Brand New Music from Mike Speck!

We are thrilled to release 5 brand new anthems from Mike Speck!  All products are available for immediate download!  Purchase these on the web site by clicking the “store” tab and selecting the title.  You can also order physical products by phone at 615-449-1888 or email at thespecks@mikespeckministries.com.  Octavo Cover He Lives (Dwnld)

Singing News Christmas Article 1993

Written 20 years ago, this article is still very relevant today!  Yes, Faye still sets up all the Christmas trees too!

 

ARTICLE NUMBER 12 DECEMBER ISSUE SINGING NEWS
CHRISTMAS ISSUE 1993
By Mike Speck

I love the Christmas season! It is the one time of the year our family loses their senses concerning food, presents, food and more presents. It’s also the time of the year when the family of God have a wonderful opportunity to remind the entire world of the reason for this holiday season.
.
There are so many memories connected with Christmas. I can still remember my first Christmas cantata: “Night of Miracles” by John W. Peterson. That was about 30 years ago. My, my we’ve come a long way since then. We now have “cantatas” with live animals (camels, donkeys, sheep), complete dramas (with authentic costumes) and full orchestras. Some churches begin the preparation for their “Christmas Musicals” sometime in August. It has become a major undertaking that requires thousands of dollars, hundreds of people and hours and hours of planning, promotion and preparation. Of course, there are degrees of this scenario but more and more churches are attempting to do things in a big way for the Kingdom of God

I’m for anything and everything we can do to expose a lost, hurting world to the Prince of Peace. Singing in a major production is one of the most exciting ways to fulfill the great commission; not to mention the blessing it is to those of us that are saved. Hundreds and even thousands of people will attend our drama/musicals this year. Think of the great opportunity we have to give them more that just a “good” feeling. Wouldn’t it be great if they came to hear little Johnny sing but left with Jesus in their heart? All that we do should be redemptive in it’s motive and essence.

I also want to encourage you to remember that all the labor and hard work shouldn’t stop when Christmas is over. In fact, it’s sad when choir attendance doubles just on special occasions. It is an awesome thought to consider what our worship services might be if we had the same kind of intense promotion, planning and preparation week to week as we do for Christmas and Easter.

Some may feel that we are being too extravagant with all these Christmas musicals and dramas. Well, what’s excessive to one might be normal to another. During the 21 years of our marriage, my wife has accumulated 6 Christmas trees and she puts all of them up before Thanksgiving. Is that wild or what? My wife claims there is a scripture for this. Collosians 3:21 says, “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily as unto the Lord”. Well in that case, where is that divinity candy and give me another slice of fruit cake….. May each of you have a wonderful Christmas and may 1994 be our greatest year for the King!

Singing News Article #7

ARTICLE NUMBER SEVEN

(FOR NOVEMBER 1993)

 By Mike Speck

I believe there are four basic parts to what we call a “worship service”.  They are

celebration, participation, proclamation, and inivitation.  We have already dealt with

celebration and participation.  Celebration and participation is where the music part of

the service primarily takes place.  The third basic area of worship is PROCLAMATION.

Proclamation is when the man of God stands to deliver the message from God.  Most

times this will be from the pastor.  Hopefully, he will not just preach a sermon, but will

deliver a message from the Lord–a message that God has burned into his heart, that

will minister life to the body of Christ.

The proclamation of the word of God is an important part of worship.  We have an

opportunity to hear our Heavenly Father’s divine plan for peace, health, joy, prosperity;

everything we need to be overcomers and victorious in this life.  Proclamation or

preaching is sometimes challenging and confrontational.  It reveals what we really are

compared to what we should be.

When we worship the Lord, we have the glorious privilege and opportunity to hear God

speak.  Someone once asked if I ever heard God speak out loud.  I told them it was

louder than that!  In fact, I can’t remember a time when the Lord did not speak to me

when I was in a “worship service”.

