“The Power of Music” With Guest, Lance Battenfield

– Show Transcription

Tim: 00:08 Welcome to the Worship Made Simple Podcast. We are a worship resource so that you can lead your congregation confidently into a deeper and more intimate worship experience. My name is Tim Brown. I’m your host and I’m joined today with my good friend, Lance Battenfield. He is a worship leader, sound guy, musician, songwriter, recording artists. What else do you do? Coffee Barista. This guy does it all. Thank you, Lance, for joining me today. Welcome to the show.

Lance: 00:39 Yeah, thanks for having me on, Tim. It’s a pleasure, man.

Tim: 00:41 Yeah. So today we’re going to talk about the power of music. Something that we say often is that worship is not defined by the song that we sing. At its core, worship is connecting my heart to God. But music is a very powerful tool that we utilize in worship. Our worship is not defined by it, but we utilize it because it is such a powerful thing. So, I’m just going to open it up to you, man. You talk and we’ll interject some things here and there.

Lance: 01:14 Yeah, yeah. You know, it’s funny that you say worship is just connecting our hearts with God. Because I mean that is really what worship is. And you know, music is our tool that we do that with sometimes. But I guess I want to start with my journey. I’ve been doing music semi-professionally for about 14 years. And then all through high school and stuff, I was part of the youth band. So it goes down to my roots from when I started believing. And so I guess through my journey, I’ve really gone from one extreme to the other. You know, I got started in music, probably playing guitar when I was 12 years old, just to be a part of the youth band.

Lance: 02:13 You know, I thought it’d be cool to be an electric guitar player. So I went from that to realizing this is going to take a lot of work. And so, but I really fell in love with the art side of music pretty quick. And just loved it. But, you know, when I started leading worship for congregations and doing worship in church, what I kind of noticed was that a lot of people would use music for this emotional high. Um, and it really turned me off. Like I was really more along the lines of like, “you know, we need to, we need to be able to meet with God without music here, folks.” And uh, almost like this, ugly side really rose up in me.

Lance: 03:14 Like, we’re not doing that, you know? We’re not doing lights and we’re not doing smoke because that’s not the Holy Spirit, that’s just smoke, you know. That’s just creating this atmosphere that feels emotional. Um, so I was really sensitive to that and I was really to the point where like, I didn’t want to play when someone was praying. I didn’t want a pad running in the background. I didn’t want all those things happening because I didn’t want to make an emotional experience. I wanted… You didn’t want to manipulate people… I did not want to manipulate. I didn’t want to create this thing that God was supposed to create, that meeting Jesus in music was supposed to do for us. And so I really shied away from that. And honestly, when I first was getting into music, I guess there was a lot of woundedness there.

Lance: 04:10 Um, just because, you know, I started in these small Southern Baptist churches. And there were some angry folks in those churches. I mean, I’m telling you like, Oh man. But through all that, you know, I think God has just taught me some stuff. For one thing, He taught me a lot about older styles of music that, you know, some of the older folks in our congregation love. And He just taught me the richness of solid lyrics. Um, and that’s one thing that I love is just when you can get into these songs and really dive into what you’re saying as you’re worshiping. And that’s what really turned me on at the beginning when I was getting into worship. I wanted these rich songs, like uh, “In Christ Alone”, these big songs, these deep songs.

Lance: 05:12 And so I would do a lot of hymns. Um, even in contemporary settings, I would do a lot of deeper hymns. Like I would do “Before the Throne of God Above”. I would do… what’re some other ones that I used to crank out? I don’t know. I’m having a loss because I’m on the spot. But anyway, uh, you know, some of these deep, deep, hymns that are just great. “Great Is Thy Faithfulness”, “Blessed Assurance”. Yes, yes. All those kinds of songs. And so I just loved deep lyrics. I would do a lot of stuff by um, Billy and Cindy Foote. You know, they wrote a lot of the classics, back in the early 2000s and the ’90s and stuff. And I think they’re still probably cranking out music. But man, their lyrics are so deep. I would do a lot of stuff by, um, the Getty’s. You know, these awesome hymn writers, just deep stuff. And so I really love that part about worship. And honestly I feel like my journey through worship and my relationship with the music side of it has really evolved over the years as I’ve walked closer to God. I really feel like I was more about

