Daylight saving time is about to end. I know. I know. It’s a bit sad. The days are going to be shorter. We’ll be driving home from work in the dark. It can be a bit of a bummer if we let it. But I refuse to get down over setting our clocks back an hour. I refuse to hang my head and let my shoulders droop because the days are getting shorter, the weather is getting colder, and the sun just isn’t staying out as long. I ask you to stand with me and look at the bright side. By turning our clocks back an hour, we are another day closer to springing them ahead. That’s right, we’ve got to think of the long game here. It’s not that we’re losing daylight. It’s that we are getting closer to the spring and summer when the days get longer and weather gets warmer. So no more slouching. Let’s get out there and use this media with passion and announce to our church that though Daylight Saving time may be ending, we are getting closer to that day when we can spring ahead again!
The pressure to be a worship leader today is intense! If someone who does not go to church started looking around at worship gatherings today, I think a general statement they could make would be that worship leaders are rock stars. I think that’s an easy assumption to make because I could make the same statement as well! But is that the goal? Is being a worship leader equal to being a rock star? I sure hope not. And Zac Hicks has a few things to say about this topic.
In Zac’s book, The Worship Pastor, Zac challenges this notion by sharing his own personal journey in this area and by digging into the Scriptures to give us a solid, biblical picture of what it means to be a worship leader. In this brief excerpt, Zac gives us a glimpse into where we should begin in our new venture into understanding what it means to be a worship leader.
Failure as the Starting Place for Worship
For the same reason, failure is the great and perpetual starting place for worship too. The worship of God begins only when the worship of ourselves ends, and acknowledgment of our failure hastens that ending. I imagine this is why hymn writer Joseph Hart (1712–68) included this verse in one of my favorite call to worship songs:
Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream;
All the fitness He requireth
is to feel your need of Him.4
What does God require of His worshipers? What is our entry ticket into wor- ship? What’s the password? It’s “I need you, God.” As C. FitzSimons Allison said, “Restlessness, uneasiness, and dissatisfaction with ourselves is the only qualifica- tion for worship.”5 We can properly look up only when we are flat on our backs. Failure leads to a life-giving shift in posture, a change from looking downward and inward to looking outward and upward. And then the very hill that we know we can’t ascend becomes the mountain on which our hope lies:
I lift up my eyes to the mountains—
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord.
– Psalm 121:1-2
It is atop that same mountain that the angel took a despondent apostle John when he was weeping over the unworthiness of the whole world. And as their eyes ascended the hill, an elder cried, “Do not weep! See, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has triumphed. He is able.” And John turned, lifting up his eyes to the mountains, and saw “a Lamb, looking as though it had been slain” (Rev. 5:5–6). Atop the hill we could never ascend, the hill of Calvary, hangs the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world—the One with clean hands and a pure heart.
Who may ascend the hill of the Lord? The Lamb answers, “I.”
And suddenly, our failure is swallowed up in worship.
4. Joseph Hart, “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy” (1759). Public Domain.
5. FitzSimons Allison, Fear, Love, and Worship (New York: Seabury, 1962), 27.
Taken from The Worship Pastor by Zac Hicks. Copyright © 2016 by Zachary M. Hicks. Used by permission of Zondervan. www.zondervan.com.
You can get this book from Zondervan and Amazon:
Zac Hicks is Canon for Worship and Liturgy at Cathedral Church of the Advent (Birmingham, Alabama).
PRESS RELEASE: Multi-Platinum, GRAMMY® and Dove Award winner Michael W. Smith releases his first new song in three years, “A Million Lights,” today from Rocketown Records and The Fuel Music. World premiering last month on SiriusXM The Message and going for adds now at Christian radio everywhere, the song is available to download or stream at outlets like iTunes, Amazon.com, Apple Music, Spotify and other digital providers internationally.
“I don’t recall being this excited about a single in a long time,” says Smith. “I’m very happy with how ‘A Million Lights’ has turned out and am anxious to get it from my studio out into the world! I believe the message of this song will be inspiring to everyone who hears it.”
With multiple sellout crowds experiencing the song live on Smith’s 20-city Revolution Tour this past spring, “A Million Lights” is also the first new song to be revealed from his upcoming, full-length studio album that is in production now. Slated to release early next year, the new album (title to be announced) will release from Smith’s Rocketown Records, as well as through his newly formed marketing and distribution alliance with The Fuel Music.
“There is a substantial new wind in Michael’s sail; this cultural influencer and voice for Christian people everywhere is revealing a new sound,” says Tony Patoto, The Fuel Music & Management, LLC founder. “It’s unequivocally Michael W. Smith, but with a significant new gravity and otherly approach contextually.”
