Garth Brooks, Worship, and “the moment.”

Garth Brooks is coming out of retirement. Thats good news for us country fans from the 90’s. I went to a Garth concert when I was in high school. I’m not sure what the album was he was touring, but it was the one with the song “Two Pina Coladas”….I remember that much. I’ll never forget moments of the concert….incredible. It’s no wonder that we won entertainer of the year, year after year! There were two significant things that happened at the concert.

The first was worship. This is not a new thought. You’ll often hear of teachers, preachers, and worship leaders talk about the worship they see at at events other than church, i.e., football games or concerts (especially U2, which we are fascinated with because of Bono and his ambiguous spirituality that we can’t seem to fit in a box). And this was was one of those moments. It came after the band was just rocking it out on a song, then Garth emerges from the walkway from under the stage, guitar strapped on and sings the following lyrics…”Just the other night, at a home-town football game..” and that was it. For the next 3-4 minutes I heard a congregation worship to the top of their lungs! They sang the entire song while Garth stood their playing….alone…with tears on his cheeks. It was beautiful. As my friend Charles says….”its the right worship, just the wrong god.”
The second was the specific realization that this was what I wanted to do in life. Now, I wouldn’t consider myself an “artist” and I’m not exactly “in the industry”, but my work is connecting with people and with God through art and presentation. I was standing in my seat located behind the stage looking down wanting that. Not all of the people watching me, or singing my material, or thinking “how great I am”, but connecting with them. Understanding them through music. Reaching a part of their innermost being with the most beautiful of gifts… It was that night. Sometimes I wish it was at a church or a worship service with more of a spiritual meaning to it…but its not. It was at a Garth Brooks concert, my heart and mind were pricked and I knew what I wanted to go after.
So I’m glad to see he’s coming out of retirement….should be fun!
What are the moments where who and what you are have been changed or influenced?

New Years, Passion, Worship, Sundays, and Expectations.

Five words (yes I’m making “New Years” count as one word) that have some relation to each other… I will try to strengthen that relationship during this post.

Its Jan 1, so its the start of a new year where everyone makes resolutions that most likely will not stick and will be given up within the next 6 weeks. I have experience in this cycle as last year I attempted to add additional miles to my weekly exercise routine and quit doing so after a few months :/

Within the next few days many of my friends and believers (of mostly the same age group) from all of the country will head to Atlanta for the Passion conference (or service, meeting, gathering, experience, or alternate word for an event).  I am not going to be joining them for this event. It’s not that I didn’t want to go, or don’t think its worth going to, but I decided its not best for me to take the time away from my family to do so when I travel a good bit already. Here is what I do know….its going to be fantastic! People will have an awesome encounter with the living God through the Holy Spirit. People will draw closer to God, and rekindle their passion for loving Him and all people because of this event. I know it will be amazing because of one primary element….people expect it to be amazing. I know it may sound elementary, but our expectations have a large determining factor on our perceptions. Thousands of people will gather in the GA dome all expecting to encounter the Holy Spirit, and you know what will happen…..they will.

Unfortunately, a large part of this same group of people will go back to their local church and attend with mediocre expectations or no expectations at all. Don’t get me wrong, the team that will lead the conference is a very talented and anointed group of pastors and worship leaders. And I know that the presentation will be well planned and prayed through. But its not just the talent or the preparation that will make the difference in people interacting with the Holy Spirit….its their (the attendees) hearts.

What would happen if our congregations showed up to weekly worship with THIS expectation? What if we walked into the room with the expectation that GOD is going to meet with us there, and not only that; He will speak to ME! If we show up thinking that church is going to be “ok”, it most likely will live up to that expectation. But I also believe that if you show up looking for the Holy Spirit and listening to what He may be saying to you….you will be ministered to and you will have an encounter with Him.

So Here’s the tie in (back to the 5 words at the top). Can we commit in this new year to show up on Sundays to church and worship with the expectation and anticipation of the Holy Spirit’s presence the same way we (in the collective sense) expect Him to show up at a Passion event? If we do, I’m pretty sure He’ll show up, meet, and most likely exceed those expectations!

Have a wonderful new year!