Art Focus Friday- There's A New Conductor In Town

Wow! Watch this video. Amazing technology is in play here. I wonder what Dr. Burton would have given him in conducting class?
We may all be replaced one day!

What Is The Pulpit For Father Phleger?

I know I may be stepping off into deep waters here, but I think this must be said. The Pulpit (the platform, the podium, whatever you want to call it) should never be sold, subjegated or stolen for the sole purpose of advancing a political agenda, issue or forum. It is abhorent to me to watch this video.

Regardless of what the issue is (be it political or personal) the privilege of standing in the midst of the sanctuary of God's people should never ever be used for 15 minutes of fame or defemation as is the case in this example. Where is the proclamation of the Gospel as he was introduced as being such a wonderful messenger? Where is the teaching of scripture? Where is the exposition of the Word of God? I heard none of this here. I hear political rhetoric in the forum of the church--and frankly it is disappointing and disgusting.

Every church must guard whoever steps into the light of the title-speaker, preacher, teacher. It's biblically mandated to guard the teaching of the church---and I'm afraid that in this instance, the elders, deacons, pastors and leaders who were charged with this mandate were asleep at the wheel.

HT: Chicago Sun-Times

Creative Chaos-Family Camp

Sorry I'm late to the Chaos today over on Carlos' Ragamuffin Soul--where creative ideas are shared  every Thursday.

This is from our Family Camp 2 years ago--and we're doing it again this year.  The camp was so successfull two years ago with about 12 families that this year we are closing in on over 20 families from our church alone.  The camp is for Families (K-12th Grade and beyond).  We have joint worship sessions, breakout sessions for Parents, Children and Youth.  Another church is teaming up with us and they are bringing some of their empty nesters to come and take care of the Pre-Schoolers.  All of it is mixed with fun at the beach in the afternoon, special family times of worship and just great interaction with other families.

Our theme for 2006 was Reel Life. We asked each family to represent themselves in a Movie Poster for an ice breaker; recorded their family sayings to my Mac for a SoundBite section on words and how they sound and ended with family communion on our own in rooms.  My kids are still talking about it.

I'll blog from there July 30-Aug.3 this year.  Have you ever been to a family camp?

Intersecting The Culture

This is from the Christianity Today series on Intersecting The Culture. You can see the materials here It's a six session DVD with curriculum for small groups to watch and discuss. Very interesting. What do you think?

Something Old, Something New

Even though today is Memorial Day, I can't miss the opportunity to give my Monday shout outs to the blogs that I read and that I've recently found.  Here goes:

Something Old:  Fred Mc Kinnon   Fred is a worship leader, blogger, producer and general Renaissance guy.  He has his hands in lots of projects and is the worship leader at St. Simons Community church in Georgia.  Fred is a guy of great experience in worship and the worship community.  I'm always interested in what he has to say.

The Ballad of Mr. Fun  Reid Greven is the associate music director at North Point in Alpharetta, Georgia.  He's always giving an inside view of  the music of North Point.  I appreciate the peek behind the curtain.

Something New:
A Visual Trademark:   CJ Mills and I connected this week through a posting I made on Carlos Whittaker's CREATIVE CHAOS.  He's a creative who works for American Specialty.  He's also the proud of father of Asher (a premie baby) who's getting ready to come home soon.

What new sites have you found?

Memorial Day

We remember!

Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery--where my father-in-law is buried.

My Father-in-law was retired military.  When he died suddenly in 1990, we buried him at Fort Sam Houston National Cemetery.  It was an amazing site to see all of these graves.  He was buried in a fairly new section then (but now it's one of the older sections).  I believe this site says that there are over 110,000 soldiers and dependents are buried here.

Worship Post-Fessional May 25, 2008

May 25, 2008

Today was the closer of our series WINDS OF CHANGE.  Seems just started it, but that was April 6--time flies.

Our focus today was all about the Names of God. We pulled together our large banners that hang across the back wall and placed them on stage in the loft.  We had a lot going on visually today (add in the Lord's Supper tables too).

