Back To Periscope!

Happy 2017!  Can you believe we are in the year 2017?  I am really having a hard time coming to terms with this.  =)  Well 2016 was a good year, full of learning experiences and rest.  God was faithful and a good, good Father and I know He will continue to be this year!

Through prayer, I am starting back up on Periscope again in a more focused and structured manner.  I really feel led to broadcast about things that I am passionate about.  So I am including my schedule on this post for those of you who would like to join me in the broadcasts that matter to you! periscope-broadcast-sheet

We will begin our study in the Book of Matthew today at 9am p/t.  Then, I will teach a vocal class at 11am p/t.  Lastly, we will have some casual worship time at 6:30pm p/t where I will lead you in worshipping the Lord through song, with prayer time at the end.  It is going to be a good day!

Hope you will be able to join me on Periscope.  Here is the link to my Periscope page: https://www.periscope.tv/LaraMarriott/1yNxadnkyBXJj

Blessings to you as you go into this year.  It is my prayer that God’s Holy Spirit will draw you closer to Him.

Lara~

 

By The Streams Of Grace

Here is another song I wrote years back.  It is based out of Psalm 23, my absolute life verse.

By The Streams Of Grace

©2007 Lara Marriott

By the streams of grace I find You

Down the paths of righteousness

In the stillness of Your mercy

Is where I long to rest

By the streams of grace I find You

You supply what I need

A place where Your abundance flows

You renew me

 

By the streams of grace You restore my soul

By the streams of grace is where Your love is shown

You’re my shepherd, my father

I serve and adore

I long for nothing, but to be

By Your streams of grace

 

Your rod and staff protect me

Through the valley of dark despair

You are walking right beside me

Taking me away from all my fear

Your rod and staff; they guide me

Your blessings are awaiting me

It is only in You I trust for

You are saving me, Oh

 

By the streams of grace You restore my soul

By the streams of grace is where Your love is shown

You’re my shepherd, my father

I serve and adore

I long for nothing, but to be

By Your streams of grace

By Your streams of grace

I will forever rest

By Your streams of grace

By the streams of grace I find You

Celebrate The Seasons

I’m sharing three of my songs today that I’ve written.  I hope they will bless you.

 

Celebrate The Seasons

©2007 Lara Marriott

I found myself reflecting back to memories

I thought about every numbered year

In all the things I’ve gone through, in all the years I’ve found

Times of joy, love, hope, and the tears that I’ve battled

What do I do with all these painted pictures

There are too many to count

 

I celebrate the seasons of life

Capturing each one of them in my mind

I celebrate the seasons of life

Too precious to let go

Unique to me alone

I am blessed by my journeyed road

 

Each year of mine in worn upon my face; in my eyes

I wear them as proud badges of honor

The portraits of my life are completely designed

My experiences come in every kind of color

What is told in all of these painted memories

They are what I’ve been blessed to leave behind

 

I celebrate the seasons of life

Capturing each one of them in my mind

I celebrate the seasons of life

Too precious to let go

Unique to me alone

I am blessed by my journeyed road

 

What a gift from God I’ve been given

To say this is where I’ve been

To tell the stories of my past glories

And the hard times I’ve come out of

Oh and still I will say

 

I celebrate the seasons of life

Capturing each one of them in my mind

I celebrate the seasons of life

Too precious to let go

Unique to me alone

I am blessed by my journeyed road

I am blessed by my journeyed road

I am thankful…

 

comparison-trap-blog

THE COMPARISON TRAP

It is so easy to fall into this trap!  It doesn’t matter how spiritual you are, nice you are, trained you are, we all are susceptible to the lies that entangle  us when we compare ourselves to others.  I’ll give you a current example from my life.

My family and I have recently moved and started attending a church where we live.  We are not on the worship team right now, because we are having a sabbatical break.  The first couple of weeks I was just so happy to be apart of the congregation worshipping Jesus.  However, when I finally decided it was time to see if I could serve, I started mentally gauging where I would fit in, comparing myself to the other worship team members leading on stage.  Lies filled my mind like; you are much older than they are; your voice doesn’t sound like any of theirs; I don’t like the way I look on camera; I lead differently than they do, and so on.  It was because of these lies that I began to shut down and become fearful.  I was allowing these lies to cloud my judgement and push aside the knowledge of WHOSE I was; that God had made me uniquely the way I am for a purpose and I didn’t have to apologize or compare myself to anyone else.

Satan is extremely sneaky.  Scripture says in John 8:44 that he is the “father of lies.”  He will do whatever he can to make us ineffective for God’s work.  When we start comparing ourselves it leads to pride and selfishness.  In God’s Kingdom, He is not looking for what the world looks for, no, He is looking for someone after His own heart.  Yes, we need to do all we can to train and condition our voices to be the best that they can be, but that is not the most important factor in God’s eyes.  He wants us to reflect His character and traits by the power of the Holy Spirit.  He also wants us to be submissive to His leading.  As worship leaders, we need to be ready to serve our church in any way we are asked.

