CHRISTMAS BELLES--Production Week At The Ritz

It's production week at The Ritz as we get ready to open this weekend for CHRISTMAS BELLES.

This week is full of last minute details (lights, music, finishing touches on the set) and late night rehearsals.

Look for more this week as we progress. It's been a lot of fun--and there's more to come.

Worship Confessional, November 29, 2009

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

Sunday after Thanksgiving is always kind of awkward. We already set up Thanksgiving last week with the pre-Thanksgiving worship and now this weekend, Advent and Christmas are beginning. We have a little overlap this week as the Christmas decor is up but we finish the 30 Days series today. Oh well.

Busy day again today for me. Two services, then a funeral, then a rehearsal for banquet tomorrow night and then to the theater around the corner to get ready for our show with the local community theater this week. Here goes the roller coaster.

Set List
Thank You Lord (Moen/Balcohe)--Nothing like a little country after Thanksgiving. This one moved!

Today Is The Day (Brewster)--Ok, this is the last time we'll do this one for a while. It's been on our list for the fall and I think we've worn the tread off of it. Good song--just time to sit it down for a while.

Welcome/Offertory Prayer

The Glorious Impossible (Cartee) I've been waiting to do this song since February when I heard it at RECREATE. Great song--great theology. The incarnation is the glorious impossible!

Advent Reading--The Candle of Hope
Jeremiah 33:14-16
Yes, even Southern Baptist observe Advent! We began our journey today with our Children's Arts kids leading us in worship... nothing like putting into practice what we've been doing with them all semester (teaching them to be worship leaders). We handed out an Advent Reading schedule so families have scriptures to read each day. We'll start our family devotionals tonight with our advent calendar. If you have never done anything like this, I challenge you to do it. Our kids really enjoy the family time together each night as we read and anticipate the Christmas story.

O Come O Come Emmanuel (Praise Charts)

Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger) (Tomlin) When I heard this song I knew that we were going to have to do this one during Christmas. We taught it today, but it will come back each service as our response to Advent.

Morning Message (Ed Ethridge)

Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger) (Reprise) (Didn't Do)
Shout To The Lord (addition after I heard the pastor speak)--worked well.


My Soul Magnifies The Lord (Tomlin) (Didn't do---punted until next week on this one)

Thank You Lord (reprise) (after the sermon on Shouting joyfully to God)

How was your Sunday?

Black Friday Photos

Well, it's come and gone--BLACK FRIDAY 2009. We did our annual thing of getting up @ 3:15 and heading to TARGET first. We actually thought they opened at 4 last year (it was 5) so we were there before 4 last year and got a great spot. This year we knew it was 5 and got there around 4:30--so we were at the back of the line. But--we got in anyway.

We always enjoy being in line and watching the different people (they come in all shapes and
sizes and at that time of the morning all kinds of dress). It makes the time pass fast when we do that.

After our Target run--then it's off to Wally World and finally to LaMadeline for our annual breakfast. Ah, what sweet reward and by this time we're getting sleepy again.
We made our way to a mall and this year, it didn't seem too crowded. I think the seriousness of this economy is really setting in.

Finally picked up Daniel's trophy for being 3rd in his division in the Turkey Trot. He was so excited. This makes 2 races and 2 trophies now. I think he's beginning to expect it.

So much for Thanksgiving 2009

Thanksgiving--Time For A Thoughtful Movie

We intended to go to THE BLIND SIDE this weekend, however, we got to the theater too late to see the show (actually it was already sold out) so we settled on going back to the hotel to rest and maybe catch a movie there.

When we were flipping channels we landed on LARS and THE REAL GIRL. It seemed to be a quirky mystery at first (and our suspicions were up that he was some sort of serial killer living in the garage). However, the hook was in and we were all watching with anticipation the next scene of this movie.

If you haven't seen this movie, you must. It came out in 2007, so it's definitely going to be in the older section of the movie store.

This movie so marvelously portrays the meaning of community as Lar's family and church family come together to see him through this delusion. Granted, not all mental illnesses can be treated in such a way, but the greater picture is a loving community coming together out of love for Lars (and for Christ) to see him through to health. That was our family conversation just after the film was over.

One Hollywood writer wrote "it makes you want to live in a community like this?" Isn't that something? Hollywood is wondering where they can find community like this--and we know the answer. Why don't we live it out and show them where to find it.

A Day To Be Thankful

Yesterday was one of the most majestic days of my life. We awoke early to get ready for the race (we already picked up our packet and shirts)

Arriving at the race the energy level was exciting as more than 12,000 racers gathered in the area. Representing 49 states and 300 cities, the group was congenial but competitive.

