Yesterday, we had our Company Advent Break, an advanced fellowship, mini-retreat, and celebration for the upcoming Christmas season (which in the Philippines unofficially starts when the months end in “ber”). Our finale activity was to attend the inspirational Don Moen concert at CCF Center, Pasig. I was immensely blessed to attend last year’s concert and I wanted to share the experience with my staff.
On the hike up from Tiendesitas after our dinner, I told my accountant, Ann, “I hope I could interview Don Moen.” Her eyes widened and said, “That would be so nice!” I replied to her, “If it’s God’s will, He will make a way.”
After I saw my team to their seats, I met up with my friend Malu and I told her the same thing. From the distance, Malu saw Ate Wilma Zetazate, a dear sister in the faith who turns out to be with Ovation Productions, the company that brought in the Don Moen Manila concert tour! Long story short, Malu and I found ourselves tailing after Ate Wilma and before we know it, the towering Don Moen is in front of me and I’m interviewing him for BITS readers! So here I am sharing that interview:
DON MOEN (DM): The one thing I always like to bring with my music is the word HOPE. I like to bring hope to people. A lot of people have given up on life. They found themselves in difficult circumstances and a lot of it is not because of their fault.
They’ve lost a job or a spouse or a loved one, a doctor’s report. Any one of these things can rock your world. One week everything’s fine, the next week, everything is crazy. You don’t know how to worship God anymore… I think that’s what encompasses the title of this tour called God Will Make a Way. I want people to know that even when things may look dark and dismal and discouraging, that even today, God is working in ways they can’t see. That should bring hope to people that have lost hope. My prayer is that whatever I do, wherever I go that people will walk out of the event with the will to live another day. Some people wanna give up on life ’cause it’s just too hard…they’ve been through a divorce, they’ve been through a lot of hurt and they just think it’s not worth it. I want them to know,
“Don’t give up on life. God hasn’t given up on you. Just believe that even at this moment, God is working in ways you can’t see.”
BITS: With the number of years you’ve worked, how do you sustain your own fire for the Lord?
DM: I think it’s a daily process, I mean, you can’t live on past experiences. Every day has to be fresh. Every time we come together to worship the Lord, it has to be fresh. That has to do with just communicating with God during the day, always within my spirit praying; any spare moment I have, I try to offer up prayers. While driving in my car, perfect place in Manila traffic. Keep your spirit right, communicate to the Father. And try to read the Bible, keep putting the Word into your heart. That’s the only way to keep it fresh.
I’ll notice that if I start getting off-balance and my life gets a little bit awkward, usually it’s because i’m not spending enough time in the Word and in prayer. And in this busy life, it’s hard to make time for that sometimes and before you know it, between emails and cell phones and text messaging, your day is gone and you haven’t spent time with the Lord.
BITS: So how do you discipline yourself, for example, these next few days you have one (concert) every night?
DM: Yeah, it’s brutal, these next three or four days… I was just coming here tonight and my sound engineer’s wife is head of our (core) intercessor team. They’re interceding for us today. I have several thousand people that are praying for us as well. In days when it gets this busy our lobby calls are gonna be 4:30 in the morning, I’m not gonna get up at 2:30 and pray. My focus in the next four days is just to get as much rest as much as possible, stay healthy, and count on the fact that there are people praying, carrying us through these days. And of course, we’ll have prayer before we go on the stage, obviously… I think God knows there are days when we are busy. And when life gets so extremely busy, with little children and jobs and everything. Sometimes you’re not gonna have time to forsake your family or your husband or your wife and just say, “I’m not gonna deal with that, I’m gonna spend time with the Lord. I think the Lord knows that you have little children and a spouse. And I think sometimes the best worship we can give to the Lord is serving our children, serving our spouse. That’s worship as well.
Worship is more than the songs we sing. It’s part of what we do but worship is a 24/7 lifestyle of worship, how you live your life with your co-workers, with your fellow students, with your friends, with your family and oh, btw, we also offer up songs of praise. It needs to come from a … disciplined life of worship.
Anyway, back to your question, the next four days are gonna be crazy and I’m relying on a lot of the prayers of other people. Coming over here tonight, I said to the band, “I’m glad our intercessors are praying, ’cause we need the prayer to just get us through these first few days.
BITS: Filipinos are very fond of music. What do you think of music that’s not exactly Christian?
