Four Behaviors of a Thriving Worship Ministry

Lessons From Churches from 50 and 5000.

By Mike O’Brien

Over the past 18 months, I have served fifty-plus churches as a worship team trainer and guest worship leader. I’ve noticed some interesting trends in worship ministries that are healthy, growing, and happy. This post has little to do with the quality of liturgy or congregational worship experience, but it’s more a peek under the administrative hood. It is not exhaustive, it’s just a list of markers I have noticed.

FOUR behaviors of thriving worship ministries:

1. THEY CONSISTENTLY (and uniformly) SCHEDULE THEIR VOLUNTEERS 

Most churches have multiple worship leaders. If you have three worship leaders and three different ways of administering bands, you will drive your volunteers crazy. There should be one system that everyone adheres to. If possible, try to implement the SAME system across the board for all volunteers so families can serve in multiple areas of the church without confusion.

  • Pick a System – There are several ways to let people know when they are serving at church. Planning Center Online is the king, however, you can also look at worshipteam.com and others. You might use a mix of online tools and simple PDF attachments to email. Your system should have a way to communicate seasonally (1-4 months at a time), weekly (hey, you’re on this week), and the day of service (hey, you’re on today). Provide schedules at least 1 month before the start of the schedule. (i.e. the January schedule is emailed November 30th etc…).
  • Do not avoid creating a system because one volunteer doesn’t use email or Facebook. Those people either need to yield to the agreed method or you can build a secondary system for them. Either way, there should be a system to reach everyone.
  • Once a healthy method for communication is in place, don’t constantly change your methodology. You will build trust with consistency, which is measured in years, not months.
  • Raise heck when your system is ignored or amended by well-meaning, creative people. Consistency breeds faithfulness (and more drummers).

2. THEY HAVE  SYSTEMS FOR SONGS

Every local church is marked by the songs they sing. In this day and age, the song is the most prominent means of gospel delivery and discipleship. There is a virtual sea of thousands of worship songs for the choosing. Instead of pulling from that potential sea, great worship leaders work from a pool of songs. New songs are added with care and intentionality and are not adopted via the affections of one particular worship leader. Your pool of songs can live on a Google Doc or similar online database. It should be editable and list active, potential, and retired songs.

Churches that sing the same songs over and over again have a more active engagement in worship than churches that have no congruent songs week-to-week. If worship leaders and musicians are bored to tears with songs that means the congregation is just getting to know them. Keep in mind many people only come to church once a month!

3. THEY HAVE COMPELLING + ORGANIZED ENVIRONMENTS  

Where is a sharpie? Are we seriously out of 9 Volts? My mic stand is holding on by a prayer.

The stage, backstage, and soundboard areas should be clean and labeled so a variety of workers can function with ease. Growing organizations are constantly inviting new people to “play” and there should be physical spaces that are hospitable to newbies. Your faithful volunteers too should have what they need to do what has been asked of them.

All areas (seen and unseen) should be stripped, cleaned and reorganized throughout the year. Old moldy cups of coffee and nests of cables communicate that you don’t care and you will repel some creative personalities.

The quality of the church drum set and vocal mics will tell me all I need to know about the value of worship in any given church. Great gear attracts great servant artists.

4. THEY SAY “THANK YOU” IN A VARIETY OF WAYS

In the heart of every volunteer (and staff member) is the question: “Does what I do matter?” Great leaders are consistently encouraging and rewarding those that are serving on their teams.  EVERYONE has a different language of love and you might need to ask your volunteers directly, “How can I say thank you?”. Here are the essential methods:

Public Praise (from the pulpit, from a Facebook post) FREE
A Written Note FREE
A Thoughtful Gift
A Gathering (quality time and/or fun)
A Specific Word of Encouragement FREE

Healthy volunteer cultures are immersed with recognition, thanks and encouragement.

The original post is here

My name is Mike O’Brien and I am passionate about teaching and mentoring through music. My calling is to use my experience as a producer, worship leader, songwriter, and multi-instrumentalist to come alongside musicians, helping them more fully worship God with their instrument and lives. Find out more how I can help your worship leaders and teams HERE.

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How To Last In Ministry

By Pastor Rick Warren

Ministry is a marathon: it’s not how you start in ministry; it’s how you finish.

