I seriously think you can learn a lot about life just from reading all the pages in jack.html. I don’t know, I just value it a lot. Like, from Henry I consistently learn a lot about business and economics, which I need since the only economics class I took in high school. So that’s valuable. And you know, you get med school perspectives and once in a blue moon, law school perspectives. You get a lot of Stanford perspectives, but you get Berkeley perspectives also.

Some of the pages I find fascinating though because it’s so far removed from my own experience. Like, I really love Kemi’s page. Just because, her experience is a world apart from my own. I learn a lot. She lives in South Central LA? Something like that. Clara’s page is also great because it’s so far removed from my own thoughts. It’s all about the East Coast and largely about makeup. It’s boring, but, definitely different.

Dave and Darlene’s pages are great because they’re in Korea and Israel, respectively. And Marshall is living in the ghettos of New York City. I don’t know, it’s like I get to vicariously live through their experiences.

Eric’s Bible program has changed my life. I don’t know, it’s been a while since I’ve been just reading the Bible consistently. A long time. And, it’s not always necessarily profound or whatever, but there’s power in it, if that makes any sense. I guess I just feel like just reading the Bible forces my mind on more heavenly things, and that’s a good thing. I can’t really explain in, because it’s internal, but, it’s been good for me.

Anyway, last weekend I was in L.A. for this worship conference that L.A. Young Nak church put on. It was absolutely dope. The worship leaders there were Tommy Walker, who wrote Mourning Into Dancing, We Agree, and That’s Why We Praise Him, among other songs, Paul and Rita Baloche, he whoe wrote Open The Eyes Of My Heart, Above All, and many other songs, and she who wrote I Will Celebrate, and other songs, and Bob Fitts, who wrote God Is Able, and led one of my favorite praise CDs, He Will Save You.

Anyway, we drove down on Friday and got there at the tail end of Tommy Walker’s set. Each worship leader led one of the nights of worship, and Tommy was on Friday night. He led from electric guitar, with a headset mic, and he brought his church’s band that night.

Dude, we just saw the end, but the energy was incredible. I’m not joking, I have never seen anything like it. It was the same way the next two nights. I mean, mass groups of people were jumping up and down like crazy. It was hot, sweaty, and good. Just some serious energy in the place.

You know, I don’t know how to write about this in an organized fashion so I’ll just diarrhea write. It wasn’t just Tommy’s night, but every night that had this incredible energy in the room. Like I said, I’d never seen people jumping that crazy during praise. I don’t think Paul Baloche had seen anything like that either. I don’t know, he just had an expression on his face like he was surprised by the energy. But it was crazy.

Seriously, it was the worship nights that really impacted me. I don’t know, there’s just something powerful about giving yourself totally in worship. It doesn’t have to be praise, but, I’m a music person, and that’s what gets me. Just, when you can give yourself totally, it’s a powerful feeling. And it was like that all three nights.

Another cool thing was the fact that the worship leaders wrote a lot of the songs they sang. It just takes on an extra sense of feeling, knowing that they especially, mean the things they’re singing. It’s also kind of a trip to hear the exact voices you hear on the CD. The arrangements weren’t exact (although the bands were seriously dope), but you know, you hear Paul start singing “open the eyes of my heart” and it’s like, that’s the CD voice! And Bob sings exactly like he does on all of his CDs. A big highlight of Bob’s set was when we sang Lord Most High. Just powerful.

But it was also cool to hear them do other peoples’ songs. Like, during Paul’s set, he started randomly saying, “Yes Lord! Yes Lord!” And it kind of built up to a chant, and as you may or may not know, that’s roughly the chorus to one of my current favorite songs, Trading My Sorrows. And, they (the band) hadn’t practiced it at all, but he randomly decided to do it, and, it rocked. I’m telling you, that’s the song of late 2000.

Also cool was Bob Fitts randomly busting out in Heart of Worship at his seminar. I don’t know, it was just cool.

So, I went to Paul Baloche’s seminar which was pretty much on practical issues for worship teams, and Bob Fitts seminar on Intimacy. But, I’d rather just talk about things I learned in general.

First of all, Bob Fitts is just an incredible man. I don’t know, he just made me feel worshipful, and he’s got a voice like butter. At his first seminar, which Jieun went to but I didn’t, he started out by saying something like, he feels like there’s pain in the room, and why don’t we turn to our neighbors and pray for each other? So, Sandy Chi, who was there, turns to Jieun, and Jieun was already crying. Other people starting crying later. I don’t know, he just has a lot of good stories and an incredible heart.

I think I want to be like Bob Fitts. Just, he’s got this genuine aura around him, and he’s very sensitive to things happening around him. And he has this view of worship as being empowering that I really liked.

Paul I was extremely impressed by his humility. This sounds terrible, but I had a bad impression of him before. It’s just, on some of his CDs, he’s wearing these bold outfits, and he’s got longish hair, and I just thought, who is this punk who wants to show off? I guess I felt he looked fake.

Dude, I could not have been more wrong about the guy. I can’t say specifically what it was, but his demeaner the entire time was just so humble, it was just amazing to me. I became a huge fan. Seriously, his humility really really impressed me.

