The Man and The Minister

blog-post

“Learning the difference between mistakes and hypocrisy”

One of my favorite bible stories is found in Exodus 28. In this chapter God was appointing Aaron spiritual leader over his people. He was being given the privilege to enter the holy place, to intercede for the sin of Gods people. He was given the authority to walk into the holy place clothed in garments representing glory and beauty. If you would ask any normal human being what man is best fit for this position, they would tell you it would have to be a man of honor, a man after the heart of God. A man with an untainted reputation, who reflected and honored God with every part of his life. I love everything that God was speaking about Aaron in these chapters because while God was speaking wonders of Aaron, Aaron was building an idol the Israelites could worship (chap. 32).

One of the funniest things to me is how people assume that when a person acquires a leadership position in the Kingdom, the human side of them is taken.

Have you ever heard an ignorant person watch someone make a mistake and the only card they have to play is the Christian card (lol). It goes something like “Did you hear what so and so did? I cant even believe it and (He/she) calls him self a Christian like that. It worries me that with those mistakes (he/she) preaches. What a hypocrite.”

If I had a dollar for every time I heard a sentence as dumb or even dumber than the one I just made up, I would be well on my way out of Wilmington and buying my first house in Rancho Palos Verdes.

I don’t know about you but in the twenty-four years of my life I have made more mistakes than I can even count now. Honestly, I am one hundred percent sure I will make even more mistakes through out the course of my life. If you are honest with your self I’m sure you can admit to messing up more times than you can even recall as well. If not, well … it sounds like you lack self-evaluation.

For years the church has created a culture where the mistakes that ministers or leaders make and the mistake regular church member make are on two opposite scales of judgment. This culture has created an unrealistic bar of perfection that every minister must reach, before the critics start babbling their life away on what a hypocrite you are. The last time I read the Word, sin was sin. Lying, cheating, fornicating, gossip and everything else is judged as equal, regardless of whether you made the life choice to preach or not.

There is a major difference in a flawed human being and a hypocrite.

A person could argue that the church is filled with hypocrites because sometimes people fall short from what they believe in. But, in that case we can find hypocrites in the work place, school, friends, family and sometimes even in ourselves.

We live in a world with a mentality of heroes and villains, good people and bad people and for some reason in our own book we are always the good ones, always the heroes and forever someone else’s victim.

We lack responsibility and self-evaluation because if we were confronted with the truth, it would force us to see a side that isn’t so good. It would cause for you to stop blaming everyone else for your misfortune and you would have to come to grips with the fact that your life, relationships and everything else might have been messed up before anyone else showed up.

We love to be victims, because victims get sympathy and a whole lot of pity parties. You get friends and family all patting you in the back saying “Don’t worry, God will make justice, God will bring all things to light, God will give (him/her) exactly what (he/she) deserves”.

These kinds of sentences have always conflicted my heart because let’s say people did get what they deserved. Lets say today the person you don’t like gets exactly what you have been wishing for them and then God decided to also give YOU what YOU deserve. What if he made you pay for every bad decisions, for every person YOU have talked about, everyone YOU have hurt, intentionally or unintentionally. All of a sudden you’re not the hero, and especially not the victim.

In no shape or form am I saying that God does not see what we go through and has no interest in fighting our battles. However,  the more I seek God the more I am confronted with my own reality. As I try my best to be a better minister, a better leader, a better daughter, a better friend, a better girlfriend, the more I am confronted with my own reality. In order to make a better person out of me, I must get rid of the “good” and “bad” people mentality that leaves everyone stuck in a place where they fight against each other. I have come to understand the more I fight with people the less strength I have to fight for what actually matters like my future, my dreams and everything that I love.

The saddest thing about the kingdom is how easily it is for us to disqualify each other based on our shortcomings and our mistakes.

If it were left to the people, Aarons mistake would have disqualified him from the position he was chosen for. But God being the God He is, is not moved or shaken by your present situation. God is not afraid of the nastiest parts of our character; He is not intimidated by our sin or current mistakes. God believes in our destiny and our worth more than we could ever believe it ourselves.

