The Unsung Heroes

What does a worship team do in the hours before church starts.

Carlos arrives first. He unlocks a door for the others to slip through and starts turning on the lights. He goes to the back and turns on the audio equipment and works on getting the numerous dials to the perfect spot.

Patrick walks in at a fast clip with his guitar case and  pedal board filled with his guitar effects. It always takes him the longest to set up with his electric guitar and pedals. The speaker isn’t working right this morning, so he plays with his guitar and volume until he finds the exact spot where the speakers will work for him, not against him.

In walks a new guy with his battered acoustic guitar case. Justin exhibits a laid back demeanor as he introduces himself to the others and begins asking the multitudinous questions that it will take to get him set up and ready to play.

Meanwhile KJ enters the back of the sanctuary with his bass slung over his shoulder. He talks with people and laughs as he wakes up and gets ready to play.

Carlos starts calling for mic checks as Richard enters. He walks to the front and sets down his breakfast, coffee , power bar and drum sticks. He yawns as he walks out the door to hang up his coat.

Cassie and Emily walk in laughing as they walk to the front pew. Emily pulls out her violin as Cassie prepares the keyboard. They continue to laugh together as they prepare their instruments and wake up more.

As the mic checks continue, the chatter slowly starts a crescendo. The air begins to fill in with instruments warming up, a cacophony that will soon give way to order.

Carlos steps up to the main mic, his own acoustic guitar slung from his shoulder. The instruments noises quiet down with short burst of the final warm-ups. Caleb goes through the order of the songs and last minute chord changes. He bows his head, along with everyone else as he prays to God that He would get all the glory; that their worship would bring a smile to the Almighty’s face.

As they play the first song, the yawns lessen and the eyes open a little wider. The protein bar has been consumed and the coffees are empty. The recently showered heads of hair have now dried. The team is looking sharper and chords are called out and debated as the practice continues.

The sun still isn’t up as the singers quietly enter. They are still in yawning mode. Kim quietly distributes the coffee that she has brought in to share. Sarah comes in looking awake and ready to go.  They quietly pick up the mics and voices are added to the music. There is still 90 minutes until the service begins. When the congregation yawns in, the wide awake worship team has been soaking in praise for a couple of hours already.

Carlos finally declares them ready and everyone takes a break. They make last minute bathroom breaks and grab some water. When it is a little before nine, they are all on stage, ready to go.

Carlos begins with prayer and takes directs the focus of the congregation and puts it on God. The people join in with the worship team and the hours of prep brings the people into God’s presence quickly. Hands wave in the air and eyes fill with tears. A few people bow at the altar and some dance in the back.

The Holy Spirit seemingly flows out of the instruments and voices. There is no way to explain how this works. The glory and magesty of God become overwhelming to the hearts that are fixed on their Abba Father.

When the pastor takes the mic, he is ready to preach. This rides on the presence of God coming in like a flood during worship. He is strengthened and encouraged from the worship, and his message today will be strong and Biblically sound.

People will get saved today. Some will be healed or encouraged. All will receive Gods love. God isn’t just working through the worship team, but they certainly set the stage to get it all rolling.

These unsung worship heroes will be at church for a total of 7 hours. They will not have time to eat during until after the last service. They sit through two entire services. Some will fall asleep during the message from exhaustion and it will bring knowing smiles from the others on the team.

After the service, they quickly pack up their instruments and join in with the multitude of conversations taking place throughout the church. Ministry is still taking place as people discuss what God spoke to them during the service and others ask for prayer for difficulties they are going through. Even this is riding on the songs of the worship team.

They do not get paid for what they do. For many this is their day off. Some will leave and  go straight to work, some will go play with their kids and the rest will hit the couch for a well deserved nap. They have pleased God greatly and have impacted lives not only in the congregation where they ministered, but in the lives that the congregation goes out and touches as well. Who knows, as they minister to people who in turn minister to others who in turn minister to others, they will be reaching around the world. But this isn’t what they are thinking about as they quietly and humbly go on with their day.

 

So How Great Am I?

Let all that we do or think be a praise to God, not ourselves.

Okay, so maybe that question is a little bit over the top. How about this one:

How many trophies do I have?

Did you know I graduated with my master’s degree with honors?

Actually, I don’t think any of us have ever had those questions in our conversations. But it is possible that some of them slip into our own thinking. It could be thoughts about how smart or accomplished we are, or how smart and accomplished we’re not, or how we have the need to be successful at anything we do in work or even church.

God needs to be the one getting all the glory in our lives.

That we should be to the praise of his glory. Ephesians 1:12

What we do should be a praise to God. We are giving Him the glory, not ourselves. This is where the point lies: God should be the center of our focus in whatever we do or think. If we are thinking of ourselves, then we are off into pride, no matter how servant-like we are.