Here's the set for today

Because of Your Love (week 2 for this one--I think it will be around for awhile--people love it)
New Doxology-Gateway worship.  (week1--well received since it's so close to the original. love the new lyrics)
Your Name (we've done this one a lot during the series--so we'll rest it until the fall)
Be Unto Your Name ( always good-)
Sermon--which ended on the name YOU ARE (Everlasting).  I had mentioned in staff meeting about Mark Roach's song--YOU ARE--not knowing how well it would tie everything together.  Got to teach a little of this song to the congregation--we'll save it until fall
You Are--Mark Roach
Awesome God (MWS arr)
How Great Is Our God

How was your Sunday?

Art Focus Friday--INDIANA JONES

Tomorrow, my son and I will venture to see this EPIC film. He was recently introduced to this series and is ready to see the sequel like his old man.

I found this tonight on You Tube...sing along!

Creative Chaos- Google Sketchup:The Tool of Pros

I was excited to see in the latest issue of LIVE DESIGN magazine that the Set Designer for American Idol, Adam Walmsley, uses Google Sketchup for his intial drawings and presentations for his set designs. These are a few examples from his site.

I found Google Sketchup last fall and have done some preliminary planning and drawing with it for our set design.  That post is here.  I'm most impressed with it's ability to model situations using Google Earth (you can look up your site and model your building given the parameters of Google Earth's information for your location).

You can learn the tutorials at the Google site or the portal which has excellent teaching resources.  The two DVD's from Go-2-school would probably be worth it since individual classes for these courses are $300 or more.

Just passing along to others where I've found the goods.

This post is part of Creative Chaos on  Thursday's are the days that creatives share the tricks of the trade on Carlos' site.

Pray For Steven Curtis Chapman Family

Please pray for the Steven Curtis Chapman family--they lost one of their small children today in a tragic accident in their Williamson County home (Nashville). You can read more about it here.

He wrote the new song, CINDERELLA, about his smallest girls (one of them was killed today).More of the story of Cinderella

I look back through Steven's music and I'm amazed at how many of his songs have ministered to me (His Strength Is Perfect, Be Still and Know, and many more). I'm just praying tonight that God is showering he and his family with so much love and grace that they are overwhelmed with His presence. Pray that for them tonight before you go to bed. And kiss your children and tell them that you love them.

Water Cooler Wednesday- Not Your Mama's VBS

In a little over two weeks, we'll be deep into the Vacation Bible School season.  This annual event on most every church calendar brings excitement and some fear into many adults who staff and coordinate these events. 

When I was growing up in the church, VBS was marching in line with the flags and the bible; cookies and kool-aid; and those neat crafts that you could do with the dishwashing bottle (you know the blue water that you added oil to and it became a tidal wave!)
About 3 years ago, our children's minister at the time (Sherry Gray) became burdened that our VBS was only serving the purpose of ministering to the children inside the church.  We spent the largest portion of our children's ministry budget on VBS, yet we weren't reaching the kids of the community.  She had the vision to take our VBS out of the church and into the community.  We met (and continue to meet) at a local community center and have grown in our attendance and reach in the community (250 the first year and almost 450 the second year).
It wasn't easy.  Some of our traditionalist were appalled at taking VBS and changing it.  It brought some hilarious conflicts to the surface (letters to the editor in the local paper, a phone call to the police department--because we were having games with food,etc).  But it was worth it to see the faces of these kids as they came through the gates each night.  Determined to go on--we did and we haven't looked back.

Here's what the Standard Publishing site says about the Summer Camp material

Why should I choose CAMP for my church?

It’s kid-tested, and kid-approved!
It’s a volunteer recruiter’s dream!
It’s written by Children’s Ministry expert, Tracy Carpenter
It’s completely customizable, all files are on CD-ROM
Meaningful experiences in every session!

All of it is true! We probably have more people involved in this VBS than any other we've ever staged. Men are a big part of it as they help in cooking, recreation, set up, security and small groups. It's no longer jus the ladies doing VBS. We do it from 5:00 (feeding the kids) until 8:00pm Mon-Thursday night. On the final night we'll do a big dinner for the parents,feeding close to 600, and then finish up with a presentation of the gospel to the parents while the kids finish up in recreation. Our big finale is a MESSY game which finishes with the local Fire truck coming to wash the kids down. Granted, it's not a pretty-VBS, but we have people talking about it for months. It gets us outside the walls of the church to meet people and form relationships.

