Tag Archives: missions

Throwback Sundays…Needs No Words

My heart has been breaking for all of Asia over the last three months. Breaking in ways that are bigger than me…beyond my control.

This little boy’s face has been at the forefront of my mind since I met him in Memphis this last July. I believe he is from Burma.

Today, my heart is breaking for him.

You can read my first post about this little boy here.

Be a Part of God’s Story in China

If I could pick only one thing I love about my friends, it would be their hearts. I seriously wake up every day thinking “soon, I’m going to wake up, this has to be a dream” because I get to do life with some of the most amazing people on the planet. And they’re amazing because they have incredible hearts for Jesus, for people, and for the Church.

Yesterday, my friend Stephen Proctor (@worshipVJ) sent out a couple of tweets about an opportunity for you to be a part of God’s story in China. Why? Because he loves the Church, China, and his friends :) And he wants to give the rest of the visual worship community and others a chance to be a part of the story too.

But, if you’re like me it’s easy to miss tweets in the ever flowing (sometimes overflowing) twitter stream. So, in case you missed it yesterday, I wanted to share it with you. Proctor wants to bless Jonathan (a.k.a. Biscuet) Smyth and Haidian Church with ProPresenter for Windows. The church has been using PowerPoint for a while now and are excited about the possibilities with ProPresenter for Windows that released just a couple of months ago.

For more of Biscuet’s story, check out this video. Or read what he has to say on his blog.

If you want to be a part of the story and make a donation towards a copy of ProPresenter for Haidian Church, send Proctor an email at proctor@worshipvj.com for details. Did I mention that if you donate $20 or more he’ll give you some FREE media he shot when he visited China?

Take Note…

It is easy for people and groups of people who are making a difference to get lost in all of the noise today. Take Note is my new attempt to maybe help you cut through a small piece of that noise and share with you some of the amazing people and organizations I know of that are doing incredible things. If nothing else, it’s always good to give a couple of shout-outs and spread a little love, right?

  • Good World Creative: If you are a creative with a heart to make a difference with that gift, check out this site (or follow them on twitter: @GWCreative) and get involved. This is a new collaborative project that I just heard about but one that I think is going to do incredible things!
  • Our Shirts Don’t Suck: The name is catchy, yes. But, their customer service is what will keep you around. These awesome peeps did all of our apparel for us at The CORE. Not only do they have a huge heart for serving ministries but they are awesome at what they do. If you are going to Echo Conference this week be sure to find them & say “hi!”
  • Mocha Club: This organization is “redefining the coffee break” as they say. The concept is simple: with just $7/mo (roughly the price of 2 mochas) you can make a difference in a variety of projects that Mocha Club runs in Africa. I recently started a team which is supporting orphans & vulnerable children. Click here if you want to join me.

Do you know of an organization or individual that we should be taking note of? I’d love to hear about it!

Live it. Sing it. See it. Worship.

A couple of weeks ago, Stephen Proctor wrote this post about 3D Worship. The idea is that worship has 3 dimensions – up, across, and out. If you haven’t read it, you should. I think we are pretty good at expressing the up dimension most of the time and even doing well with the across dimension. The whole out dimension, however, I think the Church struggles with. We sing a lot of songs about “out” but how often do our visuals reflect that? I don’t think they do a lot of times. How often does worship flow from being focused on the out? Sadly, I don’t think very often. I would contend that part of that is because we aren’t living the out. When we live the out, the out dimension of worship flows naturally – both as we worship corporately and how we as visual worship leaders lead.

Last week I had the opportunity to lead some visual worship for just under a 100 teens at Hope Experience in Memphis. First, let me say, if you don’t know Paul Briney, you need to! Truly an example of a worship leader. Not someone who stands up to perform but someone who stands in front of a group of people broken and humbly pouring out his heart to lead others to worship freely from their hearts. That makes an incredible difference. If that isn’t happening, I’m not sure that what I put up on a screen is going to matter a whole lot. Leading and serving with Paul and all of the others involved was truly an honor. There were some incredibly powerful moments in worship but I wanted to share my top three. Moments that I look at and say “Thank you, Jesus! This is how it should all work together.” Moments where the music and the images on the screen become the backdrop and people are truly worshiping freely and with their whole hearts.

Moment #1:
Song: You are Here (Same Power) by Hillsong
Media: Christ in Me Longplay from worshipVJ
Context: The constant prayer for the week was “Christ, may you live in us. May we reflect your love. May you be glorified.” As we were serving the community, that was our focus – to share the hope that we have because Christ lives in us. We prayed it, we lived it, then we sang it and saw it on a screen. We worshiped.
Why it moved me: First, I simply LOVE this longplay. LOVE it! On this particular night we were worshiping and I looked at the three slides that were coming up and where the video was at. This was one of those God orchestrated moments where the words & the video timing matched up and I paused the video on this screen. Sure, the image wasn’t crystal clear & polished as a result but it fit. It worked with the mood and couldn’t be more perfect for the words. And we all worshiped – fully, freely, from our hearts.