Lance: 06:39 the lyrical side of it and more about the deep lyrics and the biblical doctrine of the song. What we’re saying. Yes, what are we saying? What are we agreeing with? Yeah. Towards the early, I mean, not that I’ve lost that, but towards the early years I was more into that just because I feel like I wasn’t that comfortable with God, really. I just loved music and I loved worship and I love seeing His church built up through that. So over the years, God has just kind of brought me into this place where I just like to be with Him. You know, I can’t wait to meet with Jesus because He’s going to bring this new, fresh word and it’s going to be emotional, you know. So finally…

Tim: 07:28 So, real quick, cause you said “it’s going to be emotional” and I think sometimes we’re afraid of that word. And “emotional” can mean a lot of different things. Uh, the two things that particularly come to my mind when I say emotional is either crying or laughing. Either a sad emotion, or not even sad, but crying because of something just touched your heart or laughing and you know, something like that. But of course, I mean that’s just two expressions of emotion. There could be lots of emotions in between. But I think that as a general culture, we have a tendency to be afraid of emotional worship. Not emotions in general.

Tim: 08:18 If for just a second, I can sort of categorize the difference between secular and spiritual. When it comes to secular life, emotions are fine, laughing and crying and you know, whatever, have a great time. But when it comes to the spiritual, we’re worshiping now, it’s like we have to do it emotionless. And I just don’t think that that’s God; Or let me say it a little bit differently. I don’t think that’s how God is. The Bible says that He sits in the heavens and laughs. He sings over us.

Tim: 08:51 And He created us as an emotional being. Well, if we’re created in His image, then we must be an emotional being too. And why? If the scripture says that we’re to love Him with all of our heart, with all our soul, with all of our mind, and with all of our strength then why would our emotions not also be sanctified to worship Him, you know? Anyway, I just wanted to throw that out there because I think sometimes people are afraid to express emotions. Now right on the other hand, just like you were saying before, we don’t want to create this emotional experience where we manipulate. I’m not trying to manipulate your emotions so that you have a certain reaction. What I’m trying to do is create an experience or an atmosphere that you can meet with Jesus and then whatever emotion you experience, that’s between you and Him.

Lance: 09:43 Right. And that’s really what we want to get at is not creating an emotion but creating an atmosphere that doesn’t hinder emotion. Or like a hard atmosphere, you know. Um, and that’s kind of where my turning point was when I started meeting Jesus and experiencing these songs that would move me emotionally. Um, God really just, He showed up in kind of a rough way and just said, “hey, stop trying to do My job.” And really I was looking at it like, these guys are manipulating people with, you know, these scenes and these lights in this experience. And I thought to myself that they’re trying to take the place of the Holy Spirit, you know, all this stuff. And I was really in a lot of judgment and condemnation on them. When I was doing the exact same thing …just a different way… by creating an atmosphere that’s going to make people act a certain way or think a certain way.

Lance: 10:53 And what God really said was, “I don’t need you to do that. I can use the way that you’re doing worship or I can use music and lights and um, and smoke and everything. And honestly, I can work despite all that stuff.” Um, you know, “I can move in power. Even if somebody is manipulated emotionally.” Like why does that even matter, you know? “And why are you over here trying to protect Me, you know, and you’re sitting in judgment of all these people, you know? Stop.” And so man, I was just all wrong. I just, you know, I just really felt like God rebuked me about that, but it was good and I was really happy to just do it the way He wanted to do it. Um, and to be at peace with the way that other people are worshipping.

Tim: 11:49 So to kind of summarize that a little bit, first of all, the things that we do in terms of the corporate worship service, sound lights, whatever…um, these are not the end; these are the means to an end. And the end ultimately is the congregation corporately and individually connecting with God, having an experience with Jesus, meeting Jesus, like you’re saying. Absolutely. However, how that is accomplished is up to the individual style and whatever the culture of the church. And um, cause, I’ve personally had experiences with the lights and the fog where I met with Jesus and I had a real experience tangible that changed me, that marked me. And then I’ve also been in those same, utilizing those same tools I’ll say it that way, that it was just a distraction to me and it didn’t help me meet with Jesus.

