Tuesday, January 29, 2008


The Manila String Machine, the official name of our musical group, has its own web log (BLOG). For more info about our services, please click on this link. MANILA STRING MACHINE.

To give you an overview, a String Quartet is mainly composed of two violins, a viola, and a cello. But our violist can bring his keyboard, while I can bring my acoustic guitar and even sing!

I am a member of various professional Classical String Quartets, and we play for different occasions mainly weddings, birthdays, company Functions, recordings, and the like.

Our group individually comes from UP college of Music, and Saint Scholastica Conservatory. We are all members of Prestigious orchestras like Philippine Philharmonic, Manila Philharmonic, Manila Symphony, Global Orchestra, the former San Miguel Philharmonic and Metro Manila Chamber Orchestra.

Our pieces are very unique because we choose the arrangement of pieces we play! If its too simple, we re-arrange it for our group's taste. And a conservative estimate would be 85% of our repertoire is SPECIALLY arranged for our Quartet's use.
We have a long list of clients, and a number of projects already lined up for this year.

Here's a PARTIAL list of our repertoire:

Classical and solemn

Air in G – J.S. Bach

Canon in D – Johann Pachelbel

Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring – J.S. Bach

One Hand, One Heart

Panunumpa – Jboy Gonzales S. J.

Sandaling Pinakahihintay – Agot Espino

Brandenburg Concerto No. 3 – J.S. Bach

Divertimento in D – Mozart

Ode To Joy - Beethoven

Sonata - Scarlatti

Arrival of the Queen of Sheba – Handel

*Clients can rearrange/regroup the songs

Dinner Music

Sample Set 1

Aguas de Marco

As Time Goes By

Beautiful Girl

Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite - Beatles

Butterfly Kisses – Bob Carlisle

Can We Stop and Talk Awhile – Jose Mari Chan

Can’t Smile Without You – Barry Manilow

Cavatina – Nicanor Abelardo

Canon in D – Johann Pachelbel

Cheek to Cheek – Berlin

Disney Medley – Various Artists

Eraserheads Medley – Eraserheads


The First Time I Loved Forever

(Quartet and Accompaniment)

Sample Set 2

My Favorite Things

My Funny Valentine

Hava Nagila

Here Comes The Sun - Beatles

Here There and Everywhere – Beatles

Horseplay – John Williams

How Did You Know

I Will Be Here – Steven Curtis Chapman

Ikaw – George Canseco

Ikaw Lamang – Gary V

I’ll Never Say Goodbye

(Theme from “The Promise”)

It Had To Be You

Jesu Joy of Man’s Desiring – J. S. Bach

Kailan Pa Ma’y Ikaw – Christian Bautista


Sample Set 3

The Lord’s Prayer – Albert Hay Malotte


Mayim, Mayim (Jewish)

Memories are Made of This

Monalisa – Nat King Cole

Moon River

The Nearness of You

Ngayon at Kailanman

Now That I Have You

One Note Samba – Antonio Carlos Jobim

Panunumpa – Jboy Gonzales S.J.

Para Sa’yo – Manny Pacquiao

Por Una Cabeza – Theme from “Scent of a Woman”

The Prayer – (Quartet) – David Foster

Sample Set 4

Pretty World – Antonio Carlos Jobim

Raindrops Keep Falling on My Head

Sana’y Wala Nang Wakas – Willy Cruz


Someone to Watch Over Me – Gershwin

Somewhere My Love

Somewhere Over the Rainbow

Sonata Op. 13 – Beethoven

Speak Softly Love

Sunrise, Sunset

Tema D’amore Per Nata - Ennio Morricone

Theme from In the Mood for Love

Tie A Yellow Ribbon

Till I Met You –

(Quartet and Accompaniment)

Till There Was You

Sample Set 5

Triste – Antonio Carlos Jobimw

Tunay na Ligaya – Mr. C

Warm and Beautiful

The Way You Look Tonight

Umagang Kay Ganda – Mr. C

We’ve Only Just Begun – Carpenters

What Matters Most

What Might Have Been – Lou Pardini

What A Wonderful World

When I Fall In Love

When I Met You – APO

When You Wish Upon a Star

You – Carpenters

You Raise Me Up – Josh Groban

We've come up with a new album of songs and popular pieces! And another album is yet to be compiled focusing on Jazz-swing-pop-bossanova type. Do email me at this add: botbydblud@gmail.com or contact me at 0918-9066377. I'd be more than happy to serve you!

