Welcome

Brian Campbell Music is the worshiping community led by worship artist Brian Campbell. We create music, experiences, training seminars, projects, and events that celebrate the exchange of God meeting with and changing His people. Our hope is that you simply meet with Jesus through this journey. 

Southern England - Recap 

Monday night’s event, with a group called IMPACT that meets in Southampton weekly for training and worship, was in Central Hall. It was a culmination of weekend of growing into an incredible community in the south of England: Monday’s event saw friends we had seen through the entire weekend in places like Lee, Portsmouth, Gosport, as well at Southampton. More than just another event, the Monday night sealed a time growing together with a group of people who are passionate about seeking the Lord in and out of season.

The way the Monday night event came about was in itself a bit of providence: it came up as a possibility in a conversation on Friday, but as a small one, as it is not something that would typically be an event for outside groups: IMPACT represents over 15 area churches coming together, and their worship team is amazing. To be asked to come in itself was a huge honor, and for us to actually be invited to lead there on Monday was a testament to the work God was doing in us and in the community around Southampton. Central Hall is the largest Christian gathering center in the region, and its history is one of revival and awakening: started by two evangelists earlier in this century, it was the place where Delirious was born in the early 90s; the song “What a Friend I’ve Found” was actually written right behind this stage moments before it was led for the first time. Tonight, Phil Wickham and Rend Collective will be playing there. Somewhere in the middle, we stand, leading people in worship of a wonderful and gracious God.

In so many ways, I’m blown away by God’s compassion and grace in this season of life: often, I think God saves us from ourselves, from our own misplaced dreams and desires, making something new and good in the midst of our own futile attempts at saving the world… I think all that God desires from us is to know Him, to see Him face to face, and simply do exactly what He tells us to as He takes care of the rest. To simply adore, to simply love, and to simply obey are the elements of a life immersed in Christ.

Jesus, Jesus

Jesus, Friend forever

So honored, so humbled, and so thankful for the time here in southern England. As this final week of the #oneworthitall Europe tour 2014 begins today in Bristol, I’m grateful for all I’ve learned here.

Good Worship Always Comes From Good Theology 

If you’re a regular attender at a church, you’ve likely heard the song that makes you cringe in a worship time; maybe there is a lyric in it that just doesn’t sit right in your heart, or you seem you can’t quite find the way to sing it truthfully after weeks of trying. Maybe there was a project you’ve seen released that made you question something in its title or its purpose. Sometimes these questions are good for are hearts, helping us struggle through areas where our lives need to change and our understanding of God needs to grow.  But sometimes there is something in it that is, simply put, wrong—in our understanding of God or our understanding of worship.

Good “theology” does not necessarily mean you’ll make incredible worship content. I know many churches, people, and ministries that have all the right things on paper and still miss the mark when it comes to solid worshipful creativity. But good worship always come out of solid theology—an understanding of who God is, of His purpose and plan for the world, and of who He has declared us to be in Him. The fact is this: our understanding of God is essential to creating worshipful music and art.

There is a definitively prophetic element in every songwriter: this forth-telling (sharing and illuminating what God has already done) is really at the heart of worshipful creativity. In fact, that’s actually what we do as songwriters and creatives: we share insight into something that already is in the world, but in a different light. That’s by no means the only element of creativity, but it’s the one I’d like to focus on today: as a worship songwriter, you can’t escape the simple truth that you are creatively expressing a truth that’s already been told (most notably in Jesus) and that is by its very nature prophetic (Revelation 19:10).

What I think many songwriters struggle with is exactly how to merge creativity and truth in a way that is both accurate and relevant. We want to share something that is timely in its delivery. We want to share something that is eternal in its significance. How do we do this?

I see a couple of pitfalls many of us have inevitably fallen in to as members of the creative church: first, some of us have pursued creativity as an end in itself: we’ve seen the vehicle of the song as the end for all purpose and encounter with the God of the universe where lives will be changed. We forget that there is one Giver of life and that He is the one who is using our songs to change lives. There is incredible power in music—but music and creativity ultimately point us to a person—Jesus—and inspire us to walk in relationship with Him. That’s the end of worship music: to inspire us to live as changed people.

