How's The Church?

While visiting one of our saints yesterday in the hospital, she reached up and grabbed my hand and said "how's the church?". I'll admit that immediately I thought about the organization and the meeting place--and I knew I was wrong.

What she was asking was "who else is sick and need of prayer?; who is grieiving?; who is rejoicing?" Her concern, even in the midst of her own pain, opened my eyes to see once again that the church is more than a building, more than an organziation and more than any one of us can claim or own.

How is the church? Who do you know that needs a word of encouragement today? Are you being the church?

Why Do We Need Theater?

I found this thought the other day and it expressed a great deal of what I feel the value of theater is to our lives and especially to children.


1. Theatre prepares students for life in the real world by guiding continual development and refinement of interpersonal skills. (True---you have to learn to work together as a cast and company to put together a play)

2. Theatre has the ability to affect students on a personal level by contributing to mental, emotional, and social growth. (Absolutely--they have to give it their all on all of these levels in order to accomplish the goal)

3. Theatre helps students develop a sense of community and social responsibility. (Ditto)

4. Theatre gives students the opportunity to voice opinions, explore personal concerns, and produce viable solutions to problems. (It also gives them a way to express themselves in a positive manner and find solutions to issues only discussed)

5. Theatre encourages diversity and the exploration of the human experience. (oops--I think I answered this one one too early)

6. Theatre explores various cultures and breaks down damaging stereotypes. (enough said)

7. Theatre asks students to be active participants and advocates for others, aware of surroundings and their ability to mediate and effect change.

8. Theatre communicates the fact that as many ways as we humans are different, we share common bonds and can connect with everyone on some level, bringing new understanding and compassion to our lives.

Why do you think we need theater? Do you actively participate?

Related Posts: A Dream Come True

Songs That My Church Loves...Matt Maher

Of all the recent artist that I have introduced to my church, none come more highly regarded than Matt Maher. I have had the chance to meet Matt on several trips to Nashville and each time I come away with a deeper appreciation of his artistry and his heart of worship.

When Matt sings a song there is a depth and richness to it that you just can't find in contemporary Christian worship. He is a thinker and has pondered the deep mysteries of God and expresses his own walk through his songs. I think that's why our congregation loves these songs.

We sang "Christ Is Risen" for Easter and for 4 weeks afterwards and I can't tell you how much the affirmation and message of Easter resounded for those weeks following. It was good to sing it over and over again.

Your Grace Is Enough

Christ Is Risen

Sing Over Your Children

Great Things

Churches As Theater

After almost a year back in local community theater productions I can tell you that I see similar things happening in both of my worlds (at times they seem to collide)

One of the things happening in most growing churches is the use of theatrical principles of design, space, lighting, sound and props.

I found this site this week while searching for stage design ideas for upcoming series. This company has taken the word "theater" to a new level in church work--and it seems to be working.

Take a look and let me know what you think?

What is the value of theater in church work?

Songs That My Church Loves...Chris Tomlin

If anyone has shaped the form and style of current Christian worship, it has been Chris Tomlin. I would say that a good 50% or more of our current songs that we sing have a Chris Tomlin influence if not 100% contribution on his part.

Chris' songs have come up through the ages (from those who have known him through youth years now into adult years) and you can certainly see the maturity in his writing and styles now.

I find that Chris' songs (while incredibly high for the average congregation!) call for the worshiper to engage with the heart of God in worship. They are passionate and thoughtful expressions about our God.

How Great Is Our God ( I heard this song before it was released in 2004 and I knew immediately that it was going to be a hit--simple and beautiful. This one will be around for ages)

Amazing Grace (My Chains Are Gone)


We Fall Down

Made To Worship

The Wonderful Cross

Songs That My Church Loves...Travis Cottrell

On any given Sunday if you were to check in on our worship, more than likely you would find a Travis Cottrell song ( or a song that Travis has done on a worship album) I hold Travis in the highest esteem as a worship leader and musician. If there's anyone I look up to--it's Travis.

What I appreciate, (and I think our folks appreciate) about Travis music is : 1) Heart---there are just some things about Travis' songs that have a heart of worship 2) Musical---every song has a memorable melody or theological line.

We've used his songs over and over again. I don't think we'll ever abandon them.
Jesus Saves

Alive Forever Amen

Search Me, Know Me ( I've used this one on a Walk To Emmaus before--perfect!)

Songs That My Church Loves...Tommy Walker

Continuing in the series "SONGS THAT MY CHURCH LOVES" I can say without a doubt that we love Tommy Walker and his songs. They form some of the most passionate songs that we sing in worship and no matter how much or how often we sing them they seem to just have a life of their own and a freshness each time that we sing them. Here are some of our favorites.

