Rescued to Serve

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Happy Thursday, friends! I wanted to reflect together on something that really struck me in our church’s Bible reading plan last week. In the story of Mary, the mother of Jesus, we see this huge moment of revelation. The angel of the Lord appears and tells Mary, a virgin, that she is going to have a son and that he is going to be the Savior of the world. And her response blows my mind:

“I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”

What a powerful statement, what a miraculous submission to the will of God the Father! It made me think, “what does a true servant’s heart look like in my life and ministry?” So let’s read and reflect on a few verses from scripture and pray towards a growing willingness to say “Yes!” to the Lord in the things we do. I think there is so much transformative power in a community living by the Luke 1 truth that “we have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.”

READ:

“Anyone who wants to serve me must follow me, because my servants must be where I am. And the Father will honor anyone who serves me.”
‭‭Jesus, in John‬ ‭12:26‬ ‭NLT‬‬

We have been rescued from our enemies so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live.
‭‭Luke‬ ‭1:74-75‬ ‭NLT‬‬

Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. If you serve Christ with this attitude, you will please God, and others will approve of you, too. So then, let us aim for harmony in the church and try to build each other up.
‭Romans‬ ‭12:11‬, 14:17-19‬ ‭NLT‬‬

REFLECT:

How do we reach the place of trust in our relationship with Christ to say, “May everything you say in my life be so”? What obstacles might stand in the way of our service to God?

Look back on that critical set of verses from Luke’s Gospel. Why is freedom from fear, through Christ, so critical to our being able to serve “in holiness and righteousness for as long as we live” ? What does fear do to people’s service?

How does the Lord spread his kingdom through selfless community? What changes about the individual and the church family when God’s people “serve the Lord enthusiastically… living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit” ?

PRAY:

Father, help me to trust that your will and plan are good. I want to submit all to you and serve with gladness.

Christ, teach me how to live as you did. Give me the humility to lay everything down for the love of God and those around me.

Spirit, tune my heart and tune my ears to hear your voice. Let me not miss the moments you place before me to serve and bring change.

Amen, Amen, and Amen.

New Song: “How Glorious You Are”

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September is here, Vineyard fam!

This month’s new tune is really special to us, as the writers are some good friends from the local Vineyard region.  Mike O’Brien, AC Nelson, Dan Wilt & Lauren Kamal  bring us their song “How Glorious You Are”

One of the absolute best things about this worship jam is how focused it is on one thing:  tell Jesus how glorious he is!  All of the songs we sing give us words and prayers to lift to God, and some are very specific to certain struggles or situations (which we need).  And songs like “How Glorious You Are” serve the critical role of giving us the means to just say, “God you’re wonderful, God you’re salvation, God we’ll sing forever!”

Let this song lead us into focused times of unadulterated praise, thanksgiving, and exaltation.

Chord charts available on Planning Center

 

Simple, Scriptural Prayers For Worship Leaders

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Thanks for joining us today for some guided time with the Lord!

Below are a few scriptural prayers, from Pastor Chris Vacher’s blog, that serve as an excellent exercise and model for preparing our hearts to lead in worship.  Spend some time today, and maybe the next few times you lead as well, reading through these scriptures. Pray for each item in bold. We hope that the prayer and the reading of scripture set your hearts up to praise God and care for His people.

Pray for God’s glory

“May all the kings of the earth praise you, LORD,
when they hear what you have decreed.
May they sing of the ways of the LORD,
for the glory of the LORD is great.”
Psalm 138:4-5

Pray for Jesus to be exalted over all

“Therefore God exalted Jesus to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
to the glory of God the Father.”
Philippians 2:9-11

Pray for your pastor

“Remember your leaders, who spoke the word of God to you.
Consider the outcome of their way of life and imitate their faith.”
Hebrews 13:7

Pray for people to meet Jesus

“He is the one we proclaim, admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom, so that we may present everyone fully mature in Christ. To this end I strenuously contend with all the energy Christ so powerfully works in me.”
Colossians 1:28-29

Seek first God’s Kingdom this week, lift him high above all else.  We’ll see you guys on Sunday!