Finally, preaching is the means by which most all of us were saved.  The scripture says,

“the preaching of the cross is foolishness to them that perish, but unto us that are

saved it is the power of God…”.  It is the preaching and proclamation of the Gospel (the

death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus) that changes lives.

You are probably asking, “what does this have to do with me, the music minister or

choir member.  I’m glad you asked because the way (attitude) you “celebrate” and

“participate” in worship is in direct proportion to the anointing that is on the

“proclamation”.  We’re talking about the anointing of God on the messenger, the

message and most important, the hearers.  You see, our responsibility as worship

leaders is every bit as important as the preacher’s.  Celebration and participation

should create such an atmosphere of Jesus that the preacher, as well as everyone else

in the house, is ready to hear and obey God.  Want to see your preacher preach the

paint off the walls?  Sing with all your heart to the Lord whether you feel like it or not!

Choose to praise Him and watch the Spirit of the Lord come and do what can’t be done

by the manipulation of preachers and singers.

Singing News Article #6

ARTICLE NUMBER SIX

(FOR OCTOBER 1993)

 By Mike Speck

This article is a continuation of the four basic parts of a “worship service” .  We’ve

already discussed the importance of the first part: CELEBRATION.  After we have had

a time of rejoicing and praising God with alive, exciting music we should start to turn the

focus toward  the second critical part of our worship time: PARTICIPATION.  The pace

and tempo of the music begins to slow somewhat and the hymns, choruses, scripture

songs along with those singing special music enters a time of more intense worship

and adoration of the Lord.  During “celebration” we sang and testified about the Lord.

During “participation”, we begin singing more to the Lord.  In other words, the

congregation is not the audience and we are not the entertainers. We sing to our

Heavenly Father; for He is our audience.

It is incredible to be in a “worship service” where everyone there is “PARTICIPATING”

in praising and magnifying Jesus.  Don’t misunderstand; we all praise Him a little

differently.  Some will weep when they walk in to His presence.  Others will lift hands;

signifying they surrender to the Spirit of the Lord.  Still others will have the peace and

presence of God all over their face.  I have been in churches where this special time of

intimacy with the Spirit of God  caused supernatural, unexplainable things to take

place.   People immediately began to get right with God and each other.  I have seen

immense joy break out and countless lives restored and refreshed. The scripture says

“In His presence, there is fullness of joy”.

There are thousands of congregations and churches that have never experienced what

I’m talking about.  Hundreds of choirs and ministers of music know how to perform, but

never have this kind of overwhelming glory in their “worship services”.  I want to remind

you again that I am just learning about this myself.  I have tasted of heavenly things

and can no longer be satisfied by the husks of entertainment and talent.  I personally

need that divine interrruption of a Holy God that happens when I truly worship Him.  I

think there are many hungry Christians, especially worship leaders, that know there is

surely more to this thing called worship than what we have experienced. Praise His

Holy name, there is!

In the past 22 years of our ministry, I have seen Christianity change dramatically.  Yet,

one thing has remained constant–God has, and always will have, a remnant of people

that will worship and praise Him.  Why not take a moment today and sing to the Lord a

song from your heart.

Singing News Article #5

ARTICLE NUMBER FIVE

 (FOR SEPTEMBER 1993)

By Mike Speck

 “Let’s put our hands together, we’re gonna celebrate Jesus’ name”.  That’s the

beginning line of a song that Janet Paschal made popular.  It is also where every

church worship service should begin.

We do have a reason to celebrate.  How about starting by praising God for forgiving us

and giving us eternal life.  Or how about praising Him for all the ways He blessed us

this week.  What about being able to see, walk, talk, hear,  taste, ……….. Boy, do we

ever take for granted all we have in Jesus.  He is forever faithful and gives us peace in

the midst of our storms.  He is the God of all encouragement.  We could go on and on.

“Hallelujah, what a Savior”.

