All I Really Need: Oct 10th - 16th

This Week & Beyond...

Hey hey everyone!!  A belated Happy Thanksgiving to you all!!  Just in case you forgot, I am thankful for you!

A big shout out to everyone on the team heading out to NALC in Fargo this weekend and serving.  Such a blessing to be sending so many from our small church.  It's quite crazy actually, we often have the highest percentage of leaders attending these functions.  God is sooo faithful and good to us.  We are simply never lacking!

****A reminder to pray for the few back home.  It's business as usual at Calvary and most of our leadership will be in Fargo.  Please keep myself and Matt in mind as we lead the service here in Steinbach.  Praise the Lord that He is Omnipresent!! :)

The Year Ahead...

Since the kick-off meeting, I've been touching base with a few things on my heart for the upcoming year.  This week...

Team Nights!!
If you've been on planning centre lately, you've probably noticed a bunch of ***Special Events*** labelled "team nights".  Over the past number of years we have talked often of how it would be great to be more relational.  Being more proactive in hanging out, getting to know each other, writing songs  and worshipping together.  Idea's like having a "Praise & Worship" community group for example.  Well, this year, my plan is to do more than just talk or have one evening in 10 months.  Starting this October 30th, we will be having monthly "Team Nights", of which, you can feel free to attend or not attend, however, are encouraged to attend, so, be atten..tive! :)

The heart behind these nights is exactly what we've been talking about over the years, as mentioned above.  Each night may look a little different.  One night may consist of going bowling or some other event where we all just let our hair down and laugh and be together.  Have fun.  Another night may look like getting together at Calvary and powering up the system and worshipping all out for sometime.  Hmm, that would be fun too.  While other nights may consist of gathering at 36 McKenzie and having a prayer/acoustic worship evening.  It's been suggested a number of times that as we worship together, the Lord may give us songs together.  

In any case, I feel the Lord is calling us to grow together.  No matter what the format, it's important that we are together, and Lord willing, these nights will serve as opportunities to do just that.   

Practices...
When it came to the survey, few other things were mentioned as often as the need for more focused practice nights.  While I've spoken of the importance before, it's clear that I haven't walked the walk like I need to.  So, moving forward, I would like us to think about the following as we come to practice on a Thursday night:

- We need to pray!  More than any other thing on a Sunday morning, we need the Holy Spirit.  If He's not with us, it's just music, the world can do music, and we don't want to be the world.  Spending time together and seeking the Lord personally and corporately, needs to be part of what we do as we prepare to lead Calvary in music. (for more on this, read the devo below)
- We need to communicate.  Firstly, as a leader, it's important that I tell you what's on my heart.  Leading well includes directing and letting you know what is good, and, what isn't.  I can really struggle with this.  I love to just let it flow and see where it goes.  It's kind of how I'm wired, however, only kind of.  I recognize that it's not always a blessing for you to be guessing how I feel about what you're doing or not doing.  Secondly, communicating is important in regards to being prepared for practice.  Songs listed on time, ideas about what style, etc.  More communication leads to more peace, and, preparation.
- Attention to detail.  Song structure, playing loud, playing quiet, and lyrics displayed at the right time are but a few things that can make a Sunday yay or nay.  Living busy lives makes it so easy to just want to come and fly through what we need to get through and take off.  Let's come to practice prepared to be invested in what we need to accomplish.  That may mean staying a little later, being on time(umm for sure!), or being faithful in speaking up when you have a thought or idea.  It may mean taking notes so that, come Sunday morning, we don't need to spend so much time remembering, and thus, so much time practicing.  Whatever the case, by being attentive, we'll be a blessing to others, including the congregation, and, the Lord!

If you have any other thoughts about Team Nights and/or Practices, please don't hesitate to contact me!  gjfriesen@gmail.com or 204.381.0105

Devotional...

All I Really Need
by Tom Kraeuter, Hillsboro, Missouri    

"I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing." (John 15:5)

I ran through the check list in mind. I had just left home, headed off to yet another distant city to present a worship seminar. Like always, I wanted to be sure I hadn't forgotten anything. So as I drove away from my house, I mentally ticked off each item that I needed to have with me. Of course, it would be best if I did this prior to leaving home, but, hey, better late than never, right?

Notes for teaching. Check. Video projection files. Check. Video projection printed script. Check. Teaching props. Computer. Guitar. Cords, tuner, extra strings, and other accessories for the guitar. Music. Microphone. Transmitter, receiver and cords for microphone. All were present and accounted for.

Then on to the personal items. Cell phone. Clothes for Saturday: pants, shirt, shoes, socks, underwear (note to self: be sure to see if it's okay to use the word underwear in one of these devotions). Clothes for Sunday: shirt, tie, same pants and shoes as Saturday, but different socks and underwear. Pajamas. Toiletry items: tooth brush, toothpaste, deodorant, shampoo, razor, shaving gel, hair gel, other miscellaneous items. And last but not least, chocolate for after the seminar is over.

Wow! I thought. That's a lot of stuff to keep track of. But I think that's all of it. I've got everything I need.

Then it dawned on me. I hadn't even thought about the most important thing, the One I can't do without. I can live without all those things on my mental check list. They're all peripheral issues. I can even teach a worship seminar without those things. Believe, me, I know. Once, both my suitcase with my clothes as well as my guitar didn't show up until an hour after the seminar was over. It wasn't easy, but it went okay. (Ask me about the story some time. It's hilarious!)

What I can't do, however, is anything of any lasting value without the Lord Himself empowering me. Jesus said, "Apart from me, you can do nothing" (John 15:5). Without Him, I've got nothing to offer. Apart from Him, I really can't do anything.

I remember when I was regularly involved with the worship ministry of our church. I'd run through my mental check list before leaving for church on Sunday morning. I would make sure I had my instrument and any peripheral items to go with it. I'd be certain I had my music and my Bible. I'd double check to be sure I was dressed appropriately and that I looked acceptable. (Not good, mind you, just acceptable.) If all those things were okay, then I was ready.

The truth, though, is that I could have all those things and still not be ready. Without an utter dependence on God, those other things are worthless.

As you help to lead God's people in worship, always be sure that the one really essential thing is intact. Without the Lord, you're just making noise. Pray. Ask Him to lead you and empower you to do all that is necessary as you help lead worship. Declare with your heart and your mouth what He already knows: that you are totally dependent on Him.

GOING DEEPER: 

1. Do you ever run through your own mental checklist before leaving home to go help lead people in worship? If so, are there things on your list that weren't mentioned in the article?
2. Do you consider the most important thing, in other words, God? How do you go about inviting Him into your situation?
3. What does abiding in Him look like in practical terms as you prepare for worship?