I don't think we'll ever head back to the days of the stand up, sit down chorus.

This post is part of Water Cooler Wednesday over on Randy Elrod's site, Ethos. Check out what other creatives are talking about.

Found Object Art

This intrigued me as I noticed it on this site.

How much art could be created from the "junk" that we see around us?  What about metals and rusty things that we see piled up around our communities?  How could they be used,remixed and reborn as art?  Open your eyes today to see the potential in things around you.
William Christenberry's work, rooted in his Alabama upbringing, is born of things familiar and deeply felt. Whether in paintings, drawings, sculptures, constructions, found objects, or photographs, each expression gathers meaning from a specific time and place through which we experience one man's collected and recollected journeys. They are meditations on universal themes of loss and isolation, memory and comfort, creation and change.
HT: Art Knowledge

Father's Day Gift

I know it's early, but I think I've found my Father's Day 2008 gift.  (and a new website)

Wi-Fi Signal Status for You and the World!

Here at ThinkGeek we're pretty lazy when it comes to technology. We expect our gadgets to do all the busywork while we focus on the high level important tasks like reading blogs. That's why we hate to have to crack open our laptops just to see if there is any wi-fi internet access about... and keychain wi-fi detectors, we would have to actually remove them from our pockets to look at them. But now thanks to the ingenious ThinkGeek robot monkeys you can display the current wi-fi signal strength to yourself and everyone around you with this stylish Wi-Fi Detector Shirt. The glowing bars on the front of the shirt dynamically change as the surrounding wi-fi signal strength fluctuates. Finally you can get the attention you deserve as others bow to you as their reverential wi-fi god, while geeky chicks swoon at your presence. You can thank us later.

Product Features

Glowing animated shirt dynamically displays the current wi-fi signal strength.
Shows signal strength for 802.11b or 802.11g
Black 100% Cotton T-Shirt
Animated Decal is Removable (with hook and loop fasteners) for Easy Washing
Battery Pack is Concealed in a Small Pocket Sewn Inside the Shirt
Runs for hours off three AAA Batteries (not included)

Things You Can Do With Pegboard

Read this article.  This is why I love this blog.

Something Old, Something New

Time for SOMETHING OLD-SOMETHING NEW. I've been doing this for a while and it's sometimes hard to remember which ones I've highlighted and which ones I haven't.  Just a note- it never fails that I hear from the blog authors on the day that I post about them. That always makes me feel good.

SOMETHING OLD:   Pied Piper Piping  This is the site of Nathan Gaddis, Associate Minister of Music at FBC Naples.  Nathan (Gaddis as we call him) is a fellow Recreate attendee and I've enjoyed getting to know his ministry.  He's a songwriter, creative and new daddy (welcome Jovie!).  I was invited to attend his staff meeting last week via Mogulus!   Check Gaddis out!

SOMETHING NEW:  Radio Shakin' is the site of Matthew Singleton, who is Creative Director at Cross Point Community Church in Nashville, where Pastor Pete Wilson preaches.  Matthew is responsible for the creative elements in the service and has some marvelous examples of Sermon intros on his site (with Pete of course!).  Take a look at his work

Cool Hunting is a portal that looks for things in the realm of culture, creativity and technology.  It is always scanning for trends in design, art, exhibitions and culture that are thought provoking or engaging.  I really like reading this blog.

Any new ones in your reader?

Prince Caspian--Story Is Essential

This afternoon I took two of my kids to see Prince Caspian.  I didn't know what to expect in this movie, as The Lion, Witch and Wardrobe had so much advanced hype through the church in 2005.  I was not surprised at the line of people going to see it--our little theater was almost full this afternoon.

What I found was an engaging story that kept me on the edge of my seat until the end.  What a fantastic movie and story line to follow.  It reminded me of what a narrative really means to a good story.  It's essential to any lasting work of literature to have a cohesive story line that one can follow and be immersed in.  So many of the works today have very little if any story or narrative quality or nature to them.  From the opening scenes to the end, this Movie was consistent in it's narrative and true to the form of the narrative.

