from my notebook

My head is full of thoughts, and I have to write them down.

Archive for the category “church”

The Cycle of LIFE

A study of history reveals a definite cycle of human spiritual behavior. From the ups and downs of God’s chosen people in the Bible to American history even prior to the Revolution, we have experienced times of closeness to God and times of rebellion.

I have a personal dream to be part of a revival in our country. I read about previous great awakenings and wonder what it must have been like and then visualize one happening today – what effect it would have on our government and daily lives. It’s exciting but also disheartening when I realize how short-lived all the previous ones were. Some even debate if what took place in the 1960s and 70s actually qualifies as a great awakening.

The occurrence of these ups and downs throughout history, I believe, have been significant in delaying God’s decision to rapture the Church. And I have to admit, there are times when I’m not so sure I want to delay him. Regardless of eschatological views on whether we’re in the millennial or the tribulation, or neither, it’s doubtful that Christ will return in the midst of a revival. Prophecy seems to point to things not being so good when that happens.

This leaves us with a conundrum of experiencing a national (or better still, international) revival and theoretically delaying “the rapture,” or continuing in our societal downfall ushering in the end. What do you think?

Life Lesson: If It Ain’t Broke, You Can Still Make It Better

English: A bored person

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

The old adage, “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” bears a lot of truth, but we shouldn’t use it to remain in the status quo. Just because something is still working doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon – made more efficient, more durable, more economical, or more interesting. It’s the only way to stay on top and ahead of the game.

 

I’m not advocating change for the sake of change…but then again I am in some situations. Take a church service for example. It’s probably the most predictable program format ever. While one church may slightly differ from another, it’s very easy to get stuck in a routine week after week. That goes for our daily lives too.

 

At the very least, change can bring an element of freshness to anything that has become routine. This is even more important today with our easily bored culture. So don’t wait til it breaks.

 

Weekly Link-Ups

Some worthwhile reading around the web.

8 Essential Volunteer Commitments to Empower Your Tech Ministry

7 Habits of Extraordinary Teams

The Mormon Moment: Reflections on NBC’s “Mormon in America”

Before You Decide to Leave

Do You Really Need to Buy an iPhone?

10 mental traits of truly innovative leaders

Weekly Link-Ups

Some other folks’ stuff from around the web.

8 Great Reasons for Using Twitter in Church Communications

6 Exercises for Maximum Mobility

25 Lessons in Office Etiquette from Michael Scott

9 Brilliant Inventions Made by Mistake

3 Tips to Make Creativity a Habit

Worship Team Technology

The Worship Ministry is possibly one of the most technical ministries in the church. We are currently using four computers and the occasional iPad/iPhone during our services, not to mention the planning process itself.

Smart phones are becoming more and more useful. It isn’t a requirement to have one in order to serve on the Tech Team, band, or choir, but it sure helps.

We’ve been using Planning Center Online since almost its inception, and it has become more and more vital with each passing year. Not only are the two or three of us involved in the planning process better connected, but everyone involved in the service is able to see details of what is expected of them.

PCO has great mobile apps for the teams to listen to MP3s of the songs for the week. Our Worship Pastor also builds separate MP3s for the singers’ parts and creates his own song charts for the musicians. All of this allows the teams to prepare before rehearsal and be ready to bring it all together with the group.

PCO also integrates with your online calendar, text messaging carrier, and Facebook to keep your schedule at your finger tips.

We are blessed with great musicians, but there isn’t much depth, so when one or more is out, we used to be forced to go with a stripped down sound that week. Now we have a choice. We can run loops from a laptop on stage. Stripped down is fine, but it’s nice to have a choice, especially if those absences are last-minute after the set has been prepared.

Most people live busy schedules. The more technology can be used for communication and planning, the better. It may require an upfront effort to learn something new, but it will be time well spent.

Weekly Link-ups

Here are some recent finds around the web.

Tips For Becoming A Presentation Sensation

2 Reasons You Should Continually Ask, “What’s Next?” in Tech Ministry

4 Ways Technology Drives Discipleship

Top 10 Church Sound Problems

Weekly Link-Ups

Here are some others’ work from this week.

5 Things That Can Divide a Church

4 Ways Technology Drives Discipleship

Don’t buy these phones (roundup)

The Parable of the Talented

The Three R’s of Christian Engagement in the Culture War

Focus Your Singing on the Words

John Wesley (1703-1791), founder of Methodism

I ran across this article, In 4 Sentences, John Wesley Teaches You How To Sing In Church, recently with an awesome quote from John Wesley.

“Above all sing spiritually. Have an eye to God in every word you sing. Aim at pleasing him more than yourself, or any other creature. In order to do this attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually; so shall your singing be such as the Lord will approve here, and reward you when he comes in the clouds of heaven.”

Since worship, music, and singing in church have pretty much always been an issue, I’m convinced they always will be. For those who truly care about getting it right, Wesley has great, timeless advice.

I’ve been going through Robert Morgan’s Near to the Heart of God devotional this year. Many of the hymns I’m not familiar with even though I grew up in a small, traditional church. (Our pianist only knew a few songs, so…)

Not knowing the melodies of these old songs makes it easier to focus on the words. For the hymns I am familiar with, I find myself trying to read and not sing the songs, to just put the melody aside. All that is fine for a quiet time with God, but how do we do that when the songs are actually being sung?

It will take much effort. The sound Wesley refers to could be music style or quality, both of which can be a distraction. We really do have to be committed to making our worship about God and not ourselves.

If your worship leader is selecting theologically sound songs, make a practice of focusing your heart on those words. “Attend strictly to the sense of what you sing, and see that your heart is not carried away with the sound, but offered to God continually.”

Remember, the words are what matter, not the melody, music, or performance.

Weekly Link-Ups

Some of my recent finds from around the net.

Nation divided over “beer” and “church”

10 Useful iPhone Shortcuts and Tips

Top 10 Most Requested Facebook Tips

Seven Books Everyone in Church Media Should Read

Creative Church Stage Designs

Authenticity and Planning

Carlos Whittaker has a great article in this month’s Sunday Magazine on how technology has affected our need to plan ahead for services and other programs. There was a time when only less than a handful of people were involved in carrying out a regular church service. That meant much could be done at the last minute because no one else needed to know or prepare anything. That’s not the case in more in technology driven churches.

Carlos makes some very good points. I believe technology forces us to dig deeper, spend more time with God, and be more disciplined in hearing from him. God certainly knows what we need to do well ahead of time. We just need to start listening a little more and a little sooner.

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