As I shared  with you previously, there are four parts to our worship services.  They are

celebration, participation, proclamation, and invitation.  Let’s take a moment to talk

about celebration.  I’m talking about a congregation or choir that sings rejoicing, alive,

exciting up tempo songs that blesses the Father and encourages the saints.  I’m talking

about music that makes us look forward to going to church.  Nothing lifts the spirits or

changes the mood of a person like celebration in worship .

Can celebration get too wild?   I think it is possible, but I have never personally seen it.

Someone once said, “I’d rather cool down a fanatic on fire than resurrect a religious

corpse.  Celebration is not just emotionalism or entertainment.  It is the reason some

churches are filled with people and some aren’t.  I get to wondering if we can’t stand

praising God for an hour or two a week, how will we stand an eternity of it.  All that

have been washed in the Blood of the Lamb along with all the angels in glory, will

celebrate and praise the King of Kings forever and ever.

If only we, who lead in worship, could get a grasp at how our Lord loves to hear His

children singing, rejoicing and praising His name.  As you well know, He inhabits our

praises.  There are scriptures all through the word of God that reveal this great truth.

Still, there are those who look upon clapping and raising hands, along with certain

styles and tempos of music, as disrespectful and irreverent.  In our next article we will

talk about the second phase of  worship; participation.  We will discuss the need to get

quiet and intimate with our worship of the Lord.

Singing News Article #4

ARTICLE NUMBER FOUR

(FOR AUGUST 1993)

 By Mike Speck

 There are four basic parts to what we call the “Worship Service”.  They are

CELEBRATION, PARTICIPATION, PROCLAMATION and INVITATION.  Many believe

that PROCLAMATION (preaching) is the main reason for “having church”.  According to

the word of God all four are equally and distinctly important to the body of Christ.  I

don’t want to minimize preaching in any way, but, we must come to realize that music is

not like a pre-game warm up for the main event.  Music is not something tacked on to

the service to get people ready to hear the preacher. It is so much more than

something to fill up time and show off talent.  God Himself has ordained that we should

sing.  In other words, our Heavenly Father likes it.  It is an important, powerful force in

our lives that I’m just now beginning to understand.  When the people of God come

together and begin singing from their heart to the Lord, something unexplainable

begins to happen.  Like a mighty wave in the ocean, the Holy Spirit shows up.

Sometimes it’s like a gentle breeze that bathes, refreshes, and renews the spirit of the

weary Christian.

 How ever you describe it, every one of us need it.  Once you’ve experienced the joy of

being ushered away into the presence of the Lord, you will never be satisfied with

dead, cold, formal religion.

 For the next few articles, I want to share some insights to these four areas of the

worship service.  The first is CELEBRATION.

 There must be a time in the service when the saints of God celebrate and rejoice.  The

bible says to enter His courts with praise and to come before His presence with singing.

I’m talking about alive, exciting, emotionally charged music that creates an atmosphere

of celebration.  Many churches are fearful of starting out a service with such excitement

and rejoicing; however, people in the pews are starving for it.  They’ve been in heated

spiritual conflict all week and have come to be encouraged and restored by the mighty

presence of the Lord.  The last thing they need is to sit in a church listening to music

found at the funeral home.  Someone has said that on every church steeple there

should be a sign saying “HAPPY HOUR 11:00 AM THIS SUNDAY”

 Start the service with songs like “Power in the Bood”, “Victory in Jesus”, “New name

written in Glory”.  Or  choruses like “What a mighty God we Serve”, and “I’m Saved to

the Uttermost”.  Be careful!  Somebody might get happy!

Singing News Article #3

ARTICLE NUMBER THREE(FOR JULY 1993)

By Mike Speck

It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.  Boy, does that ever ring true when it comes to

choral music.  I’ve seen choirs and choir leaders murder a great song because of how

they sang it.  I was in Greenville, South Carolina and flipped on the TV on a Sunday

afternoon.  I grabbed the remote control and began doing one of my favorinte things–

watching 12 TV channels at once.  I was having a blast with the remote control until my

wife grabbed it from me.  While going through the channels I caught one of the local

church services being broadcast.  The minister of music stood stone faced (along with

the other ministers on the platform).  They were singing “What A Day That Will Be”.

