My life is not my own…

July 11, 2009 at 7:31 pm (Uncategorized)

I can’t stop thinking about this phrase. it’s been the answer to many of my thoughts over the past few days.

“Why do I have to constantly be running to take kids to swim, soccer, drama?” – my life is not my own.
“Why do I have to pick ANOTHER setlist for ANOTHER Sunday?” – my life is not my own.
“Why do I go through the extra work to put together a live band and a live drama for VBS, when we could use a video and a CD?” – my life is not my own.
“Why should I put effort into providing quality musical opportunities to kids who are often ungrateful and rude?” – my life is not my own.
“Why should I have a “honey-do” list on top of my own to-do list?” – my life is not my own.
“Why do I have to read my bible consistently?” – my life is not my own.

I’m coming to see how selfish I can be in really unassuming ways.  You see, just a few days ago, I would have answered these questions very differently.  And I would not have seen my old answers as selfish at all.  And I think if you’d ask the people who know me, they hopefully wouldn’t put selfishness at the top of a list of my qualities (there are other bad ones that are sure to be on the top of that list!).

All of my old responses would have centered around what I get out of the deal.  It’s my time, it’s an inconvienence to me. 

But it’s not about me…apparently, it never has been.  I was created to bring glory and honor to Jesus Christ.  There is nothing about my wants or desires in that statement.  Not that I don’t believe that we don’t ever take time for ourselves.  Jesus took time away for the crowds, but it was for the purpose of recharging him for his task of glorifying God.  I usually rest because I’m tired, bored, or lazy. 

As I’ve started to try and live this way, I’m finding that things I thought were inconveniences are really opportunities in disguise!

I’m trying to make “my life is not my own” my first response, but frankly, I’ve got a long way to go.  So how about you?  What would change in your life if your first response was “My life is not my own…”?  Thoughts?

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don’t read this post

July 7, 2009 at 8:35 pm (Uncategorized)

This post exsists solely for the purpose of testing out the new wordpress app from my blackberry. Typing this from a little tiny keyboard. Move along people, move along…

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Please pray for little Kate

July 5, 2009 at 7:42 pm (Uncategorized)

Haven’t blogged much lately, but I wanted to bring this to the attention of the people I know.

This 5-year-old girl is in Phoenix Children’s Hospital after her parents just found out she has a brain tumor.  Through the use of twitter, facebook, and blogs, many people around the world are praying for her, and I’d ask that you’d do the same.  You can check out a video their parents made below. It’s been viewed now almost 25,000 times.

As a dad with kids this age, I can’t imagine the grief and anguish the couple is going through right now.  And the fact that she’s 30 minutes away from where I’m typing this right now makes it all the more real.  Please take some time to lift up Kate and her family.  If your interested, you can follow the dad’s twitter updates or mom’s blog.

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What was taken…

May 14, 2009 at 7:19 am (Uncategorized)

I had my ipod stolen by one of my students yesterday.  It capped off a day of complete frustration with students who were disrespectful of me and the equipment in my classroom.  Somebody even tried to give away my musical instruments to other kids as gifts!  What makes me the most upset about that is that I pour so much of my life into these kids and to have some of them treat me like that is painful.

Then I read this.

Isaiah 65:2-3

All day long I opened my arms to a rebellious people
But they follow their own evil paths
and their own crooked schemes.
3 All day long they insult me to my face
by worshiping idols in their sacred gardens.
They burn incense on pagan altars.


I think of how much more attention and love God has poured into me, and how often I am ungrateful or disrespectful of what he has done for me.  I’ve taken away from God much more than was taken from me yesterday.

In the same chapter, I was also reminded why, in the face of all that disrespect, I still love teaching…and why God still loves us.

Isaiah 65:8

8 “But I will not destroy them all,”
says the Lord .
“For just as good grapes are found among a cluster of bad ones
(and someone will say, `Don’t throw them all away—
some of those grapes are good!’),
so I will not destroy all Israel.
For I still have true servants there.


I refuse to look at my students with the bitter dissappointment I looked at them with yesterday because I know that God still pours his attention out on me when I disappoint him.

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Derek vs. the Record Label

May 12, 2009 at 7:54 am (Uncategorized)

Derek Webb, singer/songwriter (and a christian), is in a dispute with his record label.  He sent a cryptic e-mail regarding it this morning, and there’s already speculation on what the conflict might be.

