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BTW-Mooring

BEHIND THE WORSHIP - Leeland Mooring

Leeland Mooring: Worship in a Lincoln Town Car

Leeland Mooring, frontman for the band Leeland, is only 22, but he’s already preparing for the day when he no longer performs before big crowds and receives the attention that follows. Maybe that’s because his second home was once his family’s Lincoln Town Car. His parents had a band,  Majestic Praise, and traveled with two evangelists, conducting revivals around the country. 

“We did that for 2-1/2 years. I was 11, my brother was 13, and my sister was 9,” Mooring says. “We weren’t sure whether we’d be able to pay the bills, and it was then as kids that we began to see the sufficiency of God, the power of God.”

Mooring’s parents eventually started a church in Baytown, Texas, with Leeland as the unofficial youth-group worship leader. These days his band has the ability to make a leap into mainstream pop music, but Mooring says of the group: “Ultimately (praise and worship) is what comes out of us.” And as for all the attention? He could live without it. “If all this was taken away, I could go back to Baytown and continue to pursue God’s purpose in my life.” read more

BTW-Doerksen

BEHIND THE WORSHIP - Brian Doerksen

Brian Doerksen: Close-Up

 

Moment you knew you were called to be a worship leader: I was a teenager and my dad took a group of us to a Petra concert. Toward the end of their set, they did some songs that were ... more about drawing us into the presence of God. I was touched by God and wanted more!

Hardest thing about music ministry: Doing your best in a way that’s deep, transparent and vulnerable—and it being dismissed. 

Best part about your life: Getting a hug from my 11-year-old son, Isaiah [who has Fragile X Syndrome and doesn’t speak]. He knows life is about giving and receiving love!

Why it’s better to live in Canada: Our politics are more peaceful, and we are a bridge culture between Europe and the U.S., so we get the best of both!

Worship is ... Surrender. Sometimes we forget that’s what the word means ... and don’t realize the most profound expression of worship may be the times when we are willing not to play or sing. read more

BTW-Quilala

BEHIND THE WORSHIP - Chris Quilala

Chris Quilala: The Night That Changed Me

As a teenager, Chris Quilala asked God for one thing while attending church camp: freedom in worship. “That night, during the worship service, I lifted my hands for the first time. At that moment I felt His presence so strong,” Quilala says. “It was such an intense experience in which I felt the love, peace and fear of God all at the same time. From that moment on I knew that God was such a huge, loving and real God.”

Today, as a worship leader with Jesus Culture, Quilala helps people experience the same freedom. “My prayer over the past few years had simply been, ‘God, more than anything, I just want to know You.’ For me, worship is [an] intimate opportunity to express the love and burning passion that’s in my heart.” read more

BTW-Jones

BEHIND THE WORSHIP - Leonard Jones

Leonard Jones: The Cloud That Changed My Life

Leonard Jones, a worship leader for MorningStar Ministries, will never forget what happened on the final day of a worship conference in 1996. After nine hours of nonstop worship, he started playing a version of the song “I Want to Hold Your Hand” by the Beatles. 

“The praise grew to a supernatural level because we were all physically worn out,” recalls Jones, who became a Christian in 1970 during the Jesus People movement. “All at once, a glory cloud appeared in the middle of the stage and stayed for like two minutes, and then rose up all at once and disappeared. It greatly impacted my life . The result was four CDs that changed the direction of worship in the church.”

Jones continues to play marathon praise sessions, including events where people worship for 50 straight hours. “I’ll be doing a lot more of those this year,” he says. read more

BTW-Edwards

BEHIND THE WORSHIP - Misty Edwards

Misty Edwards: Writing With the Holy Spirit

As a leader at the International House of Prayer, Misty Edwards is charged with staffing and encouraging those involved with the 24-7 prayer room. “Keeping it going ... is a lot of work,” she says. “It’s the primary place I pour out my energy.”

But despite the demands, Edwards  is  able to write songs and lead worship because of the Holy Spirit, whom she calls “my closest friend.” 

“Worship-leading and songwriting with Him is exhilarating,” she says. “When we pray and sing the Scripture, He actually teaches us—often through our own lips.” read more

BTW-Baloche

BEHIND THE WORSHIP - Paul Baloche

Paul Baloche on ‘Open the Eyes of My Heart’

From Africa to Azerbaijan, that song has somehow gotten into people’s hearts and languages. Just that simple prayer: “Open the eyes of my heart.” 

