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Category Archives: Worship

Worship, Christian Music, prophetic worship

UPDATE: My site is moving!

Hi friend,

Just a quick announcement that this site is moving to well…my site! I won’t be posting here on Passion Driven Worship any longer.

All my blog content will be on…you guessed it…romawaterman.com!

Visit me there. We’re still building it out, but that will be my new platform!

Much love, Romes.

 
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Posted by on January 20, 2014 in Worship

 

SONG STORIES: “Footsteps of my Father” from the album “Release the Sound”

I am a very visual person – some people ‘hear’ God when they pray, some people dream dreams, others read His words each are important and valuable in the life of every believer, but I have found that people will have a strength in one of these areas. For me, I dream a lot, and see a lot of pictures. This is how the song ‘Footsteps of my Father’ came to be. For me to explain the story, I have to backtrack a few years…..

I had an encounter with a visiting ministry in our church that would change the way I expressed worship forever.  I had recently become the worship pastor at my local church and also had a new-born baby.  I actually accepted the role a few weeks before a major conference and for all you peeps out there in leadership positions you know the pressure that comes with that!  I was feeling quite inadequate and really not sure what I was doing.  And of course, not much time to think about it because I had a new baby to care for as well!  To say I was completely out of my comfort zone was an understatement. I have a memory of going into the church offices my first week into the role, and staring at my computer completely freaking out at what I was doing!

During this conference I was able to spend time with our guest speaker.  His words of encouragement were unexpected and grew a giant within me.  I was in my late 30’s, ready to lay down any type of itinerant ministry thinking I was too old, not talented enough – there were people with a greater anointing and greater talent than me.  I was happy to serve in an amazing and vibrant church.  It certainly was not second option for me (felt like a promotion really) – I  felt it was time for a shift and that I was possibly no longer ‘needed’ in the other avenues I had pursued as an itinerant Christian Artist (for lack of a better word).

As this wonderful prophetic voice spoke into my life, I was quite surprised to hear that God was calling me to much higher things than I had anticipated.  And if I be honest, so much more than I expected or thought I could achieve.  It was like a healing balm to me.  I realised God doesn’t have a use by date – He will use you as long as you want to be used by Him.  It might look different from we expect, and there will be twists and turns along the way, but He always has a mission, an agenda for your life.  I found this to be true during this season of working at the church.

That man was Graham Cooke.  During our time together, he encouraged me to begin to write songs out of spontaneous moments in worship.  For those of you who write songs, that’s a scary place to write.  In the past, I would sit in my studio and come up with a hook, spend a lot of time crafting a song from beginning to end.  Don’t get me wrong – there is nothing wrong with this – structure is important.  But if structure get’s in the way of The Holy Spirit moving, then we have a problem.  Structure is meant to facilitate the Holy Spirit. When it doesn’t, we have legalism, and the Holy Spirit goes on vacation!

Graham asked me to begin just singing out phrases to him.  He told me to record everything – whether it was in a corporate worship time, or a personal worship time at home.  I started to do this. He then said to craft a song out of those moments of spontaneity. The opposite way of writing for me.

At first, it was a few lines here and there.  It was a picture, an idea, a melody line with no words.  Words clunked in and out of a melody.  But after a while, things really began to flow.  Now when I write, whole chunks of songs come out – even I am surprised sometimes at what is hiding just beneath the surface.

Fast track a few years later, and one night at a soaking prayer meeting, I saw a picture of Jesus walking into the room, walking amongst the people.  I could hear his footsteps.  I began to play a melody that reflected those footsteps.  Hence, the hook for the verses of ‘Footsteps of my Father’ was born.  I played this for a while, then began to hear the melody and words:

“I could hear the footsteps of my father, I can hear the footsteps of my God….walking through the hallways of my heart”.  I sang it over and over.

This is all I had for a few months.  To be honest I was a little frightened to touch it.  I felt it was God breathed and I was scared to mess with it.  But as I began to grow in my understanding of how God speaks to me, I realised that not doing anything with it was like the parable of the 5 talents: Was the Lord going to come back and see that I had done something with what He had given me? Or would he be displeased because all I did was bury in the ground what I had received?

And that is how the rest of the song came to be.  It’s a very personal song for me about my relationship with Jesus.  Every time  I sing it, I go back to that place where it was formed.  I see the picture of Daddy Jesus walking amongst His beloved and reaching into their hearts with Love.  Moving across the room and engaging with his children.

