Friday, March 31, 2006

New Gig Bag (box)

I was recently inspired by Phil Ayers on his Bald Worship Leader Podcast to think about my gig bag. Lately it has just been a plastic bin with who knows what inside...it was tough to move around and tough to find stuff in, and it wasn't stocked all that well.

I went out today and bought a new solution! Its just a tool box that I have converted into a Worship Pastor's ultimate gear resource kit on wheels. I'm so psyched about being more organized! We have been working really hard lately in every area of our setup to be more efficient...and I'm happy to personally get on the band wagon.

Its so important as worship leaders that we work hard to prevent or eliminate distractions from our corporate worship time. This includes things that will distract us as worship leaders, and things that will distract our team. Having the right gear, and being prepared for emergencies is part of that stewardship of our role.

Here are some pics of my sweet new box, I got it at Walmart...its the little things that make me happy!





It even separates into two parts for more storage...going on a smaller gig...need less stuff...just take the top!



Oh yeah...it has wheels...sweet!

Thursday Trip

Went down to Richmond yesterday with Ben for a meeting of church planters in VA. Those times are always valuable in one way or another. Ben and had some great planning time in the car ride down. We also got to spend a bit of time with Tally. Here are some shots of us totally paying attention...

Monday, March 27, 2006

Iraq on America

My friend Ginny McKinney is doing some great work over in Iraq. She teaches English courses, and is the presence of our Father there in the midst of a dark place.

She has an amazing post here about the cultural presuppositions that Iraqis have of Americans. If you aren't reading her blog you are missing out...there is such perspective there that you can't find in the news.

Ebenezer's Coffee House



Spent this Monday out with the family on a trek into the city. While we were there, we stopped in to grab a cup of coffee at Ebenezer's the new coffee house that Mark and the folks at NCC built. I have to say, I was really impressed. It was a first class place, and the coffee was even good! I didn't get to see the downstairs or the offices, but if it is anything like the coffee house it is amazing.

Small Group During the NCAA basketball finals

Our small group meets on Sunday nights...I love it! Its tough for folks though any time there is a major sporting event. What's cool, is that it is usually the sports that give, when push comes to shove...that speaks so much to the community that has developed!

This weekend our local team GMU continued its cinderella ride right into the final 4. The game was still happening as folks were supposed to arrive. It was great watching people sprint in during timeouts, trying not to miss anything between the radio broadcast and what we were watching.

Needless to say we started our bible study a few minutes late to watch a nail biting OT! Go GMU!!!The score is tight just before the start of our small group....


We know what's important...sometimes its just better to wait! :-)

Thursday, March 23, 2006

here with me

...when i awake, i am still with You. -psalm 139:18b
I am speaking this week at History from psalm 139. Ben has been doing an awesome series on Truth, and we are concluding it by hitting on some really tough topics, as they relate to God's truth...this week I'm on deck for abortion. Not an easy subject...

I was meditating devotionally on this psalm this morning and the second part of verse 18 nearly jumped off the page at me. What a simple but profound phrase..."when I awake, I am still with You."

We worship, serve and intimately know a God that is not relegated to the relm of dreams, or nirvana, or even heaven...while we can look expenctantly towards heaven, while we can dream and see the goodness of God there...His promise is that He is "here with us." Immanuel.

He matters in what we are doing and experiencing here today...while we're "awake." Seems like good news to me...

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

podcast love!

My blog was mentioned on two podcasts this week! Carlos Whittaker, and Phil Ayers both have amazing podcasts that deal with issues related to worship leading. They have proved to be an invaluable resource for me.

No man is an island, and I love that there is community to be found online in the areas where we are serving Christ. Check out the podcasts that these guys do...there are links on my sidebar to their blogs.

And they both answered questions that I through out in their most recent podcast. Thanks guys!!

Friday, March 17, 2006

Response to the Da Vinci Code

Carlos Whittaker has an interesting post about how Christians should respond to the release of the new Da Vinci Code movie on May 19th. Check it out here

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Stage

Our church is meeting right now in an elementary school cafetorium. We are working on improving our stage lighting. This setting makes lighting a unique challenge.

What has worked for you in the past. Any good ideas?

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

managing chord charts...paper paper everywhere!!!

I don't know about you, but when I compose a set list I am fanatical about flow. Inevitably this means that I am transposing songs, and making great use of my capo. This could end up to be a chord chart nightmare, and more paper and typing than I can shake a stick at! I have found some great free software to help me manage all of this thought I thought I'd share with my blogging friends.

