Used.

Have you ever been used?
You know. Like you had someone build some sort of relationship with you only because they saw something past you they wanted to get to?
Here today and gone tomorrow?
I see it all the time.
In the Christian Music Business.
In organized religion.
In the lunch line at Chipotle.

What’s sad is that the butt smoocher thinks nobody can see their lips puckered wider than the Grand Canyon.
But everybody sees.
You know that feeling?
When the person you are speaking to is looking PAST you?

I had a realization today.
I think this happens in churches all over the world on a weekly basis.
I think worship leaders use congregations to get own their emotions to a place where they feel successful.
It is a rare occasion. I totally understand that.
But I think this is dangerous.
I’ll do it.
I sometimes beg a crowd to lift their hands in unity in order for my eyes to see something that tells my heart I DID IT!!!
And in the end it is feeding only me.
And in the end you look like a desperate butt kisser.

Let’s not use the people this weekend.
Not that you mean to.
It’s just painfully obvious when you do.
Los

loswhit

Author loswhit

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  • I have to admit, I love that line… And in the end you look like a desperate butt kisser that says it all right there.

    Are you, we, us, there to worship our Savior or feed ourselves upon others… great post.

  • Good thoughts Los.
    On Father’s day I was floored to see Dad’s that never interact in worship clapping along to the songs. It made my day to see people shifting and doing new things. It made my day because I love seeing Jesus change lives and here was a small visible example of life change.

    Maybe it also may my day becuase I love the “look” of a whole room lifting up hands.

    busted.

  • FERMIN-DAD

    Good and real observation. Happens in many different situations. Thanks for the reminder.

  • good observation and introspection.
    i just got checked.
    good reminder.
    thanks.

  • We can fool ourselves but not Christ….

  • Great post, man! Now, where is the line between using and blessing? For example: Is the artist/band/church using the people in the worship service to sell cds in the ‘church store’? Anyway, excellent reflection, BigLos.

  • Carlos- your authenticity inspires me to do the same. Thanks for this blog and your influence my friend.

    Cheers.

  • Authenticity is difficult to maintain in all types of relationships…guess that’s where the whole sinful/selfish nature thing comes into play.

    I heard a really interesting session sometime relating to what you shared and how Lucifer didn’t let the worship/glory “flow through him to God” but rather how we wanted it for his own sense of accomplishment or self-worth.

    Stellar post by the way.

  • Thank you for this, Los. Lately, I have been playing a lot with our worship team (I play keys/synth) and a lot of times I hear our worship leader, other band members, people from the congregation say things like, “Wow. You did so well!” or “That was beautiful.” For a little bit this past Sunday, I had to stand up there and work it out (internally) that it’s NOT about me. My tight-knit group of friends here has a saying…a mantra, if you will: “Just Jesus. Nothing else.”

    I need to remind myself that I’m not trying to be something to them. I’m not trying to be anything, actually. Just an instrument and a willing heart to help others get to the place where they meet with God. And whether or not they connect, it’s between them and God. Not me and them. Ever.

    So yes…I greatly appreciate this insight. Thank you for your honesty, Los.

  • Los

    My Responses {seesmic_video:{“url_thumbnail”:{“value”:”http://t.seesmic.com/thumbnail/ml1HDqvg4D_th1.jpg”}”title”:{“value”:”My Responses “}”videoUri”:{“value”:”http://www.seesmic.com/video/G7eJV3i9Br”}}}

  • Lita aka Grandma

    Just this week end, someone took ownership of something “I had pointed out” and said she had said it. It make me wonder how much truth is in all of her stories. She loves telling stories about her life and I likED lisening to her tell them. It’s sad, so sad. ๐Ÿ™

  • ouch. tough thoughts los. thanks though.

  • Gary

    It’s my experience that in worship and all of life, the outward expression means jack squat if the there’s nothing going on in the inside. Genuine worship takes place in the spirit between a person and God. He’s not looking at my hands and whether I’m clapping to the beat, He’s looking directly into my Heart into the core of who I am, where true worship should come from. Thats what matters to Him, and ultimately what matters to me.

  • Terry B

    โ€œJust Jesus. Nothing else.โ€

    Love it. Thanks for sharing that, Rachel!

