Use That New Electronic Picture Frame

16 09 2011

I love the new technology we have to disseminate information. I really hate announcements, making them and listening to them too. However, they are a necessary part of an active congregation. We use an announcement PowerPoint before and after services. That’s great for our folks who actually come into the auditorium and sit down before the service starts.

Recently I discovered that PowerPoint allows you to save your whole slideshow in jpeg format. This will allow you to use the slideshow on an electronic picture frame. These can be purchased for $50 to $150. Put those jpegs on the frame and they will scroll your announcements anywhere you can set the frame. Many of these frames are battery powered so you can even put them in an area with no power outlet.

Put one in the foyer, classrooms, restrooms, anyplace people congregate. Many of the newer frames are wifi. This will allow you to save your slides to a website and assign it an rss feed and voila you never have to sync the frame by hand again.

The frames are usually small. Don’t bother buying one smaller than 8 inches or you will struggle reading text on the slides.

Nice flat-screen monitors are getting less expensive too. You can pick one up for less than $100 at BestBuy or Wal-Mart. Drag that junked out laptop or desktop and hook it to your nice new monitor and use it to scroll announcements in remote locations that allow you to hide the tower.


Public Bible Reading

2 06 2011

Remember public reading from God’s Word is important. God even told us to do it. As with anything God tells us to do we should do it as skillfully as possible.

Be certain that you know what the passage is about. Understanding Scripture is key to reading it well.

Use the emotion called for in the context. If this is an angry narrative read it with anger in your voice. If the characters are sad and crying certainly that calls for a crying inflection.

You might even try changing your voice for the various speakers within the passage. We are not calling for a full readers theatre, but a change in voice, place on the stage etc. will certainly help the hearers see which character is speaking.

Observe punctuation. Use pauses for emphasis. These simple inflections give life to a reading.

Practice several times before you read in the assembly. A cold reading will lack the impact that a well rehearsed reading will have.

Pray about your role in the worship of God and the edification of the Church.

Here are several passages that will help you stretch your emotions as you read. Have fun. Try doing this as a family assignment or as a Bible class assignment.

John 11:38-44 Jesus Raises Lazarus from the Dead

John 11:38-44 Then Jesus, deeply moved again, came to the tomb. It was a cave, and a stone lay against it. (39) Jesus said, “Take away the stone.” Martha, the sister of the dead man, said to him, “Lord, by this time there will be an odor, for he has been dead four days.” (40) Jesus said to her, “Did I not tell you that if you believed you would see the glory of God?” (41) So they took away the stone. And Jesus lifted up his eyes and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. (42) I knew that you always hear me, but I said this on account of the people standing around, that they may believe that you sent me.” (43) When he had said these things, he cried out with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out.” (44) The man who had died came out, his hands and feet bound with linen strips, and his face wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Unbind him, and let him go.”

1 Kings 18:41-46 Elijah Prays for Rain

1 Kings 18:41-46 And Elijah said to Ahab, “Go up, eat and drink, for there is a sound of the rushing of rain.” (42) So Ahab went up to eat and to drink. And Elijah went up to the top of Mount Carmel. And he bowed himself down on the earth and put his face between his knees. (43) And he said to his servant, “Go up now, look toward the sea.” And he went up and looked and said, “There is nothing.” And he said, “Go again,” seven times. (44) And at the seventh time he said, “Behold, a little cloud like a man’s hand is rising from the sea.” And he said, “Go up, say to Ahab, ‘Prepare your chariot and go down, lest the rain stop you.'” (45) And in a little while the heavens grew black with clouds and wind, and there was a great rain. And Ahab rode and went to Jezreel. (46) And the hand of the LORD was on Elijah, and he gathered up his garment and ran before Ahab to the entrance of Jezreel.

