It’s been over a week now, since we returned from the National Worship Leader Conference in Kansas City. What a great week it was! As I’ve had time to ponder some of the themes that we encountered during the week, there seemed to be a recurring message that popped up in several places, and I’ve even encountered it in new places since the retreat. The theme is this – find your own voice and sing a new song!
The theme of the conference was “Sing a New Song”, based on Psalm 96:1. The week was filled with amazing new songs, sung by some of today’s newest artists such as Jonathan Lee, Matt Papa, Starfield, and Tenth Avenue North; as well as new songs by some of our favorite worship leaders – Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Israel Houghton and others. I left with enough new songs to last me until next year (or at least until Christmas….)!
But, that wasn’t the only kind of new song that we heard about at the conference. From Steve Berger, we heard about our new song that’s birthed through pain and suffering. Using Psalm 40:1-3 as his text, Steve described his recent time in the pit after the tragic death of his son. It’s easy to lose hope and give up on the thought of ever having a song of praise when you are going through a time in the pit, as David was describing in this Psalm. But, Steve taught us that while we’re in the pit, we need to wait patiently, and realize that God has us there for a reason. God is still good, and He just has us there so He can conform us to be more like Him.
We just need to continue to lift our prayers and praises to him, not look to anyone or anything else for our salvation, and realize that we will not stay in the pit forever. You will not be there one second longer than you need to be. Our hallelujah in the pit will lead to a new song of praise! Many will “see” our new song, as Psalm 40 says. Our new song is meant to be seen, not just heard. Our lifestyle may lead others to fear and put their trust in Him more than our songs. Our life should be a new song of praise!
We also heard about finding our own voice and singing a new song from Marcos Witt. Marcos is one of my favorite speakers, and this time was no exception! Using the story of the woman at the well from John 4, Marcos taught us what it means to be a proskuneo worshipper, willing to bow at the throne and be who we are. Jesus said the Father is seeking true worshippers, and the word there for “worship” is proskuneo, or “to bow”, to lower your body, your attitude, humbling yourself in awe of the Lord.
We need to keep God on the throne in our lives, and let Him call the shots. Marcos said when He’s on the throne, cool stuff can happen, and keeping His commands is no big deal. He told some amazing stories of things God has asked him to lay down, or give up. Just like the elders in Revelation 4, we need to be willing to lay our crowns, or accomplishments, skill, down at the feet of Jesus.
The how of worship, this mountain or that mountain, isn’t so important. We try to copy the models of worship we hear and see. We try to be just like Chris Tomlin as we lead worship, or sound just like Matt Redman on his songs. We can’t just instantly become as good as Lincoln Brewster is on the guitar via a one-time information download. It takes practice and skill to develop our own voice. We need to find our voice and stop trying to imitate others, and the only way we can do that is to be a proskuneo worshipper, willing to bow at the throne, to be who we are and sing a new song with our own voice.
There were so many other great speakers and ways to sing a new song; too many to describe here! But, the great part is that you can watch all of the main session speakers on your own online! The folks at Worship Leader magazine have provided video from the WorshipCast live streaming that was done during the conference. Just go to video on-demand section for the NWLC ’10 General Sessions to view all of these great speakers!!
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