One of the men on the platform was not participating at all.  I wondered what folks

thought of them as they were flipping through the channels like me that afternoon.

 What makes the difference in a worship service?  I believe it’s the Holy Spirit.  The Holy

Spirit is powerful, alive, exciting, supernatural God doing what only God can do.  Most

churches have a form of godliness with no power.  Like Samson who went out to do

battle with the emeny.  He was completely unaware that the power and anointing of

God had left him.

 You show me a church filled with the Spirit of God and I’ll show you an alive, exciting,

energetic, unpredictable supernatural worship service filled with expression and

passion for the Lord Jesus.  I fear we are singing the right songs and preaching the

right message without the power and anointing of God.  We are just earthen vessels;

cracked and broken.  But when these vessels are filled with the Spirit, Jesus flows out.

And the Spirit of Jesus is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith,

meekness and self-control.  You don’t work these attributes up or learn how to possess

them.  They are the natural expression of the Holy Spirit manifested in and through

your life.  When you squeeze a spirit filled Christian, all that can spill out is the Spirit of

Jesus.

 Revival is simply getting full of Jesus.  That means swallowing our religious pride and

admitting our religion is dead and dry.  Our prayers are cold and hearts have become

hard.  Our singing is to impress each other and has become powerless and fruitless

performance; unmoving the sinner to Jesus.  When a person or choir is experiencing

genuine Holy Ghost revival, it will manifest itself in the way they sing.  They will be

singing the same old songs but they are miraculously fresh and exciting.   A church in

revival is a happy, singing church.  It will also be a sensitive, compassionate church.

For instead of thinking of only themselves, they will think of others first and foremost.

Their hearts will hurt with the hurting and will weep with those that are weeping.  The

church becomes like Jesus.

 The difference is the power of God.  When the glory of God is on a life or on a church,

it’s not what they sing as much as it is how they sing it that comminicates Jesus to a

hurting world.

Singing News Article 2

ARTICLE NUMBER 2 (FOR  JUNE 1993)

By Mike Speck

Before the service starts Danny Deadhead has already manned his pew.  He has his

arms folded, a scowl angry look on his face.  He’s not going to sing, he’s not even

going to act interested.  In fact, he’s going to look and act miserable.  Do you have any

people like this in your church?  Sure, you do!

 It is now a proven fact that at least 14% of the folks in your congregation are going to

be against anything you do.  If the rapture was up for vote, they’d vote against it.  For

years I let those characters keep me from praising God.  That sour, critical look  on their

face was such a blessing.  They are in every church.  If you let them, they will grieve

you to the point of discouragement and frustration.

 One Sunday morning I stood to lead the music and decided I wouldn’t pay any attention

to Charlie Criticizer and Susie Sourface.  I looked toward heaven and sang to the Lord.

Then I sought out folks in the service that were singing from their heart with joy on their

face.  It was amazing how I had let those 14% rob me of my joy and praise to Jesus.

As I began singing to the Lord, I found myself praising God and having the time of my

life.  Eventually other folks started joining me.  I determined then and there that if no

one else praised God, I would.

 Do you know that can make all the difference in your church service?  Stop focusing on

the 14%!  The bible says, “he that doesn’t have the Spirit of Christ is none of His”.  The

Spirit of Jesus is sweet, loving, kind, gracious and humble.  Folks that are not saved,

along with backsliders, are negative, critical, sharped-tongue, hateful and even cruel.

 The prince of the power of the air (atmosphere) is the devil.  He’s created an

atmosphere over the entire world that makes it easy to sin and be rebellious against a

Holy God.  We that sing in the choir and lead music are responsibel for shattering that

atmosphere.  It is when we come together praising, rejoicing, and exalting our great

God that the sweet Holy Spirit invades our house of worship and dead, cold religion

becomes alive by the fire and power of that Holy God.  Suddenly there is an

atmosphere that makes it easy for men, women, boys and girls to respond to the Lord

Jesus.  Christians are refreshed and revived.

