Category Archives: Love

Writing A Better Story…

I am really at a loss for words. I look to this New Year with hope that it will be better than the last. I look to this blog as a way to open up my heart to you and let you in on the struggles of life because 2009 was an interesting year for me…in all aspects.

  • I imagined that I would begin leading worship at a church full time again in 2009…and that has still not happened.
  • I imagined that Joanna and I would start a family…and we suffered through a miscarriage in December.
  • I imagined that I would begin to write music again…and I did not finish one full song.
  • I imagined that I would continue to travel and meet new people…but got laid off in November because HP cut contracts and there was no work left for me to do.
  • I imagined that 2009 would be different…

On December 22nd, Joanna and I filled the car with clothes, Christmas gifts and food for the drive to Oregon. I was cautious and careful with her because the day before…she had a D&C to clear her body of the miscarriage. With small tears in our eyes and heavy hearts, we began the 9 hour drive to Independence, Oregon.

We had downloaded Donald Miller’s audio book,  A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and started to listen an hour into the drive. He talked about writing a better story for your life. Every day is an opportunity to create stories that will define your life.

As we sat listening in the car to Donald Miller read his book…we could not help but reflect on this last year. We knew it was filled with great blessings…but in our time of sorrow…we asked each other what kind of a story we had written in this last year and we could only answer that it was a poor story, lackluster and filled with moments of excitement but otherwise boring storylines.

Donald quotes a speaker saying, “It’s conflict that changes a person.” 2009 was filled with personal and professional conflict. I can’t help but feel as if I barely attempted to write a better story last year. I continued to try and write a story with little conflict and hurt, but life had a different plan.

In 2010, I am determined to begin writing a better story for my life. With God’s guidance and blessing…I am learning how the conflict of life has changed me and readied me for this new beginning.  I pray that you play a part in my new story of 2010 and that we can write something more compelling with the lives that we are given.

Grace and Peace. Jesse.

Touched

I am blessed. I am lucky and I am thankful. I am surrounded by many who encourage and spur me on to be the man God has called me to be. I am a rich man because of the people in my life who have touched my heart.

I was listening to the free Phil Wickham CD, Singalong…and I was moved by a song called Cannons. It is an amazing song with lyrics that express my feelings about God, my family…and my friends. There is one line specifically from the chorus that sums it all up:singalong

“I’m so unworthy, but still You love me. Forever my heart, will sing of how great You are.”

I know this song is a worship song about God and I can’t help but feel moved by this line. I truly believe that our life will not be measured by our accomplishments or awards…but we will be measured by the people whose lives we were allowed to be a part of.

I posted on Facebook the question of what to write on this blog entry and there were quite a few who responded. I was moved not by the responses or the ideas but by the sheer fact that people continue to take an interest in me…in my life…and in my journey.

As Joanna and I begin to figure out the future and begin to seriously explore the possibilities of change and movement…I feel blessed to know that people continue to support and encourage us. The next few months are sure to be filled with anxious moments, joyous embraces and hard decisions. But I take comfort in the reality that we are loved.

I am loved not only by a God who I am unworthy of…but of my friends and family who continue to amaze and encourage me. To you…I say:

“I’m so unworthy, but still You love me. Forever my heart, will sing of how great You are.”

Thank you for the love. Thank you for the heart. Thank you for the prayers and thank you for being a part of my life.

Peace. Jesse.

Anxiety

Ever get that feeling in your stomach…deep down where you just can’t wait? The churning feeling that nags at your very core…telling yourself, “It will be alright”…just doesn’t seem to calm it.

 It was 3rd grade summer camp and I had met the love of my life. Lindsey. I’ll spare you her last name…just in case she is stalking me…but she was beayounglove2utiful. Blue eyes, blonde hair and the softest…most gentle voice I had ever heard. I remember seeing her on the 1st day of summer camp in the cafeteria. They had us all lined up outside by cabins as we were nervously awaiting our first dinner…at our first summer camp. Saying that I was excited about this…is an understatement.

 As they dismissed cabin by cabin according to which line was the best…of course the girls cabins were first. As they paraded in front of us….an angel seemed to walk on air. Her long blonde hair was softly falling behind her as she gracefully walked up the ramp…smiling…the best smile I had ever seen.

 As dinner went on, I became transfixed…I would look at her and tried my best to not let her know…but I was staring. She noticed once and my face became a bright red as I clumsily looked for something to eat on my plate. But wow…she noticed me!

 That night, as we went back to oyes or nour cabins…I decided to take a bold step. I would write her a note. Not just any note…but one that would ask her the most important question I had possibly asked since Keziah in 1st grade (I asked “Kizzy” if she would be my reading buddy). You know the type of note and how it went…circle “Yes or No.” We only had a few days at camp and she was so beautiful…someone else would ask if I did not act quickly.

