What's It Coming To... Respect in School

I'm sure you've seen it by now. The video of the school bus driver and the kid late last week where the chaos erupts after some unknown incident. You can see it here

After reviewing the tape with my wife this afternoon, we both looked at each other and said " What's it coming to?" I said "Even prison guards don't have to put up with this kind of disrespect."

It's hard on teachers these days. Students don't respect authority and they often flaunt it. Schools have been lax in punishment and somehow "individual" rights have risen up to take away the fundamental principle of : respect for authority.

What's going to happen to the future? Where did we go wrong? Do I sound like my parents- probably so. But I know one thing, I told my kids tonight that if an authority figure (school or otherwise) asks them a question--they are to answer them with respect. The girls' response in this video only fuels the frustration that this bus driver must have felt.

I did see an apology later from the girl in questions---but probably only after she saw how truly awful she was to this lady.

What do you think?

76'ers Win Championship

Son Daniel's team won the 10 and under championship tonight... 23-13!!! Yippee! Our first championship in any sport! Celebrated with the team @ Pizza Hut an waited and waited and waited. We got the bill before we got the pizza--huh?

On to baseball... it never stops.

New Age Book-Scary

This book is being pushed as the "Oprah" book of the month.

Read this quote from the book:

"'And I saw a new heaven and a new earth', writes the biblical prophet. The foundation for a new earth is a new heaven--the awakened consciousness. The earth--external reality--is only its outer reflection. The arising of a new heaven and by implication a new earth are not future events that are going to make us free. Nothing is GOING to make us free because only the present moment can make us free. Thus realization is the awakening...So the new heaven, the awakened consciousness, is not a future state to be achieved...What did Jesus tell his disciples? 'Heaven is right here in the midst of you'."

Scripture taken out of context and meaning can be used to say anything you want it to say. This isn't true spirituality. It's deception and you know where that comes from.

March 14--We'll Be There. Horton Hears A Who

Ode to My Tweets

There is new crew who has influence on me
They don't look like birds, but they tweet merrily
About nothing special, about something obsurd
They might even use an objectionable word

But they're Tweets, the best of their kind
Who give of their thoughts, their thinking, their minds
They share what they know and the make up the rest
Who can tell who's story's the best!

We all rush to home to see whats a buzz
For the limbs of the tweets are shimmering because
We've found a familiar home with these creatives, these tweets
and to all who know it--it is certainly sweet!

(This shout out to all my Recreate Tweets!) I'm in a Poet and Don't Know It Mood tonight!  Corny but you catch the sentiment.

Blank Canvas

Blank Canvas

I stared at a blank canvas today, 
 and I was scared
Scared that the canvas was a mirror
 and that I was blank
Scared that the canvas had won 
 even before one drop of paint was laid
Scared that all creativity was lost 
 in looking at this vast white nothingness
Then it happened; the paint spilled in irregular shapes and forms
I thought "What a mess!" 
       Then it hit me, it's a mess, now make something of it
The more I painted the less I feared
       That what would emerge from the blankness
               would be seen as art, beauty or more
I painted that canvas 
until every corner was taken with paint. 
No longer it's orginal white
The canvas now had my sweat and labor 
woven into it's tight weave.

What will it become--who knows?
It's not a blank canvas anymore.

By Jim Drake

The Christmas Gift That Keeps Giving

We received an email today notifying us that our Staff Christmas gift has been processed. We chose not to exchange gifts this year (one because we couldn't decide how corny to be with them, and two none of us needed another pair of electric sock warmers). So we chose to give a Gift of the Season
Gift of the Season" package in his or her name. A new gift card each season will share the life-changing difference being made for children and families with the gift of a goat (spring), immunizations for a child in an impoverished community (summer), a school backpack and supplies (fall), and water treatment tablets to provide a year's worth of safe water for a school (winter).
Had I known about the Recreate connection with Compassion, we might have gone that way. But that could be our next year project.

