First, the long intro. (Yes, you may skip this part!)
Sunday evenings are for me, most sacred, because after working six days in a week, and eight hours each day, more often than not, a whole Sunday would often feel too short still. Always not enough rest and breather until the next work day. So I try my very best to be home early on Sundays after going to church in the morning and lunch right after.
Last Sunday though, although I had struggled with the thought of making an exemption (my dad was hesitant to let me go too because he had seen me get sick on and off the past few months already due to lack of rest), I did make an exemption. A friend had invited me to Gospel Jam at the Conspiracy Cafe in Visayas Avenue, QC. I spent the afternoon malling while waiting for 5pm. Then off I went.
Funny as it may sound, I really went “by faith.” I hoped and prayed that I would not get sick. (I had a history of getting sick when I max out my Sunday outside the house.) I prayed if I should go. Although it was against practical wisdom, I just felt that I had to be there… It was really God.
Fast forward to hours later…Rrrrrr…
Anyway, the story I really want to share is this…
A special guest for that night had just finished singing passionately his rendition of Josh Groban’s ‘He Raised Me Up.’I wanted to stay longer, but I had to leave because it was getting late. (It was 730pm, I think. Yeah that’s kinda late for me already nowadays. And my house isn’t exactly nearby.) I was so happy that they had him sing already, just right before I could leave. But because I don’t watch TV, I barely had an idea who he was. All I heard was that he was Eat Bulaga’s Birit Baby Champion for 2009. I looked for a video of him on Youtube right before writing this blog. Here’s what I found:
…this was in 2009 when he won the Birit Baby competition in Eat Bulaga
Music, and one that was done with passion and excellence, is one of those things on earth that makes me come alive. It is difficult to explain how ‘coming alive’ feels like. But if you’ve felt it even just once in your life, you’d know what I mean. It’s like waking up to a delightful morning and you’re waking up for the first time. You didn’t know you were dead but now that you ‘came alive,’ it feels really good because your know you’re meant for something all that time and it’s just now that it’s happening, just the way life is meant to be. Like you’re finally touching your destiny and as you gently run your fingers through it, death falls off from your skin, and blood begins to boot up a once dormant spirit. You’re coming alive, be it in a mild kind of way or a sudden fiery kind of way, it’s a moment you know you must have more of everyday.
I remember Lou Engle preach about doing that which fans into flame that inward flame. In the movie Chariots of Fire, the character of Eric Liddell said, ‘God made me fast. And when I run, I feel His pleasure.’ One of my favorite songs go this way, ‘This is what You do, You make me come alive!’
Life will wear you down if you are not doing what you were made to do. First and foremost, I come alive when I worship God. Secondly, I come alive when I walk in my anointing along the path that leads to my life’s call.
Last week, I wrote about some of the things I should do more often. One was “to listen to music that inspires me to sing better and play the piano better.” Because if I were to fulfill God’s purpose for my life, I need to do things that will fan into flame the fire to keep pressing on to be excellent and to bring God a sacrifice which cost me something.
I used to think that Gospel Jam was just another showcase of music or singing ability. The danger with singing Gospel music is that we could end up just like the world if we do it to simply entertain a crowd. At the same time, the sad reality about singing for God is that sometimes we think that the fact that it is “for God” makes mediocrity excusable because it’s really “the heart” that counts. Honestly, that night, God amazed me by allowing me to watch Christians perform on stage, manifesting both excellence, passion and anointing. It was not a ‘worship night.’ It was a jamming session. The audience were seated. Our eyes were not closed. Some of us ate during the show. But the songs were heartfelt. The Gospel truths were being shared. And the beauty of God-given and man-honed talents truly inspired me, challenged me, excited me, to love God more through music.
Jude Matthew Servilla, the Birit Baby winner, by the way, is one of those Christians in show biznes, who are very open in professing their faith in Jesus. Such an inspiration already at the age of 15. I pray that God would raise up more of them. There were different bands that played and several other singers, all excellent. And the hosts did very well in conveying Biblical truths, a rare gem to find in people who are in the entertainment industry. Needless to say, this was an unexpected blessing for me, to just be in the company of Filipinos who love God and also love music. Moreover, it was an honor to witness one of the things that God is doing, truly he is using our Christian artists to speak his message through their life and music.
By the way, all the performers come to sing for free. Admission inside the bar is also free. 😉