Tuesday, December 16, 2008

one crazy weekend...

Well, we just had one crazy weekend. It started on Thursday night when the guys and I met for a meeting to work out the details of the band. We discussed our future, where we were going, what is our purpose and what do we need as a band to continue to do this thing...whatever this THING is. We grabbed some dinner, sat down for a lengthy discussion, prayer and then maybe the best practice session ever.

We worked up some new songs and then crashed at 2AM. On Friday, the girls went to my parents. Jen and Anna went shopping. Luke, Trent, Jordan, Carter and I sat down for the first ever song writing session. It was a grueling process. I felt many emotions through out the evening and into the morning. We ended up just crashing at 4AM. The result... our first decent worship song. I am sure this is not the finished product, but its got some legs.

Jen awakened to Luke, Trent and Jordan asleep on the couches and the house looked like a bomb blew up in Guitar Center. Guitar and drum gear everywhere. We rolled out of bed and then prepared our selves for the travel to Bainbridge for the Worship the King event. We were the headliner...ok that is a stretch but we were scheduled to play at 9PM. We left my house with gear loaded around 1PM...a mere 8 hours before our schedule appearance to lead the people of Bainbridge United Methodist Church to the throne of God in worship! Here is where it gets interesting... Luke pulled out of my drive way and on to the route suggested by the GPS to take to Bainbridge, OH and it happened...
our bands first breakdown. Luke car had a flat tire.. on a large hill... with a car crammed full of guitars, amps, pedalboards, cables, etc. As I jumped out of the Jeep to help, I dropped my iPhone onto the cold hard pavement. This seemed insignificant at the time, but as the situation progressed... having a phone is pretty important now a days in situations like this.

After we transfered the gear to another vehicle, I changed the tire, while Trent and Jordan directed traffic(we were not only on a steep hill, we were on a blind curve in the road) and we were back on the road..with plenty of time to spare! Until 500 feet later... FLAT TIRE number 2 this particular road trip. Jordan and I ran the first tire back to the house to inflate, then another tire change and we were now back on the road again.

We finally arrived at our destination about 1 hour and 45 minutes later. This sort of put a crunch on setup time and practice time. We had decided to run through our new song...you know..give it a good "road test". We were ready at 4:15 and then it was time to wait... and wait....and wait and wait some more. The thing is..I am sure we are like any other band. When you get ready to play..YOU WANT TO PLAY! So patience was a virtue we had to really work on for the rest of the evening. As each band played, we became more and more antsy. The line up was great! Megan's band from Shawnee played, the girl singing with her rocked "Trading my sorrows". It holds a special place in my heart, was the first worship song I ever learned to play :) Megan and Rusty sang a few of their favorites for us. Rusty had the coolest hat ever! lol! Matt Blouser played his 12 string and shared his obvious passion for Country Music and the Gospel..that boy has got some twang in his voice! I think there is a huge need for more talented people in that genre... (Christian) country music. I think there is a difference between that and pure gospel/southern gospel music. It is all gospel music.

Paul and Mike were great guys who played 2 sets.. they bookended the fellowship and food break with Christmas music and some few original works. Great spirit and worship. It is obvious that they love to play music and sing. They sang a song that our friend Caitlin wrote the lyrics for when they were in Delaware, OH. Awesome!

Our good friend Jesse Houser put together a band with his mom, Shirley, his brother, Jordan, his friend Derek and his college roommate. I will forever refer to them as the Jesse Houser Extravaganza! Who knows maybe it will stick? I have known Jesse for a while now and had the pleasure of watching him grow into his own as a worship leader. He use to play bass, drums, guitar or whatever else we needed him to play in the worship team at Salem Community Church. I was impressed by how much stronger he is vocally. They did a great job and really got everyone to a place of worship. It was a great set. Everyone was singing.

Now I want to interject here a little story. A few years ago, we were asked to play at a small music festival in a parking lot of a church. This was back in the old school MFE days. We were to play very early in the line up. The headlining band had brought their own sound gear. We were told that all of the bands on the main stage would be playing through their gear. When we got their..the headlining band had not been told this bit of news. Needless to say, they were not happy and it was not that much fun. They gave us a bunch of attitude. I tried to be very thankful and appreciative of their efforts. They were honestly just frustrated. They setup, they had to run sound for us, they had to play, then they had to tear down. Honestly, I could understand if they were not prepared for the situation. I did promise my band that if we were ever in that same position, that we would remember that moment, and be gracious. At BUMC, we setup, ran sound, we played and tore down. We were happy to serve the other bands. It honestly makes for a better experience for the audience. Faster change overs = less waiting and more music. Everyone is happy! I was blessed in hearing them play their music. We know what it is like to be the opener, with no one to listen to you play and we know (on a very small scale) what it is like to be the headliner. We as a band know we will find ourselves at any of those positions in between moving down the road. We pray that a band that we share an evening with walks away going...I love those guys, they are doing this for all the right reasons.

