Wednesday, December 19, 2007

What Not to Do When You Want a Job

So I'm in Bed, Bath, and Beyond doing some Christmas shopping yesterday. I'm looking at a set of DVDs that have the relaxation images (fireplace) and stuff on them (we're using this in an upcoming media Christmas Eve; watch for it!).

Right in front of them are those relaxation/massage chairs that everyone loves. Two people, boyfriend/girlfriend are in them enjoying a massage. I'm trying to get past them to look at the DVDs since I couldn't find the one I wanted. I sort of gave them the "I need to get past you" look a few times. They don't move. A sales rep. from the store comes to help me. We both start to look. Again, they don't move.

Frustrated, I look around the other side. Another glance from Dan, "are you guys gonna let me/us in?!" Still, they're not moving. It's then that I realize that the guy is reading a Bed, Bath, and Beyond employment application. Conversation between me and the sales rep at a computer terminal later:

Dan: "You gonna hire that guy?"
Rep: "You wouldn't believe the types we get in here that apply."

My takeaway: Care and concern for others is not something that is part of a job. It is part of the person you hire. Any amount of training, mentoring, etc would probably not have done a lot in that guy's attitude toward others. If he wouldn't go out of his way before he was hired, he certainly isn't going to do that after. It all goes back to character. So important in hiring. Skills are important, but work ethic/integrity/servant attitude - this stuff is what makes a great hire.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Shalom Auslander

Here is a promo for a recent book, a Foreskin's Lament, from a New York Jewish author, Shalom Auslander.

A great portrait of how our perception of the core attributes of God affects our theology.

I am interested in reading this book. I think it will help as we try to offer a picture of a God who is GRACE personified.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

I'm Doing One of These with My Kids

Check out: Let's Give Thanks

This website takes cards made by kids around the country and sends on notes of thanks to our troops in Iraq and around the world. They actually send them on printed paper, not just email.

I'm going to take a minute with my kids to send one of these this week. These men and women deserve our gratitude.

Thanks, Michelle B., for the link.

This Makes Me Laugh

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

If You Like Star Wars...

(Even if you don't) Listen and watch ALL of this! It progressively gets awesome-r!

My wife found this one for me.

Weekend Recap Nov. 24-25

Series: The Thing from Another Planet
Message: The Stories That Keep You Awake at Night
Speaker: Mark Waltz
Worship Leader: Jason Miller


Chariot by Gavin Degraw
This is a great groovin' song. Jason Miller, my brother, does a great job with it.

Worship Songs

Blessed Be the Name - by Matt Redman - I liked this in the key of A rather than the typical B - easier to sing
Another Worship that I honestly can't remember. (I didn't write it down! Sorry Jason!)

Campfire Stories by Jeff Petersen with script by Kristin Baker
A lighthearted script with a great group of our actors. This was a challenge to tape, considering that we needed it to be outside because of the fire (duh) and the fact that noise is very difficult to filter out while taping. The media guys did a good job of keeping the light consistent and moving the story along. Our actors had some great facials and reactions to play out the spoof.


The Stories that Keep You Awake at Night
What an enormous amount of info that we threw at our crowd this weekend! We covered from birth to college years and allowed each of our key leaders in these areas to comment. Not to mention that we let our crowd text in questions. And then we had a few additional video clips to help drive home the points, from kids and then a good interview of Shelley Brasseur who is the mom of a high schooler. I saw the 5:30 message on this one, so I'm sure that things got smoother as we went. I'm so glad we have great people like Corey Mann, DC Curry, Georgia Fawcett, and Jason Miller leading our kids and young adults.

Song Special:

Proud Father by Jon McLaughlin
Leroy King, our "soul man" did a great job with this touching song. I love it when Leroy can really own a song and deliver it with heart-felt authenticity. I think this is critical to meaningful communication. Almost, like a method actor, singers need to connect with the part of the song that is their own voice and live the song from there.

Looking forward to Let it Be... Christmas this next week!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

The Great American Germ Exchange

Maybe it's because I was a teacher for 8 years that I always notice this. Right after Thanksgiving, massive amounts of kids get sick. I finally put it together. Thanksgiving is not only a great time to give thanks and gather with family, but it is truly the "Great American Germ Exchange"! Families that are normally spread apart and building up resistance to regional germs, now SHARE THEM with their cousins, aunts, and uncles.

Parents take note in the next few days if this happens. If I'm right, we'll see more kids sick in the next week or two.

Okay, now you can go buy some more Flintstone Vitamin C for you kids to keep the germs away. Go, go, go! :)

Tips to keep your family safe HERE

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sugar GOOD!

One of my favorite Christmas movie moments:

From Elf

Buddy: "Can you pass the maple syrup please?"
Emily: "I... I didn't put... It's spagetti."
Buddy: "Oh, you know what? I think I have some. Yes."
Emily: "You like sugar, huh?"
Buddy: "Is there sugar in syrup?"
Emily: "Yes."
Buddy: "Then yes!"

Sound here

Anybody else got one?



Weekend Recap Nov. 17-18

Series: The Thing from Another Planet
Message: The Brain that Wouldn't Die
Speaker: Rob Wegner
Worship Leader: Dan Vukmirovich
Attendance: 5,770


The Blob by Burt Bacharach
THIS WAS FUN! We took a great risk by actually using a vocal track behind this one with the words "beware of the blob it creeps, and leaps, and glides and slides...". Having our talented sax player Jeff Kamp around also was great.

Worship Songs
Everlasting God - Lincoln Brewster arrangement - very standard
Awesome is the Lord Most High - Chris Tomlin - also very standard

Drama/Music Element
Overture for Moms - performed by my wife, Lisa
This was a highlight of the service for me. So many words. We found it on YouTube here, and my wife MEMORIZED all those words! Yeah, we listened to the song about 300 times - literally! I think the crowd really loved it.

