God Of the Seeds

We are a culture of instant gratification. Do you want food? Just say the word and the waiter will bring it to you. Do you want to watch a particular tv show? Just click the button and have it on demand.

We often bring this mindset to God as well. We think of God’s word in these instantaneous “Let there be light” moments where God just commands something to happen, and it immediately happens, and waiting for things to happen is simply waiting for Him to finally decide to instantaneously command it into being. Read more

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Does Jesus Make You Smile?

Sunday mornings are fun. As a church, it’s the opportunity to pour out your hearts to your Father with your brothers and sisters. As a worship band, it’s the opportunity to pour out, not just your heart, but your art as you engage your Father with your brothers and sisters.

But for most contemporary Western churches, the morning starts early. We tend to do a sound check long before the first service begins, and often do a run through of the songs. And to make it on time for that, you usually have to wake up around 6:00 a.m. So it is quite common for worship musicians and vocalists to lack energy during the sound check.

If you have ever served on a worship team, you’ll often hear one of your pastors or worship leaders tell the team after the run through to make sure they are smiling. They’ll often say, “This song has uplifting, joyful lyrics. So let’s make sure we look joyful. I know it’s early!”

After one of these such conversations about a year ago, I began to think about that concept of smiling while leading worship. But my mind went, not to a corporate worship setting, but to the ABC hit show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

I have a friend that actually was on that show! And if you’ve seen that show, you’ll know that every episode features the person receiving the new house in tears, weeping for joy.

My friend is a pretty emotional person. I’ve seen him genuinely cry before, on a number of occasions. But when the producers of the show had the cameras in his face, they told him, “Okay, we need you to cry now. We need to see the tears!” They were trying to get him to cry on command for the camera because it fit the moment they needed.

And as I think back to the Sunday morning conversation we’ve all had as worship team members, I wonder how often we go through emotional expressions from a production standpoint, rather than as overflow. I’m not saying it’s wrong for pastors and worship leaders to encourage vocalists and musicians to smile. It’s important to shepherd your people toward more wholistic worship. But I am speaking to where the smile comes from.

There have been many times, when I have begun to smile while leading worship, that I was doing it more from a production standpoint than as a natural overflow of joy. Am I smiling simply because the script calls for it? Is that an okay place to start from? Or does Jesus actually make you smile? Does he make you smile like you do when you’re with the ones you love? Does he make you smile like you do when you are overflowing with joy, anticipation, or celebration? If not, why not? It might be something worth mulling over.