A second pitfall I see is that we’ve neglected excellence in creativity in the church. We’ve said since God is the focus at the end anyway, creativity doesn’t matter and our songs are just covered by God’s grace and the heart of the creator is all that matters. This is a lie and a tragic waste of God-given skills. If we as creatives fail to pursue excellence in our craft, we will leave observers, worshipers, and disciples stagnating in their spiritual conditions. If we choose to neglect our own development of our craft, it shows our communities that mediocrity is acceptable to God: in our moral conditions, in our work ethics, and in our discipleship. 

A final pitfall is that we’ve seen creativity and music as tools to merely enhance other gifts. I read an article by a south-African pastor a few weeks ago that essentially said that worship music existed in the church to support the pastor’s sermon. If this is the end of our creative efforts, we will lead cultures that are progressively less inspired and increasingly stifled in terms of our imagination and vision—essential elements of Godly living. Pastors: I challenge you to shepherd cultures in your churches where people are encouraged to imagine the greatness of God. Inspired individuals will create beautiful, life-changing, and world-changing art in your community when you encourage imagination with focus. Christian meditation is the simple discipline of focusing on the God of the universe and letting our minds rest on His aspects. Encourage your people to meditate on a big God.

As songwriters, artists, poets, and other creatives, our crafts are uniquely tied to truth. We have a subject that inspires us to create, and then we creatively express that subject as it has affected us (or how we imagine it affecting someone else). If the subject is gone, what we are left with is an ever-decreasing body of content that centers on our own personal experience. It’s a nebulous pit when we make ourselves the center of creativity.

Not so when God is at the center. We find inspiration in the person of God, in our experience with Him, in light of how things could be, in light of how things are intended to be. We become increasingly inspired people. We actually sing back to God the truth of His heart in worship—literally forth-telling. This is why theology is so critical to our expression of worship: if we fail to know God for who He is and what He has done, we create from a place where our inspiration is lacking. How much worse when we create from bad theology! When our inspiration is skewed through misunderstandings of God or through our lack of scriptural knowledge, we can actually be inspired by things contradictory to who God is. Hence that off feeling when you hear those certain words in an otherwise great song.

Songwriters: our theology matters. Creatives: your understanding of God as laid out in scripture will be the wellspring of creativity, and your degree of tapping in to this will determine your effectiveness as a worship artist. Drink deeply of the truth of God. Know Him personally and let His song rise up in you.

Let’s be artists who create not merely from our own abilities but from the inspiration of the Giver of creativity as He leads us every single step.

A Dark Continent? Maybe No More. France Wakes. 

Since my first time to France in 2007, I’ve fallen more and more in love with this nation every time we’ve returned: the cities, the people, the vibrancy of life all point to a culture and a world very much alive. The tenor of ministry in Europe has for the last decade been that this is a people and a nation very much lost in spiritual darkness; people lost in either the fog of existentialism or in dead religious systems.

I would say that this has begun to change.

There has always been a heaviness for me when I’d come to Europe through the early 2000s. It was like you could almost touch the spiritual heaviness and oppression, and you could feel it in the people you talked to. I came to recognize it and expect it with our ministry in Europe. But I remember getting of the plane in Munich in 2012 and feeling a space I had never felt before in the spiritual; it was almost as if a weight had been lifted off of the entire continent and a new season was beginning. I wrote about it in updates during that time, that I felt that something unique and new was starting. It wasn’t a massive awakening of people, but it was definitely a taking away of all the distractions so that a coming awakening could be possible—where people would have the freedom to choose Christ.

Two years later, I’m convinced more than ever that the season is being prepared for awakening for the people of Europe—and specifically France. We have for years as a nation in America been vitally connected to this wonderful country. For better or worse, we’ve often carried the flag of freedom and liberty through varying seasons of worldwide change and upheaval. Now more than ever, I believe France and America are being brought into a season of collaboration and partnership in the Kingdom through the people of God. There are things going on here in France that the global church needs. There are things in America going on that we need to work together with the church in France to see manifested in fullness. Simply, we need each other.

The feeling as I leave France after a full week of ministry is that I can’t wait to come back, to see more of what this adventure holds, and to see hearts continue to wake here—in this amazing country—to the Giver of life.

Thank you, France. May you be ever waking to your destiny in Jesus.

Your Next Project: A Quick Guide to Pre-Production 

Of all the things I see happening in worshiping communities around the world, few things encourage me more than the mass move of churches around the world towards songwriting for their communities. There is something unique and beautiful and good in a group of people honestly and creatively expressing what God is doing through and among them, and it’s nothing short of thrilling to see communities catch that vision.

Many, however, struggle with taking the next steps into a studio project. The wheels often come off when they start to ask the question of where do I begin? Artists and bands struggle with much of the same: many a band has entered a studio having paid hundreds—if not thousands—of dollars for a day’s time and leave with very little because of a simple fact: pre-production is often overlooked—and it matters. A producer can’t and shouldn’t write your songs for you the day you enter a studio. As an artist (and if your church team is entering the studio together, you are the artist), it’s your responsibility to be the creative energy behind a project: that is much more about the way you communicate your ideas than the volume of those ideas. If you think a project is just going to happen as a result of you being in the studio, it likely will happen in some form, but it will be much more costly and much less worthwhile than had you taken the time to plan out things ahead of time.

And so we arrive at pre-production :)

When we are talking about pre-production for a song, we are talking about the foundational elements that make that song unique. But we’re also talking about the elements that make that song a song—BPMs, chord structures, builds, crashes, breakdowns, should all be included here. When you do pre-production well, you have a map of a song that (a) you can record to in the studio with a similar vibe and energy to the finished song, (b) will allow your team and musicians to practice to before everyone hits the studio, and a song that (c) will allow your engineer to hit the ground running and maximize your precious studio time. Choose to make pre-production a priority and you’ll have much more time to creatively explore the songs in a studio space; fail to make pre-production a priority and you’ll be paying $1000 a day for songwriting.

As an artist going into the studio, there are many ways you can best utilize your pre-production time and energy so that you can hit the ground running. Here are a couple things to consider adding into your creative flow:

1) Create a creative flow. Find a method that works for you to bring your song ideas consistently to recorded works. Put parameters in place to gauge the value of a song to you as an artist and filters to sift through finished songs before they go into the studio. This is foundational, and if you don’t have it, you’ll be in that time and energy wasting space.

2) Build a demo. For me, I make a demo of every song I write in a co-write as a reference in terms of meter, structure, strum patterns, and general energy. You can make a rough demo with the voice recorder on your smartphone—and you should. If you have access to a studio or recording facilities, add in that drum beat or that synth lead that makes the song. Many times the demos are actually what you use to build the track when you go into the studio. We’ve used demos as the foundation for studio tracks built the first day in a co-write.

3) Cast the vision. Pre-production should cast a vision for what you’d like the song to be. Is there a breakdown in the song where everything drops out except for the vocals? Is there a building section that empties in to a full chorus? Build these into your pre-productions of the songs and then build the instruments around them. Your artistic vision can be shown in post-production choices, but it’s the pre-production choices that give them the parameters to work from. Spending the time doing this first step well gives you so much more time for the often more enjoyable parts of song creating.

4) Get a producer. Producers don’t just sit back and “watch the magic happen.” These are guys who are experienced in creating projects and will help you through the process flow in a way where you best utilize your time, energy, and resources. A good producer is worth much more than what they ask because they’re the one championing your project and helping you navigate the details in the studio you simply cannot do well as the artist.

In either case, pre-production will dramatically improve your studio experience. You’ll find the studio being much more of what you’ve always dreamed it could be.

Menomonie, WI 


 

Menomonie, WI

We met these incredible people this summer at #sonshinefest, and on our way back from South Dakota we stopped by for one of the most unexpectedly wonderful nights of the tour. Underneath a church in Menomonie, WI resides #blindmunchies, a coffee house with those #americanpicker sort of signs everywhere. Tom and Becky run the place, and their heart is for college students at the university in town. We were absolutely floored by the turnout and the participation: what we thought would be a chill worship night with 15 or 20 turned into a full on worship singalong with almost 100 that packed the place out.

