PUSH | GRIND | HARD WORK

These four words have been on my mind since last November when I began to plan for this year. I know that I’ve made sacrifices to get to the place that I’m at now, but in many ways I’ve been playing it safe. There have been times where I’ve attained extreme courage from Christ & been able to be bold in making moves. However, many instances have not been like that. Are we living by faith if we have a back-up plan “just in case” God doesn’t come through?

In any case, I know that I haven’t always put my best foot forward in growing in Christ, my gifts, & my relationships. But as I made moves & plans for this year, I remembered these four words…

PUSH | GRIND | HARD WORK

In many of my conversations with friends recently, we’ve talked about not giving up. Pushing past barriers & boundaries that hold us back from God & our potential. We’ve mentioned this idea that you have to PUSH, you have to put your nose to the floor & GRIND, and that anything worthwhile is HARD WORK. PUSH has been correlated with our intimate & personal relationship with God… how we grow in our knowledge & love for Him. GRIND & HARD WORK has been the subject of how we walk in faith.

I love the acronym that some pastors have used for PUSH… Pray Until Something Happens. Keep praying! Have FAITH! Persevere! DON’T give up! You have to push past the feelings that are not true into God’s truth and declare to your negative emotions that they cannot control you. You have to rebuke the enemy & his lies. You have to PUSH past the haters and do what God is calling you to do even when it doesn’t make since.

Allow your relationship with God to not be based on your feelings, but upon the Truth. Push for the truth. Push forward into love for your enemies. Push past pain into healing. You got to push.

The everyday grind looks different for everyone, but I’ll say that we all need to realize that things won’t get done, we won’t grow, relationships won’t develop, etc. if we don’t pray & seek God’s will and then ACT upon what He says when He calls you to go! Maybe you are called to preach the Gospel in foreign countries. If so, what daily deposit are you making into your life’s “bank account” to move towards that? How are you making moves to walk on the path God is paving for you? We often times “hope & pray” that God will fulfill the desires He put in us; but how often do we believe in FAITH that what He said is true and listen to Him when He says to go since He’s already before us? Please hear me… I am not saying to go forward & act upon your own will to “get things done”. I’m speaking to those of us who are scared, nervous, anxious, or doubtful of what God has spoken to us. We may not be “sure” that it’s what we are supposed to do because our fear is telling us it’s not safe when GOD has already told us to go because He’s before us. So we must GRIND when God says “Take that internship. Practice your gift. Read and study my word. Go and don’t look back.” Because anything worthwhile takes HARD WORK.

I’ll give you my personal example:

I’m a worship leader, assistant youth minister, music teacher, social media intern for a Christian organization, blogger, & lover of learning. Choosing to be intentional and work hard everyday is not easy. There are days when I don’t want to invest in my talents and gifts because I want to watch the rest of Season 1 of Gilmore Girls (yes, I’m on the bandwagon). There are days I want to skip meetings, early morning tasks, practices/rehearsals, etc. Sometimes I just want to sit on the couch & watch Netflix and nap. But I have made a conscious decision everyday to work on my knowledge of music theory & musicianship so that I can grow my gift as a worship leader. I watch videos of worship leaders I look up to so that I can study them and see what might work in my context. I have to take a part songs and decide where to put a harmony and which harmony could be done there. I have to read books about teens & how to handle certain situations that pertain to their everyday life. I have to check the news & read articles to understand what kind of information our students are being fed on a day-to-day basis. I have to research new teaching methods for cultivating my music students & their gifts. I have to look at design websites, social media platforms that attract many followers, and continue to be innovative & creative. I have to read other blogs, study their website design, and find ways to make my videos/posts/site aesthetically pleasing & creative. I have to read, learn, and grow in the small questions that I have and want answered. My everyday might look different than yours, but this is what it means to GRIND & put in HARD WORK. Cultivate those things God has given you. Allow Him to refine you through conversations with trusted friends, family, & authority in your life. You can’t sit back doing nothing & hope that God just makes you into the person He has made you to be. GRIND, read His word, follow through in the ways He’s called you to accountability, community, & to take MANY seats and LEARN.

So I want to leave you with this idea… How are you pushing, grinding, and working hard to go after what God has put in your life?

The Temptation to Forget Your Calling

Have you ever felt like you knew your calling, but yet it felt so unattainable at times? Have you ever wondered, “What if I didn’t do those ‘big’ things and just settled for the ‘easier’ stuff?” If you have, you’re in good company.

There have been many times in my life where I’ve doubted my vocational calling or thought it would be impossible to make it to that place. I’ve thought, “Instead of being a speaker, I’ll be a secretary. Instead of being a worship leader, I’ll be a veterinarian or hairdresser.” I may have had these thoughts because maybe I felt more knowledgeable or comfortable with these other areas. I thought that I felt more in control and aware of my competency to figure out how to do these other things. But it was only moments later when I realized that those things are just as difficult (if not more difficult) than what I’m shying away from. They also present a whole set of new challenges.