It might be more glamorous to be asked to lead on stage in front of the entire church, but God might need you to lead at a funeral, a bible study, a moms group, a youth service; who knows.  We need to be ready with a “yes” God.  He needs worshippers who are servants first!  This is such an important lesson to learn.  The sooner we learn this the more effective worship leaders we will be.  Plus, God has hidden blessings in the places He asks us to serve in.  I was asked to lead the music at a memorial service for a dear friend today.  I was honored and extremely blessed by the experience.  Was it in front of thousands?  No.  Was I on camera, surrounded by lights and smoke?  No.  I was in the exact place, at the exact time, with the exact people God wanted me to be with.  And because I said yes, I was able to sense God’s incredible love and presence.

Is comparison worth it?  NO!  When we have those thoughts creep up on us we need to speak out scripture and fight back with the sword of the Spirit.  We need to remember we are God’s servants, fulfilling His purposes not our own.  His ways are ALWAYS higher than our ways.  Let’s get excited about where God will have us serve next and say, “Yes God!”

Embrace Me

This is the second song I wrote.  You see, I was a singer, not a songwriter in 2005, however through a sequence of events, God specifically asked me to write.  Because I was a singer and I never, ever ran out of things to say, I thought being a songwriter was exactly what I needed to do!  One thing I love about this song is that I was child-like and expressive with my lyrics and delivery.  You can listen/buy it on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/beginnings/id438824578

 

Embrace Me

© 2005 Lara Marriott

Walking up the stairs, casting all the world’s cares

Upon my shoulders

Searching for a place to find a peaceful state of mind

to get away

I shut the darkest door to hide for awhile

I need You Lord to comfort me

I close my eyes and try to think about You

Oh Lord, what should I do?

Embrace me, taking

all of my fears, my worries, and my tears

I’m feeling inside

Embrace me, flowing down

the warmest of Your love

reflecting from above

Embrace me

Gazing at the sky nature’s calm I find

that You’re all around me

The sun glistening the trees, clouds are changing what I see

a place of wonder I’ll never leave

I find a shady place to stay for awhile

I know You Lord are here with me, yeah

I close my eyes and start to dream about You

Is this what heaven’s gonna be?

Embrace me, giving

all of Your joys, Your wonders, and Your glory

I need inside

Embrace me, shining down

the warmest of Your love

reflecting from above

Embrace me

Day or night, by Your side

You have revealed

You are real and I feel you inside

Day or night, by Your side

that’s where I’ll always be

You are real and I feel alive

Embrace me, shining all of Your love, Your love

Embrace me, fill me up with Your love, Your love, Oh how I love You

I Love You Jesus

Here is one of the first songs I had ever written.  I wanted to write a song that didn’t need accompaniment; just voices.  I was envisioning christian martyrs, prisoners, or slaves needing to sing a song that was easy to learn, that could remind them of Jesus’ love for them.  You can listen/buy it on iTunes: https://itunes.apple.com/us/album/beginnings/id438824578

I Love You Jesus

© 2007 Lara Marriott

I love You Jesus

I love You Jesus

I love You Jesus

and I’m so thankful

thankful

I love You Jesus

I love You Jesus

I love You Jesus

and I’m so thankful

thankful

thankful

You chose to love me, undeserving

and to forgive upon a tree

Your grace is never, never-ending

and forever I will sing

 

Spirit of the Lord

Spirit Of The Lord

c2013 Lara Marriott

Spirit of the Lord You are welcome here

Spirit of the Lord You are welcome here

Come in wisdom, knowledge, counsel, and grace

Fall on us as a burning flame

We are waiting

We are waiting

Spirit of the Lord You are welcome here

Spirit of the Lord cast out every fear

Come in glory, healing power, and strength

As we choose to follow Your great Name

We need You now

Bowing down and broken, oh we’re broken before You

We’re crying out

Come and move in us with Your love

We need You now

Bowing down and broken, oh we’re broken before You

We’re crying out

Come and move in us with Your love

Spirit of the Lord You are welcome here

Spirit of the Lord You are welcome here

Lara ~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Song Requests from Periscope

I am a HUGE Periscoper!  I LOVE IT!  I get to meet and talk with people from all around the world about all sorts of things that I love.  One of them being “Worship.”  On Tuesday of last week I did a broadcast asking my viewers for worship song requests. Oh boy, I didn’t realize that there were a total of 27 worship songs!  My job now is to go and listen to all of them and learn them so I can Periscope another broadcast leading worship with those specific requested songs.  It will probably take me 4 broadcasts to share them all, but I am excited!!

Here is the list of songs if you are interested.  I want to encourage you to go and listen and learn them to and then follow me on Periscope so when I do my Worship Times you can join in and sing your heart out right alongside me!

Worship Song List:

  1. I Will Follow – Chris Tomlin
  2. Why Me Lord – Kris Kristofferson
  3. The Anthem – Jesus Culture
  4. Lift Your Head Weary Sinner – Crowder
  5. Where I Belong – Building 429
  6. Shout To The Lord – Darlene Zschech
  7. Oceans – Hillsong
  8. In The Presence of Jehovah
  9. Revelation Song – Kari Jobe
  10. Indescribable – Chris Tomlin
  11. No Other Name – Joel Houston
  12. Jesus I Come – Elevation Worship
  13. Closer Than You Know – Joel Houston
  14. Holy Ground
  15. You Will Never Run – Rend Collective
  16. I’d Rather Have Jesus
  17. I’m On The Battlefield
  18. What A Day That Will Be
  19. Sweet Victory In Jesus
  20. I Bless Your Name
  21. Victory Is Mine
  22. Steady Heart – Steffany Gretsinger
  23. Come As You Are – Crowder
  24. Blessed Redeemer
  25. Up Calvary’s Mountain
  26. Swing Low, Sweet Chariot
  27. You’re Beautiful – Phil Wickam

ENJOY!

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Finding Time In The Mess To Worship~

I Periscoped some worship time with some news about my husband’s and my Facebook page called, “Not Just Sunday.”  You will be able to find encouragement, ideas, and ways of growing deeper in worship not just for Sunday’s but for everyday, developing a lifestyle of worship!  I hope you’ll join us!

https://www.periscope.tv/w/aOc_7jExOTQ0NzZ8MVlxS0RXbHFtRG94VlHRHf-sp8JHH1obuNLgdaP6vM57JeQBdaJ5Jj2dwjry

 

Lara ~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

It’s Time

2

Have you ever heard someone say this?  It seems like there is a whole lot more going on behind the scenes that leads someone up to the point of saying, “It’s time.”  Well, for me, I’ve been on a long journey as a singer/songwriter/worship leader; a life journey to be exact.  My life’s experiences have trained me, humbled me, strengthened me, propelled me right up to the place where I can now say, “It’s time.”  I am taking the huge step of faith, with the belief that God will be right there with me as I embark on full time worship ministry.  This is a scary step because I’m independent; kinda like a “musicianary” of sorts.  However, I believe God has designed me for such a time as this and I want to give Him everything He has given me to pour over others and to point to His heart.

I’ve updated this blog to look more like a website.  First, reason is because I need to get the word out about who I am and what God has called me to do.  Secondly, because it is the cheapest and easiest way for this non-techie gal to achieve this goal. HA! Lastly, I want to share all that God has either taught me or is currently teaching me here on this blog in the hopes that something I say or sing will encourage and help someone else grow in their faith and relationship with the Lord.

To those of you who have supported and encouraged me over the years; thank you! I’m looking forward to what God has planned.  I am excited to continually join Him in His work.

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Periscope Bible Q&A (part 2) –

I don’t know if you have heard of the new live streaming app called, “Periscope” yet, but I have been leading daily bible studies on it at 6:30am P/T, going through the “Jesus Calling” devotional. Well, because it broadcasts globally to anyone who wants to join in, I have had a few people ask some amazing questions about God, Jesus, and why I(we) believe in Jesus. During our study time, others can tweet responses, questions, and prayer requests that we all can read and reply too. I don’t usually have time to try and answer some of the questions, so I am using my blog as a tool to do so. Usually, my husband (who is a worship pastor and who is currently taking Theology in University) helps me answer the questions, but he hasn’t been able to, so I am going to try my best to answer them. Please, feel free to comment or add to these answers if you think I missed anything. =)

Questions: (for Amin)

What is the meaning of worship?
– The meaning of worship is to give honor, reverence, and adoration to God, Jesus, and the Holy Spirit. It is a way to thank Him for all that He has done and has yet to do. It aligns our hearts with His.

What has God done for you?
– God has given me the assurance of knowing that He is with me by showing Himself to me in very specific and personal ways. He has helped me be more peaceful, than angry; more bold, than fearful; more faith-full, than uncertain. He has blessed me abundantly.

What is the reason when a kid is born with flaws?
– It is because of sin that we are flawed. In the beginning when God made creation He rested and looked at what He had made and called it “good.” All of creation was once perfect in His sight. However, humans were given the freedom to choose. Unfortunately, through the first man and woman, we chose our way, instead of following God’s way. Because of their choice, everything was cursed by sin. That is why there is suffering, heartache, unfairness, flaws, etc. But, there is hope! Jesus, is coming back again to make things right and to bring justice to the world. Through Him, we will be saved from the curse of sin. In heaven, everything will be restored and we will be able to walk with the Lord just like Adam and Eve did in the garden in the beginning. All we have to do is give our lives over to Him and believe Jesus is the Son of God.