This what makes movies, theater and poetry have longevity--narrative, story.  Sadly, it's something that we're losing today as less and less creativity is encouraged in our schools and in our art.  We seem to think that special effects will carry the line.  It won't.  The only thing that the special effects did in this movie was to amplify the story  and carry it to another level.  I could think that even if someone was simply on screen reading this story to us, it would still have the impact that it did this afternoon. C.S. Lewis was a master of the narrative.

Now-on to Indiana Jones this Friday.  My 10 year old has discovered these films over the weeken and is waiting to see the next installment.  I believe that this series is just as dependent on narrative as Narnia.   Long live great film making and great narratives.   Narratives impact the culture.

Congregational Singing--Diction Please!

I've always said "Words are important!" Consonants are a must, especially in congregational singing, because some who are unfamiliar with the texts could be confused by the words they think they hear.

Listen--and laugh! It's meant in jest--but give you a pause for thought.

HT: SuperSimbo

Worship Post-Fessional May 18, 2008

Today was Graduate Recognition day.  One of those days on the calendar that we always say "how can we do this better?".  We chose today to begin with a video congratulating our Sr's --then right into the recognition.  I think it worked well--then on to worship.   We included them in the sermon and a challenge to them.
Sr. Recognition/Prayer time
Because of Your Love
The Solid Rock (1st verse)
In Christ Alone
The Solid Rock (last verse) 
                            Blessed Be Your Name


This came from John Volez's site- Vertizontal. He asked us to Simpsonize ourselves and post about it. You can do the same thing here

I was never a Simpson fan, but if I were--this would be my character.

Painting A Cathedral

WASHINGTON, DC - Swiss lighting artist Gerry Hofstetter projected images ranging from abstracts of the Cathedral’s stained glass windows to faces of people of all races onto Washington National Cathedral as a call for national and global unity in a project entitled “Lighting to Unite.” From sunset to midnight on three evenings, May 9-11, the Cathedral’s south and west sides were illuminated in celebration of the Cathedral’s centennial, illustrating its mission of reconciliation and spotlighting its role as a spiritual beacon for the nation.

HT:Art Knowledge

Building the Walls of Jerusalem-One Brick At A Time

This post is part of Creative Chaos over on Carlos Whitakers site, RAGAMUFFINSOUL. Com where every Thursday creative ideas are shared, stolen and unashamedley passed off as ones own individual work to a waiting public (hey--imitation is flattery).

This idea wasn't original to me. When I was at Willow Creek in 2003 they had just launched the campaign for their new worship center. At the Prevailing Church conference (no longer held--but it has morphed into the Ancient Future Conference I think) they had a room full of these styrofoam bricks.

Walls were built around the old auditorium as each weekend for 3 or 4 weeks each attendee received a brick (faux) to pray over and ultimately put in place to represent the lives that

would be attending services in the new center. Hint--FILE AWAY ALL GOOD IDEAS--You'll use them again.

So, when we decided to do a series last fall on NEHEMIAH, we wanted to give each of our attendees a brick--but not a real one. I searched high and low for just the right styrofoam. I didn't want to have to cut it, score it or break it. I found the right place--a styrofoam place out of Arizona. You can visit their site here . We ordered the 2X8X16 and cut them in half for an almost perfect brick size (2X8X9).

I had 1000 bricks to paint and knew that I couldn't do it by myself. I learned last year at the Creative Conference at Daybreak Church in Grand Rapids to use small groups to help put these ideas in place. I enlisted the help of a young adult sunday school class and bought them pizza (and put the Monday Night Football game on the big projector). We used leftover paints from our paint closet (browns, red, black, cream). Setting up three stations ( a base coat, an accent coat and them a finishing coat), we got after it and completed the task in about 3 hours. Each person added their own style to painting-which in the ended made the bricks look realistic. You'll see that in the pictures above.

The bricks were all secured to the base using floral pins (u shaped). Our elders were down front helping put them in place ( a visual significance to the moment).

We had people come up and place these bricks at the end of the series in November, and allowed them the following week to pick up one to take home with them. I still go into homes and offices here in our town and see these "faux" bricks displayed on shelves as reminders to our folks about the HAND ME ANOTHER BRICK series that we did.

