Eighty-five victims of the storm left unclaimed by any survivors were finally laid to rest as another deadly storm, Hurricane Gustav, strengthened in the Gulf of Mexico and threatened the city.
A horsedrawn carriage carried the last seven gleaming coffins to the mausoleum on Friday, while jazz trumpeter Ken Ferdinand played “Amazing Grace.” The other 78 victims were interred on Thursday in a scramble to beat an evacuation order expected toda
How is it in this day and age that 80 people can go without anyone missing them? Have we become so disconnected from our families and friends that no one even missed them. Some were probably homeless--but surely someone knew their name. Now, may they rest in peace--they are known by God.
If some tragedy happened in your town, would people be looking for you? Would you be missed? Would someone call your name?
Be part of a community--be known today.
What do you think?
Sunday, Aug 24, 2008 @07:00am CST
Death is one of life's milestones rarely memorialized on camera.
"This is just as important an event in someone's life when we celebrate the life of someone," said funeral director Brain Calhoun.
The thing is, most people prefer to say goodbye in private.
"As a whole we're a very traditional industry," said Calhoun.
An industry that funeral director Brian Calhoun says, until recently has been influenced very little by technology.
"This is my feed from the camera. It takes about 30 seconds for the server to accept the incoming media," explained Calhoun.
Stuhr's funeral home is the first in South Carolina to offer families the option of a live funeral on the internet.
"To allow a family to have this as an archive in their family history. We give the link to the website only to the immediate family," said Calhoun.
He says the new feature does catch people off guard at first.
"I would really like to have my cousin Jeff at the service but he can't get off work to be here. When they really think through that it's interesting that several names start appearing," said Calhoun.
HT: Big Country Home Page
L.I. Church Gets $3M Lottery Ticket from Member
PORT JEFFERSON, N.Y. (AP) -- A man who scratched off a lottery ticket and realized it was worth $3 million promptly donated it to his church, his pastor said Wednesday.
Pastor Bertrand Crabbe of the True North Community Church of Port Jefferson said the donor, who asked to remain anonymous, said, ``This was why God put the ticket in his hands.''
The state Lottery announced Wednesday that the independent Christian church will get at least $102,225 a year through the year 2028. The amount could be higher if withheld taxes are refunded because of the church's nonprofit status.
The ``Ba Da Bling'' scratch-off ticket was bought July 19 at a card shop in Middle Island, the lottery said. The same day, Crabbe said, the man with the ticket ``called me, invited me to his home, told me he had won and his intentions. He said he wanted to bless the church, that this was why God put the ticket in his hands.''
He gave Crabbe the ticket, and Crabbe claimed the prize on behalf of the 650-member church he founded three years ago. The pastor said the church would give the first year's proceeds to charities including Love 146, which battles human trafficking and slavery.
Starting next year, at least 20 percent will go to charity. Some will go toward a new building for the church, Crabbe said.
What do you think? Would your church accept a gift like this?
- I sketched the Porch in Sketchup and gave the specs to the builder.
- I secured the screenporch and the windows from our local theater ( a great resource that usually goes untapped). The porch is 10' wide and 8' tall.
- It sits on a platform that we built two years ago for the STEWARDS 'R US series.
- The porch light is the original porch light of the church that was unused.
- The yard light is from our NARNIA series.
- The rocker is our pastor's and he preached from the front porch last weekend.
Texas Musical Drama had its beginning in 1960 when the William Moores and Ples Harpers of Canyon, Texas were intrigued by an article in Readers Digest about Paul Green who had re-created the history of several regions in tremendous dramas with pageantry and music. Margaret Harper wrote to Green to see if he would be interested in weaving such a production around the story of the Texas Panhandle and the great canyon across it. Mr. Green agreed and 135 people from 12 counties met in 1961 and together formed the Foundation to raise money for the production. A sound and light demonstration was held and the show FANDANGLE was brought from Albany , Texas to perform in 1964. In 1965, a sound and light booth was donated and Margaret Harper’s THUNDERING SOUNDS OF THE WEST was performed at the theatre. During 1966, the State of Texas built the dressing rooms and concession building, and at last on July 1, 1966, Texas Musical Drama opened. 61,338 guests attended the show that first year. Since that time more than three million visitors have come to see productions in the Pioneer Amphitheatre in the beautiful Palo Duro Canyon State Park, the nation’s second largest canyon.
