Monday, January 25, 2010

Last weekend's message - Director's Cut

Hello friends. Last weekend I was privileged to be able to co-teach the message in a Q&A with Pastor Steve. It's rare that us worship guys get the opportunity to share our hearts with the whole body. It's always exciting for me to be able to share the why's & how's of my calling into this ministry. Being the preaching veteran that Steve is, he kept us on schedule quite well. However, that meant that we skipped quite a bit of what we wanted to say. So, I thought I'd post the original "unedited director's cut" just in case some of you wanted to go a bit deeper. Later this week, you can get the audio or video podcast at Once again, it was a great honor to share my heart with the entire body. I pray that ultimately it served to strengthen the body & help everyone to go deeper in worship.


The Triumphal Entry
Mark 11:1-19


This passage gives us a new identity for Jesus. Jesus the worship planner and worship leader.

Jesus chose the timing of this event and the venue. He decided to take worship to the streets.

Up till this time he has slipped in and out of Jerusalem and instructed people he healed not to tell anyone.

Now he is creating an event, and in essence saying, “Let er’ rip!”

He arranged for the loan of a donkey’s colt, and set up a pre-arranged signal. He told his disciples to untie the donkey and say, “The Lord needs it and will send it back here shortly.”

Apparently the event was announced ahead of time because people from the villages were there, equipped with palm fronds and tree branches from the country side to lay in his path.

He planned a “parade route”.

He built the entire experience around a passage of scripture. Psalm118:19-29


How do you experience “Jesus the worship planner” here at Faith?

Periodically I’ll hear through the grapevine of someone asking the question…what do the Pastors do the rest of the week? This always makes me laugh Here’s some scriptures that might help to paint a picture of the planning that takes place…

Numbers 28:24-25 24 In this way prepare the food for the offering made by fire every day for seven days as an aroma pleasing to the LORD; it is to be prepared in addition to the regular burnt offering and its drink offering. 25 On the seventh day hold a sacred assembly and do no regular work.

Isaiah 57:14 14 And it will be said:
"Build up, build up, prepare the road!
Remove the obstacles out of the way of my people."

The Bible is so clear on many accounts of how we are to “prepare the way of the Lord”…”prepare the offerings”…”clear a path for the people to meet with God.”

It’s my job (& pleasure) to work hard at preparing, appointing, arranging, developing, strengthening, discipling…all with the goal of connecting people with their Savior.

What are the considerations you have in mind as you prepare a worship event?

John 4:23 23Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.

In order for any worship event to be a “pleasing aroma” to our God, I have to first make a covenant in my heart to always produce experiences that stand on the truth of God’s Word & make room for the Holy spirit to move in & amongst the people.

The previous question asked about my role as a “planner” here at Faith. I believe wholeheartedly that the worship experience should be planned well enough, so that the Holy Spirit has freedom to move without chaos. “God is not a God of disorder, but of peace”. I always want to be prepared enough to do what is planned & do it well…or, throw it out the window…also done well.


It is easy to read through these verses and miss the scale of this event. It was massive! Matthew 21:10 says “the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” In John 12:19 the Pharisees are dismayed by the event and exclaim, “Look how the whole world has gone after him!”

Jesus took worship to the streets! It seems that part of the reason for this is that the Jewish leaders had taken temple worship away from the common people. Later he cleanses the temple, but first he orchestrates a huge worship event in the streets. This was the first ever “March for Jesus.”


What safeguards do we have in place to insure that we don’t take worship away from the average person? Often when I travel and visit other churches, I experience dark auditoriums where everyone is focused on the band and almost no one is singing. How do we avoid that?

There’s a great visual in the book of Revelation that will help me to answer this question…

Revelation 5: 11-13 11Then I looked and heard the voice of many angels, numbering thousands upon thousands, and ten thousand times ten thousand. They encircled the throne and the living creatures and the elders. 12In a loud voice they sang:
"Worthy is the Lamb, who was slain,
to receive power and wealth and wisdom and strength
and honor and glory and praise!"

13Then I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and on the sea, and all that is in them, singing:
"To him who sits on the throne and to the Lamb
be praise and honor and glory and power,
for ever and ever!" 14The four living creatures said, "Amen," and the elders fell down and worshiped.

If you’ll notice in verse 13, it says two very important words…”every creature”. In verse 11, the “angels” made the charge to worship, in verse 12 they did it & in verse 13, the whole world joined in.

Though the musical team is not angelic,J we are charging forward & setting the example for the rest of the body to follow. We place a high value on congregational participation. THIS IS NOT ABOUT US!

To be more practical…

-we keep the lights dimmed, but not completely off (unless needed to set a certain mood). -we vary the dynamics or “feel” of the worship set (louder moments, softer moments, fast, slow, etc...) -Though we are a modern worship culture, we want to pay homage to the great hymns of our past.

Ultimately, no matter what the lights are doing, what the volume or instrumentation may be, I really believe it all comes down to the “culture” of worship that is fostered from the platform. Faith is a worshipping church!

Walk us through the preparation process for a typical week end. What considerations you have in mind in choosing songs and music?

First of all, pray, pray, study the Word & pray! (kneeling bench story)

Every Tuesday, the pastors sit down to plan the logistics of our services. We, thankfully, have a long range planning document that has the themes of each service for a couple of months or so.

I always strive to have everything loosely planned two weeks in advance. That enables me to get the music to each band member a week before our rehearsal. Sed also has his tech team picked out about a week in advance as does Liza with her team of greeters, communion servers, ushers, etc…

I’m a very thematic planner & try my best to tie in at least a couple of songs to the theme of the week. I really believe that people can leave with a greater understanding of the Word if as many service elements as possible work together to get the message across.


This event was clearly a fulfillment of prophecy and the announcement of the beginning of Jesus’ kingdom.

Zechariah 9:9-10 “Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Jerusalem! See, your king comes to you, righteous and having salvation, gentle and riding on a donkey, on a colt, the foal of a donkey. I will take away the chariots from Ephraim and the war horses from Jerusalem, and the battle bow will be broken.

He will proclaim peace to the nations. His rule will extend from sea to sea and from the river to the ends of the earth.”


What role does worship play in fulfilling prophecy and bringing new things into being in a body of believers?

The Word is so full of OT prophecies & their NT fulfillment. Over 400 to be exact. I believe this serves to strengthen our faith! Isaiah 61:1&2 was essentially given by Jesus in Luke as His job description…

1 The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to preach good news to the poor.
He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim freedom for the captives
and release from darkness for the prisoners, [a] 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD's favor

Prophecy is where the “worshipping in Spirit” comes into play.

1 Corinthians 14:3 3But everyone who prophesies speaks to men for their strengthening, encouragement and comfort.

God WILL NOT use the corporate worship experience to condemn you, although he may use it to convict you.

Prophecy – The divinely inspired prediction, instruction, exhortation or revelation.

As mentioned earlier, I do my best to plan the weekend services in such a way that will Glorify our God & take you to Him. Part of that preparation is leaving room for the “divine inspiration” that is given to me as God’s voicebox. I don’t know when or if a prophetic word is going to happen, but I hope & pray that it does & make room for the Holy Spirit accordingly.

How does worship fulfill the role of “opening the gates” and ushering in change?

As mentioned in the previous statement, worship can be convicting. When genuine worship is occurring, our hearts are laid bare before our creator. If you truly let go fully in worship, God can & will do amazing things in & through you.

This verse in Malachi shows the comparison between closing the gate & flinging it wide open…

Malachi 3:9-10 9 You are under a curse—the whole nation of you—because you are robbing me. 10 Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this," says the LORD Almighty, "and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that you will not have room enough for it.

Money aside, I believe this scripture is ultimately about bringing God our best & seeing the change it makes in us, or…holding back & being under oppression.

Do you consciously plan for this?

YES! & then, as it says in Psalm 5…”I wait in expectation”


Mark 11:9,10 “Those who went ahead and those who followed shouted, Hosanna! Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord! Blessed is the coming kingdom of our father David! Hosanna in the highest!

Hosanna means, “save now!” It is a statement of praise for God’s salvation, but it is also a cry of need.

The people of Jerusalem had tasted healing, they had tasted Jesus’ teaching and His forgiveness and they are crying out for more!


How do baptisms, baptism videos and “altar calls” contribute to worship?

In one word…CELEBRATE! We are FAMILY here & these are all significant life-changing decisions that we should & need to celebrate on behalf of each other. It ultimately strengthens the body.


Predictably, objections arise:

Luke 19:37-40 “When he came near the place where the road goes down the Mount of Olives, the whole crowd of disciples began joyfully to praise God in loud voices for all the miracles they had seen:

‘Blessed is the king who comes in the name of the Lord!’ ‘Peace in heaven and glory in the highest!’

Some of the Pharisees in the crowd said to Jesus, ‘Teacher, rebuke your disciples!’ I tell you, he replied, ‘If they keep quiet the stones will cry out.’”


Why is worship so controversial?

Though we “worship” together corporately every week, this is an intensely personal act between each of us & our creator. The “way” in which it is conducted will always be controversial to some extent. However, I am so incredibly thankful for Faith Christian Community! Yes, we all have our opinions, but for the most part we “come together” at the foot of the cross. BE PLEASED IN THIS CHURCH! Unfortunately, this is somewhat rare in churches throughout the world.

What sort of issues are the basis for the most concern?

