Anatomy of A Hurricane

Found this video file tonight--thought it was a good primer what will be happening tomorrow in LA.  Prayers for all tonight.

Worship Post-Fessional, August 31, 2008

Worship Set-8/31
Great Things (Maher)- (Itunes) I've been waiting to do this song since I heard it in February at Recreate. We'll sing it through the fall. It was great--if you haven't done this song-do it!
Your Grace Is Enough (Maher)
One Thing (Hall)-this one has been a theme song for us in 2008 ('to know you oh Jesus and make you known)
Video--No Man Is An Island (Sermon Spice)
Message--Enemies of Community--Self-Centeredness
Center (Hall) (Itunes)-New one this week--done as a response song and we'll sing it too through the Fall
Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (Chorus)
From The Inside Out (Houston) (Itunes)
What was your highlight today?
This post is part of Sunday Set Lists over on Fred McKinnon's site.

Being Known In Community-The Tragedy of Katrina

I was struck by this story yesterday evening while surfing for information.  This past Thursday, 80 of the remaining victims of Katrina were finally buried.  After three years, a group of funeral directors said that the city and state had taken too long to give these people a proper burial.

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.

Pastor Comes From The Nursery

Need a speaker for the day?  Look no further than your nursery?   I'll be looking at these little ones a differently after watching this video.

What do you think?

Hurricane Gustav--A Scary Reminder of Katrina

The pictures this weekend of the storm coming this week is so much  of a reminder of what was coming three years ago with Hurricane Katrina.  I had just arrived here and we were away on a staff retreat when Katrina hit.  We came home to higher gas prices (nothing has changed except that it had solidly crossed into the $2.00/gallon range) and a concerted effort to reach out to these folks.  Within a week or two of Katrina we had a movement to take home goods to displaced families from N.O. in the Dallas area.   It's just all to similar. I pray that it won't have the same effect this time.

Cyber Funerals

I thought this was an interesting article.  We published the audio for a service to the web in March for a service.  It was our most listened to audio file in the last 6 months. Perhaps with families spread through out the nation, this may be the way for families to be there in those moments when they can't
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
Related Posts: Going Home
                          Funerals-A Thing of the Past

Let The Games Begin--High School Football

The Snyder Tigers open their 2008 Football season tonight against Big Spring here in Snyder.  Snyder advanced to the State Semi-Finals last year.

If you don't already know, Football in Texas is King.  I jokingly refer to it as the largest house of worship in town.  In fact, this season we have new carpet in the house of worship (new turf!)  So that will be exciting.

For my 3rd year, I'll be in the press box being the CREATIVE behind the scoreboard goodies.  I've got to come up with some new stuff this year.  I'm kinda bored with what I have from the last two years.  If you know of a site with some great ANIMATED GIFS that would work well--let me know.  The only thing I don't have access too is the PA system or I would be playing those crazy clips that you hear at the baseball and football games of the pros.

We'll also be watching the band a little closer this year at half-time since our daughter Mattie is playing with the percussion in the pit.

Do you follow a local football team?

Church Wins Lottery--What Do You Think?

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?

Creative Chaos-New Set

We started our new series last week on RELATIONSHIPS.  Our metaphor for RELATIONSHIPS is The Front Porch (where people used to spend a great deal of time getting to know their neighbors).  We leaned heavily upon Frazee's MAKING ROOM FOR LIFE in introducing this series.
  • 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.
This post is part of CREATIVE CHAOS over on

Watercooler Wednesday- 43 years of TEXAS!

Texas, the musical drama set in the scenic Palo Duro Canyon on West Texas has been in production for 43 years.
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.

This post is part of Watercooler Wednesday's over on Randy Elrod's site, Ethos

Art For Your Latte

Art is no longer confined to canvasses or walls.  This company has come up with machines that will brand each latte with a different picture or logo.

Look at these other pictures here

What do you think about this?   

