Wednesday, September 21, 2005

A Tribute...

A man of God. A husband. A father. A diligent co-worker in ministry. A talented artisan. And much more could be shared about Doug Coney, who went home to be with Jesus this past Monday evening.

Doug had just completed possibly the largest set that he ever built - our set for LOST. If you haven't seen it, it's FANTASTIC! With working waterfall and plane wreckage that he picked up on a short jaunt down to Atlanta during Hurricane Katrina. Doug's dedication to his craft and the ministry at GCC was incredible. Late late hours. Pressing deadlines. The man ALWAYS came through with something amazing.

I came to GCC for my first weekend service during the Matrix series (see photo). I simply could not believe my eyes. All these pipes and smoke and TVs. I couldn't believe that a church like this existed, and much more that it might be interested in me! Needless to say, I was impressed with the production. All the welding and cool lighting really made the place intriguing - especially for those who had a conception that church was boring or irrelevant to culture. Doug was our first line of offense into the first impressions that people have of GCC and ultimately of Jesus. From a performer's standpoint I have to say that I always was glad to know that Doug was in charge of our safety in the structures he created. He never cut corners. He got the job done right. This legacy of excellence is what Doug leaves us.

So many lives were changed because of Doug. I think of the first bridge weekend a few years back, the cross weekend last year, and "The Gap" bridge this year. All built by Doug, but representing "THE bridge" that Jesus created by his ultimate sacrifice. Countless people crossed from the darkness to the light on the set pieces built by Doug Coney. Eternity was impacted by this man. This inspires me to make the most of every moment for the kingdom of God. As Chris Tomlin's song The Way I Was Made says: "I want to live like there's no tomorrow." In light of Doug's life and tragic passing. I want to live that way. May tomorrow be everything it could be - without regret of time wasted in some sort of holding pattern! May we write the songs that need to be written; may we create the art that shouts to be created; may we love those who are in greatest need with extravagant love; may we forgive those who have harmed us with generous grace; may we LIVE, truly LIVE without regret!

I'm so saddened for his family. To Lesley, Peyton and Dalton. My heart goes out to you. I will pray for you and your family daily to experience the "peace that goes beyond all understanding". May Jesus and this body called Granger Community Church walk with you every step of the way as you heal from the pain of this loss. May the Lord bless you and keep you.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

99 Cents of Scrumtralescence...

All right. Consider me boring. Maybe even obtuse. But I am a man who considers himself a serious connoisseur of the Taco Bell Bean Burrito. I have been this way for over 10 years. I have experienced several evolutions of this classic taste sensation during the past decade. From it's humble beginnings as a side menu item, to that craze in the mid-90's with "low fat" menu items (low fat cheese - a fine rubbery texture- yum!), to it's most recent and (to me) most glorious of all incarnations - THE BEAN BURRITO ESPECIAL. 99 cents of pure scrumtralescence. Here are the specs from

A large flour tortilla loaded with a huge portion of hearty beans, cheddar cheese, creamy jalapeno sauce, onions and tangy red sauce.

And although I have been a B.B. fan (those of us who are in the club call it B.B. for short) for all these years, it is not until this latest version that I can tell everyone that there is no other competition on the Taco Bell menu with regards to value, portion and taste. I mention taste last because of one particular aspect of the B.B. Especial - the jalapeno sauce. Now, Taco Bell still serves the regular bean burrito for 89 cents, but this would be a most unwise purchase my friend. "What's the difference?" you ask. It's the sauce. That creamy, tangy jalapeno sauce. It makes my mouth water even as I write this. It's that last ten percent of the recipe which takes a normal, nutritious menu item and skyrocket's it to the top of the taco heap!

We all could take a lesson from the B.B. Especial. It's the last ten percent that makes something really special. I realize that more and more in the programming that I'm involved with at GCC. Really good arts elements become great ones with that last ten percent. I'm reminded of this with a Gwen Stefani song that we did a few months back. "Rich Girl" was the tune which has a part for a female rapper. We could have just had our rapper come onto the stage by walking out from the back curtain. However, we chose to have her enter by spinning her around on a very glammed-out high back chair. This was that final 10 percent which made for a WOW experience. And don't even get me started on what's happening for our new LOST series.

Regarding our families, friendships, or jobs, I wonder what it would look like if each of us would take whatever we do beyond the normal 90% and go for that last 10%? Would our marriages be stronger? Would our families feel more connected? Would our jobs be that much more exciting to go to? Would we make a bigger impact? All this, brought to you by the Bean Burrito Especial and our amigos at Taco Bell!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Knock knock...

Knock, knock...

Who's there?


Dwayne who?

Dwayne the tub, I'm drowning.

It's amazing how quickly we can go from swimming at a good stroke, with confidence and reasonably good form to the point of barely keeping our heads above water. The road from making headway to treading water is a short one. This has been the story of the last few weeks for me. A couple weeks ago, things were pretty smooth. I just came off the Leadership Summit with new ideas. Ready to focus on my part in advancing God's kingdom in more effective ways. Fastforward to this past week and we're talking SWAMPFEST '05. During this, God led me to a scripture:

2 Timothy 4:5 "But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, dispatch all the duties of your ministry."
  1. Finding myself overwhelmed, my mind gets really cloudy. I find that because everything seems so daunting I don't do anything that is important. I'll perform some menial tasks to avoid the huge mess in front of me. Paul reminds Timothy to "keep your head". At a breaking point I'll forget about task prioritizing and just start picking at the pile instead of being strategic.
  2. Ministry is tough work and we must "endure hardship." For some reason I had the idea in my head that things would be easy once I got out of "the real world". Yes, there are benefits to being in professional ministry, like a flexible schedule, but since I help lead in ministry, I'm under that much more attack. As John Eldredge often says, "We live a life opposed." Satan has leaders targeted.
  3. When I find myself completely stressed out and buried, it's usually because I try to do way too much on my own. I think of how geese work together and form the "flying V"(also a way cool, vintage, headbanger's guitar, I might add), depending on each other to take turns cutting through the hardest headwinds. I think that's what's being addressed in the "dispatch the duties of your ministry" part of the verse. Notice, he says to do the work of an evangelist (Timothy's calling/gifting) but to "dispatch" the other duties. Once again, this challenges us to be ruthless with our schedules as to what we can delegate to others vs. doing stuff ourselves.
With all that being said, maybe it's time for you and I to pull the plug and "dwayne the tub"?