Wednesday, December 8, 2010

The Power of Powerful Worship

As promised, here is my post about the worship that I so thoroughly enjoyed at the National Youth Workers Convention several weeks ago. I'm sorry if you a) are tired of me going on and on about it, or b) are just visiting my blog to see hat pictures. If that's the case, a) bye, and b) check out the labels to the left for hat stuff. :-)

There were many artists that performed in the Big Room sessions at the convention and the ones that I knew beforehand were David Crowder Band and Jeremy Camp. The 'knew beforehand' part will come into play in my post a little later as something that is important to me in worship. David Crowder Band was the first artist to perform at the convention. So. Much. Fun. I heart DCB, and not just because they are from Waco. Here is a picture of the band playing Forever And Ever Etc., complete with keytar, Mario noises, and jumping around on stage. Turns out Crowder has some ups, especially when propelling himself off of the drum platform.
And then, as a result of Crowder getting everyone to do an "arena clap", he spontaneously combusted into a ball of fire:
Just kidding, my camera caught the light. Anyway, I love this song. If you haven't heard it, go back and click on the link above to youtube it. Warning, it WILL get stuck in your head and they repeat the last line for like ten years. Forever and ever and ever and ever. Literally. But when it comes to thinking about worship, what is this song to me? JOY. The band was rocking it out on stage, we were bouncing up and down, we did the arena clap, we all whistled at the whistling part (except me, because I cannot whistle...sad). Even the lyrics express joy:

I'm finding everything I'll ever need
By giving up gaining everything
Falling for You for eternity
Right here at Your feet
Where I wanna be
I am Yours

I was having a blast. I was smiling. I was laughing at Crowder's antics. I was trying to keep up with the fast lyrics. I was singing as loud as I could because, in an arena of several thousand voices and blaring speakers, nobody can hear you but God. They did other songs of course and after a while they calmed it down and played How He Loves. This is another song of theirs that I really like. If it's on the radio when I arrive at home, I will most definitely sit in my car in the driveway until it is over. (A very scientific test for what songs are your faves) Check out the lyrics here, they're great. Really read them.

He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree,
Bending beneath the weight of his wind and mercy.
When all of a sudden,
I am unaware of these afflictions eclipsed by glory,
And I realize just how beautiful You are,
And how great Your affections are for me.

We are His portion and He is our prize,
Drawn to redemption by the grace in His eyes,
If grace is an ocean, we’re all sinking.
So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss,
And my heart turns violently inside of my chest,
I don’t have time to maintain these regrets,
When I think about, the way…
He loves us

I am always amazed when someone can put thoughts like that into words. What is this song to me? Awe. Thankfulness. As the band played this song, I sang along for a while, then I stopped, closed my eyes and just listened to and thought about the words. He loves us. That's crazy and awesome. I also stopped singing because I was getting choked up. Trent handed me a tissue from his backpack and put his arm around me and I sniffled on his shoulder for a bit. Why? Because I hadn't felt like that in a while and was loving the worshipful closeness and sad for the times when it's nowhere around. This song has a new meaning for me because of that moment. Trent and I rehashed things that night at the hotel and I am so grateful for a husband who I can bounce things off of and discuss things with. Love him.

Jeremy Camp and his wife, Adie, were the main worship artists the next day. The stage was dark then they put a spotlight on Jeremy at the piano where he opened with Give Me Jesus. (At some point between when he performed in the video in that link and at the convention, they painted his piano red...jk, I guess it's a different one) A little ways into the song, Trent leaned over to me and said "All you need to create worship is a piano and a voice." That's all they had going on the stage for that song:

Just a red piano and a singer. Add some heart and ta-da, you've got worship. It doesn't even have to be a red piano... So, what is this song to me? Simplicity. Peace. Just give me a piano, a voice, and give me Jesus. And I'm good.

They busted out the rest of the instruments and band members after that and did a rousing performance of Jesus Saves, complete with actual shouting at the "Raise a shout" lyric.
This is another song I will sit in my driveway to finish on the radio. For me, this song is all about Rejoicing. Jesus saves! Sing it out, raise a shout! I did a little more bouncing up and down and a lot more singing at the top of my lungs.

Bonus: Here is Jeremy's video blog from his time in Nashville for the convention. I found it on his website. Click Here.

Ok so can you tell I kind of like musical worship?? Just a lil bit... Maybe you caught some common threads throughout the previous paragraphs, even though there were different artists and different types of songs. But here are some things that make worship really powerful for me.

~ I want to be able to sing, which means I need to know the song. If someone is up there playing a song I don't know, sure of course I enjoy it, but that is just them performing instead of me participating and worshiping. Or if I'm trying to learn a new song, I'm too focused on following lyrics and melody to really worship. Remember what I said at the beginning of this post about knowing David Crowder Band and Jeremy Camp beforehand? I've heard and learned a lot of their songs so I was able to sing them out. Hence, those are the ones that stuck out in my mind as powerful times of worship for me.

~ I need a leader. Since I want to be able to sing along, I want someone who I can track with and follow the melody with. Whether it's one piano or a whole stage of instruments, one singer or a bunch, that's all good. I just don't like it when the the melody gets lost in 8 bazillion part harmony and I can't figure out who I'm supposed to follow. It may be as simple as jacking someone's microphone up a little bit more so they can lead and be heard. If you are performing for others, bring on the 8 bazillion part harmony. But if you are leading others in worship, others that aren't as vocally talented, keep it simple and let us be able to follow along.

~ I like it when the lights are brought down low in a worship service. I am a people watcher, so it keeps me from getting distracted by my surroundings. Also, though I am usually not one to worry about what other people think of me, worship is a personal time with God and I'd rather it be in low light or even dark so that it stays that way.

Well those ended up sounding really picky and I didn't intend that. :-/ I'm not trying to rain on anyone's worship parade, so to speak, since I know there are lots of styles and preferences out there. I'm just expressing what works for me and really puts me in a place where I can worship our God fully and emotionally and joyfully.

Feel free to comment with your thoughts. Do you know any of the songs I linked to and talked about above? What do they mean to you?

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