Collectively we collected enough to provide this gift and we didn't even miss not getting a gift ourselves. Now talk about the gift that keeps on giving. Why don't you think about this the next time you have a gift to be given for a party, or office function. Pool your money together and sponsor a child through World Vision here or Compassion International here

Creative Movement

A church member sent me this video. A very interesting art form of interpretation with black lights and white gloves. Enjoy

How To Fix Your Feedburner

Some of you who are reading this blog may be totally frustrated with me. I understand. Over the last three days I think I've changed my site template about 6 milliion times. I was hoping to find a 3 column template so I could put more stuff on there. Unfortunately, Blogger only offers 2 column templates, but there are hackers out there that have cracked the code. So I tried one of the illegal contraban on Saturday evening and I totally messed everything up. My Feeburner went to "0" and has stayed there until I figured out where to put the HTML script in the log ( I didn't go to college for HTML--in fact if I remember my one coding class in Business school--with cards and punches, it was a disaster). So, as of this afternoon, I'm finally getting visitors and information from my site.

If you know of any 3 Column Blogger friendly templates, send them my way. I'm tired of the ones they have and want to have a cool blog like JVO and Randy Elrod Help a brother out!

The Church of St. Arbucks is closing the chapel

This sad news was relayed to me today by a fellow St. Arbucks Parishoner. Yes--St. Arbucks Chapel is closing--from 5:30-8:30 today for retraining all of its employees. I read this book last year in Chicago It was a very good read and gave insight to some of the mystique around Starbucks. Most of all it reinforced the idea that Starbucks isn't just a coffee seller--they are culture creators. Yes, it's true. Why do so many people look to see what Starbucks is doing? They have recycling efforts, green endeavors to harvest coffee from only organic farms, and much more. The other thing they lead in is the Starbucks expereience--yes, where we fork over $4.00 for a cup of coffee that would cost $1.25 at the Town and Country. But, by holding that cup in our hand and going into that establishment, we are part of the experience.

Who knows? Maybe the CEO will hand each of these people "The Book" and tell them to get back to serving the St. Arbucks way. We'll watch and see.

Do I Have The Flu?

Do I have the flu? I dunno--all that I know is I can only get out of bed for 20 minutes or more before I feel weak and have to head back to bed. No runny nose--but a cough that could cut through brick! Yuck!

Easter Is Coming

Easter 2008 is officially within the 1 month to go period. And the pace has begun. I found these photos as they were part of a bookmark from last year. This guy is very talented and you can see the rest of his work here
He works by donation and offers these images to be used in the church. We're going to make a donation to help him out and to keep this site up.

For us, the Easter season is a mixed bag--it falls during the School Spring Break this year--so we're not quite sure how that will affect our attendance. We have no activities the week of Easter, except to have a prayer experieces (with stations) during the day on Thursday and then we gather back together for Maundy Thursday night services in our chapel. I'll post a link to the prayer stations pdf when we get it edited. For the last two years, we've done the stations of the cross, and it has been well received.
This year we're making a change for the prayer stations to coincide with the Pastor's new series on the miracles surrounding the crucifixion. We begin this week with Death and Darkness. Sounds cheery doesn't it. But I think it will be effective in getting us mentally ready to experience Easter.

What are you doing this Easter?

Wildfires Round Two

We're going on our second day of spotty wildfires here in West Texas. Sunday was a calm day and it allowed the Firefighters to get ahead of the fires. But this afternoon, it soared to 90 degrees here in West Texas. Couple that with a North Wind of 40 miles--well, here we go again. We were getting reports of church members packing their things and heading out. We don't know if some of their houses survived.

We are going on 6 months of below normal rain here. It's very dry--and dangerous.

Read more about it here.

Worship Sunday February 24th

Here's the set list from today:
A Thousand Hallelujahs! (Opener)--new song, we didn't ask them to sing along because it was new. Somehow it didn't energize the people like I thought it would.
Love the Lord (Lincoln Brewster)-- Not a new song--but you might have thought it was. We wore the tread off this one in October. People weren't engaged with this one either.
Your Grace Is Enough-(Maher) Some more engagement...
How Can I Keep From Singing (Tomlin) ...hmmm
Amazing Grace (on the fly--people were'nt singing..so I did this one on the fly--some more engagement-but not much
You Gave Your Life Away (Baloche)--response song

Just a heavy feeling in the room today. Don't know what it was. Maybe it's the leader... I dunno.

These are the days that challenge me to keep going.

What was your set list today? What worked? What didn't? At least Chris from Canada (chrisfromcanada.com) was out there enough to tell us last week that his service was...uh...less than stellar. Maybe we all need to admit this more often.

Fire on the Plains

This afternoon we've been watching all around us as grassfires have gone out of control (West of us about 17 miles, South of us about 4 miles and North). Luckily the winds have shifted and all seems to be well now. But it was crazy there for about 3 hours.

