Monday, October 12, 2009

I Got Chiiiiiilllls. They're Multiplyin'.

Sunday morning, I got up at 4 a.m. and headed to just outside of Knoxville for a church's homecoming service. I'd never been to this church. I was going to be a part of a reunion of sorts of some friends with whom I had travelled many years ago.We were going to surprise our group's leader, who has been in ministry for many years. I told the kids on Saturday night that at least two of them had to ride with me. Immediately, Jack and Lily Kate wanted to go; Levi wanted to stay home and go to our church with Angela. It's still not clear to me why the two older ones jumped so quickly at the chance of riding 3 hours in a car, sitting in a long service, and riding 3 hours back. I think maybe it's because they know I am weak, and will invariably give way to their constant requests for all manner of snacks and treats. Maybe sometimes a pack of gum is worth just that much to a kid. I don't know. Either way, I was happy to have them with me.

They slept for the first hour or so of the trip. When they awoke, I decided it was time for some worship music. It was a beautiful morning. My heart was really tender to the Lord...what an amazing weekend it had already been at Living Proof Live Memphis (one of my favorite events ever)...and I was ready to worship. We fired up the iPod into the car sound system, and I headed to the place I always head when I am ready to go after it in worship: Kirk Franklin. We sang and bounced and laughed and got our groove on. When we got midway through a song called "Hero," I made the statement, "Ooo. This song gives me chills." And I gestured to my arm to show my son that I had chills, and the hairs on my arm were standing straight up. He had heard me say this before. He has seen me lose it over a song (or even a tv commercial, for crying out loud). He is used to me being moved through music. He replied while staring out his window, "I've only gotten chills once before while listening to music." That was all he said. I wondered when it was...what he might have been moved by, and if he really understood that it was the Holy Spirit speaking to Him and moving in his heart as he listened. But I didn't say anything. He seemed to be in deep thought, and I didn't want to derail him. I have a tendency to sometimes dig too hard and too quickly into their minds when they are in the middle of thinking things through. So I let it go.

We got to the service, and the reunion of sweet friends began. Lots of hugging and lots of laughing. And lots of rehearsing for a service that was to begin in less than an hour. We went through the songs we were singing together, and then just chilled until time for the service.

When the service began, 9 of us sat in the choir loft with the 9 or so of the regulars. We doubled their choir size (and had our pianist and bass player too). It was a small and sweet fellowship. A church homecoming celebration, honoring 150 years as a church. The service played out just as simply and sweetly as could be. No frills. No graphics. No monitors or drums or electric guitars. Just people. And the presence of God.

We sang a couple of hymns. And our group sang a song together. Then we filed back into the choir loft to sing the choir special with the choir. It was a very simple arrangement of "Thank You." You know...the one that says "Thank you for giving to the Lord / I am a life that was changed." The arrangement was so simple. Even more than simple, really. Still, I felt the Lord moving in my heart such deep groans of gratitude for everyone who had ever sown into my life in some way. I was having a moment.

Then I looked down at the front row. My two kids were intermingled with my friends David and Susan Moffitt's kids (David is my great friend and co-writer, with whom I've written many songs, like Alive Forever Amen, Jesus Saves, My Passion, You Changed My Name, Your Word Is Life To Me, to name a few). David and Susan and I had already shared a chuckle at what a great moment it was to look down and see our sons sharing a hymnal. Partly because it was moving to see the next generation worship together just like we have for so long, and partly because neither one of them hardly knew what a hymnal was.

Anyway, back to looking down at the front row. I'm having my moment in this song...and frankly, I have heard this song about 514 too many times in my life, and was shocked to be having this moment. But it serves me right. How dare we think that we are ever beyond being reached by WHATEVER song or WHATEVER message or WHATEVER He wants to use to speak to us. It's time for us to get over our "sophistication."

OK. Again...back to looking down at the front row. I'm having my moment in this song. My eyes lock with Jack's eyes. He has obviously been waiting for me to look down at him. He had that expectant look on his face, and a happy and peaceful grin a mile wide that I won't forget as long as I live. He raised his arm up in front of him almost at face level, pointed to his arm, and mouthed to me, "Chills! I got chills!"

No frills. No graphics. No monitors or drums or electric guitars. Just people. And the presence of God.

73 comments:

Lisa said...

Priceless! The sweet presence of the Lord in the otherwise ordinary. Love it!
Blessings ~ Lisa

ocean mommy said...