Finishing up the American tour this week, I’m reminded of those unexpected moments that go so far beyond your expectations. I’ve learned on this 6 week journey through America to enjoy the ride more than I have ever done before. I’ve become more thankful for surprises—good and bad—learning to simply receive them as part of the adventure and value them for what they are.

Again, it all comes down to character I guess… God doing something in us that is good and makes us more at ease in His love for us and our love for both Him and others. Grateful for wonderful nights like this Monday in Menomonie that restore my soul.

#worshipis #mondayfunday #oneworthitall

Lindstrom, MN  


 

In Lindstrom, MN tonight at a church we were at this summer following #sonshinefest. Weekends like these are some of my favorite: 2 solid days with a church and the team where we talk worship, life, and ministry. These usually finish off with a night of worship.

In planning our sets, I think many of us as worship leaders can easily handle a 3 or 5 song set: opener. 3-song set [2 up, 1 down]. offering. closing response. Easy.

But I think we often struggle to communicate worship well on a “worship Sunday,” where music is the main element of content in this special service. We get glimpses at holidays and the like, but it really comes out when our pastors ask us to lead a full service. Maybe you’ve even wanted to do that, and your church leadership has said yes, and now you’re planning for it, and you’re feeling overwhelmed. There are definitely elements that make it a unique animal in itself.

To encourage you, you’re not alone; for us as a team, this area of “special service” is the world that we live in. There are a ton of ways you can go with it, but I think there are some core ideas that may help in planning these special services:

1) Think stations, experiences, and environments. Much like a sermon or a teaching should be designed to engage people in different ways and with regard to different learning styles, 45-60 minutes of music should be dynamic. Think if you have a message where someone preaches at monotone voice from notes for an hour: they’ve lost half their audience in the first 7 minute and will lose another 40 % in the next 5 according to the experts. It’s the same with music to a strong degree: if you play the same thing for 30 minutes, people are not going to be engaged, and as a worship leader, your primary responsibility to the people is to provide an environment where engagement happens, where we individually and corporately can connect with God and be changed. Instead of thinking of an hour of music I have to fill, ask: how can I create experiences and environments where people can uniquely connect with God—both individually and corporately—through the elements of a service? Liturgy helps here. Look at different liturgies and maybe create unique experiences in light of them.

2) Be open to other ways if communicating worship. Adding scripture reading, a testimony, a story, a video, a different leader for a song, can really help to “reset” the attention of people as you’re going through your service. On extended Sundays, these can help provide a buffer between times, transition from praise or higher energy moments to worshipful or more reflective moments—or back.

3) Ask yourself: what am I trying to communicate? I believe that the Holy Spirit will often use things even when we haven’t planned for them. But I also believe that a chief way the Holy Spirit works in many of our services is through our prayerful planning. Take the time to seek The Lord on his purpose for this special service; catch the vision and communicate it through well thought out and executed creative elements.

One final thought: on these special Sundays, we are essentially doing mini worship services back to back. Look at each on as part of the greater whole, but don’t feel like you have to communicate everything in each of these mini-services. Maybe it’s taking a larger point (God Loves You) and defining it through the elements (1. God is holy and merciful. 2. Forgiveness is found in Jesus 3. Jesus gave it all so you could live. 4. We have full access to a loving God)

These special services can really be defining moments for your community, and it’s worth the time you invest in planning and preparation. Bring team members into the process with you, and have fun with it!

#worshipsets #worshipsunday #worshipsethowto

South Dakota 


 

South Dakota

We had such a blast this week in South Dakota — it was the first time I’ve ever been to Nebraska and SD, and we were so blessed by the people we met here at University of South Dakota. Friends from a conference we did in Florida were the ones who invited us to come out this way on the #oneworthitall Tour, a reminder that this journey is continually growing through friendships. We head to Minneapolis for the weekend, very excited to be back so soon after Sonshine.

