September 1, 2015 § Leave a comment
Years ago, several friends of mine made the jump from their flip phones to an iphone. I remember thinking, “there’s no way I’d pay that much for a phone!” I had a laptop, an ipod touch, and a flip phone, what else could I need? Well, when one of my friends upgraded to their new iphone 2, they gave me their old iphone. It was like I came alive for the first time! My life would never be the same again. Ok, maybe I’m overreacting a bit. But nonetheless, I have been attached to my iphone since day one. I now have a family plan with 5 iphones, which includes my wife, my kids, and my mom (who is somehow under the impression that I am tech support!!!). By now you’re probably wondering if I work for Apple, Verizon or AT&T. Let me reassure you that I do not. I am merely one of millions of smart phone users in the world who depend on these devices daily. This little device has changed the way I connect with family & friends. It’s replaced my digital camera, and is now the primary way I access email, the Internet, and my daily schedule. My life plan is attached to this device. Now, I’m smart enough to know that I don’t need my phone the way I need food, clothing and shelter. But if I forget to charge my phone overnight, or if my battery runs out midday, my world begins to spin out of control. Without power, my iphone is absolutely worthless.
When I was beginning full-time ministry close to 20 years ago, I remember one of my mentors telling me that a worship leader that only worships God publically, or prays publically is worthless. He knew from experience that the danger in public ministry is that your passion and pursuit of God and his presence can quickly become a mere performance. And in doing so, you can easily forget why you began serving God in the first place. Before you know it, this calling on your life, and the gifts you’ve been given, are about as useful as a dead iphone. The bible describes a time when people will succumb to this kind of living.
2 Timothy 3:1-5
But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. 2 People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, 4 treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— 5 having a form of godliness but denying its power.
Understand that I am not in any way trying to ring the “end times” bell, or cause widespread panic among followers of Jesus. I do however think we need to view this as a strong warning for those that identify themselves as Christians. The scriptures tell us that it is fully possible to have a “form of godliness”, but be “lacking in power”. The bible also says that many will stand before God one day with the list of all they’ve done for him only to hear him say “depart from me, for I never knew you” (Matthew 7:23) If I’m being completely honest with you, I’ve had seasons of ministry where I’ve “gone through the motions”. Times that I’ve lead worship, and ministered to others relying heavily on my gifts, Bible knowledge and acting skills, instead of being tied into the power source and relying on God’s spirit. We can fake it for a season, but eventually the batteries run out and we simply have nothing left to give.
Approximately one year ago I found myself headed in that direction. Fortunately, I was able to sense it coming on and was willing to humble myself and ask for help. My pastor graciously offered me a 2 month sabbatical. It was a chance for me to step off the stage and out of the spotlight for a season. To seek God, return to my first love, recharge and renew my mind, and to remember all that God has done for me. I so needed that time… I was doing incredible things for God, but I wasn’t seeking him first and relying on his strength to sustain me in the process.
Next week close to 1,000 worship leaders, team members, and pastors from all over the world will be attending the Experience Conference in Orlando Florida. The purpose of this conference is to allow God to do for those who attend, what He did for me during my sabbatical break. The leadership team and steering committee having been praying for each attendee by name, and we are asking and expecting God to show up in incredible ways as we gather together and seek His presence, ask for His guidance, and allow him to minister to us and renew us from within.
Jesus said in John 15:5 “I am the vine, you are the branches. If you remain in me you will bear much fruit. Apart from me, you can do nothing”. This year I will be serving at and attending the conference with 5 of my team members. I hope to see you there, iphone and all.
July 31, 2013 § Leave a comment
Several years ago I received a phone call asking if I’d be interested in joining the steering committee for the Experience Conference in Orlando FL. This was being billed as a “Worship Conference for Worship Leaders, by Worship Leaders”. The concept was extremely exciting to me… The idea was to gather 10-12 worship leaders from across the country for a few days to spend time worshiping together, praying, dreaming and planning a conference that would speak to the very heart of their peers… And that’s exactly what happened! The result? An absolutely amazing several days of Worship Leaders, Musicians, Volunteers and Pastors being challenged, encouraged, and refreshed…
What made this conference different than the others? It was the “felt needs” that only those who are in the trenches of ministry can understand… It was the heart to see leaders transformed and empowered to head back to their churches with new, fresh vision and excitement that can only come from God! The reality is we can organize, study, plan, and prepare all we want… But only God can transform the human heart. Thankfully he includes us in His plan, and gives us the opportunity to join Him in His work!