Stage Design--Dem. and Rep. Conventions

The Democratic National Convention this week features the Production Design work of Bruce Rodgers- fellow West Texan. Bruce is a graduate of Texas Tech University (my alma mater).
He grew up in Monahans (just west of Odessa) and entered the design world through Architecture.   Below is a video of the stage in Denver this week.  It features High End fixtures and state of the art technology in stage design.
Here's a bit of information on him:

Interview with LiveDesign-April 2008

Bruce designed the 1996 ATT Global Olympic Village ($33 million dollar project), 
Madonna's return tour, Ricky Martin's "Livin' La Vida Loca" and the 2007 and 2008 Half-Times of the Super Bowl.  Pretty impressive!

Read the articles above about him.  You'll understand where he's come from in his love for design.
Contrast that with the Republican Stage Design here and the dimensions here or the comparisons here.   Who would have thought that stage design could say so much about a candidate.

Something Old Something New

Something Old:
Kuler-Sometimes as a designer, colors are the inspiration for a campaign, a brand or a theme.  Sometimes the combinations of colors spur on creativity in other areas.  This site from Adobe is one of the best in putting together color combinations and palettes.

Something New:
Kim Komando:  One of the radio shows that I try to catch on Saturdays is the Kim Komando show. Kim talks technology and computers and always gives great hints, sites and even some freebies.  I finally visited her site this week and found that she gives a lot of great tips and sites in the areas of Technology, Entertainment, Email, and Web tools.

What have you found new this week?

Lego's Are The Best--I Want To Play!

I've already confessed my obession with LEGO here, but this site tonight just got me excited to go out and by me some more!  Can you imagine the creativity in a planning meeting if you built things using LEGOS.   I used to do that--I would be staging and projects with LEGOS and put windows in there and peer around how it would look.  The old school 3-D way was sometimes the best way to get some perspective on a project.

The new and improved LEGO's are amazing.  Look how they are curved and architectural.  Amazing!

Worship Post-Fessional, August 24, 2008

Order of Worship:

Friend of God (Houghton)
Majestic (Brewster)
All Creatures of Our God and King
Scripture Reading
Creator King
Message--Core Value-Relationships
God of Wonders

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.

Beijing Card Stack

Now this guy has a lot of time and patience.  Look what he built

Marathon Man

We've been glued to the TV all night watching the Marathon.... whew are we ever tired.
These guys ran on a pace of 12 MPH.  Just watching them run made me exhausted.   

Did you see it?

Jim Drake For President!

Could it be?   Hmmm...I think we'll be vetted this week!

Sorry Russell, this was too good not to steal!

Star Spangled Banner Trouble

It seems that the Chinese may have not played fair in the gymnastics area and another problem area has also arisen. DIGITAL RIGHTS MANAGEMENT and COPYRIGHT LAWS.

The Chinese may have used the National Anthems of the World ( a compilation cd), including the arrangement by Peter Breiner without permission.  Uh oh... somebody forgot the copyright laws. 

Check the story out here:  Austin American Statesman
Listen to a clip of his arrangement here and here.   See what your think?

Do you think they bought the cd and ripped off the arrangements?

Just In Time For Football Season

Toilet Paper Launcher - video powered by Metacafe

I so totally want to make one of these.

Obama- "Just Tax The Heck Out Of People"

Obama: "Just Tax the Heck Out of People" [Mark Hemingway]
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.
HT: National Review

Cheaters Never Win--Maybe They Do

HT: IOC concludes investigation in 12 hours

Why Do I Blog?

Why do I blog?  This post has been on a list of things to blog about for a long time.  Now seems the time to talk about why I've been doing this for almost 2 years now.  Here are the top three:

1.  Information to friends and family
My blog initially began with my trip to Rome in September of 2006.  Friends and family could keep up with my adventures while abroad and I have used it subsequently in Guatemala, India, London, Paris and other places.  My friends know when I'm on a trip, I'll blog about it and it helps them share the journey.