The route took us through tree-lined streets of homes that we most likely built in 1930-40 era. The neighbors greeted us as the end of their drive ways as they drank their morning coffee and gathered with family and friends.

I thought to myself as I ran "This is America!" Where neighbors and families gather on this day to be thankful and cheer on those who are running. The kids played in the yards in anticipation of the days events and other runners cheered on each other as the race ended.

Daniel did extremely well--taking 3rd place in his division and besting his 5K time from October. I think maybe the running bug has hit him. I beat my 5K time by 37 seconds and came in 67th in my age bracket but 700'th overall out of the 12K runners. So--not bad.

Monday begins the training for the Half-Marathon in February. We'll work in a fun run in December and
one in January to keep us motivated and on task.

It was truly a day to be thankful.


I love Fort Worth! Such a small town feeling with a big town presence. It has everything a big city want and still has the feeling of small town America.

It has culture without being "snobby". It has progress without being "destructive". It has charm without the feeling of being stuck in the past.

Tomorrow we'll run the FW Turkey Trot through the tree lined streets of the Camp Bowie area.
What a treat it will be to run through this area and just pretend that I live here. And I really think that I could live here in this area...maybe thoughts of retirement dance through my head.

There is a world of difference between Dallas and Fort Worth. I've lived in both. But right now, I might just choose Foat Wurth!

Worship Confessional, November 22, 2009

Only 1 service today. We combined both services together for a Thanksgiving service. Our Worship Choir/Sr. Adult choir joined together for a song. Afterwards we did what all good Baptist do...Eat!

A very busy day--after the meal the Christmas decorations went up and then rehearsal with the Children's Worship Arts Kids who will lead in worship at the Annual Meeting on Dec. 6th. Can it get any crazier?
Set List:
Scripture Reading--Psalm 146
The Lord Reigns (Gateway)
Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King (Gateway)
Video--God Pie

Worship Choir/Sr. Adult Choir--How Great Is Our God (Brentwood 30 Minute Book)
Faith Weaver Friends --Kids singing 1 song from Faith Weavers
Beauty of the Earth (Dyer)
You Have Been So Good (Baloche)
Morning Message--"Give Thanks"--Ed Ethridge
What Can I Do --(Baloche)
You Gave Your Live Away (Baloche)

How was your Sunday?

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

Worship Confessional, November15,2009

We're in the middle of this series called "30 Days of Thankfulness"--it's a time to count our blessings and we'll also have our catch up offering for our budget. Today our interim teaching pastor starts--yea! We've been 16 weeks with different speakers--it will be nice to start a run with a consistent speaker each week (at least for me!)

Song Set:

Here I Am Again (Tommy Walker)--I just love Tommy Walker (he has a new album coming out this week) and this song is just a song of thanks and praise.


"Here I Am To Worship/Draw Me Close"--Worship Choir (Brentwood-Benson 30 Minute Choir book)

Video on giving

Jesus Saves (Cottrell)--again, one of my fave new songs and from the comments that I've heard from folks, its quickly becoming a fave with them too.

Scripture Reading--Psalm 136-"Give thanks to the Lord, his love endures forever"

For The Beauty of The Earth (Dyer/Horness)--from the Willow Creek album back in 2002/2003. We sing this song every thanksgiving. The words are the original, but the tune is fresh and contemporary.

You Have Been So Good (Baloche)--Our theme song for the series. I just about lost it on this one as I looked out and saw people just standing there worshiping the Lord. One man who faces his divorce tomorrow; another who is dealing with cancer. They were lost in worship as they sang "You have been so good to me---" Wow! a really emotional moment for me--I didn't know if I could finish it.

Morning Message--Ed Ethridge (our new interim teaching pastor)

I Will Rise (Tomlin)--haven't done this one since March, but it was new then. I think by now people have heard it and sang it well.

Jesus Messiah (Tomlin)--ditto.

How was your Sunday?

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

Worship Confessional, November 8, 2009

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

We tried something different today. Instead of tacking the Lord's Supper on the end, or in the middle or somewhere else, we made it the whole service today. It was very different.

I think people get used to the order of service--two fast songs, announce--offering, song, message--etc. We didn't do it that way this week

Welcome/Announcements--started it off with instructions about the day. Only down side was there was no Official greeting-but maybe we can go a week without that.

Set up Lord's supper service---instructions/teaching about the background of the Lord's supper.

Psalm 100--Congregation Reading--good reading by the congregation--this Psalm would come back later in the sermon about the "psalm they sang" after the supper.

Today Is The Day (Brewster)--good energy here!

Pass It On (Walker)--just a reaffirmation of the Lord's faithfulness to all generations as Psalm 100 said!