I remember back in 1967/68 our family (my Mom, Dad and siblings) made the trip to Canyon, Texas for the Musical, TEXAS! Looking back now, I can see that this was just at the beginning of TEXAS and us going at that time was really very exciting. What did I know--I was 3 or 4. All I remember was them being scared of the Indians in the Canyon and the Prairie Fire scene (then done by people in costumes).
I recently returned to this production with my family (my wife and kids) while on vacation. When they announced that Texas would soon conclude their 43rd season, I thought "wow, that's a long time for a single production!" Each summer 140 of the brightest and best talents across the nation give up their summer to perform for 10 weeks in the Canyon.
Interview with LiveDesign-April 2008
This was a big day for us:
1. School starts tomorrow---so everyone is back! Yea!
2. We announced our Small Group Strategy--big yea! (This is the focus of our series)
3. First time for all of the teams to be back to normal--no switching this week
4. New Set (more on this later in the week)
Other than some technical issues--it was a great day!
How was your Sunday?
This post is part of SUNDAY SET LISTS over on Fred McKinnon's site.
Toilet Paper Launcher - video powered by Metacafe
I so totally want to make one of these.
Obama: "Just Tax the Heck Out of People" [Mark Hemingway]HT: National Review
Buried in that 8,000 (!) word NYT magazine article about Obama's economic plan that I mentioned yesterday, is this bit flagged by Geraghty at Campaign Spot:
“If you talk to Warren [Buffet], he’ll tell you his preference is not to meddle in the economy at all — let the market work, however way it’s going to work, and then just tax the heck out of people at the end and just redistribute it,” Obama said. “That way you’re not impeding efficiency, and you’re achieving equity on the back end.” He continued by saying that he thought there was some merit in Buffett’s argument.
To which, Geraghty responds: "Isn't it reassuring to have a presidential candidate saying he sees some merit in 'taxing the heck' out of something?" Indeed. Expect the McCain camp to start running "Just tax the heck out of people" ads very soon.
- Make up a story about an object you see on the road-how did it get there? We made up a story about the town of HAPPY, Texas. It was hilarious. The subsequent story was about the riderless tractor going down the road on the back of the trailer. Each person had to add to the story. You wouldn't believe how fast 200 miles ticked off the clock while we laughed at everyone's addition to the story.
- List items that we would want in our dream house. Diane wanted a floor that sweeps itself; Daniel wanted a house in the clouds; Mattie wanted a All Season-All Sports court that could convert from Tennis to Basketball with a push of a button; Taylor wanted....I forgot what Taylor wanted; I wanted a PEI WEI and Salt Grass Steakhouse in my kitchen
- Making up new road signs to communicate in any language-"NO FEEDING THE SQUIRRELS; CLOTHING OPTIONAL and others. It was hilarious and it led to a discussion of different road signs we were seeing along I-40 in New Mexico ( I never really considered the design of road signs.
- Clapping in rhythm--each one had to add a new rythm to a steady beat... hmm sounds like Children's Choir training at seminary.
- We had to make up our own species of Fish-including the color, shape, etc. This one was a flop!
- Wood Fired Pizza for supper--the best yet since Italy
- A family dinner at ... Denny's--I know it sounds stupid, but was one of the funniest nights as we at Breakfast for Dinner!
Last week while on vacation in Albuquerque we visited the Explora science museum there. This facility has 250 hands on experiments with water, electricity and sound. There was a really cool section on music.
- This was the place where 2 of my children were born and I blame much of their "spoiledness" on those wonderful folks who stayed up with us until the wee hours of the morning awaiting their arrival.
- This was the place where we walked through crisis upon crisis with teens in our town and where I was called upon to counsel at the school whenever some tragedy arose.
- This was the place where SEE YOU AT THE POLE was larger than any other thing I had ever seen.
