Thanksgiving is quickly approaching as we all begin to shift into Christmas mode and prepare to get pummeled with commercialism. It’s quite easy to do exactly what we do every Christmas season and move into auto-mode. What if we tried something different this year? Something that adds a new flavor and breaks us out of the routine of the usual?
The folks at ^Loftr have done just that this year through introducing, CHRISTMAS VIBE, a new Christmas playlist full of songs you may not have heard before. As I gave it a listen this week, I found myself focusing more on the lyrics about the Christmas story than I do when listening to the familiar music I normally hear to this time of year. I’d encourage you to give it a listen and try something new. While you are at it add a few more new things to your Christmas celebration this year and celebrate the birth of Jesus, our Lord & Savior with a new zeal!
If you live in Nashville, you are well aware our city is crawling with incredible musicians, songwriters and vocalists. These musicians fill the platforms of churches every weekend to usher God’s people into worship. Some get paid while others volunteer but most all have one thing in common, they are well versed in the politics of worship teams.
I’ve heard many stories of musicians who feel called to serve on worship teams but they just can’t break through the politics. Granted, churches need filters in place to ensure the musicians on stage are proficient on their instruments, true Jesus followers and have a genuine desire to be a part of a worship team as opposed to using the platform as a stage to showcase. That’s not an easy task in a town of musicians who serve the country and Christian music business. Some who land worship positions at key churches can be very territorial.
This week, I spent some time with a musician who moved to Nashville from Australia a year ago. In Australia, he served at Hillsong directing some fairly big worship teams. My friend is an incredibly talented musician on both keyboard and guitar and probably one of the nicest fellows one could hope to meet. Upon arriving to Nashville, he landed in a church full of musicians and songwriters. This particular musician spent a year serving his new church in numerous ways including setting up chairs and various other things required for a church that meets in a temporary meeting place. I’ve gotten to know him quite well and it was obvious from the outset of our friendship that his Jesus following heart is in the right place. This musician isn’t looking for money or a place to showcase on the stage but instead looking to serve his church using the talents God has given him. Feeling called to serve on the worship team, he began trying to network with the leaders of the church and members of the worship team to let them know his desire to audition for the worship team. Unfortunately, the politics of worship at this church won’t even allow him to audition.
I’m sure some of you reading this post have had similar experiences. While it can be frustrating, I would encourage you to use the time to really listen to God. Is he teaching you something through the experience or is he telling you to move on to another church that needs your talents? I’d love to hear how God helps you navigate the politics of worship teams.
So you write great songs, put on a great live show and radio programmers across the country have decided to catapult you to the top of the charts by spinning your song in heavy rotation. Success is knocking on your door with a special delivery of fame. Are you fully prepared for the platform God has just given you?
I’ve heard numerous Christian artists state “I’m not a minister, I’m a Christian entertainer.” Before making that statement so quickly, maybe we should examine the platform God has entrusted you with. While you will be on stage entertaining, thousands of young impressionable minds will put you on a pedestal. Like it or not, that pedestal comes along with the job. From this moment on, every word spoken from your mouth on or off stage matters in a bigger way than you ever imagined. Your words will either reflect truth about Jesus or they will deflect truth about Jesus. Your words matter whether you are performing in churches or in mainstream arenas. You are now a teacher with a following.
The Bible tells us in James 3:1 Let not many of you become teachers, my brethren, knowing that as such we will incur a stricter judgement. God apparently looks at the role of teacher as a huge responsibility. And you thought being an entertainer would be a piece of cake? Interestingly, God also reminds us that no one will be the perfect teacher as James 3:2 goes on to say For we all stumble in many ways. If anyone does not stumble in what he says, he is perfect man, able to bridle the whole body as well. While we will never be the perfect teacher, we should strive to be the best we can through knowing God’s Word. Entertainers are a different kind of teacher than pastors or college professors, but they still teach through words and action both on and off stage. Words said from stage, interviews in the media and lyrics written in songs all teach to some degree. Therefore, knowing Truth should rank as a high priority.
I would encourage all Christians, who are chasing a career on stage, to make studying the Bible a priority. Seek out a wise mentor and others to study with. God has given you a platform that others will look up to, and he expects big things from you. Know the Truth, Live the truth and Teach the truth!