I use an open source music management tool called Open Song. You can download it [here]. It was written to be a lyric/chord management tool, as well as basic projection software and set list manager. It does a whole lot for being free ware...thank you open source fanatics!!!

I don't currently use the projection capabilities as they are fairly limited right now, but if you are on a tight budget and want to get started with video projection this might be something to check out. What I do use is the chord and lyric data base. You just have to input your songs into the data base (there are some song packs available for download as well), lyrics and chords, using their coding format (easy to learn) and then you can transpose your entire library at a click of a button.

I often will download chord charts from iwillworship.com or some other similar site and cut and paste songs into my library. Then when I need a song I just find my key and print it out. This makes having charts in the correct key for your bass or piano player a breeze when playing with a capo.

I will then print the charts that open song makes for me to a pdf file (you will need some adobe software...decidedly not free) and post them to webspace for my team to download. I currently use another blogger account for my team to access charts.

I'd love to hear what some other worship leaders are using for this most tedious of endeavors....

Saturday, March 11, 2006

what's the world coming to?



from Kirsten's blog

way to go team!!


This is a basket that our worship team put together for my neighbor's. We are practicing right now in the basement of our townhouse...and well...church music is not so quiet these days! :-) They have been so gracious in allowing us to be loud...and never complaining.

I'm so proud of our team! They gave sacrificially, and put together an amazing gift. We included some things for their new baby, a gift certificate for a night out, some other tidbits, and two starbucks gift cards and invites to History. I want them to understand that worship is nothing if it doesn't propell us toward mission. If you are seeking God's face you can't help but catch his heart. This is a moment where my team got that...awesome!

My prayer is that our neighbor's will really see and feel the love of Christ in unique ways from living next to us.

fun at the playground with the family



thank you

God blew my socks off again this weekend! Very unexpectedly someone anonymously gave our family a couple of hundred dollars....just to bless us. This isn't the first time that God has used people to bless us in very timely ways, but it never ceases to amaze me.

We were very intentional about how we opened the envelope when we got home. My daughter Hope is just getting old enough now to comprehend things, and I want her to learn at an early age that God is able to provide more than we could ask or imagine. We all sat together and opened the envelope, and I told Hope that God had given us a special gift of money for the things we needed. We then spent a moment praying toghether to thank God for His provision.

I was thinking just the other day before all of this happened that when we are in ministry and trusting God for our resources, this is a very rich place to be. I have to laugh sometimes at the amazing ways God has blessed us...but it's easy to get my eyes off of that. The difference though is that it is a bit more out my control than I like....God likes it that way though. When we allow Him to bless...He is always happy to oblige...when we fight to control and have, rather than give...well...you know...

Thanks to whoever was willing to be used of God to bless our family. It was so timely to the practical needs we have right now...

As my friend Butch says all the time..."You can't outgive God!" I'm so inspired to be that kind of giver....

photos from our leadership team dinner






Had a great time, hanging out with the families that are part of our leadership team. We all have young kids right now, so it was quite the night! :-) I feel so blessed to have such great friends in these folks, and to serve Christ together with them.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

my favorite question...

Asking good questions is an art...one I am still working at mastering. One tool I have found really helpful is a little booklet called "Asking to Win" by Bobb Biehl. It is chock full of great questions that get underneath the surface in a variety of different settings.

My favorite that I have used over and over in different forms when meeting with people is this:

What three things could I do in the next 90 days to make a 50% difference this year?
Sometimes when focusing on a life issue or a project I'll modify it to address that situation rather than "this year."

ask great questions!


huh?

Friday, March 03, 2006

tekekahkweuhsés

if your curious click [here]

so i've had a bit of a problem lately....it started with just one rogue brow hair, and the problem has since begun to take over...i'm getting old man brows! tekekahkweuhsés!

thankfully my wife..truly a genius in all things beauty..shared with me that it is totally appropriate for me to trim them. who would have known. so as I sat on the toilet in my jammies, she carefully brushed the offending brows up, and promptly snipped them into alignment with their shorter brethren. that's why marriage is good. without it this guy would be walking around with eyebrows down to his toes...a fashion risk i am not willing to take.

gentlemen...be good to your wives...you just may discover that you tekekahkweuhsés...

Thursday, March 02, 2006

blue like jazz?



shot this picture of our new daughter maddie the other day. some interesting resemblences to mr. "like jazz" himself.

maybe she has a writing carreer ahead of her. or just a series of crushing victories in "donal miller look alike contests."