OK, so first of all, I learned I think a bit about what’s possible to do in worship. Paul said something that’s really true, I think – the goal of a worship team is to be professional without being slick. I could not agree more. It’s nearly impossible to define what separates professional from slick, but if you’re into music, I mean, you know there is a difference, and regardless of how hard it is to find that line, it’s something you have to strive for.

So, you may not know this, but I’ve been struggling a bit with the new worship styles we’ve been trying at church. Just, in my mind, it felt a little too slick, too performancish and not worshipful enough. It’s just been hard for me.

I guess what encouraged me about Paul’s set is that it helped me realize, or at least feel personally that there’s a lot of room in terms of how the music can be without being slick. Like, his set was very rockish. Very loud, kind of crazy, like I said people virtually moshing, solos here and there, but through it all, in my heart it still felt worshipful. That’s just encouraging to me, I’m not sure why. I think maybe it helped me realize there’s a lot of freedom in expression with praise. And these concerns I’m having are something I can get over, I think. At least that’s how I felt.

The things that impressed me most about Bob and Tommy is that they both had a big vision for worship. Paul did also, but in a different way. Tommy’s thing is that worship doesn’t have to be something that non-believers and seekers need to get over, or something we need to tone down for their sake. But his take is that worship itself can be an evangelism tool. And that’s a big way in which he bases his ministry.

Bob’s whole thing about worship is his desire to see worship taken to all the nations. I would say this theme, this heart dominates his life. I’m not joking, his nation-heart just dominates everything he does, and if you look at every single one of his albums, it’s a theme that dominates.

And if you look at his schedule (off his web page), the man is crazy. He’s like traveling all over the world constantly, because that’s his desire – to bring worship to the nations. And, it’s his big belief that in worship, we’ll be inspired to take it to the nations also. He kept saying stuff during his set like, we’re going to worship right now, and be ready, because that might mean you have to get your bags packed and leave. I don’t know, it was just edifying to me to see someone with such a heart for the nations, and one who truly believes that worship is a means of reaching the nations.

So what encouraged me is that these people had a vision of worship beyond just singing and feeling genuine. I think God honors that. But their vision were bigger, you know? That worship itself can be an evangelism tool. And that worship can be a tool to reach the nations, to have a desire to see nations worship, and that in worship we can be inspired to go. Just seeing how their bigger visions for worship played out in their worship sets (well, at least in Bob’s which I saw) was powerful.

So, my take now is, we need to have a vision for worship. Not just to have energy and genuineness, which is what I’ve been thinking about, but on what worship can do, if that makes any sense. Like, a vision for how worship can bring the church towards unity, or inspire them towards the world. I don’t know, maybe I sound lame. But that what it felt like at the conference. That there can be a vision for worship to change the body. But, maybe I’m not explaining it well.

Anyway, at KCPC we’re not giving ourselves totally in worship, and I think that’s why issues like music and stuff get magnified. I don’t know, it’s just the Bible talks about lifting hands and dancing, I don’t think there’s anything wrong with it. I don’t think you have to specifically do any of those things. It’s just, indicative of giving yourself.

Paul said a lot of good practical things as well. Just, it’s good to be professional, and I agree. He’s also big into you should practice with a metronome. Especially the drums and bass, since they provide the rhythm. But everyone should be practicing with a metronome. And all instruments should buy a good tuner. Forget saving money. Buy a good tuner, and it will last you for a while.

There were some very very cool musical things also, but whatever, no one would be interested in it. Except on Open The Eyes of my Heart, he played some bold bold chord changes. Who am I to say it was wrong? He freaking wrote the song, he can do whatever he wants with it. But it was bold. I want to try.

Argh, I think I’ve done a terrible job at explaining the conference. Sorry. But, it changed my life. Or at least, it really really encouraged me to how worship can be. And personally, just for me, it was an incredible time of worship.

Also while I was in LA, I went to visit Newsong. If you don’t know, Newsong is this second generationish church headed by David Gibbons, who is half Korean, half white. It’s mostly Asian, but fairly multi-ethnic. It’s a pretty big and well known church near Irvine. I’d heard a lot about it.

This particular Sunday was a little different. Instead of their normal schedule they were kind of showcasing different performance ministries (not sculpting nor painting). So they had like, an interpretive reading, music performances, stuff like that.

The weirdest thing for me was this one guy who did something that was a cross between rap, scat, and hip-hop. Truly weird. Weirdo music, and this weirdo white guy kind of half rapping half badly singing weird phrases, especially repeating the phrase: The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace. I don’t know, it was a little too weird for me. It was kind of like that performance at KASCON at Stanford where they kept saying “Black is beautiful, brown is beautiful…” But I guess it worked. All week I was saying in my mind, “The mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace.”

They also, after the service, had sign ups for these various ministries the church had. Dude, they have a lot of ministries. So, some normal ones. Like college ministry. Couples ministry. And Ok, guitar ministry I get. But skateboard ministry? Hip-hop ministry? They had some other bizarro ones I can’t remember.

But, I liked the church a lot. It was just very dynamic, and they have a vision for the second generation that I like. Jieun liked it a lot. I don’t know, I’m really glad I went.

That’s all. This was truly a boring entry. Sorry. Next time I’ll write about Song of Solomon 7:7-8.

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