Long And Short of It: This Christmas Morn’

 

It’s Christmas time, so it’s only natural that the Fancy Schmancy Worship Team has written a new Christmas song, am I right?! It’s a hymn, written about the birth of Jesus, and will be quick to become a favorite to all.”This Christmas Morn’“,This song was penned by Robin and Mick and has been going through our mind since we wrote it. It’s so beautiful! We hope you enjoy it as much as we do (or even more so, since we’re 98% biased)!!

Verse 1
Mary and Joseph
Pulled up into town
Came for the census
Now stuck in a barn
Shepherds and wise men
Were led by a star
Isaiah was right
The Savior has come
This Christmas morn’.
Verse 2
Angels of heaven
Wage war on the beast.
Came as a baby,
Our Father arrived.
All sadness be gone
Look up to Jesus
Our vict’ry has come
The Savior was born
This Christmas morn’.
Verse 3
Jesus lay peaceful,
The cattle sang praise.
While His mother slept,
The wise men stopped by.
They lowered their gifts
Then lowered their heads.
“This Child is holy,”
They said as they bowed
This Christmas morn’.
Verse 4
The greed of the flesh
Was burnt at the stake.
The lust of the eyes
Was laid down to rest
Oh, away, away
With the pride of life
Our Savior has come,
Our Savior has come!
This Christmas Morn’.
This isn’t your “normal” hymn, but we thought it would be great if we could bring to the light some parts of the Christmas story that aren’t usually talked about, like the war in heaven. Though Christmas is a joyful time, we should take into account how serious this day actually is, because in the grand scheme of the Christmas story, He came to take our burdens on His shoulders with Him on the cross. And He saved us from eternal death! How amazing! We hope you have a wonderful, peaceful, and joy-filled Christmastime, and that you think upon these things as you’re with your family & friends!
Advertisements

Communicating with Christ should be important to Christians

manreadingbible-1024x684

 

Picture this,

You’re in this wonderful relationship.It’s so wonderful that you spend countless hours telling people how great your partner is, and that they should get to know them. Problem is, you havent spoken to your partner in a while, in fact, it seems as though the only conversations you’ve had were about ”your needs”. But hey! Wonderful relationship,right?

Crappy spouse,are we?

Sounds silly put that way, but we tend to be ”okay” with silly when it comes to our personal relationship with Christ. We speak of Him at great lengths but we never listen to Him. We speak highly of what He’s done in our lives but we rarely return His calls. When did it ever become appropriate to be a crappy spouse?

From cover to cover,the bible is filled with passages calling us to call on Him. Not just to call on Him in times of need, but to call on Him for everything, all the time.Here’s just a few:

Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.-1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.-1 John 5:15

And through over 40 verses on prayer, God calls us to relationship with Him. If we treated our partners like we treat God, it would be embarrassing to claim that we appreciate that person, let alone love them!  If we believe what we believe, His Word, then we should be ecstatic about His love. You would shout it on the rooftops! We shouldn’t just talk about Him, we should desire (and act upon said desire) to converse with Him. To speak with Him all the time.

His love is the cornerstone,and it seems that most christians around the world have no trouble living that way. Here,on the other hand, the slightest persecution ,show the cracks in our relationship. Flesh is our plan B, its our escape plan. The bible on the other makes it clear: Persecution is part of our walks as much as His love is. It isn’t one or the other, we’re gonna get both.

Call on the Lord for everything

So here’s my plea: Pray. Call on the Lord for everything, run to Him when things are going your way. Share that joy with Him! Run to Him when things aren’t going your way.Share that sadness with Him,and let Him comfort you. We can stop being a crappy spouse and actually involve Him in our lives,subsequently destroying the ”sugar daddy in the sky” persona we’ve projected onto Him. Knowing of God is utterly pointless; Things start to move when we start knowing our Creator personally.

 

Have a great day!

