Run Like The Wind

I just finished my first Half-marathon yesterday and while running yesterday I had time to think about my evolution in running.
Some ten years ago in Sweetwater, my friend Donny Allen asked me to join him in a run. I don't think I made it to the end of the block (because I was so out of shape and so heavy!) I eventually lost the weight and began to join Donny and his friends for Saturday morning runs. By the time we left Sweetwater I was leading the pack as we ran.

I ran my first 5K in December of 2001 in Dallas. The excitement of being with that many runners at one time gave me the itch to keep on going. I signed up for the Cowtown 10K in the Spring of 2002 and when I completed that race I hung up my shoes at that time and said that I had gone as far as I could.

Fast forward to 2010. One year ago I was back in my "out of shape" condition and faced some serious sickness following an emergency appendectomy in March. I started walking in April but soon the running bug hit again and I've completed 1 5K and 2 10K's previous to my half yesterday.

So, what's in store? I don't know at this point. Some are asking if I'm going for a full marathon ( and I won't rule that out) but there are defintely some more half's in the future. It's back out on the road in the morning as I get back in to shape after Saturday's run.

Worship Confessional, February 28, 2010

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

Today we started a new series "The ABC's of Life Change" where we are focusing on the Great Commission. Shanna Covington, local artist in our church, did these paintings for us and we're using them as graphics in our services.

Dr. David Allen, Dean of The School of Theology at Southwestern Seminary spoke today in Ed's absence. He kicked off the series.

Set List

Rising (Baloche) It's been a while since we sang this, but it's a great opener.

Welcome/Announcements/ Offering

I Will Sing (Boswell/Ferrin) This is on Matt's new album, and I sang it in the fall but we've never done it congregationally. Very easy melody and chorus to pick up and just great words. Fit very well with the series opener.

Sing Over Your Children (Maher) second week for this song--couldn't tell how it was going. I think they like it... we'll see.

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone) (Tomlin) Always a favorite...they sang on this one.

Morning Message--Dr. David Allen

Mighty To Save (Hillsong) Just the chorus and pre-chorus was all we had planned, (planning to go to something elese) but we stayed on this. Worked well.

How was your Sunday?

Beautiful Things -Accoustic Version

This is the accoustic version of GUNGOR'S new release BEAUTIFUL THINGS. It's simple, artistic and masterful!


Cowtown--One Day and Counting

Well, the big day has arrived. The Cowtown Half-Marathon is 24 hours away. If feels funny not running the week of the race, but they say you must taper and save your run for race day. We'll see.

Tomorrow 13.24 miles await me in downtown Fort Worth. I've already printed the map in my mind and watched the fly-by video. I have my music ready. So I guess there's not much more to do to get ready.

What's next? Marathon? I don't know--some people have said once the bug bites you, that you have to keep going. I'll let you know Monday morning.

Alice In Wonderland Begins

The theater has only been dark one day at The Ritz and we're already beginning the next production. I had the honor to sit with 16 young people last night who are very excited to present ALICE IN WONDERLAND in April. It should be an exciting ride.

All the world will have their attention on the new Disney move ALICE IN WONDERLAND in the coming weeks, and we thought we might ride the wave with our own stage production of this classic tale. I didn't know until the other day that the ALICE story was really a collection of tales and stories made up for a little girl named ALICE. Very interesting indeed?

So, while Johnny Depp won't be on stage here in April, some of Scurry Counties finest young actors and artists will get their chance to act in this timeless story in April.

Would Shakespeare Blog?

This title isn't original with me. It's a line in Seth Godin's new book LINCHPIN that I'm currently reading. What I enjoy about Godin is his short and concise paragraphs that to me seem like he journaled these thoughts and then they become part of his books.

His point in this section is would artists of old use the modern techonolgy and methods available today if they were still around? Would the artists of old still stick to their old methods, or would their art evolve with the times?

Godin's point (and his opinion) is that a true artist (one who makes an impact and change on people) is always aware of the times and the opportunities and makes the most of the day in order for their art to be impactful. Godin says that if your art does not change people, then it's not art. That's a pretty severe definition of art, but it bears further thought and study.

So, do you think William Shakespeare would blog today? Would he take the methods and mediums of today and use them for his messages and points of discussion about social, political and religious concerns? I think he would. How about you?

