Joshua Swanson: Welcome to The Walk; a devotionals podcast led by worship leaders. In this episode, Jason Clayborn talks about the anointing and how being close to greatness can reveal God. Here we go.
Jason Clayborn: A lot of times you do not realize how close to greatness you are, and a lot of times you, the enemy will try to throw blockades in your way and um, will try to stop you from getting to that greatness. I was cutting grass at my great-grandfather’s house. You know, they lived on a farm and so there were a lot of acres to cut.
He had this one little John Deere and took a whole day to cut it. But, when you got into the back part of the farm, uh, I used to always keep hitting a golf ball. And so one day I saw who was actually hitting the golf balls in the backyard, and as a 15, 16-year-old boy, I went up to the house boldly and knocked on the door next door and I said, “hey sir, listen, can you stop knocking these golf balls in the backyard? You messing up my lawnmower.” And a little black guy with a little fro came to the door and said, “man, I’m sorry man. Tell uh, Mr. Westfield, I’m sorry, I’m not trying to mess up his lawn mower. And uh, you know, just tell him I’m sorry. If there’s any damage, I’ll take care of it.”
About seven or eight years later, I was watching TV, and back in the day, they used to put those infomercials on with Alvin Slaughter and Ron Cannoli and all of them, uh, on tv.
And then the next guy popped up and I was like, “Yo, that’s the dude that was knocking golf balls in my backyard. And it just so happened to be Larnelle Harris. And I will never forget that moment when my mouth hit the floor and I was just like, Wow. And this dude, I, I did my study in years on down the line to, to not realize that I was that close to one of the top worship leaders in Christian music and never knew it.
And God told me at that moment, you did not know how close to greatness you were, and he was teaching me something in that moment to tell me, “continue to focus and continue to grow your relationship with me.” Because at the end of the day, he says, “he’s a rewarder of them to diligently seek him.” And I was learning through that time and through that timeframe of my life that God had a calling on my life and that God had something special for me to do.
A lot of people would come to me and say, “Man, there’s something special, man, God. God has something special for you. And something, there’s something different that it’s not just a gift, but there is an anointing on your life.” And at that time, I didn’t realize what that was, “anointing.” What is that word?
It sounds like an incredible word for somebody to say it’s on your life is incredible. It doesn’t sound like a disease or something that’s on your life. Um, and I was like, “Well, cool. I wanna know more about this anointing and what it is.” Years later, the pastors that were over us at that time, uh, where my mom was the Minister of Music, uh, were teaching about the anointing and teaching about entering into his presence and into the Holy of Holies and what it cost to the sacrifice and how they gave them specific instructions and the Bible to make the anointing all, and not to go a little bit over, not to go a little bit under. And do write what it said. And there’s an obedience behind that, uh, which helped bring about the anointing and helped, uh, um, um, cultivate that anointing. And it took time for me to learn about that and took time for me to, um, uh, grow into that and develop that in process. I, back in the day, I thought it was just the gift.
Because the word talks about the gift comes without repentance. So I was like, Oh yeah, everybody loves the gift. Everybody loves the gift. But I knew that there was something else that people were intrigued by on top of the gift, and I wanted to learn about that. I wanted to grow into that. I wanted to know more about what it meant, you know, to be uh, anointed. What it meant to be, uh, a servant. And, uh, God was teaching me in that moment. And are, are you as, uh, a believer and as a worship leader, are you taking that time to, to understand that, you know, don’t get so caught up on the gift. You know, I remember I’ll never forget Ron Cannoli, uh, I went, uh, was about to do a tour with him, and I went in and being from the gospel world, uh, as a, as a, a black worship leader, I thought that he would be intrigued by all of the riffs and the runs and the different techniques that I had learned through the years, and I’ll never forget, he stopped me, “Said, Hey, hey, stop, stop, stop, stop. Just sing it regular. Sing it plain.” And I started crying, man. I, and I’m a grown man, 27, 28 years old, like, “Man, how’s this man gonna tell me how to, how to sing my song?” And he said, “Just sing it plain man.” And I started singing, man, and he welted up with tears in his eyes and he said, “That’s where the anointing is. It’s not in the acrobats, it’s in your walk. It’s, I, I can hear it in the passion in what you’ve been through”
And I wanted to learn more about that. I wanted to learn more about what it means to build a relationship with him, what it means to get closer to him, what it means. And that is very, very important in your walk with God, in your walk as a worship leader, in your walk in church, as, as a singer. As as being, you know, I feel like a lot of times you, you know, those that are singing and leading forget that also to those that are staying behind you are Levites. Um, they’re a part of that Levitical priesthood and learning about that and growing into that, it, it’s a process and it takes time, uh, to learn about that and to get to those moments and seasons in life where you appreciate the fact that God is using you.
Joshua Swanson: In the second half of this episode, Jason touches on how to get out of the way so that God can work through you.
But first, I had a great conversation with Aaron Stewart, the co-founder of Planning Center and the sponsor of today’s episode.
Aaron Stewart: We started Planning Center to solve a need in our own church. And we wanted to keep focused on solving things we cared about and that we felt like we had solutions for and at the beginning it was worship teams. As time went on, we saw a lot more areas in the church that could use our help that we gained new passions. And so we developed products to help people give, to connect the small groups, to register for events to maintain their entire church calendar. And now we’re an entire church management system that can make sure that all of that administration from your church happens in one central place.
