So Long Layne

By now many of you have heard the news that our Youth Minister, Layne Scott, has resigned and will be departing next weekend to start his duties as a Coach/Teacher in Corsicana. With his departure, that leaves me as the lone staff member of the the team that came together in 2005.

Layne has been my partner in crime since I arrived here in 2005. We've spent 3 staff retreats, 3 mission trips and one Catalyst trip together and have had a blast with all of them.

I'll remember:
  • Trip to Guatemala (where these pics are from)
  • Trip to Catalyst and a Saturday game at Georgia Tech.
  • Staff meetings where we would exchange texts
  • His knowledge of the latest "rap" music (which I don't know.
  • The latest ROB and BIG episodes.
  • His rescue of Daniel in Mexico as he was in a deep sleep walk at night
  • Runs to Chicken E for a Dr. Pepper (Easy ice)
  • Lunch at Mrs. Kathy's for Chicken Spaghetti (that will change your life)
Layne is the age my nephew Joseph would have been had he lived (Joseph passed away in 1986) and so there would be times I would look at him and say "this is what it would have been like with Joseph". In a way that has been kinda cool.

I'll miss the easy talks and the laughs that we had (many times at his expense

Even The Prisoner Must Sing

I wrote last week how the Spirit had been hammering me with the lessons of Paul and Silas in jail in Acts 16. I heard it three times last week and finally I began to think--maybe there is a lesson to be learned.

Paul and Silas are imprisoned for setting one of the local "idol" sellers free and having been beat to near death, they find themselves chained to the inner wals of the jail. Yet, around midnight they could be heard praying and singing to the Lord. Then an earthquake came and set them free.

I came home from NWLC (National Worship Leaders Conference with these thoughts in my mind. Yesterday I received a most interesting letter from a man that has been listening to our services from the local prison for almost 4 years. This unit eats early (like 9:30-10:00) so they can hurry back to their cells to catch the praise and worship from our church. They are the silent audience that we never see on a Sunday and I have to remind myself I'm not only leading the people in the room but also the people on the radio.

He wrote to encourage me. Here's a guy who has almost no freedoms, whose life is controlled and watched and routine, yet he took the time to write me to encourage me and to say that he was praying for me. In fact the day he wrote the letter was probably one of the lowest days for me so far.

I just sat there and read the letter and wondered if the Lord wanted me to hear another story of a person who finds it hard to praise in the midst of their circumstances, yet they do it anyway? It was a lift to my dreary Monday.

Never discount the ways that the Spirit connects His teachings in our lives. Sometimes they come as incidental surprises.

I Have A Hope--A New Song Coming To FBC

I heard this song last week at National Worship Leaders Conference... it really ministered to me last week and we're going to introduce it this week at FBC. Take a listen and let me know what you think?

National Worship Leaders Conference-Lunch Buddies

These were some of the cats I hung around with last week at the NWLC. Our new tribe... we've yet to come up with a name.

Worship Confessional, July 26, 2009

Today was a difficult day, I knew that it would be. Our pastor's resignation and departure finally felt real today. Last week, as I suspected, was just a feeling that he was away on vacation (and everyone else these last two weeks), but today it was real.

It was very hard to lead today but I felt like I must continue to lead in the midst of the heaviness I felt in the room. I was drawn to Psalm 71 this morning where it just says that God has been our "strong granite of a fortress" and "just as each day brims with your beauty, my mouth brims with praise." I led our people in that today.

Timely encouragement from @Recreate came to me before I led letting me know that I was being prayed for.

Set List:

Greeting: The Lord Be with You.....

Your Grace Is Enough (Maher) One of my favorites and just a great opener.

A New Hallelujah! (Smith) I connected our people with the thought that on Sunday morning we're not alone in worship--we join with the song across the world! We added our part today.


Our God Saves (Baloche) This is a great song that we haven't sung in quiet a while.

Scripture Reading Psalm 71 (The Message)

God of This City... repeat--a great song

Big Enough God-chorus only

Morning Message

Revive Us Again (Hymn)
- a last minute addition since he was preaching on the repentance of Nineveh.

Draw Me Close To You

This post is part of Sunday Set List over on Fred McKinnon's blog. Happy Anniversary to SSL. Check it out--there are some really cool people over there.

A New Kind of Wedding March

Thanks to Matthew Paul Turner (@jesusneedsnewpr) I was alerted to this video. This may be coming to a wedding near you?

What do you think? Serious? Sacreligous?

Once An Arafat Man

One of the great things of this last week was meeting Ben Saada (from Overland Park, Grace Church). Ben is a worship leader in the area and I had followed him earlier in the year. I love meeting my virtual world and knowing them in person.