Worship Confessional, February 21, 2010

This was a hard day for me. We were WAY down today--so many out with this and that and the lack of attenders made it hard to feel energy in the room. Maybe it was my fault for starting slow (we're not used to that). Anyway! It was difficult.

Ever had one of those days after you lead that you sit down and you're exhausted because you feel like you've been pulling an ocean liner? That was it yesterday. We scaled back the end for EAGLES WINGS to just my vocal and piano. It was simple and sweet. So it ended well.

I guess the realization that we've been without a Sr. Pastor now for 7 months is beginning to set it. The team is going out now to hear pastors, but inevitably people physically and mentally check out until that guy is here. So much to pray about!

Set List
Welcome/Announcements/Offering (I think people are still counting on the first song to get in there and they're surprised when we are already taking up the offering when they get in there)
Shine Your Light On Us (Robbie Seay Band)-- just a great song to call us back to God and to find our "rest" in him.
Friend of God
Here I Am To Worship
Sing Over Your Children (Maher)--new this week. It's off his "ALIVE AGAIN" album.
I Will Sing of My Redeemer (You Set Me Free)-(Cottrell) Worship Choir
Morning Message (Conclusion of our weekend in MALACHI)
Eagles Wings (Hillsong-Morgan)

How was your Sunday?

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

Welcome Dub To the Family

From Drop Box

So, did we not only welcome Chewy to the family today, but we went back got his brother DUB (short for Wilbur!)--He was the runt of the family and he's mine! So--maybe they'll keep themselves from being lonely. I know --we are crazy!

Welcome To The Family--Chewy!

From Drop Box
We added a new member to the Drake Family today. Welcome Chewy! He's a mix of chihuahua and rat terrier (we always go for the mixes). He's from our receptionist Shannon and she insists that his mother is the best dog!

Chewy comes to us after 2 years without a dog. Our first dog Bubbie died 2 years ago and lived to be 15. I can safely say that Chewy will probably be our last dog! I told the kids today at lunch if he lives as long as Bubbie did then they'll be old like me when that happens.

Have you ever had a new puppie?
From Drop Box

Make Your Own Kind of Music

We are so adding this guy to our praise team. After seeing glockenspiel and sitar last week in the Gungor band, anything is possible.

Visual Worship--The Set Up

Timelapse - Environmental Projection setup from grateful inconvenience on Vimeo.

I've talked about the impact of visual worship before on this blog and I believe that it's only going to be bigger and more impactful in the future than I thought before. The experience with GUNGOR last week RECREATE only increased this in my heart and mind. The VJ'ing was done by GRATEFUL INCONVENIENCE, INC. It was masterful.

Look at this video and see how a room is transformed by three video projectors and a laptop. In the past this was accomplished with very expensive theatrical lighting, but now it's becoming easier. A church in East Texas is getting ready to install these video architectural projectors to transform their gym space into a worship space. They can change from street scene to solar scenes with one click of the button.

With the Beijing and Vancouver Olympics using these methods to transform spaces, just think what it could do for worship and for churches. The possibilities are endless./

Out of chaos life is being found in You!

Beautiful Things (words/music by Gungor)
All this pain
I wonder if I’ll ever find my way
I wonder if my life could really change at all
All this earth
Could all that is lost ever be found
Could a garden come up from this ground at all

You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of the dust
You make beautiful things
You make beautiful things out of us

All around
Hope is springing up from this old ground
Out of chaos life is being found in You

You make me new, You are making me new

Genesis 2:7 (New International Version)

7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.

This line struck me this morning as I'm listening to this new album of GUNGOR. I don't think we fully appreciate the enormity of life coming from chaos. Chaos is a lack of order, lack of path and direction and out of all of that chaos at the beginning of the world God stepped in and made life. We see that in Genesis where God methodically brings order to chaos and meaning to nothingness. And what more appropriate substance that we think nothing of, dust, God choses to use to form the man and to breathe life into him. Out of chaos life is being found in You. I can think of no better way to express that scripture than these words.

