Worship Confessional, March 28, 2010

This post is part of Sunday Set Lists over on the Worship Community blog where worship leaders share what happened in their Sunday services and the songs they sang.

Palm Sunday 2010

This week I had collaborative help from Robbie Boyd, our Spiritual Formations Pastor, in planning worship. Robbie is taking a course through Rockbridge Seminary in worship and one of the projects was helping in planning worship. We met for about 2 hours last Tuesday to talk about the service. We talked about it being a "historical" day in the church (being Palm Sunday) and how as the church have lost some of the spiritual significance of PALM SUNDAY (Triumphal Entry). That led us to a study of the scriptures surrounding the prophecy of Jesus' entrance as "the King" and "Hosanna". We then determined that we wanted to anchor everything this day around scriptures. So you'll see how we did that.

EASTER 82--a video telling people about 82% of people you invite to church on Easter most likely will come with you. People were late filing in for service so I think this may have been lost on them, but it ran pre-service too. We'll see next Sunday if they heard the "82%" rule.

Welcome/Announcements/ Offering---We are praying for the church in China this week and next and did so by watching this video.

Isaiah 57: 14-16, 18-- We had a member of the congregation stand up and read this from the pew (with wireless mic) I like to do this from time to time. Leadership in worship should not exclusively come from the stage. Good job Tres!

Prepare The Way (Nuzum) One of my favorite "Palm Sunday" songs. We sang this a lot in 2008 (Christmas and Easter) and brought it back this year.

Psalm 118:19- "Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord"--- we loved this verse because not traditionally associated with the day, it carries the meaning and spirit of the day with "Let us rejoice and be glad in it!" (Responsive)

Hosanna (Baloche) One of our favorites.

Psalm 24---"Who is this King of Glory" (Responsive)

Hosanna (Hillsong) Introduced this one. We'll have to come back and sing it again.

(At this point I felt the Spirit say "stop" and we did that. I abandoned another song that we had planned and just had us sit in contemplation of what we had sung ("Break my heart for what breaks yours, open up my eyes...") It was a rather long prayer time and I don't usually do this, but we did.

Morning Message---To The Cross (Ed Ethridge)

The Old Rugged Cross (Hymn) We had something totally different planned for the end, but it was too big for the spirit of the moment. Went simply with the old hymn--it worked.

So, how was your Sunday?

Mr. Mom ( Mom Come Home!)

We've been mom-less this week as Diane was away. Having three teens and two puppies has kept me busy (it's been easier to put the three teens to bed each night, but the puppies have kept me busy up until midnight and then up early in the morning). I feel like I'm deprived about 12 hours of sleep over the week.

It's been a busy week and thankfully the teens are at a point of some self help and determination. They've all chipped in and helped with laundry, meals and such and I can't imagine the week without that help.

But being teens, they all had their places to go and the weekend finds me needing to be in three different locations for all of them, but I really can only physically be in one.

So, here's to all the Moms and Mr. Mom's who do this thing week in and week out. I know now when I look into your tired eyes how you feel. I'm looking forward to Mom coming home soon so I can get some sleep.

Deep Change Versus Slow Death

Its the end of the week and I look up and see that I haven't posted anything since last Sunday. Not that I haven't thought of things to post this week (my draft folder has about 11 different posts that I've started and never finished) but it's been a busy week here with three teens and two puppies and Mom gone.

I started a new book this week. Deep Change (Robert Quinn) which is the original book that preceeded Building A Bridge As You Walk On It. Both books are about leadership, change and the fundamental state of leadership that must take place for change to happen in individuals and organizations.

Funny, I have gravitated back to management books (my undergrad was in Business Management) and my need to understand personal and organizational development.

I'm just a few pages into the book when I discover this phrase "most of us tend to prefer and choose slow death over deep change." Wow! In that one sentence is the description of society, organizations and individuals who are faced with ever changing external conditions and signals yet refuse to make the changes needed in our lives.

So that you won't think that I've gone totally crazy, I think this is true spiritually too. We tend to choose slow death in our spiritual lifes (spiritual stagnation) over deep change (spiritual growth). As Quinn states everything tends toward entropy (or slow death) unless we make the fundamental changes in our lives that keep us moving forward. Does this make sense to you?