I Have A Hope

Pass It On

Do It Lord

That's Why We Praise Him

He Knows My Name

Songs That My Church Loves... Paul Baloche

I thought I'd start a series of posts on the songs that seem to connect with my church. It seems as I look back over the series of services that I can recall where the congregation really engaged in worship there were a certain set of songs and more than coincidence they were by a particular writer/songwriter.

Paul Baloche seems to be the top writer that we connect with. Each Sunday that we sing one of Paul's songs, the congregation comes alive in worship. And when we introduce a new song and people comment on it, more than likely it's Paul's songs.

What I've come to appreciate about Paul his is humble spirit and his sensitivity to the Holy spirit's leading in worship. I think this is one of the keys to the success of his songs and how they seem to stay around.

Some of our favorites:

Your Name


Open The Eyes of My Heart


What Can I Do

You Gave Your Life Away

Related Posts: Rising

Worship Confessional, April 25, 2010

This post is part of Sunday Set List over on The Worship Community Blog. It's where worship leaders gather each week to discuss what went on in their worship services for that day. Check it out.

Set List:

Beautiful One (Tim Hughes)--Haven't sung this one in a long time. Good to revive it. Great to have tracks by Trevey this week--really fills out the sound.

Scripture--Romans 5:1-5 (Hope does not disappoint)

I Have A Hope (Tommy Walker) We sang this last August.. thought we needed to be reminded again that God has a plan for us because he loves us. Sweet stories of people really touched by this song today.

Welcome/Announcements--- Shoes For Orphan Souls Emphasis

Missions Moment--Dominican Republic

Offertory Prayer

My Inheritance (Ronnie Freeman)

Scritpure: Ezekiel 44 ( "I am their inheritance)--reminder that we are rich in Christ!

Come Thou Fount, Come Thou King ( Gateway) One of our standard favorites!

Morning Message--Dave Bilderback

Here and Now (Baloche/Brown) Started with "Just As I Am" accapella--then into this one. We're introducing this to the church the next couple of weeks.

How was your Sunday?

Spiritual Lessons from Yard Work

I've long stated that working in the yard is some of the best spiritual work that I do... really. ( And to be honest if you look at my yard in the last year or so, it has been neglected--but you can make your judgements)

You can look at a yard and tell if the owner cares for his lawn. I'm getting mine back in shape and the front looks pretty good. But the back is horrible!!! I'm probably going to have to go for a pretty good scalp on it here in a week or so to clean it up.

I walked out today and saw all of these lovely green milk thistle weeks and crab grass just waving at me in the West Texas wind. At first I was overwhelmed with all of them, then I started pulling them up one by one. The rain last night softened the ground where I could just pull them up by the stem. And then I reminded myself that I couldn't get it all done at once, so I worked a section at a time.

The spiritual lessons here are: Don't neglect your life and let the weeds grow--they take hold and choke out the spirit in your life; Let the word soak the tough soil and you'll be able to pluck up those weeds easily; don't try to fix it all at once--pick a section and work on it, you'll not be too overwhelmed and you won't give up.

So--how does your yard look?

One Man's OOPS is Another Man's Treasure

One of the things that I've learned in years of doing large scale sets and projects it to constantly shop the "oops" bins at the local hardware stores. My family laughs when we go to Lowes or Home Depot and I head for the paint departments. I'm always looking for a great color and a good bargain.

The last two sets we've done at The Ritz Theater have been totally with "oops paint" from our local hardware store. I go in with a color in mind, and if I can find it or close to it--I go for it. This set for Southern Hospitality needed a blue--but not a bright blue. I found a gallon of bright blue and 2 brown gallons and combined them together for this look. And the grand total...$15.00 for 3 gallons of paint. I even had some left.

So--check out these bins when you go to these stores. One man's "oops" might end up being your treasure.

RT: What is oops paint?

Theater Is Everywhere

Can you find theater where you live? If not check out

This is a Friday Funny!

Sing A New Song!

There are a couple of new songs coming up in the rotation for worship here at FBC Snyder. This Sunday we'll start learning HERE AND NOW (Baloche/Brown)from the Greater Song Album. I think it's a great response song

Another song we'll be learning is MY INHERITANCE (Freeman) which I've heard on the Song Discovery disc and then on Travis Cottrell's JESUS SAVES album. It's a great song.

I've really tried to be intentional with our new songs. We've gone from singing about 90-100 songs to about 60 or more songs. That's still a lot, but I'm finding that by intentionally repeating and placing songs in the rotation that people are digging into them in worship. It's great now to bring back a song and hear the people really grasp it in worship. That's what it's all about--singing a new song (not just new but a fresh expression of praise) to the Lord.

What new songs are you singing?

Levelland---or is that Snyder?

Got this video from a fellow West Texan. Many of you have asked, "Where do you live?" Well, I don't live in LEVELLAND, but Snyder is pretty similar in terrain to it. We may have a few more vistas (not hills or mountains) and some more mesquite trees, but I'd say this video is pretty accurate.

Does your hometown have a song?

Here's The Church... Here's The Steeple

We're taught early on via "hand" motions the little saying

"Here's the church, here's the steeple, open the door and here's the people"

It's a great line (rhyming of course) but it is good and bad theology mixed together. Let me explain.

I've been struck lately with songs that talk about the people of God and the church and I think when I hear them I still have a little of that "Here's the church" mind in me as I think about the church.

The church is NOT a building, a place or an organization. THE CHURCH is the people of God, motivated by the indwelling Holy Spirit to accomplish the will of God in their lives. We're all wrong when we say we're going to CHURCH--we're actually going to the meeting house (I think that's what the Quakers call it)

The church is made of people whose lives are intertwined like our fingers in this little saying and it is that interconnectedness that we all need and all depend on to be the church. We need each other--everyone one of us!

One of the songs that has meant the most to me lately is Paul Baloche's "Rising"

"People of God, In the power of God, for the Kingdom of God"--- I think that's the right perspective on church. We as the church are the people of God and our only motivation and empowerment comes from God with the purpose of accomplishing God's will. Maybe I'll come up with hand motions for this.

So--what do you think? Agree or Disagree? What's your definition of The Church?

A Tea Party Worthy of Wonderland

Thanks to Marianne Randalls and the Staff of The Manhattan Coffee House for our Cast Party this afternoon. It was complete with cookies, sandwiches, tea and their own Cast of Alice. What a wonderful way to end the production of Alice!

This was a great group of kids. Many of them expressed today their sadness at the end of the production and many of them are ready to go for the next one. I think theater at the Ritz has a long run ahead of it with these kids promising to be the future of the stage.

Worship Confessional, April 18, 2010

This post is part of Sunday Set Lists over on The Worship Community Blog, where worship leaders post and discuss their Sunday experiences.

Set List

Prepare Our Hearts (Moffitt/Smith)-- I was drawn back to this song this week. We did it for an extended period of time last Spring. It's such a called to repentance and confession and for me a settling song as you begin a worship service. I think so many times we begin worship with a "whip up" and wonder why in the end the worship experience feels "light and fluffy". It's because we've not engaged the heart with the heart of God to begin with. This was our intention today!

Scripture Reading

Rising (Baloche) From the GREATER SONG ALBUM-- I love this one too. "The people of God, in the power of God.. for the Kingdom of God--we sing!" Love it!


Missions Moment--Great Britain. We were pleased to have my college friend, Bryan Kittlitz, who works with OCI mission in Britain, here today to talk about the Mission effort in England. So much of the work there is revitalizing the church and engaging a whole culture that has little or no knowledge of Christianity. We interviewed him in both services and he talked to a Sunday School class.

Christ Is Risen (Maher) Third week on this song.. it's becoming a favorite. I just love the line where it says "O church, come stand in the light..." I just want to scream when that line comes around because it's such a call for the church (the body of christ, not a building) to rise up in power and strength and accomplish the great commission.Publish Post

I Will Sing of My Redeemer/You Set Me Free (Cottrell) We've done this one before--several times--but it's always good to revisit a good familiar song. It's one of my favorites

Morning Message---Walk Straight (Ed Ethridge)

I Surrender All (Hymn Charts)

How was your Sunday?

The Cast Is Company!

A cast (aka: company) quickly becomes family during the run of a show.

The cast of Alice began in February to work on this production and we've quickly learned that in being together as much as we have, we've become family.

Yesterday we celebrated (in the midst of a performance run) the birthday's of 3 of our cast. So, as any family would do, we had a cake and celebration last night after the performance.

The theater is the perfect place for artists to come together to collaborate on short term projects. In the midst of these short term runs, new ideas are exchanged, relationships are built, friendships are formed and the artistic community is strengthened as all work to achieve the goal of presenting their craft with excellence. The sadness comes in the parting of company at the end of the show, but the realization that more of this can take place with the next show.

You always learn something about artists when you are around them. I'm so glad I shared this journey with this company (family) of Alice!