Why do we have to live with flaws?
– A good read would be the book of Job. There are probably many different reasons why. Only God knows the specific reasons. Sometimes, they are used to teach us something. Sometimes, God can use them to draw us closer to Him. Sometimes, there is no logical reason. It says in the bible, it rains on the good and the bad. We live in an imperfect world. Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble, but take heart I have overcome the world.” Thankfully, through Jesus, there is hope.

So you believe in heaven and hell?
– Yes. Why? Because, the God who loves me and whom I love talks about heaven and hell in the bible. I know beyond a shadow of a doubt there is good and there is evil. They are always at war with each other all around us. That is obvious. So to think there is a heaven and a hell isn’t that difficult for me to believe.

Who will go to heaven?
– Jesus said in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 3:16 says, “For God loved the world so much, that He gave His one and only Son. That whoever believes in Him will not perish, but have everlasting life.” So, those who believe in Jesus and ask Him into their hearts will go to heaven to be with Him forever.

So if I believe in Jesus I will go to heaven? Even when I do something wrong? So I will do whatever I want like killing and raping and believing in Jesus and so then I will go to heaven.
– Yes, If you believe in Jesus with a humbled, reverent heart, asking Him to come inside you and help you through your life, you will go to heaven and be saved. You will be covered with His grace. You will still mess up and make mistakes, but His Holy Spirit will guide you into all truth and will help to transform you so that you won’t have any desire to do something that is not aligned with His heart, like killing or raping.

Who defines the good thing and the bad thing?
– God is the standard. He is Love. He is all good. “There is no one (man or woman) who is good, not even one.” Psalm 14:2-3

So how can I contact God?
– By just talking with Him as if He was one of your friends. Even though we cannot see Him we can see the effects of what He is doing. He is Spirit. So when we call out to Him, He will be there. Psalm 139

The Bible is for 2015?
– Yes! The Bible is the inspired word of God. It has been applicable and relevant all throughout history for the Jews and now including the gentiles (all those who are not Jewish). God can and has used the bible to guide and direct our steps in many different ways. I was reading in Colossians the other day and the Apostle Paul told the church he was writing to, to share his letter with the other churches. The Bible was intended to be shared all over the world.

Other people with other beliefs will go to hell?
– There are many people who strive to be good people. God is Sovereign and knows each of our hearts. Jesus said He was the way, the truth, and the life. He was the only way to get to the Father. He became the atoning sacrifice for our sins. Remember, because of the choice we made back in the beginning to do our own thing, we were cursed to die as a result of our sinful choice. Well, Jesus took that punishment that we deserved upon himself when He came to this earth. He was the only one who could have done it because he was without sin. He was fully God and fully man. He died a criminal’s death to break the curse over us and give us the gift of freedom from that bondage and to allow us to freely live life to the fullest; the way God intended. We no longer have to strive to be good and to do good in order to be with God. Through the grace of Jesus, we get immediate access with the God of the Universe. No more striving in our own effort, just the acceptance of His abundant grace. This is good news! He is the only one who deserves all the glory, honor and praise.

How do you know that the Bible is not modified?
– Great question! (I wish my husband was available to help me out on this one) One of the ways we know that the bible was not modified is to look at the archeological evidence that is out there, for example, the Dead Sea Scrolls were written thousands of years ago and when those books in the bible that were preserved, were lined up with our current bible it showed the accuracy to be in the 90th percentile. That is very impressive!! We can also see how the bible has stood the test of time throughout the centuries. Now, there are translations that are known to have modified the text somewhat to make it more current in tone, such as, the Message Bible. I believe they call that one a Paraphrase Bible. But for the most part, the bible is the most unchanged sacred text in all of history.

What will happen in heaven?
– Philippians 3:20-21 says, “But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. (NIV)”

Revelation 21:1-4 “Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away … I saw the Holy City, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God … And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Now the dwelling of God is with men, and he will live with them. They will be his people, and God himself will be with them and be their God. He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” (NIV)

So when there is no crying how can we define happiness?
– Happiness is defined as being in God’s Presence. There was no crying in the garden of Eden when the first man and woman walked the earth. Why? Because they got to be in fellowship with God daily.

Without war, what is the meaning of peace?
– The meaning of peace is what God intended for His creation in the beginning. He is a God of Peace. Jesus was called the “Prince of Peace.” War doesn’t bring about peace, it reminds us that we have a longing for peace and we can find that peace through Jesus.

Questions 5/19

Do you believe in the supernatural?
– Yes

What are your thoughts on the new revival and the great awakening?
– I have had a passion for years of another great revival happening where God’s people will wake up and get excited for His coming again and that many, many more people will come to know Jesus as their Savior.