- This was the place where we took 125 students to Youth Camp because someone dared us to bring that many (we usually ran 25-30 kids).
- This is the place where I added an orchestra to an Easter Cantata (that's what they're called) and you would have thought I brought in the Dallas Symphony.
- This was the place where I was ordained. So many memories. Good ones--I've completely forgotten the bad ones!
All of these blogs this week have been pre-posted so that I can spend this week of vacation with my family as we see the West and enjoy some time together before school starts.
1) No email. No blogging. No Twittering. No Drudgereport. Nothing. If I saw news--it had to be on TV. I'll let you know about my re-entry next Sunday.
2) No cell phone. I left it off. I left an emergency number with family and with 1 person in town. Other than that I was unreachable.
3) No church publications or readings. I could have filled my car with the magazines and articles that I've been saving to read. I could read the latest book on ministry--I didn't.
So tell me, how do you unplug on vacation?
I'd like to be around the "warehouse" that holds all of the equipment and props from the Olympics opening ceremonies. Do you think they'll have a yard sale.
One thing that I noticed in the ceremonies--LED lighting has only scratched the surface (no pun intended) with what you can create with lighting and special effects. The "papyrus" roll on the floor of the stadium with LED projection on it was "out of this world". Also, the group of people wearing LED lights was imaginative and stunning.
What did you think of the Olympic Opening Ceremonies?
This post is part of Creative Chaos over on Carlos' site.
For both A Greater Song and your new album, Our God Saves, you've decided to write songs in community, alongside other worship songwriters. Why the new approach?If you are a worship leader like me, you are singing Paul Baloche's songs. But that isn't the whole truth--they aren't all Paul's songs. I've noticed in the by lines of some of my favorite songs that Paul has shared the billing with some of the greatest songwriters of our day. We've been singing WHAT CAN I DO from A GREATER SONG the last couple of months and I just looked up today and saw Graham Kendrick's name associated with it.
Baloche: The result of collaboration seems greater than the sum of its parts. You always end up going someplace creatively where you would not have gone by yourselves.
It was such a privilege to write most of the songs with friends and peers that I respect and love, including Brenton Brown, Matt Redman, Kathryn Scott, and so on. There is nothing more fun than getting with a friend, singing some familiar worship songs, and seeing what springs up in the midst of trying to connect with God in the moment. I love the mysterious potential. From beginning to end, this project was created out of close relationships. The essence of life is about our relationships. The essence of worship is about our relationship with God.
Paul works with everyone! He's written with Brenton Brown, Matt Redman, Kendrick, Glenn Packham, Kathryn Scott (her blog) and more. The thing I'm finding about these songs are not only their freshness, but I sense Paul's humble servant spirit coming through these. He's modeling for all of us in worship ministry how to collaborate on artistic experiences. This article helps explain some of that we see happening on his albums.
I take from this article the following:
1. Collaboration is a result of friendship---collaboration can never be forced--the results will always show it. The best collaboration comes from the well of those deep friendships where laughter, love and honesty remain.
2. Collaboration is born in the midst of worship--when these artists get together it isn't the top priority to write the next best song--they worship and the overflow of the worship gives birth to some of the greatest songs (YOU GAVE YOUR LIFE AWAY).
3. Collaboration is born of relationships--Paul has many friends, in many places and all of those bring to him a wealth of experiences. He doesn't have to depend on his experiences alone--he shares them with all of his friends.
I want to collaborate more--be involved with other artists who bring their gifts and talents to the table--but most of all to be in close relationship and community with them so we can see God move and create in our midst.
This post is part of Watercooler Wednesday's on Randy Elrod's site,
Today was wrap up day for Family Camp and also the end of our DEAR SOLOMON series. We had a lot going on during worship--but I felt it all flowed together.
