Shutting Down the South

icicles-700420_1280We had a snow/ice storm here in North Carolina. No school and quite a few people working from home if it is possible for them. We get quite a bit of teasing from Northerners, which I was once one of as most of my readers know. I grew up in North Dakota and snow is something I am very familiar with. Cities in the South just don’t have the equipment necessary to deal with the snow and ice like they do in the Northern part of the US.

We can look at life like these Southern snow and ice storms and giggle and tease those who seem to “shut down” when something they aren’t used to gets thrown their way. Something may seem easy to you, but it can be terribly difficult for somebody else. Are we compassionate and empathetic toward those who have difficulty, or do we tell them how ridiculous we think they are? I can’t say I am always compassionate when I should be. Truth be told, I find myself more cynical than compassionate in too many situations.

ice-branches-232781_1280How can I grow in love and compassion for people who seem to ‘shut down’ at the slightest bit of chill in their lives? I do have love and compassion for people, but I find that when people constantly put themselves in the same situation over and over again, it can be very difficult for me to tap into that compassionate side of me. Every time it snows in the South, it is guaranteed that memes and jokes will show up everywhere about it. I can laugh and joke about it with the rest of them, but I do see how the South just hasn’t been equipped for this stuff.

Some people are not as well equipped for different seasons of their life and what they don’t need is anyone reminding them how much they don’t know or haven’t learned yet.

I’m not saying we can’t ever joke with people or have a little fun with close friends, but if you have just met somebody and don’t know what their life is like, walk in compassion first. I need this post probably more than anybody out there because sometimes I feel like I see life so different than other people. My first reaction may be for someone to ‘suck it up’ before I think that maybe they could use a hug.

Lord please help me to grow in Your love and Your compassion. I want people to see You in me before AND after I open my mouth! Help me be a light that guides people to You.

 

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Leading Worship

I have many loves in my life, but one of my great passions is worship. I love to worship and to lead worship. I’m not talking about singing a couple of songs and being done. I am talking about singing and playing a worship song that I am passionate about and using that passion as a launching pad to take His people into the inner courts of heaven. You see, when the veil was torn in two in the New Testament, that means that we can boldly come before the throne of God. He wants us to have a deep and personal relationship and experience with Him.

Too many people see God as this far off being that is angry all the time and punishes people all the time. While God is a just God, He is the very definition of Love. God is Love and when we show love to others, we show them who God really is. When I worship, I begin to move away from my wants and desires and move into a place where it is all about God and nothing about me. When we worship God, we are giving Him what He is due; like tithing and following His commandments. All these things are showing worship to God, but in this moment, I am talking about that moment that you are worshiping Him with everything that you have, and you cross into His inner courts and it is just you and Yahweh. He is everything you need and you are all that He wants. He is jealous for us; for our attention.

When you lead a church into worship, I don’t believe it is a simple 3 praise songs and 2 worship songs, then the end. It’s about taking God’s people to a place where they can worship God like never before. There are so many times in worship, even when it is just me at my keyboard in my own room, that God reveals even more of Himself to me and I get so emotional. There is nothing wrong with becoming emotional when you are in the presence of God as long as your emotion isn’t taking the focus off of God and placing in on you. I can’t help but want to praise and worship a God who loves me as much as Jesus does. I don’t think we can even fathom what His love truly is until we are in that place of truly worshiping Him. His love is exquisite, perfect, magnificent, and overwhelming.

As a worship leader, you can’t just move immediately into deeper worship; at least in most cases. There are times where the people of God are more than ready to truly worship Him. There have been times where I just want to jump right into the river of God and flow right into His throne room and lay at His feet and worship Him, but as a worship leader, I get the opportunity to bring as many people as I can into His presence. I truly do not want anybody left behind. Sadly, it seems there are too often those that cannot take their focus off themselves long enough to follow, but there are so many who are able.

While I am no Kim Walker-Smith, Jenn Johnson, or Darlene Zschech, I am who God made me to be and I believe that we are to use what God gives us. I love to worship and I have gotten so many confirming prophetic words about leading worship and singing songs of heaven, that I know I am on track. I know that I know that this is what I am called to do. I have been a worship leader before for several years. I know that one day, in God’s perfect timing, that He will raise me up to lead worship once again. Until He does, I am called to lead worship in my own life and my home. That is always our first ministry. I will obediently worship Him as I am called to do, whether in my bedroom alone, or in a church, or on a stage in a whole new setting.