Thursday, June 29, 2006

Day Two PDW Report

Another outstanding day! For us, much of the meat for day two came from the morning general session. Our morning worship started with Rick Muchow and his kids leading worship. We're talking about four kids and two friends all from 10-16 years old. Wow!

Again, the Pastor of Ceremonies, Buddy Owens, shared a bit:
  • That God-shaped void that Pascal spoke of is never really filled, because when God enters in, He just keeps making more and more room for Himself. He becomes our all-consuming passion and hunger.
  • As leaders and shepherds, however, when spiritual hunger gets replaced by religious activity in our lives, our hearts become hardened. Song of Solomon 1:6 refers to the condition where I have taken care of my brother's vineyard, but have neglected my own. Are you tending your own vineyard?
  • Much of our Bible Study as leaders is spent preparing for others and the weekly service instead of for our own spiritual needs.
  • We need to remember that God is NOT looking for servants. He is looking for Sons and Daughters to join Him in the family business. He asks, "Am I your Master, or am I your Father?" Servants receive a retirement, but children receive an inheritance.
Then Buddy introduced Marcos Witt. Marcos is an Anglo-Saxon whose parents raised in Mexico. White on the outside, but hispanic on the inside. He is now the Pastor of Hispanic Ministries at Lakewood Church in Texas. A dynamic, fun, almost ADD-style speaker, Marcos again took on the theme of balance. Here are some nuggets:
  • John 4 reminds us that God is not seeking worship - He is seeking worshippers.
  • As worship leaders, are we teaching worship songs, or worship? Are we teaching our congregation show to sing songs, or how to worship?
  • Too often, the subject of worship polarizes. It should not. It should unify believers.
  • Finally, Marcos looked at worship in Revelation 4. If we're going to do these things in heaven (shout, praise, clap, sing, dance, lift hands), why are we afraid to do them now. If these things will be done in heaven, they must be acceptable now!
  • In Revelation 4:7 we see the four living creatures leading the twenty-four elders in worship. The creatures are weird. They have eyes in front. They have eyes in back. they have eyes on the sides. And they have eyes inside (NIV says "under their wings").
Our eyes are our sensitivity to the world around us.
  • Eyes in Front - We must have sensitivity to those before us. Be sensitive to the needs of the congregation. Worship leaders should always be in "sheep shape."
  • Eyes in Back - We must be sensitive to those behind us. There are those who "back us," who put us in the position we are in. Be sensitive to where the Holy Spirit is leading them.
  • Eyes on the Side - We must be sensitive to those who serve with us, our fellow musicians. Don't be a worship dictator. Buy them pizza. If you love people, they will follow you wherever you go. Remember if your drummer (guitarist, bassist) is weird - you're weird too!
  • Eyes Inside of Us - Under our wings. We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit inside of us.
Next, Andrea & I attending the workshop, "Teaching Worship to Your Congregation"
  • Music is not worship - only words are sacred. Ask yourself, "how many musical notes are in the Psalms?"
  • Many people confuse music style with worship, but worship has nothing to do with style, volume, or speed. The music style you like says more about you - your background and personality - than it does about God.
  • Here is a biggie... WORSHIP IS NOT FOR YOUR BENEFIT. It is for God's pleasure. We need to stop judging it based upon what we like or dislike.
  • Worship is not part of your life - it is your life.
We need to find ways to express our worship to God. Here are five Biblical ways:
  1. SING to Him (Psalm 147:1, 100:2). Our singing should be alive (with joy), aloud (with enthusiasm), and aloft (directed to God).
  2. Lift our HANDS to Him (Psalm 134:2). Lifting hands is not a charismatic thing, it is a Bible thing.
  3. SPEAK our praise to Him (Hebrews 13:15) The fruit of our lips.
  4. Praise Him with DANCE and INSTRUMENTS (Psalm 149:3). Again, it's the Bible!
  5. Praise Him with OTHER BELIEVERS (Hebrews 2:12). We are to stand in the congregation and exalt Him.
We attended "Looking for God Moments" with Buddy Owens. There is simply too much to write from Buddy's session. He talked about our expected encounters with God (planning the worship) verses the times when God move in unexpected ways - God moments. He talked about how to prepare for the unexpected. He also talked about the ways in which we hear from God (Another one of my previous topics of discussion. I believe that God lives and He still speaks - not always directly from the scriptures. If God no longer speaks, what makes us think He's present. "How sad it must be to worship a silent God." I'll address this in another post later.)

Finally we attended a workshop on "Vocal Styling - The Power of Communicating through Song." Let me just say that this fits into some plans I already have for the Praise Singers in the next two months. It'll be great!

Tomorrow is another great line-up: Buddy Owens presenting, John Ortberg speaking, Tim Hughes singing (writer of "Here I Am To Worship"), and also the PDW Choir led by Stand Endicott. Andrea and I have a few friends singing in the choir and we're looking forward to hearing them. Besides, Stan Endicott is amazing (and weird)!!!

Some of the workshops we're thinking about tomorrow? "Attracting a Crowd to Worship," "Overcoming Obstacles in Leading a Congregation in Worship," "Almighty Sounds" (songwriting with Tim Hughes) and "Style Diversity: Training Your Worship Team to Sing Any Style of Music" (with Stan Endicott). We can only go to three and they are scheduled in a certain way, so please pray for us that God will lead us where He wants us to be.

Also, tomorrow is my birthday (happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me)!

**UPDATE: See all the PDW posts listed here...