What creative things have you done in worship that have included the congregation? I'm always interested to learn.

Water Cooler Wednesday-Not Quiet Ready For Broadway (Really?)

This video explains a little bit about an extraordinary group of teenagers here in our town who take the summer months to produce 3 productions at our local theater. Yes, you heard that right--all run and organized by teenagers. It's something to see these young and upcoming artists with their zeal for the theater. You can read more here

They run a theater camp (2 week) for Elementary and Junior High and produce a season ending spectacular. I'd say that their name doesn't fit--they are quite ready for Broadway.
This year they will produce: Jungle Book (Elementary); Annie Jr. (Junior High) and Anything Goes (High School and community).

In addition there will be a production of A COMPANY OF WAYWARD SAINTS that yours truly (me!) will be a part of at the end of June. I had the joy of auditioning last week with Craig Robertson. Craig is an ambitious 18 year old who loves the theater and is headed to TCU next year to pursue Theater. I told him how proud I was of his "initiative" to always bring us theater in the summer. I'd like to think that if I was 18 again, I'd be like Craig. He'll be directing A COMPANY OF WAYWARD SAINTS while also appearing in the cast. Rehearsals begin next Monday.

That is 4 productions in less than 2 months. I don't know any Broadway theater that does that. I'll keep you posted in the coming months on these productions and the participants. I'm hoping to blog about some of the kids in these productions and their take on the future of artists in our world--should be interesting.

What about your town? Is theater alive? What are the places where young people can plug in and apprentice in the arts?

This post was part of Water Cooler Wednesday over on Randy Elrod's site--Ethos. It's the gathering spot for creatives who want to impact their culture.

Someone Needs A Photoshop Course

I had to laugh, out loud.  Our local newspaper ran with this photo on the back page of today's edition.  It looked kinda I looked closer.  Sure enough, someone had pasted a picture of Jenna Bush on top of an Oscar de la Renta runway model.  So, in fairness, our local journalists didn't do it, but someone up the line passed off this picture as the acutal dress she wore.  I found this picture by Googling for Jenna Bush (Wedding).

Someone needs to go back to a photoshop class.  The model's hair is dark--Jenna's is blonde. The dress she wore was fitted--not a table cloth dress. It's a terrible crop and blending-sloppy!~

All the while the actual photo from the wedding was available on line and our local press could have grabbed the photo and inserted it.  This has to be one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time.  Not very artistic, is it?

Worship Post-Fessional May 11, 2008

Worship Set: 
Let Everything That Has Breath,
I Worship You Almighty God,
Your Name
One Thing
Your Grace Is Enough
Shout To The North

Sunday was a different day.  Coming off a week of services (5 services in 4 days) we were all pretty exhausted and decided on Thursday to shift the focus of the service to a reflection  time over what we had heard the last few days.  I think it was the right thing to do.  So much what we've heard in past meetings and services is so quickly gone that we don't have time to process it and mull on it for a bit.  So we did that--we recapped not only the teachings from the week, but we also went back highlighted some of the music of the week. We were blessed to have Luke Garrett (Christian artist) back with us Sunday morning.  Luke had been with us Mon-Wed and had a church cancellation which allowed him to be here.  So-I think it extended the feeling that the week had never ended.

We treated the morning as a response time.  With Mother's Day and Baby dedication already on the docket-we quickly moved through those items and got to worship.  The congregation was really worshipping.  I told them at one point I was just going to play and I wanted to hear them sing.  They were--I wonder what it sounded like on radio.

We would talk about a portion of the teachings for the week and then respond in song, prayer or action.   It was very effective.

We don't do this too often, but when we do I think it's very well received.  The Spirit was here--glad when we follow the Holy Spirit--he always knows the path.

Something Old, Something New

Something Old:Man of Depravity: This is the site of Tyler Braun, he's a student at Multnomah Biblical Seminary where he's just completed his first year of study. Tyler always posts something of great depth and interest. He's the praise band leader at his local church. He always catches my attention when he writes something, often which has been piqued by his studies

Something New:

Creative Worship: Site of Pace Hartfield, Worship Pastor at Fellowship Church in Grapevine. He posts some of the secrets of creativity that FC has stumbled upon in it's years of crafting compelling worship experiences. His Christmas post a couple of weeks ago (yeah, I know it's spring!) was interesting to see the process they went through to give a special TransSiberian effect in their Christmas eve service.

