Tag Archives: renewal

Weekend Refreshing at the Choral Festival

This weekend, I attended Christian Supply‘s annual Choral Festival in Spartanburg, SC. I’m tremendously pumped after the time spending learning, worshiping, reading new music and listening to gifted singers and musicians praise the Lord.

I’ll write with more detail later, but wanted to point out how worth it this conference is (as well as the Gathering conference, held at Hilton Head in January), for any worship leader working with church choirs (no matter what the style) or even larger praise teams.

God used this conference to connect me to others in worship ministry and used the workshops to teach me how to be more effective in ministering to others (both choir and congregation) as well as being better equipped as a worship leader and choir director.

I was refreshed by all the new music sung through with the other 3,000 people there, as well as during the worship times each evening. God in particular spoke to me through Friday evening’s time of worship, answering prayers and affirming other things that didn’t yet feel “for sure.” I left that night especially refreshed, amazed by our awesome, loving God, and unable to stop praising Him even after my return to the hotel for the night.

I plan to share more details in a future post, particularly from Friday evening, which featured the Thomas Road Baptist Church’s choir, orchestra and praise team with Charles Billingsley and Guy Penrod.

And if that wasn’t enough of God’s blessing, I won the drawing at the end of the conference — which means I’m going to the winter conference with everything except travel paid for!

I look forward to pouring from my own newly filled and refreshed vessel into those around me this week and onward as I process this eventful weekend.

Faith Not Feeling and Other Thoughts

I think so often we search for feelings & experiences, forgetting that the truth of God’s Word needs to never be neglected. We can only gain the knowledge & discernment we need through studying His Word, not basing our relationship with God too greatly on feelings or experiences. Our own feelings cannot be trusted–they change faster than the weather at times & are often the result of missed perceptions of people, situations & experiences.

Truth can rarely be known based solely on our feelings. We must continue to be in His Word, being sanctified by Him & surrendering to His will each day so that we can share the Good News & God’s truth with those who do not know Him. Then we can share the Gospel while truly being examples of how God is changing & growing us to be more Christ-like, & also grow in discernment as we study His Word.

We should be being transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:1-2), not giving only to get more, chasing after every feel-good speaker or anointing we hear about to gain artificial highs, or refusing to change from our pre-salvation selves thinking it doesn’t truly matter since we’ve been forgiven (see Romans 6). How can we be witnesses by our lives to the Gospel & how the truth of His Word renews our minds if we do not continually put off our old selves & actually renew our minds (Ephesians 4:21-32 & Colossians 3:1-10)?

Nonbelievers will see & hear us, but not care a bit when we share the Gospel if our lives look just like theirs. Instead they might say, “Well, I must be fine like I am because these Christians aren’t any different from before they became Christians.” If we are without joy and love, how will they want anything to do with what we have?

We should ache to share His love — because WOW! How He so loves us to have died for our sins — but a big part of being in a right relationship with Jesus Christ is making Him our Lord & Savior:  We must wholeheartedly repent of our sins in order to do so.

In turn, a desire should grow in us to do what God requires of us to grow this relationship through His Word & doing our part as He makes us more like Christ, also being obedient to share the Gospel with those we encounter in our lives as God leads us.

Something I heard spoken about recently was calling ourselves Christians & yet not living this label:

Christian. That’s our name — a word which has root in CHRIST. Instead let us change ourselves as we deliberately strive to become more like Christ Jesus, Who gave His life for us. Let us grow closer to God through studying His Word, & grow greater in love & unity each day of our lives on this earth, seeking to be witnesses for Christ in all of ourselves — word, deed, mind, heart, soul & strength.

Let the Flowers Grow: Emptying Ourselves of All That Hinders Love

Last night at our small group, I felt like God brought a great metaphor to us that I thought was worth sharing here.

We felt that God was speaking about our needing to truly empty ourselves of all things that hinder our relationship with Him to make room for all that He wants to fill us with.

We need to empty the inside of us of all burdens of worry, unbelief, sin or other things that hinder us from truly blossoming in our relationship with God. We need to clean ourselves out so that God has an empty vessel ready to be filled.

The metaphor was this: We need to empty out our “basements” full of junk that we are hoarding or holding onto, and allow God to turn us into beautiful gardens blooming with flowers of all kinds in every season.

He wants to fill us with the fragrant aromas of all He has to pour into us, that will may then blossom in & through Him! In essence, He wants to renew our minds (Romans 12:1-2), filling us with His Word, His Truth to bring us life as His children.

Lay all burdens & other hindrances to your being closer to God at His feet, & refuse take them back up again (as we often try to do)! Then let God renew your mind through His Truth, letting yourself blossom as He grows a garden of His love, truth, grace & peace in your heart & renews your mind with His Word!

He wants to take every burden you have (1 Peter 5:7) & have you just rest in Him (Psalm 46:10), growing you closer to Him & living in His Truth. Let the garden of your heart blossom! Let the flowers grow!

More encouragement from God’s Word:

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy & peace in believing, that you may abound in hope, in the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13