Thursday, July 24, 2014

In the Right Place



I've been leading in worship for years now. It is a passion and a pleasure.
Since I started in 9th grade, I've been thinking that leading worship (my service to God) was right up there next to my call to make disciples.

I BELIEVED THIS LIE.

Something had been feeling off for me for quite a while, being in the band, leading in worship. I kept thinking...
-Is there something off with the band-mate chemistry?...No.
-Is it because I'm the oldest?...(this was a hard one to push away, even though I'm only the oldest one by 1 year), but...No.
-Is it because my sound isn't relevant?...Uh...No...that's stupid. Even if it isn't the newest sound, the church isn't made of one type of people anyway.
I wasn't sure why things were feeling off, so I began to just wait for the Lord to show me what it was. He soon would...
The Lord put it on my heart to ask an old friend that I used to lead worship with, what he had learned in the past two years as he's had new experiences having moved away. So, I asked. His answer didn't really include anything I was expecting. He talked about making disciples...that leading worship was really a catalyst for doing just that.
Hmm...Okay?
I left thinking...I know what he said was good, but why was THAT his answer to THAT question?

After meditating on that a while, I started to think about how beauty is fleeting (Proverbs 31:30), just as is the condition of my voice. I will not have a good voice for the rest of my life. It will fade. At some point in my singing "career", my vibrato is gonna be sliding between 4 notes or my voice could just completely poop out; yet, I will still praise Him with it...with my wobbly, scratchy, old lady voice.
Leading others, though, will most probably not be my role at that time.
If my call to lead worship was equal to making disciples, I would have a huge problem when I get older, but making disciples and being a Titus 2 woman IS something I can do and be into old age, God-willing.
Being passionate in worshiping the Lord and getting better at leading others to worship Him is a Godly desire and service, but making disciples and growing in my abilities to share the gospel with others must be my greatest passion.

When I stand before the King one day, do I wanna say, "Jesus...I sang my heart out to you and led others into worship. I made a few disciples. Whatcha think?"
NO!
I sure don't want to anyway! He'd be all like..."Hmmm...Okay."
Not what I want to hear from the King of Kings.

That day, God showed me that the reason things weren't feeling right for me, in leading worship, is because it was elevated to a position that it should not have been. Many times, I questioned whether I was putting it before God and my love for Him and I truly do not believe I was for the most part (although, I check my heart on this constantly), but I know that I did have it in a place of priority that it should not have been. I have been sharing the gospel over the years and discipling women. This wasn't forgotten, thanks be to God, but I walked around the mall with my husband that day, talking this out and crying, because I have wasted years spending more time improving on and allowing my service, my offering to the Lord, to be primary. Gross. Thanks to Him and his grace, He is showing me where I've been so wrong and how I can love Him more in my obedience to Him and in growing my passion to share His name.

Leading worship IS an honorable call for such a time as this, but it is NOT my most important call. It is sooooooo secondary! It is equal to every other way that people serve in the church, if not lesser than because it's done in front of many, while others serve quietly, but this is the way he's allowing me to serve right now and so I serve Him in it with gladness. Only He knows...I may have another role next year...or in 5 years...or in 10 years, but to lead on stage with my voice will not be my call for life.
Each of you should use whatever gift you have received to serve others, as faithful stewards of God's grace in its various forms.  1 Peter 4:10
Thank you door greeters, hospitality team, ushers, tech team, deacons, kid's teachers, baby holders, security team, and all those I'm leaving out, because they serve unseen by us. 
You ARE seen by the Lord.

-The greatest commandment is to love the Lord my God with all my heart, mind, and strength. (Matt. 22)
-The second is like the first, to love my neighbor as myself. (Matt. 22)
-Our purpose, as people who follow these commandments, is to make disciples (baptizing them and teaching them). (Matt. 28)

If we serve in the church our whole lives and don't go out into the world and make disciples and teach them, we will miss it in a HUGE way. If my children are telling me they love me all the time and are doing nice things for me, but aren't obeying me, as their mother, I wouldn't be pleased. God desires obedience more than offerings. "...to obey is better than sacrifice..." 1 Samuel 15:22b
Service in the church is beautiful and is an offering to the Lord and is loving to His bride (the church), but...
"...To love him with all your heart, with all your understanding and with all your strength and to love your neighbor as yourself is more important than all burnt offerings and sacrifices."  Mark 12:33
When I stand before the Lord one day, what I want to say is...
"my King, I tried my hardest to love you with everything, love others, and make disciples in your name."...knowing full well His blood covered my sins AND those "honorable efforts".

Whatever your passion or service, have you made it equal to or more important than your call to make disciples?
What do you want to say to the Lord when you stand before Him?

{I'd love to hear your answers...leave a comment!}

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Counting Failures



When will you stop counting strikes against yourself?! 

When will you truly accept forgiveness?

No matter which role...as a parent, as a spouse, as a friend, as a worship leader, whatever...I mess up.
When I mess up, I will usually move on after there has been repentance or an apology, whatever was needed. If I needed forgiveness myself, I would accept it and move on...

...or so I thought. 

I realized that sometimes that happens, but often, what I actually keep doing is moving past the incident, but then when there's another incident, I say to myself, "See!?! You messed up again! You're a horrible ______." (Fill in the blank with a role.) 

I'm keeping my own track record of mistakes! As a follower of Jesus, God doesn't do this to me. 
Why do I keep doing this to myself? I have got to learn to accept Jesus' grace and mercy. 

"...it [love] keeps no record of wrongs."
1 Corinthians 13:5 

God is LOVE! He keeps no record of wrongs. He forgives and does not hold my past mistakes against me.

I have to stop. I don't believe God likes when I, even unknowingly, say to Him...
"Sorry God. These sins do count against me. You're wrong. What you say you died for, what you already paid the price for, didn't work"...
because, in essence, this IS what I am saying when I continue to hold my sins over myself, not to mention that I'm saying that my good and bad works define who I am. 
My works DO NOT define who I am. 
Jesus does. I am who He says I am. 
My identity lies in my Savior.

In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in
accordance with the riches of God's grace 8 that he lavished upon us.
Ephesians 1:7-8a

Grace...lavished? Yes please.