The highlight today for me.. leading the children's song "Grateful"--ok, not deep worship, but our preschoolers enjoyed this song so much during family camp, and I asked them to bring these kids in during the opening part of worship for them to participate with us. Actually, they arrived in the early part of worship and you should have seen their faces. My little worship friend (FRIEND OF GOD post) saw me and she just smiled. It brought a smile to my face too. Actually I saw more smiles during this point of worship than the upbeat praise part of our services. I asked them at the end if they'd lost a friend this week--so many sad faces and no clappers! (Do you ever wonder why people don't clap along with music in worship--more than 16-24 beats)
1 [a] I will extol the LORD at all times;Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King (Itunes)
his praise will always be on my lips.
2 My soul will boast in the LORD;
let the afflicted hear and rejoice.
3 Glorify the LORD with me;
let us exalt his name together.
Here Our Praises
Grateful- Kids helped us sing
Family Camp Recognition--we gave family pictures taken at camp with the mattes we had signed with our family goals and ideas on them.
You Never Let Go
God of Wonders
Interview with 3 Dads who had a significant event at Family Camp
What Can I Do
So how was your Sunday. I won't post a set list next Sunday since I'm on vacation and will be a worshipper only next Sunday at a church with my family.
This post is part of Fred McKinnon's SUNDAY SET LIST
The final post in this series comes from Leadership Summit 2005. Bill Hybels talk was The Leaders' State of Mind. He focused on the HOLY DISCONTENT of the leader.
From Monday Morning Insight
The day started off with Bill Hybels talking on "The Leader's State of Mind". His whole discussion was what happens before you get a 'vision' for something? What causes a leader to have and develop the vision he/she has? Using Exodus 2 as a text, Bill stated that many times vision comes out of a state of "Holy Discontent". He mentioned Popeye (the sailor man) and how he would take as much as he could (when people gave Olive Oil a hard time) until he got to the point where he would say "That's all I can stands... I can't stands no more." In our lives, he asked us "What can't you stand"? That's your area of "holy discontent". Many times your vision comes out of finding your area of "holy discontent" and doing something about it. It's when your heart is in agreement with God's heart on things that matter to him. Some examples of this he gave were David (when fighting Goliath); Nehemiah (and the re-building of the wall); Martin Luther King (and his fight against racial injustice; and the founder of World Vision (who started the organization after seeing dying children who had no food). All of these people got their vision when they had their 'Popeye' moment of "Holy Discontent". Of course, Bill Hybels expressed this whole idea much better than I did (in one paragraph). It was a very interesting and thought-provoking start to the day.
After having been in many, many stadiums and having heard anthems belted out in every conceivable way, it was fascinating to see the Chinese singing in such an emotional way. There was no restraint whatsoever – every voice was maxed out, and every word was given an equal measure of passion. It was such an abundant harmony that almost anyone I could see who wasn’t Chinese was looking around at the people standing next to them, enjoying the spectacle.
2. Kobe Bryant
This was the oddity of the night. Behind the Chinese president and the entire national team, the one athlete who appeared to get the loudest ovation was none other than Kobe Bean Bryant. The moment was so odd that even U.S. journalists were looking at each other in puzzlement. The Russian, Chinese and American presidents were here, but Kobe was the head of state tonight.
3. Costumes and props
The sheer number of human beings incorporated into the ceremony was staggering. The government put the tally at more than 10,000, and it didn’t appear to be an exaggeration.
But the array of costumes and props was like nothing an Olympics has ever seen. The sets produced were unending, from a titanic scroll to an undulating stadium floor that produced Chinese symbols to a planet that rose from beneath the stadium deck – the sets took you through a 5,000-year time capsule of China’s history. And the costume designs (there were over 15,000 costumes used) were flawless, vivid and colorful, whether it was the thousands of ancient robes or space-age suits that contained countless flickering bulbs.
4. Percussion drums
The first moments of the ceremony were signaled by the amazing rhythmic rumble of 2,008 percussion drums that produced a pulse-pounding start. The drums also turned into a giant set of cascading lights, shuffled from one end of the bird’s nest to the other, as a roaring crowd climbed to its feet. There was something primal yet elegant and powerful about the drums at the start.
5. The lighting of the torch
You know an Olympics has gotten off on the right foot when the torch lighting ceremony really grabs you. Muhammad Ali at the 1996 games in Atlanta was a proud and heartfelt moment. The flaming arrow in the 1992 games in Barcelona was inventive and daring. But Beijing set a mind-bending standard that defied belief.