Moment #2:
: God of this City by Bluetree
Media: Walking Street Sample (I think I got this for guessing the fact that Proctor didn’t like the use of Papyrus in Avatar:)) You can find a similar loop on the new Playback Drive though. As well as self created photo video.
Context: Serving the city of Memphis every day – taking Christ’s light to the darkness, His hope to the hopeless, & His peace to the restless. We lived it then we sang it and saw it on a screen.
Why it moved me: I can’t tell you how many times in my life I’ve sang that song. And on different occasions in different contexts and at different points in my personal journey it has had unique significance. But, last week I think tops them all. When you are spending your days serving a city like Memphis and you see the darkness and have the chance to bring Christ’s light & hope this song takes on a whole new meaning! We sang this on the last night of worship. Paul encouraged everyone to worship freely – some gathered together to pray, some wrote prayers on posters outside that had been filling up throughout the week, some reflected silently, and some sang their hearts out. During the last Chorus we cut the lyrics and put up some images from the week of the hope that had been given. Wow! Talk about out. Talk about brining it home. What a powerful moment to be singing “You, God, are the God of this city…you are the hope to the hopeless,” while looking at images of how He had used us to give hope to the city of Memphis that week.

Moment #3: Acoustic Worship
One night we turned it all off. Lights off. Candles. Very few background images – lots of white text on a black screen. Everyone seated in a semi circle surrounding the candles – not facing the worship leader. A guy and his guitar. It was beautiful. We sang many of the same songs we had sung throughout the rest of the week but it’s amazing what a different feel they take on when you curate a completely different worship environment. My favorite part about it was the set up. Paul came to me about two hours before worship and told me what the plan was. He pointed to a box of candles and said he wanted them put on a platform around the projector and then the chairs arranged in a semi circle. I asked what the platform was going to be. The answer: whatever you can find. What I could find were three bread crates/trays, two empty coolers, and a case of bottled water. Arrange these items and you get a platform with some height variety. Cover it all in a couple of black sheets and place the candles on top. Done.

Did I mention our screen for the week was a full size white sheet pinned and duck taped to the wall? And that we had to cover the to windows behind it with black garbage bags to kill the light? It was great!! Seriously, it all reminded me once again that the tools are only part of the equation. Having a full stage sized, professional, triple-wide screen can be great and a powerful tool in leading worship. But so can a simple projector on a simple white sheet pinned to the wall in a gathering room with terrible acoustics at a camp outside of Memphis. At the end of the day, it’s about the heart and the focus. Through the words that were spoken, the Scripture that was read, the songs that were sung, and the media that was used people’s attention was directed not only up and across but out. And really the three dimensions intersected because one amplified another. As Proctor likes to say, the screen became a window to the world, not simply a mirror. But I think in order for that to happen we first have to live it. Then, we can sing about it and see it on and through a screen while worshiping fully and freely from the heart in a whole new way.

The Week the World Got Smaller in Memphis

The world got smaller last week. Okay, maybe not literally, but it felt like it did…in so many ways.

I showed up in Memphis on July 3rd to help with a youth camp…that’s about all I knew going in. It was great! Paul told me there were some awesome people coming in to help out as well, though I didn’t know who they were, how he knew them, or where they were coming from. I’ll spare you the crazy God orchestrated details but turns out they weren’t as much “strangers” as I thought. I left Memphis with some incredibly amazing new friends…the type of people you meet and you just know that you met them for a time and a purpose much greater than you can imagine right now.

The world also got smaller in a completely different way. I feel like I literally spent the week in a third world country which has been transplanted right into the middle of Memphis. This “country” is an apartment complex consisting of 10-15 buildings with several apartments in each of them. Apartments that for the most part contain the bare minimum. Some of the apartments house 10 people…people who come from at least 11 different countries…and probably more. People who are refugees…who have stories beyond anything I can likely imagine. But most importantly they are people each created and loved by the same God who created and loves me. Wow! That fact makes the world seem much smaller than it is. It makes the things I think and worry about on a regular basis seem so incredibly minute. Because at the end of the day what matters to God is what should matter to me…people!

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.” – 1 Corinthians 13:13. Faith equals action. Hope can change a life. Love makes the world smaller.

Needs No Words

In his eyes I see terror and fear
A child who has lived
Through more than I can imagine
Yet in those eyes there is innocence

He’s too afraid to speak
Yet in his laugh I hear joy
I hear love that needs no words
He smiles and I see a child