 As worship leaders, we are to be thermostats and not thermometers.  A thermometer

reacts to the temperature in the room.  For several years I was a thermometer, reacting

to people in the Sunday morning service.  A thermostat is different.  It sets the

temperature in the room.  When I made the choice to praise the King of Kings, no

matter what, the room temperature definitely changed.  I had become a thermostat.  It

changed my entire ministry!!

 Leave old Danny Deadhead alone.  Don’t try to blast out the old stumps, just plow

around them and keep singing and praising the name of Jesus.  It really does work!

Hallelujah!

Mike’s First Singing News Article May 1993

Last week we had an individual ask for several of Mike’s old Singing News Magazine articles.  He wrote this article monthly from 1993-2006.  Although I realize some of it may not be as current…a lot of the content written here is still very relevant.  By the way, my versions are unedited too!  I will post these here and please follow him on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/mikespeckministries to find out when.

-Melody

ARTICLE NUMBER 1 (FOR MAY 1993)                                                        

By Mike Speck

The first thing the congregation sees every Sunday morning is the countenance of the

choir.  Believe it or not, the entire atmosphere of a service is dependent on this simple

thing.  The choir will either minister life or minister death.  The reason they sit facing the

congregation is so they can be the worship leaders.  As they worship, the congregation

follows.

 It was last spring that I was in an area-wide crusade in Cumberland Gap, Tennessee.

The crusade began Sunday evening.  That gave me an opportunity to slip in on a

Sunday morning worship service at one of the local participating churches.  I ended up

at Binghamtown Baptist Church in Middlesboro, Kentucky.  The folks were so friendly to

me as a visitor (not knowing who I was).  I sat down on the first pew just in time for the

choir to march in.  The pianist and organist had been playing some great alive pre-

service music ( we’ll talk about that later) and I watched the choir file into the loft.  They

looked like they were excited and glad to be in church.  All of a sudden they broke out

singing “Here I am, here I am, I’m the one the Shepherd left the fold and found.  There

were ninety and nine but He left the fold to find, one little lost lamb and here I am”.

Their faces lit up with joy and excitement.  I found myself weeping with joy and praising

God.  Suddenly one of the ladies in the choir took a microphone and began singing

“There is peace in the midst of your storm tossed life…”.  Some in the choir were

weeping, others had their hands raised (and this was a Baptist church).  By this time I

was on my knees worshiping with the choir.  I wasn’t alone, for immediately folks

began to leave their seats and find their way to an old fashion alter.

Dear brothers and Sisters, I wanted to move my membership to that church.  What had

happened to us?  At least three things—first, the choir sang from their heart (a song

from your heart can’t help but end up all over your face).   Second, the choir was

singing with all their heart.  Nothing was held back.  Their faces and body language

expressed more than their voices.  The shear volume of their singing said, “I mean

every word of this”.  Third, they were unashamed and unafraid of emotion.  (This is an

entire article within itself.)  So many churches are afraid things might get out of control.

I’m always hoping things do get out of our control and in the control of the Holy Spirit.

The Spirit of God is a perfect gentleman.  He will do everything needing to be done in

the lives of people when we allow Him to.

It all starts with the countenance of the worship leaders.  We must choose to praise

God above what we think, feel, or see.

If you have the courage, video tape your choir without them knowing it and play it back

to them at choir practice.  What a shocker that will be!!  The old saying is still true–it’s

monkey see, monkey do.  Don’t be afraid to let your face reveal your love for Jesus.

Article From Mike Speck

This Article will appear in an upcoming Lifeway publication but I thought I might share it here.  Enjoy….