Exodus 3:1-10 Moses and the Burning Bush

Exodus 3:1-10 Now Moses was keeping the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian, and he led his flock to the west side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God. (2) And the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a flame of fire out of the midst of a bush. He looked, and behold, the bush was burning, yet it was not consumed. (3) And Moses said, “I will turn aside to see this great sight, why the bush is not burned.” (4) When the LORD saw that he turned aside to see, God called to him out of the bush, “Moses, Moses!” And he said, “Here I am.” (5) Then he said, “Do not come near; take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground.” (6) And he said, “I am the God of your father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.” And Moses hid his face, for he was afraid to look at God. (7) Then the LORD said, “I have surely seen the affliction of my people who are in Egypt and have heard their cry because of their taskmasters. I know their sufferings, (8) and I have come down to deliver them out of the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land to a good and broad land, a land flowing with milk and honey, to the place of the Canaanites, the Hittites, the Amorites, the Perizzites, the Hivites, and the Jebusites. (9) And now, behold, the cry of the people of Israel has come to me, and I have also seen the oppression with which the Egyptians oppress them. (10) Come, I will send you to Pharaoh that you may bring my people, the children of Israel, out of Egypt.”

Psalm 121:1-8 My Help Comes from the Lord

Psalms 121:1-8 A Song of Ascents. I lift up my eyes to the hills. From where does my help come? (2) My help comes from the LORD, who made heaven and earth. (3) He will not let your foot be moved; he who keeps you will not slumber. (4) Behold, he who keeps Israel will neither slumber nor sleep. (5) The LORD is your keeper; the LORD is your shade on your right hand. (6) The sun shall not strike you by day, nor the moon by night. (7) The LORD will keep you from all evil; he will keep your life. (8) The LORD will keep your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forevermore.

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 Love the Lord Your God

Deuteronomy 6:4-9 “Hear, O Israel: The LORD our God, the LORD is one. (5) You shall love the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your might. (6) And these words that I command you today shall be on your heart. (7) You shall teach them diligently to your children, and shall talk of them when you sit in your house, and when you walk by the way, and when you lie down, and when you rise. (8) You shall bind them as a sign on your hand, and they shall be as frontlets between your eyes. (9) You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

1 Samuel 17:41-51 David Kills Goliath

1 Samuel 17:41-51 And the Philistine moved forward and came near to David, with his shield-bearer in front of him. (42) And when the Philistine looked and saw David, he disdained him, for he was but a youth, ruddy and handsome in appearance. (43) And the Philistine said to David, “Am I a dog, that you come to me with sticks?” And the Philistine cursed David by his gods. (44) The Philistine said to David, “Come to me, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and to the beasts of the field.” (45) Then David said to the Philistine, “You come to me with a sword and with a spear and with a javelin, but I come to you in the name of the LORD of hosts, the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. (46) This day the LORD will deliver you into my hand, and I will strike you down and cut off your head. And I will give the dead bodies of the host of the Philistines this day to the birds of the air and to the wild beasts of the earth, that all the earth may know that there is a God in Israel, (47) and that all this assembly may know that the LORD saves not with sword and spear. For the battle is the LORD’s, and he will give you into our hand.” (48) When the Philistine arose and came and drew near to meet David, David ran quickly toward the battle line to meet the Philistine. (49) And David put his hand in his bag and took out a stone and slung it and struck the Philistine on his forehead. The stone sank into his forehead, and he fell on his face to the ground. (50) So David prevailed over the Philistine with a sling and with a stone, and struck the Philistine and killed him. There was no sword in the hand of David. (51) Then David ran and stood over the Philistine and took his sword and drew it out of its sheath and killed him and cut off his head with it. When the Philistines saw that their champion was dead, they fled.

Matthew 28:16-20 Jesus Gives the Great Commission

Matthew 28:16-20 Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. (17) And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. (18) And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. (19) Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, (20) teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.”

Revelation 4:1-5 Worshiping God in Heaven

Revelation 4:1-5 After this I looked, and behold, a door standing open in heaven! And the first voice, which I had heard speaking to me like a trumpet, said, “Come up here, and I will show you what must take place after this.” (2) At once I was in the Spirit, and behold, a throne stood in heaven, with one seated on the throne. (3) And he who sat there had the appearance of jasper and carnelian, and around the throne was a rainbow that had the appearance of an emerald. (4) Around the throne were twenty-four thrones, and seated on the thrones were twenty-four elders, clothed in white garments, with golden crowns on their heads. (5) From the throne came flashes of lightning, and rumblings and peals of thunder, and before the throne were burning seven torches of fire, which are the seven spirits of God,

Revelation 22:12-21 Jesus Is Coming

Revelation 22:12-21 “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay everyone for what he has done. (13) I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end.” (14) Blessed are those who wash their robes, so that they may have the right to the tree of life and that they may enter the city by the gates. (15) Outside are the dogs and sorcerers and the sexually immoral and murderers and idolaters, and everyone who loves and practices falsehood. (16) “I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you about these things for the churches. I am the root and the descendant of David, the bright morning star.” (17) The Spirit and the Bride say, “Come.” And let the one who hears say, “Come.” And let the one who is thirsty come; let the one who desires take the water of life without price. (18) I warn everyone who hears the words of the prophecy of this book: if anyone adds to them, God will add to him the plagues described in this book, (19) and if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book. (20) He who testifies to these things says, “Surely I am coming soon.” Amen. Come, Lord Jesus! (21) The grace of the Lord Jesus be with all. Amen.

The Need for Breathing!

6 05 2011

You might think that breathing would just be natural when you lead singing. However, the stress of leading singing can take your breath away.

Stress can hamper even sympathetic muscles. It’s true when we are nervous or under great stress we breath more shallow. The activity involved in leading singing can also steal our breath.

Solution, breathing deeply! Sounds stupid doesn’t. Before you take the podium take several deep breaths and exhale completely so you can take in more air. Taking in more oxygen helps calm your nerves and gives you the needed support for the activity of leading worship.

During the week you should do some simple deep breathing exercises.

  • Begin by exhaling as much air as possible.
  • Inhale deeply (Remember deep breathing involves those stomach, back and side muscles).
  • Now exhale in short pants. (Like a dog, not the Bermuda type).  This will engage those big muscles that control breathing.
  • Do this a dozen times.
  • Next inhale deeply and exhale making a an “S” sound.  Continue this until all your air is gone.
  • This “S” exhale will help build stamina, the “S” sound will put no strain on your voice.
  • You can do this exercise making a “Z” sound which engages the voice too, don’t strain or push though.

If you will do this routine a few times a day for a few weeks it will certainly help you build the ability to breath deeply.  That in turn will help you when it comes time to lead singing.

Lack of deep breathing and breath control is one of the causes of vocal fatigue and voice strain.  You don’t want that ever.

So in the words of Faith Hill “Just Breathe”.

What helps you remember to breathe during worship leading or singing?  I’d love to hear your helpful hints.  Comment here or drop me a note chasejoseph(a)

Joseph D. Chase
Gospel Preacher
1000 N. Loop 485
PO Box 667
Gladewater, TX 75647
(903) 845.2531 office

Keeping Records

28 10 2010

If you are not keeping a record of your worship order or song lists you are robbing yourself of a lot of information.

I like to look back at the lists of the past to see which songs are being song to often or not often enough. I also grade the songs after the worship to remind me if a particular song didn’t really work well that day and some reasons why.

This is valuable information for you as you plan new lists in new worship assemblies. Be careful not to use songs so often that they lose their meaning to the worshipers. Be careful to watch out for using too many of the same types of songs. We should balance our worship in such a way that all worshipers can express themselves in the songs. Older saints may find it difficult to sing all contemporary style songs, be sure to include a few gospel type songs for them.

Be ready to introduce new songs that express spiritual thoughts in the language of the day. If we are evangelistic, our assemblies will have people who express themselves in modern wordings, styles and even rhythms. Consider this as we make decisions on what songs to sing.