Rob Wegner did a fantastic job using "the brain" of Mark Beeson to teach us many great, practical points on parenting. Quantity time/quality time go hand in hand, etc.

Stage Props
put together by our own Mike Schaeffer and team
Everything from a Jacob's ladder and dry ice, to massive beakers with anti-freeze, we had a primo mad scientist's lab. Great work Mike and team!

Mad Scientist produced by Jeff Petersen
A great green screen laboratory set up with Rob shouting "It's ALIVE! It's ALIVE!" When Jeff wants to make something look convincing, man, can he do it. It looked REAL!

The Brain/Beeson Kids produced by Albert Martin
A floating Mark Beeson head gave us words of wisdom with some fun interactive effects that Rob acted out on stage. This was a great "sticky point" that Rob talks about a lot. Things that people remember. Then the interviews with the Beeson children about how they were parented. Great kids who speak very well. Mark and Sheila have done a great job with these three.

Song Special
Watching You by Rodney Atkins
Performed by uh... Me :)
The great thing about this song was that I got to wear a cowboy hat! Okay, more than that I had the chance to sing great harmonies with my wife and Faith Stevens. Plus, the fact that I got to sing the words, happy meal, buckaroo, scoobydoo, and camo pants in one song! That's country for you. Great story song, I must say.

Looking forward to our next series - Let it Be...Christmas!

Thursday, November 15, 2007

In Your Anger...

So my youngest daughter, Sophie, has a few issues with her temper and anger. She can really get frustrated by her sister, or me, or her missing toy. Since we know that this is true, we have been talking to her about it. It has the possibility of being something that she'll deal with all her life. So, we have been teaching her about how to handle her anger. We've talked about the verse from Ephesisians 4, "Be angry without sinning. Don't go to bed angry."

So Sophie, has found a way to deal with her anger in a healthy way on her own - she draws! When she gets mad, she'll head up to her room and make pictures of people crying, and write out her anger in words. When she got the consequence (from me) that she would have to go to bed early, SHE GOT TICKED! Yeah, the tantrum thing. When it came time for bed I found this note hanging outside her door:

She had put herself to bed. Okay, she got the first part of the verse right - don't sin. But she fell asleep on the don't go to bed angry part. Hey, we're all in process though! :)

Sunday, November 11, 2007

We're Lookin' to Move!!!

Hey everyone!

We are looking to MOVE. (Don't worry, it's still in the area!) We have a few houses in mind. We're open to just about any time frame. We thought we'd ask all of our friends to see if anyone might be interested in buying our house. Also, if you could pray for us that God would place us in the perfect place at the perfect time at the perfect price. We're really seeking God's will here, which is why we're not waiting until the end of the year.

We live at 18333 Westover Drive, South Bend, IN 46637. We're located near the intersection of Cleveland and Ironwood. We're 8 minutes away from Granger Community Church, 6 minutes to the Mall, and 10 minutes to downtown South Bend.

So here is a video and some photos of our house:

Here is a map of the house.

View Larger Map

And HERE is the spec sheet. NOTE TO AVOID POP UPS, LOOK FOR THE "Save file to your PC: click here" AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE.

Please forward this to anyone you think might be interested.


Thanks so much everyone for your help and prayers.

Wisdom from Mark Twain

Heard a great quote from Mark Twain today:

"Dance like nobody's watching; love like you've never been hurt. Sing like nobody's listening; live like it's heaven on earth."

I'm a fan of living like heaven is in the continual process of coming to earth as we reshape the world into what God had intended.

Lots of wisdom in them words there is I reckon... :)

Friday, November 09, 2007

Beauty and Brains

Here's a pic of my girl, Anna.

Now, I'm biased, but I think she's BEAUTIFUL.

Here's another pic of my girl, Anna.

Now, I am also biased on this, but I think she's SMART. This time, I have evidence to back me up. She made HIGH HONOR ROLL at her school this quarter! All A's! One of only a dozen kids in her entire school. I'm a proud papa!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Just Sayin'...

Just sayin' that I had an awesome date night with my hot wife last night!

Ahi Tuna appetizer at Bonefish Grille - $8.90
Pan Asian Swordfish at Bonfish Grille - $16.90
Tickets for Across the Universe at Cinemark 14 - $14.00

Getting a chance to be with the perfect woman for me - PRICELESS!!!

Weekend Recap Nov. 3-4

Series: The Thing from Another Planet
Message: The Leeches that Wouldn't Let Go
Speaker: Mark Beeson
Worship Leader: Dan Vukmirovich


The Simpsons Theme by Green Day
We pulled this one out again, though we used it back when the movie came out. The tie of parenting and Simpsons seemed tight. Also, the idea of getting more mileage than one weekend out of a song is a good thing.

Worship Songs:

Mighty to Save by Hillsong (Ben Fielding/Reuben Morgan)
Running with Your Heart (Charlie hall)
We did a medley of these two songs using a track to flow from one to the next. This particular medley was a little different in that Mighty to Save is within a few clicks of being half as fast as running with your heart. So we went from a slow song and then basically double-timed it to keep energy flowing. This seemed to work. However, I realize that our crowd is used to more upbeat songs that are clap-able. These two were not, so I think the crowds energy lacked a bit.


The Daughter of Frankenstein - an original drama written by our own Kristin Baker. Very fun idea of what it would be like if Frankenstein and his bride had a "normal" daughter. Brought out some good issues of picking your friends wisely.

Song Special:
True Friends by Shannon Curfman
This was a fun, kinda Bonnie Raitt style song. It's actually pretty old - 1999 release date. Dustin Maust, my brother in programming, and I were having a impossible time of finding a song about friends that wasn't "And a friend's a friend forever..." or "You've got a friend in me...". So through a long chain of events, including a look at Hannah Montana songs (yes, you read that right - she has a song called True Friend). Kim Stewart really was in her sweet spot this weekend. Great energy and attitude.

