Confessions of a worship leader

Every Sunday is the same. Wake up. Rush out of the house. Hope our daughters are fully dressed and smell good enough that the nursery workers don’t question our parenting. Open the church. Hand off our children to the first unassuming volunteer that shows up. Rehearse. Pray for 20 seconds. Bathroom. Hellos. Back on stage before the countdown video is over. Welcome the congregation. Worship Jesus. Wonder why no one in the congregation looks “into” it. Beat ourselves up over the missed cue and wrong notes. That must be the reason we had so many “mouth breathers”…maybe it’s just the 9 am crowd. Try again for the 10:30 crowd. Same response from the congregation except the lively couple in the back willing to clap on the fast songs and raise a hand on the slow song. It must be the volume. Or the transitions. Or the lighting. Or the song selection…yes, that’s it, the song selection. Need more moody music. No, more joyful music. Go home. Wait…did we get the kids? Oh, whew, there they are. Now go home. Dissect the morning. Replay all of the conversations and cherish the precious encouragement from a few of the congregants. Crash on the bed and snuggle with our babies. Do it all again the next week.


Last night, I realized firmly-yet-lovingly heard from the Holy Spirit, I have not diligently, fervently, consistently asked the Holy Spirit to move our congregation in deeper worship to ultimately know Jesus and see him more clearly. While I believe it is very important to create an atmosphere that facilitates worshipping Jesus through song selection and environmental elements, we must never believe the lie that we can stir hearts in our own power.

We must have a genuine love for our congregation and humbly usher them to the throne room of Jesus and then allow the Holy Spirit to do the work that only he can do…bring freedom, healing, restoration, surrender, revelation, intimacy and joy through worship. We must pray to see lives transformed, salvations and power through the surrendering act of worship.

We have seen magnificent worship in a rec room with an out-of-tune guitar and off-key singer…and we have seen lifeless worship in a beautiful sanctuary with world-class musicians.

As we build the house of worship…let us never neglect the one who fills the house with his Spirit. Will you pray with me for Sunday?


Fiery Darts or Refining Fire?

So many people I love are experiencing spiritual, physical and emotional attacks from Satan. Sometimes, we shy away from calling an attack what it is because we don’t want to seem like “crazy Christians” blaming everything on the Devil. However, attacks are very real and it’s important to recognize when it’s time to pray against, fight and squelch the fiery darts from the enemy.

On the other hand, there is another another kind of fire that we experience that also brings a different form of suffering…the refining fire of Jesus. It is also important to recognize this type of fire and suffering in order to submit to the loving, divine hand of God.

There is a bright side though. Both types of suffering can be redeemed by Jesus to increase your faith, bring ultimate joy and give you peace that surpasses understanding. Let’s not forget what scripture says:

Genesis 50:20: You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.

Romans 8:28: God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God and to those who are called according to His purpose.

Let’s take a look at the differences between Fiery Darts and the Refining Fire:

Fiery Darts (kill, steal, destroy):

  • Sickness in our mind or body
  • Fighting in our marriage
  • Stolen or broken possessions
  • Lack of faith, doubt
  • Confusion
  • Anxiety
  • Opposition, false witness against you

Refining Fire (repentance, surrender):

  • Capture or prosecution for your faith in Christ
  • Exposure of sin
  • A call to repentance
  • A call to lay down possessions
  • A call to lay down idols
  • A call to lay down toxic relationships
  • A call to uproot, move, or serve in a new capacity
  • Consequences of sin
  • Waiting for an answer
  • Living with very little financial resources

How shall we pray if we are unsure what is causing our suffering? Pray like Paul:

  • Pray for increased wisdom and ability to make wise choices under pressure.
  • Pray for a genuine love for others.
  • Pray for strength to endure so you won’t give up.
  • Pray for the willingness to trust God for the impossible.
  • Pray for the ability to live a life that is pleasing to Christ.
  • Pray that you might grow in thankfulness to God.
  • Pray for joy and cheerfulness in the midst of trials.
  • Pray for power from the Holy Spirit to overcome temptation and preach the Gospel.

Are you suffering today? Allow Jesus to redeem your suffering to lead you into increased faith, ultimate joy and peace that surpasses understanding.


We’ve Come Alive

The past few months have been especially difficult for me. I have been struggling with guilt, brokenness, regret, hopelessness, confusion and anxiety.