Ben gave me a copy of his dad's book. His father, Tass, was once a PLO fighter (Fatah) and by the radical grace and mercy of God he has now become a fervent believer in Jesus. It was a most gripping story.

Jeff Miller, fellow Worship Minister in Texas wrote this about the book.
In some ways, Tass's story struck me how closely it parallels that of Paul the apostle at some points. Here is a man who not only served as a sniper for Arafat's Fatah, but in his spare time he personally persecuted Christ-followers in Jordan. Yet, for all of that, you can read the hand of God upon him throughout his life, protecting him from death and harm when, by all rights, he should have died many times over.

I texted Ben from Dallas "almost through with your Dad's book. I'm hooked and I'm weeping". I can highly recommend this book. It's an easy ready because you are so drawn into the grace of God which has led Tass' life.

National Worship Leaders Conference '09- Day 3 and Final Day

Day 3 of the NWLC was great. Today we were led in worship by Travis Cottrell (leads worship for Living Proof Team-Beth Moore Ministries). Travis is one of my role models in worship leadership. He truly led us in both song and prayer. It was an awesome time.

(Pictures are from the Tweetup on Tuesday night and the All About Worship Podcast that was live from Ben's church)
Marva Dawn spoke to us about words and the importance of words in worship. She's a scrappy little lady with a big sense of humor.

Breakout sessions were on the connected church (online, web) and I'll get some more of that today as Fred Mc Kinnon leads his track on Web 2.0.

Spent the afternoon with Rich Kirkpatrick and Ben Abusaada and made some more connections with some Texas Methodist guys (Chuck Harris I gave them your name) and coffee with Jeff Berry and Conor Farley from Centricity Music.

Dinner was at a KC BBQ place, and although it was delicious, by the time I got back to hotel my tummy wasn't thinking so. Just too rich for me!

This morning wraps up with David Nassar and Christy Nockels leading worship and Fred's workshop. After lunch I'll head to the airport and head back to the 79549. It's been a great week of connecting with other worship leaders. You know I like to meet to new people!

National Worship Leaders Conference '09- Day 2

Day 2--On the schedule for today was Jeremy Riddle (Sweetly Broken) and Len Sweet who again rocked our world with a picture of the future. These futurist guys used to scare me--but I believe now that they in some way are prophets to the church to help us adapt to the coming culture. Just ask me about an AVATAR in the future. It's really very mind blowing.

Sessions today for breakouts were about Ancient Future Worship and Sabbath Rest For Those Who Serve God. Good reminders to me about the importance of taking care of my soul before I feed someone else.

More than anything these events have become about connections. These pictures show Kim Bontrager from Wichita KS and Rich Kirkpatrick from CA--both RECREATE alums. We're having a mini-reunion here. I've also met Gary Durbin from FL, Ben Saada from KS (whose Dad used to be a sniper for Yassar Arafat --now a believer and evangelist), Jasonn Peterman from KS and many more. Went to the Tweetup last night where they had a live PODCAST with a Christian artist. Found someone that reads my blog!!! Yeah!!!

Day 3 begins in a few minutes..on tap today is TRAVIS COTTRELL--you know I'll be there.

National Worship Leaders Conference '09- Day 1

The fun has begun in Kansas City. The Conference kicked off yesterday afternoon with registration and a quick meal with my friend Wayne Spoonts and his wife Cindy. Back to the church for an evening of old and new. Evie (one of the first contemporary artists in Christian life) broke out with a new version of SPIRIT SONG (which I thought was appropriate since that's a BIG Emmaus song and we were at one of the flagship Methodist churches in the US. Then Bill Batstone sang TO EVERY GENERATION ( I remember his stuff from Maranatha and House of Worship song kit--great rendition of O GOD OUR HELPE IN AGES PAST with TO EVERY GENERATION.
Anthony Evans, son of Tony Evans the famous Dallas preacher, led in worship and did some soulful arrangements of contemporary worship songs.
Tommy Walker then led for an extended period of time. I love Tommy's music and it really spoke to me last night. His new album has a song titled I HAVE THIS HOPE---a real encouragment --There's still hope for me, for the God of heaven loves me. -Tommy Walker. Wow!

Greg Laurie (of Harvest Crusades in LA) spoke from ACTS 16--(Wow!, I've been hit with this passage 3 times this week) about Paul and Silas worshiping in the midst of hard times and situations--but still they worshiped. You think there might be a lesson in this for me?

We had communion together (1700 people served in 2 songs--that's a record) and then the David Crowder Band took the stage. It's a little older crowd than he usually draws, so he had to draw it out of us to sing LOUD, not PRETTY.

Meeting up with some RECREATE buddies today and then a TWEETUP tonight at a local church. I'm a blessed man to know so many people who lead worship across the US and the world. I'm humbled that I get to add to the chorus of His praise!