This isn't a picture from today--but it sure looked like this about 2PM this afternoon.

Have you ever been in a Fire situation? What did you take with you?

Golf For Dummies-for Me!

Today I was able to follow my oldest child, Taylor, as she played the back 9 at her second golf tourney of the year. I'm the first to admit, I know nothing about golf. Yeah, being a minister I probably should have learned the standard "trade game" of pastors, but the only times I've been on the golf course..well, I hit every tree on the course. I've just given up on going golfing.

But my oldest has taken to the sport, obviously a tribute to her Unlce who love to play, and so today I got to watch her. I knew nothing about the rules. Heck, I couldn't even see the ball when it went flying through the air. I had to constantly ask her "Where did your ball go?". Anyway, despite my stupidity I picked up on the basics of the game rather quickly. We enjoyed our day together and I must say my legs are tired after 9 holes (she played 27 holes a week ago--what?). So I'll live vicariously through her and watch her play golf. It's more fun that way and I get to spend time with my first born who won't be around much longer.

Waste, Waste, Waste!

So I was shocked today to read here in the New York Times (ok--don't throw apples yet) that Hillary's Campaign has spent $116 million so far-not to mention the $95K Deli bill that was delivered recently. When I read that I went "What?". You've got to be kidding me! Have we gone mad--for that kind of money to be spent on elections and such is a crime. In light of my friends who just returned from Uganda where it costs $32 a month to sponsor an orphan child, that figure would support---are you sitting down--302,000 children for a year.

I think the national elections should be this way...one week only, no ads, no parties, no banners, a debate for all interested candidates-then we vote and get it over with. Are you as shocked as I was with these figures.

Oh--we have a lot to answer for in the end.

The Good Old Days

What happened to the good old days? When I was a child every trip to the Doctor usually ended in the proverbial.."Ok, the nurse will be right in." You knew what that meant. You'd have to turn around and show your second set of cheeks for a brief moment of pain as the antibiotic shot was administered.

I took my 10 year old son to the Doctor today. We've been fighting something with him for over a week and a 4 o'clock wake up this morning with a temp of 100+ was the last straw. As we sat there in the waiting room I remembered with great fear how much I hated going to the Docotr--because of that shot. Now, kids don't fear the Doctor--because their going to give them a Z-pack or some set of tablets.

Where did the good old days go? Do any of you have a memory of this?

The Artistry of Words

I was reminded last night at the performance of SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL how magical words can be. The drama and music of the night was engaging, but after a while you noticed that the rhythm of the story and the rhythm of the night was found in the magical rhymes that are Dr. Seuss. Now, the musical wasn't written by Seuss but was written in a Seuss "style". It made me want to go check out every Dr. Sesuss book in the local library. It made me laugh; it made me think; it made me marvel at the beauty of words. We often don't think about words as beauty and art--but they are. They are coming out with an animated version of HORTON HEARS A WHO on March 14th

So today, if you have a moment, read a Dr. Seuss book and enjoy. You never know what it might inspire you to do.

Pictures from last night's performance are here

Creating Culture-Start Where You Are

I've joined with other creatives to dedicate each Wednesday to talk about creating culture and adding to the culture of our community. You can read about it here on Randy Elrod's site.
This question of creating culture has resonated with me long before Recreate 08 in Nashville. Anyone who knows me knows that I love the Arts and I love the culture of the city which fosters the arts. After some time asking God--why don't you change the culture where I am ( more artistic, more expression, more Starbucks!) I felt the Lord say--"What are you doing to change the culture where you are? Until you do your part, you won't see my part (Not that God is dependent on me to move).

So, this fall, after a 25 year hiatus from the theater, I tried out for a production at our local theater. I had no idea if I could do it, but I tried. I ended up being.. A Buzzard. In fact, I was a Baptist Buzzard (Wallace in Hank The Cowdog). It was a children's play that was produced for our town's annual White Buffalo Days festival. I know, it's not a Broadway type of play, but it was invigorating to join with other artists in my town, many that I knew and many that I didn't, to work for 6 weeks on this production. You can see by this picture, my appearance was...stellar.Not only me, but my two daughters have been bitten by the theatrical bug ( both appeared in ALADDIN and THE SOUND OF MUSIC as well as my son who appeared in RUMPLESTILSKIN. It has even awakened in me a desire to direct a production sometime here in the future or to volunteer to be creative director for our small theater company. Who knows.