At this point, the crowd of people had been there for 4 hours! Most crowds would have been tired and ready to go home. NO, not at BUMC! They were ready to go to the throne! Really they needed a bathroom break but Scott spoke about how Christmas was all about consumerism and that we needed to get to the central idea of Christmas...Jesus. Which worked perfectly for our intro. Speaking of intros... i think everyone in the MFE..we love intro's! I think about ways of opening worship that really gets people prepared to sing, to let go, to worship. I have so many ideas in my head, and very few of them involve pyrotechnics, stunts or giant animitronic demons (although that thought of Luke battling a giant fire breathing demon with his Tele would be pretty cool). I enjoy watching other bands start their worship services and just learn what makes a good start and what doesn't. I will be the first to admit that Sunday morning worship is a little different than what we do on a Saturday night, i think people are more prepared for a concert like worship service in those Saturday night environments(that is a whole other blog post). We decided to kill the lights and show the Advent Conspiracy video..powerful..thought provoking and tied in great with what Scott had to say. So...video ...lights come up..into the first song! I know..maybe a little bit of a rock star moment. We were so keyed up form all of the events of the day, awaiting our turn patiently, writing a new song in which we were going to test out on the BUMC'ers and honestly, worship was just what our band desperately needed.

I felt like each song set up the next song. The evening kept growing, getting bigger, displacing more energy. God had prepared us for moments like this. The moment where you go from hoping you can bring people to God to BRINGING people to God through worship. A whole new level. Now nothing about this set was perfect. We still played the songs and made mistakes, but I am not sure we have ever brought energy to worship like that before. I was proud and humbled at the same time. It was surreal and a rush at the same time. I am a different person because of worship on Saturday night. We might be a different band because of worship at Worship the King!

Song #5 in the set list was labeled "New Song?". We were now at that point in the worship. Do we play it? Do we cut it? Will people like it? Will it be worshipful? Will God be pleased? About 50 other questions flew through my mind in the split second before I looked at Trent, Jordan, Luke and Carter for affirmation that we were going to test out the new tune. And so we went for it.

Take off your shoes is a song that came from a few conversations, a ton of study, and a special piece of agape for my friend Eli (he is the next lay director on Chrysalis and the weekend theme is Exodus 3). He asked me to be the music director for the weekend. I thought how cool would it be that the theme song for the weekend was actually an original song! I wanted to surprise him, but I honestly was too excited about what little bit of the song I had already written to keep it from him. The song is about a burning bush experience. Moses, you or me, it doesn't really matter. It is a song about doubt, doubting myself and God's plan. It is a song of understanding my past mistakes, our pain as a people of God. It is a song of obedience, God's call in your life. We try to justify, even attempt to tell God he has the wrong person. A song about no matter where you are in life, you still are invited to Holy Ground. God still wants to commune with you there. He is a God of confidence and strength. He is a God of love and He is big! He is I am!

I think God's call to Moses in the bush was more about the fact that Moses actually saw the bush then it was that it was about the bush burning. My friend Steve confirmed my thought the other night. We probably walk past burning bushes everyday and never seem them. The most important thing is that when God calls out, we answer with "here i am!" That is so hard to do.

The song went off with out a problem, except for Luke's mic being muted. We had only played it once in practice. We found great worship moments in the song. It actually messed the whole band up. We were really sloppy on the next song because we were still reeling from how well everyone worshiped to "Shoes".

In our minds the night was a success for everyone involved. The church collected lots coats and shoes. We worshiped, a lot! We shared in communion. We were attacked all day , but we could not be touched that night. God was present!

One last thing, we have a video clip from Saturday night, I hope you are blessed by it. Thank you for all of you who support what we do. We love you.

Worship the King video...


Jon Mark Hall said...

Dude I couldn't agree more. Jesus was rockin' with us Saturday! HE WAS IN THE HOUSE! Several couldn't believe 5 hours passed by so fast. Everyone involved brought a different aspect of worship in their personal styles. The rafters were a shakin' and the windows a rattlin' with shouts of praise. Praise God for His Grace!

Dana Schmidt said...

I really liked "Take Off Your Shoes". I think we'll need a recording of that. Nothing seems more right than excellent worship. Five hours passed in a blink, just imagine how eternity in the presence of God and the host of Heaven singing worship will be. You are blessed with a gift, do it honor.

The video on the other hand, nawwww