=666= Word: Worship Sound

Haha ok, kinda ironic my 666 post is on worship, but OK! God>devil! 

BK asked me a question, he said that back in the conference, he heard PBL play for worship. There was only one guitar and drums, but the sound was very big and the energy was there even though it wasn’t a fast clapping song. There was this victorious sound. He wants to know what is the secret and how to replicate it in our congregation.

If you bring anointing out of the picture, focusing solely on sound, guitar technical skills are really important. Ask a beginner guitarist to play 10 levels of dynamics and he will struggle. Ask an experienced guitarist play 100 levels of dynamics and you will find that he does it with ease. When you add that to playing the drums and singing, you get even more levels of dynamics.

However, I think it goes beyond that. I think there is the issue of song choice too. If you want a victorious sound, choose songs that declares victory! Shout unto God is a great example. I think that there is a right place for everything, there are days where worship will be the congregation repenting, there are days where the worship focuses on wonder and there are days when we declare God’s glory. It cannot be that we sing of victory every week ah. We express different things on different days.

There is also the factor of the congregation. I think many people don’t realise that what we do in the worship team is largely affected by the congregation’s response. We as worship leaders, set the direction ask the people to follow, but if they don’t, are we the ones in the wrong? Of course not!

It is like Moses leading people into the promised land and the people refused to, was Moses in the wrong? Of course not.

Like a leader trying to get the group to walk a trail, we move the most when the congregation follows.

Not many people understand it isn’t that we don’t want to go high all the time, but sometimes if the congregation doesn’t follow, it would be rather hard to go high. What I mean by this can be understood with an analogy. Imagine five people doing a project together, you are the leader, you guys are tasked to do project A, however, your team mates keep getting distracted by project B. Even though you are the leader, can you do everything? Even if you keep moving forward, you will have to stop to bring your team mates back on track.

How can we engage with a congregation that is shutting off?

It makes me think of the time, this Indonesian band came to Singapore, they did this stop start and let the audience sing. This band was really quite good, but the audience being a typical conservative singaporean, just didn’t sing along at all. Asking them to sing along was like plucking teeth.

HOWEVER, you think about 五月天’s concert in Singapore. HA! You can hear the audience screaming their lungs out along with Ashin. They can do any kind of stop start and the audience will sing it.

So what is the difference? There is a sense of familiarity with the songs, there is this engagement because they enjoy the songs written, people actually learned the song beforehand voluntarily.

Until the congregation voluntarily put time out to know God, they will never be engaged during worship.

An anthem is something to be declared. To have a victorious tone, we need to declare the truths about God with conviction. You can clearly tell the difference when someone with passion speaks vs someone that is just here because he have to be. Think national anthem in primary/secondary school, who sings it loud at all? Now think NDP or even NDP rehearsal, you will be so proud when you are there, you sing the national anthem loud and clear. Everyone declaring that they are proud to be a singaporean.

Just look back to this moment in the SEA games national anthem!

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=8HQHtpjhqOQ

Hear the sound, no instrument, no backing track, just every singaporean proud of our achievement! Heartwarming isn’t it?

No matter how hard we try to replicate it, the sound of an anthem can only be captured when everyone wants to sing.

We as the worship team may try to point the direction, but the atmosphere is still set in place by the congregation.

Of course, that doesn’t mean we as the worship band do nothing. We as the worship band, need to pray! We need to use our crafts creatively, do our very best to engage people. We pray and pray and pray and wait for the moment God bring in the harvest!

-Kelvin-

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=665= Rant: Certain Issues

There have been several issues happening around me recently.

First of all, there seems to be a clash in personalities/work ethics/opinions etc etc in every organisation I am in. Be it in NS, work or church.

Now that I look back, I wonder if the leaders that came before me quite partly because of such politics.

Several events have made me rather angry with the leadership of my platoon, specifically my own section commander.

I personally think that I am rather hardworking. No matter what you let me do, I will do it to the best of my capabilities and I will do things that other won’t. Not because I am trying to show off that I am better, it is just that if I don’t do it, it is unlikely that someone else would do it. If it is within my capabilities, why not?

I am also someone that likes to analyse things. From complicated systems to how someone does something, I have always found myself being able to analyse and eventually understand the system and its limitations. I tend to be quite a scientist when it comes to such stuff. I would often like to experiment with stuff, trying new things out. When I see something wrong or something that can be improved, I will take note and think of ways to solve it. Then like an engineer would, I would offer the solution.

I hate it whenever my suggestions doesn’t go through or that my suggestions gets ignored. My own section commander has a bad habit of explaining things to people before clarifying himself. Often taking his own assumptions and standard to the front.

Of course there are rules and we should totally follow them, but what am I supposed to follow when the rules aren’t clear? I am supposed to do duties properly, what is the standard? What posture is the ideal? What posture is acceptable?

When there are by left rules, who would enforce these rules? And by whose standard? 

Vague instructions but high expectations is an extremely toxic duo.