"It's time for us to get over our "sophistication."

Yes it is. Powerful words there.

Thanks for being so tender to the spirit during worship last weekend. (in memphis) It was a "chills" moment for many of us.

Blessings,
stephanie

lori555grace said...

thanks Cottrell Travis! Kirk Franklin is on twitter @KirkFranklin love his music arrangements & yours! So gld the body of Christ is so diversified! take care of those little ones!

Jami said...

what a sweet, sweet post.
I got chills reading it!

Mela Kamin said...

WOW - now I've got chills AND tears.

"How dare we think that we are ever beyond being reached by WHATEVER song or WHATEVER message or WHATEVER He wants to use to speak to us. It's time for us to get over our "sophistication." - that is just so brilliant I can't even tell you - all I can say is - AMEN!

Bless you for using your gifts in WHATEVER way you are called.

creative gal said...

Beautiful! Simply Beautiful! God doesn't need new songs, or new ideas to get our attention. . . He can use many things to delight his children. . .

Melinda said...

I'm in love with this story.

And with chills in simple moments.

And with God.

fuzzytop said...

Wow! So cool that Jack knew getting chills is something special.

I loved the sophistication of the praise and worship at Memphis LPL; my feelings overwhelmed me several times. But then yesterday at the end of our church service with ~100 people, we all stood, joined hands and sang acapella, "We are your church, Lord, guided by Your hand..." It was good.

Thanks!
Adrienne

eleanor@ gottawearshades said...

Tears! I've got tears!

Eleanor Dixon
Vero Beach, FL

Kelly @ Love Well said...

This just made me smile a mile wide. (And it's snowing today, outside my window, so you know that's the Spirit moving.)

How beautiful it is to see the work of God in our children's lives. He is so faithful.

teresa said...

I shared the chills in Memphis with many many others at the LPL event. Praise you, Lord, for moving us spiritually, mentally, musically, visually, emotionally and sweetly through Travis and Beth and the team.

The precious story today has so confirmed the Holy Spirit's touch on our lives, to remind us He's there.

Thank you, Travis, for your open and sincere love for your Lord.

Alex and Jill said...

This story brought me to tears!

Amanda said...

Awesome. Love that kid!

Daniel Semsen said...

oooooooooo that IS good.

CAROL LIVIN FOR GOD said...

The presence of the Lord how good can it get thank you for sharing with this seista I needed to hear that and for me that would be to be quiet before the Lord and let the Lord speak to you and sometimes it is a song that just washs me and ushers me in the presence of the Lord.
Thanks brother
Have a great day
Carol albuquerque nm

Phillip & Yolanda said...

WOW!

Phillip & Yolanda said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
lavonda said...

Oh I LOVE this. How grateful your heart must be to watch your children fall in love with Jesus!

My (almost 9 yr old) Emily has begged for a year to go to LPL with me, so I took her to Memphis. Fri night during praise and worship, I opened my eyes and looked down at her and there she was singing loudly with both arms raised in praise. I couldn't stop the tears... my heart was overwhelmed with gratefulness.

She told me later, "Mama, I was singing and I felt so close to Jesus that I wanted to try raising my arms to Him. It felt really good!"

I don't remember that last song you led us in Fri night before Beth spoke, but my little girl felt so close to Jesus she raised her arms in praise to Him for the first time in her life during it.

My heart is so full. And grateful...

Mary R Snyder said...

Thank you for reminding me that I need to get over myself -- more times than I care to count.
It isn't about the stuff and it is about the people!

Thanks for allowing God to use you to minister to all of us at LPL Memphis. Hope our 6th floor fellowship didn't keep you up too late.

Sue SMITH said...

I just loved reading every word of this. (You ever think about writing a book?) It is truly amazing and humbling when your children begin to own their own faith.

De Anna Morris said...

WOW! I had chills at the anticipation of what I thought you were going to say and then you hit me with it....

What a privilege to see our children worship God for themselves...it is icing on the cake when they share that with us!!!

Continue on, my fiend!

Donna @ Way More Homemade said...

And tears... I have tears. Amen.

Dedra said...

Sweet sharing. No words. Thank you for allowing my girls and I to have that same experience this weekend. Standing between them worshiping right along side them... tears/humbled/grateful. Nothing better than just His Word and His Presence. So true.

Much love from us,
Dedra

Susan said...

What an awesome moment in his life... and yours! You are such a blessing to me. You are always so in-tune with His spirit. This story gave me chills and smiles. Thanks for sharing your stories with us!

