Genesis 5020

Stories for His Glory

It’s Okay To Be Excited About Jesus August 21, 2015

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 5:32 pm
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fireworks

By kazu end

As a worship leader I have to fight doubts and negative thoughts almost every Sunday. When I am in the mist of leading worship I feel free and full of the love of Jesus. But once I get home the enemy loves to start whispering things in my ear. Here are a few of the things I hear weekly:

You got way too excited today.

You made a fool of yourself.

You are drawing attention to yourself. 

You shouldn’t have said that.

You failed.

You really aren’t a very good worship leader.

That is only a few, but for the most part they are all the same just worded in different ways.

A few weeks ago I had the opportunity to lead worship without playing my keyboard. That hardly ever happens and I get so excited when it does because I love to worship Jesus with all of me. When my hands are tied to keys I can’t fully engage myself as much as I want. I just love worshiping Jesus!!!

Anyway, I worshiped and it felt so good. I can’t hold back when I have freedom to worship.

Now, my church has many different type of worshipers. Some people raise their hands, some people clap, some people just sing and some people don’t sing at all. Overall, we aren’t an overly expressive bunch so I probably do stand out a bit. But one thing I have learned in teaching is that my students will follow my lead. My desire is for people to fully engage in worship and get excited about Jesus. I know if I just stand still that is all I can expect anyone else to do. So I worship as I feel lead so others will feel free to do the same.

Of course, after this particular Sunday the enemy hammered me…hard. It wasn’t until the next morning, during my quiet time with the Lord that He spoke to me about my worship.

He asked me about my kids. He showed me a picture of me coming home after being gone a week and them just sitting, staring at the television. I was so excited to see them and all they could say was, “Hey.”

Then He asked me how I felt when my kids were excited to see me, excited to spend time with me, to the point they jumped up and hugged me, or told me they missed and embraced me as they said this. I told Him I loved that.

He said He was no different. He loved when I was excited to worship Him, He loved that I wanted to give Him every piece of energy I had. He said He felt sad when His children weren’t excited to see Him, to worship Him, to be in His presence.

He understands that not everyone is going to raise their hands, or clap, but He examines the heart and unfortunately He knows that many people aren’t excited to worship Him, to be with Him.

He told me I should never hold back anything from Him, but always give Him my all (this is what the Bible teaches us — give Him our heart, mind and strength). He wants the same from each of His children and that will look different for everyone and that’s okay.

So basically, it’s okay to be excited about Jesus. We should be more excited about Him then anything else in this world and if we get more excited about football, or a t.v. show we need to examine our heart because you can be sure He is:)

 

 

True Worshipers by Bob Kauflin August 13, 2015

Filed under: Book Reviews — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:00 pm
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true worshipers

About: 

Worship matters. It’s a time for God’s people to speak directly to him, declaring his praises and reminding each other of his grace. While worship is more than just singing, the times when God’s people come together to sing with one voice are biblically based, historically rooted, and powerfully sanctifying experiences. In True Worshipers, an experienced songwriter and worship pastor guides readers toward a more engaging, transformative, and biblically faithful encounter with God during times of congregational worship. Through practical guidance and faithful Bible teaching, this book connects Sunday worship to the rest of our lives—helping us live as true worshipers each and every day.

My thoughts:

As a worship leader I’m always interested in books that deal with worship. But even more so as someone who worships the living God I am interested in how I can deepen my worship to Him.

This book is for any worshiper…that’s you. We all worship something or someone as the book says “we never begin worship, we aim it.” I love that quote.

I highlighted a lot in this book and won’t share everything but there are a lot of nuggets of truth.

Here are a few things that caught my attention:

“Performance is often valued over participation, and technology over truth.” There is nothing I love more than hearing the congregation lift their voices. I love pulling away from the microphone and listening to our voices joined in unity.

“Every church or individual who claims to be Spirit-led must be Word-fed.”

“God never intended us to exalt him on Sunday morning with other Christians and remain quiet about him the rest of the week.” Can I get an amen? Good stuff right there.

