Posts Tagged ‘music’

The Acceptable, the Good and the Perfect

May 7, 2015

I am a percussionist.  I have played percussion instruments in performance groups and in worship teams for over thirty-five years.   As a percussionist, I have a fairly large collection of instruments.  I have a vibraphone, marimba, orchestra bells, timpani, congas, bongos, tempo blocks, cowbells, tambourines, a guiro, afuche, claves, various types of shakers, and more.

I played drums and percussion in school.  There was music.  I played what was written.  When I was first asked to play in church, I asked if there was music.  The director laughed, told me no, and that he would teach me to improvise.

Now I hardly ever use written music.

One of the challenges that  a percussionist faces is determining what instrument is going to be the best choice for a particular song, or part of a song.  Personally, I pray that I will be inspired by God’s Spirit to best be in tune with the worship that is taking place.  Paul speaks of singing in the Spirit, my goal is to play in the Spirit.

Last night during the worship service, as I was selecting which instrument to play, it occurred to me that it was a good illustration of our life choices.  In the same way that I have many instruments from which I can choose to play, I also have many ways in which I can spend my time.  In fact, I have far more things that I could do, than I could possibly have time or energy to do.

I could play many instruments and sound decent, but there is only one instrument that would be best.  It is the same in life, the challenge is to select the best thing to do with our time at any given moment.

I am still working on that.

Romans 12: 1-2

I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

In playing my instruments, I want to be the best that I can be.  In life, my desire is to be in the perfect will of God, not just the good, or the merely acceptable, but the perfect.  I am glad that God accepts me in my imperfection, but I want to be the best that I can be in my service to God, not just as a musician, but in all areas of my life.

I hope that is true for you as well.

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Music With Mallets

October 13, 2011

Last night, after church,  we had band practice with a new drummer.  The addition of another drummer meant that I will be able to focus on the mallet instruments.   I have a marimba, vibraharp, and orchestra bells that have been only occasionally used for years.  Last night we had the new guy on drums, another person on hand drums and various percussion pieces, and that left me free to play the mallet instruments.

It was fun.

Over twenty years ago, I played the mallet instruments exclusively on a couple of worship teams.  I had forgotten how much fun it was to focus on those instruments.  I am looking forward to becoming reacquainted.

In His Presence

February 18, 2010

Back in the seventies I played percussion in a gospel group called the Christian Life Singers.  I had the opportunity to play in a wide variety of places over the three years that I was with them.  I even had the chance to play with some recording artists at a couple of concerts.  I greatly enjoyed all of those experiences.

As it turned out, I entered the ministry as a pastor, who happens to also be a musician, as opposed to specializing in music ministry.  So, for going on twenty years, I have played as a part of the worship team of a small church, in a small town. 

Last night as we were worshipping the Lord through music, I had a revelation.  I imagined that I was playing in the throne room of God.  Instead of the small group of believers who were gathered, I thought of the presence of Almighty God, not as if He was in our presence, but as if we were in His.

What a difference that made in my appreciation of that worship experience!  I was playing In His Presence, and it was wonderful.  For years, I have quoted the verse “Wherever two or three are gathered together in my name, there I am in the midst of them.”, but the idea of my being In His Presence, was somehow, more inspiring.

How different would our worship be, if each of us thought of ourselves as worshipping in the throneroom of God?  Of worshipping In His Presence?     

If you would like to leave a comment, or to read how others have responded, click on “comments” below.

Experiencing God in Worship

September 15, 2008

I have always, for as long as I can remember, enjoyed the musical aspects of church services.  Some of my earliest memories are of standing next to my father singing hymns in the Lutheran church that we attended.  The song “Holy, Holy, Holy” will forever have a special place in my heart.  I remember the songs that we sang in Sunday School, and then at camp.  Those songs were special to me and they touched my heart.  Then I started attending Camp Zion, and was introduced to a whole new style of worship.  After a couple of years I was able to join the Christian Life Singers and become a part of the worship team playing percussion instruments.  I always wanted to be filled with the Spirit as I played so that in the same way that we can be led by the Spirit in our words and our actions, that I would be led by the Spirit as I played.

It has been thirty years since I first started playing on the worship team.   It has reached the point where I would rather be playing either drums or percussian than singing in the congregation. 

The wonderful thing is, that either playing or singing, I can have a wonderful sense of the presence of  God in worship.  The sense of the presence of God brings healing and refreshment to my mind, body, and spirit.  Usually,  I am almost oblivious to the rest of the congregation because my focus is on God.  Sometimes, though I will look around the congregation, just to get a sense of how others are responding.  Many are like me, lost in worship, enjoying an encounter with the Spirit of God, but some are passively waiting for the singing to be over.  I feel sorry for all of those people who seem unable to make the connection.  Who seem unaware of the presence of God.  It is possible that they too, are experiencing an encounter with God, only it is not outwardly expressed.  I hope that that is the case.  I can’t understand how they can be immune to what God can do in a simple worship service.  I hope and pray that everyone who is present will have an encounter with God, that in every worship service, all will be refreshed and renewed in their faith, even as I am refreshed and renewed in my own.