Dry Bones

Dry Bones
my soul cries out
my soul cries out for you

these bones cry out
these dry bones cry for you
to live and move
only You
can raise the dead
lift my head up

Jesus, You’re the one who saves us
Constantly creates us into something new
Jesus You’re the one who finds us
Surely our Messiah will make all things new

This haunting lyric has been playing in my office all morning as I process the week just passed in Tennessee at RECREATE. Michael Gungor's band released their album BEAUTIFUL THINGS today and I've been blaring it in my office (literally I went to another part of the building and I could hear the subwoofer going to town--good thing I'm on the other side of the complex)

I am grateful this morning that I have scriptures that lament and mourn and talk about the times in life that aren't so easily answered. Wouldn't it be a shame if all we had was a "lollipop" bible that only said good things? What would we do? We would fall apart--I know that for sure.

“The hand of the LORD was upon me, and he brought me out by the Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of bones. He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. He asked me, “Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “O Sovereign LORD, you alone know.”
Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry bones, hear the word of the LORD! This is what the Sovereign LORD says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life. I will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will know that I am the LORD.’ ” So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. I looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but there was no breath in them.

Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man, and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come from the four winds, O breath, and breathe into these slain, that they may live.’ ” So I prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.”

Ezekiel 37:1-10

"Yet again--these dry bones will praise you"

A Prayer of Discernment (Thomas Merton)

MY LORD GOD, I have no idea where I am going.
I do not see the road ahead of me.
I cannot know for certain where it will end.
Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think that I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.
But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.
And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing.
I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.
And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road though I may know nothing about it.
Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.
I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

- Thomas Merton, "Thoughts in Solitude"

Ian Morgan Cron read this prayer last week at RECREATE. It immediately struck a chord with all of us in the room. By virtue of the internet, I googled it and posted it to my Facebook account. Within minutes, I had comments and affirmations from friends back home and around the world. It struck a chord with them too.

To top that off Audrey Assad and Matt Maher sang a new song they've written called "Restless" based upon the writing of St. Augustine (Restless I am restless 'til I rest in you) that seemed to flow along the same lines. The combination of this prayer and that song were the highlights of the week for me.

I certainly feel that most of the world seems very restless at the moment. Something is stirring and we don't know what it is. We as believers have the Holy Spirit to be our discerning light and my prayer since then has been for complete surrender to Him and let this restlessness be the beginning of something new and fresh in my life.

What are you restless about these days?

Michael Gunger "Beautiful Things"

I experienced something last week at RECREATE that I honestly can say was a "once in a lifetime" experience. Gungor (formerly The Michael Gungor Band) did a live concert/experience for all of us at the conference. They played their entire new album from start to finish and to compliment it we were treated to a visual art show by Grateful Inconvenience, Inc. and Nate Griffin using PRO VIDEO PLAYER. to accompany the experience. It was breathtaking.

Gungor says that this album represents "liturgical rock" styles and he wasn't joking. I described it to a friend as a fusion of musical styles (classical, folk, rock, jazz and praise and worship) and even those descriptions are inadequate to describe what we experienced.

I've long known that visual worship is a coming thing for the church, but what I experienced that afternoon was like walking through an art gallery of heaven with a chorus of angels singing the most sincere and passionate music of heaven. It was incredible.

Earlier in the day we had heard from Dan Cathy of Chik-Fil-A and how they're trying to provide a remarkable experience for each customer each time they come into their stores. That's exactly what Gungor did for us.

Their album releases today and I would urge you to go and get this album. I plan to have it in my ears as I run my half marathon in a couple of weeks. It's that good.

They are coming to Austin in April and if I didn't already have something planned for that day that I couldn't get out of, I'd be there. If you can go--go see this experience.

9 Things A Leader Must Do

Another book I recently picked up at Mardels in the bargain area was this short little leadership book by Henry Cloud. When I say short, I mean short. You could knock it out in one evening. But short doesn't always mean easy or fast. You'll find in this book, especially the 9 things, that you'll want to dig deeper into each area and work through the teachings of Dr. Cloud. That's my action plan for this book.

Another blogger has boiled it down to these things:

A leader must…
  • Discover and invest in your inner desires and drives
  • Not allow a sense of negativity to take up space in your mind and life
  • Evaluate your decisions in the present based on how they will affect the future
  • Continually ask yourself, “What can I do to make this situation better?”
  • Achieve big goals by taking small steps over time
  • Develop the ability to hate the right things well
  • Give more and better than you are given
  • Not strive to be or to appear more than you really are—but really embrace your own identity
  • Make decisions without fear of other people’s reactions
What leadership books have you read lately? | View Cowtown Half Marathon 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas | View Cowtown Half Marathon 2010 in Fort Worth, Texas

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Worship Confessional, February 14, 2010

This post is part of Sunday Set List over on The Worship Community's blog site:

Back in the saddle again, I led worship today for the first time since Jan. 24. With our DNOW service and me being gone for RECREATE last week, it's been a nice break and one that is needed from time to time in order to rest my voice and my spirit. It's hard to go at it 50 weeks out of the year and there are some needed resting spots to keep going at this. I've been doing this 23 years now!