Can signs and wonders happen for everyday, regular people
– Yes, I was healed as a child. I have family testimonies of amazing supernatural signs happening for them in their time of need. I have personally been rocked by God’s supernatural power. I am totally an everyday, regular person too! =)

Do you think anyone is really the “chosen ones”
– This is just my opinion. No matter what your take is on this, most of us will probably see each other in heaven. But, for me personally, I believe God saw all who were going to chose Him, yet He still gave us the choice to choose. Jesus died for all.

Muslims, Jews, etc all believe they are the chosen ones. Once you have that many who believe that it is not as special anymore
– The one thing that believing in Jesus has that none of the other religions believe is “grace.” You can’t earn your way to God. Because of the unconditional love that Jesus showed and because I have personally been transformed by His loving grace, my faith and relationship with Him is the most special possession I have.

Great, great questions!! I hope these answers helped. Hopefully, I will be able to find some of my pastor friends to help me out. =) These questions are helping me grow in my faith too! Looking forward to hearing more and learning from you all too.

Blessings,

Lara ~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Periscope Bible Q&A ~

I have been leading “Jesus Calling” devotions during the week on a live streaming app called, “Periscope.” It has been amazing thus far. I never know who will join in and who will comment or ask questions. What a blessing it has been to be a part of a global bible study!

Well, today we had a lot of really great philosophical questions that I didn’t have time to answer (plus I knew my husband, who is going to school for this, would have a better way of replying than myself.) So I told him what the questions were and he answered them for us. So here are the answers to the questions shared during our time this morning on Periscope:

“The Jews during Jesus’ time were expecting their Messiah to come and set up His political kingdom, throwing out the foreign government which would have been Roman rule at the time. Before Rome, it was the Greeks under Alexander the Great (hence the New Testament in the Bible written in Greek). There was a brief time after the Greeks where Israel was self-governed after the exile, but it didn’t last long (Hasmonean period). The Romans then came and conquered them so at the time of Jesus it was the Roman Empire the Jews were working with and fighting against. They weren’t thinking in terms of an eternal plan, but a political one. Because Jesus came from the lowest tribe of Israel and from Nazareth (lowest town), and was known by the people of Nazareth, they couldn’t believe He was the one to set up their view of what the the kingdom was going to be like. Presently, they are still waiting for that day to happen and many will likely be duped when the anti-Christ comes (he is spoken of in the last book of the Bible; Revelation.)

The Jews were chosen by God by way of Abraham. God made more than one covenant to bless the nations through Abraham; the first is in Genesis 12. Genesis 15 talks about how God will bless his descendants in foreign lands. The seed of Abraham is the Jewish race. God chose to reveal Himself to this group of people and called them to live according to His law which was how He revealed His love and His heart. Culturally, the Israelites as they were to be known, were called to be contrary to the other people groups. Instead of worshipping several gods (polytheism) like the surrounding cultures, they were to worship Yahweh – one God and have no other idols. There are several more laws and commands that when looked at in relation to the surrounding cultures it is clear that Israel was called out to be different meaning a holy people (as a nation, not so much individually as people sin). Even their treatment of foreign slaves was better than what’s recorded in the Hammurabi code about 1800 years before Jesus; the first known example of written law.

Temple worship at the time was also different than how other cultures worshipped. There was a movement from outside the temple into the holy of holies done in ritual. In one of the sacrifices (Day of Atonement), a bull was sacrificed by the priest and two goats were presented; the sins of the people were placed on the goats. One goat was the atonement and was sacrificed as the Lord’s goat, the other was the scapegoat which was set free and carried the sins of Israel into the desert. When this detailed process is examined in the book of Hebrews, Jesus is both the priest and the sacrifice. So while you have a comment that “Jews were Jesus’ religion,” this isn’t quite correct. It is more that Yahweh taught the Jews how to worship Him with rituals and rules that would one day point to Jesus. So it is more appropriate to say “Jesus was the fulfillment of the religious practices given by Yahweh.”

In regards to race, race no longer matters… God first chose Israel, but then because they continued to reject Him, He opened up the door to heaven through Jesus to the Gentiles (Rom 1:1-6,16). The Jews were chosen to bring about Jesus; but now that Jesus has come it is not a matter of being Jew or Gentile, but by living by faith in Jesus as the Messiah. So Jews that accept this will be saved, just like Gentiles. And those that reject this, regardless of their race, will not be saved. Jews should “change” isn’t quite correct… they should “accept” that the Messiah has come, from the line of David, as prophesied in the Old Testament. They are still the “chosen” as they are genealogically connected to the covenant with Abraham… however, this doesn’t mean that they are saved. They still need to accept Jesus as Messiah.”