If you look at 2 Corinthians 4:1-18, Paul gives seven suggestions for finishing the race:

Remember God’s mercy (v. 1): God has given us our ministries. We don’t have to prove our worth through our ministry, and we don’t have to wallow in our mistakes. You don’t have to earn your place as a pastor or leader in the church.

Be truthful and honest in all you do (v. 2): Maintain your integrity because integrity produces power in your life, while guilt zaps your energy. You need to finish with your character intact. Your integrity includes how you handle the Word of God. Don’t distort it or make it confusing.

Be motivated to work for Jesus’ sake, not out of selfish desires (v. 5): We need a right motivation. A lot of guys start off as servants and end up celebrities. You need to learn to live your life for an audience of one, and that one is Jesus Christ.

Realize that Christians are only human (v. 7): We must accept our limitations, and the quickest way to burn out is to try to be Superman. Humility is being honest about your weaknesses.

Develop a true love for others (v. 15): Churches thrive, grow, and survive when love endures. You must love people or you won’t last in the ministry.

Allow time for inward rejuvenation (v. 16): I have a motto – Divert daily, withdraw weekly, and abandon annually. You need to take time for recharging. In the Air Force, they’ve mastered the art of mid-flight refueling. You can, too – you don’t have to land every time you need to refuel.

Stay focused on the important things, not distracted by momentary troubles (v. 17-18): Keep your eyes on the goal, not the problem. Only he who sees the invisible can accomplish the impossible. To be a winner in the marathon of ministerial service, Christians need to realize great people are just ordinary people with an extraordinary amount of determination. If we run from problems, we’ll never be able to become what God wants us to become.

The world needs you to last in ministry! God wired you and called you to the task, and you can do it in his power and under his grace.

The original post is here.

 

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Worship Leading: 4 Keys To Improving

Leading people in worship to the Living God is an awesome privilege and really involves four major areas: music, worship, leadership (people) and your relationship with God. The more you understand and grow in each area, the stronger your worship leading should become.

I have been leading worship with congregations ranging from 70 to 7000 people for over 25 years, and I am still learning. Here are the main areas to consider for growth in your own personal journey. I’ve also put in links to help you go into more depth in each area.

1. Develop your music skills

2. Develop your worship skills

3. Develop your leadership skills

4. Develop your relationship with God

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

This blog is part of my goal to train over 100,000 worship leaders around the world. If you would like to support this vision you can help by giving any amount via PayPal here.

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12 Keys To Being A Successful Worship Pastor

I love to help worship leaders and worship pastors grow and become all that God has called them to be. I hope these 12 keys challenge you like they challenge me. I have been leading worship and pastoring for over 30 years but I still go back to this list to see what I need to work on!

12. Develop your administrative skills

  • Are you creating timely schedules for your musicians and planning ahead on the church calendar?
  • Are your worship sets and services well-organized?
  • Do your worship teams get their music well in advance so they can be excellent?

11. Learn to run highly effective rehearsals

  • Are you spending enough time with the music to get past it and worship?
  • Are you giving your team all the tools they need to be successful?
  • Are you and your team memorizing the songs?

10. Learn to pick great worship songs

  • Are you teaching your congregation the great songs from around world?
  • Do you ever go outside your preferences in musical styles?
  • Are you developing a balanced repertoire of fast, medium and slow songs?

9. Develop a strong team

  • Do you have a system for bringing along new musicians?
  • Are you developing multiple musicians for each position?
  • Are you helping your team grow spiritually?

8. Be a great worshipper

  • Are you keeping it real? Be authentic, are you the same on and off the stage?
  • Are there areas in your life that are holding you back from God’s richest blessings?
  • Do you love the Lord with all your heart and are you a passionate worshipper?

7. Never stop growing

  • Are you practicing your singing and playing on a daily basis?
  • Are you taking lessons and improving your craft and leadership?
  • Are you changing and growing with the new trends, styles and songs?

6. Keep your heart soft and pliable before God

  • Have you learned to forgive and forgive again?
  • Do you have good friends who can speak into your life?
  • Do you have safeguards to keep you from falling into temptation?

5. Develop a good relationship with your pastor

  • Do you have a weekly meeting with your pastor?
  • Are you supporting your pastor in private and public?
  • Have you ever had your pastor and his wife over for dinner?

4. Mentor the next generation of leaders

  • Are you looking for and developing the potential leaders on your team?
  • Are you giving room for new leaders to lead a song or worship time?
  • Jesus spent over 3 years developing His team, are you following His example?

