Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Own Up To My Mistake

Sorry I've been spotty lately on the blogs, being sick really through my schedule for a loop.

Anyway, I have emailed a few key people and thought everyone else might like to know, since laughing at people's misfortunes is fun. We've been having some sound problems at NewSong lately and I just haven't been able to find the problem.

Well, God is smarter than I. The other day Taylor asked me a question about the NewSong amps and I found the manual, looked up the info, and while looking saw the schematics of how our amps should be hooked up, and immediately saw that it was different than how we have it now.

That's right, for over four years we have had the amps hooked up wrong. I apologize to everyone on the internet for making Lisa try to work with something not hooked up right. But yes, I messed up.

The good part is, I can fix it. I think too often when we mess up we try to cover it. Instead, let's say "I did this wrong, I will fix it" and move one. It may make life easier...


Monday, February 22, 2010

Is Genius in Front Of You?

I heard a great quote today from Jonathan Swift:

"When a true genius appears in this world, you may know him by this sign, that the dunces are all in confederacy against him." ~ Jonathan Swift, Thoughts on Various Subjects

Basically, if you didn't get that, when someone comes along who is especially great, all the idiots will join together to fight him. So follow the mass of morons and side with the guy they are against.

Really, it's something to think about. When something totally amazing happens, when someone comes in with something amazing, why is it so hard? Is it just so radical? Is it too amazing for us to handle since they are genius? Is it simply we are scared of the change it brings?

And that brings us back to last week, let's not go backward, just forward...


Saturday, February 20, 2010

Don't Put Yourself In That Position

All day Lorie has been enjoying what we call "Momma's Stories", those cheezy Saturday afternoon movies that just make you realize how amazing American Cinema can be.

At the moment she's watching a nice teeny-bopper one. But all those movies fallow the same storyline and we just hit the part that drives me nuts. There is the happy couple that are not yet a couple, they like each other, but there's some other person in the love triangle who is trying to break them up. And inevitably in every movie the good guy/girl who is being manipulated ends up being seen by their true love in a position that they didn't mean. Kissing the other girl, holding onto the other boy, whatever it is. And there begins the next hour of entertainment where the two lovers find out it was a mix-up and who they should really be with.

Here's the part that drives me nuts though. We could skip an hour of this is all the people involved would do one thing: think! There would be no "misunderstanding" if the people involved used their heads and didn't get into that position in the first place. Don't go to lover's lane with your old girlfriend, even if she says it is just to talk. Don't go over to that other boy's bedroom. Just don't do stupid.

I think the reason people relate with these stories is because we've all done it. Been where we shouldn't have been, been seen in a light we didn't mean or was totally out of context. But for our sakes, let's make our personal movies less entertaining and with a lot less effort to dig out of bad situations. Think first and don't be put yourself where something could be misconstrued.

After all, who wakes up in the morning and says, "I could use more drama in my life today. Now how can I do that...?"


Friday, February 19, 2010

Being Sick

So as I am writing this (it was yesterday), I am sick as a dog. Seriously, I sound like death (and I was supposed to sing at NewSong practice that night, yeah, right!)

I hate being sick. I've heard all the stories, it's God's way or our bodies way of saying slow down. The problem is, it happens when I'm most busiest! And I haven't been over exerting myself lately, I just have a lot to do. But here we are, the day before the 30 Hour Famine, and I can barely keep my eyes open. I am so sick I am watching curling and trying to keep up.

So for everyone else under the weather, I support you, I understand, and I'm sorry. Get better soon!


Thursday, February 18, 2010

30 Hour Famine This Weekend

For those that don't know, the Sr. High students are taking part in the 30 Hour Famine this weekend.

Now, for many people that means nothing. So I will explain. The 30 Hour Famine is an international event in which youth groups, school groups, scout groups, etc. take a weekend and starve themselves. They eat no solid food for 30 hours for two reasons. One is to understand what it is like for most of the world's population who do not eat every day, or if they do, only one meal a day. Here we have pantries full of snacks for between meals, we don't really understand hunger. So for the weekend we starve ourselves and talk about world hunger, even taking a few hours to play a game that helps us understand what it's like to carry water miles while hungry. We also eat with either a traditional meal from the country we're focusing on or a meal of what organizations like World Vision give to supply food.

