Today I ran into my old boss, friend and musician in the worship team I was a part of years ago; his name is Jerry. As I think back to my 3 years working for him as a dispatcher for a commercial miniblind and drape company, I recall one main event. Continue reading
Our lil Worship Service
This is what you get when you mix a guitar, a silly made-up song and a little girl with lots o energeeee!
A Bray Say…about God singing
Mommy, does God sing?
(Yes! He does. Zephania 3:17 in the Bible says that He sings over us.)
So, is it like in a Kidz Bop band?
Making memories and ministry a “priority”
This weekend I had the privilege of attending a reunion for my youth choir, “Priority”. It was a celebration of the choir & its director & youth leaders, since its inception 20 years ago. 20 years of former & current members were represented as we all met for lunch & practice Saturday, May 23rd. I was in choir (as far as my memory serves me) from ’92-’97 when I was booted out because that was the year I married Ricky (& you were not allowed to be married & tour around the west coast with a youth choir)!
So I have about 6 years of singing & touring with Priority, that kind of blur into one sweet memory. Thanks to Michele (Smith) Swee who invited me to join in, and to Ron Cochran who directed this bunch of kids (about 50-100 per year), I was exposed to what fruitful ministry & doing what God created you to do…was all about. At first it was just for fun. But then I unexpectedly started learning stuff! Like…
What Alto vs. Soprano vs. Tenor was & how they sounded so great together. How music & lyrics can change your mood, even your week. How important discipline & practice & structure is. How friends you continually meet with year-round & then live with for 10 days in June can dramatically impact your sense of belonging. All the tour stories had me in joyful tears this weekend! …And how God can use you (more than you think) to make a difference for his name’s sake, if you lean into & develop the gifts he’s given you.
Ron was (& is) a really, really great teacher of music. I have so much respect for this man. I think when he let me try out for Amy Grant’s “Where Do I Go?” in ’92, it was my first real solo opportunity. To this day (& even Sunday morning when I sang it again) I get a case of the butterflies until I’m about a quarter though a song. But I haven’t put down the mic since.
If either Angel or Braylon have the desire to sing, I have no doubt I’ll be leading them in the same direction I went: to get involved in a choir ministry like Portland Christian Center’s Priority ~ with opportunity to grow in friendships & in the Lord, share silly stories, have fun & work hard, all for the glory & kingdom of a Great & Worthy God!
Me, on Stage, @ Austin City Limits?!
One of my family’s favorite shows is Austin City Limits. And today my mom & dad joined Angel and I (finally after 16 mo.s living in Austin), as we carved out some time to stop by the KLRU studio and “grace” that stage, just like so many talents…artists I would love to see live, like Susan Tedeschi, Eric Clapton, Sheryl Crow, B.B. King, Joss Stone, Corrine Bailey Rae, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Bonnie Raitt & Alison Krauss.
I was sure to have my black guitar in tow so I could do a lil ditty jus’ for fun! The only songs I could think of at the time were part of “Lie to Me” (Jonny Lang) and my ol’ stand-by, “America the Beautiful“. On the way home I was thinkin’ “Dang it! Why didn’t I sing the song I just wrote?! At ACL, they never do cover songs! Just like the moments after a bad argument, my mind kept comin’ up with “shoulda’s”.
As Angel cheered us on from her stroller, my mom played the piano and then my dad took the stage with a guitar solo before we all headed to the hall of framed photos…about 40 great shots of musicians in action – hanging on the hallway walls. It was soooo fun.
Today was my day to dream. Not really dream BIG…but to dream, nonetheless.
Maybe one day I’ll go back to that studio, and it won’t be for pretend. I’ll get to sing that original song (“A Psalm for Today”)…and I’ll be in my element ~ sharin’ with others some weighty words, a soulful melody and a voice God has been so good to give to me.
worship ain’t just singing
worship today was really good. we sang the hymn, it is well with my soul. and there’s just something about old hymns, especially ones that were written by ordinary people in extraordinary trials, such as this one.
i love worship. as much as i think of myself and my own needs and wants, still, i love to take my eyes off of me and put them on my Creator. to acknowledge Him, believe Him, appreciate Him, & see Him for who He is, not just what i can get from Him. and i can do that in so many ways.
it’s worship when i’m giving my time and talent and funds to the church & whatever Christ-centered causes tug at my heart,
by thinking about Him,
by serving in my church or community,
by singing alone or with my kids,
by talking about Him with my husband or a friend,
by staring in awe at nature’s ever-changing beauty,
by reading His Word,
by trusting Him,
by talking to Him like i would a friend…
any more you can think of? let me know how y’all worship!
not too good to be true
Then Jesus said, Come to me, all of you who are weary & carry heavy burdens and I will give you rest.
when i am weary and carry a heavy burden, i pray and i sing. talking to God does something inside of me that takes the focus off of me, even when i’m talking about me. and doing the very thing he’s gifted me to do, sing, brings me joy. it can be anything, but when i sing something that gives Him glory, He stays true to His word…and shows up. He inhabits the praises of His people. Knowing He is there takes a certain load off of me – like, i’m really not trying to do it all alone…something so easy for me to forget.
i can count on Him to show up & give me strength when i do what He’s gifted me to do, in His honor. if i have sin not dealt with, i ask him to make me clean and do my best to do a 180 in that area. it’s refreshing to know that He doesn’t hold grudges. He’s not angry with me (or you), disappointed or surprised when i’ve done wrong. All he asks is that i accept his Son’s sacrifice for it…and go on with my life. sounds easy, but it can be tough to do in an achievement-based, ‘if you work hard enough at something, you can get it done’ world-view.
but that’s one thing i love about the Gospel. it’s just too good…but not too good to be true.
illuminate has just been booked to play for 4 starbucks locations in the north austin area!
what’s even more exciting is that we have a great new website debut: illuminatelive.com! a special shout-out to talented and actually pretty hot webmaster, rresu.me for the extra time and sweet design. pray with me that God does His thing through every one of our 15 songs…not just at the coffee shops, but at the county jail and possibly a hospice home.