Price packages at our other info blog. the manila string machine.

With Great Vision Requires Greater... FUNDING.

Our church had the privilege of hosting the Refresher Women's conference last January 19, and it was an awesome event! Hundreds of ladies came pouring in and was thirsty for a refreshing time from the Lord.

Hold it a minute... Im here to talk about the music, not exactly the conference! I was working my head off! It wasn't particularly a refreshing time for me. I was exhausted.

My few consolation was 50+ ladies accepted the invitation of our speaker to receive Jesus as Lord and Savior. Now, I am not sure whether they got saved because of a one-time prayer, as what happens in most of our church's large group gatherings, but I choose to praise the Lord in what He has done by using us to spread the Word of God and the Gospel! My other consolation is that our church had the opportunity to play with professional musicians, which resulted in a top-of-the-line musical experience for our attenders. Again, I will not be the judge if they really worshiped the Lord. I could only lead them into worship.

Okay, here's the sad part, I have to say this in fairness to being fair and giving a non-bias opinion. The topics were great and the speakers were very equipped and qualified to represent their topics but, the place or venue played an important factor in NOT being conducive to a conference. It was TOO dark, the stage was too high, and the seating was designed for short concerts and theatrical plays. Parking was a bad factor and also, during lunch, a place for ladies to eat was a sad nowhere. I admit, I didn't foresee that. It was a first for us, so now we know better.

Sound-wise, the original plan was to use only a pair of 100watt speakers to do all the load of a minimum of 5 instrument mic line-ins, eight vocal mics, and a CD-computer aux line, and two monitoring speaker systems (the stage was awfully big). Those speakers cannot take that load. Believe me. And to think we planned a big-time banner song with a majestic ending! A production like that required our major sound system... which is exactly what the praise team foresaw, and did.

Lastly, I really did this out of love and service to God and our church. And I had the privilege of being invited to lead worship, lead the band for rehearsals, and study a couple of songs with them. What happened is, that I was the sound man, technician, set up/tear down crew member, production staff member, driver (using my car, and our doctor's car), carpenter, speaker and amplifier lifter/transporter, band manager, and errand boy...by the way, I was the choir pianist, choir director and choral conductor too, aside from being the worship leader and guitarist! I admit, I love serving the Lord, and I CAN do it again, but I also know my limitations. And I don't have to do it all. Believe me I tried the principle of delegation. But as the they always say: " If you want it done right, you have to do it yourself."

Our church has a lot of possible volunteers, but they were assigned to different ministries too. Their plates were equally full. Now, as I have prayed and tried, God has given me only a handful of people I can trust to do the job as I want to. At least I know these young men will be closely monitored and trained. Someday, they'll do a better job than what God has given me the ability to perform.

Here's the bottom line: We must prepare funds to hire a sound system next time. With a high-expectation in the music production, the same band could be used next year. But by that time Im sure our local church musicians could do a similar job.

Our church will be planning a big Christmas production this year. Im excited about that! And I'll be working hard for it. But with a "too-close" big production again like Refresher Part 2 by 3rd week of January, I say I cannot take that load anymore. I have to admit, I need to hire people to do those other stuff for me. I got sick and God doesn't want His children to be abusing their bodies. Russel my right hand guy, coughed out blood because of the extreme load and lack of rest and nutrition.

Overall, it was awesome. Hard, but awesome. It was all worth it when ladies got saved! However, we can be better stewards of our time, our resources, and our talents by setting realistic goals, or with great vision, requires greater FUNDING... not just sacrifice.

Worship Last Sunday

Hey guys! Last Thursday evening, the praise team and I were rehearsing for Sunday morning’s songs, and we had a bunch of fun! Anyway, we had new members applying, and old members observing again, and it was grand! More than that is that after rehearsing, Jeff Ayanco started playing a solo on the bass by Abraham Laboriel, something he and I loved as bassists, entitled I See the Lord by Don Moen and Ron Kenoly. This song actually came from Isaiah 6: 1-8. What a beautiful song!