I’m sure I’ll be in the minority with many 20-30 somethings here, but I’ll be very disappointed if Derek’s big issue is the use of the “s” word. I’m not necessarily opposed to hearing the “s” word in a song, but I feel like many use it as a status symbol of their “edgy-ness”. It feels very artificial to me. I’ve already read tweets and blogs telling Derek to “keep it real” or stating that simply because the label is against it, the album must be awesome. People gravitate towards that anti-establishment stuff and thrive on it. That concerns me greatly. Counter-culture doesn’t automatically equal “awesomeness” in my book.

The bible warns against us using vulgarity, and like it or not, that word is vulgar in our society. Don’t get me wrong, I occasionally cuss too, but it’s usually out of a lack of self-control – not a conscious usage to get my point across. That said, I’ll hold my final judgement until I hear the word in the context of the song, but for now, I just dont’ have a good feeling about this…

What are your thoughts?  Is it ever OK for a christian to swear in a song lyric.  State your case below…

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Sunday Unwound #4 – Ukulele Style

May 11, 2009 at 8:02 am (Uncategorized)

Nope, didn’t have a ukulele in worship this Sunday, but it made you read this, huh?!

It’s ukulele style because, like a ukulele, its short.  I’ve missed the past two worship reviews in the Sunday Setlist weeks and wanted to get SOMETHING up.

This Sunday we had another worship team lead.  The daughter of one of our members spoke on Mother’s Day, and she brought her friends to lead worship.  First of all, I am a HUGE fan of the idea of bringing other worship teams in to lead worship.  I think there’s a freshness in different faces on the platform and different ways of doing things that allow us to stretch in worship.  I’d like to do more of that in the future.

That said, this team was phenomenal.  They had a full band, including electric guitar (oh, how I want an electric guitar player…) and organ (Sherri, we might be bringing back the keyboard stack!)  They used songs from our regular rotation and also brought a couple of new songs to our body that I’ll probably pick up and start doing.   And after hearing them do “Revelation Song”, I know I’ll never do it the way I’ve been doing it again!

It was such a great time of worship and a real blessing to be able to be in the congregation during a worship service instead of on the platform (although it would have been a BLAST to play with them).  Our congregation worshipped with enthusiasm and energy and our speaker had an encouraging message about God’s faithfulness in uncertain circumstances.

I also got to play sound guy, which I haven’t done in YEARS.  I wrestled control of the drums from Gary and got to tweak them throughout the service.  I forgot how much fun it is to run sound.

I also got to pick Chad’s (the drummer’s) brain about how to improve our monitor sounds and how to tweek the drum settings to get the best sound.  I’ll probably be playing with that this week!

Next week I’ll be playing bass and Janelle will be leading.  I love to switch it up and play different instruments on the platform.  Plus its the last few weeks of school, and it’s nice not to have to worry about planning the set!

Were you at service this week?  What did you think?  Have you ever had another band lead worship at your service?  What was that experience like?  Talk to me…

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Reflecting the Father

May 1, 2009 at 8:46 am (Uncategorized)

In the past few weeks, I’ve really felt that I need to be heavily studying the person and ministry of Jesus.  That was followed by a period of complete apathy where I did nothing about it.  I’m hoping to buck that trend.  Every so often I’ll post my reflections on a verse related to Jesus’ life, but what I’m really interested in is what you think about the verse.  Blogging is really meaningless to me without the dialogue between you and me.  Anyways, here’s what I read today.

John 5:19 (New International Version)

19Jesus gave them this answer: “I tell you the truth, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does.

Jesus realized that he was a reflection of his father.  This has huge implications for me as a dad.  I fear that I have not always been a good source for my children to reflect.   As a dad, I need to be more mindful of what in my life my children might reflect.

More important for me is how I’m supposed to reflect my heavenly Father’s behavior.  I tend to give this very little thought.  What are the qualities and characteristics of God, and how can I reflect those characteristics of Him more adequately?  I know this will require of me much more devotion to reading and studying my bible as I nail down the characteristics of God that I should emulate and practically think how to live those things out in my life.

Does this have application for us as children of God, or am I reaching?  If so, then for you, what aspects of God’s nature do you find you struggle with reflecting and what have you done to face those issues?  Thoughts?

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Sunday Unwound #3

April 20, 2009 at 12:30 am (Uncategorized)

This is my weekly review of our Sunday service.  It’s part of Fred McKinnon’s Worship Confessional series.

This was probably the most unprepared I’ve felt for a service in a long time.  Part of that has to do with the fact that the past three service were Good Friday, Easter, and our Friends Sunday – and we spent a lot of time putting those service together.  The other part was that Saturday was jam-packed and I didn’t get to go into church and play through the set like I usually do.

Then emotionally, it’s been a trying week.  Some important career decisions I have to make and some other personal stuff left me pretty ragged.  On the way in to church, I was listening to Sara Groves and getting a little teary-eyed, and that doesn’t happen very often, so I didn’t quite know what to expect.

