Black Sheep Bass-ic Training

Doing The Christian Walk With A Funky Strut

Motive check

Sign of good teaching at your church: when you walk away from Sunday seeing an area you need to step up in.

This week’s theme: ‘Purposed for Ministry’.

I’ve been part of the Worship Team for 2 years now.  This, by all accounts, would likely be considered my primary area of ministry/service.

The primary thrust behind the message seemed to be to encourage everyone to get involved in ministry of some type…lots of verbage indicating action.  No problem, I’ve got that covered.  In addition to the weekly service, I’ll jump in on various other things as needed.

But the secondary thrust behind the message, and perhaps the more important one, was: for our service to be fruitful in bringing our brothers and sisters, and others, to Christ-likeness.  To encourage and edify others to step up their game, if you will.

One of the reflection questions aimed at this specifically:

“What are some specific ministries or actions that you are currently engaged in that are helping others think, behave, and relate to others more like Jesus?”

Gulp.

If I’m having that kind of impact, I sure don’t know it.  My gut tells me I’m not.

I do get comments all the time on my playing.  More than a few in the congregation find me entertaining.  (I tend to be quite squirrelly when I play and pull all manner of “bass-face”.)

A few of the little girls in the congregation have been inspired to take up instruments of their own after watching me play.

All that is well and good…nice ego strokes and all…

…but that’s not what I’m up there for.

I’m part of a team that is supposed to engage the congregation in worshipping God.  And, per this week’s message, encourage others toward Christ-likeness.

I’m not convinced either thing is happening.  So what to do about it?

One thing that might help is getting my head straight.  I’ve not been in complete “worship mode” on Sundays for a while now.  Been practicing just enough to not lay sonic eggs, but not enough to concentrate on worship.  Been concentrating too much on sounding decent so as not to be a distraction.   My focus needs to be on Him and Him alone; if I’m looking in the right direction, it will draw others along for the ride….right?

Will start there and see what happens.  Increase woodshedding and season with lots of prayer.  Hopefully that will have a more fruitful impact than I’m currently having.

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Best protection anywhere.

I’ve written before about “little things” to appreciate, had such a moment again Friday night.

Wandering about the retail district of South Cicero in driving snow and wind…gosh durn it, my tuner pedal was ready for pickup at Guitar Center and I wanted to make sure I had it for Sunday.  Picked that up and a cable, wandered through a few stores trying to find winter boots (epic fail), went to the bus stop to head home.

Was faced with a decision when I got there–run to catch the 54B South Cicero bus sitting there to connect with the 47?  Or wait for another 79 (I’d just missed one)  and connect with the 4, taking my chances?

Weighed the consequences in my head in about a nanosecond…then just said, “God, what do you want?”

“Wait for the 79.”

So I did.  And was rewarded for obedience.

Praise 1: The bus shelter at the mall is pretty well constructed and blocked out that wind.

Praise 2: I didn’t actually have to wait long for the next bus.  Maybe 5 minutes?

Praise 3: There was a 4 waiting at my transfer intersection–and the driver stayed put even though she had the light and could have taken off.  So I successfully transferred with no wait.  This one was huge, because of the weather, and also because of the time of day–after dark in a really sketchy neighborhood.  I loudly praised Jesus the second I sat down.

Praise 3 1/2: No “ig’nint” people on the buses.  Unusual for those routes and that time of day.  Usually got at least one clown trying to ruin everyone’s day.

Praise 4: Despite weather causing greasy roads, safe travel all the way home.  And had some long-awaited mail waiting for me when I got there.  Cherry on top!!

I often crack that my guardian angels wear Kevlar.  That trip, in that weather, at that time of day, was just disaster waiting to happen.  But I had total peace about it.  That’s the route He told me to take, and He made sure my path was cleared.  If I’d gone the other route, who knows.   Would have likely been, at minimum, a 1/2 hour wait at an unsheltered stop for the transfer…in a not-much-better neighborhood.

God protected me.  Again.  So I obviously still have chores to do.  🙂  May I be ever mindful of what He’s put me here to do and do that with all my heart.  To Him be the glory.

(oh, and that tuner pedal?  Gonna get a workout later on as I’ll be drop tuning again–but not for all songs!!  So it was worth the trip)

 

 

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Freshly squeezed fruit

I didn’t make any New Year’s resolutions this year.  I did a Weird thing.  Per Craig Groeschel’s book, I set up “One Thing” to focus on for the year.

