Monday, May 4, 2009

Seeing the Ground



I flew to Washington Reagan Airport last Saturday and drove to Gainesville, Virginia to spend the night. I was playing at Old Dominion Baptist Church on Sunday morning for a special Compassion International emphasis.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen a church so invested in Compassion. The pastor’s spoke about their experiences on the field, seeing the work first hand. Two men gave testimonies and read letters from their sponsored children. The first guy was obviously nervous speaking in front of a thousand people – his hands were shaking. I thought “poor guy’s nervous” then the pastor leaned over to me and told me he was an F-16 pilot that “scrambles” out of the base near DC. Ok. Ok.

I played about 45 minutes and shared the story of my involvement with Compassion. At the end of the service, the pastor asked all of those who sponsor children to stand. It would have been easier to count those that didn’t stand! Amazing. Almost everyone there was a sponsor.

I run into too many churches that are too protective of their people and their people’s money. They’re terrified to open their hearts and wallets to outside ministries – scared that the local funds will dry up. Sad. The pastor was honest enough to tell his congregation that there would need to be sacrifice to sponsor a child in a desperately needy part of the world – “We can’t afford to have you stop giving and tithing to the church” he said. That’s just bringing it. And telling the truth and letting God work out the details with individuals. I loved it.

And these people were so kind. Over and over they were asking me, “How can we pray for you?” Grace permeated their lives and their church. I was led to believe it hadn’t always been that way. But something good happened through crisis – crisis in people’s lives that forced them to put away religious pride and fear and to live, to bathe, in the grace of our Lord. It was completely refreshing.

I can’t help but believe that their open arms and hearts further cultivate this life of real grace. Protectionism doesn’t lead to peace. Territorialism screams fear and panic. Fear doesn’t allow new, mysterious seeds to be planted. A vice grip of total control can stifle new growth and deny you the joy of the unexpected return. The predictable “same ole’ same ole’” might plow on but God is a God of surprises as well as constancy.

Breathe deep and see what surprises your Father has in store.

Speaking of Control….

When my plane was on final approach to Houston last night, it was a bumpy ride through the clouds. I kept looking out the window. Couldn’t see the ground. I felt my shoulders and a few other parts of me clinch.

I am not a pilot. Wanted to be at one time in my life and wanted to fly my own plane to concerts etc. I thought it would allow me more flexibility and freedom as well as allowing me to be home a lot more. I was always aware of the long ( and growing ) list of musicians snuffed out on their own planes.

But that’s not what stopped this dream. It was a lot more practical than that. Simply put, the dangers couldn’t be ignored. There was too much temptation to have to be somewhere. “No, I have to be there.” And then you put yourself in a compromised position, things can go terribly wrong. Then, you’re a headline on a webpage for a few days and a sad story for a generation.

So sitting in the back of the plane, letting the professional handle things, I feel safer. I know they’re pros (and I always feel a little better when my pilot for the day has a few grey hairs on his head) and they know what they’re doing. They read instruments and could do their jobs without ever seeing the ground. But I like to see the ground! I know, I know, the instruments tell them everything. But I like to see the ground! Did I say that I like to see the ground??

Why does that make me feel better?

Lack of complete trust. Desire for some degree of control even though I’m more than a few steps from the cockpit (and frankly, wouldn’t have a clue what to do if I got in there).

My spiritual life has some of those elements too. I know God is God and I am not. I know He is in control even when it doesn’t seem like it. Even when I don’t get it or don’t understand it. But man, I sure breathe easier when I do get it a little or when I do see it.

Guess there’s still work today. I was so looking forward to taking the day off!

Blessings.

Wayne

By the way, the pic at the top of this page is my first sight of ground last night!

27 comments:

Garvys said...

Wayne, We so enjoyed having you at ODBC! God used you in powerful ways yesterday to communicate His constant love and grace in this ever changing world. Thanks for being willing to go where He sends you and for being so authentic. It was refreshing! I've been listening to "Sing for Joy" all morning!

Anonymous said...

Wayne,

Your authentic ministry made such an impact here at ODBC. Thanks for being real and transparent with us. You were the same on stage as you were off stage- and we loved it. Next time we'll schedule you around a bikers event so you can ride with our guys. I know they would love it. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.

Next time your'e at Chili's get the steak and forget the veggi burger!

jancd said...

I had to laugh and nearly cry when I read your blog about the tiny uneasiness of flying. We are about to fly to Seattle in a few weeks and I have a real fear. Glad to hear I'm not totally alone!! I'll be praying the whole time I'm in the air. You sound really happy, Wayne, and that is nice.

Anonymous said...

Wayne,

Thanks so much for joining us last Sunday at ODBC and sharing your talent and passion with us. We have been a sponsor for the past 2 years and our 7 year old daughter is so invested in writing and praying for our sponsor child. She really enjoyed seeing you perform. It warmed my heart to see her jump to her feet when Pastor Steve asked all sponsors to stand. She had the biggest smile on her face. I asked her why she was so happy and she said "We are making a difference in Lucero's life. That is the heart of the Compassion program.