Over the weekend, the love of Jesus broke through all of that. I heard so clearly – I’m not just forgiven. I’m FREE.

Free from sin, brokenness, bondage, guilt, shame, hopelessness.

The slavery mentality is rampant among Christians. Paul repeatedly addressed Christians that were still living like they were slaves – even after Jesus set them free. I see defeated Christians all of the time. Complaining, broken, crushed, wounded, hurt, defeated, hopeless Christians. Christians that are slaves to their circumstances. Christians with no life or joy in them. They have accepted forgiveness but not freedom.

Yes, we will have trials. Yes, we will suffer. But again, those things are meant to give us more faith, ultimate joy, and peace that surpasses understanding.

Does this mean we are to put on a happy face? Hide our suffering? No! Jesus calls all who are wounded and broken hearted to himself. Come into the family of Christ with your baggage. Share it with your brothers and sisters. Repent and be cleansed. And then…lay it down at the feet of Jesus. And then…lay it down again. And then…lay it down again. Until your chains are broken.

We are designed for hope. For power. For joy. For love. For victory. For freedom.

It’s time to COME ALIVE in the freedom of Christ. Today.

Citipointe Live – We’ve Come Alive


The Funeral That Started a Revival

I posted this on Facebook last year after a sweet friend past away. Today is the 1 year anniversary of her joining with Christ and death from this earth.

It has been a little over a month since my life has been completely rocked. I feel it’s incredibly important to share this story with as many people as I can tell. Many of you know that Krystle Dawn passed away unexpectedly in a car accident last month, but what many of you don’t know is that her simple love for Jesus and desire to be in the glory of God has been the single most radical life-altering event in my life.

I want to describe what happened. Mark and I made a last minute decision to make the 7-hour drive to Roswell. I had an urgency to get there. I just knew that something life changing was awaiting me (little did I know the total impact it would have.) I was anxious on so many levels. Saying goodbye to a sweet and talented girl that I admired in high-school, seeing all of my school mates after 12 years, facing my past, embracing the reality of the death of a young single mom – it was all so utterly impossible. Mark and I prayed while driving down historic Route 66. We grasped to life while basking in the hope of heaven. When we got to the church, parking was already sprawled out of the parking lot and blocks away. I clung to Mark’s hand as we entered the building. I knew there were many who made the journey to pay homage…to celebrate Krystle’s life…to worship our Creator. We walked in to find that every seat in the 400 person sanctuary was already filled – except the spots reserved in the front for the family. Every spot along the wall was already two people deep. We snuck in the back to find a spot where we could see. I glanced around to see familiar faces from my youth. Faces that I couldn’t even put names to anymore. As the precious family came through the back doors, my heart fell to the ground. Each one of them has played a vital roll in shaping my adoration for the Father. From worship pastor to choir director to school principal – this family had placed so many anchors in my life. I had spent the past 12 years running from Roswell and everything it held, but now my past looked so beautiful and precious. Their tears were precious. Their gracious smiles were precious. Their unyielding faith was precious. I knew at that moment that God had given me an incredible gift in my Gateway family. The service started with worship music being led by the voice of an angel…Krystle. They had recordings of her singing and we sang along. It was surreal to hear her voice and know she wasn’t here anymore. Then, her father gave a beautiful account of her love for Jesus, her love for her family and brought joy and humor to the whole ordeal. Next, was a breathtaking slideshow of pictures and videos of her life.

And then, what happened next, is the part that captivated me. Her family had a video of her sharing her testimony from a recent missions trip to Africa. The video was about an hour long and it was more of a sermon than a testimony. She was speaking of the importance of the Holy Spirit. She said the most precious gift we can receive from Jesus, along with our salvation, is the Holy Spirit. She spoke of the intimacy we can have from this precious gift. How the Holy Spirit is active and powerful in our lives if we receive this incredible gift. She recounted a moment in Africa where she experienced the Holy Spirit in a powerful way. She said she was worshiping God with her missionary team and she was overcome like a mighty rushing wind and suddenly she was in the “LAP OF JESUS AND AT THE FOOT OF THE FATHER.” These words stuck to me like glue. She said this was the best moment of her life. Better than when she had her children or her wedding day. This was the moment she cherished above all. She ached to be in the Glory of God again…she said that’s where she belongs. I believe she had a glimpse of heaven and she shared it with us that day. It was beautiful, glorious and powerful.