I know it's true in my own life (and I'm somewhat there now) that if I don't continually keep myself moving forward in spiritual and mental endeavors, then I tend toward status quo, which is the worst place to be in. For me, status quo has no energy or life in it and I can't find anything in the Bible where Jesus said, just maintain until I get back.

I'll post more this weekend as I get further into this book. What do you think about the phrase "Deep change versus slow death"? Do you see it in your current situation in life?

Worship Confessional, March 21, 2010

This post is part of Sunday Set List over on The Worship Community Blog.

Well, Spring Break Sunday 2 has come and gone. Certainly had more folks here today than last Sunday--but still low. Now we are into the Spring stretch with about 12 weeks to go until summer.

All Hail The Power of Jesus' Name (G3 Worship)


Missions Emphasis--Canary Islands (Video)

Offertory Music---How Great Is Our God/How Great Thou Art

Scripture 1 Chron. 16:9

I Will Sing (Boswell)

Your Name (Baloche)

Be Unto Your Name (Marks)

Morning Message: Normal Christianity

Be Thou My Vision (Brewster)

Heart of Worship (Chorus)

How was your Sunday?

A Data Disaster Plan--Does Your Church Have One?

Well, it finally happened. My external media hard drive (purchased in 2005) died this week. We knew that it's time was near when we would open the server closet and hear it moan and groan.
Luckily in December I purchased a 1 TB drive for $80 (amazing since I bought the original drive in 2005 for $100 a GB) and I mirrored the drive in December and then uplugged it and left it on a shelf in my office.

So, this week when the old drive died, I simply had to replace it with the new one and I was off again hopefully for another 5 years (not counting on it) Since it hadn't been backed up since December, I only lost Jan-Mar (not much that couldn't be replaced).

Does your church have a disaster recovery plan? We all talk about backing up and copies of data that we would need, but do you actually do it? It only takes a fire, tornado or some other disaster to make you wish that you would have done it.

Here's some steps:
1. Make a plan--execute the plan (actually do it). If you take a drive off campus (say to a safe place) then make that habit and do it.
2. Replicate several ways. Since this happened I have the media drive (or at least the most important parts) being replicated to several externals in other parts of the building. (External drives are CHEAP!)
3. Check into online backups (Carbonite) where you can upload your files for easy access.
4. Anticipate that your drives are going to die---it's going to happen (you just don't know when)

Do you have a data recovery plan?

Walking Naked In The Land of Uncertainty

After my post about the nudist church, I bet you're thinking that I have "naked" on the brain with the title of this post. However, the title of the post comes from a book that I've been reading where the author states that leaders must "walk naked in the land of uncertainty."

Once the shock of that image is out of your mind, go deeper with me into what the author is saying.

So many times as leaders when we hit the bumps of uncertainty and change in our organizations we tend to rely on past experiences, past skills, and past successes to get us through the waters. That works--sometimes. However there are those occasions where the situations requires new thinking and a new approach those matters. It is in those moments that Robert Quinn says that the leader must be able to "walk naked in the land of the uncertain"---meaning that he walks in with no defenses and no preconceived ideas of how to approach the matter and makes his own path through the waters.

Quinn states in these moments the leader enters a "Fundamental State of Leadership" wherein the leader is outwardly focused, inwardly driven, purposeful and authentic. That may sound like a tall order to fill in one setting, but Quinn says it's the natural response when the leader becomes the learner and the leader grows inwardly as he leads outwardly.

What do you think? Is it possible to "walk naked in the land of uncertainty?" Is that the normal response of a leader? Or is our natural response to return to the comfort zone and lead from there we've led before? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

"Attitude Reflect Leadership, Captain!"

Do you remember this scene in Remember The Titans? After much tension between the players from schools of separate color, the team comes together in a sweltering summer practice and after a missed block, the captain confronts the team member. The team member shoots back "attitude reflects leadership, captain" It's one of the defining lines of the movie.

I was reminded of this last night as my kids watched this movie on Spring break and it fell in line with a book that I'm re-reading again (Building A Bridge As You Walk On It) where he claims "you become what you behold; you behold what you become". Meaning--what you see you imitate!
What a reminder to me as a leader that even in the face of uncertainty, my attitude reflects on my organization and those I lead. What I feel and think should be processed in light of this and the result should be for me to convey to those I lead about the future. True, it must have a healthy dose of reality, but never to the point of discouragement or despair. These are not marks of leadership.

So, do you think the phrase "attitude reflects leadership" is true?