Hannah said...

Wayne,
Thank you so much for coming and ministering. It was so refreshing for me to see someone I had listened to for years be so approachable and real. I pray that God will bless you richly and for the ministry you continue to work. It has inspired me, and though right now I can't be involved in Compassion financially, I will pray for those who do and that God will give me a way to do it in the future with my children.
Thank you!

Patty said...

Thank you for coming to ODBC and sharing your music, sense of humor and genuine love. I wasn’t sure what to expect but was pleasantly surprised and enjoyed the concert. It was an awesome experience.

Anonymous said...

Hi Wayne. We enjoyed your music and the ministering you did at ODBC on Sunday. Thanks for taking the time and effort to draw us into the blessing of being prayed for. The gentlemen who got up and read their sponsored children's letters touched me deeply. What is better than having the type of prayers that these gentlemen and their families enjoy from their sponsored children? Have you ever noticed the complete lack of selfishness on the part of those who often have the least? The boy who mentioned twice that his mother had arthritis, the numerous times each child mentioned the prayers spoken for their sponsors - I was really touched.

Oh, that we people of affluence in this nation would see what we are missing!

And to think that I can get in on such a precious prayer gift for a monthly amount that pales by comparison! My prayer is that others see the awesome exchange that goes on here, and recognize this is quite a deal for us, as well as the children we are able to sponsor. How awesome is our God?

Thank you again for blessing us with your song and message!

One of your Brothers in Christ :-)

Adriana said...

Wayne,

Thank you so very much for coming to ODBC on sunday. I was totally blessed. I actually was running late that day and when I came in I did a double take cause I thought I might have come into the wrong chruch, hahaha. Anyway Ifound your songs so inspirational, and I was even singing the one you taught us that day: And I sing for joy, the joy of the Lord in the middle of it all, every day at work and at home when things start to get a little crazy :-) Again, thanks for coming and you will continue to be in my prayers so that God may continue to use you and bless you through the wonderful work you do with Compassion!

Therese said...

Wayne,
Your ministry truly blessed my daughter and I on Sunday. God's grace truly shined through your music. The message of God's love was powerful through your lyrics. Our prayers are with you as to continue to praise and uplift our Lord and Savior in your songs.

Cindy said...

Wayne,
What a blessing it was to have you at ODBC on Sunday. I have your Christmas CD from about 15 years ago and love it. It's one of the first ones I play each Christmas season. Your message Sunday of hope and joy, in the midst of trying circumstances, lifted my heart. May God continue to bless you and your ministry!

Shauna said...

I will sing for joy, the joy of the Lord in the middle of it all.. Thank you for taking the time to come and share with us at ODBC. I was running late and my son didn't feel like going to church on Sunday, but something was telling me to go. I wonder what that could have been;) And so we went and I am so glad we did! What a blessing! Thanks again. God bless:)

D said...

Wayne,

It was truly a blessing being at the mini concert at ODBC. Your love for God and people is apparent. I know that the Lord is blessing you and will continue doing so.

Thanks again for sharing your gift of words through songs!

Love Your Sister in Christ!

Delores Washington

Allison said...

Wayne,

I started listening to you when I was a teenager and I am 32 now. I hadn't heard much of your music since my teenage years, but I enjoyed your concert at ODBC so much! You touched a lot of lives. You were funny and real and that is exactly what people need. You are so talented. My husband enjoyed your music too. Thanks for sharing your time and talents w/us. We have 3 1/2 yo triplets and are going to adopt atleast 1 child from Compassion.

Allison

Anonymous said...

Wayne:

I really enjoyed your concert on Sunday and your testimony. Thanks for taking the time to join us and participate in Compassion Sunday. Your music was really a blessing to me and to our church. My daughter and I sponsor a child from Mexico, who I pray for every day. This is a wonderful ministry that I hope many others will become involved in.

Shirley

Aaron Tolson said...

Wayne - thanks for sharing some of your journey with us! Transparency can be just as scary as a bumpy plane ride, but without it we just end up playing stupid religios games with each other. May you continue to lean into the Father and may you continue to allow Him to flow through your life. Thank you for being with us at ODBC.

Anonymous said...

Thank you so much for sharing your music and ministry with us at ODBC. I cried twice, which I don't like, but it's part of what God is doing to me: turning my heart of stone into one of flesh. ODBC is a church that helps one to grow...

Blessed78 said...

Wayne, it was a priveledge to have you lead worship at ODBC this past Sunday. Thanks for all you do for such a wonderful ministry. Not only do you reach out internationally, but you certainly touched the lives here in Northern VA as well!
I will continue to "Sing for joy, in the middle of it all!"
Bless you and everyone you come in contact with! Love and Prayers, The Chaves Family

Mel said...

Wayne,
It was truly an honor and pleasure to have you minister to us this past Sunday at ODBC. Your music was uplifting and a true blessing. God has given you a gift and you are using it to His glory. And, it was also a nice to have a fellow Louisianan in our midst. LOL Next time you come to visit, if you have the time, we'd like to have you ride with us. I have a spare bike available for the occasion. Blessings brother...
Oh, BTW...we went home from Chili's and sponsored two children through Compassion Online.

Mel Canon

Anonymous said...

We enjoyed having you at church this past Sunday and your music--thanks for sharing with us. We love Compassion International kids and picked up another one this week-end. Thanks for being who God created you to be.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for visiting ODBC! This church was my lifeline at a time when my life was in a midst of a major storm...and then hearing you at ODBC reminded me of a time so long ago when I first became a Christian and I listend to your music those many years ago. God is good and I am glad to know you are still out there impacting lives and sharing music all at the same time. May God Bless you as you continue the journey. Sylvia

Anonymous said...

Wayne – Thank you so much for coming to ODBC on Sunday and sharing your gift with us. My husband and I were so touched by your music that I found myself wishing I could call my sister in college just so she could listen to you during the service. I did however call her afterwards and she thought that we must be having great weather because I was soooo excited and I told her that I was really inspired by your message.

Thank you for lifting up our spirits.

God Bless,
Gina

Sandy Merriman said...

Wayne, I want to personally thank you for the opportunity to join you for the worship set. The band and I thought it was an awesome experience and I'll always remember your advise "to sing as if it may be your last." Just wanted to let you know how much we appreciate you and your work with Compassion. Keep up the journey! :-)

Blessings!
Sandy

Pastor John said...

Wayne- you made a huge mark over here in Virginia, brother. Lots of people said stuff like, "He's so authentic." "He seems like a really sincere guy." "He sings about grace as if he's personally experienced it!" What an awesome testimony to the glory of God- singing for joy in the middle of it all. We all have our "even this" that we hold before the Lord doubting that it's really covered by grace. You pointed us to truth! Wow! You have a great message, brother. It's refreshingly unreligious and relevant. I'm praying that God will amaze you in the months and years to come by using your songs to bring people out of bondage and into freedom! It was a joy to have you at ODBC. Hope you that we'd love to have you back again some day! Hope all goes well for you in June. Grace and peace~ John Stroud

Garvys said...

Wayne, "Even This" arrived in the mail today and I've been enjoying it all day long-while on a walk and then here at home! Thanks for being willing to allow God to use you even in your struggles. It is clear from the CD that you have gone through some deep waters and that HE is still your hope and-I AM-"What we need when we need it" Thanks for singing like it might be your last time. Blessings to you and your family!!!!

Webpress Media said...

Hey there, Wayne - We met briefly at Houston Baptist University when you were producing your video with the students there.. I was there taking a tour to produce a WebTV show. I believe you took part in the final product with Jason Emanis. It's great to see you so involved with causes and that the gift God gave you is seeping into the hearts of millions. I have a friend that is the worship leader at a big church on the Southeast side of Houston. He is a phenomenal pianist and I would love to see his face if you could send him a note or something. He works so hard, is ALWAYS at church, he does the media, leads worship, helps in the children's ministry and is so overworked we rarely get to see him smile. He did Chris Tomlin's "I Will Rise" - it brought me to tears - and he learned all of Kari Jobe's songs in about 3 days. I gave him a song to compose, but there's little time to do anything but run the ministry. He seems so at peace when he plays. Please let me know if you wouldn't mind sending him a note or a call or something - and it would be great to catch up next time you're in Houston! Thank you for all you do! Joining you in the Kingdom--To equip God's people for works of service, so the body of Christ may be built up! Ephesians 4:12

Anonymous said...

You know what? I dd an unofficial sampling of other christiam artists blogs and decided that yours is the one I wanted to take the time to read.

Life goes by too quickly to get caught up in the mundane trivial details of life. I like how you take the everyday happenings and find the jewels of lessons,and realizations that God shows you and pass them on to make them interesting and important so that others can learn from your findings to make thier lives better or see the light at the end of whatever dark times they are experiencing.
Whatever life lesson God is trying to convey at all the stages of my life, He brings someone to me that has just learned that particular lesson who shares with me (without always knowing that I was going through it) so that I can see a light,or answer,or realization, or His hand waiting to pull me through.Sometimes I get to help lead someone else knowingly or unknowingly as I share what God has done for me.

That's really what a testimony is...not just how you first met Jesus ...but how you grow to love and know Him more each day. I like how you use your heart and words to convey that on-going journey of a Christian. You just get it...what your true mission is all about.
Linda

Jean Rae said...

But isn't it a real pain to fly commercial?? I sure would hate to have to battle that continually! Kudos to you for roughing it in public. Hope to hear you in person some day. You are special. Love, Jean Rae, Supernatural Singer
http://www.eaglerow.net