Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Robbing God

Will a man rob God? Yet you are robbing Me!”
You ask: “How do we rob You?”
“By not making the payments of 10 percent and the contributions… Bring the full 10 percent into the storehouse so that there may be food in My house.”
“Test Me in this way,” says the Lord of Hosts. “See if I will not open the floodgates of heaven and pour out a blessing for you without measure.”
Malachi 3:8-10 HCSB

Bob: Do you think tithing is important?
Jim: Yes, I think it’s very important.
Bob: But why would God be so interested in my money?
Jim: He’s interested in a lot more than that.
Bob: What do you mean?
Jim: Well, He’s interested in all of you. Sure, He wants you to be obedient and tithe your money, but He also wants you to tithe of your abilities.
Bob: I can understand that He wants me to serve Him with my abilities, but why should I give Him 10 percent of my income?
Jim: Well, if He can’t trust you with 10 percent, how can He trust you with the other 90 percent?

Lord, teach us to tithe.

Sunday, June 28, 2009


Then David told the leaders of the Levites to appoint their relatives as singers and to have them raise their voices with joy accompanied by musical instruments-harps, lyres, and cymbals. 1 Chronicles 15:16 HCSB

A cardinal principle of Total Quality escapes too many managers: you cannot continuously improve interdependent systems and processes until you progressively perfect interdependent, interpersonal relationships. Stephen R. Covey*

Once, when my wife Kathy was taking an interpersonal relationships class, I went with her to purchase her textbooks. When the items were scanned and totaled, the digital screen on the register read $57,000. When Kathy pointed out the problem to the bookstore clerk, he said, “Hmm. I think that might be a mistake.”

When I started in worship ministry, I thought that my biggest challenges would be choral conducting and script writing. I didn’t realize that ministry is more about interpersonal relationships than it is about artistic craft. King David must have had many interpersonal relationship troubles with the musicians he appointed since they were not only artists, but were also all related. Hmm… the secret to worship ministry interpersonal relationships might be worth $57,000 after all.

Lord, help us with our interpersonal relationships.


Friday, June 26, 2009

The King

And on His robe and His thigh He has a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS! Revelation 19:16 HCSB
Christianity is the story of how the rightful King has landed, you might say in disguise, and is calling us all to take part in His great campaign of sabotage. C.S. Lewis*
As I write this, the world is mourning the passing of Michael Jackson, the King of Pop. I myself am surprised at how much his death has impacted me. I’ve been glued to the television today watching his old music videos. It reminds me of the day that Elvis Presley, the King of Rock and Roll, died. I heard his music everywhere. I saw his picture everywhere.
Fortunately, the King of Kings is alive and well. He was born of a virgin, lived a sinless life, and died a violent death on a cross. Upon His death, His disciples, family, and all of Heaven wept, but three days later He rose from the dead. He is the once, now, forever, and future King. He is the only King worthy of our endless worship.
Lord Jesus, You are the one and only King. I will follow You.

Thursday, June 25, 2009


“Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.” Psalm 139:16 HCSB

“God created you with a divine undertaking in mind. Before you were born, God knew you. And He knew what He wanted your life to be like.” Craig Groeschel*

According to Genesis, when God created the earth it was formless and empty. Darkness covered the surface of the waters and God’s Spirit hovered over the surface of water. God knew then how He wanted the earth to look. He created it out of nothing with a purpose in mind. He did a beautiful job.

Before you were born, when you were formless, God saw you. He knew you and loved you. He knew what you would look like from head to toe. He smiled to Himself as He thought about your life’s purpose. He took the time to write out all of your days long before you drew your first breath. He created you with a purpose in mind. He did a beautiful job.

Thank you, God, for loving me and knowing me even when I was formless.

*Chazown, pg. 18

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Spacious Place

I called to the Lord in distress; the Lord answered me and put me in a spacious place. The Lord is for me; I will not be afraid. Psalm 118:5-6a

We need to find God, and He cannot be found in noise and restlessness. God is the Friend of silence. See how nature – trees, flowers, grass – grows in silence; see the stars, the moon and the sun, how they move in silence… We need silence to be able to touch souls. Mother Teresa*

I was frazzled. I had been working entirely too much and was at the end of my rope emotionally. One day, when I realized that I was being extremely hard to get along with, I looked into the mirror and said, “You need a vacation. You need refreshing. You need to reconnect with your wife. You need to reconnect with God.”

So, my wife Kathy and I packed our bags and flew to Oregon. We spent a week hiking long trails, praying long prayers, driving through beautiful forests, reading good books, finding high waterfalls, watching young deer, discussing life’s issues, walking beautiful beaches, and taking pictures of colorful starfish.

God, thank You for that spacious place.


Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Who is this who obscures my counsel with ignorant words? Get ready to answer Me like a man; when I question you, you will inform Me. Job 38:2-3 HCSB

When men are most sure and arrogant they are commonly most mistaken, giving views to passion without that proper deliberation which alone can secure them from the grossest absurdities. David Hume*

Have you ever been seriously put in your place by someone really important? It happened to me when I was in college. Our University Choir was singing under the direction of a famous guest conductor. I mistakenly began singing with the sopranos and altos during a very beautiful section of the choir anthem. After a couple of seconds, the conductor yelled out “Shut Up, tenor!” I stopped, but his anger continued. The rehearsal came to a standstill as our “guest” lectured me about my stupidity in front of the entire choir.

If you can imagine how I felt, think about how Job must have felt when the Lord set him straight in the above scripture. God informed Job, in no uncertain terms, that He is the Lord and Job was not.

Lord, help me always remember that You are God and I am not.


Monday, June 22, 2009


Haven’t I commanded you: be strong and courageous? Do not be afraid or discouraged, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go. Joshua 1:9 HCSB

If we’re growing, we’re always going to be out of our comfort zone. John Maxwell*

There I stood, in the snow, the only barrier between a drunken man and a full class of first graders. Since he was intoxicated, I told him that the school was closed, hoping that he would believe me. He didn’t. Instead, he ran at me and grabbed both of my shoulders. I wasn’t sure what to do because I hadn’t been in a fight since the third grade, so I grabbed his shoulders. Without releasing me, he kicked at me with his right foot. Not being drunk, I jumped to my right and easily dodged his kick. He continued kicking and I continued dodging and since we were still holding each other’s shoulders, we did so in a circle until we both grew dizzy and he released me and fell into the snow. Fortunately, the police soon arrived and carried away the inebriated man.

Lord, help us have courage when we find ourselves in a fight.


Saturday, June 20, 2009


But even if He does not rescue us, we want you as king to know that we will not serve your gods or worship the gold statue you set up. Daniel 3:18 HCSB

Every one of us is, even from his mother’s womb, a master craftsman of idols. John Calvin*

King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon made a gold statue that was 90 feet high and nine feet wide. He decreed that everyone must bow down and worship the statue when they heard his idol praise band playing. The Bible doesn’t indicate what the king’s statue resembled but it really doesn’t matter because in many ways the statue represented Nebuchadnezzar himself. What was really being worshiped was his accomplishment in setting up the statue.

Creative people often love to hear the praise of others. When we receive accolades from the multitudes, we react like Sally Fields receiving an Oscar and scream out, “You like me! Right now, you like me!” There’s nothing wrong with winning awards and enjoying our artistic crafts, but we must always be on guard that we are not idolizing our talents and worshiping ourselves when we do so.

Lord, help us overcome our selfishness and worship You only.


Thursday, June 18, 2009

For as he thinks within himself, so he is. Proverbs 23:7a HCSB

Taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:5b HCSB

Sometimes when I’m talking, my words can’t keep up with my thoughts. I wonder why we think faster than we speak. Probably so we can think twice. Bill Watterson*

One of my favorite lines from Star Wars takes place when Luke Skywalker tells Han Solo that if he helps to rescue Princess Leia the reward would be more money than he could imagine. Han Solo quickly remarks, “I don’t know. I can imagine quite a bit.”

Creative people are often like Han Solo. We can imagine quite a bit. We often let our minds roam free in order to begin or continue the creative process. The only problem with this is that sometimes an idle mind left to wander can quickly lead us to sinful actions.

In Matthew 5:27-28, while speaking of lust and adultery, Jesus made the connection between our thoughts and our actions. We are responsible for what we think. When an ungodly thought enters our mind, we must take it captive and make it obedient to Jesus.

Lord, help us think godly thoughts.


Wednesday, June 17, 2009

It's Only Stuff

But collect for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, and where thieves don’t break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there you heart will be also. Matthew 6:20-21 HCSB

My wife Kathy and I evacuated New Orleans the Saturday evening before Hurricane Katrina struck. A week later, we drove back to southern Louisiana where we stayed in a host home in Baton Rouge. I was concerned about our home so I drove into New Orleans very early the next morning while Kathy remained in Baton Rouge. Before I left, Kathy said, “Even if all we have is destroyed, don’t worry. It’s only stuff.”

Our home was fine for the most part. I did clean out the refrigerator, which was awful. There was a dish of homemade spaghetti sauce that was grotesque with mold. The smell was so bad that I tossed it into the trash.

When I told Kathy what I had done, she was not happy. “I can’t believe you threw away MY dish. That was a wedding present!”

I smiled and said, “Don’t worry, it’s only stuff.”