2.  Creative outlet
My blog has afforded me a chance to discuss and display some of the things that I do and that I find interesting in my life.  I likened it to my 4th grade project where I had a bulletin board in a room where I could display anything that I wanted.  So, in a way, this blog is my new bulletin board.   It's a place where I can comment about things I see, things I read, things I'm thinking about or things that are going on in my life.

3.  Forum for ideas
Blogging has afforded me a chance to connect with other creatives across the world.  By being a regular blogger and contributing posts to several forums, I've exchanged ideas with others in the same field or interest that I otherwise would not have connected to.

So, tell me--why do you blog?   Read the blog below--Bethany Gaddis tells you why she does.

Creative Chaos--Creative Arts Family Vacation--Part Deux

This post is part of CREATIVE CHAOS over on Carlos' site.

So, part of the challenge of taking three kids ( 15, 13 and 11) on a family vacation is both mental and physical.   Mental in keeping them occupied for the long hours in the car (yes, they have their Ipods and their Nintendo's, but inevitably someone will say "I'm bored) and physical--we have a small Honda Civic to travel in (since our large suburban is 11 years old and with more miles on it than the Great Wall of China).  These we were our challenges last week.

1.  Solving the  "who sits in the middle seat" questions--take a deck of cards. Having them draw a card and "low card" out was the solution to the fighting.  On each of the 
following stops--the two winners re-drew for the next section of riding and finally the ultimate winner would have the last ride. (It worked out evenly--each kid had to sit in the middle twice)

2.  We did a creative exercise each time we were in the car. They came from the book CAFFEINE FOR THE CREATIVE MIND

  • 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!
Other things we did:
Attended the Musical TEXAS in Palo Duro Canyon (now in it's 43 year)

Music on the square in Albuquerque ( a local band plays on Wed-Friday night).  We loved the bluegrass--the kids--not so much.
  • 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!
This was probably the most relaxing vacation since 2006 when we did our Austin, Trip. We had no real agenda or schedule--just an idea of what we wanted to do.

What creative things did you do on vacation this year?

Watercooler Wednesday--Never Too Old To Play

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.

In one corner there was a box of PVC pipes and connectors. Two of my kids jumped in and started building.  My older child was a little more hesitant.  She had just told me to quit acting like a child ( I was busy building something over in another corner).  Then the middle child invited her sibiling to join them in building a "house" out of the  PVC.   Soon, this hestitant "player" was in the middle of building this structure, having a blast with her siblings and being creative.  My wife and I sat back and enjoyed the moment.

You see, you are never too old to play.  That's what's wrong with the adult world.  We've lost the ability to let loose and play and create.  My youngest is the best at this. He goes from dawn to dusk-playing with his buddies in the neighborhood.  They create new games everyday and a new adventure awaits each sunrise (be it an adventure into the pasture behind our house or a skateboard contest down the street).

What would it take for you to have some "play" time everyday?  Would that be a waste to you?
We spent 4 hours in this play center.  All of us (wife, me and 3 kids) had a blast playing together and being creatives.

This post is part of Watercooler Wednesday over on Randy Elrod's site.

Going Home

This blog post is a little late today--I've been away leading a funeral for a family friend from our very first church that we served.

I was called on Saturday while on vacation and informed this friend who was only 58 just collapsed at a food establishment after visiting his dying brother in another city.  Ironically only 12 hours after this friend passed away, his brother joined him in heaven.  That family is experiencing 2 funerals within a 24 hour period.  Pray for them.

Coming back to this place was so filled with memories.  This was my first full-time ministry position and I was one of those MINISTERS OF MUSIC AND YOUTH (they're extinct these days--but these used to exist).  We didn't know where this little town was when they called me almost 16 years ago.  My wife and I snuck down there one night to check it out without them knowing.  It was the beginning of a great ministry there.

