Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Look Up

When I walked out of GCC last week after Wednesday night rehearsal, for some reason I thought I should look up.  When I did, I saw this.  I thought it was pretty cool.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Is it Art?

Question: Is this art?

How 'bout this?

Or this?

Or this?

Maybe this?

Or this?

The truth is that all of this could be art.  It all depends on perspective and delves into the world of aesthetics - "critcal reflection on art, culture and nature." - as scholars discuss it.  This is a quite complicated question and has been debated for centuries.  If you'd like more on this discussion, check out the wiki HERE.

As we think about creating art for the Church setting, several questions arise:
- who is art for (our target audience)?
- what art forms will express what that audience will understand?
- how do we handle critique? - both the affirming and the disdain

Have you ever been in church and experienced a piece of art that inspired you to worship?  Have you then left that service and had someone make a comment about the same piece of art that they thought "missed the point"?  THIS HAPPENS ALL THE TIME.  And it has everything to do with what people value in art (aesthetics again).  One set of people may love a particular element, while another are either bored by it or flat-out hate it.  

So, as artists in the church, what are we to do?  We have a responsibility to bring our best to God.  But what is best?  

1. Pray - Ask God for great wisdom to lead as you plan and implement great art for His glory.
2. Listen - this is often the part we skip!
3. Plan - ask the questions about target and purpose to get you there
4. Work - work diligently (with as much feedback as possible often gets the best results.) 
2 Chron.24:13 says "The men in charge of the work were diligent, and the repairs progressed under them. They rebuilt the temple of God according to its original design and reinforced it."  In rebuilding the temple they had to be intentional.
5. Be a DUCK - realize that not everyone is going to "get it".  You can't please everyone.  Just make sure that for the most part, the people you want to reach are being reached with what you craft.  

Go great make great art for the Lord who considers YOU his masterpiece! 
"For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago." Ephesians 2:10

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Connect the Dots

When I was a kid, I LOVED "Connect the Dots" books!  Especially when you couldn't quite figure out what the thing was when you first looked at it.  The tough ones were a challenge, but the reward was better at the end, because it was usually something cool like a rocketship or Darth Vader.

The more intricate and challenging it was, the more dots were needed.

This is similar to our dealing with our volunteers.  Especially in the arts ministry that we do, the complexity that we are asking for week in and week out is astounding.  With this in mind, we need to constantly point people back to the "WHY" of what we're doing.  


Ultimately, a technician who pushes a button throughout 4 services on a weekend, must understand that his/her button pushing is helping people see Christ!  A drummer needs to know that each hit of a snare can be inspire people to worship God.  We certainly should affirm the technical/artistic skill of our volunteers, but they can get that kind of affirmation in other arenas.  What they can't get is the reminder that when they serve, they are directly impacting people for Christ.  This is what the Church offers that other artistic venues can't. 

When people are pointed back to the vision and affirmed as they use their gifts to further that vision, our volunteers serve with better motive, are more satisfied, better equipped, and ultimately will give their lives for the cause of Christ.  


Sunday, October 05, 2008


I've been chewing on a worship song for a while now.  It's basic premise is that God is good.  This is a basic concept that I would love for our people to internalize and truly believe.  Mark Beeson spoke of it this weekend that even through tough circumstances, we must trust and believe that God is ultimately GOOD.  It's the premise behind Romans 8:28 - "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."  

A few thoughts/verses that I've been thinking about for the song:
  • His love and mercy endure for all eternity
  • Taste and see that the Lord is good.
  • His unfailing love draws us in
  • He is close the brokenhearted
  • The Cross is the ultimate example of his goodness
  • His kindness leads us to repentance
  • We (His people) will declare His goodness to all nations
Anything that you might suggest?

Friday, October 03, 2008

Worship Smackdown

So, lately, three of modern worship's BIG GUNS have released new CD's:

Chris Tomlin's "Hello Love"

Charlie Hall's "The Beautiful Sadness"

Lincoln Brewster's "Today is the Day"

I'm going out on a limb here and saying that Chris Tomlin's has to be my favorite due to it's accessibility for corporate worship.  MANY good songs that can be used in the church setting.  My favorite new ones for the congregation (post-Passion releases) are: You Lifted Me Out and Praise the Father, Praise the Son.  I'm thinking that Jesus Messiah will be a great song for Christmas this year to give some variety.  For personal times, the song I Will Rise is absolutely stunning!  Musically, both Charlie and Lincoln have some edge (some great theology in Charlie's stuff which is usual of him), but for the group setting, Chris' album seems to win hands down.  

If you had to pick - which one would be your favorite?  

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Anticipation vs. Expectation

As I was approaching our time of worship for our 1st Wednesday (midweek) service yesterday, I had a few thoughts.  For this particular service, I had done more spiritual prep than I probably ever have for a service at GCC.  Regular intentional prayer for about 4 weeks using the prayer (by N.T. Wright) that we presented to the congregation last night:

Abba, Father, maker of heaven and earth:
Set up your Kingdom in our midst.

Lord, Jesus Christ, son of the living God:
Have mercy on me, a sinner.

Holy Spirit, breath of the living God:
Renew me and all the world.

Check out the online version here.

What struck me in my preparation was that I wanted to wary of expectation for the night.  I wonder if that is how we as people who plan worship (and worshippers in general) might approach corporate times.  Do we come to God with a list of expectations as to how He needs to show up?  Do we have certain criterion that need to be met in order for us to engage?  


Do we come in anticipation of what God MIGHT do?  That He might move in ways that are completely unexpected by us?  Do we leave the slate open for God to reveal Himself in ways that are beyond our preconceptions?  

Anticipation vs Expectation

My prayer changed the last day or so approaching last night - "God, do something unexpected - something I haven't planned for!"

It happened.

We were playing along, doing our normal thing - we entered into the song "Jesus Paid it All" by Kristian Stanfill (an arrangement of the old hymn).  During the bridge section, my brother Trace Rorie boldly led, "Oh praise the One who paid my debt and raised this life up from the dead!" I WAS UNDONE!!!  I could hardly hold back the tears.  Immense gratitude for all Jesus has done and continues to do for us.  I think approaching the night with anticipation rather than expectation made all the difference.  

"I wait for you, O Lord; you will answer, O Lord, my God." Psalm 38:15

I was grateful for a great night of worship.  I'm hopeful that the next month of using the this Trinity Prayer as a church focus, will help our people move further up and further in with their devotion and love for Christ.  I believe that God was well loved by His people last night at GCC.