Monday, June 21, 2010

Blessed by "Praise In the Park"!

I just had to write and tell about how "Praise in the Park" went. It all started with the raising of a tent in Sander's Park, just in case of thunder clouds coming around and dropping rain on us. Some of First Praise and elders helped in the efforts of staking up all the posts and ropes early in the morning, Saturday, June 19th. Steve and Sally Craft made all of the arrangements of getting us the tent, and we found that we did need it later in the day.

First Praise then met down at the church at 1:00 pm and even earlier to load up all of the equipment into trucks and hauled everything down to Sander's Park. Almost every wire, monitor, mic, stand, speaker, both upstairs and downstairs that the Lord owns was loaded up and taken down to the park. Thanks Pastor Jess Rollema, for lending us a hand as we hauled all the portable equipment. Thanks also for making all of the main sound equipment even more portable over the last several days. It really worked out well.

When we got down to Sander's Park, there were already set up, two large flat-bed trailers to be used for the praise band to be set up for worship. I am really proud of the team for their efforts setting up all of the sound equipment. It took about two hours to get everything set up before our sound check at 3:00. Everyone stepped up and helped. It was great.

The whole time we were setting up, we were keeping an eye on a very dark thunder cloud coming our way. We even saw some lightning coming down out of it. We had been praying for great weather for a long time for this event. Right at 4:00 pm when we were going to start, the large black cloud went over us....the sun started shining and it rained even with sunshine at the beginning of worship....but we were able to continue and it turned out to be beautiful weather for the rest of the evening.

We were able to praise and worship Jesus Christ with several families sitting is various locations, under trees, under the tent, on the grass, in lawn chairs. First Praise was able to lead worship for an hour. Then Ben McMillan gave his testimony and about his involvement with the Wyoming Boys' School ministry. The WBS ministry team then led worship for an hour. We were blessed, and I hope that the Lord was too. After that Caleb Garza, Kaleb Craft, and Nic Craft did a wonderful job leading with special music!!! Thanks guys for letting me play saxophone with you! It was fun!

Continuing in worship, Interim Pastor Dale Bascue gave a very good message of our Lord. When he was done, people from out of nowhere came to praise and worship as we were getting ready to wrap up the evening......but God had another plan. We were able to worship and sing praises for another 1/2 hour.

Thanks to all of the people that helped tear down and take things back to the church. You guys were great! It made this event for the Lord SO much easier!

We were truly blessed with the evening of worship. Jesus gets the spotlight though. We praise Him alone. We look forward to doing this again soon.

A big thank you of course goes to God. We would also like to thank Steve and Sally Craft for all of their help setting up the event, of course the other members of the worship ministry team, Brent and Becci Kalfell, the hospitality team, and of course your prayers. God bless you!


Anonymous said...

Praise the Lord how He blessed this special event for your church. We were praying that God would provide great weather and many opportunities to share the Good News to others. We enjoy reading your blog and updates. Could I be so bold and challenge you to rethink your definition of "worship" since you frequently use the word. I'm not trying to offend you or discourage you...just asking you to think about it. A biblical definition of worship is not just much more....the preaching is worship, the giving is worship, and of course, the singing of praises to our Lord...these are all acts of worship. Let's not just think of music as the only means of showing worship to the Lord. The true worship leader in the church is not the music director/music minister or the pastor, but the Holy Spirit. Like that praise chorus says, "I'm coming back to the heart of worship and it's ALL about You (God)"....I just think it is a shame that the music industry has retooled the biblical definition of worship to only mean music and have taken away the priority of preaching as central to a church's worship service. Perhaps your agree with me or not? Just seems like so many churches only think of worship in musical terms and forget about the preaching. I love music...I work as a band director and play piano in my church...but the preaching is the highlight of the worship service for me.
Blessings and peace be yours as you serve the Lord with your musical talents.

Jeff Garza said...

Dear Anonymous,

You did not offend me at all:-) As a matter of fact, I welcome your comment. I must agree that I may not spell out as much as I need to about other forms of worship within my blog. I guess that's just the musician in me. This has now challenged me to add more on giving, the teaching, the truth of God's word....etc....especially about The Holy Spirit and heart of worship! In our congregation I do, quite offen, share these things. The phrase I use almost too much is..."It's not about us! It's about our Lord Jesus Christ in all things."

I do totally agree about what you have stated. As far as worship being just music as my definition, maybe it may come across that way in what you have read about events like "Praise in the Park", however....What I failed to write about was the scripture that was read in worship, that led to the inspiration of the music. I failed to mention the prayer in praise to our Lord that was done. I failed to mention the joy in serving and giving towards this outreach event.

I am a solid believer that God's Holy Bible is sufficient in teaching us more about Him. There are occasions that there is good Christian literature out there that is good commentary to God's word, to help us study His word....NOT TO REPLACE IT! The one book that I recommend that you read,talks clearly about what you mentioned, all forms of worship. The book is called Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin (Leading Others to Encounter the Greatness of God.)

I agree that the mainstream Christian music world seems to have made "worship" a verb that seems to only pertain to music. Not so. I'm glad that we are on the same page here.

Thank you for leading me to be aware that I need a greater emphasis on what worship means in my blog. I praise God that he has allowed me to share the true meaning of worship in other venues. God bless you, and for taking the time to make this known.

May God also bless your ministry.

Jeff Garza