3. Love the church like Jesus loves the church

  • Are you building God’s kingdom or yours?
  • Do you love the people you are leading?
  • Jesus laid down His life for us, are you willing to lay down your life?

2. Love your spouse and family

  • Are you carving out regular time in your schedule for your spouse and family?
  • Are you taking one day off per week?
  • When is the last time you had a date with your spouse?

1. Love and spend time with God daily

  • Are you reading your Bible daily?
  • Where is your secret place to meet with God?
  • How is your daily prayer life? Are you praying and obeying?

Here are some related posts:

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

This blog is part of my vision to help train 100,000 worship leaders around the world. If you would like to support this you can help by giving on this PayPal account.

Posted in Church, Family, God, Jesus, Leadership, Music, Wisdom, Worship | Leave a comment

12 Things That Can Discourage Congregational Singing

I love it when congregations sing so loud that the soundman has trouble hearing the worship band over the people singing around him. Worship leaders – if the congregation is not singing, we are not doing what God has called us to do. Here are a few things that I’ve learned that can discourage your congregation from singing.

1. Frequent and long instrumental solos

The goal is to get the congregation to be involved. If you have too many solos and they are too long, it can cause the congregation to disengage and become spectators. In certain situations, a well placed solo or short 4-8 bar instrumental works well. But be careful not overuse them. I generally use them only as short transitions to the next section. I also find short song intros are generally the best (4-8 bars is ideal).

2. Doing too many new songs

I love new songs and the band loves learning new songs. But, the congregation doesn’t get tired of songs as fast as we do. They haven’t put in hours of listening to and rehearsing the songs or playing the same songs in multiple services. They just hear it once on Sunday morning and maybe on Christian radio. A congregation can only learn so many songs. Be careful about how often you introduce new songs.

3. Having too many songs in your worship rotation

There are hundreds of thousands of worship songs and hymns. I recently read that CCLI has around 300,000 worship songs in their catalogue. But, how many songs does your congregation really sing in a year? Probably only 40-50. My advice is to continually edit your overall top songs list and repeat songs on a regular basis.

4. Using songs that aren’t the best of the best

There are great songs and there are average songs. Learn to pick the best of the best. SongSelect has a ‘most popular’ list that really is the songs that congregations love to sing. Some worship leaders avoid ‘popular lists’ because they think that is unspiritual. But I believe the Holy Spirit is speaking to worship leaders all over the world and one of the results is a consistent list of top songs that most churches are using.

Here is my list of top songs. PlanningCenter.com also has a great ‘Top Song’ feature that shows what songs all their churches are using that week.

Side Note: That doesn’t mean that other people’s Top Song list are the best for your congregation. Each congregation has its own culture. Top Song lists also don’t include your locally written songs and songs that God is personally speaking to you about. But, it is a great place to start.

5. Putting songs in too high or too low keys

Your average person does not have a huge singing range. The ‘Rule of D’ (top note is around a ‘D’ i.e. C-Eb) is a great guideline for choosing the best key to sing in. If you pitch songs in comfortable keys the congregation is more apt to sing-along.

6. Using singers and band members who aren’t worshippers

When your congregation sees singers and band members who are fully engaged and worshiping the Lord with all their heart, it encourages them to do the same. Encourage your whole team to memorize their music. Teach them the attitudes of worship and the actions of worship: standing, singing, clapping, raising their hands, dancing, bowing down, playing instruments, shouting and giving. Teach them to be passionate worshipers on and off the stage. Teach them the importance of good stage presence and the power of smiling.

7. Making the arrangement and rhythms too complicated

It’s easy to lose a congregation if the form and flow of the song isn’t musically obvious. Certain musical forms (i.e. intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, double chorus, tag and end) really help congregations feel comfortable about where the song is going. Don’t create unnecessary complications to solid musical form.

Also be careful about using melodic rhythms that are too complicated. Congregations are learning to sing more complicated rhythms but be sensitive to where that musical and rhythmic line is.

8. Vocal ad libs that confuse congregations

I love ad libs that help congregations know what is happening next. But sometimes overuse or mis-timed ad libs can throw off your congregation. Really practice the use and timing of ad-libs so they help and don’t hinder congregational singing.