There are some people around you that you need to stop calling hypocrites. Regardless of whatever mistakes have been made. God calls them chosen and is willing to redeem them from any situation. This blog is not to justifying anyone’s sin, this is a call to self-evaluation. We are all filled with sin; leaders or not, we are all in need of the blood that washes away all sin. Every single day we fight a battle between our fleshly desires and what we know is right.

How can we say we are lovers of the cross when the cross represents a whole world that was unworthy of grace. We were Unworthy of a second chance but the love that hung on that cross was much greater than anything against it.

Maybe you don’t like someone and do not agree with many of their life choices but you are not remotely qualified to say who is worthy and who is not. I’m sure if someone went asking around, you yourself could be found guilty of the same hypocrisy you blame others for. If we present people with the real God, we would have less people hiding and running away from their sin. There would be more people willing to expose their mistakes because they know the end result would be restoration.

Screw positions and titles, some church people are so worried about keeping a certain image that they rather cast people out than to fulfill what they have been called to do; restore. Hypocrisy in my book is knowing a God who wants to restore someone and all you’re worried about is maintaining a “good” reputation. Sin doesn’t scare God, sin has been defeated. So why is the church so afraid of it?

To every minister and to every churchgoer, there is a sinful nature attached to them. People are messy and as long as there is life there will continue to be sin. We are going to mess up, we are going to sin, that’s why its so important to surrender before Jesus every single day. If you take your sinful nature every day before the cross you’ll realize that your heart stops becoming a home to sin. You’ll mess up, but sin will no longer have a strong hold over your life. In Jesus we have overcome. He is made perfect in our weakness and when we fall he is faithful to pick us up and teach us how to be better. Let’s start eliminating the word hypocrite from our vocabulary because people who live in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.

Before you so proudly go publicate the sin of your neighbor you might want to check your heart.They might be exposed today, but you might be exposed tomorrow.

People love to play big sin little sin, my mistake is not as great as your mistake and in the end all you have is a bunch of sinners measuring themselves with the wrong ruler. Compared to someone else maybe you look better but compared to Jesus what does your sin look like?

I think grace is so misunderstood.

Grace is the free and unmerited favor of God to anyone under condemnation. You and I are accused every single day by the devil. He reminds us how unworthy we are of our destiny. There are people in the church who claim “Holy Discernment” only as a shield to expose or gossip about the sin they see in another person. They hide behind the lines of “without holiness no one will see the Lord” and it is my duty to expose all that is not holy in the church. I do believe that God will reveal certain things to us about another person but my pastor always says: “Love without truth is brutal and truth without love is hypocritical” – Javier Buelna

If you’re exposing without the intention of restoring you are not God-like, you my friend, are more like the devil. He (the devil) knows our shortcomings and has no intention of helping us get better. I want to create a culture where mistakes are an opportunity for restoration. I want to restore and be restored in such a way that we will never go back to the things that are not pleasing to the God who calls us for something greater. If we focus more on building people, rather than trying to build ministers who know how to put a “perfection mask” everyday … the church would be different.

Kingdom Identity II- Don’t be a hater.

danny and jess

KINGDOM IDENTITY – Part Two

(A.k.a: Don’t be a hater * Wink, Wink*)

 

Not so long ago my band and I went to lead worship somewhere (the place will remain anonymous). I have some very social people on my team and their first thing was “Lets make friends with the other band.” Unlike my friends, when I get invited somewhere I like to settle in first, I look at my surroundings, the people around me, and I start zoning in. I like to make sure I feel safe and calm before leading worship or speaking. So going into this event I was doing my regular routine, while my friends went straight into socializing with everyone there. As they went to shake hands with the members of the other band who was leading before us, I sat a couple rows behind them and was simply observing. Danny and Jephte were being their regular bubbly happy selves, shaking hands, asking names, trying to hug half the world as they usually do (lol). A couple minutes later I see Elias joining the group trying to start conversation with some of the musicians. The environment was hostile, almost as if they had been waiting to see what we were all about . After receiving the cold shoulder Elias, Danny, and Jephte went about their business. As they left the band proceeded to making fun of them. They made some nasty remarks and joked about how “bubbly” they were.

I feel like my worship team members are like my babies, I genuinely feel responsible for caring for them as much as I can. So when I saw them acting like straight bullies I felt like getting up and yelling

“YOU BIG BULLIES!! I’M SORRY THEY WERE DECENT ENOUGH TO SHAKE YOUR HANDS. I’M SPECIALLY SORRY YOU ARE NOT PROFESSIONAL, LOVING OR KINGDOM MINDED ENOUGH TO APPRECIATE SOMEONE BEING NICE TO YOU”.

 Anyways, I obviously did not say it out loud because I’m not very confrontational and Jesus did not need me to misrepresent him. I swear though, inside my wee little heart I wanted to at least mad dog them a little (lol). As we finished our sound check we were escorted to a green room where we were all able to finally talk.

By this time everyone had felt the hostility coming from the other band and although I don’t remember who said what, I do remember that someone broke the ice and said; “The other band doesn’t really like us huh?” We all kind of looked at each other in agreement. For a quick second it was a little quiet but then someone said “It’s okay, we are not like that and we will not act like them, and when they worship we will worship with them because this is for the Kingdom”.

Needless to say, in that moment I was the proudest worship leader ever.

If there’s something I’ve never understood is, why do church singers and musicians always walk into a place trying to prove something? It blows my mind that hundreds of worshipers will automatically hate on you if you work in the Kingdom, leading worship just like them. I’ve had girls not even accept my handshake because they will sing before me or after me. When I got a scholarship to a music program in college, I met amazing musicians and singers. There were so many brilliant people there that I felt so small compared to them. I did not know how to read music like them and I had so much to learn. But that was the place that taught me how to pay it forward. I had people take me under their wing and sit with me for long hours trying to help me learn how to read music so I wouldn’t be so lost. If it hadn’t been for them I would not have been one of the 8-10 people that completed the program that year. I met people making some serious money in the music industry and they were so selfless. They sat and complimented me, encouraged me, filled me with knowledge and I may never see some of them again but I will treasure them forever. Being in that music program opened my eyes to see so much separation and hatred within church musicians. There are some broke nobodies in the church walking around spreading hate wherever they go, acting like they’re big shots for touring churches with twenty people in them.

Have you ever seen people who only feel the spirit when they play?

All of a sudden they stop playing and the spirit disappears for them and their family members (lol). AAAAAAHHHHH!!!! That makes me so darn sad. That is prohibited in my team, PROHIBITED. I don’t mess with that stuff. If we are going to worship, we will worship at all times. If there is a band playing, Jesus deserves just as much worship as if we were leading. If you can’t worship unless YOU’RE the one singing or playing, then you know nothing of worship, you know nothing of the spirit and you lack identity. Only people, who don’t know who they are walk around hating because if you knew who you were and if you actually knew the plans God has for you, you would understand that hating on someone doesn’t get you closer to your destiny. Hatred towards someone else’s achievements is like telling God that what He has for you is not good enough.

You know that there is a passage in the Word that says;

“For I know the plans that I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” (Jeremiah 29:11).

DOES ANYONE GET THAT?? That makes me want to do a praise break right at this moment. That means that God has a plan for you. Those plans are not tied to someone else’s plans. God has dreams for YOU, plans for YOU, He desires to partner with YOU to establish his Kingdom on earth. YOU are a piece to a beautiful puzzle, YOU have information, talents, and abilities coming straight from heaven that ONLY YOU can carry out here on earth on behalf of Jesus. This means that when someone else is getting to where they have to be you have no need to hate or tear them down because you know that they are co-laborers of the Kingdom with you. They work for the same King and they establish the same Kingdom. People with identity understand that a puzzle has more than one piece and they do not feel threatened or small because they know that every piece completes a picture much greater than all of them.

Have you ever seen that quote that says, “Haters are my motivators”?

Okay well I HATE THAT QUOTE.

I don’t live in fairytale wonderland; I know I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. Not everyone thinks I’m a good singer and that’s okay, I’m at peace with that.

Some people spend so much of their God given time worrying about who said what. Who is my hater, what is my hater saying about me?