Here are some of my favourite lines in the song:

‘There’s no place I would rather be – than in the arms of my Saviour God, My Daddy King’

‘Your voice sings cobwebs from my corridors, your footsteps echo in my soul to make me whole’

”Revelation penetrates my skin’

I am so grateful that He is not just walking amongst us, but walking inside us – knowing every room, even the ones we keep hidden.  He unlocks and releases us.  Thank you Lord.

 
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Posted by on May 1, 2012 in Song Stories, Worship

 

SONG STORIES: “Hallelujah, He’s Alive” from the new album ‘Release the Sound’

I’m going to start my little story of my songs with ‘Hallelujah He’s Alive’, which I wrote with David Fitzgerald – an amazing worship leader/songwriter/good friend from Florida, USA.

So how did the song come to be? Well, to explain that, I have to explain how Dave and I became friends, which is a pretty cool story.

A couple of years ago I was ploughing through facebook looking at people’s facebook updates – as you do when there is not much going on. I came across a u tube link on someones page (who knows whose!), and saw this crazy video of a guy using his ipad like a giant iphone. I don’t know why, but it was just funny. I laughed. Then I thought – who is this guy? Dave Fitzgerald. Dave Fitzgerald? I have not heard that name before. So next thing I do a google (as you do!) and headed to a pretty cool website that revealed to me that Dave is one pretty amazing songwriter and worship leader. I immediately loved his stuff. So, as all good face bookers do, I added him as a friend with a note that went something like “Hey you are pretty cool, and your giant ipod vid was pretty funny).

Next thing you know we are chatting back and forth and Dave graciously posted his latest album all the way across the seas to my home. Then spanned countless weeks of playing it – in the car, at home, on the plane. It is such a great record (Hope of Heaven). I started playing it to all my friends. Everyone just loved it.

Fast track to around 12 months later, and Dave is finally making a trip to the Land down under to minister. Did I want to have a go at writing a song? Heck yeah! Except that I had just found out a few weeks earlier I was pregnant, spending most of my days throwing up….and I have never even met the guy. Would we get on well enough to even write song? Could I get through a writing session without reaching for the toilet bowl? Only time would tell.

Finally, there’s a knock on the door. And there’s Dave, and Anton (my manager). After the initial hello’s we spent about an hour talking – it was like I had found a long lost brother. I felt like I had known this guy since I was born. Finally we sat down to write.

We spent about 1 ½ hours working on a song, which I honestly can’t even remember. I’m sure if I pour through some of my garage band files I will find it hiding. Then finally, our time was up and it was time for Dave to go. “I have another idea for a song”, he says. “Maybe I can throw it at you and next time we get together we could have a go”. Well, the rest is history. Within ten minutes we had written the anthem “Hallelujah, He’s Alive”. I loved it straight from the beginning. I love how we can have our own plans, and then God just turns up. It changes everything.

I knew straight away it was a special song, but as we began pre production and the song selection process, the more I liked it. Then, when we finally recorded the basic band tracks in the studio, momentum began to build. By the time The Melbourne Gospel Choir came in to sing backing vocals on it, I was totally immersed in the spirit of the song. Every time I would play it I couldn’t help but raise my hands and worship.

Then I thought, this song is really special – maybe I should ask Dave to sing on it? Considering he lives in the states and I had not even recorded my own vocal yet, this was going to be interesting. Would Dave even want to do it? Well, as you can hear, it all worked out – Dave had a friend who owned a studio in Florida (Thanks Inertia studios), he went in and recorded his vocal even before he heard mine or the choir singing on it. We just trusted the process and let God work out the rest. The power of technology is pretty mind blowing too.

By the time I got to sing my vocals, I felt so blessed, because Dave was singing his heart out, the choir was giving their all, the band had played incredibly, all I had to do was open my mouth. I feel so humbled by how this songs has turned out.

Nevertheless, I didn’t know if anyone else would feel the same way. The album was only released on good Friday (three weeks ago). Within that time, my heart has leaped at all the stories, emails and u tube links of people singing this song all over the world. It was so special to sing it on Easter sunday at Hume ridge Church of Christ in Toowoomba, Qld – it’s the perfect song for Easter! The most amazing experience recently was leading it at my home church a few weeks ago. I sang the first line and the congregation erupted into worship. The band couldn’t even play. I couldn’t even sing. The congregation was on fire – the revelation that our God is alive, and death has no sting had awakened all of our hearts. It was so beautiful.