Words With Friends--My New Addiction

I must confess that my new addiction on my Iphone is Words With Friends (a scrabble like game that you can play with friends or strangers) It is one of the most addicting games I've ever seen (actually not so addicting as it is time consuming)

I like it though, when I have a moment at lunch or at a break I check in and see what words my friends have come up with (although I suspect that some of them are consulting a Lexicon for some of these words)

Have you tried Words With Friends?

Leadership...Transforming Nuts Into Followers

I was alerted to this video this morning through my friend Chris Vacher and thought it was a provoking video to start the discussion on leadership.

What do you think? Any validity to this?

Worship Confessional, March 14, 2010

This post is part of Sunday Set Lists over on The Worship Community blog.

Start of Spring Break and Time Change Sunday is the perfect storm for attendance. We were way down today, but that was expected with two Sunday's of spring break and time change happening. I read on Facebook one of our church members aid "heading to church, thought we were on time, then I heard Jim on the radio! We didn't make it to church!" Wonder how many more were like that?

Regardless, I think we had a good day of worship and word. There are just going to be days like this!

Set List

You Are Holy (Prince of Peace) (Imboden) A great song that I forget about---we haven't done this one in a long time.
Made To Worship (Tomlin) A standard for us!
Christ Has Risen (Maher) We introduced this new song from Maher's "Alive Again" album and we'll be doing it through EASTER.
In Christ Alone (Getty) My all time favorite new hymn... it absolutely moves me everytime we sing it!

Morning Message--"Be before you Do"--Ed Ethridge

Here I Am To Worship (G3 Arr.)

How was your Sunday?

BBK--There's No One Like Her!

I had the joy today to reconnect with BBK (Barbara Bamberg-Knight) who was my accompanist at SWBTS. What a joy she has been in my life for 20 years and it was such fun to relive some of those seminary moments with her and my senior adult choir today.

She currently serves St. Luke Methodist here in Houston as a Music Associate.
After some great food with her at a local coffee shop, I had her bring us back to the church for her to play for my choir.

I can't tell you how soothing it was to hear her play again. It was like heaven! She played my favorite "Shine Your Light On Us" which was such a ministering song to me in one of my darkest periods of ministry. I would play that cd over and over again and just weep.

I love connecting people in my present with the gems of my past. BBK is one of those gems. What great joy to call her friend!

Death of A Giant (A Tribute to Dr. Al Densmore)

I received word yesterday that my friend, Dr. Al Densmore, had passed away early in the morning and was now enjoying the beauty of heaven.

There are about 5-10 men in my lifetime that I would say have had a major impact on who I am. Dr. Al Densmore is one of them.

As I had about 10 hours to think on the road yesterday, I began to remember so many things about Dr. Al. Dr. Al was a Deacon at FBC Sweetwater when I was there in 1997-2001. I can remember Dr. Al's encouraging words to me immediately when I came to Sweetwater and I remember his sweet small voice peeking in to my office almost every morning (after he had been to the Post Office) to tell me to have a good day in the Lord.

For almost 5 years he and I led the weekly nursing home service and he would always close with "Amazing Grace". That song forever shall remain in my heart as Dr. Al's song.

He was a unique man. Military, Dentist, Historian, Musician, Artist, Gardener and much more. I think that is what I enjoyed most about the man--there was a depth to him that you could always count on and he was constantly learning.

I remember visits in his backyard to talk about "Mint" and how invasive it was to his yard (yet it always had plenty to share with everyone) and I remember the times I would pour out my heart and soul to him and have him pray for me.

This quote from a local historical book on the natives of Nolan county summed it up best for me about Dr. Al when I read it . He truly saw beauty and symmetry and colors to life.

It was his artistic side that I was most attracted to. As a painter of landscapes and horses, we asked Al to paint a watercolor for a stewardship campaign while I was there. We featured him and his art in the video and yesterday all I could think about was that opening scene where Dr. Al drives up in his car, gets out his easel and begins to paint the West Texas sunset that he saw for so many years. I can just imagine that God has given him full reign of heaven to paint and capture what he sees and his bright little eyes are shining. Dr. Al is one of the top ten people in my life and one of the ones I'll look forward to seeing again in heaven.

God loaned us an angel for these many years---Dr. Al, I'll miss you, but we'll meet again on the "Cloudless Day"

Duct Tape Prom--I'm so recommending this to my kids!