Set List:

Welcome/Announcements/Offering--moved all of this to the front this week. Sometimes sticking it in the middle of the service seems to break our flow. So, as they say in baseball--time for a switch up!

Video--Prayer emphasis-Argentina

Love The Lord (Lincoln Brewster)
Holy Is The Lord (Tomlin)
How He Loves
Worship Choir--Revelation Song/Holy, Holy

Morning Message--End of our Love Series

I Stand Amazed In The Presence
How He Loves (Chorus)
Enough (Tomlin)

How was your Sunday?

In Praise of the Contemporary Psalmist

Having spent a week in Nashville (the hub of most if not all of Christian music today) I have an idea that has been running around in my mind this week and I think I have to say something.

We've been blessed this week to be exposed to some of today's best song writers and psalmist. This guy and this girl led us this week in worship and I would consider them some of the best at modern psalmnody.

Webster defines "psalmist" as: a writer or composer of especially biblical psalms.

And therein lies my issues with some of what I've heard this week here in Nashville. Those that have stood out in my mind are those that hone in on the truths of scripture and steer clear of the more experiential lines and phrases which so quickly come to be "cliche". Simple lines like "I am restless until I rest in you (taken from the writings of St. Augustine) found a resonance this week because they are scriptural in nature (if not down right rephrasing of scripture verses themselves). These are the timeless things that modern day psalmist must immerse themselves in.

Instead the music industry is cranking out more and more music than Fanny Crosby could ever have imagined in her lifetime, and to be honest some of it is not good and some of it very forgettable.

If I could have said anything to these young writers this week I would have said: "Sit on it for a while--let it begin in your soul and then sing it and write it." I'm afraid that it's been the other way around--write it, sing it and then let it sit on your soul. It just doesn't work that way.

Some of the music industry has caught on to this and they're not telling, but I see their watchful eye on some of these artists. They are the shining jewels in modern Christian writing.

This blog is written in praise of the contemporary psalmist. May your tribe increase.

RECREATE '10--Wrapping It All Up

Recreate 2010 has come to an end and in true RECREATE fashion it ended on a pinnacle note yesterday. We began with outstanding worship led by Matt Maher and Audrey Assad who stole the week with their new song "Restless" and the highlights of Matt's ALIVE AGAIN album. I'll have to say that having Matt sing in my ears while I ran this week only heightened the sense of worship and depth that he brings to the table as a fellow worship leader and a masterful song writer.

We were then treated to a "mini" Women of Faith with the likes of Patsy Clairmont, Shelia Walsh, Mandisa and Luci Swindoll. It was a great morning.

In the afternoon I got to see my friend, Pete Wilson, who pastors at Crosspoint Church here in Nashville. I call Pete my virtual pastor since he's also in my ears as I run. We've connected through Twitter, Facebook and now twice while here in Nashville. I truly love Pete and his heart for the church.

In the afternoon we were treated to a talk by Dan Cathy, president of Chik-Fil-A. What a marvelous organization this is and has always been based upon Christian principles. It's exciting to see an organization that is so based upon family and Christian beliefs. Made me want to go work for Chik-fil-a. This clip is of their #1 fan who attends all of their grand openings. By the way, Mr. Cathy told me that their Lubbock location is the top one in the nation! Way to go Lubbock!

The day ended with a performance by the Michael Gungor band (Gungor). All I can say is that it was an art "experience" with a live performance of their latest album (with three string instruments, keys, guitars, drums, banjo, sitar) With the visuals provided by Media Shout, we were in sensory overload by the end of the performance.

Last night the conference came to an end with a concert by Laura Story (Indescribable) and Jars of Clay! What a way to end the day.

More than just the performances and top notch speakers, I'm always blessed to be with people from all over the US and the world. Though we are apart 51 weeks out of the year, this one week, we are all here and "present" together with the Holy spirit to have a true artistic revival amongst the creatives.

RECREATE '10--The Mystery Continues

Today's session began with Communion led by Ian Morgan Cron, Audrey Assad and Matt Maher. They led us through the liturgy of the Lord's Supper (The Great Thanksgiving) and the richness of the texts that have been used throughout the history of the church.

I know much of this because of my involvement with Emmaus and it makes me sad sometimes that much of our protestant worship practices have abandoned some of this liturgy for just simple form. I wish that I could transport this morning's services back to my congregation. It had such meaning and depth. Maybe we could do that sometime.

Eucharistic Prayer B

The people remain standing. The Celebrant, whether bishop or priest,
faces them and sings or says

The Lord be with you.
People And also with you.
Celebrant Lift up your hearts.
People We lift them to the Lord.
Celebrant Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
People It is right to give him thanks and praise.

Then, facing the Holy Table, the Celebrant proceeds

It is right, and a good and joyful thing, always and every-
where to give thanks to you, Father Almighty, Creator of
heaven and earth.

Here a Proper Preface is sung or said on all Sundays, and on other
occasions as appointed.

Therefore we praise you, joining our voices with Angels and
Archangels and with all the company of heaven, who for ever
sing this hymn to proclaim the glory of your Name:

Celebrant and People

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord, God of power and might,
heaven and earth are full of your glory.
Hosanna in the highest.
Blessed is he who comes in the name of the Lord.
Hosanna in the highest.

The people stand or kneel.

Then the Celebrant continues

We give thanks to you, O God, for the goodness and love
which you have made known to us in creation; in the calling
of Israel to be your people; in your Word spoken through the
prophets; and above all in the Word made flesh, Jesus, your
Son. For in these last days you sent him to be incarnate from
the Virgin Mary, to be the Savior and Redeemer of the world.
In him, you have delivered us from evil, and made us worthy
to stand before you. In him, you have brought us out of error
into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life.

At the following words concerning the bread, the Celebrant is to hold it,
or to lay a hand upon it; and at the words concerning the cup, to hold or
place a hand upon the cup and any other vessel containing wine to be

On the night before he died for us, our Lord Jesus Christ took
bread; and when he had given thanks to you, he broke it, and
gave it to his disciples, and said, "Take, eat: This is my Body,
which is given for you. Do this for the remembrance of me."

After supper he took the cup of wine; and when he had given
thanks, he gave it to them, and said, "Drink this, all of you:
This is my Blood of the new Covenant, which is shed for you
and for many for the forgiveness of sins. Whenever you drink
it, do this for the remembrance of me."

Therefore, according to his command, O Father,

Celebrant and People

We remember his death,
We proclaim his resurrection,
We await his coming in glory;

The last two years at Recreate have been some of the most memorable communion services that I can remember. Today Matt and Audrey's responses "Holy, Holy, Holy and Come Holy Spirit--were refreshing and new" It was truly a holy moment.

What has been your most memorable communion service? Was there liturgy and form to it?

RECREATE '10--Let The Connections Begin

This is my third year at RECREATE CONFERENCE here in Nashville, and in those three years I've met some of the most amazing people. I've been busy the last two days meeting with these guys and gals before the conference began officially today. I've made three trips to the airport to pick them up and drop them off at their hotels. Needless to say for a connector--this is paradise. So many connections renewed and many more connections made with folks that are new and have never been to RECREATE. I met up today with Robert Comeaux (Minister of Music from FBC New Orleans--he gave me Mardi Gra beads from New Orleans) and then with my good friend from Texas, Jeff Berry who works with Centricity Records here.

Tonight, we began at Puckett's Grocery store in Franklin and with a private concert by Amy Grant. I actually got to hold the door for Amy as she came out of the women's restroom (no I wasn't going in--her door opened into the path of the men's room). And during the concert we were alerted by Facebook that a friend of ours in Texas is connected with Amy's tour manager. So we met him and Amy afterwards. It was a great evening.

One of the amazing things about RECREATE are the suprises during the week not to mention great worship led by Matt Maher and others like Big Tent Revival, Jars of Clay and Leeland.

Stay tuned for a great week...

Worship Confessional, February 7, 2010

Today we started a mini-series called "WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT!" I'm away today at the Recreate Conference but my friend Rich Smith led worship. Rich has quickly become loved here as he leads from the heart. I know the people were led to the throne today.

