Music

And thus begins a new chapter in my life.

Posted on February 6, 2009. Filed under: Church, Friends, Money, Music, Theology |

To my friends, family, my old church family at Pinnacle, I am asking for your prayers. Today begins a new and exiting chapter in my life. I will be doing the very thing that I didn’t want to do after I moved to Atlanta. Today, I re-enter the full time work force.  Not at a church or with a band, but with a Marketing firm here in Atlanta, Dynamic Marketing Concepts. Many of you know that I moved to Atlanta five months ago with the hope and desire of playing music full time. Apart from the will of God, there have been a few different things that have inhibited this from happening. First and foremost, I think it’s the economy. As a keyboard player, I am usually the first thing to get cut from a band, and the last thing to get added. Secondly, I haven’t been apart of the church I go to now for very long- 5 months; the time we have been down here. My church is intentional about creating great environments and using the best talent that they have at their disposal. Being that I just haven’t been there a super long time, as other players have, I haven’t received many chancess to play or lead worship yet, but opportunities are always growing. Some of you know also that I have been approached by a church to be their worship pastor. This is something that I am still considering, but God has not brought clarity to the situation yet, therefore, Susan and I haven’t moved yet. We are quite content serving where we are. Don’t forget also, that there was a chance that I could get a call back from Richie McDonald to play with him, but this too didn’t happen.

So you wonder… If I were asked by someone, anyone, “Josh, do you think you failed? Do you think you made a bad move by leaving your comfort zone and everything you knew to move somewhere to take a chance and doing what you love full time?” To that I would say absolutely not. I don’t believe I have failed. A pastor that I respect very greatly, Pastor Steven Furtick,  said this- “It’s better to take a risk and fail, than to never take that jump, and wonder what could have been.” (That’s a Josh Fowler paraphrase.) So, I do not think that I have failed at all. I think that God is not through with me, and in some ways, he may be just beginning. Am I going to be doing the thing that I am MOST passionate about for a little while? No. At least not on a full time basis. Am I going to be learning a lot, and continue to be shaped daily by my creator? Absolutely! My journey in music and ministry isn’t over, and in fact, I’ll still be doing it part time with a few outside engagements a year. Right now, though, I have to focus on paying off debt. Debt is what has inhibited me from being able to do music in a full time capacity. Take note- God’s word isn’t messing around when it says that “The borrower is slave to the lender. You cannot serve both God and money.” It’s true, and nothing reenforces that point more that when you don’t have any work, but the bills still continue to pile up. Sometimes when you do something risky, you have to be able to not make any money sometimes, and be OK with it. Unfortunately in many ways, I squandered that opportunity in my late teens by making poor financial decisions. In retrospect though, it is going to be a good thing. God has already used me to be able to help some people with their finances, and for that I am grateful.

So for me today, it’s suit and tie. Sharp haircut. Clean shave everyday. Polished shoes. Big elevators, glass office buildings, new horizons, and new challenges. It’s stepping out of my comfort zone, to better fulfill the obligation that God has entrusted me with- to provide for my family. To my Pinnacle Family- Thank you guys for supporting me in making one of the scariest moves that I have ever made in my life. Thanks for enjoying my music, and putting up with my A.D.D. And to the staff there- Thank you for believing in me. To my the rest of my friends and family this is not over. I believe that one day, God will give me the opportunity to minister for him with music full time. It’s all about His time, for His purpose, in His will, for His glory, and For his renown. 

Today, I ask for your prayers. That everyday in this job, that God will keep me from temptation. That as a businessman, I will be above reproach. Pray for me that I can set the standard, and that people can look to the guy who calls himself a follower of Christ, and they would see a good example of a hardworking ethical man who sets the standard in the way of drive, excellence, and achievements. I pray that I can be Jesus to people who don’t know him in the work force. 

Thanks again for your prayers, and check back here daily for updates and creative thoughts.

For the Glory of God,

Josh Fowler

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He finally did it!!! (And a few other things)

Posted on February 4, 2009. Filed under: Church, Friends, Money, Music, Worship Leading |

Alright, your friend and mine, Jonathan Blaylock finally started a blog! You can check it out here. He will be sure to have some good thoughts on life, culture, church, and everything else. Jonathan and I have known each other for years, and it’s been a cool journey hanging out with him! 

Also, I added John Acuff to my blog roll. His site is filled with stuff that everyone will enjoy, and, it’s hilarious! You can check his stuff out here

Finally, Kristian Stanfill has released his new EP entitled “Attention.” It is awesome!!! Click on the link to get it in iTunes!

 

Kristian Stanfill "Attention" EP

Kristian Stanfill "Attention" EP

 

 

Well, that’s about all I got for today. Keep praying for me about the car. Still no good news.

Josh

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Charge for ministry?

Posted on January 27, 2009. Filed under: Church, Money, Music, Theology, Worship Leading | Tags: , , |

In your job, what is more important to you? If you are a speaker, would you rather make $30,000 a year getting $500 per event, or $40,000 a year, getting less per gig, but getting more gigs because you are affordable?

Is it inappropriate for people in ministry to charge a price? Or, should we do a “love offering” taking a step in faith that God will provide our needs? 

Is charging for your services a way of charging for the gospel?

 People in Ministry please comment! I would like to see some feedback and discussion on this post. If you know someone who could read this, pass it on…

Josh

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Tomorrow.

Posted on January 24, 2009. Filed under: Church, Money, Music, Self Help, Worship Leading |

What’s up world? Has it been a good Saturday? It’s been cool for us. Pretty laid back, no schedule, you know the drill. I gotta do some minor cleaning stuff around the house tonight, do some laundry, and practice for tomorrow morning. Now I know before I write any of this that I write to a community of people who believe in many different things as far as God and religion are concerned. One of the greatest things about being a Christian is the fact that there is no human needed to talk to God. I talk to him freely, and openly whenever I please, about whatever I please. It could be hardship, situational, for direction, or just to give thanks. But I do it every day. It’s part of who I am.

As part of that daily prayer, I am asking God to give me direction. Susan and I are going to be making some pretty big decisions about our future very soon. Who knows? We may be somewhere else down the road. God only knows. Seriously! If you read this, I am asking that you pray for me that God would give me the wisdom to do what’s right, the courage to do what’s right, even when it’s hard. That’s all we can pray for.

I hope you have a great weekend, and I look forward to re-opening the conversation next week.

Josh

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Interesting thoughts on the future of worship in the church.

Posted on January 9, 2009. Filed under: Church, Music, Theology, Worship Leading | Tags: , , |

This morning, as I was reading the posts from my twitter site, I was reading some of what Scott Wagner had written, (I am a follower of his on twitter, which if you don’t use twitter, you need to check it out here.) Anyways, as I was reading scotts post, (or tweets, I think as some people call them,) I came across his son and my friend, Austin’s blog. Now, I don’t talk to Austin on a regular basis, nor do we have our cell numbers in each other’s phones, but Austin and I have played together a couple of times, and Austin is a young man that I consider beyond his years both in playing and in his walk with God. I read what Austin wrote, and for your convenience, I have posted it below: (Which I just figured out, he got from another site. Still, very profound.)

What is the future of worship?

In general, I believe the future of worship is really getting back to what worship truly is.  We have settled into this 4-5 song “worship” set with an offering song and an invitational song.  Why do we have to be so structured?  Why can’t there be change?

A definition from WordNet 3.0 says: “Love unquestioningly and uncritically or to excess; venerate as an idol.”  Worshipping through music provides a way to express our emotions.  The lyrics speak to how we feel about God.  They are meant to show how much we love him.  We don’t need a big production to worship God.  We don’t need a huge band, orchestra, or choir.  We don’t need all the lighting equipment and sound equipment.  We can worship without all of that.  We can worship with only our voices.  This doesn’t mean that all these things are wrong, they are just not a necessity.  Sound and lighting equipment allow for a larger number of people to worship together, but are not a foundation for worship. 

We get so worked up over all the technical aspects of worship that we miss the whole entire point: this is praise for the God who created us.  This is my biggest struggle with worship today.  Because I play drums/percussion, I want everything to be musically perfect.  I want the technical things to be right.  It’s very hard for me to get past that.  (There is something to be said about preparation and having the talent neccessary to perform and lead others in worship.  You cannot get up on stage to lead others and worship and not know anything about your instrument.)

To go back, why can’t there be change?  Why can’t we add something new to worship?  I remember at places I’ve played that we’ve spent so much time worrying about making everything so perfect that we forget to bring in new music.  We push off new songs because they’re not at a high enough quality.  They’re not perfect.  Does it really have to be perfect?  In most instances, people playing at a church are volunteers, not professional musicians.  And more importantly, it’s not a concert.  You’re not charging people to hear you play music, so in general, they won’t leave if it’s not perfect music.  If they do, well they weren’t there for the right reasons. 

Stop worrying about perfection and just worship.  Be authentic. It’s amazing to see people’s reaction to someone who is truly authentic.  People just worship full on. Some of my best worship experiences have been, if I’m playing, when I feel completely unprepared because I just go in and worship.  I just give it to God and play for him.  I’m not worried if I didn’t play everything perfect.  I worshiped.  If worship leaders just worshiped instead of stressing over details, amazing things could happen.

So when will something change? 

When we will stop putting on a show for the “audience” and worship with our brothers and sisters in Christ?

(Before I say anything, the following thoughts are not all necessarily the thoughts and beliefs or North Point Community Church, or it’s partners, staff or attenders.)
Ok, so here are my thoughts on this. I agree with the premise of this post. I think that we need to realize what true worship is, and understand that when all the fluff his gone, it is about worshiping a holy and sovereign God, and being fully vulnerable to him and what his will is for us. 
But here is something else I am thinking… What does the future of worship look like for non-believers? Now, I know what you’re saying… You’re probably saying “Josh… Are you hearing yourself? Non-believers can’t worship!!” Well, I partly agree with that. I believe that they can’t experience true intimacy with the true living God in their sinful state, but the truth is that we all ascribe worth to something. It could be our job, money, or even some sort of addiction, but we all worship something. Coming full circle back to the question, what DOES the future of worship look like for non-believers. Allow me to give my thoughts. 
I go to a church that is very heavy on professionalism, production, and the fluff, if you want to call it that. It’s not that we put emphasis on it, but we do use it as a tool to create irresistible environments where people can bring their unchurched friends. We’re not seeker sensitive, seeker driven, seeker aware, or seeker anything for that matter. We kinda can’t stand that wor, seeker, because if you think about it, none of us really seek God in our sinful state, he seeks us. Dead people don’t try and figure out how to come back to life. So, anyways, our environments are designed to allow everyone to have a unforgettable experience on Sunday mornings. For believers, that could be great worship. For the “non-churched,” that could be good music. Either way, it reaches both. The believers walk away saying that that really experienced the presence of God. Non-believers walk away often saying that they liked the service and want to come back, some even saying that they can’t explain why. (I would say that’s the work of the holy spirit.)
We put this high emphasis on excellence because we feel that God is honored when put our best foot forward. When we are prepared, the spirit of God works. Does he need our help? Absolutely not. But funny enough, the holy spirit often shows up when we have done our homework, and the left hand knows what the right hand is doing. 
With all of that being said, what could we do differently? Is it bad to approach worship from an all-inclusive standpoint? Is it wrong that while good music can be used to connect to God for some people, while for others it’s just good music, and a sweet environment? And while we’re on it, does the future of worship only include music? Is it possible to have another form of self expression that we can use to connect with God that could unite hundreds, thousands, or even millions to a new level of worship?
Comment.

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