I thought you might be interested in adding some Loft to your day. A new playlist brand launched this week called ^Loftr With six new Spotify playlists, there is a little something for a wide range of musical taste. The playlists are curated collections of music created by Believers and include music from some mainstream artists who have been vocal about their faith and some faith-based artists that you may not be aware of.
And speaking of adding loft to your day, do you have a daily regiment to help usher you into the presence of Jesus? Everyone is different but I’ve found filling my mind with prayer, reading and music about the God of our universe, sets the stage for how my day will flow. I long to feel his presence throughout my day no matter what tasks I may be tackling. When I fail to welcome Jesus into my day, I feel disconnected and my day doesn’t go so well. I’d love to hear from some of you. What do you do to Lift your day?
For the past five years, my wife and I have done a 21 day Daniel Fast. We try to begin on January 2 with a two-fold purpose. 1) Jump start healthy eating habits after the holidays 2) To listen and hear what God has to say about the coming year. The first week is always the toughest as my body detoxes from sugar. But I’ve found week 2 and 3 to be a great time to listen to God. I can’t think of a better way to begin a new year than hearing from God.
As I go through the fast, I make notes on the various things I hear from God. I specifically pray about life direction, sharing Jesus with others, my marriage and our management company. Throughout the year and at the end of the year I review the notes and I am always amazed at how God is working his plan in all aspects of my life.
Do you have a method in place to help drown out the noise of the world and listen to God? I’d love to hear how you seek God’s direction for your life each year.
Peace is something so many in the world find elusive. Some protest for peace, some fight wars for peace, some give their lives for peace and others just dream of peace. Ironically, the answer to peace has been looked over for 2000 years. Spoken word/alternative hip-hop artist, TAL, uses his platform well crafting words in order to share the Good News of peace with all.
Are you looking for the perfect Christmas gift under $20 for that family member or friend who is pursuing a career that could potentially bring fame? You might consider sending them a Creating Monsters book, Don’t Feed The Monster t-shirt or both. You can order from our website store or from Amazon.com.
Tune In To Juice TV Live!
Tune in to Juice TV Live (show airs on TBN) Friday December 9:00pm CST as we will be discussing thoughts from Creating Monsters with host Wes Howard & Kat Vazquez. The show will also feature musical performances from About A Mile, Kolby Koloff and Crystal Rome.
If you would like to attend live, Call 615-531-3505 to reserve your seats.
What an incredibly strange year we have experienced with the US Presidential election! I’ve read about crazy elections in our past but the one we just experienced felt a bit like war. While the huge division and disfunction in our country was exposed, something even bigger revealed itself.
I talk a great deal about platforms and stages, with primary focus being on creatives. However, politicians are given some of the biggest platforms. As platforms for presidential candidates grew, the monster was feasting on ego and pride. A handful of candidates professed to be Christians, but as we watched the debates it was difficult to see Jesus as they ripped each other to shreds.
Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed similar behavior amongst Christian artists vying for the top of the charts. While smiles don their faces in public, conversations backstage, in green rooms and on tour buses are laced with jealousy, pride and ego. If we are all on a quest to make Jesus famous shouldn’t we lift one another up as brothers and sisters in Christ? Imagine the size of the platform if everyone joined together, shared success with all and offered a helping hand to the less successful?
There is only room for one at the top and his name is Jesus. Let’s join together and make him famous!
This week is Christian music accolade week or better known as the GMA Dove Awards. Last night, some artists took home a prestigious Dove Award while others went home empty handed and maybe feeling a bit rejected.
Let’s face it, most of us want to be recognized for our achievements and accomplishments? I know I do. The amazing thing is that God recognizes us regardless of whether we have trophies on our wall or not. When we are about his business of carrying out The Great Commission, we are heroes to him. Music is a powerful tool and the Holy Spirit often utilizes it to draw listeners to Jesus.
Today, lets celebrate both the winners & those who didn’t win at last night’s GMA Dove Awards show. When one person finds Jesus through hearing a Christian song, the entire Christian music industry should celebrate. The Christian music industry was originally designed for one common purpose of carrying out The Great Commission!
Please join me in praying specifically for two things this week.
1) For the GMA Dove Winners and that they would be humbled by the recognition, that God would prevent the monster from boosting their ego and that they would be even more energized to continue taking God’s message to the world!
2) For those who didn’t win an award and that God would prevent the monster from making them feel like a failure and fill their heart with jealousy. That God would remind them to recognize that anyone carrying out The Great Commission is a winner in his eyes.