She then finished her sermon with an invitation to know Jesus and receive the gift of the Holy Spirit. The video ended…and her father took to the stage. He honored Krystle by asking the 600+ people in the room if they would like to know Jesus and accept the gift of the Holy Spirit. In all, about 30 people raised their hand at that funeral. It was incredible – she gave an alter call at her own funeral. This might be the first time that has ever happened. We worshiped some more, hugged the precious family, saw Krystle’s body one last time and then it was over. I have thought about Krystle and this funeral every single day. I have obsessed about it. I have sought out the Holy Spirit to show me his Glory and to reveal himself to me like he did to Krystle. And he has…
A few weeks ago, I was telling a friend about this funeral. When I told her that Krystle had been in the “LAP OF JESUS AND THE FOOT OF THE FATHER” when she was in Africa, her eyes widened and her face went pale. I asked her what was wrong. She smiled for a second and said that the little boy who experienced Heaven in the bestseller book “Heaven is for Real” described the exact same thing. I had never read the book but I immediately poured over it. I was overwhelmed by what I read. It was all the confirmation I needed to know that Krystle had caught a glimpse of heaven and she was there now – basking in God’s Glory just as she had hoped for. For those of you who could not be at the funeral, I hope this comforts you. As for me, I am experiencing a revival in my heart for Jesus by the power of the Holy Spirit. I urge you today to ask the Holy Spirit for power…for revelation…for comfort…for counsel…for anything that will draw you closer to Him. Krystle Dawn was passionate about the Holy Spirit and now I am too.

Being 11

I was radically saved at the age of 11. I lied to my parents and told them I was going somewhere with my big brother. Instead, I wound up at a Christian rock concert at church. By the end of the night, I was on my face on the front row crying my eyes out. I was a sinner in need of a savior. From that moment on, I was addicted to Jesus – on the front row, bible in hand, hands lifted high, praying for my school mates and leading worship. It felt just as real and passionate at the age of 11 as it does now…maybe even more.

I just got the opportunity to teach some 4 & 5th graders, ages 10 and 11. I was making excuses for them for not paying attention, not being passionate about Jesus’ sacrifice…because they are just “kids”. They knew the bible stories but they had no evidence of desiring God. So often, we don’t expect children to be capable of belief, devotion and passion in Jesus but that’s just not true. My own experience tells me that’s not true. My new goal over the next few weeks with these students is to provide a real opportunity for salvation, spark passion and encourage devotion. I will not teach another bible story for the sake of head knowledge.

It’s time for the next level and these students are more than capable of responding to the greatest love they will ever know!

Holy Week, Sinful Heart

This is the most important week of celebration in the Christian faith. My anticipation is bursting at the seams to celebrate the journey to Calvary. This week, I’m painfully aware of my sinful heart. I’m suddenly attuned to my deep need for a Savior. It makes the celebration of Jesus’ sacrifice even more triumphant. I think about sharing the Gospel to people all of the time and the one thing that stops me every time is my fear that they won’t see their need for a Savior. That our world has made them feel so comfortable and so good about themselves that they do not even know they need salvation. Everyone seems so content with their life.

Of course, this is my own logic getting in the way. Even though people might look shiny and happy on the outside, it is impossible to have real joy outside of God. It is impossible to fully live outside of Christ.Every single person who has not put their hope in Christ is hurting and dying. I must remember that every day. As the celebration of the cross and Resurrection draw nearer, I am determined to share the salvation that awaits the hurt, dying, broken, lonely, guilty, and shameful.

With Christ, all things are possible.

I’m not Democrat or Republican. I’m a dreamer.

If I were running for President this would be my platform. Would you vote for me?

I will aggressively raise money for my candidacy. I will ask every citizen, every company, every cause to give money to my candidacy. Not to run ads. Not to persuade you to make a decision that only your heart and mind can make.  In fact, I will not run one ad or spend money on self-promotion – so write this down because you won’t find this message interrupting your regularly scheduled programming.

I believe in America. I believe in Americans.