Stephen Lechner Stephen is a truly NEW discovery this week. His post on their set change caught my eye (specially since he likes to "remix" items for use on the stage). He'll be one that I watch for ideas and thoughts on worship.

What about you? What have you found new? What is a treasured "oldie" that you always read?

Art Focus Friday--VEGGIE TALES

This is my new member of my praise band.  He'll be doing the offertory on Sunday.   Enjoy!

Printing Via The Internet

Today is Thursday, time for Creative Chaos over on Carlos Whittaker's blog, Ragamuffinsoul.  You can go here to see the chaos created every Thursday.

Every church today competes in the same marketing world as your local supplier and grocery chain.  We participate in the same market as these local merchants, and so our mailers, brochures and flyers have to compete on that same level.  Gone are the days of clip art and fold over flyers produced from the church mimeograph machine.  

We've used PSPRINT ( for several projects here at the church (mass mailers, ministry cards, and worship program guides).  We've found them to be really competitive on price and delivery is always fast and efficient.   They put you in the seat of designer and print master--but give you the cost saving back in their product.  If you are looking for a great way to print and compete in these markets, PSPRINT may be your choice.

Water Cooler Wednesday-N.C. Wyeth: Father of Artists

It's Water Cooler Wednesday over on Randy Elrod's site -Ethos.  Time for the creatives to gather around and toss out a subject and discuss.

A visit to the Texas Tech Museum with our Sr. Adult group last week brought me to a new understanding and appreciation of formation of art and artists.   The museum had a new exhibit of textile art (subject of a future blog), but also houses one of the largest collections of privately owned art created by Newell Wyeth (early 20th century illustrator)

I didn't know about Wyeth until I got there and certainly only learned enough there to peek by interest.  Here' s what Wikipedia says about Wyeth
He also illustrated editions of Kidnapped (1913), Robin Hood (1917), The Last of the Mohicans (1919), Robinson Crusoe (1920), Rip Van Winkle (1921), The White Company (1922), and The Yearling (1939). He did work for prominent periodicals including Century, Harper's Monthly, Ladies' Home Journal, McClure's, Outing, The Popular Magazine, and Scribner's.  
Wyeth also gave us our modern day image of Santa Claus.

Wyeth also raised some amazing children who became artists in their own rights.
N. C. Wyeth created a stimulating household for his talented children Andrew Wyeth, Henriette Wyeth Hurd, Carolyn Wyeth, Ann Wyeth McCoy, and Nathaniel C. Wyeth. Wyeth was very sociable and frequent v isitors included F. Scott Fitzgerald, Joseph Hergesheimer, Hugh Walpole, Lillian Gish, and John Gilbert. According to Andrew, who spent the most time with his father on account of his sickly childhood, N.C. was a strict but patient father who did not talk down to his children. [11] His hard work as an illustrator gave his family the financial freedom to follow their own artistic and scientific pursuits. Andrew went on to become one of the foremost American artists of the second half of the 20th Century, and Henriette, and Carolyn also became artists; Ann became an artist and composer. Nathaniel became an engineer for DuPont and worked on the team that invented the plastic soda bottle. Henriette and Ann married two of N.C.'s proteges, Peter Hurd and John W. McCoy. N.C. Wyeth is the grandfather of artist Jamie Wyeth and musician Howard Wyeth.[12]

It was his daughter Henrietta's art that caught my attention at the museum. She was featured along side her dad, and the wall descriptions talked about the creativity that her dad inspired in her. She longed to be one of his students and found her way as such into his studio to learn from him. Look at the other children--all of them artists.

I had to stand there and wonder what kind of impact I was having on my children? ( They are all musical and they love drama--so good, I haven't missed the boat here). But I wonder what I intentionally do each and every day to stimulate their artistry--to foster their desire to grow their craft? are we doing there?