So to the young woman who believes she could never be an engineer; to the young man who thinks he could never play guitar in front of people; to the woman who thinks she is not equipped to teach; to the man who believes he could never have enough money to own his own restaurant… Believe Again! Dream Again! If God has called you to something, He will provide a way! And no vocational calling is “greater” than any other. Each one of us has a purpose beyond ourselves that is specific to our design by Him. He chose to use us in the ways He has chosen for a reason.

We get it wrong so often… that fulfilling our calling is on our shoulders. God will take care of things when we submit to Him, pray for direction, and yield our hearts to listen to Him. Yes, we must work hard but the way will be paved by our God. Do not believe your calling is impossible, because in Him all things are possible!

How Your New Years Resolutions Might Be Hindering Your Growth

Many Americans (myself included) come up with a few great resolutions to push us forward into the new year. However, I’ve found that many of these resolutions do not always project us forward. Rather, they often will set us back.

Why is that so?

Think about some of the resolutions people come up with. According to Nielsen, within the top 10 new years resolutions are:

+ Stay fit & healthy

+ Lose weight

+ Spend less, save more

+ Get organized

+ Read more

Now at first glance, these look great! Who wouldn’t want to be healthy, wealthy, & wise?

Here’s the problem… We don’t create realistic goals to get us to the places we want to be at. Often times, we will have the future in mind but not the present. If you already do not exercise regularly, becoming fit and healthy will be a challenge for you (at least at first). I am including myself in this! For years I have set unrealistic expectations of myself with no vision as how to move toward this. This eventually led to self-pity and despair, which leads to my next point of how your New Years resolutions can be hurting you…

If you have already tried being healthy in previous years and watched the desire to do so fizzle out in your life, it’s probably caused you to rethink this year’s resolutions. “I already tried being healthy and that didn’t work, so instead I will just focus on my finances.” Here’s the thing: if you do not set realistic goals and expectations for yourself, you will become discouraged and give up. My hope for you is that you do not give up on bettering yourself. Here’s how I’ve overcome the discouragement & despair and moved into freedom.

1.Dream as big as you can about your resolutions this year!

Know that nothing is impossible with God! If you have a dream to be healthy by the end of 2017 or lose some weight, you can do it! This may sound counter-intuitive to the preceding statements, but take the time to dream for yourself. Be prayerful about it.

2. Focus in your energy to a list of about 3-5 ideas.

Studies have shown that the average person can focus on about 3-5 things at once. To be effective, I believe this is a good amount of ideas to focus in on. Think about some main areas in your life that you desire to grow in. Attempt to grow holistically this year: in intellect, social, spiritual, mental/emotional, and physical ways. Assess what is most important to you in those areas.

3. Create realistic goals to get you there.

This is the hardest part for most people! What is a realistic goal for me? How can I get to where I want to be from where I am? You have many options here. Look at where you’re currently at. If you are currently exercising 0 minutes a day, try 30 minutes once a week. Schedule a time to go to a local park and walk around. You can bring a friend along for accountability (and maybe even burn off some calories with some laughs). Decide what will help you get where you need to be. If you’re having trouble doing this on your own, find a trusted friend who knows you well enough to create expectations with you. Or, send me a message here for some more tips!

Overall, have fun with your goal setting and remember to enjoy the journey! It is hard work, but when you give it to The Lord, He will help you to see them come to fruition as it lines up with His plans for your life. You can do this!

“Ask the Lord to bless your plans, and you will be successful in carrying them out.”

Proverbs 16:3 

The One Mistake Every Worship Leader Has Made (And How To Fix It)

Have you ever heard a worship song & thought, “Wow, this song would be great for our congregation”?

Chances are, you have. As worship leaders, we are always looking out for new songs… Especially when that one student comes up to you saying, “Are we doing Oceans AGAIN tonight?”

In our search to create the perfect database of songs to choose from, we find ourselves running into this one problem: Choosing the “perfect set list” & having it become a trainwreck.

“We create worship sets with songs in mind, not our team”

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Our mistake is often that we create worship sets with songs in mind, not our team.

If your youth band consists of one guitar, one singer, & a cajon, don’t do songs like “Alive” (Hillsong Young & Free) with the expectation that it will sound just like the original.

Similarly, we need to have our teams in mind when creating a set list for our services.

For example, if we are doing Oceans or another song in a higher key, I will be sure to schedule a male vocal to cover the tenor parts so that our worship set is not top-heavy (soprano-heavy).

We need to keep our teams in mind when creating sets. If we do not, we will become discouraged; our team will become discouraged; and ultimately our congregations will feel our discouragement.

To be successful and effective for the Kingdom in worship, assess the skills & talents of those on your team. Release them to add their strengths to the team, and be sure to encourage them to grow in those areas that are weak. Delegate responsibilities to youth leaders and students (yes, students) on your team with the anticipation that they will grow in maturity & responsibility. Create a culture of worship & teamwork on your team, and their hearts will flow out of that during a worship set.

Each team has been created uniquely in terms of people, gifting, and personalities. What has God called your worship team to value? Who has He called your team to be?

If you would like to book us for a worship team training/workshop event, contact us!