Fans who heard “A Million Lights” on SiriusXM and on the recent tour are also responding to this new music on Smith’s Facebook page: “It’s a whole new level of greatness!” exclaims Catherine as Stephanie agrees, “Love this new song…I can’t wait to hear it again.” “I loved it live,” adds Ken while Jo Ann exclaims, “Wow! I love your new song. It’s beautiful! I’m so glad I was tuned into The Message.” Laura relates, “You and your music are such a blessing to this world!” and Sam says, “Great Song! Woke the House up with it this morning.”
For all the latest Michael W. Smith news, tour dates (including his upcoming 22-city 2017 Christmas tour with Amy Grant and Jordan Smith) and more, go to www.michaelwsmith.com
About Michael W. Smith:
Michael W. Smith is an acclaimed singer, songwriter and musician who has sold more than 15 million albums, achieved 32 No. 1 songs, received 2x RIAA Multi-Platinum, 6 Platinum and 16 Gold certified albums, earned three GRAMMY® Awards, one American Music Award and 45 Dove Awards. Amassing an in-depth catalog of achievements, Smith was honored at ASCAP’s 100th Anniversary for his groundbreaking career and significant influence in music. He performed at Former First Lady Barbara Bush’s 90th birthday celebration, had the privilege to join Former President Clinton, U.S. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and others in remembering victims in the 20th Anniversary of the Oklahoma City attacks, was appointed by the White House as Vice Chair for the President’s Council on service and civic participation and was the featured performer at the 2015 USO Gala where he was recognized as a USO veteran. In addition to the international impact he has had through multiple global tours, he has written and composed various scored film projects, has authored 12 books, has acted in assorted motion pictures and has been featured by numerous national media outlets. He founded, and actively supports, the teen club Rocketown – a nonprofit outreach for teens, providing opportunities in arts, music, sports and mentoring programs. This year also marks his 26th anniversary in partnership with Compassion International, seeing more than seventy thousand families’ and children’s lives changed, around the world.
About The Fuel Music:
Established in 2008, The Fuel Music & Management, LLC, is a leading artist management and artist solutions company that independently distributes music internationally. Based in Tennessee, the Fuel team brings nearly 70 years of combined music industry experience in record label operations, major label distribution and marketing, and artist management for artists ranging from upstart bands to GRAMMY Award nominated, multi-platinum artists. More information on the company can be found at www.thefuelmusic.com.
In just a few short weeks, John Tibbs will be releasing his latest album, “Homeland.” This album is being co-produced by Ben Shive who has worked with Rend Collective, Colony House, and Ellie Holcomb. He will be touring with Matt Maher, Jonn Diaz, JJ Weeks Band and Dave Pettigrew this Fall.
Here are a couple of reasons why you want to check out John’s new album. For one, John Tibbs is an artist with a message to offer to us all. His music is an acoustic driven, rock and roll response to all the heart-ache and strife we see in the world today. Listen to what John has to say:
“I grew up in a coal-mining town and fell in love in Indiana. The heartland represents home to me,” reveals Tibbs, the son of a preacher and teacher. “And yet, I realize that this world is not my home. This song is a response to the strife I see every day and a reminder to myself to carry the love and kindness of God wherever I go. No amount of war, famine, anger, disease or political division can overcome the love of God.”
Secondly, Tibbs has a great heart. Listen to Tibbs’ heart as he opens up to us about his past, his struggles, and his hope for our world: “Having also toured with Tenth Avenue North, Audrey Assad and Gungor, Tibbs, who has had a stutter since his childhood, spends time encouraging others like himself everywhere he travels.” John says:
“I believe we need to normalize things like that and encourage folks, especially children, that the way we are made is beautiful in and of itself.”
He has a strong and powerful message to share with the world. So be sure to check out his music by clicking on the following link:
It’s on everyone’s minds. Whether we have children going back to school or not, we all recognize the fall as a time when schools go back in session, children and young adults take on challenging new subjects, and rhythms and routines are formed again. In your services, people will have this on their mind, so why not throw in some media to go along with it? In this post, I want to highlight a countdown from Hyper Pixels Media, a cinemagraph from Journey Box Media, and three mini movies from Creative Media Solutions.
This 5-minute Back To School Countdown features a chalkboard design with chalk drawing animations. The fun and contemporary music makes it a great opening for your worship service, youth group, or college Bible Study. Add this Back-To-School Countdown to your church media library today.
This cinemagraph pack contains 3 fresh Back to School motions, a countdown, and still backgrounds With your purchase, you will receive versions with and without text. Cinemagraphs bring still images to life, and are an eye-catching way to communicate necessary (but often, boring) information.
This video should be used as an encouragement to Christians going back into the public school system. Inspire the Children of God in your congregation to shine their light and take their school for Jesus.
These animated apples remind us that as parents, we must abide by Proverbs 22:6. It is our responsibility to train up our children—not the public schools’.
This video gives a gentle reminder that it is our responsibility to train up our children—not the public schools’, private schools’ or even the local churches’. As parents, we must abide by Proverbs 22:6.