So I was inspired by art from a long time ago and challenged to live my life like Newell Wyeth did--raising up the next generation of artists, beginning with my own.

When Faith Is Entagled in Your Dreams

Sorry for the absence from blogging the last few days, but we've been in the midst of our 125th Anniversary celebration here.  I've spent the days in the office, the night at the church and afterwards with the wild and crazy musicians.   No wonder I'm bushed.  It all comes to an end tomorrow and then back to normalcy (sort of)

During this week, I've tried to steal away a couple of minutes each day to collect my thoughts and process what I've been hearing from the speakers.  Before this week I was drawn to Cross Point (Nashville) Church and their series PLAN B.  You can listen to the series here

I'm about half way through the series and it's really good.  Pete Wilson (Lead Pastor) is walking through biblical stories of Plan B's (when the things of life that we thought would happen-didn't) and giving real life stories from his congregation.

Yesterday was an eye opener.  Pete stated that sometimes our faith becomes entangled in our dreams-thus, when our dreams don't come true or to pass, our faith diminishes.  Hold on--wait a minute, who let this guy in my office to call me out!  

Wow!  I just had to put down my pen and paper and weep for a moment.  That was me!

I've been a believer a long time and I guess I never had thought about this (though most certainly I had felt it's effects).   I'm a dreamer--I love to dream.  I dream of dreams--it's just who I am, and so naturally I chase after dreams too.  And ultimately, I've met the end of many dreams that never were to come to pass or to be fulfilled.  Pete nailed me--because I guess I had attached so many of these dreams to my faith--no wonder the let down and the anguish in my soul when these dreams don't pan out.   (I've even toyed with never dreaming again---that lasted about 3 hours).  Most certainly I confess that I wondered many times why God had dealt me this card or that card--and was he punishing me and teasing me with these dreams.

That explains the helpless and lost feelings that I've experienced in those moments. When I thought God had abandoned me, he hadn't-the dream was just never meant to be.  At least not for now.

I remember the line from Bruce Wilkinson's book THE DREAM GIVER.  My heart pounded as I poured through that book so fast.  When I reached the point in the book where I must give up the dream to pursue the dreamgiver--I wept.  I felt it so in my soul.  I knew that it was true--the dream must never be the journey, but the pursuit of the dream giver has to be the journey.

One of the songs we closed with tonight was SURRENDER by Mark James.  You know the line I'm getting ready to highlight

"I'm giving up my dreams, laying down my rights....for the promise of new life
I surrender, all to you, all to you."

So, do I give up on the dream... never! I just need to make sure that my faith in God is always stronger than my dreams. He's the dream giver.

Something Old, Something New

It seems like Monday's just roll like the tide--I just get one of these done and it's time to do it again.

Something Old:  
BST's Blog-- This is the blog of Brandon Scott Thomas, former worship leader at Otter Creek in Nashville.  Brandon and I have only met once, but have mutal friends in Jeff Berry and Rich Smith.  Brandon is in a new season of life and doing a new work with Cruise ships and their entertainment.  Still doing ZOE conferences here and there, Brandon is always on the move.

Something New:
WithoutWax- Pete Wilson's site (pastor at Cross Point in Nashville).  Pete and I have connected through our blogs and he's fast becoming one of the people that I'm watching and listnening to. His "PLAN B " series that he's just finishing is amazing and is feeding my soul.  His title WITHOUT WAX means that there is no cover, no hidden agenda, no mask to his writing.  That is exactly true--I find his authenticity to be very real and refreshing. When we're in Nashville again, we're worshipping with my brother Pete!

Worship Post-Fessional May 4, 2008

Today began our 125th Anniversary Celebration. We're having meetings through Wednesday evening with special speakers and guest musicians.

You'll see the picture to the right of Shawn Davis (Bass) David Trevey (Drums) Wes Martin (Elect. Acc. Guitar) and Rich Smith (piano/lead worshiper). Also pictured it Steve Hardin who is a friend to these guys. (Jeff Berry--we missed you and dedicate this picture to you).

This morning was a mix of songs. We combined both our traditional and contemporary services for the AM. It is always hard to find the right balance for these moments--but I think we did ok today.