Talking To Myself--While I Run

I had an interesting run yesterday. I missed my running partners ( thought I had until I found out that some of them didn't make the designated meeting area either) so, I thought I would spend some time by myself.

Most of the mornings when I run I have my ipod dialed up for something to listen to, but on this run some lovely member of my family had borrowed my headset and didn't return it--so I was sans music this morning.

I did a lot of thinking on this run and then it turned to talking--to myself. I began to ask myself some questions and to be honest some of the answers that came out were surprising. You'd think that I'd already know some of these things about me, but when you verbalize what you've already internalized you get some shocks.

They weren't long questions--just "What, where, why, how come, what if, explain that, dig into that" and more.

It was revealing to me what I discovered. Maybe I need to talk to myself some more!

Happy Tax Day---Right!

Well, it's that time again... TAX DAY! Yippee!

Another day to be grateful and angry at the same time!

Grateful for the freedom that we have (but we have less this year than we did last---hmm, sounds like our income)

Grateful for the rights to pursue personal interests (but some of those are gone too)

Angry at the waste in our government and by the arrogance of those elected to serve who choose to rule (I'd say that whether it was Republican or Democrat leading us).

Angry at the complicated system that we have to determine fair taxes to all.

So, give me a balloon and let me pop it! It's Tax Day!

The only cheerfulness I find today is that Starbucks is giving free coffee today--let me grab my mug and get a cup of Joe free!

Past Posts: Tax Day Blues

Alice Again This Weekend--Will She Ever Find Wonderland?

We close out our run of ALICE IN WONDERLAND this weekend with 3 more shows. If you haven't seen it, come on down. The kids have done a fabulous job with this play. Eighteen kids started this journey Feb. 22--and now we finish here in April.

Some of them (9 to be exact) have never acted at The Ritz before and I can tell that the bug has bit them hard. They'll be back for more and that's exciting to see.

So many new faces around the theater can only mean that good things are in store in the future. We may have been "dark" for a while but I'd say the lights are bright for The Ritz right now.

Thanks gang for a wonderful (wonderland, wonderland) ride with ALICE!

This Isn't Theatre... This Is Bedlam!

The craziness of ALICE IN WONDERLAND has yet to wear off (we have one more weekend of this play) and we've already begun to fire up the crew for SOUTHERN HOSPITALITY (our sequel to CHRISTMAS BELLES) which will play May 7-9/14-16.

That's fast, but this crew has been together before and if last night's read through was any indication of what's going to take place, then buckle your seat belt.

Back for another round are:

Honey Raye Futrelle- Dava Robbins
G.J. Dubberly Waverly--Mattie Drake
John Curtis Butner---Ken Spoor
Twink Futrelle--Brandi Phillips
Rhonda Lynn Lampley--Melia Duzan
Justin Waverly--Logan Tabor (subbing for Lance Turner)
Frankie Dubberly--Selena Messenger
Dub Dubberly--Doug Tindol
Geneva Musgrave--Debbie Herring
D. Dava Davidson--Pam Herring
Buck Strickland--Duncan Parish
Raynerd Chisum--Matt Cross
Aunt Iney Dubberly--Mary Ann Wright

Can't wait for the fun to begin! I love love Fayro!!!!

Coming To Your Church---Ordination Barbie!

Coming soon to your church nursery... uh, maybe not.

Found this today via my friend Dave Bruskas from Mars Hill Church Albquerque---he thought it was amusing and I thought I'd repost here.

What do you think? I'm thinking Saturday Night Live might pick it up as a skit.

Worship Confessional, April 11, 2010

This post is part of Sunday Set lists over on The Worship Community Blog. It's where worship leaders share the details of their Sunday services. Check it out.

A New Hallelujah! (Smith)

Welcome/Announcements/Mission Focus on Columbia

Offertory Prayer

Savior Like A Shepherd (Instrumental--flute)

Christ Is Risen (Maher)

Show Me Your Ways (Fragar)

Scripture Reading--Psalm 23

All The Way My Savior Leads Me (Tomlin)

Morning Message--Walk Straight-- Robbie Boyd ( A new series in 1 Corinthians)

He Leadeth Me (


Follow Me to Wonderland!

Tonight is opening night for ALICE IN WONDERLAND at The Ritz Community Theater. This is the culmination of 6 weeks of rehearsals with 18 kids (from 3rd grade to Juniors in High school). They really have been a joy to work with.

Just a few things to get ready today at the theater and then we'll be ready to open. Have you made your reservations?

The Peeple's Choice--What To Do With Your Easter Candy

I saw this on FOX news this morning as I was getting ready for church. Since I dedicate this blog to art, I thought it was interesting to see that people had taken the medium (really?) of candy and made art out of it. How creative? Not only can you eat your peeps, but you can make modern art of it. Kind of Warhol-esk!?

