everyone there will be on this recording. After all, the purpose of it is to capture the heartbeat of TNC!

We had a great conversation last night at JTeam about the pros and cons of emotion in our relationship with God. We started discussing how we are emotional beings...God made us with the ability to laugh, cry, get excited, and get mad. And I believe with all my heart that He wants us to show these emotions in our relationship with long as they are grounded in our relationship with Him and they come from the overflow of love for Him.

Our discussion really centered around the worship service. We talked about how new believers have such an excitement for the change that God has brought to their life that they want to celebrate it. And then we pointed out how those who have been Christ-followers longer have matured in their faith.

There is a warning to both, though, that I'd like to bring up. On one hand, you can be so fixed on the emotion of it all that you start to worship the experience rather than God. It almost becomes an emotional high. On the flip side, you can be so "mature" that you forget to express your gratitude for what Christ has done for you. Remember yesterday's post...worship is our response to God. Actually, our entire relationship is our response to Him revealing Himself to us.

My biggest desire is for people to understand that when we allow ourselves to be lost in worship, to express our love for God, we will experience tremendous freedom and healing.

To be honest, I've been under a lot of stress lately because of things hitting me at the same time. On top of that, I haven't been sleeping all that great. And it's in this time that I long for God's presence the lose myself before Him. There is healing in that moment. The things of this world don't seem to matter and it reminds me that He loves me and will carry me.

Father- thank You for carrying me. Thank You that I can bring my worries, my fears, my hurts to You. My prayer for next Friday is that many others will discover the freedom and healing that abides in Your presence. Amen.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Day 3: The Response

Yesterday we looked at seeing the revelation of God. Today I want to focus on our response to that revelation. The last part of the Leviticus passage says this:

"Fire came out from the presence of the Lord and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown." (Leviticus 9:24)

The background to this story is that the Israelites had just brought their first offering before God according to His instructions. So, you can guess that they were pretty nervous waiting to see if He would accept their offering. We all know that feeling...heart pounding, dry mouth, clammy hands. Oh, the anxiety of anticipating the unknown!

As this passage says, God sent fire out from His presence (He showed His glory!) and then consumed their offering. He accepted it. And their initial response is one of sheer joy and celebration: "...when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy..." Who could blame them? The God of the universe found favor in their offering.

But then it hits them. They've just caught a glimpse of God's glory. And they are filled with holy fear and drop to their knees, facedown before Him. This is where the preparation of the heart comes into play. When we see the glory of God, we should never dismiss it as something else. We should stop in our tracks and fall facedown before Him.

God- As You prepare our hearts for June 23, break our inhibitions and let us be free to respond to You in the way we feel led. Whether it's through shouting for joy, or through falling facedown, let us not worry about what others think. It's all for You and only You. Amen.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Day 2: The Revelation

Every Facedown service starts with a desire to meet with see His glory and then to provide an environment where His people can respond to that revelation. Just like how we came to a relationship with Him: He revealed Himself and we responded.

The very last part of Leviticus 9:23 is where I want to go today. "...and the glory of the Lord appeared to all the people."

A few years back I had the privilege to play with some high school and college students at an event called Liberty on the Lake. We were one of four or five bands that played that evening for a few hundred people in the setting of the beautiful outdoors somewhere off Thurmond Lake (or Clark's Hill, depending on what side of the river you live on!). As the evening progressed a storm started to move into the area. The wind really picked up about half way through our set. As we got towards the end, we were playing a song called "God of Wonders" and lightening started striking in the distance.

So imagine with me this scene of heavy wind and powerful lightening across the lake from us while we're singing this song of the wonders of God. It was quite a moving experience! God gave us just a glimpse of His glory...mighty and awesome!

That's what we are seeking next Friday night. To catch a glimpse of the glory of God. I encourage you to ask God to prepare your heart to see Him.

Father- You are mighty and awesome. As Moses dared to ask so many years ago, we ask to see Your glory. Prepare our hearts to meet with You. Amen.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Day 1: A Celebration of Lives Changed

Good Monday to you! What an awesome weekend we had a TrueNorth!
Steve brought the story of the two builders, showing us how important it is to live a life founded upon the solid rock of Jesus Christ. And I think we found another hit song for our church...Party from the new Passion album, Everything Glorious.

And then last night we witnessed over 40 individuals profess Jesus as their Lord and Savior and then get dunk'd in the river! And that's where I want to start our journey to Facedown. Because if it weren't for the change that Christ makes in our lives, we could not approach the throne of God in worship. And we don't just approach the throne, we approach it with confidence (Ephesians 3:12). When we gather next Friday night, let us come with prepared hearts to encounter God and to approach Him boldly through Christ.

As I have mentioned, we have some cool stuff planned for Facedown. The biggest news is that we will be recording our first album at TrueNorth. You will not want to miss being a part of this incredible moment at TNC! I want to encourage you to check back everyday as we prepare our hearts to meet with God on June 23.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

New song posted

I have posted another song on my pure volume site. Check it out here. This song is titled "Phenomenal". The imagery in the song comes directly from the scriptures. Check out Nahum 1:2-5 and Romans 1:20. Our God truly is huge!

Enjoy the song and let me know what you think...

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Journey to Facedown

I can't begin to tell you how excited I am about this edition of Facedown. We are planning some cool things and you won't want to miss it!!!

Also, starting Monday, I will be posting devotional thoughts each day as a countdown to June 23. I hope you'll check in every day as God begins to prepare our hearts to encounter Him that night. It's going to be awesome!

Monday, June 05, 2006

Pure Volume Site

So, I've been looking for a way to post new songs that I write or arrange for people to hear, and I came across something called Pure Volume. They allow musicians to post their stuff for free! So here is my new pure volume site. Check it out and check back often to see what new stuff makes it up!