OH MY MY ( a "southern gospel" opener) combined Worship/Sr. Adult Choirs
Welcome to Guests
Your Grace Is Enough
Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King
Your Name
How Great Is Our God
How Great Thou Art
He's Always Been Faithful --another choir thingy
Closer was Here I Am To Worship/ I surrender all

Come Now Is The Time To Worship
You Alone
Be Thou My Vision
Closer--Draw Me Close

It's always great to be around great Christian artists and friends. It's giving me the chance to be behind the scenes producing the services and spending time with the tech crew (since I can't do this when I lead). Gives me a new perpsective on the congregation side of worship.

We're all really tired tonight and have 3 more days to go. I'll keep you posted.

Derby Day

I'm just saying....

This Is Rock and Roll

Twitter Saved His Life

From Twitter News
Last weekend CNN lead with a big story about James Buck, a graduate student in journalism from the University of
California-Berkeley who was arrested last month in Mahalla, Egyptwhile covering an anti-government protest. Thinking quickly, James was able to send a one-word Twitter update: "Arrested." His followers in Egypt and back in the US reacted by contacting the university and the consulate on his behalf. Before long, James was updating Twitter with another one-word message, "Free."

Candles Lend The Smell

Today is Thursday--time for Creative Chaos over on Carlos Whittaker's It's a place where creative ideas are shared and exchanged. Check it out here

Over the last few years one of the trends in worship settings has not only been visual, but also including more of the senses (taste, touch, smell, etc)
I've long been a fan of candles in worship. In fact I'm referred to as the Catholic-Baptist because I include candles in just about everything we do.

I've used cheap ones and expensive ones, but I thought today I would share a brand that has been one of my favorites and consistently adds to our worship experiences.

We're using the TYLER CANDLES now--they come in all of these scents

Apple Orchard - A crisp, tart blend of apple, apricot and pear with hints of lime and fresh cut grass! Candle color redBleach Blonde - A crisp, invigorating scent reminiscent of sand, warm suntan oil & sea mist. Very inviting and somewhat overpowering, hence the name

Beach Blonde! Candle color Pale YellowBirthday Cake - Have your cake and smell it too! Rich pound cake fresh from the oven, topped with tons of icing! Candle color White/Pink

TopBlueberry Blitz - Overload on blueberries! Untamed, tart & invigorating! Candle Color Cream

Celebrity - Become your own!!! A sweet, exotic, warm & spicy fragrance that quickly envelopes & creates a mood of excess!!! Candle Color Platinum

WhiteChateau - Set the mood for a genuine moment of tranquility! Relieve stress and create a truly soothing atmosphere with the timelessness of French lavender from the hills of Provence. Simply light, draw a bath and unwind. Candle Color

LavenderCinnabuns - Hmmm..... Sweet cinnamon rolls straight from the oven! Candle color Lt.

TanCowboy - Nearly decadent in its sensuality, loaded with the rugged aroma of leather! Candle Color Leather

Cucumber Melon - Fresh cut melon melded with crisp cucumber - great for summer! Candle Color Lime/Pale Pink

Diva - A warm and complex fragrance overflowing with delicious fruits and rich florals. Rich aromatic chocolate and amber complete this luscious blend! Candle color

EcruDrama - Rich vetiver, sensual jasmine, and feminine ylang ylang create an aromatic feast. Dedicated to those of us who have our dramatic moments & those who deal with them. Candle color Gold

Elevate - Deep sweet fig intertwined with plum & bergamot with an undertone of sandalwood. A fragrance created for those truly on a higher plane! Candle Color Burnt

And more.

My favorites are: Panache'--almost citrus/sweet
Mulled Cider--great fall
Elevate--see above

They are clean burning candles--little to no smoke and burn straight across not down like the cheap ones.

I used them in a retreat setting last weekend--it immediately turned a stale camp ground room into an intimate setting of worship.
We used the Panache candle in a funeral setting a couple of weeks ago. This small candle permeated the room with it's fragrance and took away the smell of "Carnations" at the funeral. I had lots of people comment on it.

You can find Tyler Candle's at most speciality gift shops. They are similar to the Yankee Candle Company (but I prefer Tyler).

Check them out.