Those in power should never joke about power. Why? The fact is, if you actually want it to happen, you can make it happen. Joking about such stuff is not funny at all and you will offend everyone.

Just imagine one day, your boss jokes, “Aiyo, you do so well, now I cannot fire you Liao!”

If you are close, perhaps this statement could be taken as a joke. However, you must understand that, the underlying message is, “I want to fire you.” Even if I feel good that I “changed your mind” but I will still be afraid that I will lose my job. Such jokes may not directly be a abuse of power, but it is showing people that you can abuse power if you want.

The other variable in the equation is, “IF YOU ARE CLOSE.” Such jokes can only work if you are close and the other party knows for a fact that it is a joke. If you are not, please refrain.

In every job, there is a job scope. Everyone of different appointments have different things to do. Just because someone of a higher appointment have lesser things to do than you of lower appointment, doesn’t justify one getting angry with the person. If anything, one should be angry with the person that managed and planned the job scope. One can complain that the people of higher rank does lesser than the lower rank, but one can not claim hat they do nothing.

However, everything is out of the window IF the job scope isn’t done properly.

If the people of higher rank don’t complete the things in their job scope properly, people of lower rank have every right to be angry, for is it fair for people to not do their job properly and still get pod more?

It will anger the lower ranked even more if you give them stuff to do that is above their job scope. How would one feel if the higher ups do less than them, gives them more work, but at the end of the day, earns more?

In church, in the worship ministry, we musicians always meet with several problems too.

There is always this problem of being focused too much on technicalities that we cannot worship. If you cannot worship, how can we lead others into worship?

So would the solution be to abandon all technicalities? You know, take the problem out of the picture and you won’t face anymore problems right?

Sadly, our problem is not that simple.

Our role as a worship band, is to create a platform for peopleto express their worship to God. If you can’t sing, don’t think that you can’t worship God! We can sing together, when we sing together, we can worship God together. That is the kind of thing that we are doing. You cannot express? I can! Let’s express it together!

That is it, the issue of “I can express!” Technicalities is our expression.

If we abandon all our technicalities, it will be, “You cannot express? I cannot too! Let us do it together and hope we can somehow do it!”

Can you imagine worship with guitars out of tune, singers off key, drums play 6/8 while keys plays 4/4? Better yet, instead of harmonising, the backup vocalists sings one semi tone apart, perhaps by the time it hits the third, then it will sound good. The best part will be that no one realises that they are wrong.

Our role as a musician is to be good at our craft so that we can use our craft to worship God and then help others worship God. Without our craft, we are better off worshipping God with something else.

Don’t get me wrong now, surely God looks at the heart, God will appreciate one singing songs to him, even if it is out of tune!

Our job is not to discriminate people who cannot sing, our job is to encourage people to even if they cannot. Singing along can only happen if the person has something to follow. If you don’t, how does one sing a song they don’t know? We hold a responsibility to play well so that people can follow.

However, we run into another problem. What if the song is too technical that I am unable to worship God when I play it? Will it come to a place where you are not worshiping, but the congregation is? Actually, yes, it happens. It has many contributing factors you see. We musicians are people too. We too have down times with God. The songs could be challenging too. Should we play even though we are not worshipping?

I hesitate to answer this, because I am a bit uncertain. For me, I would still play because beyond my own personal worship, I have responsibility to the congregation too. It is a role that God has placed me in. Just because I am not worshipping doesn’t mean that God can’t use me. Besides, the rest of the band will also be worshipping ah! HAHA!

If it is about the difficulty of the song, it is very seldom that all 4 songs will be difficult. It might be too simplistic to think this way, but hey, I worship for 3 songs, the last song, I focus on the technicality of it.

Of course, it is still no excuse for not preparing the song, the more you hone your craft, the easier it will be for you to play music and there will be lesser of such situations.

A worship leader need to be sensitive to the atmosphere. If the whole band is distracted because it is a hard song. I think that scolding the band for being too focused on the technicalities doesn’t really help. (In fact, it might even encourage sloppy playing) I think a way to help is to tell the band to simplify the parts. That is a way to maintain standard in the parts being played while helping the band to worship God themselves.

Though I would agree that they should discipline if the band didn’t prepare for the set, but that is for another time altogether.

Ok, I went off topic way too much! Back to the topic of friction in organisations. As a result of such conflicts, many people are discouraged from doing some stuff some are even thinking of quitting the organisation because they cannot stand these people.

I think in such times, one should look back to why they decided to serve in the first place? Was it to play music? Or was it to serve God?

Depending on what was your motivation, you will either find strength or find it not worth it.

May our service and good deeds be driven by God and not something else.

Ok, recording gonna start soon, excited! HAHA!

-Kelvin-

=663= Word: By The Book

Ok, just let me put this out there, people need to STOP using the phrase, “this guy is very by the book!” To describe someone strict.

Just because you are strict, doesn’t mean you are by the book. You know why? Most of the time THERE IS NO BOOK.