The cover art this week comes from a church member (Shanna Covington). I met with this artist last week and I am excited to see what God is going to do with her art and the ministry here at FBC. It was a reminder to me that sometimes God has just the right person sitting in your congregation to help. This painting was one she had done and entitled "The greatest of these" Perfect! That's what the series is talking!

Set List:
Sing To The King
Mighty To Save
All Praise To God (Foote)
How Deep The Father's Love For Us (Townsend)
Reading--1 Corinthians 13
Morning Message
How He Loves

How was your Sunday?

This post is part of Sunday Set List over on The Worship Community run by Fred McKinnon. I will be with Fred this week at Recreate. Can't wait!

Worship Confessional--Journey Church Franklin

We attended worship today at the Journey Church here in Franklin. It meets in the Factory At Franklin, an old abandoned factory (with the conveyor belts and tracks still running along the ceiling.)

Hosanna (Hillsong)
Message (Vision Sunday--pastor walked through their mission and vision statements--explaining the church. Had 35 join the church this morning through partnership (mostly young families).
The Stand (Hillsong)
Lead Me To The Cross (Hillsong)
Take My Life (Tomlin)

Toy Box Leadership (Part 5) Mr. Potato Head

I remember my first Mr. Potato Head. Yes, it was the parts and I put it on a real potato, not the plastic one that claims the title today. I don't remember how or when I got it, but I distinctly remember "his smile" and "his frown" and how you could change his mood with the change of a part.

Today's metaphor is Mr. Potato Head and communication.

"The leadership principle from Mr. Potato Head is that you must choose the right face for the right place when communicating."
This is one of those things that you know, but you never really stop to think about. When you are saying one thing is your face (or body) saying something else. I don't know anyone who consciously does this--but maybe we should. If our message as leaders is important shouldn't we take the time to make sure the vehichle and mode that it is delivered in matches the message.

Maybe that explains the confusion in messages sent and received in organizations. Maybe we say one thing verbally but communicate another thing physically. This was very interesting to me.

The Eight Faces A Leader Must Pack:
1. Empathetic--feeling what they feel
2. Confidence ( I wrote in the margin "do people see confidence in me as a leader?"
3. Intense- serious!
4. Attentive- eye on the ball--game on!
5. Disappointed- communication that the mark wasn't met
6. Happy (duh!)
7. Sincere-- Authenticity
8. Optimistic--hope shows in your face!

Guess I'll be spending some time in the mirror this weekend looking at the faces that I project as a leader.

So, Mr. Potato Head leader what faces have you packed for the journey?

The Glee Effect

I'm blessed with two beautifully talented daughters who are caught up in the show "GLEE", not because of the morals (which are ???) but because of the music. What I find fascinating about the GLEE effect is that all of sudden it's hip to be 80's. My girls go around singing these songs thinking they're new and trendy and I just shake my head and say "what goes around comes around." Who knew the class of 1982 would be hip again!

Evidently this GLEE effect took over at graduation last year for this school. Not a great performance, but I can appreciate where they are coming from.

Take a look at the real GLEE singing DON'T STOP BELIEVING.

Have you noticed the GLEE effect?

Toy Box Leadership (Part 4) Yo-Yo

Creativity is like a Yo-Yo. That's the metaphor for today in TOY BOX LEADERSHIP.

"Creativity is much like a yo-yo. It remains dormant unless it is released."

This statement just a few paragraphs in was the first thing I underlined because I believe that it is so true. Creativity is like a muscle when used get's stronger and more refined and conversely when unused atrophies and withers. I know that it has been true in my life that when I am being creative that something in me sparks and jumps and comes to life and seems to give me more creative ideas. And, when I'm not being actively creative that I somehow see life as ebbing away and this leads to a more subdued Jim Drake.

The authors here say that like a Yo-yo creativity must have a motion where it is flung forward and the force of that motion forward moves creativity up and down in the organization. Agreed--it must be begun and maintained, but as the author says no one wants to just go through the motions of going Up and down. That's where the creativity comes in (do you remember the yo-yo tricks of the 70's? Walk the dog? Around the world? Rock the cradle?) All of these yo-yo tricks were born out of creativity.

"Organizations often underestimate the value of creative people. Creative people connect the dots when others don't. They make observations about products, services or presentations that are obvious to them but others miss.... Simply put creativity creates opportunities"

I marked this paragraph because I believe it. Creative people are an underutilized resource in any organization. It may be because creativity cannot often be quantified or catagorized or measured in ways that sales and productivity can. However, living in every organization are creative people waiting to give perspective and solutions that no one else sees. I wrote to the side "this is my value to my organization."

"Letting go is the removal of constrictions. Creativity is squashed by restrictive boundaries, unnecessary policies and lack of opportunities."

Creativity thrives in open systems where opportunities are welcomed and risk is expected. Creativity is diminished in organizations where "safe" outcomes are always expected and wanted. I don't think the authors are arguing here for a complete "unsupervised" system of organization, but I do agree with them that sometimes structure squashes creativity and keeps it from flourishing.

"If you hold too tightly, your perspective narrows and you exchange creativity for comfort."

I think this last quote says it all. Organizations shouldn't be threatened by creativity, but should embrace it for in it lies the ability for an organization to see solutions that are not obvious to the logical. Unfortunately 99% of the world's organizations settle for comfort instead of creativity which would propel their organization to the next level.

Are you creative?

Toy Box Leadership (Part 3) Play-Doh

Today we look at Play-Doh, that messy clay-like material that we've all molded, shaped and in some cases eaten in our childhood.

The metaphor is used here to show mentorship and it's value in the leader's life.

"The next time you're in a meeting take a can of Play-Doh....When you set it down, look at the material (you've played with) and one striking result will be your fingerprints all over the surface. When you allow people to mentor you, they too will leave their fingerprints."

As I read this I had to think if I had been intentionally mentored by anyone in my life. The short answer is no! I don't remember a time in my life when a leader took me by the reins and said "I'm going to teach you how to do this or that." However, I've been mentored by some great leaders as I've watched them and emulated them and their styles.

I've also been impacted by some poor leadership too and I can see some of their fingerprints in my life too. Luckily I've been able to minimize their impact in my life and have learned from those experiences.

"But you should never confuse mentoring with duplication. Good mentors do not wish to duplicate themselves"

This was a good reminder to me that in leadership we should seek to bring about the best in people and not necessarily duplicate ourselves and our styles in people. Great thoughts here.

Toy Box Leadership (Part 2) Slinky Dogs

Continuing in the series on TOY BOX LEADERSHIP, today we'll look at THE SLINKY DOG (the metaphor for Vision in leadership)

"The lesson is to pull and then be patient"

This was the most marked up chapter in the book for me and one that I could resonate with. With any organization, you must have vision of what can, could and should be and that vision must be cast by a leader who knows where it should go and how to get there. All of that seems to be most easy-we've seen countless books and seminars on vision casting.

I've seen little emphasis on the patient part. IT TAKES TIME for vision to find its way into the deepest part of any organization. Vision can't just be stated once and then understood. It must be repeated, reposted, discussed, dissected and directed to all parts of the organization for it to take hold. THIS TAKES TIME.

"Until a communicator with a passionate vision challenges us to do something great together, many times we struggle to find a meaningful purpose."

I wrote in the margin of the book at this point "REAGAN WAS GREAT AT THIS" because that is what came to mind as I read it. Reagan cast a vision of what America could and should be and called for America to rise to that vision. I believe that is why we keep hearing about Reagan some 6 years after his death and long after he left the stage of leadership.

"Many times you can't move fast enough and it seems as though you are crawling. When you think you are crawling others think you are traveling at sonic speed. It is all perspective but a person's perspective is his reality"

I’ve always found that the speed of the boss is the speed of the team. Lee Iacocca

This maxim is true as the organization will only move with the leader's pace and being too slow or too fast is not beneficial. However, the leader must always be aware of the pace of the organization. The leader must know timing so well in the process that they become the keeper of the time and pace. Again, the tendency is to go to far, too fast and leave the organization in the dust.

I loved the last line of this chapter--"It is your job as the leader to find the string, pull it and then be patient." I think that says it all.

Toy Box Leadership (Part 1) Legos

I've finished the book TOY BOX LEADERSHIP and I'm devoting several posts in the coming days to share what I learned from this book. It was definitely worth the read.

Chapter 1--Legos

Legos are connective toys and as such in this book is a metaphor for relationships and trust in leadership.

