Stephen’s Music Ministry
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July 14, 2018
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Hineni - Send Me

Shalom to my fellow brothers and sisters, followers of the Torah of Truth everlasting given to us by our Father Yah. I feel compelled to share what the Father seems to be showing me in my life lately. This is a lengthy post, and I pray you will find the time to be edified by what the Father is doing:

Lately, and even for several years, I have found myself to be searching for my purpose. I have found myself just going through the motions of the Shabbat and the Feasts, feeling as though there is something more I should be doing. Make no mistake, His Word, His Torah and His provision are enough. But finding and carrying out my role has been something I have been pondering for some time. I have often pondered the idea of what the Faith looks like, in our day, and my role in it. Is it the mega church experience where everything is primarily focused on creating a high quality production, and secondarily about the Truth? Or, in the opposite extreme, is it about staying completely traditional, devoid of any and all influences of modern day Christianity, and instead sticking to rabbinical traditions, which may or may not be scripturally sound? And more personally, am I only meant to serve in a single congregation once a week, wash my hands, and continue on with the rest of my week? How am I edifying the body if the light stays beneath a basket most of the time? These are the questions I have been pondering for years. And Yah has slowly been answering, one step at a time. 

The Father has truly gifted each and everyone of us to serve the Body of Messiah and be a light to the nations, to be a blessing and service in a capacity in which we are naturally gifted. My gift and capacity is in writing, and in music. And yet, it is so easy to focus on what we are NOT gifted in. For me, From the time I was born, I struggled with a mild/severe hearing loss. How perfect is the Father’s love that he provides us with a means to serve and worship Him, even despite our shortcomings? He also has a sense of humor: lets give the hard of hearing kid the gift of, and desire for, music. And in response to his inability to hear, let’s give him a passion for communication, through writing. 

Well played, Abba. 

I didn’t realize just how well the Father had everything so perfectly planned out. By His grace, I excelled in music studies. I excelled in every language arts, oral communications and writing task. I failed miserably and had to retake every math course in High school and in college. Somehow my inability to understand and grasp order of operations has also been a theme in my life, but that’s another post for another time. My favorite memories involved being in choirs, ensembles and youth band. That all changed when our family turned back (made teshuva) to Torah, and started wearing tzit-tzit and keeping the Shabbat. As more people at the church learned about it, I watched as, one by one, my responsibilities in music ministry were stripped away. One day, the youth pastor explained that if I wanted to return to my place in ministry, then the sabbath-keeping, tzit-tzit-wearing days had to go. I will never forget that moment, which was the final straw before physically leaving Egypt, the life I had known since birth. I had no musical equipment, as the church loaned me what I had been using for years. No friends either, as they were apparently on the same if/then basis…My ability to serve the Body had been torn away. 

Or had it? 

After leaving that church, my family found refuge in a (very) small Messianic congregation called Ariel. They had converted a house into a synagogue. And it was the weirdest thing ever: Everyone who followed Torah was so.. normal. They taught the Torah that Messiah taught, and many were even wearing tzit-tzit! Interestingly enough, they had no band, and instead were using CD’s and songbooks for praise & worship. 

Leading up to Sukkot (Feast of Tabernacles, Leviticus 23) that year (2008), my little brother let slip that we were a family of musicians. We were subsequently asked if we could lead some informal worship time at some point during the week of Sukkot, and of course, we said yes. At that time, we had no musical equipment other than my dad’s guitar, and my inclination to sing. Incredibly, that was a fruitful year for my dad’s business, so we were able to acquire a full set of band equipment and sound system - a second guitar, a keyboard, bass and portable speaker/amp system. What was initially meant to be a one time thing, turned into our ragtag 4-piece family band being the worship team at our congregation, now going on 10 years this Sukkot. Truly the Father knew what He was doing, and what He had in store for us (and me) when He first called us out of slavery in Egypt. 

My greatest joy has been to worship and serve Yah in music, and in fellowshipping with His people. He has opened (and closed) doors to guide me in the way I should go and serve Him all this time. He has also shown me that there is a hunger, and a need. My prayer is that we all cry out and say “Hineni - Here I am, send me”.

All of this leads to the point, the purpose for which I am writing this post: I believe that the Father guides His people, through His Word, and has planted a desire in His people to worship and serve Him in the capacity in which they are each called. Mine is in music ministry. I am not sure to what extent the Father intends for me to use my gifts for the edification of the Body and for the furthering of His Torah, but I do know that I am not doing enough. I have been lukewarm, I have been given to fear, and have not trusted Him enough to lead me in the way I should go. My conviction is that the talent with which He has entrusted me can not simply be buried in the ground. So, I am prayerfully considering entering into a more active and purposeful form of ministry, through writing more songs, organizing opportunities for the young adults of the Body of Messiah to fellowship with one another, and worship the Father together. None of this is decisive, but, like seeing through the cars of a passing train, I am beginning to see the Father formulate a vision, and a passion, and my role in ministry for His Kingdom. One of the first items on the list of things to be done is to upgrade my current equipment, which I have been blessed with for 10 years. The new equipment I am aiming to acquire is admittedly expensive: $5500. For a single person making a teacher’s wage while paying for grad school out of pocket, one could understand the immense financial mountain that is to be overcome. I do know for a fact though, that if the Father blesses this direction, then the financial mountain is but a small pebble compared to the strength of His will. 

Thank you for reading, and for prayerfully considering how Yah might use and send you too.
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