Set up The Bread

Worship Choir--Breathe (small but passionate group this morning singing--we had some out with sickness) It was the perfect song to sing after the teaching about the bread.

Jesus Saves (Cottrell)--one of my faves and quickly becoming a fave among the team. David has done such a passionate backing track to this one.

When I Think About The Lord- this is where it really came alive--people singing, and shouting Halleujah! Thank You Jesus!. We haven't done this one in a while.

Set Up The Cup--we had 5 stations around the sanctuary where people came to get the bread and cup.

Remembrance (Maher/Redman)--this is on Matt Maher's new cd and the first time I heard it I knew that I wanted to use it for Communion. Used it in both services...such a powerful message that remembrance leads to worship and worship to communion!

You Have Been So Good (Baloche)--taught this one last week. It was a good response after the commuion!



What Can I Do (Baloche)--another good closer

Elder-Closing Prayer

How was your Sunday?

Bullies On The Playground (Democratic Style)

I find it ironic that the very ones running this Health Care Bill through congress were the one who were "squeeling" when the Republicans were in charge and claimed that "this administration is trying to hide something from us".

The false claims of the Democrats to be transparent and open are now seen. What these greedy "bullies on the playground" have seen is "get it now or don't ever get it!" There is no concern for America that we have known, only the America imagined in the mind of a few leftist, socialists who want America to be more "European"

And so, now the ones who cry foul are indeed the perps of "freedom stealing"--hiding the bills specifics, holding meetings on the weekends so that the major news won't cover it (specifically talk radio) and other "cold war era" tactics. Nancy Pelosi makes me want to scream!

Watching this mess on CSPAN has just made my blood boil this afternoon. It's time for the PEOPLE of THE US to stand up to the aristocrats in Washington and say "This is our country--we the people want the prinicples of the Constitution upheld". We are a government of the people, by the people and for the people! Remember that!

Who is with me? Throw the bums out and start all over... I'm sure there are people who can do a better job than the clowns we have in there now!

Election Night 2009--One Year Later

It's Election night 2009 and though there is less hype and hyperbole about this election than last, it would be a mistake if we didn't take a pause and say to ourselves, "Are we better off 1 year later?".

This post isn't aimed at Obama (though you probably know that I didn't vote for him) instead it is aimed more at American leadership (specifically Congress and The President) and those who have been called to steward our country.

One year ago we were promised change--today we have chaos. Instead of stabilizing the country, the suspected socialist agenda has emerged as we suspected and it seems more virulent and nasty than we had expected.

Spending on the government level has gone from absurd to stupid in the amounts given out to anyone and everyone who stuck their hand into the money bag. And there seems to be no end to the silly things that government does in the name of resurrecting an economy that seems to get more sick with more medicine coming from government.

We were promised an era of hope--what we've got is a garden of fear and uncertainty. We were promised protection--what we have is a government that is making America weak by the concessions that we are giving to other nations in the name of being more peaceful! We don't belong to the UN!!! WE ARE THE UNITED STATES of AMERICA.

We were promised tax breaks for those making less than... blah, blah, blah and what we have now is an attack on the middle american who suddenly has become the rich man in order to pay for everyone to have everything they've ever wanted from government. We have taxation without represenation because the representation has lost its concern for the republic for which it stands. These representatives, face it, are more concerned about themselves and those who paid their way there!

So--looking back on Election 2009, it's a time to say.. ARE YOU BETTER OFF THIS YEAR THAN YOU WERE LAST?

Worship Confessional, November 1, 2009

This post is part of Sunday Set Lists over on Fred Mc Kinnon's blog
We kicked off the series 30 Days of Thankfulness today

I really didn't intend to plan an all BALOCHE Sunday, but that's the way it worked this week. I just love his music (and so does our church). We had a great day of worship. As I look back, this service was planned back in the Spring. Just this one day had everything done and everything before it was empty and everything behind it undone. Don't know why I just filled out this day back in the Spring. I guess the Spirit knew what we needed on this day--way back then.

Set List

Thanksgiving Grace Video-Opener

New Doxology-(Gateway)

Hosanna (Baloche)

Scripture Reading (Psalm 98) NLT--Read responsively--SHOUT TO THE LORD!!!

The Lord Reigns-(Gateway)


You Have Been So Good (Baloche) Good introduction of this song that we'll be singing for the 30 Days series.

How Great Thou Art (Baloce arr.)--wow! They sang and sang on this one!

Morning Message--George Ray (His sermon was about the presence of God in our lives--fit well with the song YOU HAVE BEEN SO GOOD that says "for your constance presence here with me")

What Can I Do (Baloche)

Wonderful, Merciful Savior

How was your Sunday?