"Let there be no filthiness nor foolish talk nor crude joking, which are out of place, but instead let there be thanksgiving." Ephesians 5:4
"But now you must put them all away: anger, wrath, malice, slander, and obscene talk from your mouth." Colossians 3:8
"And he called the people to him and said to them, ‘Hear and understand: it is not what goes into the mouth that defiles a person, but what comes out of the mouth; this defiles a person.’" Matthew 15:10-11
"From the same mouth come blessing and cursing. My brothers, these things ought not to be so." James 3:10
"If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless." James 1:26
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your sight, O Lord, my rock and my redeemer." Psalm 19:14
"I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned.” Matthew 12:36-37
Hey! I think this is a question quite a lot of people (probably everyone on the planet) wonders: What am I supposed to do?
I can definitely tell you my experience. My strategy was to always look for the biggest talent I had and assume that’s what I was supposed to do with my life.
I thought for the first many years of my life that I was going to be a comedian (no joke) because I was the child that read the comic strips faithfully. My brain was pretty quick with puns and I annoyed my fair share of friends and adults.
At 15 I realized that I was more musically talented than I was humorous. I decided I was going to own a musical instruments storefront and teach lessons there too.
So I went off to college, then off to college, then off to college looking to increase my music skills so I could fulfill the call of God on my life.
By that I mean… Well… it’s a complicated story.
I took 2 music theory courses at a community college when I was 15. I got highschool and college credit and I would advise anyone with that opportunity to go for it. I took some accounting classes as well because everyone could use a little business experience right? I also took ASL there because I hated learning spanish.
At 18 I applied and was nearly accepted (pending audition) to one of the best music programs in the country. The truth is that my performance skills were just ok. Not amazing. I had had 9 piano teachers that each had taught me a different style of piano, and a different way of looking at music. The reason for the large number of teachers was mostly involving my parents helping different pastors plant churches in different cities.
I could play 6 or 7 different instruments, and I knew how music fit together, but my proficiency and technique were paltry in comparison to those that focused on one style on one instrument and those that took the straight-classical route all the way through childhood.
With about four months before the audition for the music program I looked at the piano requirements and realized that there was not enough time.
So I said to myself: Self, this is the call of God on your life! You’re supposed to get a music education and business degree so that you can open a storefront and nothing should get in your way.
I asked people what was the path of least resistance to get into the music program, and I was told that vocal performance was easier to swing. Besides a few musicals I had never done anything worth noting with my voice so I took 4 month of private voice lessons from folks in the vocal performance at the college.
Everything going great right? Well, I’ve found that one usually has a lot of doors slammed in their face when they aren’t on the right path. In fact, as the months went on my energy and drive got totally sapped away. I hated signing Italian love songs and ballads about the moon from the 60’s. I felt like a swindler or something, auditioning into the vocal performance section when my goals for life had nothing to do with voice.
Anyways, I was totally without excitement and falling badly behind on my goals of vocal excellence and pulling my hair out with the stress of the audition and decided to quit that plan altogether a week or two before the audition. I made a last minute decision to go to a Christian school 9 hours away and study music business. Because of my training I ended up getting a $2000 music scholarship (the maximum available) for showing up and singing a Casting Crowns song and doing some sight reading (which I totally botched).
There was a bunch of other really crazy blessings once I got there and I was filled with hope because it was obvious that I couldn’t take credit for any of this good fortune. I must be in the will of God!
So the first semester was awesome. Until we had some problems with money and I had to come home.
Totally bummed out I came home and began taking classes online. Music arranging, recording, styles, whatever I could.
I had obviously done something wrong because now I had this big call and no way to fulfill it.
My parents planted a church in a small town of 8000. This was the first church that my father was actually the pastor, and we had no worship team. My two younger brothers and I filled in with one or two other singers but it wasn’t a “full team.”
We looked around the church for people to join and saw what we had. We had 5 junior high school students that each could play something a little bit, but hadn’t ever really played with a group.
I worked with them 5 hours a week for a whole summer and afterwards the 5 students led a worship night by themselves of 10 songs. They began filling in at the church and the problem was solved.
They asked to begin the worship team training again in the fall and we added another student to the group. The following spring we added two more from two different churches.
Five years later I’m teaching 40 students from 18 different churches each semester how to use their gifts and talents for the local church. Our group called WorshipArts teaches worship teams, drama, preaching, video production, photography, and dance, all with the aim of filling every need that local churches have. We’re hosting 3 summer camps next month. During the days I teach private worship music lessons to Christian students in piano, guitar, drums, bass and voice.
As I look back every point in my life prepared me for this calling. Just one skill mastered wouldn’t have gotten the job done. He taught me through my parent’s church planting, my accounting classes, my American Sign Language, my 9 piano teachers, my stressed out voice lessons, my music business course in the far off college, even my musicals from high school. All of it was used by God to mold me into who I am today.
The gifts and talents that you have right now can usually give you a general idea of what God wants you to do, but don’t set yourself on a path so stiffly that you can’t turn when God directs.
He’s got something so amazing in store for you that you would probably be petrified with fear if He told it all to you this instant.
Trust that He’s going to take care of you one day at a time. You don’t have to see the whole staircase, just be watching for Him to shine a light on the next step.
Hey friends. Consider this that nudge you needed to go spend time with God.
Stress? Worry? Fear? Anxiety? Sadness? He’s hope. He’s peace. He’s truth. He’s courage. He’s joy. Get your eyes off the things on earth and look into Jesus’ eyes.
What is one thing you can do differently in the next 3 months to renew or deepen your relationship with Jesus?
Is it possible that the Apostle Paul was so excited about preaching and evangelism that God had to put him in chains to get him to sit down and write the New Testament?
Hey friends, this is your reminder to not give up.
Don’t give up on God.
He has already come through for you in the greatest way possible. He SAVED you from hell. Stand on that—your salvation—when everything else crumbles. Cling to it. Jesus died and rose again for you. The war is won. Don’t let a battle (or 1000 battles!) convince you to bail from the winning team.
Please, don’t give up.
Starting a new congregation is the most effective way to grow the Church and see new salvations. It forces the “Church comfortable” to become the “Church commissioned.”Cameron Wright (via peterdwebb)