Check out Chris Vacher at http://www.chrisfromcanada.com/worship-leader-prayers/

 

Love & Discipline

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Happy Thursday, people!  Today we have the special treat of sharing a devotional meditation written by Sam McGhee, one of our pastors at the Vineyard Church.  This stuff is good, so let’s jump right in.

READ:

And have you forgotten the encouraging words God spoke to you as his children? He said, “My child, don’t make light of the LORD’s discipline, and don’t give up when he corrects you. For the LORD disciplines those he loves, and he punishes each one he accepts as his child.” As you endure this divine discipline, remember that God is treating you as his own children. Who ever heard of a child who is never disciplined by its father? If God doesn’t discipline you as he does all of his children, it means that you are illegitimate and are not really his children at all. Since we respected our earthly fathers who disciplined us, shouldn’t we submit even more to the discipline of the Father of our spirits, and live forever? For our earthly fathers disciplined us for a few years, doing the best they knew how. But God’s discipline is always good for us, so that we might share in his holiness. No discipline is enjoyable while it is happening—it’s painful! But afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.
‭‭Hebrews‬ ‭12:5-11‬ ‭NLT‬‬

As leaders it’s important to listen for God when we are leading; to know his voice and follow the prompting of his Holy Spirit. But it’s hard to make time for that in our daily lives when we are “off stage.” And even more so if it means hearing His discipline.

Like the writer of Hebrews points out, discipline is painful. No one likes being disciplined. As the dad of a wild-eyed, wonderful 4yr. old little girl, I know the truth of that statement. My daughter has cried, given me snark, and slammed the door when I have disciplined her. It’s never a joy to hear my daughter upset or see her tears, but I know my heart for her is goodness and love. Which means that I discipline her because of my great love for her. I cherish her too much to not help better her, guide her, and correct her as she grows into the amazing young lady God has made her.

As leaders we should be ready for, expect, and accept the love and discipline that God has for us. And not shy away from seeking his guidance and offering our repentance during our quiet times. His discipline expresses his deep love for us, shows us how deeply he cares for us, and affirms our identity as his children. So we, as his children should seek to receive his discipline with humility and not petulance. The more we lean into his discipline, the more we will see the good fruit it produces in our lives, and we will be ready to help those we lead through the discipline of God.

I know for some, their earthly fathers’ discipline has not been fair, loving, or just. So the idea of discipline producing good fruit sounds ridiculous when you have been mistreated or abused. Using such means to correct a person will only produce selfishness, hatred, and anger. If that’s your experience, I’m so sorry that you had to endure such ugliness. I want you to know that our heavenly Father only has goodness, kindness, and love for you in his heart. When He corrects us, it produces those things in us. Learning to trust His discipline may be difficult, but it is good. That trust will help us to lead those who have similar experiences into a place where they can trust in God’s love and discipline.

As you read the questions below, take a few minutes to be still before the Lord and let him speak to you. Ask Him to show you where you need change, what things you need to repent of, and thank him for his discipline. You may wince when he begins, “but afterward there will be a peaceful harvest of right living for those who are trained in this way.”

REFLECT:

How do we intentionally make repentance part of our daily walk?

Do we THANK the Father for his discipline, since it confirms we are the children of God?

What can we do to better accept God’s correction?

What is different about the Heavenly Father and earthly fathers, how does that shape their discipline?

How can we help lead others though God’s discipline?

PRAY:

ABBA, Father,
Thank you for your great love. Thank you for caring deeply enough to guide, correct, and discipline me. I praise you for calling me your child and making me new. I ask for your presence to join me here as I meditate on your Word and your discipline. Show me where I need repentance, where I can change. You have said you will finish the good work you have started in me, and I pray for your Holy Spirit to encourage me to accept your reproach as part of that God-work. Father, I know it may hurt, but I yearn for the fruitful harvest it will produce in me. Help me as a leader to model repentance and to love and guide others well. God, help me to be sensitive to those who may be hurting under your discipline. Spirit, help give me empathy and discernment to hear your voice.
Amen.