One day I promised my self I would not live by what everyone thought of me. I was going to focus all my energy worrying about who God says I am. My destiny is not tied to anyone, God does not need permission to elevate me, bless me, open doors for me, or prosper me. So it doesn’t matter what anyone is saying, I am convinced that with Jesus I will win. The only person who can make the plans of God not come true in my life is ME. I decide how far I allow God to take me, I decide how much I believe and pursue all the plans in my favor. The devil can’t stop the favor, the anointing, the glory over my life and people can’t either. If I sat here crying and posting about every person who talks about me, says I’m conceited, makes up rumors and waits to see me fall, I wouldn’t even have time to write this. My destiny is tied to Jesus, so I will follow, I will listen, and I will be guided by nothing else but him. Haters do not motivate me, Jesus motivates me, what He is doing in me motivates me. So don’t spend time trying to see who doesn’t like you or who doesn’t agree with you, don’t be so defensive, stop posting hater quotes on social media. Focus on Jesus! Let him shine so bright through you that even the people who don’t like you can’t deny his presence over your life. My hope is always that someone that doesn’t like me might get to see that I’m not that bad, and who knows one day we might just be good friends. Everyone is a son and daughter, so I cannot say i love my father but not love my siblings.

I’m not going to sit here and tell you I’ve never hated in my life. I have to check my heart constantly. God’s been doing such a good job in my heart that I’ve had to let go of some things and some people who had been living there. Now don’t get it twisted, people sometimes want to guilt trip you and say that because we are Christians we have to associate our selves with everyone. I have forgiven some people in my heart that I will probably never associate my self with again. That doesn’t make me a bad person, that doesn’t make them bad people. It just means we are in different seasons. I am not who I was and they are not who they were (hopefully), so I will bless them and move on with my season. The less hate there is occupying your heart, the more room there is for a greater Glory.

One quick thing though; not worrying about what people say does not mean you do whatever you want. As anointed as you may be, if you burn all your bridges and close all the doors that open for you, you have no where to work. No matter how good you might be, if you make everyone angry, no one will listen.

My next blog will me titled “Rumor has it” because I feel in ministry and outside of ministry rumors can be hard to deal with. How do we face people’s chitchat and still keep it Christian. No one likes to be talked about but the truth is that it comes with the territory for all who rise up to do something. As long a people have mouths, rumors will exist and if you don’t fake the funk, you know you have also been part of some ungodly chitchat at some point in your life.

Having identity is so vital if you want to be successful in the Kingdom. Actually its vital if you want to be successful at life period. Knowing your identity is far more than knowing your basic information and job title. True identity is like a solid foundation, it is not shaken by outside perspectives, it is not broken by current situations, and it is not changed by opportunities.

So how do you find this foundation?

“For no man can lay a foundation other than the one which is laid, which is Jesus Christ” 1 Corinthians 3:11

If you want to find identity you have to find Jesus. If you discover who He is you will find out who you are.

I’m going to end with a little bit of my story. As many of you already know I come from a childhood of rape and violence.

This brought on a lot of anxiety, fear, insecurities and depression in my adulthood. You see me and would think that I’m not a shy insecure person because of everything that I do, but let me tell you that it has all been because of Jesus. When I feel like I’m getting an anxiety attack I start reminding my self that Jesus conquered death and defeated all evil and I repeated until my mind and my heart remembers who I really am. You see, Jesus has fearlessness in his DNA and the Word tells me that I was made to Gods image and likeness. So if bravery runs through the blood of Jesus then it also runs through my veins. There is not one thing greater than our God, nothing he can’t do, and nothing he has not conquered. He does not just win battles, he is a Winner and if you catch this you catch everything. It is impossible to be founded in Jesus and not win.

Every single Tuesday I go to a mentorship meeting. Almost every meeting ends with the same sentence. My pastor always says “Everyone can get to the top but not everyone can stay there”. You can spend your entire life and ministry trying to get to the top through competition, lies, rumors, tearing people down, manipulation etc. People like that make it to the top all the time. You don’t have to build a solid foundation in Jesus to get somewhere, you can work in the kingdom and never know Jesus. You can work in the kingdom and never love anyone but your self, being self centered is the easiest thing you could ever do. My pastor always follows up the previews sentence by saying “The way you obtain things is the same way you have to maintain them”. This means if you lied to get to the top you have to keep lying to stay there. You had to tear people down to take positions, you will have to keep tearing down everyone in your way. You had to manipulate to get what you wanted, manipulation will be everything you will ever have. I want to be successful in the kingdom but I refuse to do it at the cost of losing my integrity. I want to accomplish my dreams but not at the expense of tearing the dreams of everyone around me. I was designed for success but more than succeeding I was designed to be like God. So I’ve learned to spend more time comparing my self to Jesus than comparing my self to a fellow singer. If we all made up our minds to fight against the real enemy of the kingdom instead of each other the church would never be the same again.

Kingdom Identity

greta and elias

KINGDOM IDENTITY

Part One

 

Lets get this party started (lol). So I was going to write “Dead works” pt.2, but I need more time on that one. So today let’s talk about something else, let’s talk about identity. I’m sure we all like to think that we have got ourselves all figured out, but sometimes that’s not always the case. Since I can’t talk about anyone else’s identity-because I don’t know it-I will talk about me. Lets take Identity in small doses. This will not be a step one, two and three on how to find your self. These next posts are going to slowly tackle who we are in the kingdom aside from our gifts, talents and abilities. Discovering our identity in God will bring so much clarity to everything that we are and we do, that is a promise.

I like to read, but I’ve noticed that books that give me steps to figure things out don’t really help me. I’d rather read books based on people’s personal successes and failures. A person’s real experience, that show true vulnerability and also great strength, rather than someone telling me how great they are and how one day I might be great too. My thing is, don’t talk to me about leadership, show me leadership. That’s my whole goal with my blogs. I don’t want to talk to you about what a cool person I am, because I’m not that cool, because I don’t always know the answers and sometimes I really miss the mark. The goal is not perfection; the goal is not to make a home for our mess-ups.

I started singing when I was twelve years old. Long story short, someone did not show up to sing one day and I volunteered. I sang the only song I knew and word went around that I was a tiny girl who could sing. It has now been twelve years since then and so much has changed. When I first started, I wanted to be just like Rocio Crook and Lily Goodman. I would buy their pistas and sing those songs everywhere I got invited. I use to sing a million miles per hour, screaming my life away and half way in almost every song I would start singing in the wrong key. I literally had posters of my favorite Christian artist on my bedroom wall and I would lay in my bed dreaming that one day other people will have posters of my face on their walls too. I would daydream of filling stadiums where everyone would come to watch me sing. I would dream of what a great day it would be when all my haters saw that I made it (uuuh haters, I love this topic, lets talk about this later). All my dreams were awesome but notice that they had nothing to do with Jesus.

I was just like hundreds and thousands of worshipers who love to hear them selves worship and their worship revolves around everything but Jesus.

One day I sat my team down and asked them if they knew their Kingdom Identity. If they knew what they had been called to do. I told them that before they answered I prohibited the words “ I was born to play my instrument”. Playing bass, guitar, worship leading is not identity, that’s just what you do. The number one problem in the church is that people have no identity in who they are in the kingdom. They think their identity is found in the position they hold, but what if tomorrow they got it taken away? Would you stop being you? I’ll prove it to you. How many people leave church because they aren’t given a title, because someone better than them came in and threatened their position? How many altar-hogging ministers do you know?

Ministers that die holding on to a pulpit that didn’t belong to them in the first place. They die failing to prepare someone to take over when its time for them to go. Passing the baton is a biblical principal; here are some biblical characters that passed the baton just in case you don’t believe me: Elijah passed the baton to Elisha, Moses to Joshua, Paul to Timothy, Jesus to us!

I have seen a countless amount of churches fall apart when a pastor, who did not train anyone to take over, passes away. I have also seen older ministers kill the dreams of a younger generation out of jealousy of what God is allowing them to do. Because God forbid, the Holy Spirit move through anyone else but YOU. This kind of mentality is so wrong and sadly so common in the church.

When I took the music option away from my team members some of them had to step back and actually think of something they had never thought about before. I asked them to look so deep within their hearts to find something that only God could have placed there. A desire that they knew was straight from heaven. Before anything else we are sons and daughters of a King. Some people need to find this identity first, because some people and I include my self have not discovered the power, the glory, or the privileges that come with being a son and daughter. This year discovering that has been my main focus. Do you know that there are hundreds of thousands of Christians who identify God as a boss, master, king, teacher, provider, healer, but not as a FATHER. It amazes me that some people are so quick to accept a God who makes rules and is waiting to unleash his wrath on the world, but people freak out and can’t accept a loving God. A God that is so loving, so graceful and merciful, that his love is powerful enough to cover a multitude of errors and sins. People can’t accept that there is nothing in the world that could separate us from the love of the father (Romans 8:31-39). It freaks religious people out because they think preaching of a loving God is a free pass to sin. They call it a wishy washy gospel and resort to screaming doctrine as if that was the true message.