It was one of those phrases that a pastor friend of mine would pray before he would preach, and ... I would take that phrase and just sing it over and over again. I thought, “Man, this is something we need to sing [as a congregation]. We should get another section to this.” 

I looked in the Word and saw, “high and lifted up.” [The other phrase] is from Ephesians chapter 1. And then the song just came together naturally.

People ask me, “Do you ever get tired of singing it?’ And honestly I don’t. It’s like, “Do you ever get tired of praying the Lord’s Prayer?” Repetition isn’t a bad thing.

Songwriting has actually been a helpful exercise for my spiritual life because I’m able to prayerfully construct a musical prayer that others can join in with me. You take a profound truth that you hear on a Sunday morning and you just explore that [in a song]. The Bible says, “Pray without ceasing,” and to me, songwriting has always been a way to carry that out. read more

BTW-Maher

BEHIND THE WORSHIP - Matt Maher

Matt Maher on ‘Christ Has Risen’

“Christ Has Risen” was inspired by a third-century sermon by John Chrysostom. The concept is very simple: God used death to destroy death. He didn’t even have to lift a finger. He literally tricked death into destroying itself; Jesus used the process of death to completely eradicate it. So now it just becomes a process of transformation, and death is a window or a doorway. 

It became this chorus: “Christ has risen from the dead, trampling over death by death.” I wrote it and then Mia Fieldes from Hillsong helped finish it. 

I love to read works by theologians. Saint Augustine, John Chrysostom, Henri Nouwen and C.S. Lewis are some of my favorites. At the time I wrote this song, it was my goal that the record would have a theme, that it would be a record someone could listen to from start to finish and have been taken on a journey—the journey of transformation because of what Christ has done for us. 

The reality is that the conception, birth, life, death and resurrection of Christ is a journey that, if we allow it, takes place in our hearts every year, every day and, if we let it, every moment. read more

BTW-Wilbur

BEHIND THE WORSHIP -Paul Wilbur

Paul Wilbur: Persistent Messianic Worship

It’s difficult to stop Paul Wilbur once he puts his mind to something. When he became a Christian—a shocking conversion given his Jewish background and family’s lack of interest in religion—his brother stopped talking to him. 

Wilbur’s response after years of trying to re-establish their relationship? He bought the house next door.

Today the two ride motorcycles together.  read more

BTW-Auge

BEHIND THE WORSHIP - Joel Augé

Joel Augé: When Facebook, Family & Worship Merge

Joel Augé is a busy guy. His website features tweets about innovation and hockey, book recommendations, photographs of his daughter and—seemingly as an afterthought—a small picture of a CD, suggesting he makes music. Yet Augé, CEO of a Canadian gaming company called HitGrab (the developer of MouseHunt, one of Facebook’s most popular games), doesn’t find his roles as worship leader, family man and “company vision guy” as all that different. 

“Worship is an act of responding to what God has already done for us. It’s no different at work. I feel I’m constantly responding to how God is moving our business forward,” Augé says. “My act of worship at work is being a good steward of this opportunity.” 

Raised Catholic, Augé once thought of becoming a priest, but that was before puberty and girls. After some wild times, which included dropping out of high school and moving (alone) to Newfoundland, Canada, Augé had a born-again experience and started writing Christian songs. Today he takes something Paul Baloche, his friend and mentor, teaches to heart: be ready for inspiration.  

And just because it seems as if he has it all under control doesn’t mean he does. “My song ‘Promises’ … was [written] before our daughter was born,” Augé recalls. “I had no idea how to be a dad. I was afraid—terrified actually. It was then that I heard the Holy Spirit calm me down with these words, ‘I will never leave or forsake you; you belong to Me.’” read more

BTW-Houghton

BEHIND THE WORSHIP - Israel Houghton

Israel Houghton: A ‘Friend of God ‘

 

During an annual retreat with his worship team, Israel Houghton stumbled upon—or was given—one of his best-known worship songs. 

“This guy was walking us through a lesson,” Houghton recalls, “and he handed out a sheet with all these promises of God: ‘Nothing will separate us from the love of God,’ ‘We are more than conquerors.’ And then three-quarters down the page it says, ‘I am a friend of God.’ He says, ‘Everyone, circle one promise that stands out to you.’ I circled the phrase, ‘Friend of God.’ When asked why I chose it, I just started crying.” read more

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