Most memorable moment, that will stick in most people's memory for a long while was Mark Beeson putting two leeches on his arm each service. Yeah, the blood was flowing. Not for the faint of heart! Great message all in all about helping our kids choose their friends carefully. More influence as they are young.

Song Special:

There Goes My Life by Kenny Chesney
Yeah, we went country. The highlights of this were Tim Prugh singing also in his sweet spot, country. And Chuck Smith playing pedal steel which cranks the authenticity factor up about 10 notches.

Find songs that fit your people's sweet spots. No one can sing everything well. The days of having people sing any old "special music" are over, but the idea back then was that the singer would find something they could sing and do it well. Now, we sometimes find the perfect song for the message and can forget about the messenger who has to deliver it. They need to be able to communicate the song authentically. This sets our people up for success which is what we all want.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Counting the "Yes" votes (or count your chicken eaters)

On Wednesday, during our all-staff S.W.A.T (Staff Working Together As a Team - I know that's SWAAT, but work with us!), our senior pastor, Mark Beeson shared with us the concept of "Counting the YES votes".

Too often we can hear the squeaky wheels in our ministries that somehow always seem to know when we've made a mistake. They like to point these things out, ya know - just to help! :) We certainly need to listen to them for that 10% of truth that anyone can give us in terms of feedback. However, if we let them sap our energy and take our focus away from the people who are saying "YES! We love what's happening here. What more can I do?", this is not a win for the Kingdom. Especially with new people coming into our ministry via our Volunteer Expo (check out Mark Waltz's awesome post on this) we need to focus on keeping the ship sailing for those who are truly "on board".

Mark, used the idea that Chick-Fil-A can either focus on the tons of people that are coming into it's restaurant and drive through each day (the chicken eaters), or they can stand on side of the road and lament that so many people are passing by. He also pointed out that if no one's buying chicken, then you probably need to look at yourself and see what's happening.

I had a good reminder of this in an assembly that I led for 4-6th grades at North Liberty Elementary. We sang songs, danced, and learned about music. Much fun. However, there were a few kids who looked at me and with their looks they basically said "DARE US TO HAVE FUN!!!" I could have paid attention to them, and tried to get them going, but then that would have cheated the other 99% of kids in the assembly out of my full attention.

Good reminder! Thanks, Mark. No kissing up here, but I LOVE OUR SENIOR PASTOR! He rocks - for an older guy :)!

No Blogging = Crazy Life

Literally, every time I sat down with one blog thought in my head last week, I had to do something else! Yeah, yeah, I know that we prioritize what's important. So here's life in a nutshell last week.

- finish off Men's Retreat
- help program our Christmas series - a lot of meetings!
- squeeze in Halloween stuff
- do 2 assemblies for North Liberty Elementary School - Thursday AM
- install a new vanity, sink top, and faucet in our bathroom remodeling project
- rehearse and get ready for this weekend's music
- sleepovers last night with our friends the Wegners

Yes. I had some things that took priority over the blog. So, I'm back. Just letting y'all know.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Rise Up, O Men of God!

Excited about Men's Retreat coming up this weekend. Still remember last year's Men's Event which was a great time of "iron sharpening iron". This was last year's band (I miss Alex Collins!)

It looks like a great event. Got a great band to play with. Looking forward to what God has in store for us. Mark Beeson and Dr. Bob Laurent will speak to us which should be awesome. Something amazing happens when guys get alone like this - the prophetic voice of God seems to come out in the teachers we have.

Have you ever experienced a Holy Spirit moment when you are planning or doing something and then someone else you are working with ends up thinking the same thing without you talking to them? As planners of services, we find this happens often, which is a good thing (I guess we must be listening to God's Spirit which is good for people who are leading a church!). I will let you know more about this after the retreat since I don't want to spoil the moment for anyone going. More to come soon.

Note to anyone willing:
PRAY FOR US that God is able to work in and through us in powerful ways in the wake of this event. That it wouldn't just be another "thing" to do, but a raising of the bar in our commitment to Christ and the redemption of this world. That would be my prayer.

Great words we will sing:

Rise up, O men of God!
Have done with lesser things.
Give heart and mind and soul and strength
To serve the King of kings.

Rise up, O men of God!
The kingdom tarries long.
Bring in the day of brotherhood
And end the night of wrong.

Rise up, O men of God!
The church for you doth wait,
Her strength unequal to her task;
Rise up and make her great!

Lift high the cross of Christ!
Tread where His feet have trod.
As brothers of the Son of Man,
Rise up, O men of God!

Amen, my brothers, amen.

Getting Ready for Halloween!

(scary voice) Whoo Haa Haa Haa!!!!

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Moving Beyond Words

My brother, Jason Miller, shared this one with me. It's the opening of Hillsong's Conference for 2007. Watch the whole thing. It's amazing. GREAT ART in the church. What we should be striving for at every opportunity! This transcends style. It is BEAUTY. How inspiring! Bonus that Chris Tomlin sings at the end.

Ducks, Joe Theisman and Me

So I have this tradition of running on gamedays (especially home games) at the Notre Dame campus. This Saturday was no different. Lots of people in from USC (getting ready to jeer at us a few hours later). I'm running around the main quad with lots of different dorms/campus organizations selling hot dogs, brats, pop, etc.

I look over my shoulder as I come to a sidewalk crossing and I see a group of well dressed, slightly older looking ready to cross my path. They politely let me pass. As I passed, a guy from the middle jokingly yells out, "Sorry! Duck crossing!" I awkwardly yell back, "Uh, yeah!"

As I looked back, I realize who it was that yelled. It was Hall of Famer, former Notre Dame QB, former Washington Redskins QB - JOE THEISMAN!