Most of the kids that were in that youth group are now in their mid-30's to their mid-20's right now.  It was so fun to see so many of them and their children.  I laughed at them at the funeral home last night chasing all of those little rug rats around because I used to have to chase mine that age while I was taking care of these parents as youth.  Time certainly marches on and revenge is sweet!  I see so much of their fathers and mothers in these little ones.

I was honored  to go back to do this service  where relationships and friendships still run deep.  I was greeted this morning with a note on the door of the place I stayed with "Welcome Home!--You Are Home".
  • 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!
Do you ever go back to where you served?  What's it like?

Something Old Something New

Vacation---Something Old and Something New

Fresh off of vacation--I thought I would focus today on somethings that helped us during our vacation time

Something Old
I've had this book on my shelf for over a year, and I've read it here and there.  I grabbed it before we left last week not knowing what I would do with it.   On the road I asked one of the kids to pick a random page and read it aloud.  It became our creative exercise for the morning/afternoon.  I'm going to blog about this more this week.  But the kids actually enjoyed these exercises and it passed the time on the road with a few good laughs and some even more good ideas. Try this on your next road trip!

Something New
Exlpora! Ideas You Can Touch   We spent most of Friday morning and afternoon at this hands on Museum in Albuquerque. If you are ever in the area--go.  The kids were hesitant at first, but they soon warmed to the hands on activities.  Even my 15 year old got into the act with the building of a "house" with PVC pipe (more pictures on this later in the week).   We always try to find a hands on project for us to do when we are on vacation. (like our tile projects from 2006--you can see them here)

Sunday Setlist-- August 17th

Today was the end of vacation for me--so I didn't lead, but I did attend worship.  So, I'll post what was done here and what was done where we attended worship.

FBC Snyder
You, You Are God (Gateway)
Happy Day (Hughes)--we hadn't done this one yet--I'm interested to know how it went
You Are God Alone (Foote)
Your Name (Like Oil) (PCD)--Chorus only
Wonderful Maker
How Great Is Our God
Here I Am To Worship

Worship was led here by Craig Stone from Lubbock.

We attended services this morning at Experience Life church in Lubbock.  It's a church that is less than a year old and meets in a Skating rink (my son thought this was the coolest part--beside the indoor jump house).  They were doing a series "AT THE MOVIES" and served popcorn and coke (another thumbs up from my kids).   We enjoyed the experience (no pun intended).  Their pastor is a fellow blogger too--check out his blog.

Here was their set list
Let God Arise (Tomlin)
Take It All (Houston)
Hallelujah Jesus (Monk and Neagle)
Healer (Hillsong)

My teens were surprised that old daddy knew these songs (especially Take It All and Hallelujah Jesus).

I did learn something by observing worship today.  Most new songs would best be introduced the first week by teaching the chorus first, then add the verses and let the congregation catch the chorus first.  Just dumping them into verse and chorus all at once makes for great observation--but little participation ( I think I was the only one singing for the 3 rows in front and back of me). 

They must be doing something right.  They started a year ago with 300 in worship--had 900 for Easter and are moving to another service sometime in the future.  Mostly couples with kids--it was interesting to see the mix of people coming to this new church.

How was your Sunday?

This post is part of Sunday Set Lists on Fred McKinnon's site.

Unread Emails--The total is!

And the grand total is.. 310  unread emails when I opened my mail this evening.   Most of them were spam and I probably wouldn't have seen them anyway since I have some filters set up that would have deleted them.

What an amazing exericse to see how much email comes in during a week and how much of it amounts to nothing.  I'm personally tired of all of the junk mail.  Some one needs to unplug the junk emailers around us!

I'll be writing soon about my experiment with no email on vacation.  It was eye opening!

Making the Most of Your Old Hard Drives

Hard Drive Wind Chimes - video powered by Metacafe

HT: Make Magazine


Ok... I've done it this week. I've unplugged from the Wired world for a week in order to reconnect with my family and myself.

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.

This week:
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?