I have been told not to give it away, but I can honestly say that nobody in the building could have guessed what ultimately happened. Expect something that breaks the laws of nature, but manages to be both graceful and awe-inspiring at the same time.
This was my first introduction to Tim Sanders. I found him so very interesting--except that he paces back and forth a great deal--but the information that he gives is incredibly useful. The talk on The Lovecat Way spurred in me a reading frenzie like I've never had since, and just re-reading his principles of the Lovecat Way has reawakened in me the need to listen to this talk again. In particular, his points about Scarcity and Abundance rang true in our church in 2004. We fell in the trap of Scarcity and it led to the some terrible times in the church.
The points of the talk were:
KNOWLEDGE ~ we should all be sharing our knowledge with one another without regard to our personal gain. We give to give. Simple as that.
NETWORK, Network, Network! ~ Connect others to your Rolodex. Share your valuable connections freely and widen your circles of influence exponentially.
COMPASSION ~ Be the best human being you can be. Be kind. Be caring. Be compassionate. Do good deeds! We are all in this together and our relationships with one another are the key. It truly is who we know and who knows us. Our willingness to authentically connect with others and help them achieve their goals can impact all aspects of our lives, our businesses and yes, even our love life!
MORNING WORSHIP: This was a time for all of the generations to get together to worship (I'm talking Pre-school-to High School). You may ask how this worked. It was just understood that we were all going to be together. The songs were geared towards the little ones ( a little lighter and more FUN) as well as some of the activities. (ie--the pre-schoolers came and "led"us on a fun song in worship. The older kids provided the rhythm for one of the songs)
Each morning was followed by an opening activity to break the ice with the school age kids, teens and parents. The first day we did a timed instruction sheet (where we were suppose to read the entire sheet of instructions and then just sign our name to the top of the paper,however, my family didn't read all of the instructions and we ended up doing some of the silly stuff like "I'm a little teapot" (see picture). I knew we were doing this so I didn't tell.
EVENING WORSHIP was just as creative. Brad Gartman used object lessons in each of his talks.
Here are some other random shots of the week:
Pat Lencioni has to be one of the funniest speakers that I've ever heard. He's engaging, witty and intelligent. His talks are deep and meaningful. This talk (2003) on The Five Dysfunctions of A Team certainly guided me through those dark days of leadership. In particular his first point about TRUST is so true. An organization is only as deep as it's leader is authentic and genuine with their soul.
His follow up talk in 2006 on Polictics and Silos was also one of my favorites.
First Dysfunction - Absence of the trust. Mr. Lencioni hits a home run with me on this point. He was not talking about "predictive trust" where you have known someone long enough that you can predict what they are going to say, how they will react to a certain situation, what buttons you can press to get a reaction. ( Sounds like an old married couple). No, he was referring to vulnerability trust or the ability to show a weakness without losing something -- esteem, pride, or strength. This includes the leader. Can the team leader demonstrate a vulnerability without the rest of the team serving him or her up for lunch? Simply put, how comfortable are you in saying to your team, "I don't know"?
Second Dysfunction - Fear of Conflict. He believes that productive, ideologic conflict is good. Dialogue in which no one is holding back for fear of reprisal, criticism, or dismissal is healthy for any team. Unaired conflicts have a nasty habit of reappearing again and again -- usually in another form like personal attacks which are just deadly. A "non-confrontational" person is a bomb waiting to go off. The worst situation you can have is a yes man team. The leader of a team must demand debate, welcome it, support it, but also know when to put it to bed. That brings us to the next dysfunction.
Third Dysfunction - Lack of Commitment. He strongly believes that there can be no commitment without debate. How can you actively buy into something when you were not allowed to state your opinions and discuss your thoughts about it? Mr. Lencioni was adamant that there is no such thing as complete consensus... Really a change from the 90's view of garnering 100% consensus before something is accepted. He states that by allowing everyone to voice their opinions, discussing those differing ideas, and finally forcing clarity, you as a leader will get closure on the topic and full commitment. Everyone needs to get to the point where they can say, "I may not agree with your ideas but I understand them and can support them."
Fourth Dysfunction - Avoidance of Accountability. This continues the house that Jack built -- if you don't have debate, you won't get commitment. If you don't have commitment, you won't get people's buy-in and therefore, no accountability from the team members. Commitment leads to the sense of comradery needed in a team effort -- the thought of letting your colleague down is abhorrent to you. The leader must confront the difficult issues that lead to ultimate commitment from everyone and thus accountability.
Fifth Dysfunction - Inattention to Results. If team members are not accountable, then they will take care of only themselves rather than pull for the greater good of the team. The team goals get subverted to the individual's goals. Mr Lencioni ended his talk by asking the audience an interesting question which I will iterate here: What is Team Number 1 in your mind - the team you are on or the team you lead? Which one is most important to you?
HT: Claudia Imhoff
"Vision does not stick without constant care and attention."
"It is up to each one of us to make sure there is alignment between the activity and the vision of our enterprise."
"If it's a mist in the pulpit, it's a fog in the pew." -Howard Hendricks
"If the vision is too complicated for people to embrace, nothing changes."
"Every vision is a solution to a problem." "What is the need or problem my vision addresses? and What will happen if those needs or problems continue to go unaddressed?"
"To make vision stick, a leader needs to pause long enough to celebrate the wins along the way."
"What's celebrated is repeated."
"Vision, not people's random ideas, should determine programming."
"What people complain about communicates their understanding of the vision."
"We pray for what we are most burdened for"
We sang this song Wednesday night to begin our Family camp this last week in Galveston. With no words on the screen (because of our Media Shout fiasco) we sang it over and over again. Evidently it made an impression on this little one.
There are many times that I wonder if the songs that we are singing and teaching these days have any impact. I continue to get the occaisional comment of "it was better in the past than it is right now" and frankly some days I'm discouraged.
But, a little email sent this afternoon encouraged me that indeed I'm helping the next generation connect with the God that calls us friend.
This video is for my little worshipper friend. Turn up the volume and let her sing!
This post is usually one of the first that I do on Monday morning, but since my Sunday night ran into my Monday morning, I'm just now getting around to it.
Randy Elrod- I searched back through my SO/SN posts and can't believe that I've never given props to Randy and his blog. Randy is a creative, dreamer and go-getter in Franklin, Tennessee. He's the "BLOGFATHER" to many who blog now and hosts his annual Re-Create Conference in Franklin in February. To those who already know him--you know his stuff. To my new readers--you'll want to check this guy out. He's inspiring.
Brad Gartman- I've already posted about Brad (he was our camp pastor this past week), but you need to connect with him. He's the Co-Pastor of The Church @The Springs in League city. This church has taken a radical approach to ministry and community. They meet bi-monthly and the other Sunday's are dedicated to Family and ministry to the community. He say's their unofficial theme is "The church who gives time back to you".
25 Cloth- This company made our t-shirts for family camp, and you may be saying "Big deal". However, a portion of your shirt costs is forwarded to an ongoing project to relief suffering around the world. Makes you feel better about wearing that shirt now, huh? Check'em out.
We finished the morning with pictures of the whole group on the beach (our shirts were ORANGE--so you couldn't miss us!) and then individual pictures of families.
Our worship time was a reflection time of what God had done in our families this week. One of the girls in our group came to know Christ last night with her parents at the beach. There were opportunities to witness to folks who wondered who these 160 mad people were running around the hotel and more.
We made it through-Media Shout and PC cratered on Thursday---thank goodness for MAC and that other presentation softwares which is making me think hard about Media Shout!
Ok--now to worship
Today we sang-
Help Me! (Pringle is the author I think)
Grateful (Rich Smith's kids' song)
Blessed Be Your Name (Redman)
You Never Let Go (Redman)
Here at home--worship was led by a friend of mine from a former church that I served.
Our God Saves
How Great Is Our God
How Can I Keep From Singing.
This post is part of Sunday Set-List over on Fred McKinnon's site.