Tim: 12:50 And then right on the other hand, I’ve been in services where it was nothing but maybe a guitar or a piano, very simple, you know, no lights, no smoke, no electric guitar, and I met with Jesus. And then I’ve also been in that same kind with the same tool, so to speak, or lack of tools. And it was not, I mean, it was a distraction. I didn’t meet with Jesus. So it’s not so much the tool that you’re using as much as it is the connection. And so what we’re after as worship leaders, is to connect with people. And those things are amoral. Now obviously if you’re using it to manipulate people, that’s a different situation. If you’re doing it on purpose to get sensationalism, then that’s something altogether different. But if our motive is to help people to meet Him, then um…

Tim: 13:49 Then God can work in that. And I mean, the reality is He can work in whatever situation, even if it is intentionally manipulative. But we as worship leaders want to have our hearts right so that we’re not. But talk a little bit now about, because obviously you’ve kind of come in your journey, started off being anti whatever…special stuff. Okay. Where now you’re okay with it. At least in terms of utilizing it. It’s okay if it’s creating something to help people have that connection. But what is so powerful about music itself? Why do we, why would an electric guitar be useful as opposed to an acoustic guitar? Why would drums be useful as opposed to only having a piano? You know what I’m saying? What, what is so powerful about it?

Lance: 14:51  You know, for me, it really comes down to creation. Um, you know, music, I really feel like music is something that is living, that it is spiritual, that is always attached to something spiritual. That makes it living. I agree with that. Um, you know, the reason I can say that is because, you know, it’s kind of understood, I guess, that even Satan was this angelic being in the presence of God. He was worshiping and then making music in a sense. Um, and so I think through all music, there’s something spiritual attached to it, you know, besides maybe like little kids songs or you know, whatever in anything seriously, any serious song,

Tim: 15:45 Well, music comes out of a deeper place than just your brain, right? Or just your hands. Not to be too weird, but it’s like you’re giving birth to this thing. You’re creating something. That comes out of a deeper place than just your intellectual understanding of how notes play together. And so I think what you’re saying is absolutely right. Music is spiritual. We’re not saying that it is itself a spirit or a living being, but it is connected to and so it, it brings a force of life with it. Whether it be a positive force or negative force, it creates emotions. It communicates thoughts and feelings. So yeah, I completely agree with what you’re saying.

Lance: 16:39 And that’s kind of where I was going with that. You know, it is spoken. And I guess what I’m saying is that it is a creation, but as it’s spoken, it is a vibration. And I don’t have any biblical backing for this or anything like that, but you know, what if, creation was a song, you know, that God was singing? And like this creation came out of what He was saying and this spoken word and these vibrations? And as these things are resonating, things are coming to life. You know, a lot of times music does that. It’s not only created because we’re made in His image, so we get to create too, but it carries emotions and it speaks. It speaks like a living being almost. And it influences people and it is a total vehicle for thoughts.

Lance: 17:40 It connects people with the person who wrote it. Um just like, creation connects us with God. And music always is worshiping something, you know. Just like we were created by God to worship. We worship something. Our music, and as we pour out onto page and pour out to our congregation in vibrations from drums and guitars and keyboards or whatever um, you know, these vibrations are going out and they’re creating more. Even how an electric guitar riff might make you feel or a good tom solo might create something in you. It is part of the music just as much as the lyrics are. And it creates also.

Tim: 18:33 Well, I want to jump on that for just a second because, two things, this is not a Scripture, but some Jewish rabbis, ancient rabbis believed that when God created the Earth, He actually sang it. He didn’t just say it, He actually sang it out. Now, I mean, that’s not Scripture, so we can’t base our faith on that necessarily. But there is at least a potential that even in the creation itself, there was something musical. So I think that that’s a viable idea. But the other thing, what you said, even secular music, any artistic creation, art, paintings, photography, whatever, poetry, songs, any of that stuff, whether it be secular or whether it be spiritual, it draws your attention back to the person who created it. It points your heart and your mind towards something.

