Thursday, January 23, 2014

Writing -- When I should be working....

I should be working...

But this is what worship music does to me...

Some days, I sneak up to the studio when no one is there and put in worship music -- and let it play and play.

Some days, I put the SAME SONG on repeat all.  day.  long.

Today was one of those days.

And, by the time the people start walking through the door, I'm good and distracted by worship, and lyrics, and prayers, and heart cries, and prophetic words, and being in step with God's Spirit.  Fortunately, my personal clientele already know they are free to ignore me. They are here to make music, and that's what we do.

Words I've heard 100,000 times today...

"Be thou my vision, be thou my joy, my providence and my thou the wisdom that I employ to trade my worth for Yours."

A few years ago, I got a call from a mother who wanted me to teach her daughter piano.  Sure that her daughters gifts and talents needed to be encouraged, she was pulling her from another well known (good) program in the Springs.  No pressure.

Whereas this young student's gifts were obvious, she had a learning disability that prevented her from telling whether or not a particular note was on a line or space.  This was so hard for her in fact that she had actually become fearful of being forced to read music.

Knowing this, I worked from virtually every angle I could think of.

I researched.

I prayed.

I would periodically go back to the mom for updates, to give a report, and to make the every so slight suggestion that just maybe voice lessons would be the way to go.

The mom was sweet, but firm.  "Shanna, I've prayed.  You are suppose to be her teacher."


"Be thou my refuge, be thou my strength 
should my confession err.  My heart shall whisper a sure Amen, and trust your every word."

I continued praying.  Continued trying different things...continued going back to the mom with various "other" suggestions.

I respected this mother, and she was always sure.  "Shanna, I've prayed.  You are suppose to be her teacher."


A couple of years ago, we just so happened to be in Austin, Texas around Thanksgiving.  We dropped in on friends which included our former worship leader, Ross Parsley.  After dinner we engaged in lively conversation about kids, ministry, life and music.

Ross, whose worship along with New Life Worship is known around the world, joking told the truth with the following, "All you really have to know to lead worship around the world is the I, IV, and V chord in every key."


That little statement right there -- may not mean a lot to YOU.  But a light from Heaven shown down for me -- and a Heavenly chorus sang a little diddy.   It was an answer to my prayers.  The Spirit of God immediately broke into my thoughts with the little girls name, "She's a worship leader."

And, by golly, I knew the I, the IV and V chord -- in EVERY key -- and, well  you don't have to read music to play from chord charts.

"Be thou exhalted Jesus forever.  Be exhalted forever."

I sent the mom a quick note just to say I'd like to go in another direction and if she'd just give me a little "creative liberty" for a time, I did indeed have a plan.

A year later, this child knows the I, IV, and the V chord in every key.  In fact, there isn't a chord she doesn't know nor a chord chart she can't print and play within a matter of minutes.  She's learned to keep a steady rhythm, improvise a beginning and an ending, and play inverted chords.  She's learned to find the melody or the "singing note" while she's playing the harmony and has had quite a bit of performance experience.  And, she hasn't even made it to Jr High School yet.

This past week, she came to spend her usual time with me.  She says, "My church doesn't have a worship ministry for my age group.  They've asked me to start and lead one!"

I smile.

Because, well, I knew it all along.

"Hallelujah to the Name of All Names.  
Hallelujah to our God - Be all praise!  
Ever Holy, Worthy, Be thou exhalted always."

We then have rousing conversation about how to pick songs, how to order them, why you WOULDN'T pick certain songs (like El Shaddai), and on to how to pick out your own chord configurations when your writing your own music.

And, as the worship music blares around me right now, I really can't think of any other reason why I work.

You see Kindermusik students.  I see tomorrows worship leaders -- and world changers.

True, I don't know how to do everything.

But I do know how to pray.

I know how to listen for the voice of the Holy Spirit and try to cooperate with what He's saying.  Both at home and at work.

And here me now, parents (and ministers and business owners and students and well...the whole world)...

This is the one thing you HAVE to be able to do.

Billy will speak at yet another parenting conference next month and he will ultimately say what we believe to be some serious truth -- THERE IS NO SUBSTITUTE FOR YOU PRAYING, FOR YOU TRYING TO HEAR THE SPIRIT OF GOD AND FOR YOU TRYING TO COOPERATE WITH WHAT HE'S DOING.


I sent a text to my college kid today.  The just of what I wanted to say was that "pressure" had to be kept in it's proper perspective or it just turns to fear.

God's yoke is LITE.

We don't all leave home to do extraordinary things.

And, I know the pressure my college kid feels -- to be and do extraordinary -- is real.  She is her mother and fathers child after all.

BUT, this I know.  An ordinary life -- one that involves working, teaching, figuring things out, writing blogs, and being ok with a few good sentences because you don't have time to pen any great ones.  A life that is going to the grocery store, paying the bills, making the bank deposit, going to school, loving your friends, working out, praying, being an active part of your community, parenting, loving your spouse -- an ordinary, steady life -- LIVED WELL -- well...that can be an extraordinary thing too.

Be encouraged today friends!  Pray.  Try to hear the Spirit of God.  Try to cooperate with what He says.

Turn on your worship music.

Now, seriously, I have to go to work.

"Be thou my passion.  Be thou my zeal.  That I may offer these.  
No great procession or vain appeal, 
just my sincerity."