Melody

PURSUIT OF EXCELLENCE

By Mike Speck

The Olympic games have always been fascinating to me.  Every four years countries of the world send their finest athletes to compete for the “Gold”.  I remember the old days as the judges held up the white cards with a number on it, signifying their rating of an individual’s execution of a dive, a vault, or some other athletic competion. There were always lots of fives, sixes, and sevens on the card. Rarely do I remember seeing a person receive a “10” – the score of perfection.   I have often wondered how you or I, as worship leaders, might rate if we were put to this kind of rating system?  On second thought, let’s not think about that!

If I had only one opportunity to share a word to those in ministry, it would be to encourage each of us to pursue excellence. I truly believe every worship leader, choir member, and musician has within them a deep desire to be useful vessels for our Lord. We all want to make a difference… in the end, to have “mattered,” and to “finish well.”  Let me share three simple things that have helped me.

1.      Pursue excellence in our personal journey.

 And Jesus increased in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.”

Luke 2:52

 This Scripture reveals the 4 major areas that each of us must chase in our quest for excellence: mental, physical, spiritual and social. In short, we all need to be stretched, challenged, willing to adapt (not compromise) and change for the sake of the Kingdom. Remember our race is a marathon… not a sprint. We can never, ever stop growing in knowledge and wisdom. We must keep on asking… keep on seeking… keep on knocking (Matt. 7:7). We are dead-in-the-water if we don’t have a healthy, vibrant, intimate relationship with our Heavenly Father… and we will be less effective in life if we fail to better hone our social skills and human relationships.

 Tyrese Gibson, upon accepting his 2012 Trumpet Award said something I have never been able to get away from, “I want to show up being the best version of me that I can be. You can’t get points today for yesterday’s game – so every single day I am on a mission to be bigger, better and closer to God.

 2.  Pursue excellence in our position in ministry

“And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, as unto the Lord.”

Colossians 3:23  

 Leonard Bernstein, the late conductor of the New York Philharmonic Orchestra, was once asked to name the most difficult instrument to play. Without hesitation, he replied, “The second fiddle. I can get plenty of first violinists, but to find someone who can play the second fiddle with enthusiasm—that’s a problem. And if we have no second fiddle, we have no harmony.” We who lead the music portion of worship are vital to the local church but we play “second fiddle”. We are the harmony! In our pursuit of excellence, we must remember that we are always subordinate to the main shepherd of the flock: our senior pastor. That is not always an easy thing. One more thought: to be successful and effective in a local church, we must know its history and personality: it’s DNA. As worship leaders, we’d better be careful about cutting into the DNA of the style or the “order of things” too quickly. I was interviewing Travis Cottrell about this subject and he said, “Many worship leaders are standing on the other side of the river from the congregation, motioning for everyone to come over to their side…when the leader should go across the river to where the people are, take them by the hand and lead them gently to Jesus.” Serving our Lord is not about our personal preferences in music or manner of dress and/or appearance. It isn’t about what we personally like or want. Oooh, did I really say that?  Our pursuit of excellence is tied directly to becoming humble servants to the church family: leading worship through love and inspiration, rather than arrogance and intimidation.

 3. Pursue excellence in our presentation of music

We must always strive to raise the bar of quality in our singers and musicians. We must never settle for mediocrity or doing enough “just to get by”. We should never be satisfied with half the congregation engaged in worship. One of my favorite verses is II Chronicles 2:29. 

“And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded: and all this continued…”

 I believe our task as worship leaders is to present (and offer) God-anointed, spirit-filled moments of worship that will give the congregation the opportunity to walk in Heavenly places. You see, my brothers (and sisters)… worship is not taught as much as it is caught. Give me a choir that’s ablaze with passion, well-prepared and ready to sing with all their heart, and something wonderful is bound to happen!  It’s hard work to present all we do with excellence. It costs much, but oh, the difference it makes!

 I leave you with this thought…

”Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” 1 Corinthians 9:24 “LET’S GO FOR THE GOLD” A few more days to run, my friends, and the race will be over…and at the finish line…to hear “WELL DONE.”