9. Having the band playing all the time

Learn when the band and individual instruments should play and not play. Learn to build a musical arrangement and where to have the band or an instrument sit out a section. Some of the most powerful singing is when the band doesn’t play at all. Creating musical layers gives more musical interest and space for congregational singing.

10. Having miscues with lyrics

Put your best media operators on the computer running your lyrics. Double-check the order of your lyrics and the spelling. Have a full run-through with your lyric operator to double-check for mistakes. Slow and mis-timed or mis-spelled lyrics can really inhibit a congregation from singing with all their heart.

11. Using only new songs

I love to learn and use all the great new songs that God is giving to the church. But I have learned that congregations still love to sing the best of the great hymns and older choruses. Learn to include some classics to help all the generations sing with all their heart.

12. Worship leading without proper prayer and preparation

Time spent in private reading the Word, praying and worshiping, really is the secret to effective worship leading. Learn to develop a daily time with God and teach your worship team to do the same. God will honor you in public when you honor Him in the secret place. When the congregation senses God in the house, they will be more engaged.

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

This blog is part of my vision to train over 100,000 worship leaders around the world. If you would like to support this vision, you can help by giving any amount via PayPal.

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Wise Advice For Everyday Life

Wise Advice For Everyday Life

  1. Have a firm handshake.
  2. Look people in the eye.
  3. Sing. Expressing yourself through music is therapeutic.
  4. Smile. A happy face brings joy.
  5. Respect and honour your parents.
  6. Learn to keep your friends secrets.
  7. Never give up on anybody. Miracles happen everyday.
  8. Always accept an outstretched hand.
  9. Be brave. Even if you’re not, pretend to be. No one can tell the difference.
  10. Be honest. The truth will set you free.
  11. Avoid sarcastic remarks.
  12. Choose your spouse carefully. This decision will have huge consequences in your life.
  13. Make it a habit to do nice things for people.
  14. Read through the whole Bible at least once in your life.
  15. Never deprive someone of hope; it might be all that they have.
  16. When playing games with children, be gentle with them.
  17. A good laugh is powerful medicine.
  18. Be romantic. Tell your spouse daily that you love them.
  19. Become the most positive and enthusiastic person you know.
  20. Loosen up. Relax. Ask yourself: will this problem really matter 10 years from now?
  21. Don’t allow the phone to interrupt important moments. It’s there for your convenience, not the caller’s.
  22. Be a good loser.
  23. Be a good winner.
  24. Learn the power of a great hug.
  25. Be modest. A lot was accomplished before you were born.
  26. Keep it simple.
  27. Don’t burn bridges. You’ll be surprised how many times you have to cross the same river.
  28. Don’t believe everything you are told! It’s wise to carefully consider the source.
  29. Be a generous giver.
  30. Be bold and courageous. Fear can hold you back from accomplishing many great things.
  31. Never waste an opportunity to tell someone you love them.
  32. Remember no one makes it alone. Have a grateful heart and be quick to acknowledge those who helped you.
  33. Take charge of your attitude. Don’t let someone else choose it for you.
  34. Visit friends and relatives when they are in hospital; you need only stay a few minutes.
  35. Begin each day with a quiet moment with God.
  36. Once in a while, take the scenic route.
  37. Send a lot of thank-you cards. Thankfulness is powerful.
  38. Answer the phone with enthusiasm and energy in your voice.
  39. Too much talk can lead to problems. Be sensible and learn when to keep silent.
  40. Show respect for everyone who works for a living, regardless of how trivial their job.
  41. It is not good to seek honors for yourself.
  42. Learn to forgive quickly and often.
  43. When you are in a funk, go back and remember all the good things that have happened to you.
  44. Always compliment the cook whether you’re a guest or at home.
  45. Remember that 80 per cent of the success in any job is based on your ability to deal with people.
  46. Don’t expect life to be fair.
  47. Love your children no matter what happens.
  48. Spend less than you earn.
  49. A soft answer turns away anger.
  50. Hold your spouse’s hand when you go for a walk.
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Strong Congregational Singing: 12 Things To Avoid

I love it when congregations sing so loud that the soundman has trouble hearing the worship band over the people singing around him. Worship leaders – if the congregation is not singing, we are not doing what God has called us to do. Here are a few things that I’ve learned to avoid in order to encourage the congregation to sing.