Shelly said...

And I think I've heard it 515 times too many....

Stank-a-fied. Conviction...

pinkmommy said...

What a precious moment to share with your firstborn!

I got millions of chills this weekend in Memphis! I've been singing of my Redeemer ever since!

Tamara said...

Awesome!

Lisa said...

Now I have chills!!! Just like I got when you and the worship team sang "In Christ Alone" at LPL Pittsburgh. And just like I get every time I hear "Be Thou My Vision" -- or even think about it! My all time favorite hymn. I have the lyrics framed on the wall.

Blessings, and many thanks for the servant's hearts you and your precious family possess!

Lisa

Three Fold Cord said...

What a HUGE answer to prayer for a Dad who has desired His children to experience the Lord. I am so encouraged by your stories about your kids. Mine are still so young and I look forward to these "chill" moments.
Charlotte

Darla said...

You just wrote your best post ever. Sweet words. Sweet son.

HisTreasuredPossession said...

I cannont WAIT for my kids to experience that! So encouraging Travis!

And like the others, OH MY over this weekend. so many times, I got chill bumps and just wept over how I was moved by the Lord. It was my first Live event and how special!! (I got to meet the married couple on your Praise team in the elevator at the hotel - Nivra? plain. sweetness. right. there!)

rest well! So grateful to you!
hugs,
rachel

Leah said...

How wonderful that your precious son got to experience Holy Spirit's nudging through song right there in that moment. Awesome!!

Leah

doo-dah said...

I think this is the sweetest story. Memphis LPL was my first to attend and it was awesome. I asked God to show me favor and allow me to listen to you sing In Christ Alone. What a blessing!!

Fran said...

Wow. Tears. Beautiful.

b.rizzle said...

Wow. That's a moment every passionate worshipper of God longs to see. The moment their child connects with God in worship.

tejasfan said...

I so loved this!!! Spoke right to this momma's heart. - Carol

NikkiPoppins said...

Tearing up over here...so true! Love that you took the kids to a homecoming! I grew up going to those and always enjoyed the singing because it was always a lot of older hymns and there is just something about older people singing older hymns...always melts my heart! They sing them with such emotion!

Thanks for leading us in wonderful woship this weekend in Memphis! Once again, you totally amaze me with you skillz of putting songs together. God has blessed you some amazing gifts and talents! Thank you for using them and leading us!

Loved the gospel quartet! I had no idea you could hit notes that low, mister!!

Nikki

Mrs. Oyler said...

...and that just gave me chills!!! Thank you for a wonderful worship experience in Memphis... Anytime I need "those chills" I just pull up "In Christ Alone" by you (the live version) and relive all those moments at Living Proof Live... Thank you for sharing....

Janet Roller said...

Ok. Now I have chills. Thanks for sharing this precious moment between The Father, a father and his son.
Janet Roller

Sharron said...

What a WOW moment. This is so sweet. Thanks for sharing. And, yes, awesome weekend in Memphis. I was there on the front row and loved it. Your song selections gave me chills especially when it went directly right with the scriptue and topics Beth chose.
An annointed weekend!
Thank you Trav for being faithful.

Sharron in Hartselle , Al.

Traveler said...

I got chills too, reading your story. Thanks.

Deirdre said...

amen.

unrelated, but one of the BEST concerts I ever went to was two performers, and their guitars. No band, nothing fancy. Just them and the music. Think how much better it would have been if it had been for God.

So glad you had that moment with your son.

jennyhope said...

I love it I love it!
Good seeing everyone in Memphis!

Sharon said...

Thanks for sharing such a sweet and personal story. How very true that we need to experience God in the simple and ordinary, He is all around us and no better time of year than the seasons changing to witness that! Thanks for serving God with such a sweet, sincere spirit.

Deborah said...

What at tender precious moment with your son. It will last both of you a lifetime...

amatogirl said...

This just makes me want to say...I Love Jesus!!

Hall Family in MD said...

Reading your entry gave me chills.

Daughter of the King said...

Precious lesson story!

Julie Haley said...

I can say I felt the same thing Beth sing that song Sunday. When I first heard we were singing it with the choir I thought," Okay,,, oldie, goldie." I was so touched by the sweet presence of the Lord and how attentive my own kids were to the song. It is amazing God uses the simple to speak to our heart and to remind us of His sweet mercies.
It was great to finally meet you Travis, after hearing your name since the late 80's. My kids loved being with your kids for a great game of hiding seek in the old church.
May God continue to richly bless your ministry of leading people to the throne of mercy and grace.
Julie Haley(Witness 87)

Laura said...