And I’ve never said that again.

Lord, help me remember that stuff is only stuff.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009


“Acknowledge that the Lord is God. He made us, and we are His people, the sheep of His pasture.” Psalm 100:3 HCSB

“Almighty God, we acknowledge our dependence on Thee and we beg Thy blessings upon us, our parents, our teachers, and our country.” Anonymous*

The other day, I saw a personalized license plate with the word “GODLESS” as the license number. On a sticker above the license plate was the sentence, “I am an atheist by choice because honesty compels me.”

One of the hardest things for many of us to accept is that we are not in charge of our own lives. But, whatever we may choose to believe does not change the fact that there is a God who created us all and He is ultimately in charge of everything. We would do well to acknowledge that fact.

Worshiping the Lord involves acknowledging that He is God. Those of us entrusted with worship leadership have the responsibility to proclaim to others that the Lord is God. We must provide opportunities during our times of worship for people to do the same.

Heavenly Father, You are Lord over my life. I am Yours and I love You.


Monday, June 15, 2009

The Mountains

I raise my eyes toward the mountains. Where will my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. Psalm 121:1-2 HCSB

When thro’ the woods and forest glades I wander, And hear the birds sing sweetly in the trees; When I look down from lofty mountain grandeur, And hear the brook and feel the gentle breeze: Then sings my soul, my Savior God to Thee; How great Thou art, how great Thou art! Stuart K. Hine*

Recently, I was visiting with an older woman who lived in the mountains. While in her home, I noticed a beautiful wooden plaque which stated, “I will raise mine eyes unto the hills from whence cometh my help.” Next to it was a second plaque which was much more simple and rough in appearance which stated, “My help comes from the Lord!” Curious, I asked her about the two plaques.

“A young lady made the first one for me,” she replied. “Isn’t it beautiful? Unfortunately, it is incomplete. My help doesn’t come from the mountains, but from the Lord, who made the mountains.”

Lord, our help comes from You and You alone.

*How Great Thou Art, stanza 2

Monday, June 8, 2009


Hey, everyone. Thanks for checking my blog today. I'll be away from computers for a few days so I won't have a chance to post anything new until Saturday, June 13th. I appreciate all of you who read what I write.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Fortune Cookies

“Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light on my path.” Psalm 119:105 HCSB

“Knowledge of God’s Word is a bulwark against deception, temptation, accusation, even persecution.” Edwin Louis Cole*

I like to read fortune cookies. I don’t read them devotionally, but I do read them for fun, especially those that don’t quite make sense. One that comes to mind is “I think and that is all that I am.” Another is “Money sent will quack your dreams and help you in your mind.” And then there is my all time favorite, “All the rubber bands are headed in the right direction.”

Fortunately, we don’t have to rely on fortune cookies, tarot cards, crystal balls, or eight balls to speak into our lives. God has given us the wonderful gift of His word which we can use as a standard for living. Those of us in worship leadership positions often find ourselves in awkward, difficult situations. If we take the time to hide the words of the Bible in our hearts, the Holy Spirit will bring them to our minds when we most need them.

Today, as you pray, thank God for His word.



“Your eyes saw me when I was formless; all my days were written in Your book and planned before a single one of them began.” Psalm 139:16 HCSB

“God created you with a divine undertaking in mind. Before you were born, God knew you. And He knew what He wanted your life to be like.” Craig Groeschel*

According to Genesis, when God created the earth it was formless and empty. Darkness covered the surface of the waters and God’s Spirit hovered over the surface of water. God knew then how He wanted the earth to look. He created it out of nothing with a purpose in mind. He did a beautiful job.

Before you were born, when you were formless, God saw you. He knew you and loved you. He knew what you would look like from head to toe. He smiled to Himself as He thought about your life’s purpose. He took the time to write out all of your days long before you drew your first breath. He created you with a purpose in mind. He did a beautiful job.

Thank you, God, for loving me and knowing me even when I was formless.

*Chazown, pg. 18

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Crouching At The Door

"Sin is crouching at the door. Its desire is for you, but you must master it." Genesis 4:7b HCSB

"Sin is not hurtful because it is forbidden, but it is forbidden because it is hurtful." Benjamin Franklin*

Because artistic people are blessed with multiple gifts and talents, we are often placed into the inner workings of the church as well as in front of the people. In the Bible, Jehoshaphat placed his worship leaders on the front lines of the battle. Today, pastors often treat their worship artists in the same fashion. This is certainly a great honor for us as artists; however this honor should come with a warning. When I was much younger, I thought that Satan would be afraid of our ministry positions and therefore would leave us alone. Over time, what I’ve learned is that upfront artistic leadership places a huge target on our backs for the devil. He would love to cause someone in worship leadership to fall into sin because it would not only hurt the inner structure of the church, but it would be visible to everyone who attends.