 That night I wrote the note and tenderly folded it and placed it under my pillow before lights out. I became anxious. What if she said no…or what if she said yes…what was I to do? In my cramp and cold bed away from home, I could not sleep and planned the next day…what I would say and how I would give her the note. I hardly slept at all.

 I will never forget that feeling. I will never forget the nervous twitching and checking of the note in my pocket. I can’t forget the awkward smile I gave her as I slipped the note to her before stepping in my line. Would she like me? Would she want to be my girlfriend…yes or no?

 It seemed like the biggest deal of my life…my very life held in the balance of a 3rd grade girl who had a simple choice to make…yes or no. The world stopped as she quietly passed by me after breakfast. She had the note in her hand and then simply placed it before me on the table.

 It’s funny how this moment in my life seemed to be bottled with such fear and anxiety over a camp romance. But it was such a big deal right? Each time I begin to get ayoung jessenxious about life…I remember times like this where my anxiety never affected the outcome. I remind myself that the “big deals” of today will not be the last and just as my nervous energy or anxiety would never have convinced her to circle yes…any anxiety I have over life now will seem like a fun memory in the future…I am sure.

 Oh yeah…and she circled yes. How could she circle “no,” I mean…I was a freaking cute kid.

 Grace and Peace. Jesse

New Song: NO MUSIC YET.

I wrote these lyrics tonight as they were on my heart. I don’t have a song title yet…I hope to put them to music soon…but I’d love to get your thoughts:

Verse 1: 
She walks the lonely streets with a heavy heart
Not knowing where to start
She’s bound to the pain that’s deep inside
Running away left alone as she cried
No mother…father or someone to care
No special love to share
Or so she believes…can shangele believe?

 

PreChorus:
Do they see? Can they hear?

Chorus:
The angels sing…halleluiah
Halleluiah…You are not alone

 

Verse 2:
He sits wishing he would not have left his bed
Thoughts circle in his head
He’s thinking about ending it all
Choices for greed have caused him to fall
With his face down and his hands gripping hair
No special life to share
Or so he believes…can he believe?

 Do they see? Can they hear?

The angels sing…halleluiah
Halleluiah…You are not alone

Bridge:
A broken heart is one that is still beating strong
No matter what has happened to make it all wrong
Don’t  give up hope you can make it through the day or night
In the darkest moments of life there is still a light
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Topic: LOVE

Many times over…the bible talks about loving one another.  It contains the word “Love” over 300 times throughout the Old and New Testament. To say you love something…is to display an action of one. Like good old DC Talk said, “Love is a verb.”

I have been thinking about this more in the context of what it means to be an effective worship leader. I have been wondering how much of what we do as leaders and musicians is because we love living out our gifting. But there is more. Beyond being able to play music and lead others in worship is something more important…more vital to love.

I was talking with my mom the other day (yeah…I call her a couple times a week). She has great experience in leadership and leading music for the church and we were talking about some different aspects of worship leading. She began to tell me how she was going to start working with a young worship leader and hoped to develop them. We were exchanging some ideas and thoughts when she said something I will never forget. She said, “I want to help (this person) see what it truly means to love those whom they are leading.”

I have heard her say something similar before but for some reason, this time it stuck. I called her the next day after thinking about it for awhile and asked her to explain it a little more to me. She explained her belief that each person coming into the church is coming with so much baggage. Whether it’s from the week or from the tragedies in their life…they come bearing some pain…some confusion…some hurt. She talked about how we, as worship leaders, get to prepare all week and even come early to church and hopefully by that time we have prepared ourselves to lead and have worked through some of the baggage we have brought to the services. Those who attend the services…do not. Trying to make it on time and stuggling to do so…they are trying to get their kids dressed…into their classrooms, dealing with the morning drive and the issues that life throws at us.

We are the face they look at…we are the voice they hear…we are the singular connection they make at the beginning of the service and seek love from. She talked about looking into the eyes of the congregation and showing them love with her whole heart. “They may not have felt loved all week, but I want them to know how much I love them. I want to look them in the eyes and see the congregation…see what God is doing among them,” she said. I love my mom and believe that she is one of the greatest worship leaders that I know because of her capacity to love those who she comes in contact with. Not her music, not her voice or her creative planning…but her enormous capacity to honestly care for the person in front of her.

Some worship leaders seek authenticity and try with everything they have to authentically worship God during the service. Some try for excellent music with practice after practice while others just try to keep it all together so they can reach the afternoon nap (been there). I truly believe it is the worship leaders who honestly display their love for those whom they are leading that make a difference. At the end of our lives, we will be remembered and defined not for what we had, what we produced or how good we were at any given aspect of our lives…but by the people whose lives we were allowed to be a part of.

The gift we must bring as leaders in the church is one of love. People know the truth when they look in our eyes and we will know the truth of theirs when we look them in the eyes and show them love from our heart.

With love and grace,

Jesse.