God loved King David just as much as a shepherd boy as he did when David was king. David’s life was a big praise to God. Let our own lives be that praise and may our thoughts reflect our love for Him throughout the day. More of Him, less of me. John 3:30

I Want to Know

We see God through the glass darkly, so let’s clean the glass…

By Lisa M. Meister

There is so much
I want to know
About my Lord
Each truth to sow

In my life
The vision clear
Open ears
So I can hear

I want it all
I’d prefer it now
I mean, why wait
Just show me how

Windex in hand
Some elbow grease
Undarkens the glass
All truth release

How much better
To follow you
When I know
All that you do

With it clear
Your face to see
What can it harm
Closer to you be

But as wise
As I think I am
I bow to you
Your greater plan

And at each kernel
Of truth I find
I marvel at it
It sparks my mind

I take it in
And try to see
To change my life
According-ly

To be better now
Than before
To celebrate
Of you adore

And to think
Of all I’d miss
If I already knew
All of this

So I come
Before you now
And concede
To your way I’ll bow

Tell me what
You’d have me know
Our relationship
Will strongly grow

Until I stand
Some glorious day
Face to face
With you I’ll stay

A Window, A Tree, The Sky and Me

Lessons learned in the crises of life.

I can sum up my three months of bed rest with four nouns: window, sky, tree, me. That’s it. (Well, technically Sarah was there, but she was still growing.) 

Seriously, that’s all there was, and it was only the very top of a deciduous tree; a little bit of green surrounded by amazing shades of blue. Sometimes I would get lucky and a beautiful, cuddly cloud would float gently by. 

I didn’t realize the impact that scene had on me until years later. I was in crises mode. My body kept going into labor, and Sarah was too little to survive. No matter how calm, how terrifying or just plain boring the day would be, the sky was still there; always and without fail.

The sky gave me the big picture. No matter what went on each day, I could watch my scene and remember God doesn’t change. The beauty of nature is there, always. I need to remember that even in terrifying situations, I need to take time to look at the beauty God has made. A nugget of joy in the midst of sorrow.

I don’t have my window anymore, and Sarah just turned nineteen. But the sky is still the same. So I look at the sky and marvel at the beauty and remember my lesson: God is big and constant, just like the sky.

But I Want What Enoch Had…

Comparing our relationship with God against others.

I’m not complaining or anything, but I want to have the relationship with God that Enoch had. We know that he “walked with God”, which I want. We could talk about my blog, the sky, teens…)He also had so many encounters with angels that he knew them by name (there is a book of Enoch that isn’t in the Bible, but is traditionally accepted as truly being about him; fun read). So I must admit I am a tad bit jealous.

This morning I was reading Daniel. God had given him a vision that greatly troubled him. So much so that he ate only boring food and did a lot of praying. He wanted God to explain the vision to him. This is where my mind rebels to say that if God wanted Daniel to understand it, He would have. So 21 days later an angel comes, apologizes for being late (apparently he was jailed by a demon), and explains what Daniel had been wanting to know. I find his relationship with God a tad bit demanding, so I don’t want the relationship he had.

David was a man after God’s own heart, so lots of people want the relationship he had with God. I find David a bit bit-polar, so he’s out.

So I am sticking with Enoch. I told that to  God, but He said no. Everyone has a different relationship with God and that’s the way God set relationships up. He doesn’t want us looking at other Christians and being jealous.

We need to take our relationship with God where God has it. Don’t compare. Identify where your relationship is, and find ways to get closer to God. The more time we spend with people, the closer the relationship gets. The same goes with God. 

I am still a tad bit jealous about Enoch, but I am working on that. I am excited where my relationship with God can go. I hope you can, too. 

Take a Walk

God walked with me today. The day was not special and we chatted about nothing deep, but just spent the time enjoying each other’s company. I love spending time with Him. I love learning about Him and drawing closer to Him. Each day I want to find ways that I can get ever closer to Him.

I am never satisfied with how close I am to Him. My heart is on a race toward the throne room. I want to bow down right in front of Him and be able to see His toes on the floor. Today I did get closer to Him, just by spending time.

I love to tell Him how beautiful the trees and mountains and birds are. I tell Him how amazed I always am His creativity. Seriously, how long did it take to figure out gravity just right so all the planets and suns didn’t collide together? With all the solar systems and galaxies, it surprises me that the spheres up there aren’t colliding like billiard balls.

I thought through all the miracles, grace and mercy God has extended to me over the years. I thanked God for our new paid for and installed water softener. I thanked Him for my family and friends. I thanked Him for our wonderful church and amazing pastor and his lovely wife. They have such a passion to love on people and point them more and more toward God.

I also enjoy talking to Him about things I disagree with. mosquitos, dirty dishes and time continuums. Or ask about what was up with the platypus. Or why don’t I have a panda bear and slide when I want one so badly. I’m sure He laughs at me a lot, but I really do talk to Him about these things.

Everyone can walk with God. Everyone can talk to Him. Take Him along with you tomorrow, and just chill. You will get closer to Him than ever and have a lot of fun. I’m sure you will make Him laugh.