It just started with a small desire to change the culture where I live.

A Thousand Hallelujahs!

We heard Mark Roach @ Recreate 2 weeks ago. He did most of the songs off his latest album and I've been listening to it at work. In fact, this week we're doing A THOUSAND HALLELUJAHS! for a calling song before the Worship begins. So we practiced it and practiced it last night (Mark sings it in B not in A and G like the charts say) I wondered why I wasn't singing it like Mark. Was it the hair? Was it my keyboard instead of guitar? Nope--record is in B. So, I'll be transposing that today.

Anyway, all night long in my sleep I kept hearing "Dance with me, sing with me O Lord and I will sing a thousand hallelujahs!" Over and over again. So Mark, if you read this--you were in my dreams. Just don't be there tonight. I need some sleep

One of The Best Buys We've Made

While attending the Creative Fusion conference at Daybreak Church in Grand Rapids last year (site), I learned that they use a large scale plotter printer for a lot of their graphic work on stage. That got me to thinking that this would help with stage design and large scale graphics for the stage. We had previously sent these out to a local printer, but at close to $50 a pop, it was pretty pricey.
At the end of last year, we purchased this large scale printer from HP.( HP DESIGNJET 3100) It has been a dream to work with and we've made all of our in-house promotion posters and advertisements with it since. I even made a 13' wide banner (pieced together in 8 different pieces--using a Poster creator program (which I'll post later) for a background ealier in the month. Everyone should look into
getting a large scale printer. It's heaven!

Seussical Goes On

This is my daughter, Mattie. She is JoJo,the daughter of the Mayor of Whoville in the SEUSSICAL THE MUSICAL Jr. Production. She has worked really hard on this part and we're really proud of her. She's been working on the part since November--and all of the family knows all of the music and all of the lines.

One of the benefits of parenthood is seeing your children grow and accomplish their dreams. This made me smile today.

Mr. Bean Goes To Church

This video is hilarious! It's too true how our guests feel coming into our "gatherings". Enjoy

Empty and Beautiful

I finally sat down today and listened to Matt Maher's new cd (we got a pre-release copy @ Recreate 2 weeks ago). It is a marvelous cd--maybe it's because I got to sit with him at supper and talk about worship and ministry. We all fell in love with GREAT THINGS, but for me the one that captured my heart was EMPTY AND BEAUTIFUL--the title cd. A piano based personal expression of praise for what Christ has done for us. I played it over and over again. Check out his site here

Google Sketchup

At Recreate Conference we were to give one of the technologies that we've discovered during the last year that has revolutionized our worship planning. Back in October I discovered a little free program from Google called SKETCHUP . It is a 3D modeling program that is tied into Google Earth. You can get it here. There are also some amazing videos on You Tube that walk you through the tutorials (check out the Sketchup Show (Episodes 1-43 now available and very interesting). It takes some time to master some of the tricks, but when you do, you can model your environment before you build or change any sets. We use it to look at possibilities for stage pieces and emphasis. It's one of the best things I've discovered this year.

What are you finding out there?

A Day In The City

So, today was Prayer and Planning day. Our church has given us 5 designated days to get away, pray, read scripture and plan. I chose today to get away because EASTER is coming and I'm way behind. We have a good idea of what we're doing--just none of it was in concrete. I left early this morning (missed the excitement around here--READ the previous post). I spent the morning at Daybreak Coffee. It was busy, crazy in there with all of the men sitting around talking politics and stuff. Somehow I was able to zone out and read the scriptures and get a sense of God's presence with me. After some time I dove into planning for Easter. We're centering around the Miracles of the Crucifixion (THE NINTH HOUR) for the weeks preceeding Easter. This will also tie into our Maundy Thursday prayer experience where each station will deal with the miracles. It all began to flow together as I focused on each of them individually and then began to sketch and draw what each station would look like. By noon--I was brain fried--but hungry for PEI WEI next door. Now, if you haven't had PEI WEI, you haven't lived. It is the most awesome Chinese food (always get the Kung Pao Chicken). After reading the fortune cookies (says something good is coming in the mail--my tax rebate check?), I went walking around the City of Lubbock's Veteran's Memorial. My dad has a brick here in his honor and I had never walked around the memorial. Very moving--seeing names of some of the older men that I knew when I was growing up. I never found my dad's brick--though now looking online and seeing where it is, I was close and felt that I was--just didn't take the time to scan every brick.

