Church Musician Newsletter
Greetings Church Musicians,
What a month! Congratulations for facilitating wonderful Easter celebrations throughout the land.
The world seemed to stand still, briefly, to remember a spiritual leader's passing. And the images covering our TV screens reminded us that people everywhere are seeking meaning and purpose in their lives.
I hope you enjoy this month's issue.
Church Musician Tips
Church Musician Jobs Updates
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This Month's Tip
With the conference season just beginning, now is the time to do your planning to go to one.
Even if you're in church serving with no budget for training, I'm there, too. All I can say is, plan to go, ask God to provide the money, and don't lose heart.
Maybe you're in a setting where money isn't the problem, it's just deciding where you want to go and which conference is the best. I like the Integrity Music conferences. But, if you've been to them before, why not try something new and write an article for us.
I know this can be a sacrifice, when vacation is scarce; I also know it's time well spent, hearing great artists and instruction. You will reap benefits for years to come, so I hope you will prayerfully consider it.
Spring is finally here. Which means the conference season is ready to start, too. I've highlighted a few of these events - just so you don't miss out.
One In Worship - June 10 and 11 - Detroit, MI.
If you're near Detroit, MI, you should check this out. It looks like it should be very meaningful.
I love this next statment.
"We may never be one in doctrine," Bishop Merritt acknowledges. "We may never be one in all our beliefs. But when the presence of God fills a room, we can be one in worship. Last summer, we experienced the power of God's love during One in Worship. This June we have an even greater opportunity to unite in prayer, to lift up our voices to God and ask for his love, strength and forgiveness."
One in Worship is expected to draw tens of thousands to the stadium that will be the site of the next Super Bowl. Preferred seating is available in advance for $20. To register, call 1-800-901-2535 or visit www.oneinworship.com.
Read the press release
Conferences and Colleges
It is amazing to consider all the traning options available for church musicians today.
If you are excited about the potential of using music to reach people for Christ, you need to check out this list of organizations offering training for church musicians.
In the Chicago area. Check this out at www.seminary.edu
New Life School Of Worship
You can find out more at www.newlifeschoolofworship.com
Purpose Driven Worship Conference
From July 12-15, 2005. Learn more at www.purposedriven.com
This happens in 8 different locations this year. Learn more at www.seminars4worship.com
The Judah Conference
July 13, 14, 15, 2005 in Orlando Florida. Check it out at www.clintbrown.net
Integrity Worship Institute
Offering The Certificate In Worship Leadership. Find out more at www.integrityworship.org
The Willow Arts Conference
June 14-17, 2005. Check it out at www.willowcreek.org
This month I made some updates to the Worship Team Handbook which make it easy to navigate. Even added a print button, too. I just started a link exchange so you can benefit from great church musician sites all over the internet from just one place.
Worship Team Handbook
The Worship Team Handbook can help you get organized as a worship leader, worship team, music ministry. Think of the worship team handbook as another worship leader tool or as help for worship teams, something you can build together. Provides a great way to say it, agree with it, write it down, live by it.
Church Musician Jobs is working to bring you the best music links, music services and helpful partners, so you can learn and grow in your present role and enhance your craft to be even more effective in the future.
How to present your body as a living sacrifice
by Avery Willis
I once heard Bill Tisdale, a missionary to the Philippines, give an illustration about surrendering his physical body to the Lord. He described presenting the parts of his body one by one for Christ’s use through a prayer like this:
“Lord, here are my eyes. I give them to you. I want them to see only the things you want them to see. Help me to always look at the things you want to look at and avoid the things you do not want to look at. Here are my hands. Work through my hands to do what you want to do. Here are my feet. Guide them to go where you want them to go. I give you the lordship of my body.”
That illustration helped me. Each time I was tempted to let a part of my body dominate me, I offered that part to Christ so he could master it and use it for his glory.
God’s intentions for your body
God intends for the body to perform three essential functions:
Your body identifies you as a unique person. It provides you with individual features so that others can recognize you.
Your body allows you to participate in the world. You can experience the world through your senses, move about and interact in the physical dimension.
Your body helps you to communicate with others. Being able to touch, speak, and express yourself physically makes you able to relate to others.
Your body allows you to influence the created order. Because you have mobility, you can move from place to place to perform God’s tasks. Because you have strength in your body, you can fulfill assignments for him.
But the first humans failed to do what God asked. Instead of partnering with God in ruling the world, Adam and Eve selfishly decided to do things their own way. The result was chaos. When they sinned, their good bodies were invaded by a sinful nature.