 

Daybreak

A twinkle of light
The promise of day
Sparkles of thoughts
With the first ray

The trill of a bird
The croak of a frog
Nature wakes up
And burns off the fog

I stand in awe
As the day dawns
God’s big dislplay
Turns the day on

The sky turns to pink
To purple and blue
White fluffy clouds
Float in my view

The colors fade
As in comes the sun
I am amazed
At all God has done

He wrapped for me
This day in a bow
I am at peace
At God’s big light show

I turn my heart
To my great God above
Who has already wrapped
This day in His love

My Bible on lap
I focus on God
He draws me in close
I give Him my laud

The litling peace
Fills up my soul
This day I will spend
God’s plan is my goal

Sunbathing in the Throne Room

When God is our light, where else would we sunbathe?

The Bible tells us that in the new heaven and new earth, God will be the light and we will no longer have the sun. People have found this interesting and just plain cool for a long time, but I don’t think people have really thought through this scenario. I admit that I really hadn’t either until today. The outcome of my deep thinking is this: if God is the sun, then we will have to sunbathe in the throne room. A little awkward, right? There are some other concepts that also come to mind when thinking about the Sun.

How is it that we go to bed at night with the weight of the world on our shoulders, slumped in defeat at the errors of the day and then wake up the next morning feeling like we are strong and can take on the world?

Think about this: the tiredness and mental battering come at us as it gets dark, and even into the wee hours of the night. People having trouble sleeping, having bad or just plain crazy dreams or pacing the night away is a problem everyone understands. People even say that nothing good happens after midnight. And that is true because the night is where a lot of shootings or robbings or domestic disputes happen.

Now we have the day, the morning light. It fills us with a sense of ability to meet the challenges of the day, a peaceful calm that comes over us as we sit over our cup of coffee. Then we work hard during the day to be educated or to work, having great satisfaction of our abilities to make a difference in the world in some small way.

Is the analogy shouting at you right now? Our enemy, the devil, carries out much of his business at night. He seems to have more success in suggesting sinful ideas to people and have the people following his suggestions. God, on the other side, works in the light. The Bible says that in the new heaven and the new earth, God will provide all the light as we will have no more need for the Sun.

It’s pretty cool to see the symbolism of God being light every day of our lives. So put on some sunscreen and grab your sunglasses, and bask in the light of our God.

I’m Getting My Life Back! (Version 2)

My life got stolen and I have been looking for it ever since. The skeptic in you is probably rising up at this point and saying that as long as I am breathing I have not lost my life. But I am an American, and a part of my rights is the pursuit of “LIFE, liberty and the pursuit of happiness”.

The three ideas espoused in the Declaration of Independence are our rights that many Americans have fought and died for. I then take great offence at my not being able to pursue them for too long. I have my own Revolutionary War going, and have been fighting those stupid red coats who are trying to prevent me from having those rights. I have fought the fight for my whole life and it boils down to this: Yesterday I homeschooled my daughter, washed my living room and kitchen windows, put in new screens, and scoured part of my linoleum on my hands and knees! (Fanfare)

This is a big deal to me because I have haven’t ever been able to clean as I have wanted due to years of abuse. That’s where my life was stolen. Health and emotions were on a downwards spiral, and now I am getting better and stronger!!!!! I have watched my house be dirty without any feasible way of getting it clean for way too long.

Thank you, God, for helping me to get my house clean! He was watching me yesterday, and I’m sure he was yelling, “You can do it, Lisa! Coffee stain to your left!” I could have looked at the hard years and gotten angry with God, but I didn’t. I have said it before and I will say it again:

God = good
devil = bad

(Note: This is version 2 of the post right before this one, I’m Getting My Life Back! (Version 1). Which do you think gets the point across better?

I’m Getting My Life Back! (Version 1)

I can clean my house because God has been good to me!

Yesterday I washed my windows in the living room and kitchen, inserted brand new screens, moved the kitchen table and washed some of my linoleum on my hands and knees with a sponge. On top of that, I started homeschooling my 9th grader this week, getting in full days and really moving through the expected workload for the first week. Isn’t that wonderful?!!!!!

For those of you who have survived paragraph one without clicking onto another blog, you are probably wondering about my mental health at this point. I assure you that I am cogent. My life has been very different from the “normal” homeschooling mom vision I have in my head. My supermom status has moved to “good enough” mom, Please Understand, and I am learning to be happy with that.

I have been married for 25 years now, and throughout all of them we have struggled with health and mental difficulties due to the abusive upbringing I had. My health was in a downward spiral to the point of being in bed almost constantly up through last year. Flashbacks and panic attacks have been way too frequent throughout that time as well. All of that boils down to this: washing windows, cleaning linoleum and homeschooling are a luxury for me. I so enjoy cleaning and making my home look nice because for too long I have had to look at the questionable cleanliness of my house without an answer as to how to get it cleaned.

Now I am starting to be able to work more and more, and it feels really good. If this trend continues, my house will be as clean as I have always wanted it to be before too long.

God is Good is the theme of my blog, and I have been able to get to where I am only because of His goodness to me. Throughout the years I could have looked at all the physical and emotional problems and get mad at God or question Him, but I didn’t. The reason is that I know He is always on my side and that He is the answer to my problems, not the cause. I have said if before and I will keep taking everything in life and summing it up by this:

God = good
Devil = bad