Here are the pictures...

Alice In Wonderland

It's production week, and well, you know what that means. REHEARSE, REHEARSE, REHEARSE.

We're close to opening night, but there is still so much to be done to get ready for 6 shows in the next two weekends. The kids are doing great with their parts (let's hope we don't have a school schedule disaster like we did last week that took out half of the cast for UIL) Hopefully--we'll all be there.

Now, there are costumes to finish, bulletins to print, posters to put up, lights to program, and so much more. If you don't hear from me this week, you'll now why.

Here are some pictures from the progress on the set and one of the rehearsals.

EASTER 2010---Worship Confessional

Well, the official EASTER exhaustion has arrived. I didn't think much about it this afternoon because right after lunch we headed to the theater to get ready for Alice In Wonderland this week. But, having arrived home to eat and sit for more than 10 minutes--the tiredness has arrived.

Only one service today, but we had it all. Organ, Piano, Choir (2 times), Old hymns, new songs and yes, technical glitches. But it was a great day. Great crowd and great spirit in worship.

Here's our order:

Christ The Lord Is Risen (Prelude) Opened up with a prelude (Cindy Berry) that set the stage for the video. Big ending that rattled the pipes---but no dust!

Video--Easter Daybreak (Shift Worship)

Victory In Jesus (Cottrell) This is the arrangement from his JESUS SAVES album. Man it rocks! We had Sr. Adult and Worship Choir today on this one.

Call To Worship--Matt 28:

Christ The Lord Is Risen (G3 Worship) Went back to the G3 arrangement today because of the blended service--This is just a great arrangement by Robert Elkins that has enough contemporary flavor to it without abandoning the melody.

Welcome/Announcements--Week 2 of pray for China and the underground church.

Offertory--Judy Brown did a fantastic job with a Mark Hayes arrangement of MAJESTY.

That's Why We Praise Him (Tommy Walker) This just has to be one of my all time favorite worhsip songs. It just tells the story of Christ so simply and with great depth. They loved and worshiped on this one.

Christ Is Risen (Maher) Introduced this one with the passage from Ephesians 5:18 (Awake O sleeper)

In The Cross Alone I Glory (Robert Sterling arr.) Worship choir led out on this one.

Morning Message---"The Resurrection" Ed Ethridge

You Gave Your Life Away (Baloche) As we ended we had a technical glitch with the screens--they temporarily froze and wouldn't go past the chorus---after a couple of go arounds, we just went instrumental until we could figure it out. Oh well--almost made it through.

Depart in prayer..

So there ya go! We even had the church bells tolling as we came out of worship today.

How was your Sunday

This post is part of Sunday Set List over on The Worship Community Blog where worship leaders post what their services were like today.

Worship Confessional, April 1, 2010--Maundy Thursday

We've just finished our 5th Maundy Thursday service. We do this in our chapel and it's a great setting (intimate and close and very beautiful at sunset on a Thursday evening). It's a somber service and very reflective.

I'm often reminded that we need all types of services (celebrative and reflective) This service ended our 12 hour day of prayer stations and each year I receive comment after comment of people saying how much it meant to them. That is certainly true today.

We closed the service in silence and then our bell tower began to toll the bells (seemed like forever but it was only about 8 minutes) Really set the mood for the evening.

Set List

Come Thou Fount of Ev'ry Blessing

Scripture Reading

Video--The Last Supper

Scripture Reading

Remembrance (Hughes)



Were You There (Traditional)

Departing in Silence

In The Cross Alone I Glory

We're singing this song too on Sunday! It's one of those songs that is "infectious" are gripped from the first time you hear it (melody is memorable) and the words have something to chew on (theologically deep).

What are some other "legacy" Easter songs?

Christ Is Risen!

We are singing this song Sunday morning. It's new off of Matt Maher's "ALIVE AGAIN" album. I can't wait to sing " O Death, where is your sting... O Church come stand in the light, Our God is not dead, He's alive, He's alive!"

What songs are you singing Sunday?

Prayer Stations 2010

Today is Maundy Thursday (a day traditionally observed by the church in remembrance of Jesus' last day of earthly ministry and his last supper with his disciples). We have observed for the last 5 years a day of prayer with different prayer stations (each of them different telling a part of the east story) This year was around the faces of the people at the cross. In previous years it has been around events of Easter, the journey to the cross and even the stations of the cross. All of them are meant to prepare our hearts and minds for this Easter weekend.
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Stations 2008 (Part 1)