Then it was off to one of my favorite creative places...Lowe's. Anyone else with me? I always enjoy going to Lowe's (1. because we don't have one in town, 2. there's so much that you can stand there and imagine "what can I do with this" My wife used to hate me going to Lowes. I'd come home with all kinds of "oops" paint and big ideas for the house. It was thrilling today to walk down the isles and try to figure out how I could use common building products for sets and worship design. I tried to grab 1 paint chip sample from each bin-like JVO's display @ Recreate...but was too scared to take'm all. So I have a few to play with and see what we can do.

Then off to Sugar Brown's (another coffee shop--ok,ok--it was a little chilly to sit at the park today and finish my planning. Besides they have free wifi there). I spent the rest of the afternoon working on the worship segements for Easter. I surfed and found resources that fit into the themes for the week. Sugar Brown's is an old 7-11 that has been turned into a neat coffee house. It has a great feel and I see so many Christ followers there doing their devos and reading scripture. I felt right at home.

Finally one last stop--to HOBBY LOBBY. Sorry, another creative hangout--where I picked up foamcore board that I couldn't find here in our town. (and for $5.99). On to Mardel's where I was looking for a book I found today on the net about the Miracles of the Crucifixion. Nope--they didn't have it, and the boy told me "We haven't put out our Easter stuff yet!" What? I thought I was behind.

That was my day--how was yours?

Did You Feel The "Ground" Tremble

This happened today--about 40 miles from us. I had already left town when it happened, so I wasn't here but people that were said that they could feel the blast. It rattled the walls and shook the ground. All of this after we sang "Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble" yesterday in worship. I talked about how we had a small earthquake here on Jan. 29--3 something on the Richter scale, but equated when the people of God worship how it shakes the earth. When the blast happened, my cell phone started ringing. People were asking "Did you feel it--the ground trembling?" Of course I didn't, but was a cool connection to what we sang about yesterday.

Worship Set for Sunday, Feb. 17th

Let The Praises Ring--Lincoln Brewster
Did You Feel The Mountains Tremble--Martin Smith
Jesus Paid It All--Passion Version
Above All-Paul Baloche
You Gave Your Life Away-Paul Baloche
Enough-Chris Tomlin

This was our first day to sing "You Gave Your Life Away". It was well received and many commented how much they liked this song. We'll probably sing it a couple of more times before Easter-and use on Easter too.

Pei Wei--My Favorite Place

Tomorrow I get to go to one of my favorite places to eat. Pei Wei Asian Diner is absolutely the best place to eat. I can't wait. It's my comfort food!

Now Here's A Crop We Can Grow In West Texas

Powering 20,000 Homes: The World's Largest PV Solar Farm Open
With an installed peak power capacity of 20 megawatts, world's largest photovoltaic solar power farm has opened in Spain. This farm surpasses the solar farm at the Nellis Air Force Base in Nevada which is rated at 14 megawatts. The new solar farm consists of 120,000 solar panels and covers 100 hectares (247 acres) in Jumilla, a wine-producing region in southern Spain, where the local Mayor says 300 days of sun a year are guaranteed. The farm's total annual production will be the equivalent of the energy used by 20,000 homes. ...

Humor With Truth

Sometimes humor is more truthful than we want to admit. This is a funny video

Seussical--The Musical

Next weekend, my daughter (middle child) will be JoJo in the local production of Seussical the musical. We are all so proud of her. (No--this isn't her picture--but it will do). Seussical is the delightful combination of most of the Dr. Seuss characters (Grinch, The Who's (Cindy Lou), Horton and Maisy in the story of Horton Hears a Who (which Disney will release in March as a motion picture). It is a great and entertaining musical. If you are in the area...drop on by!

Bloggers Take Uganda

This week a group of 16 Bloggers are detailing their trip to Uganda via their blogs
You can read about their travels here

My New Favorite Song

My new favorite song from Paul Baloche. He gives the back story of how this song was written.

The Jesus Painter

We had the great experience of seeing this artist last week in Nashville.  It was a wonderful exhibit as he painted 3 different faces of Christ during a communion service.  Watch and enjoy!

Score One For Dad!