We started talking about the passage which particularly talks about a REAL worship experience all of must seek when we come together on Sunday mornings.

First is a Confrontation. When Isaiah saw the Lord, he described God as highly exalted, that creation worshipped Him and that His glory filled the temple. In parallel, we as Christians need to see our worship as this, primarily: that the Lord’s glory is what we need to magnify. Not our music, our church, and especially not the worship team members!

Next is a Confession. Isaiah’s words in previous chapters to the other nations were, “Woe is to you…Woe is to you…”. Everything was against them. But when he got exposed to God’s presence, he said: “Woe is to ME!” When we are exposed to God’s glory, and His holiness, we must realize that we are undeserving of the honor of worshipping Him! We are sinners! Our unworthiness and filth are all exposed. When we worship God, let’s make it also a time of repentance and humility before the Lord.

The next major thing that we must seek is a Cleansing. We all know the verse 1 John 1:9, when we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to CLEANSE us from all our unrighteousness. It is true because when Isaiah confessed his sinful nature, the Lord sent an angel to cleanse him immediately. No promises, no questions, but only because he realized his sinfulness and confessed them to God.

The next thing we should be looking for in a worship service is a Call. We could “worship” all we want, get the high and the kick, but always and always, we are confronted with the Word of God and He calls us to obey His words! When we sing: “One Way, Jesus, You’re the only one that I could live for!” Our part is to obey the words by really living for Jesus! When we sing “Holy is the Lord!” we are called to live for a holy God. “Be holy as your Father in heaven is holy.”

The last thing is a Commission. The Lord asks: “Whom will I send, who will represent Me?” It is not enough to encounter, confess our sins, be cleaned, and be called to follow Him. We actually need to be sent to OBEY His words. This is the application. Our worship actually is proven out of the church doors. When we actually live the words we hear and sing.

Next time we will talk about Incorporating Faith in Corporate Worship. It’s a real cool topic because how do we have faith in worship, to please God? Remember the verse: “For without faith it is impossible to please God.”?

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

music for HEROES Youth Camp

Heroes Youth camp is coming really fast, and I'm excited as a horse in a race! The work will be hard, specially the integration of musicians. By the way, since nobody is auditioning, I suppose I'll choose the musicians!

Yes, musicians. My goal is to create an ensemble of musician-worshipers who are passionate for young people and for God... much like our SOLD OUT ministries. Anyway, my hopes are since we will be playing new songs from Israel and New Breed, Hillsong United, and hopefully new songs by yours truly. It would be awesome if the team would collectively write a song for the camp theme, but as for now, we might be looking at a song by superchick.

Same as last year, we will be using our stuff at church, but hopefully it doesn't break down again like last year and Oct 22. Lights, lazers, and fog courtesy of Faith and Bethel, Sound system, amps and instruments by Sumulong (Christ Way Community), and everything, courtesy of God Himself!

Pastor Jeff Aspacio would be heading this year's camp and an excellent team of young leaders would be assisting him in different committees. My prayer is that those who want to be part of this wonderful project via games, counseling, prayer, drama, production, music, security, food, and other committees, would get in touch with us through our website: www.soldoutlive.org!

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

My Views on Marriage

Someone told me that deciding when to get married is all about if you’re prepared to face the challenges. Finances, a stable job, a mature character, a home, car and enough money for a wedding ceremony … those are the first things that came to my mind upon hearing it. Since those were the same things most people told me, so it automatically flashed images of those above mentioned. But what struck me is that wasn’t what that person meant. What was meant was if you’re decided to do this and be willing to go to the next step. While not placing less importance on the obvious “preparedness”, I realized that the advice was right. It’s all about the decision, and living up to it no matter what. Now, having a stable job, secure finances and a bulky bank book would be a great way to make the “war effort” easier, and it surely would give more advantages and more time for the couple to do other things than work super hard just to buy a bottle of milk for the baby. More finances would mean more time for the couple to watch dvd, tour the world, teach their children, and secure a more safe, more comfortable, and a more conducive environment for the whole family to love, respect, and know each other.

However, more finances do not guarantee those. It never will. More finances will not assure you that you will be more comfortable. More money will surely bring you these: more things to do, to take care of, to worry about, to pay for, etc. I learned that as I started to earn more money, your bills also increase. So what is the bottom of this? Neither money nor your “love” for one another can bring success to pass. It is only through God’s help through faith, and a decisive will to face the challenges of life.