Tim: 19:38 And in the case of spiritual songs, music that we create to be utilized in our worship services, it’s not just pointing you to the songwriter, it’s actually pointing you to God. But for lack of a better way to say it, it’s like a steering wheel that points your direction, your attention to the One that we’re trying to bring honor to. And you know, in the case of corporate worship, when we sing, whatever the song it is, as we mentioned before, “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” or “In Christ Alone” or “Before the Throne of God”, or you know, some of these older songs or even some of these modern songs. Um, a song that I’m really loving right now is “Jesus, We Love You.” And lyrically, it’s very simple. It’s not super deep.

Tim: 20:37 Um the chorus literally says, “Jesus, we love You.” That’s it, you know? Uh, “You’re the one our hearts adore.” But that refrain, as you’re making that declaration, it turns your mind and your attention to Jesus. And it makes you aware of the confession that you’re making. And for me, at least, when I’m singing the song, as I’m confessing “Jesus, I love You” it makes me ask the question, “do I really love Him or am I just making this up?” “Am I just singing a song or is my heart really connected?” And at that moment I have an opportunity, if it’s not already connected, to make that adjustment at that moment to say, “I’m sorry Lord, I haven’t been giving You the attention that I should. I haven’t had my mind on You” or whatever. Which is worship. That is worship! So it accomplished the thing.

Tim: 21:37 And so music is so powerful. Whether it’s a lyric or whether it’s, you know, a guitar riff or a drum solo or whatever. When it is offered as an act of worship, it has the potential to turn the attention of the hearer towards God and helps them at that moment to course correct or to solidify what’s going on. You know? Uh, wherever that person may be. You know, if I’ve had a rough week and my mind is, you know, God is the farthest thing from my mind. And then I sit down to sing that song, like I said, for me, it makes me ask the question, am I really loving Him? And then I get to at that moment say, yeah, I need to repent, I need to turn away from the things that I’ve been focused on and put my attention on Him at this moment. Yeah, and that’s, that’s what ultimately we’re trying to do.

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Lance: 23:30 Yeah, and you know, even to go back to what we were talking about earlier, you know, creating an atmosphere, you’re creating an atmosphere whether you like it or not. You know, even if you’re trying to de-create atmosphere. Just your lack of instruments creates an atmosphere. And so really, you can create an atmosphere of peace or you can go to like a secular hard rock concert and get an atmosphere of chaos and darkness, you know? And it’s all brought through music. But even when you get just away from, say the music side of it, and you get into the songwriting side of it – you know, I find that when I’m writing, and probably a lot of writers would agree with me, that you’re tapping into something beyond yourself and something spiritual.

Lance: 24:28 Um, and that’s why I really think that music is spiritual at its core, that it is something created by God. Because I think it was going on even before Creation itself. Especially if God sang us into being, you know. Um, if that’s how He did it, which we’ll have to ask Him one day, and then He lets us create that, but also you see angels worshiping in music. It has this spiritual attachment to it. And you even see some really mainstream artists today who have really powerful, powerful lyrics and music that connects you to those lyrics. If you listen to interviews and commentaries on their songs, the places that they go to get into this state to write this stuff that is really impactful music, sometimes it’s a really dark place.

Lance: 25:35 Sometimes it’s a really good place if you’re writing music for the Church or Christian music. But a lot of times if it’s secular stuff you’re going to a dark place and you’re channeling some real negative stuff when you’re pouring into these pages. And I think just, for example, Adele – amazing singer, amazing songwriter. I’m not trashing her at all. She’s just, she’s fantastic. Um, but you know, she goes back to these heartaches and stuff back in the day and it’s like, instead of almost gaining freedom from that, she’s also trading something, you know, to get this, to get this emotion onto a page to connect with her audience. Um, and that’s just one example of using heartache or using a bad relationship, or maybe a bad dependency on someone that you might need freedom from inside just to channel this energy to get it there.

