Week seven of SOW was structured a little bit differently than the rest of the weeks. We had two teachers, who could each only do two days of teaching. We took Wednesday off as a day of rest, and then added some extra classes to the afternoon. A group of us spent our day off going down to the lake which was super nice. We also had a special group dinner on the Friday night, so it was a great week of fellowship! I will share the top points I took away from both speakers, what I learned from one of our teachers about worship (he happens to be a very famous worship leader and songwriter in the French speaking world), and then I will also share my latest composition.
Week 7 – Creativity, Composition, and Perspective – Antoine Rouher and Matt Marvane
The Key: Creating with the Creator, some practical tips for composing songs, and looking at worship throughout the Bible in order to develop a Biblical worship perspective and live a continuously worshipful life!
Ten Main Points
- Sin is not the end game. We know about Jesus and the cross! When we have sinned, we look to Jesus for renewal and then we keep creating.
- Within art, it is good to take things from our own lives, but we want to take those things and then lead them to something bigger or stronger. We want to use those experiences to lead others towards God and His goodness.
- True love is seeing the full potential of a person, seeing them through God’s perspective, seeing their identity as it is based on Christ, not based on their sin.
- Praise is an act of faith. The language of faith is worshipping like Job in Job 1:20-22. Knowing completely and surely that no matter the circumstances, we will trust God is good and declare that truth.
- Use whatever it is God has given you. Don’t try to seek something you don’t have, don’t long after what others have. Whatever you do have, use it for the glory of God, and it is good. It is the worship God desires of you.
- We were not saved for ourselves, but to glorify God. We were not just saved so our own lives could be better. We were saved so that we can worship God and declare His glory. Live for Him, not for yourself.
- We are grateful to God because we believe He has given us salvation. The attitude of gratitude and belief go hand in hand. If we are struggling to be grateful, we should pray that God would help us with our unbelief! We should live our lives always with the filter of the cross. Just like how we choose a filter on Instagram, we need to choose to filter all we see with the filter of the cross. When we are looking at things with that filter, we will see everything with gratitude.
- To be a servant is to let the Holy Spirit work in our own lives, to ask God to do His work continuously in us. We don’t want to just be good participants, people who participate well in what the church offers us. We want the Holy Spirit to work in our lives, and lead us to holiness, so that we can be carriers. People who help carry the responsibilities that God has assigned to the church.
- Creativity makes connections. It connects us to God, the Creator, and it connects us with other people.
- The goal of a worshipper should be to know Jesus more. That is it. When that is our greatest goal, everything else will flow naturally from this.
What I Learned About Leading Worship From Matt Marvane
“Continuously Worship in Spirit and Truth”
“It must be the Holy Spirit and truth. We cannot worship in the spirit alone, for the spirit without truth is helpless. We cannot worship in truth alone, for that would be theology without fire. Worship must be in the spirit and in truth! It must be the truth of God and the Spirit of God. When a person, yielding to God and believing the truth of God, is filled with the Spirit of God, even his faintest whisper will be worship.” – A.W. Tozer ‘Whatever Happened to Worship?’
Unbeknown to Matt, this was something I read this week. It was also something that Matt not only spoke about, but displayed greatly through his own attitude and actions. We discussed 1 Corinthians 14:15 – “What am I to do? I will pray with my spirit, but I will pray with my mind also; I will sing praise with my spirit, but I will sing with my mind also.” We want to be led by the Spirit, but we also want to think, be intellectual, and study God’s word. In past weeks we have talked about the differences between conservative and charismatic worship and denominations, and the different struggles each can face. Conservative believers lean more towards wanting to focus on the mind, charismatic believers lean more towards wanting to be led by the Spirit – and yet the Bible says we should have balance. We should have both. Matt also talked a lot about how music is just a tool for worship, and that true worship should be much more than just a time of song on Sunday. It should be our whole lives and the way we live them.
Matt definitely practiced what he preached too! It wasn’t just when he was leading our times of worship through song that he was obviously a worshipper and a worship leader. When he was preaching or even just having conversations with us, he was so obviously a worshipper too! The passion Matt has for the Bible and for Jesus came through in all that he taught; he wasn’t just teaching us stuff because it sounded good, but because he loves God, he worships God, and he was expressing that through his teaching. He didn’t just ask us about ourselves during dinnertime to make small talk, again, he showed true interest and love, love that comes from loving God and wanting to follow His commands. Matt lives a life that worships God and brings glory to God in all that he does.
Similarly, he also had a great balance between worshipping in both spirit and in truth. It felt like every 2 minutes I was writing down another Bible reference as Matt was teaching, because he kept pointing everything he was saying back to the Bible and where we could study it for ourselves. But he also led times of worship where we were encouraged to sing in tongues if that was something we were gifted with, or to simply sing spontaneous songs and sing whatever the Spirit put on our hearts as we were singing. He showed us and encouraged us to be praying and to be seeking guidance from the Holy Spirit in all that we do, but to also be studying and disciplining ourselves through growing in knowledge and skills. Above all though, He showed us and encouraged us to do all those things and everything else as an act of worship to bring glory to God.
Here is a link to my third composition. The first song I wrote was about something that I really wanted to say to God, the second song I wrote was about something that I really wanted to say to other people, but this third song is just me singing to God. I just wanted to sing about how AWESOME I think He is. Two verses that really inspire images that go along with that theme are Job 38 and Isaiah 40:10-12, and they were my inspiration for the lyrics:
All the glory to God for yet another amazing opportunity to learn, grow, and serve! May He bless each one of you on each of your own journeys too! To end this post I will share the verse that we memorized this week:
“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” – Romans 12:1-2