The last two years have been nothing short of amazing… The general sessions and breakouts have been incredible. And the worship times and concerts are phenomenal! Paul Baloche, Lincoln Brewster, Michael W Smith, Gateway, Rend Collective, Anthony Evans, Elevation Band, etc… All at Disney!!!
Many times throughout my career as a full-time Worship Pastor I’ve questioned my calling, abilities, motives, and impact… And each time I’ve told God that He has chosen the wrong guy to do this work. Each time he answers with the same loving response… “I Know!!!” 🙂 The reality is that none of us are smart enough, qualified enough, talented enough, or spiritual enough to move people’s hearts closer to God. That’s something only He can do… But this is the cool part… Colossians 1:27 says: “For God wanted them to know that the riches and glory of Christ are for you gentiles, too. And this is the secret: Christ Lives In You. This gives you assurance of sharing in His glory”. Wow… What an amazing thought. The pressure is now lifted. It is not my work, it’s His. It is not my ministry, it’s His. It’s not my abilities or training that allow me to succeed… It’s Christ in me!
This year I’ve been asked to speak Wednesday morning for the general session at the Experience Conference. Honestly, ever since I received the phone call I’ve been once again telling God that he has the wrong guy!!! And I can still hear Him saying… “I Know!!!” 🙂 But I can also hear Him saying… “It’s my work, not yours… It’s my story, not yours… And I will be with you!”
Therefore… I am excited to see what God is going to do that week! I’m excited to join with over a thousand worshipers, leaders and musicians in lifting up our amazing God! And I am humbled and honored that I have the privilege of being called a child of God, and that He allows me to serve His church each week in worship leadership.
Please pray for all who are attending the conference this year. And pray for the speakers, leaders, and all who are pulling together their resources and energy to see lives impacted for Christ. Also… If you are interested in attending this conference there’s still time! Go to http://www.experienceconference.com/
November 29, 2012 § Leave a comment
Matt Goss will be singing with the Tom Pontz Trio at McCleary’s Pub on December 13th at 7:30pm! Come out for a great night of Christmas Jazz and dinner. McCleary’s is an amazing place! This will occur on their beautiful covered/ heated patio. $10 cover charge and reservations required… Call 717-426-2225 for reservations.
January 22, 2011 § 2 Comments
Every now and then an artist rises above the “norm” and brings something heartfelt and original to the table… Sometimes it’s a musical or lyrical leap of faith, other times it’s a spiritual or relational leap of faith. One such artist is emerging with her first, all original solo release this spring. Kim Goss just spent the last week in a studio in Nashville laying down some killer vocals on her much anticipated debut CD! Please understand that I am extremely biased due to the fact that she just happens to be my beautiful wife and the mother of my children. But please don’t take my word for it… I ask you to give her the opportunity to prove it to you for herself! Over the last few years Kim has been writing incredibly powerful songs! From the moment I heard them I knew that they were meant for others to hear as well… Her lifelong dream of writing and recording her own music has now become a reality! She has been working with a great producer who is taking this project to an incredibly high level! I believe that this project will stand up against anything out there, and I can’t wait for you all to hear it as well! Feel free to check out http://www.kimgoss.net for updates!!!
November 24, 2010 § Leave a comment
Christmas has always been a very special time to me. But even more-so now that I’m a father. There’s nothing like the excitement of Christmas Eve, the kids rushing to bed in their PJ’s listening for reindeer and sleigh bells… And then comes Christmas morning!!! The sharing of gifts, the reading of the Christmas story, and the aroma of Christmas dinner being prepared! There are many things that create memories and warm feelings during the holidays… Kim & I often love listening to Jazz music during the holidays, the warmth of the style seems to set a gentle mood in our home. This year I was able to record my first jazz CD with the amazing Tom Pontz Trio. We started working on it last year but weren’t able to finish in time for Christmas. So we decided to get together during the summer and finish the recording. It’s a great CD of Christmas classics such as Silent Night, Winter Wonderland, and White Christmas… You can check it out at http://www.1cnrecords.com!