In light of everything we have experienced over the last two and a half days as a nation, we see the heart condition of the church. I’m taking a quick detour from specifically focusing on worship & music ministry to address the church at large. I just wanted to communicate what i’m seeing and offer scripture as the prescribed desired response from Jesus Christ. My approach is in love because God is love and the Word was God! (More worship-specific blogs coming soon.)
IM SEEING THOSE, WHO PROFESS CHRIST AS THEIR SAVIOR, TAKING A STAND, TWEETING, POSTING TO PRAY FOR THE DALLAS VICTIMS/FAMILIES ONLY, WHILE IGNORING THE OTHER VICTIMS AND THEIR FAMILIES IN OTHER STATES TO WHOM THEY’VE MADE NO REFERENCE TO! GOD IS NOT PLEASED WITH THIS TYPE OF HEART CONDITION CONCERNING THESE MURDEROUS EVENTS! WOE TO THOSE WITH THIS HEART CONDITION.
UNDERSTAND THAT THIS IS NOT JUDGEMENT, THIS IS IRON SHARPENING IRON (ONE CHRISTIAN TO ANOTHER IN LOVE) …SO READ/HEAR THE WORD OF THE LORD CONCERNING THIS (many others scriptures could be used, but I chose something short and to the point):
“God has compassion on all He has made”
“He showers compassion on all His creation”
“His mercy is over all that He has made”
“His mercies extend to everything He does”
THIS IS VERY DISAPPOINTING TO SEE FROM PEOPLE CALL THEMSELVES CHRISTIAN BECAUSE COMPASSION FOR ALL DOESN’T EXIST IN THEIR HEARTS. HOWEVER I PRAY FOR WHOEVER HAS THIS HEART CONDITION WITH NO HATE IN MY HEART FOR THEM! I LOVE YOU ALL! I FEEL PITY BECAUSE MOST CAN ONLY ACT AND FEEL THE WAY THEY’VE BEEN RAISED AND TAUGHT TO FEEL!
KNOW THAT THE LORD CARES FOR EVERY FAMILY OF EVERY VICTIM IN ALL OF THESE TRAGIC MURDEROUS EVENTS! THE RISING BODY COUNT CONSISTS OF ALL OF HIS CREATION… LET US PRAY FOR OUR NATION AND FOR GOD TO RID OUR COLLECTIVE HEARTS OF THIS HORRIBLE CONDITION.
As a believer, what is more important in life than being at peace and right fellowship with God? I just had a birthday and as I get older, I’m becoming more and more dependent on the Lord for literally everything. That sounds kind of crazy, but if we are all truthful, we haven’t been trusting Him for with and for everything in our lives. We have made some of our own very messy decisions by rushing into things and we’ve turned off the Holy Spirit…trusting only our finite understanding. Once again, one of my life-verses comes to mind (Proverbs 14:12) that says “There is a way that seems right…”
In Philippians 4:6-7, Paul gives the church the prescription for peace. He said “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (NIV)
As we consider these two bible verses, how do they give us wisdom today and better equip our worship ministries in our local churches? As a worship leader, choir member, team singer or instrumentalist, there is a shared desire to really point the congregation to Christ in hopes that they will have an encounter with Him that is life-changing and yoke-destroying. When things feel a bit stale and the response to the worship music is not what it once was, its very easy to have an “anxiety attack” and go into a panic trying to recreate those awesome experiences.
Before we try to fix things on our own, God wants us to seek His peace. His peace keeps us from discouragement and being “weary in well-doing” (Galatians 6:9). It also continually affirms His calling on our lives to lead the congregation in worship with the gifts God has graced us with. Know that when you feel the “anxiety attack” the effectiveness of your worship ministry, you can always do these three things Paul explained to the church of Philippi:
- Stop to form your prayers requests
- Pray requests to God with thankful hearts
- Let God’s peace protect and guide
Suggest Prayer: We thank You Lord because we can experience Your affirming peace. We’re thankful that it surpasses all of our understanding. You know the plans that You have for us and Your desire for us to is come to You for all things. Forgive us for trying to create worship experiences on our own. We will always fail in ministry apart from Your guidance. Help us to remember to seek Your peace first when anxiety attacks our minds in Jesus’ name, Amen!
Well over a decade ago, during my sophomore year in college at Liberty University, I was led to Psalm 13 where David expresses life’s frustrations, but remembers the faithfulness of God. I remember how God was dealing with me regarding my personal relationship with Him and I knew my next steps were to start hiding His word in my heart (Psalm 119:11).
The year before, I discovered that I loved songwriting…so I decided that Psalm 13 needed a melody. Jon, my best friend in college, sat down at the piano in prayer chapel and figured out the chords for this new melody I sang to him. “Psalm 13“ended up being a song that I was given the opportunity to share with the entire student body at LU during convocation.