Think about it, regimental stuff like, no wearing slippers on the first floor or like no using vending machine without permission. Are you seriously telling me that there are laws set in place for those?

Sure, one may argue that it is general orders. So these general orders, who puts the standard in place? The book? Or the person?

“By the book” describes a person that follows everything law by law. So what about their own instructions? How can we say that those are law?

Just be clear and say strict.

-Kelvin-

=662= Word: Choice

I often wonder, why even give us a choice? Why give us free will? If free will isn’t in, sin won’t even be an issue right?

I drew an example from another source. Staying in. Go down the list of people serving NS, almost everyone will tell you that they would want to stay out of camp.

I am in a stay out vocation, but I often choose to stay in. My platoon mates would find me stupid for staying in, but I find that I get a whole lot more rest in camp than at home. I just have less distractions in camp.

If you don’t give me a choice and make me stay in, I would obviously think about staying out. However, if you give me a choice, I have the best of both worlds, I can choose to stay in when it is convinient and stay out when I want.

Same for training, when given the option to train or not, many people would choose not to, but there will be the few that know the good of training and do training on their own.

When given a choice to do something, one will actually consider which is the better one. It will show you the good points in the options.

Staying in, more rest, less distractions, more time for God. Staying out, more freedom, more distractions, less time for God.

When I choose staying in, I acknowledge the value of the good in it. Same for the decision to do the right thing; to sin or walk away.

When one walks away, one acknowledges the good in choosing God. When one sins, one acknowledges the temporal pleasure/good in gratifying your flesh.

Truly when given a choice, temporal pleasure or eternal treasure?

There is clearly no fight, of course eternal treasure. Is control really that good a thing? Having choice just makes things hard.

Does having a choice allow one to see the choice in better light?

What will motivate one to choose good?

How do we walk away from sin?

Is to see the good in walking away, acknowledging it, practice it, and do it.

We as human need reason.

-Kelvin-

=661= Words of Melancholy: How Would You Feel?

How would you feel, if you show someone close something important to you and the person just chucks it aside?

How would you feel, if you suggest something and the person doesn’t even consider your suggestion?

How would you feel, if someone promised you something at a particular time, but when it came to that time, tells you that the person have something else to do?

How would you feel, when you try to reach out, but the person actually rejects you reaching out and then, expects you to beg?

How would you feel, when you always try your best, but you fail to meet expectations? And people blame you for ridiculous things?

How would you feel, when attention you get isn’t equivalent to what you invest?

How would you feel, when something is clearly right, but you want it a different way?

How would you feel, when you love God, but you are always in sin?

~

Today in cell, we talked about the 10 commandments and the covenant.

The usual had been established:

  1. A covenant is such that even when the people fail to keep it, God will.
  2. First 4 commandments is for the relationship with God. Next 6 is for the relationship with man.
  3. 10 commandments is to show God’s standard and how we sinful creatures cannot meet that standard.

I realised something today after Carlton asked, “What does this say about God?”. Quite an interesting revelation.

Carlton answer was that God was merciful to show us some sort of a manual to live a righteous life. I realised something else. 

The 10 commandments is what that will hurt God.

Like a Father teaching his child how to live, he would often give his child rules. “No eating sweets after 8,” or “lights out at 9.”

Wouldn’t a Father have a heartache when his child has a toothache because he didn’t take care of his own teeth and ate sweets past 8.

When we disobey God’s commandments, won’t he also have a heartache for us? When we do something wrong and hurt ourselves, wouldn’t he be in pain for us?

Question, before God revealed his laws to us and when they did something wrong, will God be angry and be hurt by our sin? Of course, if a child steals before the Father could teach him that stealing is wrong, wouldn’t that hurt the Father?

What is worse is that the child still steals after being taught by the Father.

So why do we still sin? Why do we still hurt our Heavenly Father?

Lord, please help me. Have me worship you and honor you with my life.

~

The bitterness of the heart.

The sinfulness of the heart.

The sigh of the heart.

-Kelvin-

=660= Word: Greatest Fear

For the longest time, what people thought of me was my biggest fear. I am always so scared that they will dislike me, to the point where I will just do stuff to please people.

Then came last year, several stuff happened that was truly different. I became a lot more comfortable in my skin. In a post last year, I even said that I was so surprised that I wasn’t affected by it anymore.

Then, stuff had to happen. 

-sigh- Does baring your heart really only lead to disappointments?

Without me noticing, I find myself back where I started. I don’t understand. Perhaps I never will. Perhaps the source of the problem is different.

Is seeing that someone is trying really that repulsive?

Is trying to help really that annoying?

Is it really irritating that someone cares?

I hate it.

Why is running away immediately everyone’s response? 

It is just stupid isn’t it? 

Don’t feel, don’t feel, let me see how happy you can be.

Why are you so afraid of showing yourself to other people?

Do you seriously think that I don’t know about your flaws?

Why is so hard to show pain?

I wonder who is the liar?

-Kelvin-