Tim: 26:44 That’s really interesting. I’ve thought about that before, but within the context of what we’re talking about, it’s like you were saying, you’re channeling that energy to create an emotion. Um, I’m going back into the pain. I’m reliving the experience as though it’s happening to me over and over again, just so that I can milk out a little bit more pain, and heartache, and frustration, and disappointment, and whatever else. So let’s flip that on the other side.

Tim: 27:40 The Scripture, Jesus says, as often as you do this, do it in remembrance of Me, talking about the communion table. And the word “remembrance” doesn’t mean just to think back at a time when that happened. In the original language what it actually means is to put yourself in this place as though it’s happening right now at this moment for the first time as if it’s happening to you as if you’re experiencing it. And the Scripture says that we were crucified with Christ, that when He was buried, we were buried with Him. When He was resurrected, we were resurrected with Him. And it almost uses this language as if we were actually there and it was actually happening to us as it was happening to Him. And in a literal sense, that’s not the case obviously. But in a spiritual sense, He took us with Him. Okay? And that’s what the word remembrance means. So when we approach the table we’re to do it in remembrance of Him. We’re to do it as if this is happening right now, not in the sense that we’re doing it again, but in the sense that we were there at the time that it happened, you know, at His death and burial and resurrection. We are reliving it, the only time that it’s ever happened.

Tim: 29:07 I want to be clear about that because I’m not suggesting that we continue to crucify Him. What I am saying is that we continue to experience that as though it’s fresh. And I think that if you were to take that negative example and turn it positive, that’s the beauty of memories. At that moment, uh, when I can go, if I can go back into a memory I’m reliving that as though it’s happening right now, even though it happened all that time ago. And so with our writing and our music production, what we’re doing is we’re going back into that place, into that experience with God. There was a time I had the opportunity to teach at a Bible school overseas and they asked me to lead worship.

Tim: 30:05 I was teaching on worship and they asked me to lead worship at the end of it all when it was all concluded. And they all speak another language. Um, some of them spoke English, but most of them, if they spoke English, it was all, of course, their second language. But most of them didn’t even speak English. So how am I going to lead worship when I don’t know their language, all I know is English? And you know, they don’t know English so, you know? And I mean, you can speak with an interpreter, but you can’t sing with one. And so we’re worshiping and I knew that they knew the word “Jesus”. And so I thought, “you know what? This is what we’re going to do. I’m just going to sing out the name Jesus and that way we’re all at least singing together, for a little while.”

Tim: 30:52 And so we began to sing, and we’re all singing Jesus. And it was the most brilliant thing I’d ever experienced. I’ve never seen it quite like this before. Where, uh, I’m singing my own song, because they don’t know my songs, and everybody in the place is singing their own song. They’re making up their own song just out of their own heart at the moment. Maybe they’re singing a song that they know. I don’t know exactly what they were singing, but the point is that we’re all singing our own song. But by the time it left our lips, it was one song. It was one voice worshiping the same God. And it reminded me, there are multiple Scriptures throughout the Bible, in the Psalms, the Revelation and so forth, that talk about all of the nations and the different tribes and tongues all worshiping God.

Tim: 31:53 And I saw this visual of, I mean, it’s happening right in front of me in the same room. I mean, there were at least three different languages, three different people groups represented in that room. Um probably more than that actually, but, there was at least three or four. And we’re all singing a different song, but we’re all singing the same song if that makes any sense. And so at that moment, I’m like, I’ve got to encapsulate this somehow. And so I wrote this little chorus that simply says “You are lifted high above the nations and all of the nations will call upon You.” And I just kind of sang that over and over and over, “You are lifted high above nations and all of the nations will call upon You.” And that was the way that I’m communicating this experience.