DM: I love all kinds of music. For many, many years, I played in symphonies and ballets and operas, I was violinist; that’s all I did. I didn’t understand at that young age that anything we do musically, we can offer up in praise to God. There are working musicians who work in the secular field. I have some very good friends; it’s no different than being a banker or a lawyer or a CEO of a company. You can’t pick and choose what people come into your restaurant, your catering business. Wherever we are, we have to let our light shine. And if you’re a professional musician, there are gonna be days that you’re gonna do a lot of secular things. You don’t have to pick everything.
Let the Holy Spirit guide and lead you and say, “Is this something that I’m supposed to do?” And if that’s the case, do it with your whole heart and let your light shine.
I have this gal singing with me tonight for the first time, Cindy Walker. She’s sung on probably fifty platinum country music records… (with) Randy Travis, Garth Brooks, Alabama. You name it, she’s sung on them and traveled with them. I was just asking her about this one artist if she was a believer. She goes, “No, not yet, but I’m letting my light shine and I’m living my life in front of her.” I think that’s what we do no matter what our business is whether it’s your catering business, your restaurant or a musician. You let your light shine wherever it is. I wrote jingles for many years and I prayed really hard about writing jingles. I prayed to the Lord to give me the right song,the right melody, the right words.
Use your gift wherever you can use it and let your light shine.
BITS: And you’re still glorifying God?
DM: I believe so, yeah. If you make it your intention.
I think that’s the key… to understand that you need to glorify God and if you’re doing something that you can not really give God glory in that situation then you better leave, not do that show, not do that situation. Wherever we are and whatever we do, we’re supposed to offer up praise and worship to God through our gifts.
BITS: Can you invite the people who are going be in the places you are visiting in the next few days?
DM: Here we are in the Philippines… finally and we’re here in Manila tonight. Tomorrow night we’re in Cebu at the Waterfront, and we go to one of my favorite cities in the Philippines, Bacolod, the City of Smiles. I love Bacolod. I think we are at La Salle Auditorium there. I’ve got lots of great friends in Bacolod and then we go to Cagayan de Oro for a final concert. I think that’s Sunday night. And then we’re on our way to Thailand and Malaysia but I’m looking forward to visiting your city. I’m sorry it’s such a short visit but we come as often as we can and I wanna thank all my Filipino friends no matter where I go in the world, the Middle East, Europe, Africa, Canada, United States, I have Filipino friends that come and support me and they pray for me and I wanna say from my heart [gesturing his hand to his heart] a big thank you. God bless
BITS: Where can you get concert info?
DM: You can go to my website, www.donmoen.com/tour, and find out all the places we’re singing all over the world; if you wanna join our prayer team, you can also go to http://www.donmoen.com… and find out all that’s going on at our website. And if you wanna be a Facebook friend, you gotta be careful which Facebook you go to because I have lots of Don Moen wannabe’s out there [grinning] and the first thing we do in the office everyday is delete all the Don Moen people, they put my picture up and say, “I’m Don Moen.” Don Moen Praise and Worship Leader, that is the one you wanna go to for Facebook. God bless.
As Malu and I walk back to our seats, we were one in thinking, “Nangyari ba yon? (Did that happen?)” I have Don’s God is For Us album on my iphone playlist. I have his online Worship Seminar for worship leaders. I can’t count how many times I’ve blasted “Still” and “Psalm 23” throughout my journey. I have the “Give Thanks” instrumental guitar song at the shop playlist. I feel he’s one of my spiritual fathers.
God does make a way! Thank You for affirming that, Lord! I have to go tell my accountant.
Attending a Don Moen concert is like a personal worship experience between me and God along with others in the crowd. It makes me realize that in the diversity of circumstances we find ourselves in, we are united in our need for God. Don mentioned what I heard from Cindy Soriano that there are three kinds of people: the one who’s in the storm, the one who’s just gotten out of the storm, and the one who’s about to enter into a storm. The songs of thanksgiving, remembering what God has done, praise for who He is, reminders from the Word of the good real things He’s doing beyond what is obvious to us— Don’s music has a great way of putting together in one package… sort of like putting different ingredients that are sweet, icky, ordinary in a recipe and blending them together to come up with a yummy cake.
Sometimes you don’t know the words you want to say to God and a song comes along that take the words right out of your heart and into your ears. Don’s violin playing is also heavenly. Each of the band members was wonderful. There are songs wherein the others are just listening but their contribution is very much part of the whole experience for the audience. (That’s just like the message I gave my staff yesterday!)
Lenny LeBlanc who co-wrote one of my most favoritest worship songs, Above All, sang a number of beautiful songs, too. I wanted to interview him also but it was too close to the start of the concert. Maybe next time, God will make another way.
Here’s a link to the post on last year’s concert that contains more music video previews: