Tuesday, October 31, 2006

CWO -- Worship

Captain’s Log, Stardate 10.31.2006

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My Thursday book giveaway is In Every Flower by Patti Hill.
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Check out Christian Women Online (click on the button above) to see what other women are blogging about this quote:

"Like the proud mother who is thrilled to receive a wilted bouquet of dandelions from her child, so God celebrates our feeble expressions of gratitude."
~ Richard Foster~


As some of you know, I lead worship for the youth group and for Sunday service once a month.

I sang in college in an a capella group (Testimony) and thought I was so much better than I actually am. American Idol I’m not.

I play a very indifferent guitar, but thanks to God’s grace, the kids in my youth group are incredibly talented and make up for me.

I love music. Probably not as much as some of the music connoisseurs in Relevant Magazine (they give great reviews on both mainstream and indie music), but I love how God can speak to me with a well-married melody and lyric.

It is incredibly discouraging to me to be playing a worship song that I love for the congregation on Sunday morning and have everyone staring blankly at me and not singing. Not even mouthing the words.

Come on, people. Do you need to sing like an opera singer (we actually have one in our congregation who splits time between Europe and California) to worship God?

I mean, I’m not the best musician. I’m better than the general populace, but not as good as most. But I’m still playing—leading worship, no less—and singing.

My playing isn’t great—the other worship leaders are all much better than I am. But I do it because I want to help others to worship. And I wanted to give the youth group a chance to serve in Sunday service with my mostly-youth-group worship team.

Giving God a dandelion is better than not giving Him anything at all, don’t you think?

I don’t know if the congregation even realizes how discouraging it is to the worship leaders when they’re not enjoying the music.

I try not to let it bother me. God convicted me strongly a few weeks ago that it was His responsibility to move the congregation in worship of Himself. That it was my responsibility to just worship Him authentically when I was up there.

That made me feel better. Because really, it’s His spirit that moves me when I sing a certain worship song. It’s not the song itself—the dandelion—it’s the person I’m giving it to.

But next time you’re in church, at least smile at your poor worship leader, who’s probably freaking out that the congregation doesn’t like the music.

Or maybe that’s just me?

TMI: (Camy’s overshare section)

Bible in 90 Days: Day 5. Read about the plagues. It’s interesting to read them now after seeing a documentary a few weeks ago about scientific theories explaining the plagues.

The documentary was neat because it made the Exodus entirely plausible, and their explanations aren’t bad—just not the whole truth about how God could use natural phenomena to accomplish very specific things in miraculous ways.

Reading the Bible now, I can see how God would use something like a massive earthquake and volcanic eruption but reveal His power in the timing of it all and in how he tweaked things to accomplish his purposes.

I can see how He truly showed His might in specifically protecting the Israelites from plagues that should have inflicted them, or specifically targeting firstborn sons and animals when a natural phenomenon would take out people more-or-less indiscriminately.

Writing: AAAACKKK!!! NaNoWriMo is tomorrow! I need serious help with plotting. Please pray.

19 comments :

  1. i love the worship time of our service - i'm amazed at how much God has shown me and taught me through worshiping Him at church :)

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  2. I had a worship leader say once that God gave everyone a musical instrument--their voice--and all He asked of it was a joyful noise. How sad that so many people come to worship services and forget to worship!

    Blessings to you for faithfully serving.

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  3. You know, you are right in all accounts. It is very discouraging to try to lead, but God's flock doesn't follow the lead. But it is His Spirit that moves. I think not following is both a heart thing and not knowing the music/song. I used to sing with our contemporary worship team and we would sing new songs, but no one would follow...but I know how I feel when I don't know the song too...
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts on worship music :)

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  4. You are so right, me being the baptist I am sometimes want to get up and move and sing....sometimes it takes an act of God to get everyone moving. But lordy when they do, oh God fills the house =) And if you happen to ever drive by me, I am the one singing on top of her lungs in the car with the Chriatian music going =)

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  5. Lol, I can't sing AT ALL, but I sing along during worship anyway, to the immense discomfort of the people sitting around me :)

    I love the reference to the wilted dandelions in this CWO quote! So awesome and so true!

    And I'm right there with ya! I'm only partially through plotting, which normally isn't a problem, but I'm not normally writing on a 30 day time limit.