Tim: 32:46 Is that copyrighted? I might steal that. It is. You can check it now… That will be on my new album coming up, but I’m not giving any dates for that yet. Uh, but anyway, “You are lifted high above the nations.” And so at that moment, I’m expressing what’s happening in the room, but now, this was already a few years ago, every time I sing that song, it puts me right back in that room, seeing all of those faces, hearing all of those voices. And it does something for me, even though I’m the songwriter. It takes me to a place of emotion that I relive that experience. I re-feel the feelings, you know? And then of course, when I tell the story and then I sing that song, the people in the audience, having heard that story, then singing it, it takes them to the same place even though they weren’t there.

Tim: 33:55 And so what we’re doing in worship, with music, there’s a couple of things that we’re taking people to. First of all, we’re taking them to a spiritual place. We’re bringing them before the throne of God. And even though physically they may not have ever been there, they go to that place spiritually. Another thing that’s happening is we’re taking them to the place that I was when I wrote that song – this spiritual moment, this connection with God, you know what I’m saying? Even though you weren’t there, you didn’t have that experience, but it brings you to that same place, you know? And although secular artists, they might go to a negative place or a positive place or whatever, we have the privilege, of revisiting those places and it is good for us. And then we can not only go to those places, but we can write from a new place and we can meet Jesus daily and even write from a new place. Because I guarantee, you go back to that place and there are more lyrics there.

Lance: 35:04 You know, the whole rest of the song is there in that room that you were leading in. But that said, I mean, I think, I don’t know, when I, before I was a believer I guess, I would listen to Christian music and it all sounded really positive and cheesy. Yeah, you know what I mean? “Positive and Cheesy”. That’s great. That’s a great a byline for any radio station. It was just rough. Like, I didn’t want to listen

Lance: 35:38 to it because the music that I was listening to had a completely different feel. Um, and I really think that it’s because it’s worshiping something, that it’s because it’s from a certain place I was actually enjoying the darkness of the music. And you can really feel it. Now that I’m in a Christian music setting, and I even write Christian music, I understand that there’s this darkness, this dark side to most secular music. Not all of it, but most of it. And then going to Christian music, you really feel this positive element that lifts you up and good lyrics that lift you up instead of tearing you down and talking about stuff that’s wrong. It really brings me, you know…I like to browse on Spotify every once in a while. These great streaming music apps and websites that we have now are just great. But they also give you a top 50 US and top 50 global. And I was just counting, like even this week, out of the 50 songs in the US, 42 are explicit content.

Lance: 37:04 I think the top 10 were all explicit. And if you read the titles or listened to any portion of those songs, it’s pretty rough. It’s pretty rough stuff that they’re talking about. And these are the top listened to songs in our country and in our world. And if that doesn’t prove that our world is worshiping something through music, then I don’t know what does. I mean it’s just, it blew me away to see that the top song was explicit content and not only was it explicit, but it was pretty harsh.

Tim: 37:46 That’s amazing. I’m just thinking about this while you’re talking about this. Music has the power to transcend, cause you to transcend, and go to a different place. That’s kind of what we’ve been saying this whole time. And uh, whether that be a positive place or whether that be a negative place, it has the power to take you there.

Tim: 38:12 And you listen to, for instance, just as an example, “blues” – you know, it’s called blues because it makes you feel, you’re depressed when you listen to it or you write it out of depression or you know, whatever.

Tim: 38:29 I do this little exercise in my workshops where… I had an epiphany, I’ll tell the story and then I kind of talk about what I do here. I had this epiphany. I was working, and in the room where we were working, we were listening to Irish music. And we’ve got the music blasting and we’re just laughing and having a good time doing our thing. And I had to leave that room to go somewhere else and get something. And uh, as I got further and further away from the room, the music fades and all of a sudden I’m outside and I come to a realization that before when I was in the room, I’m in Ireland. And then when I walk outside, I’m back at home in Dublin, on the farm. And I just had this epiphany that music translates us to a different place, even if it’s emotional or spiritual.

Tim: 39:40 And so this exercise that I do after I tell the story, then I have everybody close their eyes, and I play a little soundbite of music from different parts of the world. And I have them listen to it. And, uh, just with their eyes closed, tell me where you are right now based on the song. And um, tell me what are you seeing? What’re the colors? What are the smells? What about the food? What about the people? What are you experiencing right now, just listening to the song? And uh, it was kind of funny. I did one recently in my hometown, Fredericksburg, Texas, which is a German town. And one of the sound bites that I do is a German song. And um, up to this point, I didn’t think anything of it. Hey, we’re in Germany, you know, whatever, but Fredericksburg is a German town.