Someone posted this picture yesterday from the summer, I’m reminded of the fact that prayer is essential to everything we do. Are you feeling the weight of life? Are you unsure what steps to take? Pray. When things get the toughest, that’s a perfect time to hit the ground and seek The Lord. When things are going great and you’re thankful and full, seek The Lord. Prayer is something we need to make a part of our every moment, that we never leave that place, but instead carry it with us into the darkest circumstances.

We head into the final week of the fall US Tour, and I’m grateful for God’s continued guidance on this journey.

Stay strong—and pray today!

THE ONE WORTH IT ALL Tour heads to Europe in November 

This year, we have some exciting news: our Fall US Tour is becoming our Fall Europe Tour November 5 - 25: THE ONE WORTH IT ALL Tour will be in cities in the United Kingdom, France, The Netherlands, and Germany throughout the month. While the team has been part of events in Europe since 2007, this is the first tour with a full team since FOR THE HUNGRY, with a schedule of:

Nov. 6-8: London, UK

November 9-11: Paris, France

November 12-13: Amsterdam, Holland

November 14-16: Siegen, Germany

November 17-18: Frankfurt, Germany

November 19-23: Southern England

November 24-25: London, UK

A full list of venues and churches will be available soon on the events page.

Please pray for the team and the churches we will be serving while in Europe. It’s a beautiful place that the team always loves coming back to, and we’re excited for the lives that will be changed through this tour and the ministry God continues to do.

Uprise Fest - Shippensburg, PA 


 

Uprise Fest in Shippensburg, PA was such an awesome festival: it was a huge honor to be there. We ended up playing a morning set, which are usually much more low-key… The crowd was so in to it though, and what started as maybe 150 people quickly turned into almost 1,000. A really incredible day all around. Super grateful to be there, thanks so much to everyone who came out and supported us! #oneworthitall #heartswake #uprisefest #bcampbellmusic

Grove City College - Morning Chapel 


 

Great morning on campus @grovecitycollege. To speak to over 1,300 students and faculty on leadership was a huge honor. I wanted to share the message with you all as well:

The Place of the Presence is the Place of Leadership (Exodus 33:7-11)

You have been called to purpose. You and I have not been made to be people who wander through life without an understanding of who we are and what we are called to. You and I have been called to lead. Leadership takes many different forms and it will look different for each of us in this room, but the fact is that each and every one of us will lead in some way through our lives: it may be a small group of friends—it may be a single friend—it may be our families or our colleagues, it may be nations or companies, hospitals, businesses, universities, in culture and in justice. But the fact is that you sit among a community of leaders.

Many of you came to this place with an understanding of that. Many of you feel that you don’t have a bone of leadership in your entire body. Regardless, God wants to give you a vision for leadership because he has created you to be ministers of his Kingdom here on earth. He’s created you to be a person who uniquely displays his glory on this earth in a way where people come to know Jesus.

But you and I often struggle in the next steps: we see the destination—sometimes so vividly—but the question remains: what do I do to take the crucial and initial steps today to move toward those dreams? I see the end, you say. I have this passion inside of me and I know I’m called to something significant, something good, and something great. But how do I get there? What do I do today with what I’ve been given.

I’ve got a simple point for you today and it’s this: The place of worship is the place where God develops leaders. I want to take a moment this morning to look at a young Joshua because God prepared Joshua in the place of the presence, this place of worship, and ultimately made him a leader of a nation.