I believe that people, given the chance will take care of each other. We don’t need a faceless government that’s more interested in the PR opportunity more than taking care of it’s citizens. I’m from Colorado. I know what it’s like to be faced with tragedy – from wildfires to shootings. When it matters most, people help their neighbors. People raised money to cover personal medical expenses for victims, rebuilt neighborhoods, and comforted those who lost it all. I believe that the people of America have a voice and it’s the job of the government to hear the voice of the people and act on what they hear. How do we hear your voice if we as politicians are constantly talking louder than you? The role of the government is to protect and aid the people of it’s country. This has been grossly mismanaged and it’s destroying our country.

I believe in the future of America. I believe that we MUST act now to ensure that every child has a proper education. How do we do this? Simple: freedom of school choice. If you live in a poor neighborhood, you should not be sentenced to an education that is sub-par. Equal rights to education is essential to the future and success of our country. I will give every single dime of the money we raise for my “campaign” to build charter schools in the poorest neighborhoods in our country – where teachers are held accountable and students are the priority. The NEA was the biggest financial contributor to the election campaigns in 2008 – over $45 million. Listen to me, Teacher Unions, I don’t want your money. I don’t need your money – you will not control our country and continue to sacrifice our children for the security of jobs for poorly performing teachers. Great teachers will thrive and be paid more than they ever have been. Teachers who mistreat children will not be tolerated.  My parents were teachers. I saw them work tirelessly with little pay while other teachers put their class on auto-pilot with no consequences. I will not throw away our children for one vote or one dollar.

I believe that big businesses listen to their consumers. Big business isn’t the enemy. WE as consumers control big businesses, and we can use their money to make America great. We have to use our voices as consumers. We have to use our pocket books and behaviors to influence what is good, right and just. If consumers will join together and only purchase consciously made products, then businesses will only make consciously made products. If consumers joined together and only purchased from companies that gave back to their communities then companies would invest in their communities.  I will unleash the power of individual and corporate giving by eliminating most taxes. Are you scared the government won’t have any money? Surprise…the government doesn’t have any money anyway. We won’t need as much money because we will eliminate stupid spending, crush big bureaucracies and empower and foster community led assistance programs through private non-profits.

I believe that America can be a beacon of hope to the whole world. I believe that other countries will be exposed to the beautiful reality of freedom and desire to raise their voices in unison. We are already seeing this happen. Tyranny is unacceptable – for any people. Abuse to women is unacceptable – regardless of your religion. We will stop turning a blind eye to genocide and human atrocities such as human trafficking. We will expose and stand against injustice on a regular basis – no matter how uncomfortable it makes UN meetings.

What is good right and just? Protecting our environment, using our natural resources wisely, supporting local businesses, supporting entrepreneurs, supporting families, protecting the innocent and vulnerable including children, unborn infants, the elderly and the disabled. Standing against human atrocities and fighting for social justice. Trusting that people will spend their money to help their neighbors willfully instead of forcefully taking it from them through taxes. There are many other issues our country faces, but we must start somewhere. The naysayers will stop all progress. BUT WE MUST START SOMEWHERE.

The career politicians and lobbyists can try to drown the voice of the American people with ads and rhetoric but your voice will not be quenched.  Even if you don’t agree with everything I’m saying, I know you agree with this:

  • Presidents should not be bought.
  • Children are a precious resource.
  • The voice of the people should guide our country.
  • We must fight for what is good, right and just.

In the past election, the two candidates raised 1.64 billion dollars for their campaigns. For TV ads, yard signs, campaign headquarters, staffers, countless phone calls, big touring busses, mailings and more and more landfill fotter. This number is disgusting when you think of how this money could be used.

Let’s raise money for a candidacy that will produce an everlasting change in our country. Put your money where your heart is. Put your money in what you believe in. This is the time to take back America from the politicians, from the lobbyists, from those who can afford to talk louder than you. I will drive in my car to as many cities that will have me to give this message. I will pay for my own gas. I will make my own videos to share with you on YouTube. I will visit with the voiceless and give them a voice.  I will show you America – the heartland, Hollywood, the Big apple, and everything that makes this country great – the people.

Use social media. Use any voice you have to share your dream for our country. I’m relying on the power of your voice to spread this message of hope to the ends of the Earth.
You might call me naive or unrealistic. You might think I’m dreaming too big. Isn’t that what dreams are all about?