Very cool moment (except for the "uh, yeah!" comment). It's then that I realized how that encounter made me feel about Joe Theisman. I felt like Joe was literally an "average Joe" (pun intended) and down to earth. It was great. He could have said nothing, or let one of his entourage say something, but HE chose to engage.

The challenge to us, particularly those who perform on stage, is to combat attitudes that we are "snobbish" or "all that, and a bag of Fritos". Silence can often be seen as being "stuck up". We may need to go out of our way to engage people in order for them to see us as truly human (which we are). Thanks Joe for the reminder!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Deadly Viper

Currently reading Deadly Viper from Mark Foster and Jud Wilhite. It covers serious character assassins which can derail us. The layout is very fun, in a Kung-Fu style.

Quote from Rabbi David Wolpe on character being both personal and communal:

"If you have deep relationships it shifts the center of your gravity from work to relationship. It lets you know what ultimately matters. Tomorrow, if you were fired from your job, work would be gone in an instant, but the relationships endure. That is what is lasting."

The question to myself/our team is "are we creating that kind of environment?" I'm not saying we need to kum-ba-yah together and never get anything done, but are my interactions with volunteers and other staffers based on genuine care for the person first? I think that is the heart of Jesus. He did commission the disciples to do work, but first he poured into their lives. I believe this is the essence of discipleship.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Van Halen-icious!

Oh baby! Van Halen with David Lee Roth after 22 years! It was awesome!

My ears are still ringing and I had ear plugs in!!! It was freakin LOUD!!!

I went with my brothas Corey Mann and J Aquila. Much fun.

A little dinner at PF Chang's - yes, the search for Chinese food perfection continues. Their Mongolian Beef was good, but I'd put Mandarin House up against it for half the price. Love the atmosphere though.

Awesome set list from the boys. Wolfgang Van Halen, Eddie's 16 year old son, really did a great job with the bass parts and a mondo amount of BGVs that Michael Anthony used to supply.

They used an "S" shaped stage that ran from the top (near the massive video screen) into the audience. Cool old-school lasers that lit up the room. Confetti and discoball at the end.

Set highlights:
Started with You Really Got Me
Beautiful Girls
So This is Love
Running with the Devil - awesome
Dance the Night Away
UNCHAINED! Yes, amazing!
Everybody Wants Some
Hot for Teacher
Finished with Jump

We commented on how we felt that David Lee was a bit "on a leash" put on by the VH brothers. Not nearly as commanding of the stage as we have seen in the past. Though it felt more like a group.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

A Burning Bush Moment

I had been praying about the idea of having a mentor come into my life. I even told a friend about this who has been praying for me. And so a couple of days later, I'm walking past our bookstore past the doorway and BAM! - something (someone - the Holy Spirit, I think) told me to turn and look. There in the new releases section I saw
The Divine Mentor by Wayne Cordeiro from New Hope Christian Fellowship in Oahu, Hawaii. So I bought it for myself and my friend Gene. Having read it. My recommendation: GET THIS BOOK! Simple. Straight forward.

Especially if you need to get back into the Bible, or you've never really gotten into the word regularly, this book can help. Or if your church is looking for ways to help people become self-feeders rather than being fully dependent on others for their spiritual growth, you should check this out.

Wayne uses a Bible study technique called S.O.A.P.

S - Scripture
O - Observation
A - Application
P - Prayer

With a Bible, a journal, a pen, and a Bible reading plan, you can be mentored by the people in the Bible and learn from their victories and defeats. The cool thing about the system is that you can do it with others and then discuss what you learn. It really can make a difference in spiritual development. I'm seeing it work already after only having used this technique a few weeks. Let me know what you think.

Saturday, October 06, 2007


The past few weeks have been a Culps-a-thon! Because of 2 performances we have been working like crazy lately on Culps stuff. Each night one of us would ask, "Honey, what do you want to do?" and one of us would reply, "We should practice the Culps."

First, We performed the Culps for our Innovate conference last week with a lot of new material that we haven't done before. It seemed to go very well. When we came out to perform, there were already shouts and applause. We got done and felt like we really nailed it.

Then, last night we had a special performance of the Culps for a group of AFLAC employees at Swan Lake Resort in Plymouth. Quite a different crowd. Their reaction was such that as soon as we got done with this one Lisa said to me, "I think I'm going to kill myself!" Yikes!
Learnings from last night:
1. These people had no reference for us - relationship can make the difference in
2. Our sound system stinks!!! - It distorted throughout - Good sound matters!
3. We had no lighting - people couldn't see us - so much of our communication is
visual. Good lighting also matters!
4. Don't do a comedy sketch during dinner when everyone is eating.
5. People did laugh, and the host was pleased - so all in all it worked out okay.
It was just the contrast between Innovate and AFLAC that was hard.

Our friend, Cher Goggins of MerryMe Productions who does weddings and events hooked us up with this gig. We were really impressed by her ability to pull off a cool 70's party feel. If you're doing an event, you should get a quote from her. Amazing.

Video from New Community Last Week

You have to check out this video if you weren't at our Midweek service last week (during Innovate). Dr. Bob showed this amazing video of what a church "family" looks like. (note: Church = water buffalo) It's a little long, but so worth it.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Falling Slowly

This is a song my wife found. If you've ever been in a store or a restaurant where you get separated from your spouse and then you kinda check out someone who walks by think "WOW!" and quickly realize that the person you were checking out is actually your spouse! That's what the song is about. Beautiful. Reminds me of Cat Stevens vocals.

Glen Hansard & Marketa Irglova also star in "Once", a film directed by John Carney which won the World Cinema Audience Award for Dramatic Film at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival.

I'd like to see this if I can get a hold of it.


Favorite Chinese?

Alright. I've discussed favorite Chinese places before, but mostly on the buffet side. We've have settled on our top Chinese place in Michiana - Mandarin House on Edision and Ironwood. Our favorites are the lunch menu portions of Mongolian Beef (Dan) and Happy Family (Lisa). The sauce on the Mongolian rocks!