Whew! Thanks Brian! Great stuff! Hope that helps those of you on Periscope who asked those great questions today. Keep them coming. If I can’t answer them, then I will find someone who will. =) If you other readers would like to join me on Periscope, you can. All you have to do is download the Periscope App on your IPhone (they are working on having it available for androids) and find me, Lara Marriott or look for “Jesus Calling Devotions” live at 6:30am PT on the weekdays. Would love to connect with you there.

Until next time. God bless you ~

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

What Make A Great Worship Leader?

This is a very interesting article. What do you think of Josh Maze’s opinion?

http://joshmaze.com/home/posts/jimmy-fallon

For me, I feel a little uneasy about it, because this type of article has the potential of giving the allusion of being able to quantify what it takes to become a great worship leader. I have to say that I think Jimmy Fallon is amazing at what he does and there are many clips from The Tonight Show that are, quite frankly, hilarious! But, I’ve also seen, especially young worship leaders/artists, read something like this and then try to replicate it, avoiding the true value of what it means to be humble and completely aligned with the Lord’s direction while leading worship.

I am also to blame for this. In my teens and early 20s I experienced leaders in the church tell me to smile more on stage, engage with the audience, play the camera, be “authentic,” and those comments always gave me a sour feeling in my stomach. I would think to myself, ‘weren’t we still a bunch of messed up people seeking God to help us be better? Why can’t worship leaders and church leaders show that we too are having a bad day? However, the pressure to perform was great and the demands from the congregations clouded my thinking, making me feel I had to give them what they wanted in my own strength to be accepted and to point to Jesus which resulted in pride, judgement, comparisons, self-doubt, worry, and anxiety.

The bible says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:13. It also says, “Without ME (Jesus), you can do nothing.” John 15:5

As worship leaders in our churches, I have found through my experiences over the years the MOST IMPORTANT thing to remember is to have a personal, deep, relationship with the Lord through the Holy Spirit. We need to keep seeking Him in all we do throughout the week. He needs to become our go to person. Why? It is only then that we can be filled up and confidently take the stage as a leader through His Power, through His guidance, and through His love. The church WILL see a heart after God’s heart, They WILL experience authenticity. They WILL feel like they are the most loved people, only because God’s love will be shining through you(us) and pour over them. Bottom line, it has very little to do with what we are capable of doing and everything to do with what God can do through us. We are the Holy Spirit’s servants, doing HIS work, making HIM increase as we decrease.

There is nothing wrong with Josh Maze. I am actually thankful he posted his thoughts. Having an honest conversation and working through opinions is healthy and has the potential of making us stronger as people and in this case followers of Jesus.

So do you want to join in on the conversation? What do you think?

Lara ~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

To Love or Not to Love ~

This week had been a difficult one for me.  I was fighting to get time to myself throughout it.  It was a fight because everytime I did something for me I got push back from something or someone.  The lowest point was when our dog, Molly ate an entire raw hide bone in 20 mins!!!  We had to take her to the vet, have them give her medicine that made her throw up.  Thankfully the bone came out and she was saved.  I was searching for something to satisfy me through tv, food, sugar, caffeine, sleep; nothing was meeting my need.  Finally, I took the time I had been using up doing all of the stuff listed above, to sit quietly in the darkness of my room and talk to God; my friend.  I told Him everything I was going through.  I’m still learning how to hear from Him, but it seemed like He suggested that I stop chasing after things that don’t last; only clutter my mind and body, and spend time being quiet; reading His Word again.

So this morning, I left my phone off, I didn’t turn on the tv, I took my Bible and journal outside, and sat in our backyard.  I asked Him what I should read and was directed to 1 Corinthians 13.  I rolled my eyes because I had read and practically memorized that chapter.  What could I possibly get out of reading it again?  It must have been my thoughts directing the answer to my question. However, I decided to do it anyway.

1 Corinthians 13 “…Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails…”

I then wrote out which ones I was struggling with:

* Doesn’t envy others accomplishments (like on Facebook or Twitter)

* Doesn’t brag or boast about my successes (like on Facebook or Twitter)

* Doesn’t think highly of myself

* Doesn’t talk down to others (like my children and husband)

* Is not selfish (especially at home)

* Doesn’t get angry easily  (at home with the kids)

After, I read 1 Corinthians 14:1 “Follow the way of love and eagerly desire spiritual gifts, especially the gift of prophecy.”

“Follow the way of love.”  That is where I was going wrong this week; I wasn’t following the way of love.  I was deferring to my own selfish desires.  Lastly, I read 1 Corinthians 13 again, but replaced the word “love” with the word “Jesus.”

“…Jesus is patient, Jesus is kind.  He does not envy, He does not boast, He is not proud.  He is not rude, He is not self-seeking, He is not easily angered, He keeps no record of wrongs.  Jesus does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth.  He always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Jesus never fails…”

The result to my week of frustration?  I need to follow Jesus!  In order for me to change my behavior and be truly satisfied, I need to follow in Jesus’ footsteps.  That is the only way I will be able to show this kind of love to others.  What a lesson.  Food for the soul.