When I first met my boyfriend of seven years now, cooking was an unknown language to me. I never had a reason to learn. I liked boys before, but none of them ever made me picture a future. My brother would cook for me and I was okay with that. But when I met Elias, I began to think of a future with him, and one day as I pictured our future life together I asked my self, what would we eat? (weird I know). My mom wasn’t going to be there, neither was my brother, so what the heck was I going to do?

It was the first time I had ever thought about learning how to cook. I remember the first time I invited Elias over for dinner. I wanted to impress him with a Salvadorian style dish, platanos with some black beans and other stuff. I went to the store and bought the greenest bananas I could find, so when I tried frying them they just got black. Anyways, long story short my fire alarm went off in the whole building and my beans were the saltiest beans I have ever tasted. I was so embarrassed, but my boyfriend has always been so encouraging and loving that while I cried he grabbed those burnt bananas and salty beans, ate them and told me they weren’t that bad. It was in that moment that I knew that I really, really loved him and out of love for him I would learn to cook a better dinner. If we invested more time in showing people how great God’s love is for them, I guarantee you that more people would want to fall in love with Jesus. It would be out of that love that people would want to change, because no one ever wants to hurt the people they truly love. Love changes people, doctrine instills fear of hell and that is not what the gospel is about. (P.s Let me just tell you that I fell in love with cooking and now I am really good at it).

So anyways back to my team. Some of the answers I got from my team members were amazing. Some simply answered that they didn’t know who they were yet and I challenged them to ask Jesus the real reason they are here. Let me tell you that some of them took the challenge and I have seen some incredible breakthroughs in my team. I keep hearing some amazing praise reports. Some are flowing in healing, others in the prophetic, in word of knowledge and some of them have simply stepped up their game in bible reading and prayer. Are you currently struggling with your worship team? With attitudes, lack of commitment and dedication? Then stop nagging them and stop trying to change them! We can’t even change our selves and yet we try to take on the Holy Spirit’s job to try and change people. Instead, speak into their life even when it seems that they don’t listen. Be an example, step up YOUR game and be what you want to see in them. Shower them in encouragement, challenge them, and help them find themselves outside of music.

Be intentional about growing right-standing men and women of God, not just church musicians. Above all help them discover the leader within them. In my team we encourage people to walk in their leadership. This means that I have no followers, I have talented amazing people who know they are awesome alone, but when we work together we are incredible. So why would anyone hate and settle for being an awesome superstar loner, when you can be incredible with people who will be there and love you through everything.

Let’s end this post here, think about some of the things I’m sharing with you today. Go to your secret place with God and ask him to help you walk in his eternal love. So that his love could become so real you begin to overflow in it. And out of that love your entire life changes and the lives of everyone in contact with you does too. I know walking in love is so hard sometimes, but once again I’m going to remind you that this is not a call to perfection, this is a call to be better. We might not be able to change our past mistakes and the way we have hurt people, but we sure can change our actions for our present and our future.

With all the love in my heart I pray we may continue to grow together …

Ill catch you in my next blog.

XOXO

Dead-Works Part One

greta and tyroneDead-Works

Part One

 

These past months I have been giving my team a series of lessons. My goal is not necessarily to get them to sound bomb musically (although it is soooo important). My goal is to grow people. I think for way too long people in church have settled for one of two things.

 

  1. Amazing musicians and singers with horrible character, performers who have no real relationship with the father or any form of accountability to a home church. People who clock in and out of churches, going to church for nothing other then a position or paycheck. (We will get into this later)
  2. I love this one (LOL). Musicians who are over spiritual. They go all their life never improving their skills and accepting mediocre worship services … all for the glory of God (sigh).

