“In the year that King Uzziah died, I saw the Lord seated on a throne, high and exalted, and the train of his robe filled the temple. Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying. And they were calling to one another: ‘Holy, holy, holy is the LORD Almighty; the whole earth is full of his glory.’” (Isaiah 6:1-3)

Was going to start my blog one minute ago, but pulverized a fly on my fax machine, sending it into the abyss of the paper slot…had to retrieve the body. Now that that’s done, I can blog with peace of mind.

Some of this blog may be a little reprise of a blog by the same title I published two years ago.

Just came home from our adventures at Kingdom Bound 2010, the largest Christian music festival in NY, and have lots to talk about. We had a great time ministering in the Worship Tent, a getaway from the hyper-adrenaline-driven performances that often accompany the other stages. We had about 500 show up for our set, and a genuine spirit of worship filled the tent as we mixed Isaiah Six tunes and some mainstream familiar stuff. I also shared a brief message on grace (surprise surprise) and saw lots of tears in the tent as people seemed renewed in their revelation of God’s love and the power of the cross. The Kingdom Bound staff and soundcrew seemed blessed and I hope we’ll be back again next year. The guys in the band really had a great time.

Quite honestly, I went into the event (if you follow my Twitter—yes, I now “tweet”—you probably saw the post) with mixed feelings as festivals tend to be “Christian celebrity world.” Anybody who knows me knows that I’ve avoided the whole Nashville-Christian-Music-Industry thing like the plague. I’ve always been about ministry and not entertainment, and chose early to allow our growth to come from God moving in our worship concerts, and not through a million dollar marketing scheme. Early on in my music ministry career, I had a chance to sign with a major Christian label, but turned it down because they were asking me to compromise who I was. I’ve always agreed with Keith Green who once said, “I’m a minister of the gospel first, and a musician last. Not second. Last. Music is just a tool, and a faulty one at that.”

That said, we’re constantly bombarded with people who have questioned our legitimacy because we’re not on Top 10 Christian Radio, or in CCM Magazine. We get comments like, “One day when you’re famous” or “Never heard of you” or “We hope you guys make it big time one day” or group us in with mediocre local bands that they assume desperately want to “make it” and just can’t. It’s all male cow defecation! Heidi and I have had to die to all that. Don’t get me wrong, if an opportunity came along that didn’t require me to compromise my family or ministry values, I’d definitely consider it, but that just hasn’t happened. I stopped worrying about that stuff a long time ago. The Lord spoke to me, “Stop trying to change the world and start changing your world.” In other words, I can’t worry about who we’re not reaching. I just have to be concerned about who we are reaching.

I actually had a good experience at Kingdom Bound as far as artists go. It may be because I was primarily around worship leaders, but everyone I was around seemed genuine and gracious. We ministered on the same day with Kathryn Scott, Lenny LeBlanc, Jason Upton, Robin Mark, and some other great worship leaders. I also got to connect with old friend Paul Baloche whom I got to know when we lived in Texas and attended his church in the late 1990’s.

I did hear reports of the predictable primadonnas that embodied what I’ve been used to from the entertainment-driven side of the Christian Music Industry. One comment we got backstage before we went up was telling. One of the tech directors, who was unfamiliar with our music, felt like he had to give us a stern warning when he said, “Guys, I don’t know what you heard about the Worship Tent, but this is not about entertainment or putting on a show. People come here to worship and receive ministry.”

I chuckled and said, “Well, I guess that’s why they asked us to play this stage.”

“Yeah, some bands come in here and think it’s all about their performance,” he continued.

My guys knew that this guy was lecturing the wrong band on this topic (though I don’t blame him and appreciated his heart). “We’re not good at being rock stars,” I reassured him. “Pretty much the only thing we’re do is worship and minister to people.”

It is definitely uncommon (even in worship artist circles) to find someone who gets it. It’s not about you. It’s not about me. It’s about the glory of the Lord and being others-centered. My guys and I love being the anti-celebrities. We always get people who say, “I can’t believe how down to earth you are!” Gosh, I’m embarrassed at myself because I’m in danger of sounding like I’m bragging about being humble, which would eliminate any humility I might actually have!!! I’m just trying to tell you how I think about all this stuff. In reality, I’m pretty darn self-centered and boastful. That’s exactly why I can’t be me-centered! I’m a total jerk without the Lord! So my only option is to be a Jesus-centered person!

The verse that begins this blog says, “Above him were seraphs, each with six wings: With two wings they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they were flying” (Isaiah 6:2). What’s really interesting about these ministering angels before God’s throne was that although they each had six wings of power, they only used two of them. The other four they used to cover themselves—a sign of humility!

Contrast that with today’s Christian celebrities! So many Christian artists, authors, and speakers are clamoring and clawing for the limelight, trying to show off their six wings of power! “Look at me! Look at my gift! Listen to my voice! Watch my performance! Don’t you love me?”

We should be spending more time covering our faces and feet and giving glory to the One who sits on the throne! I don’t know who I’m writing this blog for, but if you’re a Christian artist or called to public ministry, I implore you to be a Jesus-centered person. Remember what the angels are doing around God’s throne, and may it be said of you and me: “With two he covered his face.”

To order He Who Honors Me: Keeping God at the Center of Worship Leading, Derek’s book for worship leaders, visit www.amanirecords.com/shop.

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