Tag Archives: Life

The Idol of Perfection in Worship Arts

Worship-Leading-630x419Every Artist and Creative must struggle with the tension between perfection and process!

Perfection,

  • the creative moments in worship where music and text fit together and connect with the worshippers;
  • the times when playing music flows from the heart and its more than notes and verse;
  • when everything falls into place.

Process,

  • when you realize that you have just sung through an entire set of music,
  • including readings and prayers to find that you have been thinking about something else entirely;
  • those times where frustration over the people you work with sours the whole experience of music;
  • that time when that worship service you plan gets pushed aside for another idea that you really think is void of all creativity.

I don’t know about you but I’ve been realizing that most of my time as a worship leader is process.  I have been thinking about the times when I pursue a different goal than Jesus. My commitment isn’t to the team of people God has given me to work with but rather I pursue ways to get my own needs met!   When I consider how often I struggle for approval from others, looking for value in my work, or seeking security and safety through doing a great job I see how often I try to get these needs met in my job and thru people rather than learning that my needs are ultimately met by Christ.  I have acceptance, value and security because of what He thinks of me and what he has done for me.

Developing a Team approach to Worship Arts is important for the worship leader as it directly addresses our tendency to hold all the responsibility for worship on our shoulders.  When I realize that I am better when I have a team, I am then able to see the process of creating and producing worship services as the result of what we do together.  I no longer take criticism as a personal affront but approach feedback as a way to help us work better together.

Perfection is something I see as an idol connected to my need for acceptance. Instead of seeking acceptance from my performance, I see that Jesus and He alone is the perfection I need.  In his perfect life and obedience to His heavenly father, he gained merit that I can’t attain.  For perfection is needed to be able to live in harmony with God.  I also can’t make up for my mistakes before God.  Just as a note played can never be recovered, my sinful worship, my love of self, my obsession with approval with others shows me my heart loves those things more than I love God.  That is sin.

So by realizing that Jesus lived a life of perfection and is perfectly accepted by His Father, never sinning and perfectly doing everything right I see the answer.

When I become a Christian by embracing the message of the gospel, I find that Jesus Himself died so I would not be punished for my sin.  He also lived perfectly so I would not have to do everything perfectly to have credit and acceptance before God.  The gospel not only frees me from punishment of sin, but I also am freely given all of Jesus goodness.  So as I am “In Christ” I am not only forgiven I am blessed! The father looks at me now and sees my work, and sees it as a father looks toward his son.  He can say “good job, lets work on that, and maybe you can try it like this.”

By believing these two things and living by faith each moment, I can stay in the process! I can leave perfection to Jesus.  To allow myself and others room to fail.  To offer forgiveness to myself and to others by the same grace I get from Jesus and my Father!

Maybe this will help you as you continue on the journey!

Buddy

 

Why Bother Creating! It’s all gonna Burn!

life from death tree image

What you do in the Lord is not in vain.  You are not oiling the wheels of a machine that’s about to roll over a cliff. You are not restoring a great painting that’s shortly going to be thrown on the fire. You are not planting roses in a garden that’s about to be dug up for a building site. You are- strange though it may seem, almost as hard to believe as the resurrection itself- accomplishing something that will be come in due course part of God’s new world.  Every act of love, gratitude, and kindness; every work of art of music inspired by the love of God and delight in the beauty of creation; every minute spent teaching a severely handicapped child to read of to walk; every act of care and nurture, of comfort and support, for one’s fellow human beings and for that matter one’s fellow nonhuman creatures; and of course every prayer, all Spirit-led teaching, every deed that spreads the gospel, builds up the church, embraces and embodies holiness rather than corruption, and makes the  name of Jesus honored in the world – all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make.  That is the logic of the  mission of God.  God’s recreation of his wonderful world, which began with the resurrection of Jesus and continues mysteriously as God’s people live in the risen Christ and in the power of his Spirit, means that what we do in Christ and by the Spirit in the present is not wasted. It will last all the way into God’s new world.  in face, it will be enhanced there. Surprised by Hope – N.T. Wright

Sometimes I wonder how we would live “in light of God’s restoration of all things” rather than with a view toward “all things burning up” viewpoint.

The Re-Creation of a new heavens and new earth has at it’s root the promise of a New Eden, a “New Heaven and New Earth.”  Many Christians do not have a complete view of what God will Re-Create after Christ’s return.  Many have have considered images of angels and harps and think we spend eternity in heavenly cloud like spaces!  When scripture points to a Heavenly City (Revelation 21:1-14) that connects both the New Heaven and New Earth.

We will be part of a new creation that will reflect the glory of God.  The very things in this life that we have pursued and created that reflect God’s glory will last!  Wright says, “all of this will find its way, through the resurrecting power of God, into the new creation that God will one day make.”