1. Avoid doing frequent and long instrumental solos

The goal is to get the congregation to be involved. If you have too many solos and they are too long, it can cause the congregation to disengage and become spectators. It certain situations, a well placed solo or short 4-8 bar instrumental works well. But be careful not overuse them. I generally use them only as short transitions to the next section. I also find short song intros are generally the best (4-8 bars is ideal).

2. Avoid doing too many new songs

I love new songs and the band loves learning new songs. But, the congregation doesn’t get tired of songs as fast as we do. They haven’t put in hours of listening to and rehearsing the songs or playing the same songs in multiple services. They just hear it once on Sunday morning and maybe on Christian radio. A congregation can only learn so many songs. Be careful about how often you introduce new songs.

3. Avoid having too many songs in your worship rotation

There are hundreds of thousands of worship songs and hymns. I recently read that CCLI has around 300,000 worship songs in their catalogue. But, how many songs does your congregation really sing in a year? Probably only 40-50. Learn to edit your overall top songs list and repeat songs on a regular basis.

4. Avoid using songs that aren’t the best of the best

There are great songs and there are average songs. Learn to pick the best of the best. SongSelect has a ‘most popular’ list that really is the songs that congregations love to sing. Some worship leaders avoid ‘popular lists’ because they think that is unspiritual. But I believe the Holy Spirit is speaking to worship leaders all over the world and one of the results is a consistent list of top songs that most churches are using. Here is my list of top songs.

5. Avoid putting songs in too high or too low keys

Your average person does not have a huge singing range. The ‘Rule of D’ (top note is around a ‘D’ i.e. C-Eb) is a great guideline for choosing the best key to sing in. If you pitch songs in comfortable keys the congregation is more apt to sing-along.

6. Avoid using singers and band members who aren’t worshippers

When your congregation sees singers and band members who are fully engaged and worshiping the Lord with all their heart, it encourages them to do the same. Encourage your whole team to memorize their music. Teach them the attitudes of worship and the actions of worship: standing, singing, clapping, raising their hands, dancing, bowing down, playing instruments, shouting and giving. Teach them to be passionate worshipers on and off the stage. Teach them the importance of good stage presence and the power of smiling.

7. Avoid making the arrangement and rhythms too complicated

It’s easy to lose a congregation if the form and flow of the song isn’t musically obvious. Certain musical forms (i.e. intro, verse, chorus, verse, chorus, bridge, double chorus, tag and end) really help congregations feel comfortable about where the song is going. Don’t create unnecessary complications to solid musical form.

Also be careful about using melodic rhythms that are too complicated. Congregations are learning to sing more complicated rhythms but be sensitive to where that musical and rhythmic line is.

8. Avoid ad libs that confuse congregations

I love ad libs that help congregations know what is happening next. But sometimes overuse or mis-timed ad libs can throw off your congregation. Really practice the use and timing of ad-libs so they help and don’t hinder congregational singing.

9. Avoid having the band playing all the time.

Learn when the band and individual instruments should play and not play. Learn to build a musical arrangement and where to have the band or an instrument sit out a section. Some of the most powerful singing is when the band doesn’t play at all. Creating musical layers gives more musical interest and space for congregational singing.

10. Avoid having miscues with lyrics

Put your best media operators on the computer running your lyrics. Double-check the order of your lyrics and the spelling. Have a full run-through with your lyric operator to double-check for mistakes. Slow and mis-timed or mis-spelled lyrics can really inhibit a congregation from singing with all their heart.

11. Avoid using only new songs

I love to learn and use all the great new songs that God is giving to the church. But I have learned that congregations still love to sing the best of the great hymns and older choruses. Learn to include some classics to help all the generations sing with all their heart.

12. Avoid worship leading without proper prayer and preparation

Time spent in private reading the Word, praying and worshiping, really is the secret to effective worship leading. Learn to develop a daily time with God and teach your worship team to do the same. God will honor you in public when you honor Him in the secret place. When the congregation senses God in the house, they will be more engaged.

Check out my new book.. “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

This blog is part of my vision to train over 100,000 worship leaders around the world. If you would like to support this vision you can help by giving any amount through this PayPal account.

 

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The Real Saint Patrick

The real St. Patrick….