On to Day 2

"Everything's Up To Date in Kansas City"

I got to Kansas City on a Frid'y (Sunday)
By Sattidy I larned a thing or two (Monday)
For up to then I didn't have an idy
Of whut the modren world was comin' to!
I counted twenty gas buggies goin' by theirsel's
Almost ev'ry time I tuk a walk.
'Nen I put my ear to a Bell Telephone and a strange womern started in to talk!
(Whut next! Yeak whut!)Whut next?
Ev'rythin's up to date in Kansas City
They've gone about as fur as they c'n go!
They went and built a skyscraper seven stories high,
About as high as a buildin' orta grow.
Ev'rythin's like a dream in Kansas City,
It's better than a magic lantern show!
Y' c'n turn the radiator on whenever you want some heat.
With ev'ry kind o' comfort ev'ry house is all complete.
You c'n walk to privies in the rain and never wet your feet!
They've gone about as fur as they c'n go,

I find it ironic that I'm immersed in this song for prep in OKLAHOMA and now I'm in Kansas City. I arrived last night for the National Worship Leaders Conference that starts this afternoon in Overland Park. Thanks to Fred McKinnon's blog and the NWLC crew, I'm here because I made a comment on the blog about the conference. I've been the last 2 years in Austin; this year it moved to Kansas. I'm in Kansas Toto!

This morning I plan to visit some of the area attractions. Did you know Kansas City is known as the City of Fountains (originally built to give the horses a place to drink in the town) and some of the sites of downtown. As I've said before, I love exploring a city that I've never been to before. My sense of adventure is alive!

You can follow all of the chatter about the NWLC on Twitter by searching the hashtags # ( #nwlc09). I'll meet up with some fellow Twitter buds tomorrow night following the conference. Can't wait.

Off to explore the city that is up to date!!!


These pics are from Mattie's play last night. She did a great job as Belle! Look out Broadway--she's a comin' to you one day.

Worship Confessional, July 19, 2009

Happy Anniversary to Fred McKinnon's Sunday Set List (been going for 52 weeks straight). This post is part of that forum.

I wasn't on stage today--and it felt great. We had previously scheduled a band to come and play for our Summer Camps emphasis (wrapping up all that went on with them--doing it all in one service rather than 3 separate ones), so I was excited to be off the stage today and be a worshiper!

Here's the set (Band was Hollis Ok from Lubbock)

Blessed Be Your Name (Redman)

Enough (Tomlin)


Video from Camps

Untitled from Jim Drake on Vimeo.

Interview with students who went to camps (my oldest was one of them--she had an amazing time at Super Summer last week)

Say You Will (?)

Sweetly Broken (Riddle)

Love Is Deep w/Doxology (Crowder)

Message--by Dave Bilderback, one of our Elders (He'll be finishing out the Jonah series for us)

The Stand (Houston)

Benediction (*)

We usually don't do a benediction, but since I was pastor de' jeur today, I decided to do one from Romans 15:

5May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves as you follow Christ Jesus, 6so that with one heart and mouth you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

I had them hold their palms upward and receive the benediction (am I really a Baptist doing this?). Immediately afterwards a lady came up and said "thank you, thank you--I've been wanting us to do something like that for a long time"---Guess that was the right call.

How was your Sunday?

I'm heading to the National Worship Leaders Conference in Kansas City this week. Can't wait to catch up with some of my Recreate alums; hear Travis Cottrell and Marva Dawn; and eat some KC BBQ!

For those of you who don't know, we are now pastorless. Today was our first Sunday without a pastor. He has moved to Austin to begin a new work with Hill Country Bible. We pray God's best for him. Next week will be hard---it just seemed like he was gone on vacation this week. Pray for us--pray for me!

Worship Confessional (s)- June 28, July 5 and July 12

This is a catch up post since I've failed to launch on Worship Confessionals the last three weekends--some by circumstance and some by choice. This is a wrap up of all three weeks

June 28

Love The Lord (Brewster)
A New Hallelujah (Smith)
Celebrating our Summer Camp (Community VBS)-Interviews
Big Enough God (Riddle)
Rescue (Anderson)

July 5 ( I was away with the kids at Student Life For Kids Camp)
All Hail The Power of Jesus' Name (G3 Arrangement)
I Worship Almighty God
Here I Am To Worship
How Great Is Our God
How Great Thou Art

July 12
Brethren We Have Met To Worship (G3 arrangement)
Let The Worshipers Arise (G3 arrangement)
Made Me Glad
God of This City (G3 arrangement)
Message (Our pastor's last sermon today--Exodus 14)
Rescue (G3 arrangement)
Big Enough God (Riddle)

This post is part of Sunday Set List over on Fred McKinnon's blog