Music

I Want More For You Than Just Singing

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I'm Hoping for More Than Just Singing

The title may be a little bit confusing considering my position as a worship leader. I read so many things that have to do with people singing at church and trust me, I believe that is SO IMPORTANT!

All I am trying to say is that the congregation singing is NOT my number one priority as I prepare and lead on a Sunday morning. 

It is important that we sing. God specifically commands us to sing over 50 times in the Bible. So I'm not trying to downplay it right now. 

But singing is not the end goal. 

Here Are the Things I'm Praying For Us Each Week:

Engage God in Community

I'm praying for you to engage with God in community when we gather. Yes I want you to engage with the Lord personally but we have lost the "US"ness of the worship gathering in our society. Growing up I heard this prayer often "God bring revival and let it begin in me." What if we start praying for God to let it begin in US? 

Even Moses understood this in Exodus when God was done with the people of Israel. God was willing to bless Moses and be with him specifically, but Moses begs "If you don't go with US don't send us away."

 Photo by  David Beale  on  Unsplash

Photo by David Beale on Unsplash

Formation Over Time

As I pray through and choose songs for a worship gathering (especially in my local church context) I'm thinking about our formation as a faith family over time. 

I'm praying that Sunday morning is not the only time you are engaging with God or even thinking about him. I'm hoping you are singing throughout the week. I'm hoping that we have pointed to Jesus in such a way that you are driven to the Scriptures everyday.

When I face struggles, temptations, trials I usually have Scripture and Songs pop into my head almost immediately. 

Sing today what you want your church to believe in five years. - Bill Johnson

Singing is foundational in our formation! God designed it that way. That's why it is so important to sing songs on Sunday grounded and saturated in Scripture (another post for another day).

I believe it is crucial for us to sing songs even when we don't "feel like it." I believe it is important to press into the tension of singing "I Surrender All" at the same time knowing there are areas that you probably haven't surrendered to God.

I am praying through and choosing songs that will prayerfully help you on Monday and not just excite you on Sunday. 

My encouragement to any worship leader is to not think about what is popular right now and the newest song that was released. My encouragement is to consider the people you lead. Pray daily for them. Seek the Lord and listen to him about what songs you need to sing. Your job is to pastor people not just sing songs. 

My encouragement to those who are not on stage leading on a Sunday morning. Sing! Sing with joy! Sing with Thankfulness! Sing with everything you have on Sunday morning! But more than anything set your attention and affections on Jesus. Come wanting to hear from God. Want more than just good music and good sermons on a Sunday for your life. I hope for those at Chapin UMC you think a lot more about Jesus because of what/how we lead each week on stage. 

Free Music and a New EP Coming 2018

I can't believe that it has almost been two years since I began my first recording project. A lot has happened since that time. It was actually in October 2015 that I sat down with Shane to start mapping out the recording process. I don't know if I have ever had so much fun. 

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Life kind of forced a few pauses in songwriting, but the time has come to finish up those new songs and get them out. I know many of you may not care about this, but for me it is more of a public statement that will help drive me to meet the goal. 

To my new CUMC family I want to offer you the original EP for free. You can just follow this link to download it. All you have to do is provide your email address and you can have some free music. You have the option to leave a tip of any amount ($5, $500, $1). Those tips are appreciated but it is not necessary for you to receive the music.  

I will be posting updates here and on social media as we wrap up the songs and get into the studio again and of course when the release date is set you will know. I am forever grateful for the encouragement from many of you and please don't ever think that I take it for granted. 

Behind the EP - Part 3

While we are finishing up the live album recording over the next couple of weeks I wanted to share with you some of the people behind the scenes. Nothing like this happens on its own. There is a team (or I like to call them family) behind everything that I have done and I want to make sure that I take the time to publicly say thank you. 

The Musicians Were Amazing

 

I had a chance to travel and play with a few of these guys this past Summer. Then Shane introduced me to a few people to help us with this project that he wanted to bring on board.