And that's the second reason we do this. The students ask people to sponsor them for starving themselves and raise money for World Vision (you can learn more about them at In previous years we have raised anywhere from $800 - $2300 to help people who were born in to less fortunate areas have a chance to eat, drink clean water, get education, all the things we take for granted.

So if you could please, talk to the students the next time you see them and ask about the experience, how they were able to help, and maybe even what you can do to help in this global campaign.


Monday, February 15, 2010

Hebrew Tenses

I was reading about Hebrew the other day (it was kind of by accident) and I found something very interesting.

Most of us know that in language there are tenses, words that are used to define an action. For most of us, we like to do it in time, the action was completed or will be complete, it was in the past, the present or the future.

In ancient Hebrew, I was reading there are no tenses that define time. There is no past or future tense of a word. There are only two, complete (perfect) and incomplete (imperfect).

It kind of makes you think of the heart of God. Is He more concerned that you get something done right away or that you do it completely/perfectly? Just something to think about...


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Change pt. 3, The Sanctuary

The last one of the series, just something else to think about.

Why do you worship in the place you do? At our church, the service I attend is in the gym. And many people do not attend it because it's in a gym, not the sanctuary and as we all know, God only exists in the sanctuary.

Let's start with the word. Sanctuary means "a sacred or holy place". Now comes the big question. Do we decide what will be holy and tell God to meet us there? I mean, really. We build a church, we make a big room everyone can fit in, write "Sanctuary" on the blueprints and now we know that room will be holy? Or...

Do we meet with God every week together in one place, singing songs of praise to Him, praying together, learning from God's Word together in a certain room and by doing this we have moments in which we experience God's holiness and thereby the place becomes holy? And going with our theme the last few days, because we had a holy experience in that room, does that mean other people will just because we did? Are we forcing others to worship where we did how we did hoping it will rub off on them or are we gearing what we do to focus on the new person and how they can meet with God?

Think of your home. At my house as a kid, my mom prayed every morning in the family room in the basement. For her it was a holy place. For me, it was where I watched TV. No holiness whatsoever. Now, my mother could have forced me to treat it as holy and only pray there too, but she let me find God where I was at. Which do you think would have worked out better?

So if you find God in the Sanctuary, great. But I don't. I have been worshipping in the gym for 4 years. I have been leading students in worship there for almost 6 years. And just because it worked for me doesn't mean it will for someone else. But on the flip side, just because the Sanctuary worked for you doesn't mean it will for someone off the street. Go back to the comfortable thing. You're new, you follow the herd into the biggest room with the instrument playing you never hear, sitting on hard pews only where others say you can sit (because that spot is so-and-so's), the pastors wearing robes (which you see where else in your life?), and if no one says "hi" to you or tries to make you feel welcome, are you going to come back to give this spot a second chance at holiness?

Again, no right answers, this will all be very subjective. The question is what subject are we thinking about, ourselves or someone we want to introduce Christ to...?


Friday, February 12, 2010

Change Pt.2, The Organ

So thinking about my post yesterday and the organ all week (really), I've decided to blend the two to help explain both (sorry if this goes a little long).

A little history with the organ. It was not put into churches hundreds of years ago because it is holy. There are two reasons I can see why the organ entered church. It was loud and it was popular.

The popular music at the time is what we would now call classical. Tons of instruments to play for this type of music. The only problem is volume. You needed something that was loud for hundreds if not thousands of people to hear. A single violin is not that loud, but a symphony is. But there was one instrument that was really loud by itself. The organ. And you can control it's volume by controlling air-flow. That's why a lot of composers used it to accompany vocalists, like Handel and Vivaldi.

Enter the church. We need a loud instrument that can accompany vocalists and be turned down if need be. The organ. It's loud and it's popular. Now realize too, the church was not the only place that jumped on the organ bandwagon. Sporting events, they loved the organ (da da da daaaa da daaaa = "charge!"), Chicago still has an organ where the Blackhawks play (it's electric now). Even with tent revivals for the church 150 years ago, pump organs were loud and somewhat portable, so they were used.

What happened is we made the organ holy. It was a part of services and times of worship where people met with God so thy started to make the organ holy by association. Nowhere did Jesus say the organ is a holy instrument. It's not in the Bible. We decided it was holy because we associated it with holy times.