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  6. LOL I have been there! I know your frustration and have said similar things to people. I think our American mindset has become "Let the professionals do everything--I will be a spectator who wants to be entertained". It's great to be reminded to get up and do something ourselves...don't wait for the professionals! :-)

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  7. Hey, I found your blog cuz I searched the word "worship". I totally understand your frustration as I've been there many times myself. Ultimately, and I think you realize this already, your first responsibility is to worship. After that, leading the congregation. Think of yourself and your role a little differently: You are a lead worshiper, not a worship leader. There is a difference. You worship first and lead by example (look up the word 'leader'). Also, think more in terms of encouraging and inspiring the people to worship by your own example instead of leading only.
    Keep at it. People have to have their own revelation of God before they can truly worship. Feel free to check out my blog for more info.
    Grace & peace!

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  8. "I tell you," he replied, "if they keep quiet, the stones will cry out."
    Luke 19:40

    just remind the congregation of that.. lol

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  9. Worship can be such a touchy subject for a lot of people. I grew up in a contemporary worship service in a Reformed church - we clapped and sang with guitars.

    But now I go to a more traditional Christian Reformed church. We sing from hymnals with an organ. On of our assistant pastors says he feels very uncomfortable clapping for people when they are done sharing musical talents because he feels like he is praising them instead of worshipping God.

    So there are a lot of people with a lot of baggage about worship. A shame, huh? :)

    Sarah

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  10. I usually feel awkward in worship because I am so vulnerable during that time. My emotions literally leak out of me in tears and sobs. It's usually the hardest to praise Him when I'm hurting or life is uncertain but I still lift my hands up and say "Thank You". It has been in the area of worship that the Lord has spoken the most to me this year.

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  11. WHAT a line: "Giving God a dandelion is better than not giving Him anything at all, don’t you think?"

    EXACTLY.

    Thank you.

    All is grace,
    Ann V.

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  12. So very well written and thank you for sharing your heart. Yes, our praise may not meet other's ideals, but God knows and that is certainly what counts.

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  13. I can relate. I sing on a praise team that stands in front of the congregation. Whenever I look into the faces of the audience, I make it a point to look for those faces that I know will be singing, caught up in their worship. Otherwise it is too discouraging to see someone not only not singing, but looking like they just took a dose of medicine. So I would say, look for those who can inspire you with their worship. Great post!

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  14. At least you CAN sing! Girl, I can't carry a tune worth a flick unless my oldest sister is singing on my right side. Don't ask.

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  15. LOL, Camy dear - I can somewhat relate, but on the other side of the spectrum.

    Our choir director has a very nice musical background and "pedigree" and has extremely LOFTY ambitions for our small chior and many times chooses these soaring requiems for the "special" music that often strains the voices of those in the choir and it comes out sounding like some of the "lesser" contestants on AI who got together to try and hit the power high notes. LOL!

    In the end though, all that matters is that you sing for God and not for anyone else because...in the end it's Him that we give praise to anyway.

    Hugs!

    Oh, I was also going to say that, in looking at your profile picture, your face and smile is one that radiates true joy and gentle laughing humor. It is the perfect picture for you!

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  16. God bless you for playing and singing and leading the youth! He will, you know! I know how frustrating it can be when the congregation just sits there like a collective lump, so even when I don't know a new song, I try to follow along and learn as I go... (I've done praise & worship, and now I'm playing for church.) And I loved the line about the dandelion, too. It reminded me that whenever I as a little child would bring my mom a dandelion, she would light up like I'd brought her a dozen roses. She says that's because it meant love! God is like that, too. He loves that we care enough to offer Him our best, even if sometimes it seems inadequate to us. His adequacy more than makes up for our limitations! Keep playing and singing!

    Hope

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  17. I love to sing out in worship, and I'm usually swaying back and forth and raising my hands too. Yeah, I'm one of THOSE people! Much to the chagrin of my husband who is one of those who prefers to stand straight and still, close-lipped. That's hard for me! But our pastor says we all need to worship in our own ways -- some people stand still and some can't stop moving. I know what you mean about it being hard on the worship leaders when people don't respond, though. That sure would be discouraging! However -- I guess the lesson is that it's about them, not about you!

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  18. Great reminder! I'll keep it in mind this weekend, not that I stare blankly at the worship leader. Come to think of it, I've never looked directly at her, so for all I know she has her eyes closed too. I used to, too, until I had to start chasing babies since our church doesn't have a nursury. In any case, if my eyes are open I'll make sure to smile:)

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  19. One time I was at a worship and everyone was singing together and it sounded beautiful. My friend turned to me and said "I wonder if this is what it sounds like when God talks". Very cool!
    Matt

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