Tim: 40:31 And when we started playing it, immediately because I’m from Fredericksburg, grew up there, when I heard that song, my experience took me to Oktoberfest, downtown Fredericksburg. And it was hilarious because that was my frame of reference. And I had another epiphany that the power of music can translate us, it can transcend, cause us to transcend into a different place, whether it be positive or negative, but also it can enhance my own personal experience. So I’ve never been to Germany, but I grew up in Fredericksburg. And so what I felt when I’m listening to this song is Fredericksburg, right? Um, one of my friends, he’s Irish. His father was born in Ireland. So he has a lot of family there. He wasn’t, he was born in the US, but he’s traveled there a number of times. And so when we played the Irish tune, it brought him right back to that place.

Tim: 41:39 He’s with his family and he sees the sights and the smells and whatever. And so it’ll bring you, not only does it help bring you to a place where the songwriter came from, but it also brings you back to places where you’ve been and what you’ve experienced. And then at the end, uh, after we hear all the sound bites, then I’ll play a worship song. And I just have everybody keep their eyes closed and we just play this song. Um, now where are you? And you can feel the atmosphere in the room change. Something shifts. And it’s almost like an “I’m home” kind of a feeling.

Tim: 42:15 And at that moment it brings you to a higher place, a spiritual place. And it’s like “I’m at the throne of God right now. If I look around, it’s bright. It’s a brilliant light. And my Father is right here and the angels are around us and they’re singing.” And, you know, “I can feel the warmth of His presence. I can feel the joy beaming from Him, His love and His kindness and His graciousness welcoming me.” At that moment, I just went to Heaven, as it were. Music is such a powerful thing. And what you were talking about before that, you know, we’re all worshiping something and the style of music, the fact that, you know, the top 10 songs in the whole country or explicit is kind of proof that we’re drawn to something, we’re drawn to our own experiences. We’re drawn to our own, whatever.

Tim: 43:31 I just am convinced enough to believe that light is stronger than darkness. Absolutely. That good is greater than evil. And that if negative music has that much power and influence, then worship music has even more power and influence to bring me into a higher place and to help me be connected with God, to see Him in His beauty and His graciousness, His kindness, His love, His faithfulness, His power to work in my life, to fulfill His promises. But also, to conform me into His image, which is ultimately the goal. And really what it goes back to is you’re always creating an atmosphere, like we said, with your music, you know, one way or the other.

Lance: 44:32 And I think it’s great that you pointed that out. You know, that the atmosphere that you can create with your worship music can bring you right up to God’s face. Um, it’s not really that you’re bringing Him into the building, because He’s there. It’s really this repositioning of your thoughts in your mind and getting rid of distractions that worship can really do that if you take it seriously. And it’s not really just creating this Cornucopia of lights and you know, feelings and sound and atmosphere that does it. But it’s really where are their minds going? You just want to bring them before Jesus. And that’s why you can have great worship right in your living room with a group of friends.

Tim: 45:31 Yeah. Some of the most impactful experiences that I’ve had with you is around a dinner table. And before we start, we pray, and we’re not even talking necessarily about spiritual things. We’re just hanging out as friends. But you will pray, “let our conversations draw us to God, be here in our presence, the things that we do and say, let it all bring us back to a consciousness of You.” Those are not the exact words, but that’s the essence. Some of the most special times that I have personally experienced are at your dinner table. You pray that prayer and then we just hang out. And inevitably something will happen. And Jesus is there. right? And it doesn’t even have to be a quote-unquote spiritual thing that’s happening, right? It’s just life. But Jesus is there. That’s what we’re driving after with our music in our corporate worship setting. That’s what we’re driving after, is to have Jesus there. And um, one last thing I want to say and then I’ll just let you go.

