Category Archives: technique
“Once you eliminate the impossible, whatever remains, no matter how improbable, must be the truth.” – Arthur Conan Doyle, Sr. (Scottish writer, creator of the detective Sherlock Holmes, 1859-1930)
Doyle was on to something. Something that I should know by now and yet it evades me is to methodically search out a thing sometimes when the pressure is on.
We recently had a run-in with a SQL script that was not behaving as it should. But we didn’t know that, what we knew is that records had disappeared. No trace that we could see immediately.
We looked for them and thought maybe there was some sort of deletion done intentionally by users. Nope. Corruption? Not likely – Other functions and data were fine. Then we looked at the most obvious script that could have caused the issue. It looked like there were improvements that could be made to the script, however, it looked impossible that it could actually perform the delete we were suspicious of without making a copy of them prior to the delete. This was a correct assumption, however, I continued to try and prove it wrong.
The simpler and more logical approach would have been to get a list of all of the scripts that would ever do a delete and see if any of them had the possibility of causing the issue. I had actually suggested this and then got stuck on this one.
The problem turned out to be a companion script that usually only copied out records to archive them after they were 90 days old. It has been in production for years running just as it does today. It can’t be that…?
Well the script happened to convert a date after subtracting 90 days from it into a string. This would be all well and fine if the string was in year/month/day order, but it was instead in mm/dd/yyyy order. So when it came to comparing to see if a record was old enough to be archived, and it compared the month of January 4th, 2011 (01/04/2011) to October 7th, 2010 (10/07/2010), it actually only looked at the first character to determine that the date starting with “01” was less than the one starting with “10”. So it archived the record, causing us a bit of a panic.
Doyle also said: “There is nothing as deceptive as an obvious fact.” Likewise, this eluded us. I spent a lot of time trying to see if a long shot was the trouble, when all along it was an obvious fact sitting right beside me.
It is worth it to take a breath and assess an emergency situation before running headlong into what you think may be a solution. A thorough assessment would have saved us an evening of trouble. Hopefully I remember this next time.
I finally got it done. It is still rough, but also feels somewhat exposed which I am OK with. Just another echo of who I am before God. I stuck it in this player. It is called Light In Darkness. It is on my website at:
Ryan Delmore recently wrote a song included on his new CD “The Spirit the Water and the Blood.” The song is called “Falling Down.” It was in response to issues some friends had. So often our writing has this sort of personal value. When we are able to capture in musical essence a hurdle that people in our congregation are facing, it brings a much-needed outlet.
I once was talking with various members of a congregation I led worship for and shared that I would welcome their input. While I was sharing that I said, “I don’t want to always tell you what to do.” To my surprise one of them said “I like that you tell us what to do.”
Some people have a great idea of what to do and how to worship, but some need help to express the things in their heart. It is our privilege and responsibility to find out what God is saying through scripture and song and bring it as a servant as an offering that all can participate meaningfully in.
This is no small task, and when you add to that the expectation that you need to cover folks who may be visiting and may not “get” worship at all, the task becomes impossible to do without seeking guidance from God so that you go in the right direction.
Ryan’s song has the chorus “and I’m falling down…” it’s the response to God when we are faced with a situation and He’s the only one who can give us what we need. May we fall down before the One who can shed light on the next worship set, our life decisions, and our most passion driven dreams.
In Dan’s video  and the article linked above, Dan speaks of the Worship Artisan and proposes definitions and guidelines for becoming and being a worship artisan.
The immediate thought I came to was that often artisan and journeyman are used in the world of craftsmen. This immediately got my attention and gave me a new scope of measurement of where I was at as a worship leader.
In the Medieval times, there were guilds for various crafts. These guilds had positions within their craft of Apprentice, Journeyman, and master.
The apprenticeship makes a commitment to serve the master craftsman, traditionally a live-in position. They serve for a term of three to seven years. Then with the master’s approval, they become a journeyman (you can find a bit more information on a journeyman here). The journeyman can then work for any master craftsman who will have them.
A journeyman cannot have apprentices working for him. It is not until he has served as a journeyman and brings his work to the guild for approval that he can become a master.
I would guess that many today would consider the worship music industry to be the “guild” of our time, but if you applied this idea to the “profession” of a worship artisan, as someone trying to attain artisan status, you could derive several parallels:
1. At some point we are all apprentices. At some point, we decide we want to lead worship and learn the skills to do it. We become an apprentice of Jesus, and we need to stay close (live with Him) to get to know Him. This time is essential and cannot be bypassed. We also likely apprentice under another worship leader or pastor.
2. Once we have spent some time with our Master, and possibly under the guidance of some artisans, we will eventually graduate to become journeymen, able to be given a task and perform it on our own, but continuing under the covering of a master, and The Master.
3. Some will then gain master status, although for many it is not because of their maturity, but from a hit record. This puts them in the place of a master in that they are a craftsman unto themselves, and can work independently of another master. While some do this successfully, I believe the best worship artisans, the true masters, are accountable to others, and always subject to their One Master.
Someone once told me that to be a good leader you should always have a Paul (Father / Mentor), always have a Timothy (Son / Apprentice / someone to Mentor), and always have a Barnabus (peer / friend) in your life.
I feel this describes much of the place a true artisan would be in. If he is being mentored, he acknowledges that he is still growing. If he is mentoring, he must keep his own art sharp and fresh so that it can be passed on. If he is accountable to a peer, he has a lifeline that will help him remember his life song when he has himself maybe forgotten the words.
So I hope that as a journeyman and continued apprentice of Jesus and a servant to my Father, the ultimate Master, that I will finish a craftsman held in good esteem by the guild, and be a true artisan. Knowing my craft, my Master’s ways, and that my tools will be found well used and put to good use when I lay them down.
Some of the info on the Medieval guild system I got from this website: http://web.nickshanks.com/history/medieval/careers 
1. Wilt, Dan The Rise Of The Worship Artisan (audio track)
2. Jariwala, Nikhil Medieval Economy – Professions