  • rIC

    I once left my bookbag at the MARTA in hopes of meeting someone. Sorry bookbag. (sniffle)

  • I think that is post that all worship leaders should read every week. If we are gut honest like you have lead in we would all say that we lead with such mixed motives every time we step on stage. I guess the only response is absolute surrender every time we hit the stage…i guess since we are sinners we still can move a set into a selfish cacophony of religious $%#@! Thanks for the reminder!

  • oooh…

  • Thanks for this. Just…yeah. NEVER want to be that kind of a person. I find that I have to watch myself from the opposite side as well. As in trying not to be cynical about people wanting to get to know me or be friends. I fear being used and so question, “Does this person really want to know ME?”

    Thank the Lord HE is not like that, you know? Because, really, don’t we all have our moments where we’re not looking at Him but at what we want Him to give/get for us?

  • Hey Los,

    I think this is a very important and deep question to ask yourself about your Christian life (ministry) everyday! Who am I really in this for???

    On the flip side: the worship leader, band member, pastor, can be used (in the same consumeristic way) to get that “high”. Sometimes what we’re getting is not God at all, but a fleeting, yet instantly gratifying feelgood substitute of the Real Thing.

    What you said in this post is why I have a HUGE problem with stages and seating rows and the whole sound/lights/screens phenomena happening in church today. If worship truly is about Jesus Christ alone, then why are we hyping ourselves up so much on Sundays? Who’s the show we spend so much money, hours, and time on really for? The people, us, God…? Honestly…? If Jesus were to show up, would he be impressed with our performance?

    Maybe I’m being to cynical, I don’t know… I recognize my own hypocrisies in this – being a video producer/graphic artist in a major Christian denomination, but I have so many questions that nobody in church leadership seems to have any good answers for.

    I was in the ministry for about 14 years in various roles; and now that I’m just a regular Christ follower – looking back on it, I realize so much of that “ministry” was about me and other people. Whether or not people liked me… What my position/role was in the church… How good my performance stacked up to others every weekend… How good a leader I was… Was I “holy” enough… Are people getting anything out of this… How can we reach the lost… How can I raise more money… When can I spend more time with my family…?

    Not bad questions, I guess, but the focus was hardly on Jesus Christ.

  • What it must be like to be a rock star. Just teasing.

    I have this “friend” who only calls when she wants something or if one of her kids is having a birthday party (which means she wants gifts). She’s so plastic. I have tried to break up with her, but she’ll call about every few months. She called last week. I think she’s prepping me for her daughter’s birthday which is in two months. After the birthday, I won’t hear from her until Christmas. Grrrr!

  • “God accepts our zeal for Him in public when it is matched or surpassed by our zeal for Him in private.”
    -Beth Moore

  • WOW! I can remember when I used to cry after services where it seemed that the congregation didn’t really respond to “me” as I led worship. One day in prayer God reminded me it was my job to lead them to HIM, and He would do the rest. If they rejected anyone, it was him and not me. I was just a vessel.

    Great post!

  • Gotta be in the morning. If I tell myself “I’ll do it tonight,” that means I am not working out today. I have a motto: Always Tuesday, usually Thursday, sometimes Wednesday.

  • I go whenever I have the time. Sometimes it’s in the morning, sometimes it’s at night. Sometimes it’s even during a lunch break. Gotta fit it in someplace…

  • kim

    I wonder if the priests and levites (back in the day) wrestled with this question of motivation? My initial guess would be no, because they would have been so tangibly aware (and possibly afraid) of the presence of God in the place where they served. Is that what we’re missing… the ‘fear’ of God (in a healthy way)?

  • when i was training for the last two big races i trained all in the morning but to be honest i have not been running as much lately so i’ve got nothing for you but it is cooler in the morning too

  • Good call Los. I think it all gets back to having our own hearts right beforehand.

  • David Phillips

    I like to run two-four hours before I go to bed. That way I get to shower, wrap up loose ends before bed, and feel REALLY good when I lay down…and I usually sleep AMAZINGLY at that point because the adrenaline and all that jazz have tapered off.

  • Hi, my name is Jenny.

    I am new to this blogging world. I just found your blog. Awesome!

  • rebecca

    Making me think, here. Okay, but can’t it be turned around with the realization that EVEN with all of our imperfect motives, and our imperfect feelings, and our imperfect execution, God still uses it all to His glory.

    That He can turn all of our crappy ego-filled moments and turn them into gold to achieve His purpose. He works through us and in spite of us.

    His power made perfect in our weakness. After all these years of second-guessing myself and my motives, that thought is what keeps me going.