 

Mick Germain,

Pastoral Care Leader

 

 

 

 

FSWT: Christ-Driven Living

From the very beginning of Fancy Schmancy, we’ve always been keen on corporate worship. Not just music, but the whole ordeal! Be it prayer, music, bible studies,etc. Turns out that some of us were musicians and songwriters; Genuine worship had to come from who God made us, not the status quo. Very quickly, we began to write our own songs, essentially setting our prayers to music. It was, and is, clear that if the Spirit was going to move,then we were going to have to surrender everything at the foot of the cross,because without Christ’s overwhelming embrace in our lives, we would only be noise pollution (no matter how talented we were). The ”authority” of any aspect of ministry, begins in our prayer time, bowed dow in adoration of the Father.

Since worship ministry reaches far beyond strumming a few chords, we’ve asked a few members of the band to share a few things about their approach to leading worship at FS.

 

”I feel the closest to God when I’m singing to Him. When I start singing to Him, I tend to close my eyes out of habit. Doing so helps me eliminate all distractions & focus solely on Him and being in His presence. It’s always calming. When I begin singing to Jesus & I realize that He always welcomes me, loves me, and never judges me, I feel no fear – I can sing as loud as I want (He hears me either way), and I can lift my hands if I want (it doesn’t change His love for me). Sometimes, when I’ve sinned & worship Him, I might feel shameful for what I did, but I boldly approach His throne anyway. I must always boldly approach Him, because it’s really hard to worship with a prideful heart. Worship has always been about taking our focus off of ourselves and onto Jesus. I forget this sometimes, but being in the presence of my powerful & precious Jesus makes me feel right at home. I think that’s how He wants us to feel in His presence, because He is our Home.” –Robin Bailey-Leonard, Vocals

 

”Worship … It’s an interesting concept, to gather, sing and play instruments. I know that for me, it’s the way I can connect the most to God. This is true for many worship leaders and people in worship bands. But, I think that the special thing about worship, is that you are in possession of a powerful vehicle of adoration. As a leader, you embellish the message that the community is bringing to God, you are the intermediate man. It’s a vehicle of many meanings that permits people to lose themselves in the music and the lyrics, and have access to that special connection they have with God. I’m saying you should realise the importance, without boasting too much, of your role. Sure, even just humming a song while studying can be worship, but the magic really takes places when we are in community, united by the banner and fluidity of music, to praise the one we call God. He will sow the seeds you plant when showing off His glory in worship. Amazing is the concept of worship. Amazing is he.” –Jeff Hamel, Bass/Percussions

 

”In 1517, Martin Luther posted his legendary ninety-five theses onto the doors of the Wittenburg castle church, in which he denounced the use of indulgences as a way for obtaining salvation. In his works, Martin Luther helped develop a concept named Sola Fide, which in Latin translates as justification through faith alone, which opposed the indulgence practice as it was only through faith, one obtained salvation. By this same token, the act of worship can be described as being Solo Deo, or for God alone. Worship has become an important part of my life, as I have learned that it is not just simply “something you do on a whim”, rather it becomes a process of growth and understanding. The very term “worship” means admiration for God, which means a half-baked call to honor God doesn’t quite cut it, rather it’s quite a slap to the face. Throughout my years of learning to worship God, I have learned that a true devotion to God is needed, with the emphasis of Solo Deo. I have come to understand that through worshipping, I have to deny myself, forget everything and everyone else around me and to focus on God alone. Sometimes I get caught up in a situation, or I am focusing on myself too much, whether it be concerning my performance, or just pride in general, which isn’t what God wants. Rather, He calls us to humble ourselves, and honor him in all of our strength, whether it be great or small. In doing so, we recognize that God is our ONLY source of all goodness and strength, and most importantly love. When we worship wholeheartedly, in spirit and in truth, we tap into this Love of God, which not only heals our souls, but allows us to demonstrate to others the true nature of Love, which derives from our heavenly father.”             –Alexander Wessang, Keyboard