Tim: 46:52 In Romans Chapter 8, Paul says in verse 5, that the people who walk after the flesh are the people who have their minds set on the things of the flesh. And if you walk after the spirit, it’s because you have your mind set on the things of the spirit. And then he goes on to say that to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace, right? Our goal, ultimately with everything that we do, whether it be just in daily life or particularly in the general assembly…

Tim: 47:31 As worship leaders, and by that, I’m implying anybody that’s on the platform that’s affecting the worship experience, whether you’re the drummer, the bass player, the electric guitar player, piano or the actual quote-unquote worship leader – we’re all leading worship. Our primary job is to direct the minds and the thoughts and the attention and the affection of the people, the congregation, to Jesus, so that their minds are on Him. And that leads them automatically to the place of the spirit. And that’s where we’re supposed to worship. Jesus said that the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and in truth – the truth of who He is, the truth of who we are. And in the spirit, where He dwells, where He is. And we get into that place by directing our minds to be mindful of the spiritual place. And we do that through our music, particularly as a worship team.

Lance: 48:30 I mean, we do that through our music, right? And you know that said, music is one avenue there, but I mean, what you just said about being in God’s presence, that being the point, that’s what everything flows from. Um, I’ve got written down here, this is just some notes that God has kind of been working on me over, Deuteronomy 1:42. This was right before the Israelites um, first went into the Promised Land. Because they did go in before and they got whooped. Because, you know, first they rejected it. God said, “fine, you want to reject Me, that’s what you said. Go out in the wilderness, fulfill your prophecy there, go to the wilderness.”

Lance: 49:23 And then they said, no, no, no, no, no, we’ll go in, we’ll go in. And really, it says, “and the Lord said to me, say to them, do not go up or fight for I am not in your midst, lest you be defeated before your enemies.” This was their promised land. God had spoken beforehand. This is the land that I have for you. And not only that but if you read on through, through Deuteronomy, you know, the very things that they were afraid of. They had seen the descendants of Esau, the descendants of Lot drive out these huge people, um, which they called by different names in other areas all around there. But as they were going through the wilderness, you know, God said, you know, that was for Esau. Y’all, don’t fight against him. That was for the descendants of Lot. Uh, you know, don’t fight against them. Continue on.

Lance: 50:16 Um, and in that it just says, and the descendants of Esau, they drove out these terrifying people or whatever. Um, and so with all this fresh on their mind too, they said, well, you know, we’re going to go in, and then God said, no, I’m not there with you. And they went anyway and they got beat just because it was the principle that, well, we can do this and God promised us this. But God wasn’t saying that at the moment. He wasn’t saying go up. And really as worship leaders, I really think it’s so important that we don’t miss, what is God saying right now? Is He saying continue on? Is He saying to stop? Is He saying we don’t need to do worship today, let’s do something else? Or you know, whatever it might be. But if we can worship and even play music out of that place, then I think God is, I don’t want to say free to move, but He will move because He’s there.

Lance: 51:28 We’re going to see awesome things take place when we go out of that place. When we’re playing music out of that place. When I’m playing guitar out of that place or singing out of that place, or speaking out of that place, or doing sound out of that place. Like God, what do You want right now? Just feeling that presence, that’s the point. Don’t miss Him in your midst. Yeah, that’s really good. This has been great. This has been really good. Yeah, man. It was a pleasure getting to talk about all this stuff. Well thank you for joining us and hope you guys got a lot out of this listening to it. Yeah. Thanks, Tim. Thanks, Lance.

Tim: 52:12 Hey, I hope you enjoyed my conversation with Lance on the power of music. I have two takeaways from this episode I’d like you to think about. First, as worship leaders, we can affect how people view God through the songs that we sing and play. Second, our primary responsibility as worship leaders is to point to Jesus and then get out of the way. So I’d love to hear from you, what is something that you plan to do this weekend to implement what you’ve just heard? Would you go to WorshipWeekends.com and leave a comment on the page for this episode? I would love to hear from you! Hey, I want to thank you so much for listening and again my special thanks to Lance Battenfield for being my guest today. We’ll see you next week.

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*Sample Show Notes*