Don't you just love how God works!!

Kristie said...

I read the title, and I was just sure I was gonna open up to a video with Lily Kate doing her best Sandra Dee impression. :)

'Round these parts, those "chills" are often referred to as "God-bumps." But yes, that's a super post! I've had that "what's that book there for?" moment with my kids, too--last time we visited the church I grew up in for a special service. Good times!

calista said...

Tears, I've got tears.....thanks for sharing!(And LPL in Memphis was AWESOME)

Joli said...

Precious Travis
Amazing moments with our Lord and with our children, cannot be surpassed. And Yes, Yes, and Yes to Kirk Franklin being the "go to". Our kids could have a dance off as many times as they have participated in our praise.
Joli

Adam said...

here i thought this was gonna be a awesome post about the musical GREASE....but actually it was way better than that.

Great post.

Leann said...

Thank you for sharing that...I needed to hear it:)

TanIn in Alabama said...

It is always good when God uses a "worn out" song to bless.

So loved worship in Memphis.

Blessed!

Lindsey said...

That is the sweetest thing I have heard! I needed that story to start my morning!

Sisters said...

That was good. Really good.
Thank You!
Julie

connorcolesmom said...

Oh my the visual of your son showing you his chills just made me cry - that is priceless!!

And I agree with Ocean Mommy - Steph - thank you for everything this weekend!! my favorite parts were your words right before intermission and the Southern Gospel Quartet - Loved it!!

Sorry we did not invite you to the pizza party
We actually went way to the other end of the hall to make sure we did not disturb you :)

God bless
Kim

Anonymous said...

I am a reader of your blog, but never a commenter. Sad, but true. :)
Several months ago I bought one of your worship CDs, and we have worn it out! I want to thank you for it. Lately I've been in a rough season(nothing huge...it just feels huge to me) so I often turn it on, and my kids and I SING. We jump up and down, raise the hands and get chills. It turns our house into a house of worship. It is suddenly much easier to think on the unseen vs. the seen. Thank you so very much for being obedient. It is affecting my life and I am grateful.

Susan

ThirtysomethingMom said...

Love this!!! Just love it!! Thanks for sharing this!

Blessings,
Mary H.

Bridgette Jencks said...

Awesome! Few things outweigh the blessing that comes when our children praise the Lord and are moved by HIM! Awesome!

tiggerdaisy said...

How Sweet it is! :)

Prayers and blessings,
Rebecca

Cynda P said...

I got chills reading this! Praise the Lord for His marvelous works1

Terri_in_Alabama said...

What a sweet post!!

Casey and Michael said...

AWESOME. I cant wait for that moment with Trathan.

laura said...

How precious...what a sweet, unforgettable moment to share with your son. Great words, Travis...God is so good!

Lindsee said...

I just got chills. And tears.

Thank you for sharing that tender moment with us!

Anonymous said...

I LOVE that!! I love your worship music with my my whole heart, you are my favorite, your songs give me chills! But I go to a church where there is no music allowed in the auditorium (C of C):) anyway it really is some of the most beautiful worshiping ever! The song that always gets me is...Holy Lord most Holy Lord you alone are worthy of my praise o Holy Lord........well you probably know it!! Thanks for the reminder that we don't always have to have all the frills to to get the chills!!!

Kelly S. said...

What a powerful story...thanks for sharing. And what a sweet moment with your son :) We just got back from vacation and I cherished every moment of quality time with my family....
ps. my girls drove us crazy wanting to hear "Our Song" the entire trip....my 8 year old was also looking for the video camera!!!

Lora said...

Precious!

Anonymous said...

I am in awe daily of how God moves me and those around me. While reading this I thought of the many times my 2 and 5 year old boys say to me, "Mommy, is God going to bring tears to you again with this song?" Since I was a little girl God has always spoken to me through music and it is so precious to see my boys experiencing those moments and getting to see God doing amazing things in them. Thank you for being who God wants you to be and for sharing the talent He gave you with us! - Christine

Alisa said...

Incredible choice of words. I am still in awe - the LORD just has HIS way now, doesn't HE?! Praise you Jesus. . . Thank you for posting this - my heart so needed this tonight!I can so identify - chills run in my family too!! :0)