Oh, I have to share one more: “There are no normal Sundays. Just fresh opportunities to behold the glory of the Lord as we’re “transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another” (2 Cor. 3:18)”

There were a few times I glazed over and found my mind wandering. And there are a few things the author says that I don’t necessarily agree with. But overall I enjoyed this book and think if you are looking for more meaning in your worship you will find it here.

Visit Bob here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Christianbook.com, Books-A-Million or your favorite retailer.

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher through netgalley.com in exchange for an honest review. 

 

Look and Live by Matt Papa November 25, 2014

Filed under: Book Reviews,Tuesday Thoughts — Melissa Finnegan @ 1:39 pm
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look and live

About:

Only One Addiction Can Set You Free

Matt Papa was a “professional Christian” in full-time ministry, ready and determined to change the world. All the while he was depressed, addicted to the approval of others, and enslaved to sin. But then everything changed. He encountered the glory of God.

All of us live in the tension between where we are and where we ought to be. We try our best to bully our desires into submission. And we all know, this is exhausting.

Are you tired? Stuck? Still fighting the same sin you’ve been fighting for years? The call in these pages is not to work or to strive, but to lift your eyes. You don’t need more willpower. You need a vision of greatness that sweeps you off your feet. You need to see glory.

Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

Look and Live.

My thoughts:

Where to begin?

This book has rocked my world. There are non-fiction books that you gain some new thoughts from and then there are non-fiction books that change your perspective all together.

I am always nervous when I begin a non-fiction book and I love the first chapter. Often times I find all the good stuff is in the first chapter and I am let down after that.

Not the case with this book.

Page after page I was highlighting, underlining, taking notes, praying.

It’s funny, I requested this book after I requested another book so I was frustrated when I received this one first. But I have to tell you this book came at a perfect time in my life, as God knew it would. I needed to be rocked, re-awakened in my spirit, reminded of God’s awesomeness.

I could quote many things from this book, but I’d rather you read it for yourself. On page 20-21 Matt writes: “The more you taste and see the magnificence of God in the now, the more you wonder if you were even a Christian five years ago.” Yes, that is so true. I am in such a different place than I was five years ago. I know I was a Christian then but I am in such a different place now, a better place, moved by the greatness of God.

On page 30 Matt reminds us that “We never begin worship. We aim it.” Wow, that one got me. We are constantly worshiping something, if not God we are worshiping something else in that moment. We choose where we aim it.

And that all is only in the first chapter, it only gets better from there.

If you don’t want your world rocked then don’t read this book but if you are looking for something to awaken your spirit grab this book and open your mind and heart to what the Spirit is communicating through these words.

Visit Matt here.

Grab your copy at your local bookstore, Amazon, Barnes and Noble or Christianbook.com.

A copy of this book was given to me by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

 

Should Church Be Like a Party? April 11, 2014

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 12:45 pm
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birthday-party-balloons-1391704157YFJI am all stirred up this Friday. I had the amazing opportunity to see Bethel Worship this week. You want to talk about freedom in worship, I experienced that this week. Nothing like I have ever experienced before. Just loving Jesus for two hours and surrounded by others who where so excited to worship Him.

Anyway, I believe it was Brian Johnson, one of the worship leaders, that said church should be like a party, not a funeral. If our God was dead then yeah, it should be a funeral, but our God’s not dead….HE’S ALIVE!!!

So let’s party.

I think about how excited people get over sports. They paint their faces and/or chests. We cheer when our team is winning and groan when something bad happens. We give words of encouragement when someone is up to bat, or up to serve or if they miss a basket. We encourage. We say things like “that’s okay…shake it off…you’ll get it next time.”

Hmmmm….how good are we at doing that within the church? Are constantly encouraging or cheering each other on? Are we excited, because in case you haven’t heard, our team is winning and will win. Nothing will ever change that even if it feels like we are being attacked on every side, we have Jesus on our side. Woo-hoo!

Do we understand that?

Really?

God, Jesus, Holy Spirit, has already won. We. Have. Won. 

Team Jesus wins!!

That’s something to scream about.