  • Wasn’t Irish,
  • Born a Roman citizen in Britain
  • Came from a wealthy aristocratic family
  • Father was deacon, grandfather a priest
  • Showed no interest in following Christ in early years
  • Kidnapped by Irish pagans at age 16
  • Served as a slave for 6 years caring for herds
  • Lived outdoors bearing the elements
  • Began to pray fervently and grow in his faith
  • God spoke to him that a ship was ready to return him
  • He fled and found a port 200 miles away
  • Returned home as a follower of Jesus
  • Patrick recounts that he had a vision a few years after returning home

“I saw a man coming, as it were from Ireland. His name was Victoricus, and he carried many letters, and he gave me one of them. I read the heading: “The Voice of the Irish”. As I began the letter, I imagined in that moment that I heard the voice of those very people who were near the wood of Foclut, which is beside the western sea—and they cried out, as with one voice: “We appeal to you, holy servant boy, to come and walk among us.”

  • Prepared himself and became a cleric
  • Was sent back to preach Christ to a hostile pagan Ireland
  • Saw thousands converted
  • Christian communities established

Saint Patrick returned to Ireland and, using the knowledge of Irish language and culture that he gained during his first captivity, brought Christianity and monasticism to Ireland in the form of more than 300 churches and over 100,000 Irish baptised.

Legend credits St. Patrick with teaching the Irish about the doctrine of the Holy Trinity by showing people the shamrock, a three-leafed plant, using it to illustrate the Christian teaching of three persons in one God.

  • Pastors ordained to care for them
  • Was persecuted, mocked and imprisoned at times
  • Historians credit him for saving western civilization
  • Re-established Christian thought in Barbarian Europe
  • Provided the transition from the classical age to medieval
  • Was a mighty apostle to a pagan Ireland
  • Died in obscurity

 

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Why I Didn’t Eat For 40 Days

In 1998, my wife, Anna and I were asked to accompany a group of students on a missions trip to the Philippines. We spent a few months helping prepare the group for the two-week trip. Anna was on staff at Pacific Academy and it was part of her job to organize multiple teams of kids to travel for missions experience on their spring break.

At the same time, the Lord was also preparing me for what He wanted me to do in the future. I was seeking the Lord and God challenged me to go without food. Normally when I fast, I spend three days seeking the Lord but this time I felt like I should fast longer. I decided that I would try to fast the longest that I ever done. I would try fasting for two weeks.

Weird thing though.. when I finished fasting 2 weeks, I felt like I shouldn’t stop. So I decided to go for three weeks. At the same time, I was doing my work as the Worship Pastor for Glad Tidings Church in Vancouver, Canada and also working with the team of school kids to get ready for the trip to the Philippines.

Around the end of the three weeks I began to realize that God was calling me to do a 40 day fast. Fortunately He didn’t tell me that at the beginning because I would have thought that would have been impossible. I love eating too much!

Finally the time came for us to go the Philippines. I told the other team leaders I was fasting but I really wasn’t telling anyone else besides my family. The trip to the Philippines was a good trip. We journeyed to some remote islands and ministered to tribes of people in the jungles. I remember hiking through the jungle to the top of a small mountain in 30C heat to talk with a tribe. The strange thing is that even though I had not eaten in weeks, I felt strong. Hiking in the heat was no problem. I remember some of the Filipino guys travelling with us climbing a coconut tree and getting coconut water for us to drink. So… good!

In the 40 days of fasting I lost 18 lbs (which all came back quite quickly when I started eating again). I remember how my body adapted by conserving my body oils. I normally have good supply of body oil to my hair and skin but my body stopped producing the oil. Our bodies are ‘fearfully and wonderfully’ made. It was amazing to me how well my body adapted to the lack of food…. God has given us amazing bodies!

So what did I learn from this experience?

I learned that God prepares you before He brings you to the next level. In the next short time I would be involved with the start-up of an internet business (Praisecharts.com) that would bless thousands of churches (see: Can God Really Supply My Needs?) and I was also involved in seeing a national revival where thousands of people per day were coming to the Lord! (see: Can God Touch A Nation?)

God doesn’t usually tell you why He is preparing you. He just asks you to be obedient and trust Him! He challenges you to just have faith in Him!

But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him. (Hebrews 11:6 NKJV)

I love this quote on how God works in our lives and challenges us to go to the next level with Him.