Joshua Swanson: Since so many of us use Planning Center to plan out our worship services, I asked Aaron, what are some of the other features that our audience should know about?
Aaron Stewart: Our People Membership Database is especially helpful to make sure that none of the people fall through the cracks, and there are lots of features to make sure that you know what’s happening in your church so that you can prevent that and reach out to people.
The second part is our group’s product, which keeps anybody in small groups or other types of groups, not only connected with each other by being able to have like a chat app on their phone, but also to make sure that they’re connected with the church as well.
Joshua Swanson: And then, finally, I asked them about some of the great stories of people using Planning Center and, and being blessed by it.
Aaron Stewart: The types of stories that I especially love hearing are from people who are bi-vocational. They have a different job and are trying to help out their church in whatever ways they can and being able to use software that they can get on their phone or from their work or from, um, from home that helps them organize the church and helps make sure that they’re following up on the people that they care about at church, um, is one of the things that I love that Planning Center empowers anybody to be able to do.
Joshua Swanson: We’ll put the link in the show notes, but of course you can head over to www.planningcenter.com to check out more. And thanks again, Aaron, for your time. Okay, back to Jason.
Jason Clayborn: Proverbs 20:12 says, “Ears that hear and eyes that see, the Lord has made them both.”
Let’s sit there for a minute. Uh, you gotta realize and know that the Lord is in control and that he made the ear gates, he made the eye gates and understand that he’s in control of those things. And then Psalms 98:1 says, “Sing to the Lord a new song for he has done marvelous things. His right hand and his holy arm have worked salvation for him.”
Are we listening to what the Lord is singing and saying through us, and are we allowing him to cultivate us how he wants to cultivate us in this work and in this walk as worship leaders? We have to be comfortable with that. We have to know that through all of the techniques and through all of the things that we try to do, vocal acrobatics, that none of that matters if we’re not seeking him, if we’re not allowing him to use us, yielding ourselves to him, you know, allowing him to move through us, allowing him to sing through us. And a lot of times we can get caught up in wanting to be the best, uh, that we forget a lot of times that we have to allow him to use us.
So, what I do on a daily basis that allows me to get myself out of the way and allow him to use me is I take that personal time when nobody is around; I put on a worship playlist. I lay out before the Lord and I just allow him to speak to me. Even if he doesn’t say something, he’s still speaking and I get myself in a posture of worship and praise, and I just thank him and, I work on that relationship with him on a regular basis.
I spend time in my Word. You know, I shut down the social media. I shut down Facebook, Instagram, and all of that, and I take time and I say, “God, you know what this is? This is me and you. What’s up? What you wanna say to me today?” And I talk to him like he’s my boy. I talk to him like he’s my friend. I talk to him like he’s sitting right next to me. Sometimes he speaks, Sometimes he says something. Sometimes he says, “Hey, I want you to do this.” Sometimes he’ll show me or he’ll show you what he wants you to do. And sometimes even in the stillness, he won’t say anything, but a lot of times he’s real loud when he’s quiet.
And that’s very, very important to pay attention to that, when God ain’t speaking that in that stillness, he’s still loud. Appreciate those moments. Appreciate that personal time that you get to spend with him, because in those personal times when you get back on the stage, people will see. People will see, that overflow of worship and praise because they’ll say, “Well, something’s different. Something different here. Something different about him. Something different about her.” And it’s the fact that you are taking time out to spend time with him outside of the Wednesdays and the Tuesday rehearsals, and the Thursday rehearsals, and the Bible studies on Wednesday night and the Sunday morning services and the Sunday evening services, and the 12 services that you have on the weekend.
Take that personal time to spend with him, and I promise you, as you develop that your anointing will increase. Your relationship with him will increase and that will happen when you hit the stage, the overflow will happen.
I want to encourage you out there, you know, a lot of times us as worship leaders, we are giving and just always, always pouring out and you feel at times that you’re not replenished or that you haven’t had time to replenish yourself cuz you right back at work and you right back at getting the next song together and getting the next piece together to present to lead the people in worship.
I want to encourage you that, that personal time is important. Allow God to refuel you, revive you. Spend that personal revival time with the Lord and it’ll help you through your daily walk. It’ll help you, um, uh, in, in your, in your time when you get ready to get up and lead worship.
LeBron James before he plays a game he sleeps 12 hours and then after he practices, he goes back and he sleeps another three or four hours before the game starts. And to understand that rest is important to help you win the bigger game and win the bigger picture, which is winning souls for the kingdom. So really take that time to rest. Really take that time to spend with God and that’s where your rejuvenation will happen, so that you can continue to be the Levite that God has called you to be.
Joshua Swanson: What a great word from Jason, and I just love his heart so much. Jason actually did an amazing collaboration with Stephen Mcwhirter. On a song called Rapha, which we played in a previous episode. So, check out that episode with Stephen Mcwhirter for sure.
To play out this episode, we chose a song that Jason did alongside the Atmosphere Changers called Praise Belongs to You.
As always, special thanks to Matt McCartie for producing and editing today’s episode. Jacob Fairclough produced our theme song. The Walk is brought to you by Worship Leader Magazine, which is an Authentic Media brand. I’m Joshua Swanson. Here’s Praise Belongs to You.