CREATIVE CHAOS--Visuals at the Olympics

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.

Collaboration's Greatest Champion-Paul Baloche

From Christianity Today:
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?

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.
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.

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,

TEXAS--the Musical

We're enjoying the musical TEXAS tonight. Our girls have been in a production of ANYTHING GOES the last week. I thought they would enjoy the artistry of these players who have been doing this 6 nights a week since June 2.

Something Old Something New

Time for Monday's feature--Something Old, Something New again. Boy, these Mondays just roll around faster and faster each week.  Most of the new ones this week were the result of the LEADERSHIP SUMMIT and my connection with several of them through Twitter.

SOMETHING OLD:  Spence Smith
Spence is a fellow CREATOR--he attended the Recreate Conference in Franklin in February.  He works for Compassion International-setting up trips for bloggers and artist to go and experience the impact the Compassion is making.  He was also a member of BIG TENT REVIVAL ( I remember them from my Youth Minister days in the mid 90's) and an avid Tri-Athlete.  Stop by and tell Spence hello!

Clayton Bell- Clayton took notes for all of us who couldn't attend and kept us updated through Twitter.  Thanks Clayton!

Ryan Day- Ryan is site pastor for a new church plant in Ohio.  His comments were picked up by Willow Creek on their Leadership Summit Summary Blog.

Worship Post-Fessional August 10, 2008

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)

Here's today set:
Call to Worship (Spoken) Psalm 34
1 [a] I will extol the LORD at all times;
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.
Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King (Itunes)
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

Leadership Summit-Greatest Moments #5

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.

Not Quite Ready For Broadway- ANYTHING GOES

We're so proud of our girls.  They were in the production ANYTHING GOES tonight.  This ends 4 productions for the Drakes this Summer.  That's a lot of Theater.

Here are some pics from photo call tonight:

The Olympics-08-08-08 Made Simple

At least someone has simplified the opening ceremonies for me.  I won't have to sit through the whole 4 hours.  I just need to look for these 5 moments:

From the pictures I've seen, the production is awesome!  I can't wait to see what they've done visually.  (I'll DVR it so I can fly through the commercials--sorry NBC)

See more pictures here.  Read more from a friend who has a relative at the Olympics here.

1. The singing of the Chinese national anthem
This might seem like an odd pick to Americans. But part of the remarkable nature of these games is the continuing exploration of the people of China, and a deeper look into their national pride. Never was that self dignity and absolute affection more apparent than the singing of “March of the Volunteers.”

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.

He's Back--Wallace The Buzzard

Hank The Cowdog--The Ritz Theater
Yes, I'll be reprising my role of the cranky old Baptist Buzzard, Wallace, this fall.

Rehearsals began last night

Production dates:  October 3-5, 10-12

Get your tickets now!

Leadership Summit-Greatest Moments #4

Tim Sanders (The Lovecat Way)- Leadership Summit 2004

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!

Creative Chaos-Family Camp 2008

Last week's FAMILY CAMP is a memory, but I'd like to highlight some of the creative things we did to engage the parents and kids together in one setting. As I stated before, having so many different ages together was a tough challenge for programming, but it was met and succeeded because of the creativity of the team.

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.

Another morning we created foam shadows of one parent and one
child (see picture) and then the parents kept a shadow and the kids took one with them.
Each of them were to write expectations for spiritual growth on them and to use them in our conversation time at night after evening worship. (see picture)

EVENING WORSHIP was just as creative. Brad Gartman used object lessons in each of his talks.
1. Paper Plate--the divided kind. Each family member had to draw their 3 favorite rooms in their house--to talk about where they felt most at home and where the conversations about the busyness of life could take place. Each of our kids did a fantastic job and we're displaying their plate in plate holder on the walls.

2. A Calendar--a 12 month blank calendar was created. Each family member got to draw the picture for the month of their birth. Families were challenged to mark off a family night each week for the next 3-6 months to see if they could institute this practice in their family life.

3. FOIL FAMILIES. Each family received a roll of 25 foot foil and were asked to create a sculpture that represented them. Some of them looked like this. It ended with the largest foil fight I've seen since I've been in ministry. (by the way-foil balls hurt-just like cheaply thrown words and phrases in families--get the lesson?)

4. Communion- Each family was given bread and juice to take back to their rooms to do communion together as a family. For my family it was a time of discussion and also a time for me to share about the provisions God has made for us ( I tied it back to the Table of Bread I saw at the National Worship Leader Conference last week in Austin)

Here are some other random shots of the week:
Our hotel was the Victorian Condo. A great place right the beach-it was the perfect setting for 160 people.
This post is part of Creative Chaos on
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Leadership Summit-Greatest Moments #3

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

Watercooler Wednesday-Leadership Summit- Greatest Moments #2

I continue today with my reflections on past Leadership Summit talks that have impacted me.

Andy Stanley: Making Vision Stick (2003)

Andy is a gifted communicator and this talk was probably one of the very first talks that I had heard about vision.  Before this vision was such a unreachable term and so undefined in my life.  However, Andy made it clear with these points.

Making Vision Stick
"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"

This talk was so important to me.  Little was I to know that the coming months of 2003 and the rest of 2004 would be spent understanding the importance of the term Vision.  Our church was getting ready to enter an extreme period of transition without Sr. Leadership, without a clear and compelling vision and without a cadre of prepared leaders to shepherd the ship (me included).  This leadership summit talk was just the primer for me on the importance of vision in an organization.

This post is part of Watercooler Wednesday's over on Randy Elrod's blog, Ethos.


Watch this guy stick his foot in his mouth on the Today show.  He won't ever guest on there again.

Rule of thumb:  You can think it but you'd better not say it!

Leadership Summit--Greatest Moments #1

I'm missing the Leadership Summit this week.  For the first time in 5 years, I won't be glued to a large screen transmission coming from the home base of South Barrington, Illinois.  This year the schedule for the summit got sandwiched between a couple of church projects and a much needed family vacation.

So, I thought for the next few days I would reflect on the talks at Leadership Summit that have meant the most to me.

Here's what I'll be missing this week:

It will be hard to name them in order of importance in my life, but here are the ones I think stand out to me.

Leadership Summit 2007-Marcus Buckingham (Go Put Your Strengths To Work).  
This was the second time that I had heard Marcus Buckingham speak at Leadership Summit.  He is a fascinating speaker and I'd hear him again and again.  This talk was a follow up to his Strengths Finder talk in 2004 (?) and was based on his book of the same name.  This talk gave me some practical steps to follow in implementing the strategy to get to use more of my strengths in my job and in my other responsibilities.  I've never discovered another tool that so completely describes each individual that takes the test and then give such practical application to implement these findings. I have encouraged many in my life to take the test and then follow the plan to make these results real in your life.   Marcus could talk for 3 hours and still leave us wanting more and more from him.

Points of the talk:
Myth#1=As you grow, your personality changes and so does your strengths
Truth- As you grow, you become more and more of who you really are

Myth#2 You grow most in your areas of weakness
Truth- You grow most where you are already strong

Myth#3  A great team member puts his strength aside
Truth- Great team members volunteer their strength

I loved this line:  "Talk about your strengths without bragging and your weaknesses without whining"

Friend of God--A worship leader's encouragement

I received one of the best emails today. A friend of mine wrote that her 3 year old awoke from her nap singing "I Am A Friend of God" and after investigating, the toddler said "I am a friend of God. He calls me friend".

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!

Something Old, Something New

Something Old, Something New

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.

Here goes!

Something Old:

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.

Something New:

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.

Worship Post-Fessional- August 3, 2008

Today, I didn't lead worship... I was the media guy. We just finished our Family Camp at Galveston (watch for more detailed posts about this trip later this week).

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.

He sang
Everlasting God
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.