Wednesday, January 16, 2008

The Heart of it All

Well, evidently I have 2 readers and they both voted for me posting about some of the topics that we covered in London. If you don't know, I had the amazing priviledge of spending some time with Tim Hughes at a worship leader conference. It was a fairly intensive week of learning and exploring worship led by one of the most anointed worship leaders today. There was so much juicy information to take in that I'm still digesting some of it. Something that has been laid on my heart lately is holding seminars, if you want to call them that, where I sit down with worship leaders or worship team members and share what I learned and share where I think the Lord is taking congregational worship all around the globe.

**Warning: Long post, may take multiple readings**

So, with that being said, the first "session" is on humility in that it is THE most important characteristic/trait everyone needs to aspire to thrive in. When it comes to being a worship leader, there are 2 simple concepts: 1) It all comes down to your heart, and 2) God is the center of everything. In 1 Samuel 16 we read about the calling of David. Here Samuel was sent by God to Jesse of Bethlehem because He (the Lord) had chosen one of his sons to become king. Samuel was instructed to anoint the one He indicates. So Jesse sent for his sons and Jesse thought it was going to be Eliab because of how he looked. He even went as far as to say, "Surely the Lord's anointed stands here before the Lord." But the Lord spoke to Samuel regarding His criteria. He rebukes Samuel and says to not consider his appearance or his height, for He has "rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at, but the Lord looks at the heart." All of Jesse's sons went before Samuel and none of them were to be king. David, the youngest, was out tending the sheep and was brought in before Samuel. The Lord said, "Rise and anoint him, he is the one."

It all comes down to a humble heart. In Isaiah 57:15 it reads, "The Lord says, 'I live in a high and holy place, but also with him who is contrite and lowly in spirit." Also Isaiah 66:2 says, "This is the one I esteem: he who is humble and contrite in spirit."

There are 2 misconceptions of humility:

1) We got this humility thing in the bag...
2) We make ourselves out to be worthless...

The passage in 1 Samuel 17 (vv. 34-58) is a perfect example of someone who has amazing confidence in the Lord, yet still is a man of humility. David walked out on that battlefield with confidence in the anointing he was given by the Lord and was driven by passion for Him, but always called himself, "Your servant." He was not concerned with personal glory. His only motive was to see the glory of God win the day! So whose glory are you living for? Whose glory are you going after by being on-stage? There are only 2 choices: ourselve's or the Lord's.

There are 2 instances in the Gospel of Luke where Jesus speaks on humility. So if He said it twice, do you think it's important?! In Luke 14:11 and in Luke 18:14 it says, For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." If you think about it, it is much easier to humble ourselves before God than before man.

If you look at the original text of these verses, then you will see that these are action verbs. Humility is an active process. So how do you make it an active process?

1) Consider the vastness of God and how enormous He is. Look at the galaxies and the stars and the planets...Stinkin' huge! But, in one passing sentence in Genesis it says He made the stars. Also, ponder on the incommunicable aspects of God (ie. eternal, uncreated, omnipotent, omniscient, etc). Then think of how He made Himself man for us; for relationship with us! Unbelievable!!

2) Invest in obscurity. Be a behind-the-scenes guy or girl. Choose to serve! It's not about being on-stage. It's about what you are like off-stage. I love this quote by the famous conductor Leonard Bernstein. Someone asked him one day what was the most difficult instrument to play. He replies, "Second violin, because everybody wants to be first violinist." He goes on to say, "It's hard to find someone who wants to play second violin and to do so with the same enthusiasm...without the second violin there is no harmony."

In Matt Redman's book The Unquenchable Worshiper, he uses the term "unnoticed worshipers." Redman says that the offerings of unnoticed worshipers are as private as possible, but heaven pays extra special attention. They do not go unnoticed by the heart of God. (Read the first part of Luke 21 with the poor widow giving all that she had)

God first seeks devotion to Him in the hidden, private place. The private place prepares you for the public place. This is of vital importance!

3) Choose to prefer others. Jealousy and competitiveness are some of the most common things to infiltrate a worship team. "Why am I not playing or singing more?" Or, "Why are they using that person so much?" Going back to the story of David, in 1 Samuel 18 it says that Saul became jealous of David. We have to seek out that jealous root and get rid of it before it ruins!! I love this, DELIGHT WHEN SOMEONE ELSE IS BLESSED. DELIGHT WHEN DOOR ARE OPENING FOR SOMEONE ELSE AND/OR WHEN YOU RECOGNIZE THE HAND OF GOD ON THEIR LIVES!

A few more thoughts on humility to leave you with. Humility is reflecting the grace that has been given to you; it is reflecting God's glory. Humility is embracing what God has for us, no matter how big or small the stage.

So there you go. Session #1 in the books. I'm not going to apologize for the length because it is all food for your heart. Session #2 to follow soon.

Grace and peace.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

wow, that is a GREAT word. thanks for sharing....

reader #3

duanemixon said...

no need to apologize man...
That is really really good stuff!!

I really dig the section on choosing to prefer others...

That I think is the cornerstone of a healthy music ministry...
The idea that when one of us succeeds we all succeed...

thanks Justin....

I am excited to read about
session #2

Annie said...

I feel like there is so much for me to learn from this, even though I'm not the worship leader by any means.

But this stuff is very relevant to me. Thanks for giving us all this.

I'm with Duane- ready for #2!

brad said...

Even though I have already heard the presentation, I am still affected when I read it again. Great stuff, not only for those in worship but for everyone who professes Christ.