If any, sound seems to be the issue that has the most opinions…& it will continue. To take it back to scripture, the Bible speaks of worship as being “loud” over 50 times from Old Testament to the New Testament. It also speaks of “being still” & “meditating” on the Lord almost as much. There are times to bring a “SHOUT” of joy & there are times to be quiet. We try to have both when we come together to worship.

How do we respond to concerns?

First of all, please don’t hesitate to come to me with anything. Being true to the leader that God made me, I am constantly working towards bringing God an excellent offering. We are a multi-cultural, multi-generational church. This is a BEAUTIFUL picture of eternity. The challenge is set before me every week to bring EVERYONE to the throne room of the Almighty.

What do we do in the process of planning to allow for different musical “Languages” and tastes?

As mentioned earlier, I always plan the services, keeping in mind the multi-faceted make-up of our body here at Faith. Sometimes I hit a home-run, sometimes I don’t. I would also ask of you that you keep Philippians 2:1-3 on your heart…

1If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and purpose. 3Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves.


There is a second wave of worship at the temple: Matthew 21:14-16 “The blind and the lame came to him at the temple, and he healed them. But when the chief priests and the teachers of the law saw the wonderful things he did and the children shouting in the temple area, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David,’ they were indignant.

Do you hear what these children are saying?’ they asked him. ‘Yes’ replied Jesus, have you never read. ‘from the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise’?”


You often emphasize healing in your songs and your remarks during worhip. What is your experience regarding this?

I’d like to answer this with both scripture & a very recent story…

Acts 3:1-16 1One day Peter and John were going up to the temple at the time of prayer—at three in the afternoon. 2Now a man crippled from birth was being carried to the temple gate called Beautiful, where he was put every day to beg from those going into the temple courts. 3When he saw Peter and John about to enter, he asked them for money. 4Peter looked straight at him, as did John. Then Peter said, "Look at us!" 5So the man gave them his attention, expecting to get something from them.

6Then Peter said, "Silver or gold I do not have, but what I have I give you. In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, walk." 7Taking him by the right hand, he helped him up, and instantly the man's feet and ankles became strong. 8He jumped to his feet and began to walk. Then he went with them into the temple courts, walking and jumping, and praising God. 9When all the people saw him walking and praising God, 10they recognized him as the same man who used to sit begging at the temple gate called Beautiful, and they were filled with wonder and amazement at what had happened to him.

11While the beggar held on to Peter and John, all the people were astonished and came running to them in the place called Solomon's Colonnade. 12When Peter saw this, he said to them: "Men of Israel, why does this surprise you? Why do you stare at us as if by our own power or godliness we had made this man walk? 13The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God of our fathers, has glorified his servant Jesus. You handed him over to be killed, and you disowned him before Pilate, though he had decided to let him go. 14You disowned the Holy and Righteous One and asked that a murderer be released to you. 15You killed the author of life, but God raised him from the dead. We are witnesses of this. 16By faith in the name of Jesus, this man whom you see and know was made strong. It is Jesus' name and the faith that comes through him that has given this complete healing to him, as you can all see.

After Jesus was crucified, resurrected & ascended, one of His disciples continued to heal in HIS name. THAT’S US!!! Through genuine worship, healing can & does happen. What that looks like is up to God.

Secondly – Kathy’s N.O.W. SKYPE STORY (Kathy, feel free to share this story with our readers in the comments)

How should we experience healing during worship and how does it contribute to our times of worship?

I don’t think we should ever force or manipulate the moment. If we’re simply & completely abandoned in worship, God will do the rest. Just be open.

What do you think about the role of children in worship? Does everyone remember two weeks ago when the kids came in & joined us in worship? Wasn’t it great! Dan & his team do a great job with worship for the kids in Cabin Theater. However, we would love to have your kids in here with you when you see fit.

The scriptures are clear on this…

Matthew 19:14

14Jesus said, "Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these."

Not only that, but they are to be our example…

Matthew 18:3

And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.


Steve: Enough talk about worship- let’s do it! Stand and join us as we celebrate the healing and salvation we have been given through Jesus Christ!


  1. I was a blessing to know that you shared my healing story with your church, and I look forward to hearing the podcast!

    Last summer my liver began bleeding. After a medflight to a large hospital and many days there, I came home to a different life, a life of pain and weakness and addiction to painkillers. I can't even express how horrible it was! After the worst 10 weeks of my life, I watched FCC’s Night of Worship by Skype. I felt the presence of God very strongly, and as they sang “Healer,” I knew God was healing me. When I woke up the next day, I felt different in every way. I didn’t have any more pain, and I was able to quit the Oxycodone without withdrawals. Not only was I physically healed, I was delivered from a spiritual oppression that I didn’t even realize I was under until it was gone.

    I've been a Christian for nearly 40 years, and I've seen God do a lot of amazing things, but that was definitely one of the MOST amazing!

  2. The message files are now online! You can access them at the links below: