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..to disturb and disrupt to see Christ’s face fresh again...

Holding Worship

Easter1
Easter.
So much going on. So much to do.
I was leading worship today yet couldn’t take the executive producer hat off so I was thinking about tons. Cut this song? Redo lights there? Pull the painting? Have Jeff do the invitation? Blah Blah Blah Blah.
I was exhausted. We picked a fairly high energy worship set and did 5 fairly taxing songs.
So I walked in this evening. I was tanked. We rehearsed and ate and I was honestly kind of waiting for the night to get going so we could lead and go home.
Then it hit me like it does every week that these people at the 6 pm service are coming to church for the first time today. Gut check. Time to sing.
Walked out. Salvation Is Here…LALALALALA.
I’m in verse 2 and I look to my left and am hit like a blind side pick and roll.
Swaying on the front row was a guy I later learned was named Matt.
Standing in front of him was another guy named Jefferson.
It was a moment that stands out above all else in my 11 years of leading worship.
You see Matt and Jefferson were worshipping God, together.
Literally.
Jefferson has severe cerebral palsy. He has little, if any control over his body.
Matt was standing behind Jefferson.
Holding Jefferson.
20 minutes.
Dancing with Jefferson and singing at the top of his lungs.
Jefferson was singing too. I think could hear him.
And it was the most beautiful song I have ever heard.
Easter2

There are hundreds of thoughts, emotions, and lessons that could go along with Matt and Jefferson.
To watch them sing out and dance was a thing of beauty. Obedience. Unbridled Joy.
Thank you Matt and Jefferson for a shifting moment in my life.
What can we all learn from this picture of Authenticity?

Do Tell.
Los
Heather has a perspective from the other side.
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  • Loran

    dude…you’re killing me! Great day here in the Northwest. Closed the service with the Carrie Underwood song “so small”. The band did awesome. Today is why we exist. Thanks for the perspective los.

  • natalie

    what an awesome example of what it really is all about.

  • beautiful… Jesus hands and feet

  • You blow me away sometimes – love the picture and the lead in – you set us up well to deliver the ultimate punchline – THIS this is worship. Bless you ‘los and if you get the chance – please tell both these beautiful young men of God – they improved a beautiful Sunday for at least one believer in Texas!

  • I’m humbled.

  • Two things:

    We have a lady at our church in a wheelchair, looks a lot like Jefferson. She sits next to her mother each Sunday. There’s very little she can do physically, but she does understand all that’s going on around her. And there’s one thing she can do very well, and that’s worship. I love her. She always makes a sound at the end of particularly moving parts of the service. It would sound kind of loud and obnoxious to those who didn’t know her, but to the rest of us, she’s leading us all in worship.

    Also, sitting right next to me in church, is my 13 year old daughter. She has Down Syndrome. She doesn’t talk, she’s in diapers, but she LOVES music. She claps and enjoys and worships to the best of her understanding. God gave her to me to help me slow down and enjoy His many blessings.

    Your post really touched my heart. May we all take lessons from Matt and Jefferson in the beauty of worship.

  • True worship sacrifice! Amazing! Thanks for hitting us over the head again.

    Personally, the best part for me was to see you up there leading us to the throne! Awesome! I was thinking to ask you when we’d see you up there. I guest now the question is: When we’ll see up there… again?

  • MichelleVeach

    We have a community of adults that are just like these two – and they are one of the fastest growing life group in our church…today, during our invitation, one woman who has been attending for several months now came forward, and ALL of her group members encircled her as the pastor prayed with her and guided her to Christ…what a fitting way to end a Resurrection service.

  • Great post…thanks for the reminder of why we do what we do!

    Jim

  • Natalie T

    Amazing service tonight! You did great leading us all in song!

  • Wow. That is beautiful.

  • tam

    speechless…

  • Amazing… Grace… Compassion… Authenticity…

    Connor is right “Jesus hands and feet”

  • Unreal man. Completely amazing.

  • absolutely beautiful.

  • SO I found you through a friends site. Must say I’ve read for a bit but today I thought I’d comment…

    The freedom in resurrection. Man some people get it…actually some KNOW it!!!
    Amazing post. Thanks.

  • Dan

    Wow… Amazing post!

  • Tammy

    As the mother of a son with Cerebral Pasly, you floor me today. Bless you Carlos for the “work” that you do and the people you touch.

    That was truly beautiful. I am blessed.

  • i think the entire Church can learn true authenticity from this picture. day in and day out i see people walking through the motions of church and never stopping long enough to pick someone up. these men are true leaders. they teach us more from just this one act of obedience than most church leaders ever could.

  • Los. In the 11am I enjoyed watching a guy in the balcony- who I think is a middle school student with autism- worship with his family this morning. I was just to the left of front-of-house near the camera, and I looked up once and saw this kid. From then on…my eyes kept being drawn to watch him worship. He was clapping when he wanted and how he wanted and singing (I’m sure) at the top of his lungs and with possibly non-audible words. It was incredible to see and definitely several tearful moments were had. …and to think sometimes I lipsync, so that people around me don’t hear my not-so-beautiful singing voice…. it’s all a “JOYFUL NOISE” to Jesus, even if our earthly ear think differently.

  • Rodge

    … tears i my eyes …

  • This is the best thing i’ve ever seen. this is the best thing I’ve ever seen. this is the best…

    this is proof that the world is still a good place. this makes me want to wake my wife up so i can show her this. this is the best thing i’ve ever seen.

  • Thanks for sharing.

  • That is such an awesome story.

    Sometimes God sends people like that along for us to wake us up and re-examine what we’re doing and why we’re doing it.

    Brad Ruggles
    http://www.bradruggles.com

  • Wow. Too many thoughts in my head to even type up.

  • Wow, awesome man!
    You know, I can’t help but think “here is a beautiful type of the Risen Christ on Easter” … you’ve got a soul who is pretty helpless, weak, and incapable … yet, there is One who comes in His Strength and lifts him up, holds him up, and enables Him to do what we could never do on our own … connect with a holy God.

    oh man!
    Fred

  • Wow! That is precious! THAT is what it’s all about! Sacrifice – Worship – Praise – Hope! Thanks for posting this!

  • yo – I love the Matt and Jeffersons out there. one of the most impactful things I have ever witnessed is listening to Christopher Coleman give his testimony – I have heard it 4 times and it has never lost the power that its punch packs. He’s here in GA – you should definitely seek him out or get him to come speak somewhere that you are at because it will change you:

    http://www.christophercoleman.net/testimony.html

    You will not regret it.

  • Los

    Yes. And so the question is almost.
    Was he real?
    Was he an angel?
    Was Jefferson Jesus in disguise?
    Showing us His love for the sick and poor and down trodden?
    Although I talked with Jefferson and Matt for quite a while after church, I will always wonder.

  • Los,
    FYI- just posted my thoughts and (ht) here:
    http://www.fredmckinnon.com/myblog/2008/03/24/from-ragamuffinsoul-type-ical/

    Thanks again,
    Fred

  • Sometimes I read an important story. Occasionally a story goes straight to my heart. Two for one here. Thanks for reaching out; praise God.

  • Not much to add here. The Spirit will teach from this and obviously he already has.

    I just want to praise God for Matt and Jefferson.

  • i was impressed by the 1st pic on this post.
    the 2nd one arrested me.
    wow!
    Jesus … He is enough.
    Los, hit us with a quick peek into your worship set, will ya?

  • FERMIN-DAD

    WOW! To God Be The Glory…love, DAD

  • Los, this made me cry big manly tears! One of the most moving images I’ve seen in several months!

  • We have so much to learn from this…instead of skirting around the issues or avoiding the people who have problems that make us uncomfortable, we really are called to be His hands and His feet. It is a picture of what the Kingdom really is. And sometimes it’s a hard lesson to learn…but there is always, always, always grace that meets us there.

    Thank you, Los.

  • Amazing. I think many Christians have forgotten the joy of their salvation. I have many times. God, help me remember the JOY of salvation!

  • Oh wow…

  • Amy

    I was not expecting that… Amazing! True worship… that’s what I would expect it to look like. Yesterday morning during our services my 3 yr old daughter was dancing wildly and “singing” loudly and I caught myself just before I told her to “drop it a notch”. What was I thinking?? I’ve got a lot to learn… thank you for sharing this.

  • Los – love the perspective. We have a daughter with significant physical and cognitive challenges. I learn how to worship from her.

    A couple of years ago it really hit me – just how “free” she really is…

    http://jeffatwood.typepad.com/atwoodzoo/2006/01/true_freedom.html

    Thanks.

  • wow. so real.

  • Wow. I’m speechless.

  • dammit, Los….just when I think “I’m just going to read and get to work”. You get me all thinking about how every day, we need to “gut check” and do our “daily” lives in complete worship. Now I cannot justify slacking off.

    We closed with a 100 yard dash song…”Happy Day”…..I’m whipped today……

  • Dude, incredible. It’s amazing how Jesus makes himself known.

    I have one question that hopefully you can answer. Why do the Northpoint campuses not make their worship available online like 7|22 does????

  • ya know what that picture is? a window into the Kingdom…

    isn’t is scary sometimes how insidious the “creep” can be that turns our gaze inward and away from where it should be?

    thanks, los!

  • Abs

    This is why I read your blog – you make me laugh AND cry on a daily basis.

    The Love is Christ goes beyond our ability to comprehend – but it seems like this guy has at least caught a glimpse of what it means to be like Christ. This is what the church should be like – carrying the burdens of the weak and manifesting His love to all…

    Thank you for this –

  • Incredible. I could have sworn I’ve seen these guys before and thought the same thing. I detest that we’re raised to look with a judgemental eye before we know the whole truth. I’m sure there were a lot of folks that got a gut-check that morning…

  • Just a beautiful picture of the body of Christ. Thank you for this.

  • mama-barkume

    Carlos, thank you. such beauty,such complete love is a wonderful thing to see……..And people say it’s hard to see and feel God in their daily lives======GO FIGURE==love MAMA

  • Thank you for that post. What a powerful moment, I am sure.

  • thank you for sharing this. what an amazing picture of god’s love. oh, how he loves us. wow.

  • Sarah

    After an amazing day of worship yesterday….that picture made me want to fall to my knees and thank God all over again. Thanks for sharing!

    Oh, and I am sing the How He Loves Us song next month at our church….thank you for sharing it with us on your blog!

    Sarah

  • Danny Stephens

    If you can read that without tearing up, you need to be slapped. God is good to give us moments like these. Beautiful story, dude. I love it. Jefferson will dance with new legs before the throne one day.

  • The best picture of Jesus I have seen in a long time. I sat in my seat with one word… WOW.

  • its the story of the guys lowering their friend through the roof to be healed by jesus.

    those are the friends you want.

    this guy is a true friend; he is holding up someone in worship, literally.

    “carry each others burdens, for in doing so, you will fulfill the law of christ.” – galatians 6:2

  • Beautiful image of worship.

    Amidst all the lights, speakers, screens, and productions we all work so hard to achieve – this is the anti-worship experience we all long to see…

    … love.

    There is simply nothing more soul-stirring.

  • Thank you.

    This is truly amazing.

    wow

  • Wow. My response to that picture was loud. I can’t wait for my friends in East Asia to see this. They work long day after day with kids like Jefferson. In a country where there are no opportunities, no special classes, no notice of them, behind walls where no one sees, children are held up like this. It takes willing believers to hold them, love them, teach them to brush their own teeth, put on their own pants, communicate their own thoughts. And they do it. Day after day they are the arms of Jesus. Seeing this will thrill their souls!

    In two months, delegates from East Asia will be visiting a few places in our fair city to observe how Americans with disabilities do life. We will show them families, schools, businesses where people with disabilities thrive. But nothing could be so beautiful as Jefferson and Matt. I wish they could see this love in action!

  • Leveled…floored…shifted.
    Yeah the 1st pic totally grabbed my attention and I thought I knew what the word “awe” might actually mean until I kept reading and saw the 2nd. Now I know 🙂

  • gbrad@mag

    umm . . . whoa . . . God makes it so simple . . .beautiful

  • Bill G

    Awesome story!

    I have goose bumps

  • Thanks so much – who took the picture? I imagine it wasnt you since you were on stage but kudos to the photgrapher too for capturing such a beautiful moment. I would love to print the picture and read the verse that says “to lay down your life for your friends” right now its driving me crazy that I cant remember where it is but Im sure someone here in the ragamuffin “fam” we all are can remind me. It would be a good idea to frame to pic with the verse and give to them as a gift…
    We love you Los! thanks so much for challenging us with this today!!

  • I am in awe! This picture reminds me to give God worship, no matter the circumstance. It really makes me evaluate my heart. Thanks for the post!

  • This made my day.

  • I am bawling here!!

    It’s amazing how God brings everything back in perspective, it’s about Him and he shows up ALWAYS in the most unexpected ways.

    Blessing to be a blessing, all the way around.

    Thank you and Heather for sharing this wonderful story.

  • JVo

    I suck. This is beautiful.

  • Mox

    This is the other reason we lead worship. Or…..get lead.

  • I wont be the same after that.

    I’m glad i got to share that moment with you and the team.

    I love that it happened when it did…when we were at our most tired point…maybe tempted to phone it in…when God shows us His love…in a way i would not have ever imagined…
    only God knows how to do that and pierce our hearts and remind us of things in the middle of the moments we have planned…show us what He is up to all the while….stuff like that.

    again i say…what’s our excuse…if we are ever complacent in our worship!

    Thanks for yesterday man…and leading me as we were leading!

    CASE

  • Christie

    Praise the Lord! I am a teacher and at our school we have a class of students with severe disabilities. I visit them often and think that the love in their hearts is so pure and unaffected by this world. In them, I see the hand of God. He did not create disabilities, only people with different abilities. This young man’s has the ability to show us all how to worship God! Praise Him!

  • …and to think that people complain about standing too long during worship sometimes.

  • Sam

    I don’t believe in a god, but I believe in the power of the human spirit, whatever that may be, to transcend the purely logical. Matt and Jefferson clearly have done that and it is to your credit that you found them and revealed them to the world at large. While I myself no longer believe, I’m not embarrassed to say that their story brought me joy.

  • bigdaddyjer

    Beautiful.

  • Hollie

    We also have a daughter with mild cerebral palsy…very moving and emotional post for me!

  • Wow from me too. Just awesome.

  • simply beautiful.

  • Thanks for sharing this wonderful Easter moment.
    God’s children, ALL of us.

  • Shawn

    As the twin brother of a guy who has CP, thank you.

  • Isn’t it so amazing that God finds such great ways to share himself with us? Even when we’re not looking…

  • My son has special needs also, angelman’s syndrome, sometimes confused for CP. I pray that one day my “Jefferson” will have a “Matt” also. Very touching…thank you for sharing it. I love that so many people here are touched by this, it is a special depiction of the love of God. I love it! I love all the “Matt”‘s out there who give of themselves in this way…

  • I cried and cried some more…

  • wow. no words, just amazed a God’s wonder and the hearts of these two guys that shows through this pic. Thanks.

  • One of your best posts, Los. Even Andrew Sullivan has noticed this one.

  • Allison Massie

    This reminds me of what church was always meant to be, and I’m grateful for the reminder that even in our modern day “mega church” environment there are still moments that can arrest a heart and lead us back to the Father that holds us each in such a tender love as that man displayed.

  • beautiful story. I believe those are moments when God just looks and smiles, that is what it is about, true worship that touches the heart of God.incredible.
    thanks for sharing, Los. love your blog.
    -leah

  • Ollie

    it reminds me of the book mark where Jesus is holding the man up with the hammer in his hands…..you know the one i’m talking about?…anyway it makes me think we are the hands, flesh, bone, of Jesus to this world today. holding each other up even when it inconviances us because someday someone might have to hold me up!

  • simply emotive.

    thanks to divide this moment with us.

  • What an amazing image of a father’s love. Thank you for sharing this.

  • Karen Erickson

    This is the most beautiful picture of God’s love I have ever seen. God NEVER ceases to AMAZE me. He knows exactly how to put my life into perspective, and put me in my place. No wonder I love Him so much. Thanks Carlos for sharing this amazing picture that you could have kept to yourself. Love, K

  • DONE! Big Los Brazilian style… click on my name to check it out.

    This is what the intro to your post says: “This post isn’t mine… it’s the translation of a very special post from the blog of Big Los (Carlos Whittaker, pastor of Buckhead Church). To me, this is the perfect translation of Ephesians 4:2 ‘with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love.’ and Romans 15:1… ‘We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves’.
    Check it out:”

  • hey bro. i was there on sunday night. didn’t notice jefferson of matt, but really got a kick out of “how he loves.” i’d never heard it before. nice choice. what an awesome song. i linked back to your sitehere.

  • jaesma

    I have a son that is disabled. My family quit going to church because one, it’s just so difficult getting around with him, and two, we are just tired of the stares. Thank you Matt for looking past Jefferson’s CP and just helping him feel, I’m sure, more then welcome.

  • what an amazing testimony of God’s communion with all of us! what a picture of worship.

  • we can plan the service all we want, only God could plan something like that.

  • mike gleason

    los – thanks for sharing this….. God has a way of dropping stuff like this on us and injecting our souls right when we need it, even if we don’t perceive the need. Humbling, encouraging, empowering.

  • absolutely beautiful.
    i experience worship services at our church from the tech booth and every once in awhile i know the Spirit is telling me to take my eyes off the details on the stage and to look at His people in the room. every week this happens i notice some of the same people…the woman in the wheelchair who praises with a hand raised by her elderly friend next to her; the young single dad whose wife just left him alone with three small boys to raise; the woman in her late fifties who was widowed a few months ago; the 83-year-old woman who was our church organist back in the day and who now joins in worship with our rock worship (and even calls to request a favorite song once in awhile) and on an on and on.
    it’s a beautiful thing coming together bonded in our brokenness to the throne of God each week.
    thanks for the reminder.

  • I have nothing really to say, other than as soon as I hit the final photo, I couldn’t see the screen what with all the tear in my eyes.

    Awesome.

  • I was completely brought to tears reading this and seeing the picture. Amazing love. I’m totally speechless.

  • that was one of the most beautiful moments in my life…

  • VICTORIA

    http://www.TerrisDay.org CHURCH LEADERS, FAMILY AND FRIENDS OF THOSE DIABLED………..www.TerrisDay.org MARCH 31 ANNUALY

  • Sue

    I read Heathers blog first, and burst into tears….amazing…I am being reminded that there is still honor, dignity and true love in the world…God is good about reminders…Thank Him!

  • Beth S.

    As a friend of Matt’s, what I saw as I looked at the 2nd photo was “Matt being Matt”–a really great guy. I smiled because it’s a touching photo, but it wasn’t until I read the additional comments that I realized how special it is and how uniquely special Matt is. I am teary-eyed.
    Thank you.

  • Heidi F

    As another friend of Matt’s, I’ll echo Beth’s sentiments – that’s Matt being Matt.

    Reading all the comments just reminds me how blessed we have been to have Matt in our lives.

    Thank you for sharing with the world how wonderful he is

  • this picture reminds me of how far from God I can be sometimes in a “worship service”. So focused on my own needs, my own stupid desires… not thinking of others… wanting to be served rather than serve…

    Thank God for His grace and for people like this who go the extra mile when I drop the ball… thanks that I’ll get more chances to extend grace like this…

  • Blair Andress

    Los, my brother is a youth minister in Montgomery, and I attend a church about a half hour away in Prattville. Tonight, he will speak to his youth group, and I have been asked to speak to the one at our church.

    Both groups tonight, well over 200 students, will learn about Matt and Jefferson. Thank you for sharing.

  • you should re-post this every few months… unbelievable. i linked to it back in March and it popped up on my dashboard today.

  • I image this might be diverse upon the written content material? in spite of this I still consider that it is usually suitable for nearly any type of topic material, as a result of it would regularly be gratifying to determine a warm and delightful face or possibly listen a voice when preliminary landing.

  • that was one of the most beautiful moments in life…