A simple database is perfect for keeping a record of when you sing songs. I’ve been using google documents to make my lists so there is an electronic record of every worship service. It also allows others to use them as well.

Singing With Your Eyes Closed

2 09 2010

I’ve often said you never really know a song until you can sing it with your eyes closed. This is especially true of songs you want to record or perform. However, singing with your eyes closed isn’t always the best thing when you are leading people in worship.

It can cause folks to think that you are having a private time with God and their participation would invade your worship. Eyes closed for long periods leaves fellow singers out of the “all together thing.” Remember the Lord’s directive to sing and admonish “one another” in psalms, hymns and spiritual songs (Ephesians 5:19).

There is a lot of communication that happens when people look into your eyes. You often say more with your eyes than with the rest of your communication. Remember the whole Jimmy Swaggart thing when he wouldn’t wipe the tears from his eyes only dab at his dry cheeks. Even though the fained emotion was supposed to move people to a forgiving spirit it instead brought people to judgment. Honest emotion comes through your eyes and is read easily by fellow worshipers. Eyes that smile, eyes that cry, eyes that feel empathy help bring God’s people close together. I try to encourage my worship leading students to have big faces and don’t hide any of it if at all possible.

Now, knowing a song inside out so you can sing it with your eyes closed is a great bit of advice. How many times have we been caught with a lyric screen that doesn’t change or a lost lead sheet? Having that song seared into the heart and brain is a great way to be able to keep going. A lyric monitor should be a help and not a crutch. Even President Obama catches criticism for being glued to the teleprompter. You will catch the same criticism if you are tied to the lyric sheet or lyric monitor.

Since I lead a capella worship there is no safety net of a band playing on while you try to pick up the lyric. If the singing stops then guess what the singing stops. Know your songs, know your songs, know your songs. Sing them until you can sing them without any dependence on the monitor or lyric sheet or song book.

Eye contact is most important at the beginning of stanzas, beginning of choruses and ending of songs. Look using as big a face as possible to indicate starts, stops, holds, lifts, key changes and other important parts of the song.

Many churches are not used to watching a song leader. They are used to burying their heads in a book, or glued to a lyric screen. You have to give them some reason to look at you. Learn to be consistent in facial and body language for starts, stops, breaths, holds etc., soon the church will be following you and the emotion you put forth. Your face and eyes should invite people to sing.

One of my mentors used to tell us that he always thought he was smiling while he lead singing. When he saw a recording of himself leading he saw that his face wore a big frown, a scowl and furrowed brow through most of the singing. His anxiety about leading came through to his face more than the joy of the song.

Let me encourage you to record yourself as you lead. Analyze what your face is saying, what is your body and eyes saying as you lead? And most of all are you singing with your eyes closed?

Training Is Key

13 04 2010

I don’t care how much you know, how long you study or how often you lead worship you can always learn something to add to your leadership skills.  Let me encourage you today to mark your calendar for attend the Four States Praise Camp. June 13, through June 18 2010.  This camp is dedicated to training leaders to lead worship.  We have qualified instructors and staff.  You can learn everything from beginning theory to song and lyric writing.  We also have practical sessions where leaders will put into play their newly learned skills.  You will have fun while you make transform your mind and talents for the good of the kingdom.

Go to the web site to learn all you need to know regarding fees, what to bring and other details.

Keep Your Words Few

28 03 2010

Granny Chase used to say “God gave you two ears and one mouth for a reason.”  James the half-brother of Jesus stated in a similar way “This you know, my beloved brethren. But everyone must be quick to hear, slow to speak and slow to anger” (James 1:19 NASB).

I don’t know why being in front of people can open the spigot of speech for some worship leaders.  Unless you are the preacher most of the time our words should be kept to a minimum.  More often than not we will detract from the flow of worship with our talking.  Whenever we interrupt the flow, worshipers have to refocus from God to us back to God.

There might be times that we have to interject something but those occasions are rare.