Lord, keep us close to You and far from sin.


Friday, June 5, 2009


“Do not covet your neighbor’s house. Do not covet your neighbor’s wife, his male or female slave, his ox or donkey, or anything that belongs to your neighbor.” Exodus 20:17 HCSB

“Envy is the art of counting the other fellow’s blessings instead of your own.” Harold Coffin*

His home was in an enormous subdivision of castles. His car was red, shiny, fast, and expensive. His family was blond, friendly, and adorable. I even liked his dog. During a choir fellowship, I sat in his living room quietly coveting the life of my friend. I wanted his things. I wanted his family. I wanted his life.

Have you ever been jealous of something that someone else owned? It’s a situation where many of us occasionally find ourselves. Even though it’s common, envy is a disease that eats at our souls and keeps us living from living a life of thanksgiving and praise. Satan wants us to covet our neighbor’s things because he wants to shift our focus away from the blessings of God.

Today, thank God for His blessings to you. Ask Him to forgive you for any covetousness in your heart.


Thursday, June 4, 2009


Does the Lord take pleasure in burnt offerings and sacrifices as much as in obeying the Lord? Look: to obey is better than sacrifice, to pay attention is better than the fat of rams. 1 Samuel 15:22 HCSB

Christians don’t tell lies, they just go to church and sing them. A.W. Tozer*

It was the worst knock-down-drag-out business meeting that I have ever been a part of. Several churches who worked in conjunction with each other in an association were meeting together to vote on a property issue and the room was obviously divided. As tensions rose throughout the worship center, a man walked to the front and said, “Before we continue, let’s all stand and sing Sweet, Sweet Spirit.”

Some of the songs that we sing in worship are like prayers sung directly to God. Other songs are like sermons that we preach to each other. Finally, some songs are like soliloquies that we recite to express our feelings as much to ourselves as to anyone else. When we don’t mean what we sing, we are lying to God, to others, and to ourselves.

Lord, would you refine us until the lives we lead reflect the songs that we sing?.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Lamb of God

The next day John saw Jesus coming toward him and said, “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!” John 1:29 HCSB

He who has the bride is the groom. But the groom’s friend, who stands by and listens for him, rejoices greatly at the groom’s voice. So this joy of mine is complete. He must increase, but I must decrease. John 3:29-30 HCSB

Recently, I visited a church in another city. As I was looking for a place to park, I noticed that the closest parking spot to the front door had been reserved for the senior pastor. Later, after the musical portion of the service, the congregation stood as the pastor walked into the worship center and up to the pulpit. In his message, he spoke about his preaching ministry several times, but he never mentioned Jesus.

As we minister to others, it’s important for us to remember that Jesus is the one who takes away the sin of the world. We should rejoice in what He can do and always point people away from us and directly to Him.

Lord, help us to lift You up instead of ourselves.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Reverential Awe

Serve the Lord with reverential awe, and rejoice with trembling. Psalm 2:11 HCSB

He who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead; his eyes are closed. Albert Einstein*

I had always heard of its beauty, but I could not anticipate the grandeur I was about to experience. Suddenly, before I was ready, the vehicle I was in turned a corner and parked not far from its edge. The only words that could escape my mouth were “Oh man!” I jumped out of the car to gaze at its vastness. Somehow, I couldn’t look away. Before me stood the Grand Canyon and I was amazed by its size and beauty.

There have been several times in my life when I have felt the same way about the Lord as I worshiped Him. In those times, I’ve sensed a portion of His enormity and I simply couldn’t look away from Him. God is huge. He is bigger than anything we can fathom. He deserves our worship and our praise. We should come before Him with reverential awe. We should rejoice before Him with trembling.

Lord, I am in awe of You.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Well Done

For there is no other god who is able to deliver like this. Daniel 3:29b HCSB

The heart of the issue in worship is this: My life needs God’s presence to work God’s purpose in my life. Jack Hayford*

When I was a child, I played the part of Nebuchadnezzar in the children’s musical It’s Cool In The Furnace. It was great fun! I loved stomping around the worship center commanding everyone to bow down to the image that I had created. The words and music of that musical helped me to understand how ridiculous it was to worship anything but the Lord.

However, I grew up and discovered that the gods of money, education, business, video games, sports, music, entertainment, position, vacation, work, hobbies, etc… demand from us our worship. Some may even pronounce our doom if we do not bow to them. However, we must be bold and place God above all of the “stuff” that competes for our praise.

God, You are the only God. Today I ask You to give me the boldness to worship You fully and to worship You only.

*Worship Digest 19, Oct.’98