It is always my desire to send my future children to exclusive schools, to teach them all I know (that means more time with them), to tour the world with them, to buy my wife the best things in life, to shelter them in a comfortable spacious house in a secure village, to drive around in a really nice car, to be someone everybody respects, to give those I love all the luxury I can afford to give them. And it can only be done through the finances that God would give me. Therefore I do not at all place little importance on the issue of financial stability. I will be a hypocrite to deny that. Besides, it’s foolish not to want the best things in life for those you love.

What I’m driving at is simple: one must have enough faith and fear in God, enough maturity, experience, financial capability (notice NOT stability) and will to be a responsible provider, and enough GUTS to decide for a marriage and life to be successful. It’s like going on a mission trip, an adventure, or embarking on a journey, etc. Yes, finances is a major factor (non-negotiable) for the success of the maiden trip, but it’s the heart, the faith and the decision that really counts for a successful expedition in the end. Magellan lost all financial strength when they were lost in sea searching the land of spices, to the point that they were eating their own boots and rats to survive. But what kept them going is their desire, their heart to go on… which of course resulted into the discovery of our “great” nation.

I admit, I’m not a rich man, and I still have lots of unaccomplished dreams, many more years needed to train and “equip” myself for marriage, and I am obviously going to be a busy man trying to work my head off to supply my family’s needs. I know that will happen and I am expecting that life would be a lot harder.

In reality, life never gets better. It’s always getting harder, more challenging, etc. Just like our bodies, it only gets older, gets sicker, and always a day closer to its final resting place. It is only ourselves who must get better, stronger, more equipped, more educated, and more prepared. As I see things, I noticed that accomplishing a task only leads to a harder task. Finishing a level in life gets you into another, reading a chapter gets you to the next, and eventually the next book. Winning a race leads you to next year’s challenger. It doesn’t stop.

But here’s the good part: Life only gets better when you live it in view of eternity. What do I mean? When you know that this life is only temporary, and that you’re preparing for the real life after this, you start to live. And you know what? That life can start while you’re still living!!! It’s the moment you realize that our destiny as human beings is to die someday and spend eternity somewhere. If you’re a Bible believing person, you go either to Heaven or Hell, if you believe in something else, you go to limbo, if you’re an atheist, you cease to exist.

Ok, we suddenly went from marriage to “religion”. Let me insert this: if others were right, I wouldn’t fear going to a place of damnation because I lived a fairly good life. I didn’t kill, I didn’t break the law, etc. If the atheists were right, I would simply poof out of this world. But what’s really scary is: what if the Bible is right? We would have to answer to Someone who demands utter worship, and is a holy (meaning: no-sinners-allowed) God. Oh no! If we’re all sinners, who gets to heaven? That same God said that we are all sinners and no amount of good works will earn His mercy! (Check out the Bible)

What then is our hope? That is precisely the reason why Jesus came… to save us from His own punishment by accepting the penalty of our sins on Himself! That is why God said He “loved” the world, because He gave Himself up for it. All we have to do is put our faith on who He is, what He did for us, ask Him to forgive us of our sins and to trust Him that He will keep His promise.

In all reality, of all religions in the world, only the Bible teaches an absurd God. It takes a lot of faith to trust and believe in this God. We can’t see Him, we can’t hear Him, why we believe is only a product of what some Jews thousands of years ago wrote called the Bible, and we have to trust what it says! He gives us impossible-to-follow instructions, assures us that there is no hope apart from Him, that nobody is going to Heaven unless He says so, and He demands our full allegiance… or else. Those preachers and others who testify claim things that we ourselves seldom experience. And what is really bugging me is not some million dollar investment… it’s concerning my eternity!!! People spend billions of dollars to preserve their youth, and live longer, but how much would it cost to ensure that I go to Heaven and not Hell?! Now that should be a concern everyone should be thinking about. It takes a lot of faith to say that we believe in God, and much more, in what He says!

But on the other hand, we don’t understand why He eternally loves us so, why He himself would accept the punishment for our sins, why He is so strict in His holiness, yet makes a way for us to approach Him. He offers us hope and a way out of our helpless state, He promises to be our provider, He offers strength in our weakness, He changes cold hearts and makes them as flesh, He is our refuge in the day of trouble, our fortress in our time of war, our comfort in times of distress, our Savior from our sins . Those are the exact reasons why I decided to trust Him. That’s the kind of God I would love to serve, someone who served me first, someone who gave Himself to us first.

And that’s where REAL living starts. Now going back, living for the Lord is what will carry us through our married lives. Fear and faith in God is what will help, but God’s love will be the key. For where our wisdom fails, our reverent fear will prove wise, where our faith fails, His strength is made perfect, when our hope goes away, His love overcomes.

Moving on, I do have job and a lot of other sidelines, and I, in all honesty, believe I am responsible enough to take care of obligations. And I have found my purpose and direction in life and have been doing it since then. I had to learn that in all my twenty-something years of existence. But there are many things in my life that I still need to work on, I am still far from the man I am supposed to be. That is why I need my mate. It is not good for me to be alone, though at times I want to be alone, and despise my mate’s criticism; I learn in the end that she does that to improve me, to correct my weaknesses and to give a new angle on my views and all. With that said, I know that I will be helped by my mate, and that she is the one for me. We will and have to work together so we will survive and keep our goals together. We have to stay on the same page.

What matters most is that I, as a man, would have to decide. I have to face my fears, my doubts, my problems, this life and DECIDE. I cannot only hope and wait for the right time. I need to decide and be a man. To have the glory, I need to have guts. Thus, with God’s guidance I have decided to marry my loved one. And with all the preparation I had I know it cannot be fully learned until I jump off the boat and swim. Until I drive the car out of the garage and make the rubber meet the road.

Monday, January 14, 2008






Apoy ng Papuri

Bring Me Back

Dalangin Namin

For Eternity

Great is Your Faithfulness


Himig ng Pagsamba

Im All For You

I Came to Worship You

I Can Do All Things

Let the Nations be Glad

My Prayer

Purihin Siya

Pumarito Ka


Pag Ibig

Sold Out

Sa Paglipad

Speak to Me

Take Me

This is the Day

Teach Me to Wait

To Be With You

Worship You

When that Day Comes

You’ve Been so Good

You’re My Bestfriend


Bought by the Blood

Generation of Light

If I Could Only Comfort You


Let Him In

Ministry Song

My Life was Changed Through You

My Cry

Nothing Without You

Not My Words


So Amazed


Tapat Sa Iyo

You Are My Strength

You’ll be in Our Hearts



  1. Awit (G)
  2. Alay (A)
  3. Apoy ng Papuri (C)
  4. Dalangin Namin (E)
  5. Himig ng Pagsamba (G)
  6. Purihin Siya (C)
  7. Pumarito Ka (D)
  8. Pagsamo(D)
  9. Pag Ibig(D)
  10. Sa Paglipad(G)


  1. Arise (G)
  2. Bring Me Back (E)
  3. For Eternity (F)
  4. Great is Your Faithfulness (D)
  5. Heartcry (G)
  6. Im All For You (E)
  7. I Came to Worship You (F)
  8. I Can Do All Things (D)
  9. Let the Nations be Glad (G)
  10. My Prayer (G)
  11. Sold Out (B)
  12. Speak to Me (D)
  13. Take Me (E)
  14. This is the Day (E)
  15. Teach Me to Wait (D)
  16. To Be With You (G)
  17. Worship You (B)
  18. When that Day Comes (D)
  19. You’ve Been so Good (C)
  20. You’re My Bestfriend (C)

POSSIBLE ALBUM COLLECTION (some songs are repeated)

  1. IN AWE- Sold Out
    1. Pumarito Ka --Fast
    2. Im All For You --Fast
    3. This is the Day --Fast
    4. Great is Your Faithfulness --Medium
    5. For Eternity --Slow
    6. Take Me --Slow
    7. Heart Cry --Slow
    8. Apoy ng Papuri --Slow
    9. Bring Me Back-- Medium
    10. Worship You-- Fast
    11. Sold Out-- Fast
    12. You’re My Bestfriend --Fast

  1. SOLD OUT EXPLODE (Special Music For Young Worshippers)
    1. Bought by the Blood
    2. My Cry
    3. Not My Words
    4. You are My Strength
    5. Real
    6. To Be the Man
    7. Heart Cry (RnB)
    8. Alay
    9. Tapat Sa’Yo
    10. Nothing Without You
    11. Thanksgiving
    12. So Amazed
    13. Generation of Light

    1. Arise
    2. You’ll Be in Our Hearts
    3. I Can Do All Things
    4. Generation of Light
    5. Let the Nations Be Glad
    6. Sold Out
    7. You’re My Best Friend
    8. You’ve Been So Good
    9. When That Day Comes

    1. You’ve Been So Good
    2. Speak to Me
    3. Heart Cry (RnB)
    4. Alay
    5. Awit
    6. Pumarito Ka
    7. Pagsamo
    8. Apoy ng Papuri
    9. I Can Do All Things
    10. To Be With You
    11. Take Me
    12. For Eternity
    13. I Came to Worship You
    14. When That Day Comes Dalangin Namin (E)
    15. Himig ng Pagsamba (G)
    16. Pag- ibig (D)
    17. Great is Your Faithfulness

Incorporating Faith in Corporate Worship

“For without faith it is impossible to please God.”

For a long time I have asked the question, “If our goal in worship is to please God, then it is imperative that we have faith in our worship. How on earth could we do that? Have faith while playing guitar, while singing, while doing Power Point, etc?”

So during times of corporate worship, we all desire as most worship leaders would say, “We would please God, rather than man.”, “To PLEASE God, to make Him ‘smile’”,
to “bring Him sacrifices of praise and thanksgiving”, “to ‘sing and make music with our hearts to the Lord, giving thanks to the Father in Christ…” We even say, “May Your servants find favor in Your sight O God.” Yes, our object is to give God pleasure in what He hears, sees and feels from us. I should say, FAITH then, plays the most important role in our pursuit of pleasing God. In our goal of finding favor in His eyes, in our desire and hope that God would find our sacrifices acceptable, it should be done in FAITH.

How many times, if I may ask, did we depend on our own talents and skills, wisdom and resources, methods and intellect when it comes to worship leading? How many times did we “have Faith” on ourselves? I’m guilty, and I know many of us are NOT pleasing God.

As I see it, the things that we can achieve or posses normally, and all the products of our natural state seldom result to faith. What do I mean? If I can normally sing, normally play an instrument, normally give my time, talent and resources, then could it be a product of faith? Could be, but most probably, it’s not faith. It’s “self”. Then if it is self, it cannot please God, thus it is not worth God’s attention. David expressly showed that when he said “I cannot offer to God something that cost me nothing”.

Abraham wasn’t used to sacrificing an only promised son. Noah wasn’t used to building an ark. Sarah wasn’t used to bearing a child. Enoch was definitely not used to dying! These people were listed in the “hall of Faith” in Hebrews because they accomplished things only God can do! They depended solely on God’s sovereignty when they found it difficult to obey. They did things they normally wouldn’t do. They did it all by faith!

How then in our state, even in our “expertise” in musical performance, do things by faith? It’s quite simple really. It all begins with the heart.

In leading worship, or playing an instrument in the praise band, we must begin with an attitude of humility. The acknowledgment of our natural talent as a gift from God, because the Bible said that all good things come from the heavenly Father, is a good place to start. Then after realizing that, we can then move on to an attitude of thanksgiving. Now that you know where that ability came from, we must then thank God that He has allowed such an amount of ability in music to flow in us, knowing that anytime, it can be taken away from us. After an attitude of thanksgiving is an attitude of service. This gift was given for a purpose. And it is simply to glorify the Giver. There is nothing for us in this. God did not intend for us to be famous because of His talent. He demands His glory and His honor in the gifts He has bestowed upon us. He even said that He will not share His glory to another. The only glory we can get is the pleasure of seeing God glorified. Its like the pride you have when your favorite basketball team wins the championship, and you applaud in the audience, without being noticed, and you simply relish the satisfaction of the glory of your team.

Here’s a point I would want to inject: practically speaking, the worship team, specifically the worship leader, gets a lot of “pats in the back” compared to most of the ministries the church has. If not checked, this could get to our egos and would tend to blow up our heads, and our pride. Our response would be simply; first to thank the giver of the praise, but the important thing is to redirect the glory and praise to God. We act as mirrors that deflect the glory that “naturally” goes to us, to the One who really and fully deserves the glory. As mirrors, we also have the responsibility of reflecting the image of Jesus in our lives. But that would be another topic.

Okay, after the heart issue, we then go to the issue of excellence and dependence. This is a call to a skillful degree of musical performance. Our purpose is to give God glory, not shame! With a low musical skill level, our praise to God is not maximized. How is faith involved in this? Simple and in many ways. It is not normal for musicians with different skill levels to know the songs and play together, therefore they practice. They “sacrifice” an amount of time to do so. They also must devote numerous hours to individually develop their skills so it is also an act of sacrifice. Now, seeing these things work together involves a full dependence on God’s Spirit to work through and in us. Now a dependence on His power requires faith.

For us musicians, there is a fine line between depending and jamming. It is so easy not to distinguish the two. I myself get confused a lot of times. As a remedy, we can be in an attitude of prayer and constant heart and motive check, while playing or leading worship. It must be constant. I can begin with a pure heart, but can easily drift to a mixed motive heart during the singing. I don’t know exactly when the transition happens but being aware CONSTANTLY may help refocus our attention to worship and not just in the performance.

From an act of excellence and dependence, we now move on to an act of service. We not only use our gifts for ourselves but so that others may be blessed because of God’s gift to us. “and the second Greatest Commandment is LIKE it, love others as yourself.” By serving others, we follow God’s command, and we act in faith.

The last point is simple: believing in God. The simple fact that you believe and actually sing to an unseen Being, one you have not heard, touched, or even felt, and worshiping Him as if He is right there listening to your voice is an act of faith. You run the risk of being labeled as either a fanatic freak or a crazy person. Look at it from a different point of view: what if you see someone talking to someone invisible? Isn’t it sort of ludicrous? What if you see someone singing TO (not just about) someone invisible on the street, not in a casual way, but singing as if the invisible being is right there beside that person? And even closing their eyes, lifting their hands, even bowing and crying? It is normal for us to think of that person as crazy. But that’s exactly what we do when we sing to God. And it requires faith.

For those who want to know a deeper meaning of this faith, it also has a theological side to believing. And this is actually the key to the faith we need to worship. Here it goes: we are ALL sinful. Small sins, big sins, white, black, mortal, venial, doesn’t matter…if we’re sinners; we have no business approaching a holy God. In fact, it is a dangerous act to come to Him in our sinful state. But we need to go to Him! For many of us, we like to run away from Him, and we don’t see the need to go to Him, but in reality, we HAVE to. Our purpose, our meaning, our very existence depends on a close relationship with Him. But how do we do that? The deafening answer is: we CAN’T. We simply can’t…unless God Himself breaks the barrier and comes TO us. That’s the reason why we have Christmas. Now, by being born to the world via virgin conception, and living a sinless, perfect life, and claiming deity and teaching wonderful stuff won’t complete the requirements for us to be bridged to God… He needed to die in our place so that the wrath of God on OUR sin can be exercised. Someone worthy had to accept the punishment for our sin. And not just anybody, the sacrifice must meet the requirements of God…and that is God Himself, Jesus. That’s why we have the Lenten season and Last Supper. Now, we have access to the holiness of God’s presence. We can now boldly approach the holy throne of God through the finished work of Jesus on the cross (“it is finished…”). Jesus sort of says when our filthiness is revealed to God as opposed to His holy wrath: “I got him covered Father, I bought this guy for You when I accepted the punishment for his sins.” Then the Father would simply say something like, “I see my Son’s blood covering your sins, therefore you are my child too.” But it doesn’t end there! Jesus had to prove everything He said about Himself by rising from the dead and by physically going back to the Father via ascension. If He didn’t, then our faith is futile. Our faith has no basis. Our beliefs are no different than the other world religions. The only cutting edge we have against all other “faiths” is that our God LIVES. We have an empty grave.

With all that said, from an attitude of humility, excellence and dependence, to service and the risk of humiliation, to the proper understanding to where our faith comes from, we can have faith in our worship to God. And truly, in faith, we are able to corporately please God.

tamperproof worshipper

tamperproof worshipper
rock it for Jesus