”Isn’t it wonderful to have a God that doesn’t want us to worship Him only once a week? Ever since I’ve been saved,I’ve had this intense passion for worship.In fact, I have a seraphim tattooed on my arm as a reminder of my desire to worship God day in,and day out. God provided me with all the tools I needed to lead,yet it seemed as though He worked most on softening my cynical heart (quite honestly,He still does to this day). When I humble myself and come into His presence, when I allow Him to take the helm of all that I am, I cant help but to be awestruck by His beauty and power. He moves through the sanctuary (be it our big church, or my tiny basement) like a strong wind, He Lights up the darkness by His presence and He gives life to our dry bones. I’m so thankful to have the privilege to come to Him,and to give Him praise (regardless of my situation). He lifts up my burdens, and fixes my eyes on Him. Isn’t that the greatest thing? ” -Mick Germain, Lead 

These are just a few of band members relationships with worship, and hopefully we’ll all keep growing deeper and deeper in our walks of faith. Christ paid the ultimate price, yet asks us very little in return (in comparison that is); His all for my all.

 

What does your relationship with God through music look like?

Beyond the Walls of the White House

Rich Mullins once said that ”God is a wild man”. His ways are not our ways, and His thoughts are not our thoughts. With the Fancy Schmancy Worship album on its way, I thought it would be a good time to talk about how God uses whomsoever He pleases to build up His kingdom. Our little community is going through a very exciting season,and I’m oh so grateful to have y’all on this journey with us.

I became a christian when I was 15, now that I think about it, I got saved around this time,6 years ago. God came into my life, lifted my burdens and gave me a purpose in life. He broke the chains of my addictions and gave me a mighty roar through His Son,Jesus Christ.

At the time, I could barely play any instruments (especially the guitar) nor could I sing. For some reason though, I felt closest to God in those times of worship. It was my way of praying and being fully honest with Him. One thing I knew though, was that God was in control and had a plan for my life. Turns out, that plan was a bit scary for me.

You see, God had given me this dream, He revealed to me that I’d be making ”Christians out of christians”. I grew up in the french catholic tradition of not going to church, and the schtick of being saved just cause you went to church at christmas; ”Christians” just meant everybody who showed up at mass every once in a while. I discovered shortly that it meant much more than that, and I’ve always kept that dream near to my heart.Seems like my days in ministry have always been about having this radical christian faith and preaching that radical way of living, in other words: Making Christians out of christians.

That idea that some people in the church, weren’t transformed by the unrelenting love of the Father felt like fantasy to me. It didn’t make any sense to me,that some would sit in the pews and sit through sermons,seemingly for no other purpose than having something to do on a sunday. Reading the word of God, just cemented for me that belief that,there is no other faith besides radically living for God. But more on that another time.

Shortly after getting saved, God lead me into music leading. Through that,came a quest for this genuine relationship with Christ. A desire to dive deep in His fountains, and to seek refuge in Him both in  times of plenty and times of need. And after years of seeking, I can say ,with great joy that, I have yet to reach the bottom of the well.

We’ll be recording a worship album shortly, and I can’t begin to say how excited I am about it.Not because it is glamorous (’cause it ain’t), not because we’ll earn any type of honor (’cause we wont); we’ll be getting the opportunity to worship God in a way that is dear to our hearts, and getting that opportunity to share it beyond the walls of our White House. Reaching the saved and the unsure, the reached and the distant, the healers and the scorned, the unworthy and the unworthy. God is Good,and I pray that we would never shy from declaring that truth.

Is there ever a day when God isn’t walking with us?  Isn’t He always at work? Of course He is always with us! Everyday, a new song is put on our hearts (almost literally), and it’s my desire,and the worship team’s desire, to give it all back to God. We’ve strung together a handful of those songs,and we’ll be inviting everyone to come and worship the Lord with us. As Jim Elliot once wrote in his journals, Oh, the fullness, pleasure, sheer excitement of knowing God on earth!”. That’s the kind of truth we want to declare!