Thank you Holy Spirit for directing me to this chapter in the bible.  I really needed to read it again.  And thank you for reminding me whose I am and who I need to follow.  I somehow forgot this week.

Here is a clip of a message from my friend, Krissy Nelson.  She talks about whose we are.  It is a wonderful reminder.

Love,

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Interviewed for a Magazine ~

I had the privilege of sharing my heart on what it means to worship the Lord and to be used by Him in a magazine called, “Exodus.”  They did such a wonderful job! May it bless you ~

Lara~                                         www.laramarriott.com & itunes

You can read the interview here:

BreakThru International’sExodus Magazine – Volume 4

http://www.magcloud.com/webviewer/660694?__r=472655&s=v

Exciting November ~

This mom was not bred for routine. I am a free spirit by nature who soars wherever the wind takes her. At least that is how I was before kids. For eight years now I have been conditioned to work around routines. So when something new and out of the ordinary comes along, I am SO excited!!!

A couple of weeks ago, Brian and I took our kids up to Washington for a few days to be with my parents, go to a worship conference, The Christian Musician Summit (one of the best btw!), and to lead worship at Westminster Chapel in Bellevue. It broke the routine of our lives and brought something new and exciting. I was thankful to have my family with me and to spend some much needed ALONE time with my husband Brian during the worship conference. It was great!

I am back to reality again. lol. But, excited, renewed and ready to write more songs and enjoy each day of my life.

I thought I would post some pictures, videos and my videolog that go into a little bit more detail of this exciting November: (for some reason I am only able to upload a couple at this time)


Bob Bennett is an amazing lyricist. I had the privilege of sitting in to a critique session with him and Brenton Brown. It was very inspiring!


These songwriters are amazing. We sing many of their songs on a regular basis at church on Sundays. They said to write, write, write. To never turn off the creative voice during the beginning of a song. And to embrace writing bad songs. lol. Because eventually a good one will come out.

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes

Blogging My Devotion Today ~

Instead of sitting down and writing down all of my thoughts in my journal, I feel compelled to open up about a few things on my blog.

You see I am full of all sorts of emotions right now. There is this worship conference called “Christian Musician Summit” http://www.christianmusiciansummit.com that my husband Brian and I have been attending since 2005. That was the year a friend of my parents gave me a journal that she had bought in Guatemala. She said every time she walked by that vendor, she would sense God nudging her to buy me that journal and bring it back. She pushed the thought aside over and over again, until she was very annoyed and finally bought the organic journal made of pressed flowers and handmade paper. As she gave it to me during church service, she said I think God is trying to tell you to write. I looked at her as if she was speaking in a different language. I had only written two songs, one for my grandmother’s memorial service and another one called “Embrace Me” to try and set me apart as a Christian artist. But, I really wasn’t a true songwriter I was more of a vocalist who had a passion to sing for Jesus.

I wasn’t going to forget about this gift from God, I needed to act on it somehow. So Brian and I heard about this conference coming up at Overlake Church in Redmond close by. It sounded great. Brian was excited to see Lincoln Brewster and Paul Baloche. I was intrigued to learn more about songwriting. We signed up and away we went.

There were about 2000 people who attended. I was thrilled to be surrounded by other worship leaders and songwriters and just God worshippers! It was amazing to be led in worship by Paul Baloche himself!! We had sung his songs so many times in our own worship services. Brian and I were completely renewed and refreshed and ready to get back to our church and share all that we had experienced and learned. Well, that year when we got back our enthusiasm wasn’t matched. They didn’t understand where we were coming from. It was hard to convince our team to do things differently, plus we didn’t have the resources CMS had during the conference. But we did try to make steps in the right direction and made some great improvements to our worship service and to our musicianship. By the next year we were ready for another renewal conference, and I was excited to share a song I had written for the songwriter’s bootcamp.

It is very embarrassing to admit I did this, but it is part of my journey so I don’t mind. I had been writing a bit now, and Brian and I worked on a song together (I can’t even remember the name)I think it was called, “Surrounded By Your Glory”. We sang it live, and I was excited to send in the live version to prove people connected with it. Because God had commissioned me to write I new this was probably going to be my big break. They would recognize the potential in me and someone in the industry would want to work with my talents. (oh brother). Well, a top worship leader, who was very well known, critiqued my song, inside I was super excited and ready to be mentored by him. lol However, he said the beginning was good, but he was tired of hearing another “praise” song. There were enough “praise” songs out there and my song was typical and not memorable. My balloon popped! What! I thought God had a plan. I thought He wanted me to write. Oh no no no no, this couldn’t have been happening. After that day, as I sifted my way through the crowds who gathered for the conference I saw myself, not as separated and honored, but as just another fish in the sea of worship artists/songwriters. I felt like mush. God couldn’t use me as a songwriter oh no. I guess I am just going to be a mom and wife and my friend was wrong about the journal. (sometimes these things have to happen to us in order to make us stronger or to test us)