 

Let me get this out of the way first. Me writing this doesn’t mean I am the greatest most perfect worship leader that ever roamed the earth. Trust me people; I make a million and one mistakes a day (ask my team lol). However, at this point in my life I’ve been slapped around a few times, so I know a little something. Through out my ministry I have had the privilege of working with a couple different teams. Every team has had its good and its bad, but each team taught me so much about my self and worshipers in the church. I feel like the most overlooked crowd in the church is the worship team. We are the first to get there, the last to leave. We spend hours coming up with song list and then rehearsing countless amount of times. We spend hundreds of dollars a year on our instruments. Some of us have the amazing privilege of hauling instruments every service, setting up and tearing down, hungry tired and sleepy. All for the church members to complain about us not being spiritual enough, they don’t like the songs, its too loud, too soft, too blah blah blah blah blah. My goodness after eleven years of doing this I feel like I’ve heard it all.

 

One day I made the mistake of trusting a church that said they had the best instruments. So I take my team and very minimal things. They didn’t give us a sound check and when it was time to go and worship, we discovered half the keys on the piano didn’t work. Long story short, it was the worst worship I have ever lead. Some lady decided to over spiritualize the situation. She decided to tell people the reason we didn’t do good was because we were in sin. It was one of those times where I felt like bible slapping someone. No lady, we had half functioning instruments, what do you think was going to happen. We get beef on a daily but that’s not an excuse to live mediocre spiritual lives in the kingdom, or to give God fifty percent of our efforts.

 

Lets go over point one quickly. Thousands of musicians in the church who worship have no spiritual life. There is nothing that hurts my heart more than spiritually dead musicians and singers. We sing and play to this awesome God who is a total stranger. We sing freedom and are bound to addictions, depression, anxiety, money, fame, position, religion, etc. If you sing to the father but have no relationship outside of your gift then let me break it to you, it is DEAD WORK. You are like a person who casts seeds that will never bear fruit because the soil you plant in is not fertile ground. Can you imagine playing in church your entire life, getting to heaven and the God that you sang to doesn’t recognize you … He doesn’t know you. Isaiah 29:13 says “These people say they are mine. They honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. And their worship is nothing but man-made rules learned by rote”. Man this breaks my heart because I know thousands of musicians are here right now and I wish I could hug them and bring loving correction. I am going to do a full blog post on dead work but for now I just want to tell you that in the kingdom, being talented is not enough. God wants you, not what you can do. So if this is you, run to the father, ask for real transformation.

 

Point two. There is nothing in the whole entire planet that makes me as angry as people who take worship lightly. I love spirit filled worship, however I also believe in being the best I can be. This means I need to invest in my gift. If this is what I am called to do, then I will not be okay with being mediocre. There are so many people who think speaking in tongues is enough for a good worship. I don’t care how much a worship leaders shakes. I know when a person fakes the funk. I know when a person is giving a spiritual show to over compensate lack of effort and preparation. Every time I lead I ask the spirit to just come and move. To come do what I cannot do, however I am very strict on my self and my team when it comes to preparing musically through out the week. I remember when I was younger there was this lady at church who would always ask for a special part at church. This lady never bothered to learn her songs so we all knew that when she forgot the lyrics she would speak tongues until she knew the next part. I have encountered mega religious musicians that wont pay for lessons because they don’t want their worship to be tainted by worldly knowledge -__- . That’s a dumb excuse for lazy people who have no business leading or being part of a worship team. If you don’t think God deserves your best effort then do us a favor and let someone passionate about growing take your place. That’s all I got to say about that.

 

I want to end this blog with a quick story about one of my greatest friends. I met Tyrone in 2010 but it wasn’t until 2012 that we started working together. Tyrone is like a walking orchestra. He plays basically every instrument and he has a brilliant mind when it comes to music. However when I met Tyrone and we made him part of the ARISE team, he was a hot mess. This guy was not only a church hopper, but he also played at clubs, he was known for posting club drinking on Fridays and worship service on Sunday. Tyrone has shown me that I have more patience and love than I could’ve imagined. You see when Elias and I started working in his life everyone told us he was bad news. Every single person on our team at the time would pressure us to kick him out. They said he was never going to change. Fast forward, when ARISE hit its lowest point financially and all the team left us Tyrone stayed. He helped us rebuild everything and until this day even though it’s been hard, he continues to support and love us. We have become family. This guy went from no relationship with the father to knocked out on the floor being confronted by the spirit. All that Tyrone ever needed was some real friends and a whole lot of attention and accountability. People who stopped letting him die in the church pretending his talent was all he needed. There is so much work to be done in his life still, but he makes me so proud. After millions of sit downs confronting his bad habits he has had the choice to leave and ignore me but he has always chose change. We all need balance in our life. So look for people who will help you find it. No matter what condition you are in spiritually, God is amazing enough to find you where you are and take you to a greater level of glory. If God was able to change my cold cold heart (I’ll share with you one day) and Tyrone’s church hopping ways, He can change you for sure. Worship is so much more than music. Jesus is so much more than a song. I pray you have a real worship encounter soon, an encounter that will change you forever.