Christ’s Ambassadors

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IT’S WEDNESDAY, EVERYONE!  We’re blessed again this week to have a devotion written by our own Kelsi Walker.  We’re continuing this month’s focus on INTEGRITY by revisiting an important scripture from Paul’s second letter to the Corinthians. Let’s do this!

READ:

We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us. We implore you on Christ’s behalf: Be reconciled to God.
‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:20‬ ‭NIV‬‬

How did you come to know Jesus? How did you learn about hope, peace, joy and freedom? Odds are that along the way there were people who were in your path who spoke of Jesus and who pointed to Jesus in all that they did. These individuals lived like Christ and represented Him. That is what an ambassador does… An ambassador walks into peoples’ lives and represents someplace or someone, bringing the news and the offer of relationship with the entity they represent.

As an ambassador of one country goes to another land, speaking the language of the people, those of us who follow Jesus walk into the lives of others communicating in ways that people can understand. We represent Jesus to those around us, breaking through barriers of differences and coming to a place of understanding.

I keep reading this verse over and over again. It honestly blows my mind. Paul says that God works through us, the King makes his appeal through us…

How could this be? What is His appeal to others?

Paul tells the church at Corinth that to be ambassadors of Christ is to call people to be reconciled with God… Humanity is invited to come back and allow for the love of God to fill our lives, so that we can give that love to others. Freely we receive, so we freely give.

As worship leaders, as followers of Jesus, we must be in constant pursuit of God, always returning to His arms and to His love. As the Gospel flows out of our words and deeds, we call those around us to be reconciled to the Father.

The Message puts it this way: “We are speaking for Christ Himself now: Become friends with God, He’s already a friend with you.”

The next verse in 2 Corinthians says this:  “How? You ask. In Christ. God put the wrong on him who never did anything wrong, so we could be put right with God.” (5:21 MSG)

Through Christ, people are restored and can be used to further the Kingdom. Let us welcome people into love and truth as we speak love and truth.

REFLECT:

In what ways have you seen people be ambassadors for Christ?

How in your life today can you return, and call others to return, to God’s arms and rest in His love?

As a leader and follower of Christ, in what ways can you be an ambassador for Christ in your life this week?

PRAY:

Lord, we love you. We’re so thankful that we know you. Let us not forget what you have done for the world or that there are those who don’t know what you have done. Let us come back to you daily, hourly, Lord. Make us so aware of your love that we cannot help but to allow it to pour out freely. You are our Father, You are our friend. When we turn back to you, you meet us running with open arms. Thank you for love that never ends.

Reflecting on The Beatitudes

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Happy Wednesday, everyone!  This week’s devotion is brought to us by Alberto Leong (singer, guitarist, drummer, songwriter, here at the Vineyard).  We’re going to continue reflecting upon one of our core worship values, INTEGRITY.  Let’s jump in!

READ:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭5:3-10‬ ‭NIV‬‬

As worship leaders, we often focus most of our ministry time on what goes on during our weekly service – the music and structure. But we should always pay close attention to our communion with the Father and people during every other day of the week. We should be constantly seeking for God’s guidance and righteousness, showing others love and kindness as the Lord grows our integrity.

We should regularly return to these short-but-profound teachings of Christ, the Beatitudes, for honest self-evaluation.

REFLECT:

What does it look like to be “poor in spirit”? What helps us to rely more on the Holy Spirit and to center our lives on God?

What does meekness look like in leading worship?

What are the things we hunger and thirst for? DO we long for communion with God, his presence and righteousness?

Are we peacemakers in our daily lives?

Do we rely on God in the midst of suffering? How do we respond to persecution?

PRAY:

Jesus, thank you for the example you set for us here on earth. Help us be more like you in every aspect of our lives. Father, as we seek for a deeper understanding of your word and your love, allow us to show others the mercy and compassion that you have shown us. Show us how to live meekly, giving you all the glory and relying wholly on your power. In the name of Jesus we pray, AMEN.