Sports will pass away (I am not bashing sports, I love watching my kids play) but something is wrong in our church if we get more worked up over our favorite team loosing to their rival then when a daughter of the king walks away from her Papa. When one of our brothers or sisters in the Lord is hurting, do we surround them? Do we really take the time to pray with them? It is easier to pretend we don’t see but Jesus sees, shouldn’t we? If we mean it when we say we want to be more like Him, then yes, we should see the joyful and hurting and surround them with praise or encouragement.

So yes, in my opinion, church should be the best party you have ever attended. And we get to go there every single week. There are some people who party every weekend, with drugs and alcohol and then feel horrible the next day. But for those of us who are believers we can party with the Holy Spirit and we will feel BETTER the next day. 

Let’s all order up a shot of the Holy Spirit and party like you serve a risen Savior….because you do.

Oh, if you want to see some powerful worship click here.  I dare you to join the party. Get our of your seat and worship, right now, give Him all the praise, glory and honor He deserves. He alone is worthy.

 

 

 

White Space March 21, 2014

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 10:45 am
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flower-on-the-bookAs an aspiring writer I have learned a lot about writing over the last few years. One thing I learned I think applies to your lives in Christ.

And that is…..leave room for white space on the page.

What does that mean?

I’m so glad you asked 🙂

When I open a book I look for two things. If I see them I know the book is worth reading.

1) Are there several paragraphs on the page? Are there indents which leave white space? If I open a book and see a big block of text I am turned off immediately. It looks like too much. I need room to breathe, I need to see white space.

2) Do I see quotation marks on the page? This means there is dialog. If I see only big blocks of text and no dialog I know I won’t like the book. Dialog (which is a conversation) is what moves the story along and adds tension to the plot.

So my question is if someone opened the book of your life and looked at your pages what would they see?

Are you leaving white space?

You see, I believe it is in the white space of our lives that God moves in. If we fill every space of our lives with stuff and things there’s not room left for God. I am so guilty of this in my own life.

I do, I do, I do and then I fill, I fill, I fill and my life is crowded.

This leads to no conversations with God. I am too busy. But conversations are what moves things along, including us.

Conversations with God move our hearts and lives closer to Him.

So, now it’s times for you to flip through your pages. What do you see? Does your life need some editing? Do things need to be deleted? Do you need to add some dialog?

Are you ready to add some white space to your page? Let’s get started right now. Here’s a link to one of my favorite worship songs, click here. Take a minute and just worship, sit in your Saviors presence.

Jesus loves you all so much. Never doubt, never forget. It is truth….the Bible tells us so.

Be still, and know that I am God! I will be honored by every nation. I will be honored throughout the world. Psalm 46:10 NLT

 

There’s No I in God…..or is There? January 31, 2014

Filed under: Melissa's devotions/articles — Melissa Finnegan @ 11:56 am
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hands 2The other day someone approached me and said that all of our worship songs are about “I, me, we, us” and that they like hymns better because they aren’t that way.

I was caught off guard, I told them I would have to mull that over.

As I thought about that comment I realized most hymns contain these same words, “This is MY Story,” “I’LL Fly Away,” “Bless Assurance Jesus is MINE,” “Be Thou MY Vision,” “What can wash away MY sin.” The list can go one but I think you get the hint.

My point here is that I, me, we, us, are in God. I don’t know how to sing about God without me in it because I am in Jesus!!! His word says abide in Me and I will abide in you. He created us for relationship and with relationship comes words like we and us. Without a relationship we just have religion and I don’t want that.

Our ancestors understood that when they were writing hymns, we need to be in Christ and He needs to be in US. Jesus is Mine, and I want His vision to be MY vision.

I don’t want to take me out of Jesus, or Jesus out of me, do you? I would be lost, hopeless.

We aren’t being self-centered in our worship when we sing about how much WE love Jesus, how He saved US. We are being completely God-centered and that is the only way we should be.

It is because of him that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption. 1 Corinthians 1:30 NIV

 

Part IX-The Calm April 13, 2012

We know without a doubt God did speak to Patrick about our 2nd child. When Patrick shared with me what God told him I was so happy. We wondered if we should wait a month since I had just started my next round of birth control. We decided to throw the pack away and begin trying. Less than two weeks later I was pregnant. All God.

We knew we would have a son and didn’t even bother having the ultrasound technician tell us. We just knew.