 

I’ll see you in my next post.

XOXO

Welcome

greta 1

Making this blog has taken me a billion years. If I am being honest, my hesitation comes from insecurity. Not because I have nothing to say. My entire life is consumed by worship and kingdom. I wake up thinking of it, eat thinking of it, sleep dreaming of it. I sing right around seven days a week. I am a worship leader for two organizations. I have my own singing and speaking ministry. I give private singing lessons. I attend multiple rehearsals a week. So other than Jesus and music, sometimes I have no life lol.

To be honest with you, I was never that little girl that wanted to grow up and sing. I liked music, I enjoyed singing, but i never thought much of it. I always say I started singing accidentally. However, I know all things in God are no accident. I was 12 years old when someone didn’t show up to sing for offering at my local church. At the time I was a new christian, so I basically knew just one song. That night I ended up singing the only song I knew “Levanto mis Manos by Samuel Hernandez”. After that, word spread quickly of this tiny girl who sang and I haven’t stopped singing since.

This year is my 12th year of ministry. Serving God has been the best and worst decision I have ever made. Now before you crucify me for being honest, let me explain. There is nothing greater than loving Jesus. However accepting his call brings many challenges. I was so little when I first started ministry. Forget the fact that I had school five times a week. My weekends were filled with ministry related things. I didn’t get to hang out at the mall with friends or go to a lame kick back lol. My focus was kingdom. You know what it is like to talk kingdom to twelve year olds … they think you’re crazy. Ministry was lonely. The adults didn’t take me seriously and kids didn’t understand me. The call over my life was real. Even when I tried to be like everyone else, there was a voice in my heart that reminded me I was different.

You don’t understand, when I decided to follow Jesus … I was serious. I allowed him to be in full control of everything. From who I was friends with, to who I dated. Some might think its over board, but if God has full control of your life, then you know what im talking about.

So anyways ………. The reason I took so long doing this was insecurity. You don’t understand how much self doubt I have had to overcome. End of 2011 I was a hot mess. I was broken hearted, the church had beat me up, and I was working from a place of frustration. I was ready to call it quits. The problem was that for years I worked alone. No mentorship,no guidance. I always winged it. I did not invest in my self as a singer, specially not as a leader. Truth is that while trying to find identity as a person, I also had to find identity as a minister. For years I masked my insecurities with diva characteristics. Along the way I hurt a lot of people. Sometimes I beat my self up over conversations and confrontations that were out of order. I didn’t know any better. No one ever showed me what a good leader looked like. So I can’t change the past, but I chose to change the present and I refused to be the same in the future.

This blog is not to tell you I am perfect. This blog is created to show you, that you are not alone. This blog is intended for us to grow together. The more worship leaders I meet, the more I know we all have the same questions. I have spent a couple years now in mentorship. Studying how God moves through worship. Who I am in the Kingdom and how I am designed to restore people that previous leaders have sometimes shattered. There are too many worship leaders that don’t understand how vital worship is to the house of God. I believe God is lifting a generation of people who are tired of mediocre worship. A generation with a new mindset, not positional leaders, but people in search of His glory. People who will bring heaven to earth wherever they go. People of balance, who seek the spiritual as much as they seek improving their musical talents. I’m so ready for a worship revival … are you?

I am ready for all the people who will say ” who does this chick think she is?”. For all the people waiting to correct all the commas and periods I’m missing, for all those who will read just to see what crazy thing I’m up to lol. Whatever reason you end up reading my stuff … welcome. I am so excited you made it to the end of my first blog. Come correct my next one lol.XOXO