I've known about this "fad" for a while, but with a daughter getting ready to go to her first prom, my interest was piqued as I heard the story of Fox News this morning of a school where they had an "All Duct Tape" prom! Sweet!

I Googled it and couldn't find the school, but I did find this site for Duct Tape where they have embraced the quirkiness of what people do with their product. I plan on checking it out--especially since we recently used Duct Tape in several ways in our Childrens Worship Arts Ministry.

Just goes to prove that creativity is still alive and when encouraged, we flourish and find new ways to do old things.

Early, Mid, Late? Which One Are You?

This post is not theological in nature and no, I'm not talking about the Tribulation (Pre, Post, A)

After getting hammered once again on Facebook for my FOURSQUARE updates, I pondered and posted this tweet yesterday afternoon:

"Early adopters are usually criticized. As it was with Twitter so it shall be with everything new that comes along. Get used to it"

That wasn't so much a shot across the bow to my critics who constantly tease me about things such as Twitter, but it was a reminder to me that I am an early adopter and that as I forge ahead of the crowd those that don't understand or aren't there yet are going to ridicule and make fun of something they don't see or understand yet. When I first said something about Twitter two years ago I was mercilessly teased until it became the "in' thing to do ("John Piper is twittering now!!!!) and now those critics are the ones I get the Tweets from. Twitter is not the innovator that it was two years ago and those who are just now discovering it are "lagging". Get the point?

What is an early adopter. The answer is here and you can see by clicking on the picture that there are distinct phases of adoption through our culture. It starts with the innovators (the ones who test the boundaries and creates change) moves to the Early, Mid and Late Adopters and finally to the Laggards who come to the party way to late. So I ask, which one are you?

Can't you see it in our culture?

Worship Confessional, March 7, 2010

This post is part of Sunday Set List on THE WORSHIP COMMUNITY's blog.
Set List:

Majesty (Brewster)--- Sarah led out on this one and we did it in a lower key ,which gave it a different feel

Welcome--Sarah (as I had to dash out the back door to get ready for baptism)

Baptism--highlight of the day for me as I baptized Brandi Phillips, a member of our CHRISTMAS BELLES cast from The Ritz. This is the whole reason I'm involved with outside artistic endeavors-to meet artists in the community and lead them to Christ (many, many people had a touch in her life and the result was her coming to Christ on the last day of our production in December--WIN!!!)

Missionary Video---this was the gap holder to get me back down to the stage--We started North American Missions emphasis this week. This video talked about church planting in Colorado.

Choir--Mighty To Save/ Alleluia (Brentwood Benson)

Scripture Reading (Isaiah 40:27-31) "Those who wait upon the Lord shall mount up with strength like eagles"

Everlasting God (Brown)

Blessed Assurance (Hymn Charts arr)

Morning Message--Floyd Haddock

Jesus Paid It All (Stanfill)

How was your Sunday?

Leaders Are Readers

I'm going to read to a 4th grade class this morning. I've been invited to a READ-A-THON after their TAKS test and to talk to them about reading as a life habit.

To be honest, my reading experience and enjoyment was pretty limited up through my seminary days. I only saw reading as an assignment and an order to spit back some information
for a test or exam.
It wasn't until my Walk To Emmaus experience in 2000 that I learned about the importance of reading and Grow Through Study and the benefit of reading (widely) held in our spiritual development. From that time forward I became a "reader eater"--meaning that I would blow through books fast and move on to the next, often times without pondering what I was reading.

However, in the years that followed, I have slowed down a bit and am now more apt to take book reading at a slower pace (except for BORN TO RUN which I read in a day!). Recently I've completed LINCHPIN by Seth Godin and NO MORE MONDAY'S by Dan Miller. I have a stack of books by the side of my bed and on my desk and I'm known to take a book with me to lunch or to a conference so in down moments I can get some reading in.

If you see a book of mine that's marked up or me with a pen, you'll know that I'm digging into the book because it has struck a cord with me. I used to be afraid to do that but now I figure the only way to remember the highlights is to highlight.

In the future I'm thinking that more of our kids will read books from these kinds (see picture) of readers (inlcuding the Ipad) and that print books will become more scarce. I don't know how I feel about that yet--I see both sides, but there's nothing like a good book in your hands to read and understand.

So--what are you reading right now? Do you believe the statement that LEADERS ARE READERS?