If you want to see supernatural innovation in your life and ministry—something that can only be explained by the hand of God and changes people’s lives for eternity, you must be a consecrated servant leader. I’m not talking about being perfect, for we know only One has lived a perfect life. I’m talking about striving for a life of personal purity and holiness and dedicating our whole being to the will of God…..God may be wanting to do a “new thing” in your midst…. but He is urging you (like He did Joshua) to “consecrate yourselves in preparation for tomorrow.” ~ (‘Consecration’ by Greg Atkinson)

Question: God might not call you to an extended fast, but what is He personally speaking to you about? What area is He challenging you on to go to the next level? Are you praying and obeying?

Check out my new book: “Leading Worship ~ Notes from a Grand Adventure. It is now available in Kindle or Soft Cover Editions.  This is a great gift for the musician or worshipper in your life.

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Wisdom

Many years ago, I took some advice from Billy Graham’s biography and started reading one chapter from the Book of Proverbs every day. There is so much wisdom in that book, that 30+ years later, I am still learning from it daily. Here is some great wisdom and advice from that amazing book.

– The purpose (of the Proverbs) is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives, to help them do what is right, just, and fair. 

– Follow the steps of good men instead, and stay on the paths of the righteous. For only the godly will live in the land, and those with integrity will remain in it.

Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
Seek His will in all you do,
and He will show you which path to take.

Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil. Then you will have healing for your body and strength for your bones.  

Honor the Lord with your wealth and with the best part of everything you produce. Then He will fill your barns with grain, and your vats will overflow with good wine. 

– Don’t reject the Lord’s discipline, and don’t be upset when He corrects you. For the Lord  corrects those He loves, just as a father corrects a child in whom He delights.

– Do not withhold good from those who deserve it when it’s in your power to help them. 

– If you can help your neighbour now, don’t say, “Come back tomorrow, and then I’ll help you.”

The path of the

– Drink water from your own well— share your love only with your wife. Why spill the water of your springs in the streets, having sex with just anyone? You should reserve it for yourselves. Never share it with strangers.

– Let your wife be a fountain of blessing for you. Rejoice in the wife of your youth. She is a loving deer, a graceful doe. Let her breasts satisfy you always. May you always be captivated by her love.

– Wisdom speaks: I love all who love me. Those who search will surely find me. I have riches and honor, as well as enduring wealth and justice.

– Only simpletons believe everything they’re told! The prudent carefully consider their steps.

– Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom. Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.

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– Too much talk leads to sin. Be sensible and keep your mouth shut.

– The lips of the godly speak helpful words, but the mouth of the wicked speaks perverse words.

– Without wise leadership, a nation falls; there is safety in having many advisers.

– Give freely and become more wealthy; be stingy and lose everything.

– The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed.

– A fool is quick-tempered, but a wise person stays calm when insulted.

– Work hard and become a leader; be lazy and become a slave.

– Those who spare the rod of discipline hate their children. Those who love their children care enough to discipline them.

– Those who fear the Lord are secure; He will be a refuge for their children.

– If you listen to constructive criticism, you will be at home among the wise.

– Fear of the Lord teaches wisdom; humility precedes honor.

– We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps.

– Kind words are like honey— sweet to the soul and healthy for the body.

– Love prospers when a fault is forgiven, but dwelling on it separates close friends.

joyful_heart_good-_medicine

– A truly wise person uses few words; a person with understanding is even-tempered.

– The name of the Lord is a strong fortress; the godly run to Him and are safe.

– Spouting off before listening to the facts is both shameful and foolish.

– People ruin their lives by their own foolishness and then are angry at the Lord.

– Discipline your children while there is hope. Otherwise you will ruin their lives.

– Don’t say, “I will get even for this wrong.” Wait for the Lord to handle the matter.

– The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?

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– Do you see any truly competent workers? They will serve kings rather than working for ordinary people.

– Don’t envy sinners, but always continue to fear the LordYou will be rewarded for this; your hope will not be disappointed.

– If you fail under pressure, your strength is too small.

– The godly may trip seven times, but they will get up again. But one disaster is enough to overthrow the wicked.

– Patience can persuade a prince, and soft speech can break bones.

– It’s not good to eat too much honey, and it’s not good to seek honors for yourself.

– A prudent person foresees danger and takes precautions. The simpleton goes blindly on and suffers the consequences.

– Fire tests the purity of silver and gold, but a person is tested by being praised.

– Fools vent their anger, but the wise quietly hold it back.

– Every word of God proves true. He is a shield to all who come to Him for protection.

Charm is deceptive

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