The next year Brian and I had moved to Oregon to take a worship pastor job there, and I was writing a lot! I purchased Master Writer, a computer writers database, and I used that thing so much. By the time the next CMS conference rolled around, I had written over 100 songs. I got connected online with other Christian songwriters, God spoke again to me through a friend to continue writing, and another songwriter friend gave me a gift to have two of my songs produced and recorded in a studio. Wow, God really wants me to write? Why? I didn’t know, but that was super cool.

I decided to enter one of those songs in to have critiqued at the songwriter’s bootcamp. This time it was professionally done, people were connecting with it. I wanted to put my best foot forward. Deep down I was thinking maybe this was the time I would be recognized.

Another top, famous, worship leader listened to my song in front of about 15-20 people. After we listened to it. Either he or the other professional said, “Now, this is a great example of a great singer singing a mediocre song.” Ouch! Did I really hear that? They asked whose song that was, I sheepishly raised my hand. And after a pause they asked if that was me who sang it? I nodded my head yes. Then the back peddling began. This artist said the bookends were really good, but the meat of the song was weak. I was the last one before the break. As I was walking to the restroom, he came up and found me and asked if I was doing okay. I said yes, I was fine and thanked him for his great critique. I was still in shock. When I finally had some alone time, I got so hurt and angry with God. I was being hammered as a songwriter. Why was I putting myself in so much pain? Couldn’t I just be a singer and call it a day. Obviously, God was wrong about me. I could never write a great song.

Well, I really felt far from God, but even then, He met me during another breakout session. Something amazing happened, and He spoke through the presenter straight to me in the most personal way. If any of you are interested in hearing that story, write me. I’ll share it with you. I was completely broken and hit rock bottom, but I allowed my heart to pour everything out onto paper. Was I an amazing songwriter? No, but I really was a songwriter because it was in my blood to write. There was healing, deep healing that went on that year at CMS. I couldn’t stop the tears from flowing. Even though I wasn’t noticed by the professionals, God noticed everything and was walking me through it.

The next few years, we moved again to our current church. I met a songwriter bud from an online site at that church. He had no idea we were going to be their worship leaders. I finally gave the reigns up to God. My purpose had changed from striving to get noticed by the industry to learning how to serve and minister in my own sphere of influence. It was wonderful! I felt great fulfillment. I sang some of my songs for our church, and they embraced them. There was purpose for me here. Little by little, God grew me and healed me from the inside out. I started to understand who I was in His eyes. I felt very loved and accepted by him. Again, He spoke directly to me through some other events that took place. I knew God had a plan, but released it to Him because He hadn’t revealed what it was yet. I also had a fasting time with Him that reminded me what was most important finding peace in His Presence in all the seasons of my life and how to be disciplined in that. (I still fail, but try to pick myself up and dust myself off to try again).

This year, God provided the funding to have my first worship album released. What a journey this has been as a songwriter, during motherhood, early marriage, learning how to be a worship leader,etc… The journey hasn’t stopped. But it is not about the end game really. It’s not about being recognized anymore, even though I have had some of those reoccurring emotions bubble up since we’ve registered to go back to CMS, it is about the journey itself and being ready for anything as I follow Jesus. It is about His work and joining in on where He needs me.

I am excited to go to the 10 year anniversary of the Christian Musician Summit. It has been the catalyst of growth, of healing, of inspiration, of renewal, of so many things for me in my life’s journey. I am praying that I will get out of the way, that the fear of what others might think will fade, and I will be surrounded by God’s amazing Presence during that time. I pray I will learn more about songwriting, get inspired more and serve more while I’m there. I hope I can see my friends that I’ve made and last but definitely not least enjoy being with my wonderful husband as we experience this time together like when our journey of worship leading first began.

Here is what my journal “Jesus Calling” says for today “Try to stay conscious of Me as you go step by step through this day. My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection. My final statement just before I ascended into heaven was: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception. The promise of My Presence is a powerful protection. As you journey through your life, there are numerous pitfalls along the way. Many voices clamor for your attention, enticing you to go their way. A few steps away from your true path are pits of self-pity and despair, plateaus of pride and self-will. If you take your eyes off Me and follow another’s way, you are in great danger. Even well-meaning friends can lead you astray if you let them usurp My place in your life. The way to stay on the path of Life is to keep your focus on Me. Awareness of My Presence is your best protection.”

Matthew 28:20 “and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

Hebrews 12:1-2 “Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the righ thand of the throne of God.”

God bless ~

Lara~

www.laramarriott.com & itunes