But before we do, Let’s pray…

We pick up on Joshua’s story at this place of the tent of meeting. First, Joshua is mentioned as one of the spies sent in to the Promised Land. There are a couple of points I see in the early Joshua that I think help us understand who is:
1.) He was passionate, tenacious, and uncertain of his destiny
- This was the man who entered the promised land which looked more like something out of a Marvel movie and said of the giants that he saw—we can take ‘em! When the majority said no, Joshua said yes, simply because God said yes. He cast his lot with guys like Caleb, a man who in his 80s asked for the land where the fight was the greatest as his inheritance.
- These were risk takers and they were zealous, but who they would be had not yet been revealed. They were in a state of becoming at this point in their lives
2) This is a man who has learned to follow
- Joshua is a man who checks his passions with Godly authority. He’s content to be the glory-less number 2.
Now the position of being No. 2 is one that every proven leader will ultimately carry. It’s a position where he or she has much of the responsibility but none of the honor. It’s where God galvanizes leaders and strips away so much of our false selves so that all that’s left is simple things like faith, hope and love—for God and people. We all love recognition for our leadership—we love to be affirmed in what we are doing and what we are sacrificing. The No. 2 receives little to none of this: None of the acclaim, but there is still work to be done. She leads primarily through her serving.

This is critical to understanding Joshua. He had seen the Promised Land! He had tasted and experienced this glorious inheritance that God had given his people, and He had even answered the questions correctly! Can you imagine that for a moment: to make the right decision and to lead in the minority? Joshua did everything right, and yet for the next 40 years, he was forced to walk with a wandering people who had made the wrong choice. He knew what his God had called his people to: he knew the inheritance that was theirs to receive. Yet he had to wait without the glory, he had to serve without the recognition, and he had to lead through his service. Joshua at this point in his life likely has a million questions of who he should be and what he should do, because this sort of leadership ultimately leads you to that place of self-awareness. You begin to ask the questions of identity: who am I? Why and I here? What is God calling me to be?

That brings us to a final observation I see in Joshua’s early life: Because you see,
3) Joshua knows where to get the answers
He may have those questions, but he knows that if anyone knows, that person is the God of the universe. Sometimes he probably had no strength at all to lead himself, let alone others, but he knew that there was a God who knew where they were going. There was this God who knew how to get out of the wilderness. There was this God who before the foundations of the world knew him and loved him.

For a number of you, you may be in a similar place, questioning your purpose or identity. Maybe you have these dreams of what your life will be and you can’t wait to set out to accomplish them. Maybe you have these passions in your heart that you just know will change the world, and I’m telling you that they will because those passions are seeds of eternity that God has put inside of you. Maybe you have a dream that is so big you’re not even sure where to begin, and so you try to contextualize it with your studies, and you change your major again and again, but it’s just not really you and your head is spinning and you’re crying out: God! What am I supposed to do with my life? Why on earth am I here???

I believe that God is the one who leads us to that place, first and foremost because he cares about us deeply. God is infinitely more concerned with who you are becoming as a person than what good things you can do for him. The entire message of Mercy in the Gospel is the simple truth that while we were powerless and stuck in our sins, Christ came and did what we could not do so that we could be called sons and daughters where we were once enemies. My best efforts to change the world did not impress God when he chose to save me from sin and from death. My most noble aspirations did not earn some deserved favor on my life. God chose to save me in the midst of my sin and to begin a work of making my life one of surrender and dependence on a Great Provider. More than what you do, God is concerned about who you are in Him. Some of you simply need to be reminded of that today.

Intimacy is what God is after. It comes from that face to face encounter with a living God who knows you deeply. Joshua found intimacy with God in this place of the presence, this place of encounter. He stayed when others refused to enter in. Others wanted to arrive at the destination—the Promised Land. But Joshua knew that the only way to arrive in safety at the end of the line was by first knowing his God, the only one who could really tell him who he was. It was no doubt a painful place to be, this place of the presence, but it was also the place where raw leadership could be imparted.

If you’re in that place, you’re not alone. You’re in a place where countless leaders through the ages have been. And be assured that whether you feel it or not, God is calling you to lead. It may be your family or your community, it may be a country, it may be a company. But regardless, leadership is a part of the Kingdom. Think for a moment: why would it be called a kingdom if there weren’t governance and leadership? It’s not like we cash this stuff in at the end of our lives here on earth for a heavenly condo and harp. God is creating an eternal Kingdom and what you learn today, what you learn in this lifetime is truly preparation for eternity. Leadership is a fundamental part.

But some of you may be there right now, in this season on this wonderful campus, where you’re asking the questions of what am I supposed to do, and who am I supposed to be. How do I begin this adventure and what are the first steps?