Your body can still be used for good. The fact that Jesus was incarnated in a human body testifies to the fact that God looks with favor on the physical body (see John 1:14).
The potential for your body to be used in positive, Christ-honoring ways is tremendous. However, in reality, your body is still subject to sin and death. Although the body is not evil in itself, it is weak and susceptible to the flesh. The body has the capacity to do good if the flesh is not in control.
Being self-disciplined is not in my nature. I have found that Spirit-control, not self-control, makes the difference. The Holy Spirit can control what I cannot. I must say again and again, “Lord, I can’t control this; will you control it?” Then he takes over and controls the part of my life that my physical body might lead me to misuse or misapply.
Becoming an instrument of righteousness
How do you realize this potential for righteous living? It is through your identification with Christ in his incarnation, crucifixion, and resurrection. His crucifixion frees you from sin’s bondage, and his resurrection gives you life through the Spirit. “We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” (Romans 6:6, NIV)
Because your old self is crucified with Christ, you are no longer a slave to the body of sin. You can act as the new creation you are in Christ. You can consider your sinful nature, with its lusts and desires, dead; and so you can walk in the Spirit as he directs your thoughts and actions.
A living sacrifice
Christ wants a life fully given to him. This means you do more than give lip service to your faith. It means you commit your body to holy, righteous living.
Presenting your body to God can be the most freeing, gratifying, and joyful feeling in the world. You have a choice about how your body responds to situations. The decision to present your body as a living sacrifice means you close the door of the flesh. With the Holy Spirit’s help, you can change harmful habits and yield all of your life, not just part of it, to the Master.
Stop a moment and think about the various parts of your body. Think about your eyes, hands, ears, stomach, sex organs, or tongue. In which of these do you feel you need the most help surrendering to God? Ask him to help you by making you aware of his presence when you are tempted to use that part of your body in wrong living. Then ask him to give you victory over that temptation.
Your victory is not automatic. As long as you live in your body, you continually fight the good fight of faith. But God promises you victory. Let me explain in practical terms how to let Christ master your total personality and enable you to live in the Spirit.
How to live victoriously
1. Ask God, through the Holy Spirit’s guidance, to help you to will to do the right thing.“For it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” (Philippians 2:13, NIV) God helps you to want to do his will and then gives you the ability to do it.
2. Open the door of the spirit to the Spirit of God by asking him to fill you.“Be filled with the Spirit.” (Ephesians 5:18, NIV) Ask the Holy Spirit to fill your personality and to keep on filling you so he can guide you, teach you, and give you power to be a spiritual person.
3. Close the door of the flesh to Satan by confessing your sins and claiming Christ’s crucifixion of the flesh.“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live; but Christ lives in me. The life I live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NIV)
4. Renew your mind by saturating it in the Word of God.“Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is -- his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Romans 12:2, NIV) As you listen to God and his Word and obey him, your mind is renewed. You experience the mind of Christ helping you know and understand the will of God.
5. Allow the Holy Spirit to master your emotions by producing the fruit of the Spirit in you.“The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.” (Galatians 5:22, 23, NIV) The fruit of the Spirit helps produce the right emotions in you.
6. Present your body to Christ as an instrument of righteousness.“Do not offer the parts of your body to sin, as instruments of wickedness, but rather … offer the parts of your body to him as instruments of righteousness.” (Romans 6:12, 13, NIV) Your body is not evil in itself, only the flesh, or your sinful nature, is evil. Present your body and all of its members to God.
7. Love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength. As you yield yourself to God fully, the Holy Spirit helps you to master your mind, will, emotions, body, and soul through the power of Christ. Now, take a moment to evaluate your own life.
Are you a natural person whose spirit is dead? Do your bodily senses and your natural desires control you?
Are you a worldly Christian who has allowed Christ to enter your life but is still being mastered by the desires of the flesh? Is the big “I” still in control?
Are you a spiritual Christian who has been crucified with Christ and is being controlled by the Holy Spirit?
Spiritual Christians are not perfect, but daily they crucify the flesh and consciously allow the Holy Spirit to fill them. When tempted, they invite Christ to fill their lives and they close the door of the flesh. When they sin, they ask for God’s forgiveness and strength to help them overcome the next temptation. They continually seek to offer themselves -- mentally, emotionally, and physically -- to Christ to be used for his purposes.
Only through the power of the Holy Spirit can this occur, and only when he is invited to come in his awesome presence and power.
Article by Avery Willis
Copyright 2005. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
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Until next month, may grace and peace by yours,
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