Friday, May 22, 2015

Love is Not a Fight (a Warren Barfield Cover)

I wrote a post a little while back about songs that just punch you in the heart, in a good way.  This happens to be one of those, for me.
Love is Not a Fight is absolute poetry that paints a picture of what love truly is.  It's not something we fall in and out of.  Love is not something that just happens because love, at it's core, is God.  God is a purposeful, creative Father, so why would we think love to be any different?  Love is not simply emotion, but an action that is demonstrated through peace, and pain, and joy, and sadness, and hurt, and healing, and so many other things.  Love is not something meant to be left behind.
I love this song and just had to do a cover of it, though I actually recorded it quite a while ago.  Time to revisit and share the fun!

Here is Warren Barfield's "Love is Not a Fight".

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

It's Not You and Them

I used to play gigs all over Seattle and have experienced some of the coolest venues and people I've ever visited or met during that season of my life.  But the memories that I cherish most are those that were created "with" people.

I had a band for a while, the Zach Trandum Music Project, and those guys not only brought the music to life but created an atmosphere that made playing the music truly memorable and special.  It was the team that made it happen.  My name may have been in the band title, but we were effective because we worked as a unit, prayed together, and encouraged each other.  If I had acted as though it were "Zach and those other guys" I would have killed the impact the band was having.  I'd even wager that our sound wouldn't have been anything close to what it was.
The bottom line is that many of you work with a team.  You lead them but you're not separate from them.  You are one unit, tied together by the common goal of creating sound that glorifies God.  If you've been acting as if it's them and you, then you're missing out on the whole point and joy of being a worship "team".

I recently had the honor to worship alongside two of my colleagues at World Vision for our weekly chapel service.  Aaron and Julieanne both demonstrate and incredible heart that's truly hungry for God.  We managed to capture a bit of this session on audio and I just had to share it.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Get Out of the Green Room

I watched a fantastic video via The Verge Network this morning.  It was a talk surrounding the fact, yes FACT, that worship leaders need to get off their butts, get out of the green room, and go connect with people!  I'm wrapping myself in here as well because I have absolutely been one of those leaders who goes and does his thing, and then gets a coffee, plops down on the couch and proceeds to "listen" to the sermon via the web stream.

Jesse Stone, of Austin Stone Worship, lays this out so perfectly and it fires me up!  Do you realize that you have an incredible platform?  You have the opportunity as a worship leader to connect with, love on, lift up, encourage, teach, and so many other things, the people in the congregation you serve.  Listen to the word I just used one more time... "Serve".

I'll be the first to admit that I used to use my platform as a spotlight for my gifts.  I was in college, playing professionally all over the Seattle area and saw it as an opportunity to do more music.  I was squandering the abilities God gave me and was incredibly fortunate to have leaders over me who recognized the potential in me and took time out of their own lives to mentor and teach. 

The bottom line here is this,
the green room is not a lounge, it's a place a preparation and prayer.  Use it as that, and then get out so you can connect with the amazing people around you!  Pray with them, encourage them.  Maybe God has a mentor opportunity just waiting for you.

Watch Jesse Stone's video via The Verge Network here! I loved it and I think you will too.

Friday, May 15, 2015

DOUBT: The Faith Fuel

I can't begin to tell you how often I've battled with doubt.  It's a constant struggle for me and sometimes I think it's going to drive me completely bonkers!  All around me I'm hearing "just have faith", or "trust in the Lord your God", which is all sound advice.  But is it advice that's really thought through?  Or is it an easy "cop-out" answer for Christian leaders who want to simply hand out the candy instead of the floss?
Here's how I see it...
Doubt can be negative, but it can also be fuel.  Doubt is gasoline poured on your fire and can actually crank up the heat of your faith!  Did you know doubt can actually be a sign of devotion?! WHAT!?  I know!!!  Now let me be clear here and say that doubt without action leads to nothing, but doubt that fuels action can lead to much deeper levels of faith and understanding.

I dug in to an awesome article on this this morning, brought to you by Relevant Magazine. You should check it out and tell me what you think!

Via Relevant:
Thomas has received a lot of criticism for this throughout history, and his nickname stuck: Doubting Thomas. But can we really blame him?
Thomas may have assumed that the disciples were hallucinating, or they may have seen a ghost, or just someone who looked like Jesus. If they hallucinated or saw a ghost, it would mean that Jesus had not truly, physically risen, so Thomas demanded not only to see Jesus with his eyes, but to touch Jesus’ wounds with his hands...


Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Lion Chaser: This is You

I'm back on the lions kick guys. I just can't seem to get away from it! And lets be honest, lions are pretty awesome. This morning I went through a box of books we've yet to fully unpack and pulled out my copy of Mark Batterson's "In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day". I think I may have talked about this incredible read before, but whatever, it's totally worth a re-visit. The book starts off by introducing you to an incredibly powerful and courageous man, whose decision to chase fear instead of run from it elevated him to a position of great authority and influence. That man is Beniah, who went on to become one of David's mighty men I believe. (feel free to correct me if I'm wrong lol.)

The whole encounter described in Mark's book is absolutely epic and paints a picture for us of how we should trust God with our fear knowing that what's on the other side of that fear is breakthrough and blessing. If you know the story of Beniah, you know that he came face to face with a lion, on a day when the ground was covered in snow, and decided to chase the lion down in to a pit where he would kill it with his bare hands. This accomplishment, on top of a few other very noteworthy happenings, built quite the resume' for Beniah and scored him a position serving directly under King David. Had he chosen to run in fear from the challenges he faced, which would have been totally understandable and actually quite logical, he would not have seen the incredible blessing and legacy that God had for him.

So I guess I just want to ask what you're facing right now? What's your lion? And I want to encourage you because that lion staring you in the face does not own you. That cancer does not own you, that depression does not own you, that addiction does not own you, that broken marriage does not own you. You were created to be a lion chaser and are branded with the name of Jesus! His name is above EVERY name! His name is above the name of cancer, depression, addiction, and broken! His desire for you is not just "good" but "great".

Get ready lion chaser. Destiny is staring you in the face. Will you chase it?

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

His Presence Like an Ocean: Too Tired To Sing

There are some morning I get up and genuinely need a boost.  Not just from that first cup of delicious, hot, steaming, perfectly brewed, cup of coffee, but a REAL boost.  This is one of those mornings for me.  I've been running around like crazy with little time to slow down and rest at all.  This coming weekend will be one of the first weekends in the past couple months that I'll actually have some substantial chill time with my wife and daughter (and date night!).

So what do I do when I get to that point of exhaustion?  I press in.

When I feel that I don't have the mental, physical, or spiritual energy to sing I simply soak.  Some of my closest friends have heard me use this term countless times.

Soak: 1. to lie in and become saturated or permeated with water or some other liquid.

2. to penetrate or become known to the mind or feelings.

The incredible thing about God's presence is that it's actually tangible to us!  I've always loved the imagery of His presence being like an ocean, like water, and I'm often floating on my back near the surface when His desire for me is to just let myself sink in to His depths.

If you find yourself in that place today, where you are just tired, and you need to rest and soak in the amazing, healing, refreshing, presence of your Father then tune in to this video.  I've been a big fan of Bethel Church and the worship that comes out of that house, both musically and spiritually.  I love seeing the prophetic nature of His spirit come pouring out of His people as they worship and that happens in this video.  So sit back and let His water wash over you, drowning your exhaustion, refreshing and recharging your body, mind and spirit.


Monday, May 11, 2015

Set the Atmosphere for Creativity

Being that I just love creativity, and knowing that you need the right atmosphere to get creative, here is an awesome set of tunes, probably geared toward my fellow nerds, that should help.
I grew up playing video games and fell in love with the RPG genre.  The character and story development always captured me.  This music is taken from one of the most successful RPG sagas in history, Final Fantasy.  If you're an RPG fan you've more than likely at least heard of this series and if you haven't played it yet, you NEED to make it a thing.
I know, most of the time I'm writing about worship, and leading, and stuff..... Today seemed like a great day to just have some fun!  Make sure you get some time to kick back and relax for a bit folks!  Break out your oldschool gaming system and lay in to some bad guys!!!

I aspire to one day write a mind blowingly amazing adventure novel.  I've developed some character ideas already but haven't really fleshed anything out.  Sometimes I'll sit down with my sketch pad and just scribble out some ideas of how these characters could look.  Other times I write their back story and imagine myself as that character.  But every time i sit down to write like this, even as I'm writing to you now, I need some atmosphere, so I put on something that will stir up my brains creativity and these songs work amazingly well.  You can also find these with full orchestra, and they are EPIC!

So my bottom line here is this:
1. Take time to refresh. Relax and do the things you enjoy!  I read a ton, and love the occasional old school video game.
2. When you're recharged and feeling that creative urge, make sure you have a space that holds the atmosphere you need to cultivate those creative ideas.

Who knew that such incredible music could come out of video games. 
This particular song set is taken from one of the video game industry's top ranked game of all time, Final Fantasy VII.