"Likewise, every good relationship is fundamentally based on trust."

The legos metaphor is perfect for relationships because there is a giving and receiving end of the the toy and in relationships too. Legos are strong and sturdy and usually connect to any other Lego toy made--thus the principles of trust in a relationship are universal.

"Micromanagement as a leadership style devalues the overall team and is not a far removed from a dictatorship"

I've served my fair share under a number of leadership styles and I can tell you that I've seen the best and the worst (and I've been the best and the worst at this) However, since this is one of my pet peeves in leadership, I try to land on the side of trusting people to do the job they've been given to do. Basically micromanagement is a lack of trust from a leader to his people.

You do not lead by hitting people over the head--that's assault, not leadership--Dwight Eisenhower

This too is true. I've seen many a leader take the position that RIGHT IS MIGHT and POWER IS ABSOLUTE only to see the organization suffer and falter not necessarily because of the people but because of the leader.

More to come.... Next (the Slinky Dog)

My Love Is Blue---Actually my color is blue

Staff retreats are always time to look back, look up, look forward and look inward as you examine the year behind and the year ahead.

Almost every staff retreat I've been on we've done some type of personality analysis. This year was the THE COLOR CODE--where every personality is given a color type and analysis. I did mine and I'M BLUE! In fact I'm Blue/White--which is a different kind of combination. I'm still studying about it and will tell you more as I learn. Here's what part of the analysis said:
  • Blues are motivated by Intimacy ( the need to know and be known)
  • They seek to genuinely connect with others, and need to be understood and appreciated.
  • Everything they do is quality-based. They are loyal friends, employers, and employees.
  • Whatever or whomever they commit to is their sole (and soul) focus.
  • They love to serve and give of themselves freely in order to nurture others' live
  • They enjoy sharing meaningful moments in conversation as well as paying close attention to special life events (e.g. birthdays and anniversaries).
  • Blues are dependable, thoughtful, and analytical; but can also be self-righteous, worry-prone, and moody.
  • They are "sainted pit-bulls" who never let go of something or someone once they are committed.

It's hard to say that all of these are "100%" me, but it's pretty close.

What do you think? Do you have a COLOR CODE?



How He Loves Lyrics


I'm always a little "leary" when a song bursts on to the scene and "everyone" has to be doing this song or that song. In fact, I probably am on the cautious side seeing if a song has staying power or legs to stay around for a while. This song "HOW HE LOVES DOES" as it burst on the scene in late 2008 and 2009. We're just now getting around to doing it in church (actually the youth introduced it last weekend with their DNOW services) and it fits in with this "mini-series" on LOVE the next 2 weeks.

We'll omit the "sloppy wet kiss" line---don't want to go there- (and for those that don't know--just ask me and we can have a good cup of coffee and discuss artistry in worship music)

Let me know what you think about this song.

Worship Confessional, January 31, 2010

Today was our Disciple Now Weekend wrap up service and I wasn't on stage ( although I was baptizing). It's nice to be able to sit back and enjoy being a worshiper and not the worship leader sometimes.

Worship was led today by the band Words In Windows from Abilene. The kids really enjoyed them and they did mostly Phil Wickham and Hillsong United stuff which we haven't done before with our congregation. So, it was a little hard to engage in all "new" stuff, but our congregation really joined in on THE STAND which was a power song for us last year. Hearing everyone sing that song reminded me that when I think a song is a flop, it's just being seeded into the congregation and I'll never know when that song will come back to be "alive" in the midst of the congregation.

Here's the set


Baptism--I baptized one of my son's friends and my daughter's boyfriend. All went well until
Chance (Taylor's boyfriend) didn't bend his knees and went down like a log. I almost didn't get him up (he's 150 pounds of solid football player muscle!) We both laughed.

Welcome/Announcements/ Prayer Focus on Europe

Mission's Mercy Video --Child sponsorship

Canons--Phil Wickham

The Stand--Hillsong

Message--B.J. Farguson from First Evangelical Free from Austin was the speaker for the weekend. Spoke on the Prodigal son.

Came To My Rescue--Hillsong

How He Loves

Besides being a host home for the weekend (6th grade girls) it was still a very busy day for me... so is there really a day off from being a minister?

This post is part of Sunday Set List over on Fred McKinnon's Worship Community Blog.