I think the thing that is the most amazing to me, is that every time I sing it I get more unveiling revelation on how alive our God is. It’s such a simple truth – sure, we know He’s alive, sure, we know He’s conquered the grave – that’s the essence of the Gospel. But I don’t know about you, but it’s a truth that has been so ingrained that I was almost numb to it. Since I have started singing this song, I am overwhelmed by how powerfully simple that truth is – He’s ALIVE!!!! My spirit keeps saying “Don’t you get it? He is really alive!!!!! There are lots of gods around, but He is the only God that died and rose again!!! He’s alive!!!!!”.

I feel so blessed that Dave and I were the pouring vessels that God chose to fill to release this song. I hope it’s a song that fills your mouth with praise and your heart with worship like it has ours.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2012 in Song Stories, Worship

 

Me, Jesus and a piano – The Percentage Ratio

I remember when I was on staff as worship pastor at my church we did an excercise that has proved valuable even to this day. We were asked to write down in percentage form how much we spent doing what each week.

It came as a shock to me that 85% of my whole role was spent on the platform – worship leading, playing keyboards, rehearsing, speaking. I was quite surprised. I had become so used to spending my life on a stage that it had become a normal and acceptable way to do ministry. Without realizing it, most of my ‘moments’ with God were on the platform. This was not intentional, but as a young mother, traveling in ministry, it was often hard to spend alot of alone time with God away from platform ministry.

What also came as a surprise was that another 10% of my role was administration – emails, rosters, phone calls. (don’t know if that will ever change, but it doesn’t mean I can’t hate it!!!) The remaining 5% of my time was spent on the creative elements – songwriting, advancing my prophetic gifting, brainstorming. This 5% was the reason I was intitially employed by the church, but it had the least of my attention. I’m sure it is no surprise to you that I became quite stressed and empty.

Now, I make sure those percentages are in the right balance. If I am spending more time on a platform than I am with the Lord, I know I need to make changes. This is a constant balancing act because the demands of ministry and travel are high for me at the moment. But I no longer have a problem saying no. For me, the time I spend writing etc is prayer time. It fills me up when it’s just me, Jesus and a piano. He talks to me – my songs become my prayers, and sometimes even my answers because He has the space to speak. I know it wont always be easy to live this way and it will demand will power and discipline, but I believe it is absolutely necessary to my growth as a God-artist.

It does not matter what creative endeavors you embark upon. If you are a lover of God, it does not matter whether you are a worship leader or a professional musician, a painter, dancer, poet, editor, journalist. To be effective as a public person you need to always be investing in the private person.

Psalm 46:10 “Step out of the traffic! Take a long, loving look at me, your High God, above politics, above everything.”

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2012 in Worship

 

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The best version of YOU

At the start of the year is normally the time when many of us re-assess our goals and visions and plan for the rest of the year. I have a love/hate relationship with goal setting: if we plan too much we leave no room for the spontaneous. A lot of AMAZING moments have happened in my life when there was the space for an interruption in my plans. For me, I try to look ahead and plan yet also have a strong understanding that sometimes the interruptions can propel you further into your destiny. If you think about it, a majority of the miracles that Jesus did that are recorded in the Bible were when He was ‘on his way’ to something. If he had the destination in mind, he never would have stopped for the blind man or the centurion’s daughter, for example.

So I try to be visionary, but also relaxed at the same time these days. (which is an interesting tension). I try to think more about how I can be a better person, rather than do ‘better’ or more productive things, if that makes sense.

With that in mind, I was watching one of my favourite science fiction shows (yep, I’m a sci fi junky), where the main characters were, of course, travelling to a parallel universe, bumping into other versions of themselves. The fascination of seeing how one version makes one decision that changes the course of their whole lives was what made both versions the same person, yet vastly different at the same time.

Before you write me off as a nutcase, the whole idea got me thinking – if I met myself in another universe (which I know is not possible – but just go with the idea here) – would it be a better version of me, or a worse version of me? Am I the best version of me that I can be?

Are you being the best ‘you’ you can be? What’s holding you back? How can you reach the true potential of who you are and what you are born for? Often its a small few steps that can create the changes you need.

You don’t need to travel far to be a great version of YOU. 🙂

 
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Posted by on January 16, 2012 in Worship

 

The arts in the church – paper, bows and flowers

 

If you are part of my Facebook page you will notice there have been a lot of comments lately on the arts in the church, and whether they are thriving or not. I was honestly quite surprised at the majority and passion of the responses and it made my heart burn even more to see creative Christians inside and outside the church filled with the fire of Heaven to create beautiful art.