I had a c-section and as they were taking my baby Patrick said, “The baby has tons of dark hair.”

If any doubt remained it was earsed in that moment, this baby was a boy. The name we had chosen for our son means “dark.” He would look like his father.

The next words I heard were, “It’s a boy.”

Tears trickled down my face. God is so good.

Yes, our son looks just like his father and our daughter looks just like me. Complete opposites. You would never put them together as brother and sister. I love how creative God is.

Our son was born in 2006. Between 2005 (after I got pregnant)  and the beginning of 2009 was what I like to call “the calm.”

Life was good. We were happy. Patrick did ask me if I wanted to get counseling after the emotional affair. I said a confident, “No, I just needed a baby.”

That was a mistake.

I say that but I wonder if it is true. If I had received counseling  I might not be writing this blog now. I’ll never know.

We were great during those years. I was happy with my two children. I knew I would not have anymore and I was fine with that.

During those years Patrick and I served on our church worship team together. Our church was also going through a lot of changes. We went multi-site. Patrick and I really didn’t get the vision.

Having two children and trying to be on worship team together proved stressful. I made the decision to leave the team for a while. The worship leader (who is now our lead pastor) came to our house to make sure I wasn’t leaving because my feelings were hurt.

Honestly, I was dealing with some pride issues but never mentioned that and said it was just because of the baby and the stress.

In 2007 the church had officially become multi-site. My husband was still on worship team and he was playing at the new site. In the fall of 2007 I felt like God might want me to go back to the worship team. I mentioned this to the worship leader but things didn’t happen the way I wanted them to.

I sat in service seeing new faces on stage and I didn’t see any room for me. I was filled with selfishness and jealousy. I see this clearly  now, but at the time I just thought I didn’t like our church anymore.

People often say they don’t feel valued at their church. I would say that was how I felt. I didn’t feel valued.

Here is the issue with that way of thinking. Our value should never come of other people. Our value is only from God. I was looking to other people to give me value and they didn’t. This was my problem, not the church’s.

One Sunday morning after a service, where I sat and saw more new faces on  stage and no room for me, my husband picked up his bass, looked at me and said, “We’re done.”

I was fine with that. Now we could find the perfect church were I could feel valued.

Isn’t that silly? So many people think that way. It’s like getting a divorce. The problem is you still have a common denominator, and is it you. We take ourselves with us. But Patrick and I felt God was telling us to leave elem3nt and serve somewhere else.

Looking back we do believe God told us to leave, but not for the reason’s we thought. God had us leave to humble us and bring us back.

When we left I actually interviewed for a worship leader position in another church. I really wanted that job. I felt God challenging me to truly become a worship leader. I wasn’t sure how He wanted to accomplish that since I hate speaking to a crowd, but that feeling was undeniable.

We also visited several churches and none of them grabbed us. What we liked about one church was what we liked about elem3nt. So way did we leave?

After I interviewed with this other church I began to pray that God would not give me the job. Patrick felt that same way.

We wanted to return to elem3nt. We saw our selfishness for what it was. I realized the calling God placed on my heart, to be a worship leader, had to be accomplished at elem3nt.

In all God’s wisdom, I did not get the position at the other church. I praised Him.

We called Pastor Gayle, who was the worship leader at the time, and asked to meet with him at our house, again. We told him what God laid on our hearts and that we were ready to do God’s work at elem3nt.

There are a two things I said I would never to at church; speak and play keyboard.

Well, after our meeting with Pastor Gayle, God opened my mouth and gave me things to say to draw his people deeper into worshiping Him. As time moved along I started playing keyboard too. Isn’t God funny? Never say never to Him.

By the end of 2007  Patrick and I were in a wonderful place at elem3nt. People at church looked to us as this perfect couple who led worship together and who God was using for His glory. We were an example for other young couples.

My heart grows sad as I write those words because the storm is coming.

I now know the enemy was waiting, he has a lot of patience. He had me right where he wanted me, in a place where I could fall.  And I did.

 “Sin is lying in wait for you, ready to pounce; it’s out to get you, you’ve got to master it.”  Genesis 4:7 (MSG)

Have you discovered how patient Satan can be?