As N.T. Wright points out in the quote what we do here does have eternal impact.  This includes creating great artwork, writing great music, teaching children to read and grasp the wonder of this world, helping the needy, bringing hope to those who are hopeless, caring for others and a multitude of other things.

We just finished celebrating Easter.  The Resurrection is about new birth.  It is about the power of God over death and destruction.  When I consider the impact of Jesus’ Resurrection, I must also consider that he finishes his time here on earth promising to give power for all believers to proclaim the Good News and continue the mission.

We live in light of the power of the risen Christ, in us by the ministry of the Holy Spirit that Jesus also promised.

So what does this mean for me today, this week, this month?  I look at the moments ahead and seek to honor God by worshipping Him in my calling!

I do my work to the glory of God.  I love my family to the Glory of God.  I talk to my neighbor about the glory of God!  I live with a different set of rules than the rest of society that they would see the glory of God!

Each moment here is not to be wasted! It has value! I don’t do lousy work thinking it will all burn up anyway!  I don’t destroy the creation of God or mistreat its creatures because all that matters are the souls of those who truth in Jesus. Our calling in this life is to live by the power of God in light of the Resurrection.

“God’s recreation of his wonderful world, which began with the resurrection of Jesus and continues mysteriously as God’s people live in the risen Christ and in the power of his Spirit, means that what we do in Christ and by the Spirit in the present is not wasted.”

We can live with expectation of Jesus return but we also have to be faithful doing what our master has left us to do!  So go out there and live in such a way that others see Jesus!  They look at your work and go wow!  They wonder why you live with such a humble and yet bold spirit. Sure, we look eagerly for the Lord’s return and live with urgency and prayer for Revival and for many to come to Christ.  We cannot however let a view of end times lead us to a place of apathy about our lives and work here and now!

What if people who lived in the last few centuries had exclaimed, “Oh well, Jesus is going to return; all things are gonna burn up; there is no need for Colleges, Universities, Hospitals and other great institutions.” No they wanted to see a better world here!  We need to live fully today with hope for our future! We don’t know when Jesus is returning! So build, play, write, sing, create, work, have families, build schools, and do many noble things!  Create new ways to make the world a better place! Free the millions in slavery! Find a way to provide clean water! Discover a new way to provide clean energy!  Find a way to communicate the gospel to places now closed to the gospel!  We have great work to do!

Jesus Resurrection and Ascention hasn’t just left us here peering at the sky wondering what to do next.  The call is pretty clear.

Your work and life are not in vain!  You have purpose!  That means following the mission of God into a life that leaves a lasting impact. Full of good things that will not burn up and be destroyed point to the glory of God!

Read more about God’s Calling in “The Call” by Os Guinness

 

God is a Patron: 5 Ways to Support the Arts!

patron (n.)“a lord-master, a protector,” c.1300, from Old French patron “patron, protector, patron saint” (12c.) and directly from Medieval Latin patronus “patron saint, bestower of a benefice, lord, master, model, pattern,” from Latin patronus “defender, protector, former master (of a freed slave); advocate,” from pater (genitivepatris) “father” (see father (n.)). Meaning “one who advances the cause” (of an artist, institution, etc.), usually by the person’s wealth and power, is attested from late 14c.; first recorded c.1600. Patron saint (1717) originally was simply patron (late 14c.).

Did you know the God is an Patron?

Last night Luann Jennings of the Church and Art Network presented a lecture on the subject “God is an Art Patron.” The word Patron connects with some pretty great qualities of God!

Luann brought to mind five qualities that make God a great patron.

Life, Love, Guidance, Provision and Protection

God my Patron has given me not only Life but Eternal Life.  Jesus says, in John 17:3  “Now this is eternal life: that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent.”

God my Patron has given me Love. 1 John 3:1 “See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!”

God my Patron has given me Guidance – Psalm 25:5 “Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my Savior, and my hope is in you all day long.”

God my Patron has provided for me – Philippians 4:19 “And my God will supply every need of yours according to his riches in glory in Christ Jesus.”

God my Patron protects me – Psalm 121:7-8   “The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. 8 The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.”

We should consider how we can encourage one another and be Patrons as God is a Patron. How might we encourage artists as a patron?

1. We give life to the artists work by allowing them to show their work or perform their work for us.  For a musician” it is only practicing till you have an audience.”

2. When we love people we accept them for who they are. We treat the artist with love seeing who God has created them to be. They have value as a creation of God.

3. We give them input and wise counsel. Helping them see where they can grow. Input allows the artist to consider how to improve or change to be a better artist. If the artist doesn’t take your guidance then fall back to love!

4. When we buy, attend, or support an artist we give them the means to continue to grow and be what God has called them to be.

5. When an arts patron cares about something deeply he/she should be willing to protect it and care for it.  This means taking time to connect to organizations, schools, or groups that make decisions that benefit our culture.  Arts programs that are doing great work can use people who believe in them and provide protection.

What do you think? What other ways do you see an opportunity to be an Arts Patron!