Since it’s clearly my weakest fruit of the Spirit, the “One Thing” is: SELF-CONTROL.

Naturally I’ve been getting tested 10 times worse than usual.

But after several weeks of less-than-stellar results, I did actually mark a success this evening.

I said “NO” to a purchase and stopped myself from making the trek across town to do it.

Started with figuring out when to get over to Guitar Center to pick up a tuner pedal.  My current tuner only works off the onboard mic and it’s a bit of a pistol grabbing enough quiet space on Sunday mornings to use it.  Did some research, settled on picking up a Korg Pitchblack pedal tuner, should solve the problem.

But for reasons I know not, got a bug in my bum all day today wanting to also throw in a Zoom B3 multi-effects pedal with the purchase.  Been wanting one for some time but they are not. cheap.

Well, let’s just say a battle raged on in my mind for a while…and wisdom finally prevailed after getting a good whoopin’ from my stubborn will.  Picture a prizefighter at the end of the bout standing over his opponent…sweaty, bloody, stooped over…fist in the air and a delirious grin on the face.  Wisdom, for the championship!!

The B3 will wait.  I came home instead of raiding GC.

Seems petty, trivial…but every “no” I tell myself is a step toward Christ-likeness.  This whole year is gonna be all about “NO”.  😛

 

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To bleat or not to bleat…

A question I hope to have some revelation on in the coming days.

“How does one submit to an earthly authority they have been placed under, who isn’t exercising that authority?”

Hard to obey orders when you aren’t getting any.  Just sayin’.

Crazy part is, I’ve been in this exact boat before.  Didn’t get the question answered then.  Maybe now, 2 (3?) years and change later, it will be different?

In the meantime, the old standby…do everything as unto the Lord.  He’s my ultimate Boss anyway.

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Digging.

How to take one’s mind off the family drama–

Haven’t touched my basses in 2 weeks thanks to the family obligations.  Back to church tomorrow, short set list, it’s all songs we’ve done before.  I could have just cruised through it.

But decided to shake things up a bit, perhaps literally.

Felt moved to drop tune and learn all the songs that way.  I haven’t messed with drop tuning in at least a year.

Turns out it works splendiferous with this week’s set list, and it completely distracted me from the weight on my mind for a while.  Particularly while doing a bit of transposition work (on one song we’re playing in a different key to the original).

Stepped out of my comfort zone, to find a new comfort and peace.

Thank You, Lord, for my musical gift.  You’ve always worked Your healing touch through it.

Hoping that peace and healing flows through my instrument to someone at service tomorrow.

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Dying.

“The Lord is like a father to his children, tender and compassionate to those who fear him.  For he knows how weak we are; he remembers we are only dust.  Our days on earth are like grass; like wildflowers, we bloom and die.  The wind blows, and we are gone–as though we had never been here.  But the love of the Lord remains forever with those who fear him.  His salvation extends to the children’s children of those who are faithful to his covenant, of those who obey his commandments!”       –Psalm 103: 13-18 NLT

The sad, pleading eyes.

The short, labored breaths.

The few words uttered with every ounce of strength left.

The dry lips and tongue lovingly sponged and balmed by family caregivers.

The slow cooling of the extremities.

The mottled skin.

The racing heart refusing to quit.

More labored breaths.

The eyes closing.

The limbs becoming limp.

The head twitching ever so slightly at the touch of kissing lips and hand massaging the hair.

What, Lord, is going through her still-active mind?

Then…

…at last…

…the final breath…

…the final rest.

My grandma’s pastor shared a quote from a home visit he’d done with her.  “I don’t know why I’m still here…I guess God still has more work for me to do.”

Her work is now complete.  She is home with the Lord who she served faithfully her whole life.

I am thankful that she instilled the seed of faith in her children, who then passed it on to their children.  Some have nurtured that seed, others haven’t; some started long ago, others only recently.  But she laid the groundwork.

Thank you, Grandma, for your faithfulness to God and for pointing us to our Savior Jesus Christ.

Thank you, Father God, for blessing me with Grandma’s life.  Help me to carry on her legacy in a way that truly gives You glory.

 

 

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