We're watching the Grammy's tonight--don't know why. I guess it's because Football is over. So we're watching the opening with the duet between Alicia Keyes and Frank Sinatra. I say "that's Alicia Keyes" My 15 year old says--"Dad, that is not Alicia Keyes--you don't know who she is!" Only seconds later they give her the award for Best Female R/B. I dance around the room as I am vindicated! Score one for Dad!

Stop and Hear The Music

One of the stories shared with us this week at Recreate was about Joshua Bell, world famous violinist who did an experiment with the help of the Washington Post. He set up in a Subway terminal and played his violin to see if people would stop and listen to his music. Out of almost 1100 peope, only 30 something did. Would you stop and listen to the beauty that is being played by a world famous musician? Would you stop and listen to the beauty around you? There is beauty around us all the time and we don't tak the time to stop and listen to what is going on around us. Take time this week to stop and listen to the things around you. Stop and look at the sunset. Stop and listen to your child sing or watch them dance. Watch people as they live, laugh and love this week in your community. Stop and hear the music

Coming to a theater near you

Interesting article from NYT on Sunday, Feb. 10.

How You Live

I remember when I first heard this song. I sat transfixed in my car just listening to the words. My heart was open at the moment to hear the truth. It really matters not what you do, you know--but how you live. Make the most of every moment. I learned that this week.

I Love This T-Shirt

We found this T-shirt in a Wally World just south of the Marriott on Friday morning. I didn't buy it--but I wanted to. It says so much.

Images of the Week

Altered Books

One of the creative exercises we did this week had to do with a artistic project called ALTERED BOOKS. Basically you take any old book,(and who doesn't have some old books around) and you alter the pages and the cover to make it a journal or a dream book (I made a dream book). You can add things that spark your creativity or thoughts. You can even create new thoughts by using words on the pages and connecting them with circles and lines to create new sentences. Not for everyone--but for the artsy--right on! Can't wait to show you mine--though I can't show you the insides. That's private!

Music Cannot Change The World

An interesting article in light of this week's message to us--don't change the world--change the culture. Perhaps Young is right--music will never change the world, but artists can

KALEIN--The Artist Community

Our final adventure yesterday was an excursion to some land just east of here about an hour. It was an amazing journey not only into some great scenery, but into the large dream that Randy Elrod has for an artistic community/retreat center near here. We boarded our buses with sack lunches and headed out. A beautiful crisp winter day met us. After the terror of Tuesday night and the storms, you were taken by the clear spring like quality of the day. We made our way on 2 charter buses on roads that probably never have seen a charter. Once there we were greeted with 4 or 5 hayrides. As this was the only way to get everyone to the property. We were met there by 4 bonfires, hot chocolate and some more adventures. We made our way to the top of the property to see the rolling hills of Tennessee. Randy dreams big. He dreams of a large lodge here for artists to meet in disciplines (music, art, dance, poetry, drama, writing) and to meet here for master classes. Ulimately the place will have 15 cabins for the artist to stay with the large lodge the main gathering space. We ended the time there listening to Randy talk about the dream. I couldn't help but believe that somewhere he had read THE DREAM GIVER by Bruce Wilkinson. I marveled that he had never given up on this and now (as soon as May 2008) he will begin to see it come to pass. We closed with an Indian (Blackfoot) friend of Randy's who is a Christ follower showing us a Native American Dance of blessing for the land. Circling the fire, we all marveled at the simplicity of the dance and the deep meaning. It reminded me of the old hymn "This is my father's world." We seem to think that since we own title to land, that it's ours. But it's not. It's God's world. This was a truly emotional day--to challenge myself to the dreams that God has given me. Would I be so tenatious as Randy in following and finding my dreams. Amazing.

Dinner with an Artist

A great part of RECREATE has been the interaction with the artists from Integrity, EMI and Word Music Publishing. Either they have come to us or we have gone to them for a concert during the day. All of them are so talented and gifted. On Wednesday evening we happen to walk into the Anchor Church in downtown Nashville and sitting at the front table was Matt Maher. Matt has written some amazing songs for the church (Your Grace Is Enough, For Your Glory). I recognized him and called him by first name (like I was his best friend from home). He was so cordial and what ensued for the next hour was a great conversation not only about his songs, but about his perspective as an artist and the local church. It was a totally enjoyable evening--even though old churches are drafty and we picked the draftiest spot by the window.

A Creative Adventure

One of the creative exercises for us was to go to the Lane Autmobile Museum here in Nashville. Now, you would say " what are a bunch of artists going to a car museum?". It was an exercise in creativity and design. We were met there by a design professor who gave us a semi-lecture on design, then turned us loose with a questionnaire that asked us to observe the cars for different characteristics (scale, color, shape, pattern, etc) and then to apply it to our own work. What a fascinating idea. All of these cars are classis--some of them are one of a kind. Reminded me of the movie CARS and how we all related to some of the characters in the movie. Maybe because of their design, they came to life. This was an exercise I've never done before--so now it's HGTV and NASCAR for me.

Auntie Em, Auntie Em

So, Recreate is known for their surprises for their attendees each year. From special guest artist, to special gifts and special trip--but tonight was SPECIAL. We were hosted by Integrity Music @ the Journey Church (Ecclesia) in the Factory @ Franklin. Its a neat old warehouse. Great meal--then great worship with Paul Baloche, Jared Anderson and others. In the midst of wonderful worship I hear this high pitch noise and I think "What a wicked guitar solo Paul is playing tonight!" Then heard it again and thought "It's a fire!" Then I heard it again and I thought "Tornado". Sure enough there was a Tornado heading toward us. What could we do? We just continued to worship (but be wise and watch the weather). Can you imagine singing "Your Name" during the midst of the storm. It spoke volumes to me--that God does indeed cover you with his wings (Psalm 91). It's not over yet---there are more storms to come--but we're back @ our hotel and keeping an eye on the storms.

All in all--a RECREATE surprise unmatched by no other.

E.T.--Phone Hom

"And they admitted that they were aliens and strangers on earth. 14People who say such things show that they are looking for a country of their own. Hebrews 11: 13b-14"

In the 80's classic movie, E.T (the Extra Terristerial) finds himself on the planet but looking for his home...his planet. I feel like that sometimes. Out there all alone, thinking that no one could feel the way I do--struggle with the same things I do, wonder why God what he does and when he does it.

Tonight I discovered there is a planet called CREATIVES...and there are many aliens like myself who have those same questions. Have you ever met total strangers (like less than 12 hours ago you didn' t know that they existed) and you could carry on life with them for hours? What's the bond---it's the Spirit of Christ, the Spirit of the Creative one who is our bond. I think I've found my planet and I'm phoning home.

CCLI Survey

Today during the opening session we heard from one of the top execs @ CCLI (Christian Copyright Licensing) and he revealed the survey that 5700(?) churches took in October over worship styles and trends. Then the RECREATE group took in late Fall and he compared and contrasted the two findings.

If you hate statistics--it would have put you out in a minute. But I love this kind of stuff because numbers tell you stories. Very interesting stuff. Blended worship is declining while two separate styles of worship services (Contemporary and Traditional) are growing. Contemporary is growing the fastest.

Some real confirmation to me of some of the changes that we've adopted in our place of worship. Looks like we are "NORMAL" according to the trends. Can't wait to share the findings with our folks.

All My Bags Are Packed

" All my bags are packed, I'm ready to go... I'm leaving on a jetplane...don't know when I'll be back again".

It's been a whirlwind day. First there was Church ( 2 services--2 different choirs--much multimedia and then a luncheon) followed by a day long effort to get all of my "materials" done for the conference (DVD's, handouts) and packing. My energy is beginning to wane.

We can't wait to go to the RECREATE Conference. For those of you who know me--CREATIVITY is an important part of my life. I'm meeting 99 other ministers that I've never met before. From all across America, Canada and some from Latin America--my muse will be energized.

Hope to update you throughout the week.

Super Bowl---Who cares

It used to be when I was a young lad that I couldn't wait until the Super Bowl. There was a magical mystique about it and I anticipated it's arrival. Maybe it's because my family made a big deal about it. We would get together as a family, just like Christmas eve, and bring the best food and watch the game together as a family. I can remember those classic games with Dallas vs. Baltimore, and Dallas vs. Miami, and Dallas vs. Denver. Those were exciting games. Maybe just the sense of family being together was the key ingredient.

Tonight's game--well, to be honest--who cares. We'll watch for a bit, but we really have no investment in who wins. Maybe if the Cowboys had come through there might have been more interest, but it will be just another game. Besides, I'm travelling this week and I've got to pack.

Still--fond memories of the Super Bowl past--maybe 42 of them, it's time for another memory maker.