Can anybody top the taste of Mandarin House? If you know of a place, you gotta let me know!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Weekend Recap Sept. 29-30

An AMAZING weekend, considering that we just held our Innovate conference!

Series: Heroes
Message: The Hero Within
Speaker: Rob Wegner
Worship Leader: Dan Vukmirovich

View service HERE

Arts Elements:
Prelude: "Ordinary" by Train
We used this older song from the Spiderman 2 soundtrack because it is really in your face powerful. Great power chords with heavy guitars. Switching back and forth from keyboard to electric is a little awkward, but better than having a lead instrument play from track.

Worship Songs:
Let God Arise - Chris Tomlin
I love this song! I've said it before, but I think our people need to hear this truth: "Our God is the God who saves!" Seeker and believer alike, we need to be reminded of this. I think singing it really internalizes it.
All to You - Lincoln Brewster
The slight shuffle beat that this has to it makes it fun to groove on. Our rhythm section, Justin Krause and Tom Polaski seem to have a lot of fun with this song.

Media: The Hero Within
A great script that our own Kristin Baker wrote. It features a lot of cool visual effects that Jeff Petersen and his team pulled off. (I might mention that my family, Lisa, Anna, and I are all in the voiceover part - see if you figure out who is who.) This was supposed to be the start of a 4 part media, which unfortunately got too big for us with time constraints. Would have been fun! Rats!

Special Song: My Hero - Foo Fighters
J Aquila is such a great asset to our team. I love his energy and better yet, I love his heart. He is a humble guy who really wants to use his gifts for God. This song was so full of energy coming out of the media. Big, gnarly guitars, baby!

Media: Baptism 2007
This was produced by Kim Volheim, our perennial baptism media maker. Yeah, he's won awards! The Robbie Seay song has the line, "you have saved us" which repeats. So great to see so many faces. I particularly liked the way Kim told a few mini-stories within the media by showing several pics from a given baptism. Very cool.

Again, I'm very proud of our team who continues to dig deep to make a great impact for Christ!

Innovate Thoughts - a few days later

(pic from Heredes Ribiero, my Miami brother from Flamingo Road Church)

Whew! What a run it has been! What a great team we have!

Major props to all of our artists who knocked it out of the park this week! I am so proud to be part of this awesome team. Especially our tech guys, Adam Callender and Mike Sill who put it so much time to get things to run smoothly. And our media men, Jeff Petersen, Ben Sanders, and Albert Martin. All awesome!

Quick thoughts:
1. Guy Kawasaki challenged us to "make meaning" not "make money". Jason Miller and I agreed that in the church context it might mean to "make meaning not make attendance". I think back to the Suburban Legends series which wasn't necessarily a high marketing series, but attendance increased as Rob's messages hit home with meaning for people's lives.

2. Troy Grambling reminded me of two easy words that can be hard to live by "BE YOURSELF!" It's easy to look to another model of a person to be or a mentor, but ultimately God wants the best YOU and the best ME that we can be!

3. Hanging out with my buddy Heredes was as good as going to any session. Just hearing what God is doing in another location, especially with satellite churches like Flamingo Road Church, that is time well spent. Plus, Starbucks Pumpkin Spice lattes are pretty much heaven on earth...

4. Scott Hodge taught me that like-ability is key to get people to listen to your message. Scott has that sort of Donald Miller factor which makes him real and likeable.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Two Days and Counting

Just TWO DAYS until INNOVATE07!!!

In case you haven't seen it, or might still want to come, heck out the trailer here

As I've looked at everything from the packaging, to the programming, to the EXTRAS :-), I'm thinking that this is going to be the best conference we've ever put on. We're expecting around 1,000 people. If we do break the thousand mark, it'll be our first time. We are praying for all that God has in store for us and the attendees. I'm hopeful for a great time of learning and inspiration. Also great to hook up with some good friends again.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Weekend Recap

Series: Stand Alone Message
Topic: Let's Talk About Love
Speaker: Dr. Bob Laurent
Worship Leader: Trace Rorie

Check out the service HERE

The weekend was a "stand-alone" for us, a thing we haven't been doing lately. We used to do a lot more of 1 or 2 weeks in between series when we built more hard sets. When we did take the break, we used to see a reduction in momentum. A break is alway nice, though.

Who Do You Think I Was? - John Mayer - oh baby, this one gives Dave Taylor, one of our guitarists, a chance to explode! Very high energy. I'm glad Trace picks this prelude every so often.

Worship Songs:
God is Great - Reuben Morgan - A high energy starting song. It always seems to encourage clapping, adding to the energy. I love the way our drummer, Jeff Myers, plays this one.
Everlasting God - Lincoln Brewster version - A pretty straight forward version of this. Trace and I have spoken how we'd like to get a track going on this one that Lincoln uses.

A great reminder of "love busters" and "love builders". Dr. Bob's strength is always authenticity. His final story about forgiveness with his mother brought many tears to audience members (including me!)

Why Women Don't Marry? from Eagle Brook Church. Perfect illustration for Dr. Bob's point on getting too comfortable with your mate.

Special Song:
Always Love by Nada Surf - What a perfect set of lyrics to close out this service. A difficult song that Trace did a great job with.

I'm proud of our team. Even on an "off" week (not in a series), we still kept the excellence factor high. I'm looking forward to our Heroes series starting next week.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Creative Storytelling in Pix

Found this from the Collide Magazine site. Lovin' the Sigur Ros as well. Check it out.

Wisdom from Tim Stevens

Tim Stevens, is not only Granger's Executive Pastor and an accomplished author, he's now, a magazine columnist. Collide is a promising new magazine which will feature columns from Tim on the use of Pop Culture in Church, a passion of his.