Alrighty, on to the set list review

Meet With Me – Hiebert

You Never Let Go – Redman:  I’ve shared the same troubles that Fred McKinnon has with this song this week.  The song can be difficult because you’re supposed to sing the verses down an octave, and the bridge an octave higher.  When we first did it, I put it in G, and we decided it was to low to sing it.  We solved it by just singing the verses up the octave but lighter than the bridge.  It seems to work.  After reading Fred’s post, I might move it to A and see what happens.

Trading My Sorrows – Evans:  Haven’t done this one in a while.  It’s in a good range for me, so it’s fun to sing.  The energy from the band was amazing!  My band is so responsive dynamically that we were able to pull everything down on the “Yes Lord” part and really drive into the bridge.   I loved the drum fills and the double time at the end.

Alabaster Jar – Neese:  Janelle brought this song to the team, and she sang it today.  This is one of those songs that just feels right to have a girl sing.  Really liked the layering of this one.  Started with the piano and then added a pulsing guitar and bass.  The “Worthy” section is always very powerful.  In the 2nd service we spent some extended time in worship at the end of this one.  Loved it!

I Could Sing of Your Love Forever – Smith: In the 2nd service, there was a powerful sense of God’s presence that carried over into this song.  It was really good in the first service, but there was something special about playing it in the 2nd service.  It was by far the most emotional I’ve ever played this song.

We Fall Down – Tomlin:  We transitioned right from the previous song into the chorus of this song.  We also did some extended worship after this song in both services.  I love those times where we can take a simple phrase and repeat it.  The worship team is always really responsive to that stuff.  Props to the singers for ad-libing and following along!

Here I am to Worship – Hughes

Overall, it was one of the most impactful corporate worship times I’ve had in a while.  God’s been impressing on me my need for Him this week and it felt good to give God thanks for that through worship.

Our pastor read from Ezekiel 37, a story about breathing life into dry bones.  It was exactly what I needed to hear today.  Jerry also got up and told a wonderful story about somebody reading Psalm 23 at an awards ceremony.  The next person who spoke said “I know Psalm 23, but that man knows the Shephard”.  That hit very close to home for me and I’m sure God’s not done with me about that one yet…

That’s it.  I think I’m going to have some more to say later on about some of the things going on later, but it’s after midnight and I need to get to sleep.  Thanks for reading…make sure to leave your comments, especially if you were in either service.  I’m interested in your perspective!

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waiting to refill

April 17, 2009 at 3:25 pm (Uncategorized)

I read the story of Jesus turning water into wine today.  Whenever I’ve heard that story talked about, it’s been in the context of “Jesus wasn’t some uptight religious guy, he liked to have fun too!”   I like this verse in that context because it presents Jesus as a much more complex individual than we often like to give him credit for.  But I think I got something deeper out of the story this time around.

Jesus was at a celebration when all the wine ran out.  Jesus’ mom presses him to do something about that.  The verse later says that this was the first time he had revealed his glory…interesting).  Jesus then has the servants fill the ceremonial washing jars and turned it into wine.  When the master of ceremonies tasted it, he came to the bridegroom and said “You’ve saved the best wine for last!”

I think I’m the jar.  And I’ve been used up.  Dry.  And I think it’s good.  Because I’m now at the point that I’m ready for Jesus to refill.  And what I take from this story is that the stuff that Jesus will refill with is of a far better quality than what I had filled it with the last time.  And perhaps Jesus knew to wait to fill until I was dry, lest he mix our two wines and dilute his in the process.    I’m ready…I think.

Here’s my question now…what will that filling look like in real life?  When God refills and refreshes you, what does that look like in your life?  Thoughts below…

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the new prayer…

April 15, 2009 at 10:18 am (Uncategorized)

I found this website very disturbing.  Here’s a brief description of the service from their website:

Information Age Prayer is a subscription service utilizing a computer with text-to-speech capability to incant your prayers each day. It gives you the satisfaction of knowing that your prayers will always be said even if you wake up late, or forget.

We use state of the art text to speech synthesizers to voice each prayer at a volume and speed equivalent to typical person praying. Each prayer is voiced individually, with the name of the subscriber displayed on screen.

Is this an effective way of getting your prayers across to God?  Is this a sign of a shift in our culture towards conveinence and lack of personal effort as we busy ourselves with other things?  Is the power of prayer simply in the speaking aloud of the prayer, whether it be done by a person or a machine?  Isn’t their something reciprocal in prayer?  A conversation between you and God in which you receive something as well?  What do you think?

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