Here recently, due to a number of things, God had me revisit this psalm and since i’ve been in full-time ministry, verse 6 has been one of my life verses. Here, David says “I will sing unto the Lord, because He has dealt bountifully with me.” In meditating on that scripture, God gave me another melody for a new chant simply entitled “Bountifully”!
When I looked up different bible versions of verse 6, I noticed that some of them…like the NIV…replaced the words “dealt bountifully with me” with “been good to me”! Yes MANY scriptures declare that the Lord is good, but it looks like David was trying to communicate something more. The definition of “bountifully” means for someone to be dealt with according to what they deserve. I know what I deserve and it is NOT eternal life and favor. “Bountifully” in Psalm 13:6 means that God actually deals with us according to His grace and mercy which also means He is more than good. (Good=enough; Bountifully=more than enough)
Suggest prayer: Lord, thank You for the infinite grace and mercy that You provide. You continue to deal with me according to Your love and favor in my life. Help me to realize how faithful You are during life’s storms. Lord, please continually remind us that You are and will always be more than enough.
Ok so i’m jumping right into it…fill in the blank! What are you letting people see? I believe that God has given all of us Christ-followers a level of influence. After all, we are “peculiar” people (1 Peter 2:9) or strange folks and people wonder what or who we are all about. There are many people within our radius who we sometimes overlook. Some of these folks may be on our “spiritual lists” or God-ordained people that He will use us to reach.
I love how Jesus said in John 8:12 that He is the light of the world. As Christians, because we follow Christ, He also calls us the light of the world in Matthew 5:14. Looking at the life of Paul, we can easily see that he embraced becoming “light”. When writing an encouraging letter to the church of Philippi, he says “Now I want you to know, brothers and sisters, that what has happened to me (suffering, imprisonment) has actually served to advance the gospel. As a result, it has become clear throughout the whole palace guard and to everyone else that I am in chains for Christ. And because of my chains, most of the brothers and sisters have become confident in the Lord and dare all the more to proclaim the gospel without fear.” (Philippians 1:12-14)
Three things: First, he lets us and those around him see that he used to be the persecutor and is now persecuted for the sake of Christ. His testimony is that all of this is for God to receive glory from his life. The second thing Paul lets us see is how clearly evident Christ is in his life. Wherever he was, everyone saw that he was on Jesus’ side. Being in chains for Christ for everyone to see should be our goal. Lastly, Paul lets us see that because of his decision to devote his entire life to Christ, God has used him to add souls to the kingdom!
Can the people in your sphere of influence clearly see a life of worship and praise devoted to Christ? Can they see your zeal for Christ so much that they inquire about salvation? I urge all of you in music ministry to worship Christ as if others’ lives depended on it. You are the light of the world to “let them see” Christ!
Suggested prayer: Lord, thank you for the example of Paul’s life. I am grateful that I can examine these heartfelt and passionate letters to the church that challenge me to live my life fearlessly for You. Help me to imitate Paul by letting people see a life that advances the Gospel. Use me to offer to confidence in You. In Jesus’ name, Amen!
“My Victory” (feat. Crowder) is from the new Passion-Salvation’s Tide is Rising Album Watch the Passion 2016 Video feat. Crowder Listen to Gavin’s Version of “My Victory” + Free Download Link
During this Easter season, “My Victory” serves as a vivid reminder that the cross that was “meant to kill” our Savior Jesus Christ is indeed our victory. The lyrics immediately caused me to humbly reflect on Christ’s suffering long ago. What really drove me to tears is the overwhelming thought that all of my sins past, present, and future were on His mind at that time. Our salvation, victory and eternity was secured by Jesus Christ becoming and covering the sins of the entire world. One lyric that jumps out and should cause all believers to rejoice is “O Your Death is Hell’s defeat”! I am so thankful to the Lord that we have victory over death, hell and the grave. The adversary doesn’t stand a chance to our Holy God because His victory is “My Victory”! I loved this song so much, I thought i’d record it myself! ***FREE DOWNLOAD BELOW***
1 Cor. 15:55-57
2 Cor. 5:21
1 Peter 3:18
Have you ever dissected a song to see what it was really about? Think about your favorite song. It could be anything from a love song about your significant other or a song about the Lord. For instance, many of the most popular R&B or country songs focus on heartache, heartbreak, depression and unfaithfulness. These are the songs that people love to sing over and over again, maybe because those topics are (unfortunately) relatable to their real lives. These songs immediately place us in a different time and place mentally; they bring out real emotions. As a lover of music, I am that guy who puts my favorite songs on repeat! However, as a worship leader, it causes me to take a step back and wonder if we truly consider what we are singing, especially in church when worshiping God.
I’ve had this conviction for a while now. Looking back, I wasn’t introduced to gospel contemporary music until I was an adolescent. I grew up in an old family-filled Baptist church where we sang hymns from the red book (with the church’s name engraved in gold) and gospel quartet music with my family’s group. The new contemporary styles of music with the different harmonies were fascinating, but also very challenging to learn in the beginning. When I was introduced to “praise & worship” music, I felt that the songs were impactful and emotional. As I grew older, I found that many of them focused on our issues and the praise came at the thought of what we could obtain from the Lord. Back in 2000 at Liberty University, I was exposed to the christian contemporary genre. The music wasn’t complex at all, but the lyrics were overwhelmingly rooted in scripture. It was as if each song communicated the gospel message and that upward focus helped change my entire approach to music ministry.
I believe that Colossians 3:1-2 gives us (worship leaders) a challenge as we minister songs. It says “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” It is necessary for our hearts and minds to look up to God because of who He is in our lives. I would suggest that our problems are “earthly things” and there are many songs being ministered during times of worship that focus on US and not Christ. I do believe that there is a time for these “inward-focused” inspirational and encouraging songs. I would like to think that those songs would still be about thanking God and celebrating the fact that He has made us co-heirs with Christ. Even then, God’s intentions are that we first be willing to share in Christ’s “sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory” (Romans 8:17)!
As ministers of music, worship pastors, worship leaders and volunteers, our charge is to focus hearts and minds on God and His infinite grace and mercy. We are to guide those same hearts and minds to a place of humility. This is done by singing songs that remind us of the gospel. If there be any focus on us, let it be about our sinfulness, our need for a Savior, and our constant need to repent then turn away from our sins. Are we thinking about what we are singing and presenting to our congregations? Lets remember that the body of Christ is edified through worship when our spirits and minds are focused properly on Him. (1 Cor. 14:15).
Suggested Prayer: God we thank You for who You are in our lives. Father, we are grateful for the task You have given us to lead Your people in worship. Allow us to focus on the songs that bring glory to You and that take attention away from ourselves. God You know all and our trust is in You. Help us to better understand Your desire for real spirit and truth worship. Help us to lead by Your word and by Your spirit.
GAVIN MCKINLEY DAVIS
WORSHIP LEADER | MCLEAN BIBLE CHURCH
Music and songs are created by God to worship Him, giving Him glory, honor and praise. Psalm 98:4-7 says “Sing to the Lord a new song, for he has done marvelous things; his right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him. The Lord has made his salvation known and revealed his righteousness to the nations.” God has given us the ability to create beautiful music and rich harmonies to be an appreciative response to all that He has done for us! I would even suggest that these “new songs” are to be in response to the “new mercies” (Lamentations 3:23) we see each day we are blessed to open our eyes.
While playing music and singing songs are ways to worship the Lord, we must understand that God desires and seeks it. “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24) We can also see Christ’s desire for worship in the story of the “Ten Lepers” from Luke 17:12-19 where it says “As he was going into a village, ten men who had leprosy met him. They stood at a distance and called out in a loud voice, “Jesus, Master, have pity on us!” When he saw them, he said, “Go, show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were cleansed. One of them, when he saw he was healed, came back, praising God in a loud voice. He threw himself at Jesus’ feet and thanked him—and he was a Samaritan. Jesus asked, “Were not all ten cleansed? Where are the other nine? Has no one returned to give praise to God except this foreigner?” Then he said to him, “Rise and go; your faith has made you well.” By Jesus asking the healed foreigner “Where are the other nine?”, we see that He desired the same (loud and expressive) praise from the other healed men. As servants of Christ specifically in worship ministry, lets remember that the Lord truly wants, but more overly expects our praise and worship.
Songs keep the message of Christ in our hearts which means they also help us submit to the Lord in our daily walk, resisting the enemy (James 4:7). Through songs we can develop and maintain a heart of humility. Colossians 3:16 says “Let the message of Christ dwell among you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom through psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit, singing to God with gratitude in your hearts.” Wisdom is found in the scriptures and the songs that we sing to the Lord are scripturally based. Therefore, through music, I learn scriptural content that builds my faith “in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20)
Suggested Prayer: Lets thank the Lord for creating music and songs (instruments, providing our musical abilities and our voices, melody and harmony, words through scripture) for us to sing to Him with hearts of gratitude. Ask God to keep your hearts and minds focused on the message of Christ. Pray that it dwells in you richly so that you will always recognize His goodness and never forget to worship Him for it. Finally, with hearts of humility, thank God for using you to lead others closer to Him through music.
GAVIN MCKINLEY DAVIS
WORSHIP LEADER | MCLEAN BIBLE CHURCH