Personal Testimony
For me, it began here in 2005 in the spring semester of my freshman year on an ICO to Italy. What I thought was essentially a 10-day service project in a beautiful country turned out to be a return trip less than 3 months later. I had grown up playing piano and guitar, but we had moved as a family when I was in late high school and I thought music for me was finished. I had actually only picked up guitar a few times in that freshman year. But when I got to Italy and I spent the summer with students who all loved music and wanted to start a band, I found myself teaching them Tomlin songs and surrounded by worship music. I fought it. I was a history major at the time, I wanted to be a professor one day. This wasn’t my plan, God! I thought music was finished for me! Why now with these kids?

That summer witnessed a profound spiritual awakening for those kids and also for me: I came back to Grove City with a huge vision of who God is and a desire to know Him intimately. It started with journalling in my dorm room, and just spending time with God in worship. I’d put music on or strum my guitar, and I’d write my prayers as I met with the God of the universe. It was that place that I can only really describe as the presence, where I could meet with God personally and intimately. And it happened in chapel too, and with friends, time to be with God together. But these times began to form and reform me.

I had changed my major to international business so that I could learn a language and go to the mission field with skills needed. And I loved my courses! But what I didn’t see was that the place of the presence was where God was training my heart and weaving these pieces together to lead in a way I hadn’t expected.

From the journaling came song ideas. From the song ideas came the opportunity to lead on campus and create a worship project. From the worship project came a worship pastor position at a church following college. Then another. Then opportunities at other churches. Then around the world with songwriters, artists, churches, festivals. God used every bit of it: I use my international business degree on a daily basis; but the reality is: I had no idea this was where my passions and my heart would be molded to God’s passions and heart in 2005. All I knew was that worship was the place where God met me, that place in His presence where He changed me, my dreams, and my vision.

Joshua didn’t know he was going to be the next leader of Israel when He sat in the tent of meeting. He didn’t know that He was going to be the one to see the Promised Land and to conquer. He simply knew that His God was near, and that was where He needed to stay.

Close: Some of you will be presidents of companies, leaders of churches and worshiping communities. Some of you may be adventurers and writers, artists creating at the forefront of a redemptive cultural revolution. Who knows? You may be the next attorney general of Virginia! But for most of you, the question today that is most pressing is this: God who really am I and what is my purpose? The place of the presence holds those answers because the place of the presence is where your Creator is, waiting for you to know Him.

I’d like to close with a point and a story. The point is that intimacy with God will fundamentally change your life. The story is this: My grandfather grew up in the river hollers of the Susquehanna river valley in Central Pennsylvania to a mennonite father who was also an alcoholic. At 21 he was drafted into the US army to serve with the occupational force in Europe in the city-state of Luxembourg. He came back to the states rough around the edges, and met and married my grandmother, and he worked as a logging man felling huge trees in the hills above the river. He wasn’t interested in spiritual things, but a year into their marriage, they started attending a home group with another couple who were planting a C&MA church in the their town. With his background, my grandfather rarely came into agreement easily, and he challenged everything. In terms of his faith, he resolved to not go forward for an altar call unless he knew it was God calling him. When he finally went forward in a small church on a commitment night, he fell on the altar so hard it broke. He never looked back.

The next 65 years were a story of faithfulness, leadership, servanthood, and redemption. Raising 4 kids on a farm above the river, this man led his family and community from a place of humility. He was generous in his dealings with people and showed the embodiment of love to those he met.

What kept this man strong for 65 years was a daily pursuit of God. His heart was captured by a gracious God that night on the altar and from that day onward, he chose to know this God deeply. Battling the final test of dementia ending this past August was a man who knew the God of the universe as the Lover of His soul. And it changed him. It showed him how to lead. By simply choosing intimacy every day he left a heritage of leadership that will echo through generations.

Friends, may we press in to fall in love with Jesus. May we be people who don’t simply wait outside our tents, but go into the place of the presence and find our purpose. May it be said of you and I that we were ones who took the time the know the Lord. Let’s pray…

RSS

Return

Join our mailing list for the latest news

ON TOUR