Centuries have proven that time and again the arts challenged what was expected by the church. Handel’s Messiah (Think Hallelujah Chorus), written for the general public, was shunned by most of the church of the day because it was not written for the church. In fact, John Newton the author of the incredible hymn “Amazing Grace’ preached on it’s evils to his congregation and discouraged them from going to see it for over a year! From the artwork of Caravaggio (who had parts of his paintings painted over in the Catholic church to cover up what some considered too obscene to be shown) to Van Gogh (who spent most of his life trying to be a clergyman because he thought that was how to really serve God, yet only sold one painting in his lifetime), there has always been controversy as to what the arts were used for, what was the ‘reason’ for it, and what was it’s purpose in church life.

Today we often have the same problem. But I am not here to attack or complain. To be honest, I think it’s a waste of time. I am here to praise Him with what He has given me. I love the arts and when I am creative, I feel I am praising Him at the highest level. It most likely will challenge people at times, but the reason we do what we do as creative people is to redeem what God originally created for His glory. In doing so, we most certainly give Him glory.

It got me thinking about flowers. When I buy flowers and the florist asks me: “Is this a gift for someone or for yourself?” I always say it’s a gift, because I know they will use the pretty paper and bows to dress up the flowers. I just love how it looks when I walk out of the store. Whether I am giving it as a gift or not, I appreciate the beauty of the wrapping. Yet, if I just received the wrapping, it would probably look like rubbish all folded and most likely wet from the flowers – the encasing is useless without the beauty of the flower.

I think the arts in the church are like the paper and bows. It’s purpose is to draw attention to the main event. Flowers are beautiful all on their own, but always look so well presented with pretty paper. But on its own, with no purpose, it’s just rubbish to be thrown out. I am not meaning to say that art is all for show or about showing off. I mean to say that it adds beauty to what is already beautiful.

I think most people who try to make sense of the arts often don’t appreciate it for what it is. I often hear questions like; “What’s this piece of drama during the sermon for?’ or; “I don’t understand the meaning of this song”, or; “What is that piece of artwork trying to say”? Yet somehow often these things move us, they make us ponder, they reach us beyond what words can explain. Because we can’t explain it or make sense of it logically, we can find it hard to affirm it’s purpose. So we give up and assume it is meaningless. (Mind you, I chuckle to myself as I read “I do not like green eggs and ham” to my daughter because it makes no sense yet she absolutely loves the poem by Dr Seuss – but that’s another story…)

Don’t misunderstand me, I don’t think all art has to have a reason or be the answer to everything. A great scholar once said: ‘Art needs no justification” (F Schaeffer)’, and I believe this is true. Art doesn’t need to have a full stop. I think this is where we get confused in church – we think that it needs to have a reason. I believe art can be meaningful without having an obvious meaning or explanation.

I guess in all my thoughts here, what I am trying to say is don’t let your creativity waste away because you have been misunderstood, or your creativity doesn’t fit the paradigm, or you don’t understand your gift. Just be you. Write, paint, dance, sculpt – enjoy the gifts He has given you. Give Him praise by using them. Don’t be afraid or hurt and retreat because you feel different. Embrace all He has for you and watch what happens.

Paper and bows are always beautiful when wrapped around the Rose of Sharon.

 
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Posted by on September 19, 2011 in Worship

 

Finding your place

 

A few days ago my 6-year-old daughter said something that I thought was quite profound. I was chatting to her about her day at school and the conversation went a little like this:

“Mummy, during worship assembly at school, while we were singing, I found my place”.

Me: “Really? What do you mean?”

“Well, you know how I say I love God all the time? Well I never felt anything when I said it before, but all of a sudden while I was singing, my heart filled up so much and I realised I loved God so much, and then I knew I had found my place – I know what I was born for – you know, what I am meant to do with my life”.

Thinking she was going to tell me she was going to grow up and be a ballerina, or a singer like her mumma is the response I expected when I responded with: “That’s awesome honey – so what are you meant to do with your life?”.

Her answer back to me was, “I am meant to worship Him”.

So simple, so true. We get so caught up in our jobs, our careers – thinking that’s what we are meant to do to be fruitful. But at the end of the day, we will find our place when we realise we were born to worship Him”. Everything else comes after this.

Take a moment with me today to realign your vision and dream for your life. Let us make our first priority to worship him. I believe everything else will fall into place and we will live in a place of rest when we make it that simple. We make our purpose so complex, so complicated, but it really is all about loving God and seeing that overflow into all we do.

This is where we will find ‘our place’.

 
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Posted by on August 9, 2011 in Worship