Saturday, February 27, 2010

Thank You

I just wanted to take a second and tell my community of family and friends at Woodlands Point a huge thank you. Last night, the CD release concert, was a dream for me. Thank you for allowing me, your worship pastor, to go out and do things like this. Thank you for your heart to worship Christ, and your heart for each other, and for your support of me and the band. I deeply love worshiping with you each week, and it's out of these worship times and the heart of our church that the songs we write come from. You have as much a part in what we do musically as any one of us in the band.

I pray God's continued favor on our church and on each of you and your families. I also pray that any music I have the privilege of playing outside of our walls will be an extension of the heart and mission of Woodlands Point Community Church. I love you and pray for you and over you often. Thank you for who you are and all you do in my life.

I'd love to hear from you. Your thoughts, what God is doing in your lives, and how the gospel is working itself out in the context of your daily lives. Contact me through one of these outlets...

http://www.facebook.com/home.php#!/danielfpratt?ref=profile

http://twitter.com/DanielFPratt

http://www.myspace.com/danielprattband

Or by email at daniel@woodlandspoint.org.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Conviction in the Mission

There's been a lot of wrestling going on inside me the past few days. If I'm honest, I couldn't tell you the last time I felt this convicted by the Holy Spirit. Our church staff has been talking a lot with each other about our missional context. We've been praying that God will show us a way to teach our people to engage in their community and begin to bring the gospel into those situations. What I wasn't counting on was God beginning that process in me.

My wife and I have been praying through what our community group, or small group, should look like. Our struggle, like most other people, was that we had difficulty motivating people to be involved in the group on a weekly basis. It felt forced, like we had to work too hard to live in community with people who weren't interested in that same community feel. What I have started to see through prayer is that I was completely missing the heart of Christ for the people close to me by putting the "mission" of God first before my love for Him and the forward movement of His truth and gospel. I was overlooking the obvious to force something that had the appearance that I was doing what I should be doing.

I have in no way figured out how this should all work. I struggle every day with how to live my life in submission to what Christ wants to do through me.

Here's what I know. The last few days have been an uncomfortable discipline from God in which He has brought to mind people I've been in relationship with over the past few years. Friends of mine that I've been with as they walked through painful things in their lives, from divorce to family deaths. What I've been so torn up about is that I've realized that although I've been there for these friends to lean on and to talk to, they are no closer to Christ nor are they any deeper in their understanding of the gospel than they were had they walked through these things on their own. I have wrecked the heart of God and he is in turn wrecking my heart over these relationships that I have not taken seriously as a gift and opportunity Christ has handed me. How massive a hypocrite have I been to take the stage every week, speak the language, have the "missional" discussions over coffee, yet the people close to me are no different as a result of being around me. It makes me sick, and I don't want to be like this anymore.

Now I am praying for God to keep reminding me of the opportunities every day I have to speak the gospel into my life situations. I want to stop trying to "be missional" and start just being so in love with Jesus that it's part of everything I say and do, then it becomes obvious to those around me.

What's my context? I'm a musician with a family. You know how many of us there are just in the Spring/Woodlands area? TONS. Been in a bar or restaurant lately on a weekend where there WASN'T a band? I doubt it. As a Christ following musician my job is to, in a sense, help to bring redemption to a fallen world of artists and musicians. And in turn help to redeem music back to what it was intended to be, a beautiful expression of love to an amazing God. It's not forced, it's not a stretch for me to spend time with musicians, it's what I do naturally. My hope now is to begin to bring the gospel into our conversations, eat together, live life together, help each other, and make a difference in our context of life. Stop making being missional such a chore and allow it to simply be Christ living through me and changing those around me. Here. Now.

What's your context?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Gospel Centered Worship

One of the big “buzz” phrases we hear throughout the young, hip, and cool (holes in your jeans are a must to qualify) church culture these days is “gospel centered”. First of all, what does gospel centered mean? I’m not going to act like I know the answer in it’s entirety but, what I do know is how that plays itself out in our church, Woodlands Point, on a weekly basis.

There are things that stick out in your mind when you’re involved in planting a church. Things that you can still recall with vivid memory, things you learn along the way that not only shapes the vision of the church and its people, but also shape and mold you as a person in the process. I remember moments in the beginning stages of The Point that rocked my world. I can remember weeks where it felt like we were walking up stream just to get through a service, weeks when the text messages with my pastor went on for hours afterward filled with “we’ll never do that again” and “are we getting through to anyone?” I also remember the week Jason (pastor) and I met, as we do every Thursday morning, to discuss service the upcoming Sunday. For some reason in our planning for this particular week we were discussing the difference between “teaching” a gospel and being “gospel centered”. We talked for quite a while that morning about the effects of the gospel on us as humans and that although we were taking our people on a journey through the gospel, we were not teaching them to live life centered completely on the gospel of Christ, nor was our worship service a reflection of that life. Don’t get me wrong, we weren’t teaching any kind of heresy or misleading people in any way. In fact, we were walking them through a book of the bible verse by verse, which we figured was the best way to be correctly sitting under the authority and supremacy of God. BUT, we quickly discovered that a new conviction was arising in us as a church staff. And that was to see our own lives completely ravaged by the gospel of Christ to the point of forsaking ourselves to its cause, and we wanted our people to understand that when brought face to face with the glory of Christ and the horrifying truth of our own sin we are driven to live differently. We also wanted people to understand that the entire Bible from cover to cover is about God’s redemptive plan for man through Jesus Christ.

So how does that look in the context of our services?

Each message taught now at The Point is taught through the lenses of God’s amazing, undeserved grace on us His people. And no matter what particular text we may be tackling that weekend you can be sure that when all is said and done, we teach our people that we are sinners saved by the grace of Christ, and His word forces us to come face to face with the ugliness of our sin, repent, and be more like Him.

How does that play out in Worship?

Just like in the messages taught from the stage we strive for each song that we lift in worship to God in our gatherings to remind us of the story of Christ’s redemptive actions on our behalf. Don’t get me wrong, there are many, many, great worship songs out there that connect people to God and speak of His love and faithfulness to us. But, for me when planning songs for a particular week I try to be intentional about selecting songs that tell the gospel story of Christ. I love to begin with a song describing the greatness of God and how massive He is, then use songs that specifically tell the crucifixion, resurrection, and second coming of Christ. I believe that my job as their worship pastor is to bring them face-to-face first with a loving and amazing God, and that through a revelation of who He is that we will be forever changed. I believe there is a power and passion unlike any other to sing together as a group the gospel story of Christ, and celebrate who He is and what He has done for us. Gospel centered worship is the proclamation, through song, of the revelation of our own depravity, reaching out to a God who saves, and He answers with His Son.