Integrity of Heart, Skill of Hand

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May the 4th be with you, everyone! On this Wednesday, we start our month-long focus on INTEGRITY. One of our four core worship values, integrity is a critical part of a healthy worship culture. Let’s jump into this week’s devotion:

READ:

“And David shepherded them with integrity of heart; with skillful hands he led them.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭78:72 NIV

“In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.”
‭‭Titus‬ ‭2:7-8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

“It doesn’t matter if we’re leading a congregation, driving our car, or sitting alone in our bedroom. Everything we do should be governed by one goal — to see Jesus Christ praised, exalted, magnified, lifted up, and obeyed.”
– Bob Kauflin, author of the book “Worship Matters”

REFLECT:

As a worship team, how can we learn from David’s example of leadership? What can do to strengthen our “integrity of heart” and our “skillful hands?”

In Paul’s letter to Titus, why does the apostle place so much weight on Titus’ character? What is the importance of giving others “nothing bad to say about us?’

Reflect on the quote from “Worship Matters.” What might it look like to exalt and worship Christ in the unexpected, everyday moments?

PRAY:

Jesus, Good Shepherd, make us more and more like you. Open our eyes to watch you closely, like children watch their parents, and let us lead as you lead. Build, shape, and grow our integrity. Train, guide, and increase our skill. Lord, we want to lead your people with the utmost care and intentionality. We want to reflect your loving care. Kingdom Come, in Jesus’ name. Amen.

New Song: The Real Thing

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Today at the Maryville & Springbrook venues, we’re introducing a new song called “The Real Thing.” It’s another homegrown tune that Scott Flinchum brought to our songwriting retreat, and several folks collaborated to finish it with him.

We’ve been singing it at house worship and youth for a while now, and we’ve found that each section of the tune is simple, easy to learn & repeatable. You might find yourself singing along the first time through. And it’s perfectly suited for our desire to give a little space to our worship.

This desperate cry borrows themes from Ecclesiastes:

All my life is vapor. Your Word stands forever…

I’ve been chasing after wind. Your wind is chasing me.

And as the song progresses, we move from longing to declaring:

You are the real thing! The gospel breathing!

Men will lead this one in G or A, and women will be in D or E. Visit the song page on Planning Center for charts.

 

If We’re Ever To Worship, We Must ALWAYS Worship

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READ:

“Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom, singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.”
‭‭Colossians‬ ‭3:16-17‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.”
‭‭Philippians‬ ‭4:4‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“I have set the Lord always before me; because he is at my right hand, I shall not be shaken.”
‭‭Psalm‬ ‭16:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬

REFLECT:

In order to lead corporate worship effectively, we must practice a constant, breathing life of worship to God. What are some practical ways we can cultivate a personal culture of worship?

What does it mean to obey the scripture’s command to “rejoice in the Lord always?”

What changes about the way we approach any and all situations when we “set the Lord always before [us]?”

PRAY:

Loving Father, I overflow with praise to You. There will never be enough words to thank You for the life and the joy You’ve given me. Help me to live each moment of the day in thanksgiving. Each time I step on a stage or lead my family in worship, let my offering of praise be a continuing celebration. You’re so wonderful, King Jesus. Show me what life looks like when I rejoice always in You. Amen.

Owning The Music

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Happy Friday, everybody!

I hope this weekend finds you safe and as warm as possible. Pray for everyone’s safety and protection as the snowpocalypse draws nigh.

This week’s resource post comes to us in a truly insightful, practical article titled, “Owning The Music” by Will Doggett. Will Doggett is the Director of Training and Development at Multitracks.com and is an Ableton Live Certified Trainer. He has a passion for training Worship Leaders how to use technology as a tool for leading worship. He brings a unique perspective to worship leading and technology having served the Church as a Worship Leader, Music Director, and Creative Director.

In the post, which you can find and read here, Doggett gives really clear and easily applicable instruction to worship team members about how to “own the music” we sing each week. Whether you’re someone who chooses the tunes or if you’re serving another’s choices, check out what Will has to say about:

– Choosing songs with purpose
– Making each song personal
– Understanding writer and message intent
– Serving the song and congregation
– Preparation and excellence
– And more…

So dig into this teaching, lead with intention and compassion, and have a safe weekend everyone. We hope to see you on Sunday!