Fast forward to today. My biggest concern with the church is telling others about Jesus and helping people have a relationship with God, making disciples. Part of that is through worship. Now, Group magazine just did a study and found the number one reason people return to a church after a visit is because they were comfortable. Is the organ comfortable to people who don't have the holy history people that have been in the pews for 40 years do? Not likely, it's uncomfortable probably. Why do I say that?

Look at the reasons the organ entered the church. It's loud. Well, now we have electricity. Sound Systems. We can make anything loud. So let's look at the other criteria. Is it popular? Is it used in popular music and thereby makes people comfortable? I haven't heard the organ played in Starbucks or while shopping in a while, other places that use music to make people comfortable.

So should we get rid of the organ. Possibly. That depends on who is worshipping. If it is meeting the need of leading in worship and helping new people be comfortable, sure. For me, organ music doesn't do it for me. I grew up with Bon Jovi and U2 (which a lot of modern worship music sounds like, connection? Comfortable? People can sing along with worship because they've sang along to Livin' On A Prayer?) All I know is I search for God and bringing Him to people, and sometimes that means doing something different than what worked for me. But I also know my guitar is not holy, it was merely there when something holy happened in my life. Playing it will not recreate that holy moment, but it may be used to lead others into their own holy moments.

No answers, just something to think about. Too often I'm learning people have no idea why they do what they do or even why they believe what they believe. And that scares me...


Thursday, February 11, 2010


Over the past months (maybe even years, I haven't kept track) we have been talking in our church staff meetings about change. It's never easy for people, everyone seems to want to hold on to something special.

I had a thought Sunday while praying. I wonder if it's because we have made things holy by association. I'll explain. At some point many, if not all, people at our church have had a holy moment or spiritual experience with God. And those are great. But I wonder if we start to tie that moment to the things around us. It happened in the sanctuary, so God is only in the sanctuary. It happened while I was sitting in a pew so now I have a special connection to pews. It happened at the 9:45 service so forever I can only go to the 9:45 service. Is getting closer to God like lucky gym socks? Our team won a football game when I wore these socks so for every game from now on I will wear these socks. Do we try and recreate our experience with God with all the little things around us?

What if I were to try and do that with my wife? Our honeymoon was great, so every vacation from now on has to be where we went on our honeymoon. The best conversation we ever had was at this restaurant so from now on whenever we go out to eat, it's only that restaurant (and I need to order the same thing). And what about things that aren't meant to be recreated forever? On our first date I drove my 1994 Toyota Camry. It's long broken down and sold, should I try to get it back and force us to push it or use it somehow on our next date to recreate the magic?

It seems ludicrous, but do we do it with God? Do we take the things around us and try not to change them because in some way changing them makes us lose our grip on that experience with God? The sad part is, by doing so, we probably make sure that God can't move us forward to the new thing He has for us. Maybe that's why Jesus said this to those who wanted to help Him in ministry:

Luke 9:62 ~ Jesus said, “Anyone who begins to plow a field but keeps looking back is of no use in the kingdom of God.” (NCV)

If you plow a field and look back, you don't see where you are going and you end up with a useless not-straight line. I don't know, maybe we need to let go of some things that are our holy lucky charms and try to hold on to Jesus and focus on His ministry instead.


Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Does It Ever Change?

It's funny how being someone who is working at a church of one denomination while holding credentials in another (and my father works at another, and so on) I see how we could do so much working together but at the same time we seem to be so territorial. At one church I worked at the pastor actually told me I could do whatever I wanted with other churches (even in our denomination) as long as the event happened at our church. I mean, really.

But then we go back two thousand years ago to the first church with Jesus.

Luke 9:49 ~ John answered, “Master, we saw someone using your name to force demons out of people. We told him to stop, because he does not belong to our group.” (NCV)

I mean, really! How dare they try to do amazing things for the glory of God somewhere else while we know Jesus is really here with us (so how could He possibly be helping them too?).

Imagine what we could do if after two millennia we shed that idea and worked together...


Tuesday, February 09, 2010

How Do You Not Share?

This weekend at church we are finishing up our series of "Growing As Disciples" with "Witness", the idea of sharing what God has done in your life.