I leave you with this verse, hoping that you are encouraged and guided by God’s Word:

 

15 Be very careful, then, how you live—not as unwise but as wise,16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.18 Do not get drunk on wine, which leads to debauchery. Instead, be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another with psalms, hymns, and songs from the Spirit. Sing and make music from your heart to the Lord,20 always giving thanks to God the Father for everything, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.- Ephesians 5:15-20

 

Mick Germain,

Worship Leader

 

”Psalm 133:1”: Brochachos and Sischachos

”How good and pleasant it is
   when God’s people live together in unity!”- Psalm 133:1

Have you experienced community lately?  Have you seen some of your relationships deepen through your common faith? Is God at the center of your relationships, both romantic and not?

 

stooges1
Classic brochachos

I know that I have. In fact, I see God actively working in my relationships and I don’t get it. God is so good to me, I can’t begin to wrap my head around it. Even when I feel like the worst of christians,God is right here, encouraging me to get back up again.

I honestly do not get it

 

Over the course of the summer, not only did I get to minister to others, but I got to be ministered to. Not only did I meet new people, but I met new brothers and sisters,that, quite truthfully, I can’t imagine living without them.

Sadly, life is always slightly in the way, but I cherish every opportunity to spend time with them again (being intentional is important anyways).

 

gallery-1448992390-lucille-ball-vivian-vance-index

 

 

This verse mentions God’s people living in unity, so not just anyone living together, Brothers and Sisters in Christ,living together in unity. Unity ,or oneness, used to be somewhat of a fictitious concept for me. Something that people mention, without much afterthought, without any attempt to make it a reality. For me, it was up there with light sabers; Awesome in concept, probably impractical in practice .

 

And then, it happened. Not in a sudden ”out-of-nowhere” kind of way,but in a cleverly orchestrated fashion. God had planned everything up to that moment,and ”living together”, much like a light saber to a Jedi, became a necessity. Faith was never meant to be lived alone. These newly found brothers were now full-time partners in crime. Matching clothing, random choreographed dance moments, confessing your undying love for each other and planning on getting ”T.S 1989” tattoos, were all part of the deal. These bromances have become very important in my walk. On top of all these fun oddities, they’re the ones that God uses to kick me in the tushie when I slack off or slow down for no good reason (FYI there’s never a good reason to slow down).

”How good and pleasant it is
    when God’s people live together in unity!”

So how good is it? It’s incredibly good and pleasant. I imagine that that’s the kind of relationships that the apostles had in the book of Acts ; A Christ-centered, Christ-governed and Christ-orchestrated set of relationships.

 

I would like to encourage all of you to get together in groups, or communities, it doesn’t matter what you call ’em,as long as you do. Get deep into the word together, pray for each other, serve together,etc. Those relationships are so valuable, and you’ll miss out not to have them. Seek and live out unity among believers.

 

Mick Germain,

Worship Leader and Pastoral Care Leader at Fancy Schmancy

 

 

 

The Long And Short of It: I Bow Down

The song explains itself, but there’s always some depth that comes with a song. Hopefully, we’ll do it at Fancy Schmancy soon, but til then, here it is! Update: We’ve been doing this song for a few months now, and yup, it’s really nice.

“Jesus You are here, You alone give me worth.”

Jesus is always near us. I think that’s pretty neat, how He’s always nearby and comes even closer when we ask Him to. Jesus is super gracious that way; we aren’t deserving of His love, or His grace, or His nearness. Yet He still wants to give us those wonderful things. Because of His kindness, we can find our worth in Him. See, we can look everywhere for places where we’ll be deemed “worthy”, but somehow that thing or that person that gives us worth will always find some way of saying “yeah, you’re no longer worthy”. Jesus sees our imperfect selves but still embraces us.

“You’re the voice I hear, spanning all across the earth.”

His voice is so distinct. He might whisper to us in the quiet, or He might speak to us through someone else, or a verse that we read in the bible. There are so many ways in which He can speak to us. But it’s easy (most of the time) to tell that it’s Jesus talking. I think it’s wonderful when we spend so much time praying to Him or reading His word, trying to get to know Him better, because that helps us become more sensitive to His voice. I need to work on that as well, especially since His voice can become clearer to us over time.

I love how He’s always with me, everywhere I go. It helps when loneliness creeps in, and I’m by myself. Because when I remember that Jesus is with me until the end of the age (Matt. 28:20), I regain my composure & I feel a lot better. Sometimes when we feel like, “Is Jesus really here anymore?”, He’s always like, “Yes, I’m with you forever.”

13335596_979013828885184_5676780218840303533_n

“In unchanging adoration, I bow down; My hands are raised in full devotion, I bow down.”

I adore this chorus. The act of bowing down to someone means that you worship them completely & wholly. It’s a gesture that means that we are totally unworthy of that person’s time, or unworthy to be in their presence. It’s a humbling thing to do because it means that we hold that person in the highest regards, the highest standard– a standard that we can’t reach. It inspires me & encourages me to bow in worship to Jesus more. I don’t bow down in worship often, but I should, as an act to show Him how much He means to me; He means so much to me.

What does He mean to you?

Robin Bailey-Leonard,

Worship leader and Chief-Editor at Fancy Schmancy

 

 

 

Prayer In The Key of G(od)

Recap by Robin Bailey-Leonard, based on a sermon by Mick Germain
For full sermon click here

(Note: When I say “I”, I really mean “Mick”.)

Prayer is a skill that you can only get better at with practice, just like every other skill in the world. However, what makes prayer “better” is the lack of boundaries, and more so expressing whatever is on your heart before God. It’s less sounding structured, and more being in conversation with Him. Of course, that doesn’t mean it’s easy. Like, who wants to admit their faults to Someone so infinite & incredible? It’s more difficult than we would like to admit.

Like the slide trombone. It seems super easy; all you have to do is slide the thing, and you have music. Right? Wrong. I thought it would be easy to learn, which is why I chose it in high school. I thought it would be simple. But I was wrong.

Iranian-rock-jazz-band-1960s1
Iranian band The Black Cats (circa 1960)

 

I had to work hard at it and practice each night. It felt boring and long and annoying and fake, because it wasn’t the song on my heart. But I knew I’d have to practice hard when I signed up for that jazz program, and I had agreed to follow the music program. But the more I practiced, that was when it got more genuine,  I was becoming invested in my relationship with the instrument.

Prayer is the same thing.

The more we pray, the more it gets genuine, because that’s what we mean to say. But our prayers can lose their meaning, and sound fake when we put up walls.

Everyone is different, and we’re all learning. Maybe you have been practicing the act of praying for years, but there’s still always gonna be someone you will come across who is just starting. And it may be hard for them, and it may be embarrassing for them to try. But that doesn’t mean that they aren’t trying to open up to God. Therefore, we shouldn’t shame them for not knowing what to say, we should be encouraging them & helping them.

Sometimes the things I want to tell God doesn’t always come across how I want it to. C.S. Lewis wrote in one of his books, that God is “easy to please, but hard to satisfy“. Like, God sees what we’re trying to do, but He wants us to get better, not just to remain where we currently are.

My dad never missed my jazz performances. I remember my first Christmas concert. That Bb scale was the highlight of our performance. At that point, I had been learning the trombone for 3 1/2 months. If my dad had the expectation that I’d be playing songs like the original (and much more experienced) artist, he’d be out of his mind. But he didn’t. He didn’t call me a disgrace because I sounded like, and was, a beginner. The same goes for God. Now think about my final recital, 5 years later. If I still played & sounded like I had when I first started out, it would be an insult to the person who invested so much time encouraging you. God invests time into making sure our growth has the best conditions.

Those conditions were bought at the cross. He made that relationship possible, and it’s the only thing that would allow us to grow. Don’t give up praying & pursuing Jesus because you’re destined for symphonies, not just scales.