From Left to Right: Jonathan (All Things Keys Related), Michael (Electric Guitar/Keytar), Ryan (Lead Electric), Me, Shane (Drums), Blake (Bass) and Victoria (Vocals). Missing from the picture is Kieffer Mendoza (acoustic)

These awesome people sacrificed time on their winter break to help record this project. What I really enjoyed about the process is that these songs have a hint of everyone's gifts now. All I did was lay down a few iPhone voice memos on my acoustic and the Lord blended it all together to create some sonic pleasure.

I could not have done it without these gentlemen and lady. I can honestly say, looking back, I would not have wanted to do this with anyone else. They are some of the most talented people I know. And there is no way I can repay them for their generosity toward me. More than anything they deserve so much credit for the EP.

Download your copy of Unveiled Eyes here

Behind the EP - Part 2

While we are finishing up the live album recording over the next couple of weeks I wanted to share with you some of the people behind the scenes. Nothing like this happens on its own. There is a team (or I like to call them family) behind everything that I have done and I want to make sure that I take the time to publicly say thank you. 

I have to give a BIG Thanks to Shane

 

Releasing an album was a dream that my wife new was a possibility when I believed it would be one of those bucket list items that would never become a reality. Then I met Shane Nelson. Let me share a little backstory.

In March of last year (2015) I was invited to lead worship for a DNOW. In the process of putting the band together, I needed a drummer because my usual drummer had a scheduling conflict that could not be avoided. So I called a close friend (Micah McMinn deserves a shoutout for just being awesome) and asked if he knew any drummers. I had a strict "this person can't suck" clause because of lack of (NO) rehearsal time. He gave me Shane's number and not only did a friendship develop but also a partnership in ministry.

In regards to the EP, he not only played drums but also produced, mixed, and mastered the album. Shane brought in all the musicians and helped give direction so that they could all have input into the sound of each song. I shared with him some of my ideas and hopes for the album and he merged that with some things in his head and out popped Unveiled Eyes.

For sure Shane is very talented. That is very obvious, but that is not why he gets a special thanks (though for his help and talent alone it is deserving).

Shane has been one of the biggest encouragers to me since we met. I love making music and writing songs and leading worship. I feel a huge responsibility to not just be a singer of songs but a leader of people. But to be honest, I never thought that I had anything of significance to offer in that area. I constantly doubted what God had given me and I did little to try to invest those talents for the Kingdom of God.

I would hear my wife speak into that doubt and call it a lie from Satan but I rarely received that word. That all changed when I met some friends at 10,000 Fathers and people like Shane. Shane has spoken so much encouragement into the things that God has given me. He especially has spoken into my leadership (as he said that my voice was "ok" haha). He has brought people around me to help chase some of those dreams that God has given and he is just as much a part of my family as my kids.

In a lot of ways I have had different times of wanting to give up or not press on and like Aaron and Hur did for Moses (Exodus 17:12) Sarah and Shane have been two very important people that have held up my arms and allowed me to press on.

That is why he deserves a thank you.

Download your copy of Unveiled Eyes here

Behind the EP - Part 1

While we are finishing up the live album recording over the next couple of weeks I wanted to share with you some of the people behind the scenes. Nothing like this happens on its own. There is a team (or I like to call them family) behind everything that I have done and I want to make sure that I take the time to publicly say thank you. 

First up is my WIFE.

 

Releasing an album would have never happened had my wife not constantly encouraged me and sometimes pushed me as a musician and worship leader. I can honestly say that no one has believed in me more.

I used to joke the reason that she wanted me to transition from a full-time youth pastor to a worship pastor was because there would be less sermon illustrations of her. I'm just now starting to see some of the wirings of the Creator that she saw many years ago. Sarah has had some special prophetic moments in our marriage regarding our future that I have done nothing but scoff at when she said them, but always come back around later when they end up coming true. I'm learning to listen to her and the Lord when those moments happen now.

During the week of recording, our family schedule was crazy. My wife had it organized to the minute and she even fed the musicians and welcomed them into our home with a smile. There were a couple of times that week when Shane (I'll mention him in a later post) and I would be talking and he would say "your wife is awesome."

So Thank You Sarah for more than just how you served that week, but how you have loved me each day we have been together.

 

Download your copy of Unveiled Eyes here.