It was funny, just the other day I read the story of Jarius' daughter (it's in Luke 8) where Jesus raises the girl from the dead. There was a little part I had heard and read so many times but didn't put it together.

In the story, the girl dies while Jesus and company are en route to her. When Jesus arrives he tells the mourners in the house not to cry, she's just sleeping. Then Jesus takes only Peter, James, John, Jarius and Jarius' wife into the room with the dead daughter. He raises her from the dead, but then says this:

Luke 8:56 ~ The girl’s parents were amazed, but Jesus told them not to tell anyone what had happened. (NCV)

How do you keep that a secret? How do you not tell people that your daughter is now alive? How do you manage to keep this on the down low with people in the other room mourning? Say thanks and ask them to leave? Do they ask the girl to never leave the house so people don't know she's alive?

So many questions. The funny part is as I type this I think about how I'm asking how on earth you can be silent about what God has done for you in this situation, yet so many people who Jesus didn't tell to be silent about what He's done in their lives, they have no problem at all keeping it quiet.


Monday, February 08, 2010

What Better Guy To Win?

Last night we all watched the Superbowl in the Student Lounge and quite a few people were upset the Colts didn't win. I however, will live. It's only a game. But also, I used to live in Louisiana and know a little about Drew Brees' story.

Here's a video of his going around the internet:

Now how can you not root for the guy? He has even said in the past that he thought God put him in New Orleans for a reason after Katrina.

Congrats Drew, you deserve it. And I don't think a message like this would have gotten around the internet if the Colts had won...


Saturday, February 06, 2010

When You Feel Alone

A sad story from this weekend:|hp-desktop|dl1|link3|

Basically, the last known member of a certain tribe died this weekend, being the last person on earth to speak her language. No matter what you're going through, my guess is you can at least find someone who you can talk to...


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

The Will To Prepare

This past weekend was the Australian Open. I don't watch a lot of tennis, but I like the slams, and for some reason I get the Tennis Channel free whenever they are on (which works for me).

During the men's final, one of the commentators said a quote that many have said in different ways. Paul Bryant (a football coach) said it, Bobby Knight (a basketball coach closer to home) also said it. Basically, it's this.

Many have the will to win, few have the will to prepare.

It's true. There are so many people who want the big title, the big job, the big whatever, but they don't want to take the time to put in the effort without a guarantee of a payoff. They don't want to do the little things that seem insignificant but are truly necessary for greatness (in my musical history, these would be known as scales).

Jesus said this is also true with our souls. A few weeks ago at Downpour (our Sr. High Bible Study) we talked about it. From the words of Jesus:

Matthew 7:24-27 ~ "Anyone who listens to My teaching and obeys Me is wise, like a person who builds a house on solid rock. Though the rain comes in torrents and the floodwaters rise and the winds beat against that house, it won't collapse, because it is built on rock. But anyone who hears My teaching and ignores it is foolish, like a person who builds a house on sand. When the rains and floods come and the winds beat against that house, it will fall with a mighty crash." (NLT)

Notice the house wasn't built because we knew the storm was coming. Notice the house wasn't built, then a foundation was selected and the house later put on. The foundation comes first. If we aren't willing to do the little things to build the foundation of our soul, then when the true test comes, the tennis match or the storm, we won't be victorious. To win in life, we need to build that foundation.

So get out there and do what you can to build up your spiritual foundation. Read your Bible, pray, serve, talk with others, both who know Jesus and about Jesus to those who don't. Build for yourself the chance to win when the time is right.


Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Text "Happy Groundhog Day" To...

First, Happy Groundhog Day.

Now for something more fun. Working with teenagers and parents of teens/pre-teens, cell phones seem to always be an issue, especially with the new and improved way of communication, texting. Well here are some statistics from a new Neilsen Report (you can see them at

For those that don't go, the highlights:
Kids 12 and under with a cell phone send an average of 1,146 texts a month.
For 13-17 year olds, it jumps to 3,146 a month (or 10 every waking hour).

Think we're over texting just a little? Maybe we should hold back a little instead of texting over every little thing. Just a thought...


Monday, February 01, 2010

More Is Less

As many people are now realizing, we in America have way more than we need. But instead of hearing it from the church like usual, let's try a different approach.|hp-desktop|dl3|link3|

Read and enjoy :)