Great quote from the debut issue:

"In recent years there have been a number of book that have been written to discuss the merging of faith and culture. It has been encouraging to see a segment of the Church wake up to the potential of leveraging the culture to reach our friends...

But these authors almost solely focus on our personal faith. Any metion of the local church is negative or absent. It's almost as if the authors are all saying that the Church is irrelevant. It's not even part of the conversation. If you want to have spiritual conversation with a friend, the Church will only get in the way...

I understand that, I do. I've seen more impotent churches than effective ones... but I've also seen churches that get it.

This is going to be Tim's focus for the column. Finding churches that "get it" and highlighting what they're doing. I'm looking forward to seeing what Tim finds.

Way to go, brother.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Across the Universe

Oh my! My wife told me about this one. If you are at all a Beatles fan, and if you like movies like Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and Moulin Rouge, you are gonna have to see this! Across the Universe looks amazing. Out Sept. 21st.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Get in "Sync" with new Ford Vehicles

Ford and Microsoft have gotten together to develop a pretty cool thing to help alleviate all the people of the world getting accidents while fiddling with their iPods or cellphones.

It's called SYNC. Hopefully, a wave of the future that people will actually use.

It seems to be getting some awards from CES and Popular Mechanics. 12 2008 models will have it standard, with all models in 2009.

Midweek Service Recap

Last night was a challenging night. We're still in the BIGGER THAN series for the New Community. Rob Wegner, my good friend, challenged us with a strong message based out of Psalm 72 about care for the "alien, the fatherless, and the widow."

Our setlist:

God of Justice - by Tim Hughes
I love this song. I love its lyrics. I love the melody. I love everything about it, except I don't love how I play it. I think this showed a bit last night. A little bumpy start musically, but I think God was still honored. (That is the goal right?)

Lay it Down - by Dave Lubben
Simple song with a simple message. I find it interesting that in the chorus "I surrender it all to You" is sung intwo different ways for the word "all". I think the song works well though. During this we vamped (hung out) on a chord for a while for a chance for our crowd to reflect on what their part might be in engaging the cause for "the alien, the fatherless, and the widow." I'm getting more comfortable doing this. I love for our people to have a chance to break away from the group and hear from God one on one for a moment. Jason Miller, my worship leader brother, is really good at this.

You are the Light - by Steve Fee
We did a direct transition into this from Lay it Down which I think was effective. Both songs are in G and in 6/8 time which worked well. Plus the lyrical content really helped us focus on the topic with words like "the hopeless, the broken, the poor, they will be hopeless and broken no more." Great melody. So singable.

Running with Your Heart - by Charlie Hall
This song has that 80's new wave (remember that term) feel. It has abrupt changes which can discourage clapping, but it's message is so strong with possibly some of the strongest commitment lyrics of the night "we wanna feel what You feel, love what You love, go where You go, that's what we want." Our team did a good job with it considering that our drummer Dustin Brown hadn't heard the song until 5:45pm that evening.

Offering - My Glorious - by Delirious
A pretty standard version of this. More of the Passion version that Chris Tomlin did than what Delirious does.

Just want to say that I love having a keyboard on when I'm leading from acoustic. It gives me so much more room to not have to play every minute to fill in sound. Leah, you rock.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Baptism at the Cove

What an awesome move of God yesterday! We had an incredible time with around 400 people getting baptized.

Highlights for me:
1. Herman - the first guy to get baptized at a young 90+ years of age. He's the
guy I wrote about in the Doors posting.
We thought his name was Homer back then, DOH! :)

2. A mother/daughter pair where I could just really sense the Holy Spirit's
presence as he helped these two confirm in their hearts that this following
Jesus thing is for real.

3. A young boy, Jordan, who is 8, giving his WHOLE life to Christ. I can only
look back and see how I squandered my first 22 years living for myself. This
boy has the rest and best of his life to give. Awesome.

4. What a great privilege to be part of this church. God seems to have His
hand on us. I pray that we are a faithful people. Faithful to the
responsibility with which He has entrusted us.

News story from the South Bend Tribune HERE.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

The Divine Mentor

Reading a new book, The Divine Mentor, by Wayne Cordeiro. I learning some great things.

1. God's word contains "mentors" in the different characters (Moses, Joseph, Paul, Peter, David, Samson).

2. There are 2 primary teachers: wisdom and consequences. The cost of getting wisdom is an upfront cost. Seeking it takes time. The cost of consequences is delayed, but often much more painful. We learn, but it can really stink.

3. There are 2 primary kinds of pain: discipline and regret. Very much similar to the the teachers above.

Looking forward to digging into God's Word through some of ideas that Wayne presents in this book. So far, I would highly recommend this read.

Once in a Lifetime

Did anyone realize today that we passed a "time milestone"? Only once in our lives will we see the following date/time sequence:

9/8/07 6:54:32.1

What were you doing at that very moment?

I marked this moment at Sam's Club, eating pizza with my family. It was quite a celebration.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Wisdom to Worship Leaders

My brother Corey Mann hooked me up with this post from Perry Noble on worship leaders. I've been watching Lee McDerment on NewSpring's site as well as reading his blog. Good insights.

Check it out "Eight Things I Wish Every Worship Leader Would Know" here.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Weekend Recap

Speaker: Mark Waltz, Pastor of Connections

Series: The Office

Message: Balance: Myth or Reality?

Attendance: 4522
For a Labor Day weekend, we seemed to have pretty good attendance for this third installment of "The Office" series.

Prelude: We started completely RANDOM by doing Green Day's version of The Simpsons Theme that they performed for the movie. Very fun.

I picked two songs around the TRUST theme. As we deal with overload, we need to realize that our God is trustworthy to help us amp down our lives without everything falling apart.
Awesome is the Lord Most High by Chris Tomlin - we sing this in G instead of Chris' original A.
Let the Praises Ring by Lincoln Brewster - we've done this song for a while but this was the first time with the fun Irish jig-like solo that our guitarist, Dave Taylor (aka "Mr. Chops") completely rocked out.

The Brotherhood - a drama by Willowcreek that we've done before. It got a lot of good laughs but yet pointed out such great extremes that it allows people to see the truth of when we live out of bounds in our work life.

Song Special
9 to 5 by Dolly Parton - yeah, you read that right! We added my wife Lisa to the end of the drama as a secretary to make smooth segue between the drama and the song. BGVs by Laura Waltz (Mark's wife) and Courtney Helman added nice energy. If you listen online, you can't hear my piano (sorry about that), but an odd thing happened on our 7:30pm service where my keyboard somehow transposed itself a half step down. I was play F's while the rest of the band was playing F#'s. NOT GOOD in music! Luckily, both Dave and Brian Warrell (our bassist) adjusted by playing a key down ON THE SPOT! Nice work gents!!!

Mark challenged us to rethink balance and the fact that it's not possible. It's what you value that has to find its way into your calendar.

Great quote: "There is more to life than increasing its speed." - Mahatma Ghandi

Also, great action points of fill in the blanks about putting our values into action.

Song Special
In the Middle of Me - by Todd Agnew
I tried out the grunge on my voice. Not so good feeling, but I think it came off pretty well. Luckily it wasn't too high! Fun, groovin' way to end the service. Nice job everyone. You all are amazing to serve beside!

Monday, September 03, 2007

A Blast (of hair) from the past

Okay, I found my old passport. Most people around me have never seen me with hair. Yes, I actually had some once. This is my wife's favorite picture of me. What do you think?

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Friday, August 31, 2007

Okay, I skipped our Midweek Service...

Yeah, our family decided to take a little break from church.

Instead we went and saw the Notre Dame Marching Band do it's final rehearsal before the big opening game this Saturday. Our friends, the Collins family have done this for a while and we went along. The kids were so excited, they got dressed up in Notre Dame gear. It was fun to hear the announcements ahead of time (they record them to keep timing consistent).

The band sounded great. Highlight: a cool arrangement of "Swingtown" by The Steve Miller Band (included a band dance break in the middle where everyone puts down their instruments.) A fun, FREE time with our family.

Listen to the fight song!!!

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Fabulous Fernwood

This past weekend, my friend Gene and I took our kids (his grandkid) to Fernwood Botanical Garden & Nature Preserve just over the border in Niles, MI. I hadn't done the nature walk thing with my kids EVER, sad to say. I think it was a big hit with the kids. Mom, got a break at home, and when they came back, it was like "O Mom, you've gotta see the waterfalls!" and "The mushrooms were cool!"

I captured this short video of the waterwheel which would be best if looped over and over. I think I could fall asleep just listening! I love the sound of running water. Anyone else?

A few other shots that were really fun.

Highly recommend this place to take your kids. No major bells or whistles, just a great day of being in God's creation!

My First Wedding

Okay, I'm already married. And I have done music at about 50 weddings in my life (along with my wife, Lisa). But this weekend was a first for me. I officiated my first wedding this weekend - Mr. and Mrs. Nate and Annie Sagarsee. You may know Kyle (Nate's older brother) and Jeanette Sagarsee.

It was a little nerve wracking being on the other side of the couple. Normally, I'm off in a corner playing piano or singing (stuff in my comfort zone). Now, I had to step out there and talk. I think it turned out well. And yes, I mailed in the license.

My advice to the couple was to begin with the end in mind (a la Stephen Covey). I had Nate and Annie set some goals for 20 years out. I'm hoping that they stick to these and work hard at keeping their marriage alive and well.

Best wishes to the couple!!!

Did Anyone Know that Rob Wegner is an Acclaimed Author?

A little known fact that our own Rob Wegner, is an acclaimed expert on famous Deerslayers of the past.

Check it out here.

Okay, maybe it COULD be a different Rob. But I think our Rob has the skills...

Weekend Recap

Our second week in "The Office" series.

Speaker: Rob Wegner

Topic: Whatever it Takes - Integrity in the Workplace
Attendance: 5,669

Encouraging to see growth from last week's attendance. Hoping to build momentum through this series.

We've had quite a few hits on the site. Some moving stories as well.

The Arts:

Prelude: Typical by Mutemath - one of my new all time favorite guitar riffs at the beginning of this song. Incredible that they were here at GCC about a year and a half ago. Amazing band.

Let God Arise by Chris Tomlin
Salvation is Here by Hillsong United
Both pretty straight from the record arrangements. However, we shorten the Salvation is Here by cutting some of the bridge out. A great energy set of two songs that Trace chose.

How to Be Lazy at the Office and Still Get Paid
This media was meant to show how we can not steward our time well at work. I love the creative treatment that Albert Martin (our young media man) did on the visual effects throughout. One thing I think we learned from this media was to make sure to do voiceovers prior and then shoot to that, rather than the other way around. Makes comic timing quite a bit easier.

Rob reminded us of having integrity under pressure using the Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego form Daniel. A great re-telling of the story that brought it back to life for me. A few quotables:
- "Who do I trust more, and earthly king or my heavenly King?"
- "The question is what kind of world do you want to live in?"
Prayer - "God give us the wisdom to know what's right and give us the courage to do what's right no matter how hard it is."
Take away for me - My integrity is my witness.

Song Special

Be the One by Jeremy Camp
We keyed up this song from E to A for Angie Henry to sing. A good message to end the service with.

Nice job everyone! Looking forward to this coming weekend.

Monday, August 27, 2007

The Gift of Presence

Alright, I just got past my birthday and I did get a few sweet "presents", like some new kicks - Bullboxers. I likey.

And a new drum plug in for audio recording. EZ Drummer from Toontrack. Wicked awesome, realistic drum sounds for cheap!!!

I really likey!

But for all of that, I've learned something new this past few weeks.

The Gift of Presence.

Have you ever been in a situation where you were talking with someone, and you knew that they were there physically, but not tracking with you mentally? We've all been on both sides of this. I, too often, have been the one not, literally, PRESENT. I think that this is one of the greatest gifts that you can give someone. In a world of quick sound bytes, newsflashes, and IMs, it's really refreshing to have someone's undivided attention.

My challenge is to give this gift as often as I can. I think that's how Jesus was. When he was with someone, he was WITH SOMEONE. We catch glimpses of this every so often with people around us, and it is magical. Especially as a husband and dad, I want to give this gift to my family. So, I'll stop blogging now, and go give them my presence. Peace.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

80's Rockin the Volunteers

Check out this awesome volunteer appreciation media from River Valley Church in Minnesota. It ROCKS FOREVER!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Midweek Service

Thursday night was a special night. Lisa and I had the chance to lead worship for the first time since we've been at GCC. It was a great night with my brother, Jason Miller speaking. We launched our new "Bigger Than" series.

Set list:

O For a Thousand Tongues - the version we do has an added refrain (by Matt Adams) with the text "all glory to You, forever, and ever, and ever."
Speak to Me by Dave Luebben - Just an amazing moment to hear my wife sing the words "if there's anything in my life that doesn't honor You tonight, I'm listening Lord, speak to me." Holy moment for me.

Then Jason used a story of former Notre Dame soccer star Greg Dalby to launch us into a message on Psalm 71. You could feel the pain that Greg is going through and really sense a friend, Jason, who empathizes with him.

When the Tears Fall - a new one for us, by Tim Hughes. "When the tears fall, still I will sing to You." Amazing text. My hope was that it provided a time of healing for people to know that they are not alone in their pain. God and our community included.

We then did a medley of Blessed Be the Name/You Never Let Go, both by Matt Redman. I thought that this would work well since they are both in the same key of B and they're content is similar. What I didn't anticpate is that I did the faster one first. Not the best transition. In retrospect I would have switched them. Not too bad but could have been better.

Spoken transition here (I'm really working on getting better at these). The idea that God is not finished with us. He may be, as Jason said, "doing something in us so that he can do something through us."

You are the Light by Steve Fee - a song we introduced last week seemed to work really well again. I'm thankful that Steve finally got signed by INO records. Should expect some great things there.

We finished the night upbeat with Lincoln Brewster's Let the Praises Ring. It was only me on acoustic, but it gave the people a chance to clap and celebrate considering most of the night was on the reflective side.

All in all, it felt like a good night. I'm so thankful that we've been here now 4 years!!! I love this church!

Thursday, August 23, 2007

A friend of mine, Heredes Ribiero, is a worship leader at Flamingo Road Church down in the land of Miami, FL where pastors go when they are ready to retire. Okay, he's in his twenties, so maybe he's just a bit wimpy when it comes to cold weather. Either way, he's my brother in Christ. They're launching a new series down at Flamingo called where they'll be following around their lead pastor Troy Gramling 24 hours a day for a month. Reality TV baby! on the net. Live streams. Troy is going to join us this year for Innovate 07 which is exciting. The series launches on 9/9 at 9am, which means that while Troy is at Granger, he'll be webcasting. Very cool. Looking forward to seeing how God uses that series. Also looking forward to hanging with Heredes, Allen DiStefano, and crew.


Here's an amazing quote from Philip Yancey from "What's So Amazing About Grace":

"Grace means there is nothing we can do to make God love us more - no amount of spiritual calisthenics and renunciations, no amount of knowledge gained from seminaries and divinity schools, no amount of crusading on behalf of righteous causes. And grace means there iss nothing we can do to make God love us less - no amount of racism or pride or pornography or adultery or even murder. Grace means that God already loves us as much as an infinite God can possibly love."

Letting that line sink in - "there is nothing we can do to make God love us more."

Nothing I can do to make God love me more.

Nothing I can do.


I feel a time of meditation coming on. :)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Drip, Drip, Drop

Our good friends from Grand Rapids, the Oldenbergs visited us today, with a new package in tow - their sixth child, Phoebe. Yeah, you read that right, SIXTH! Amazing! We had a great time. The kids had a chance to play "drip, drip, drop" which is basically duck, duck, goose but with water. Thanks Camp Lakewood for that idea - Jen Winkelman, it's all your fault!!! Yeah, the kids got wet.

On another note, Sophie lost her 2nd tooth just after they left. It was just kinda hanging there (gross, I know). Glad it's out! Hopefully, the tooth fairy will make another stop. Check out the note to the fairy. Ah, got to love the deals made even at a young age!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Mr. 37

Yep, today is the day. 37 years old. A card from my daughter, Anna, gave me my new title of "Mr. 37." I'm liking it.

I'm officially getting middle-aged. Kinda like a fine wine, hopefully getting better with age. I feel a heck of a lot younger than I used to. Maybe since I was a high school teacher in my twenties, I was trying to seem older to earn the respect of students. Now that I'm running with a younger bunch, I'm wanting to live as young as possible.

Here's another card from Sophie - check out the "Rolling Stones" T-shirt she drew on me.

Very cool! I love my family!!!

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Weekend Recap

We launched our "Office" series this weekend. We had been using several billboards around town (see Tim Stevens post on this here) to stir up a bit of buzz about this series.

Our arts teams did a great job of pulling everything together.

Prelude - We started with a fun prelude using "The Office" theme music (which was only 30 seconds) but Trace and the team teased it out a bit longer. The first thing which was really cool was that the entire team dressed in black and white office attire which is quite different than our usual casual feel. A fun change.

Worship Songs -
You are Good (Lincoln Brewster version)
All to You (Lincoln Brewster as well)
Yeah, we're fans of the man from CA. Our new guitarist Mark Pitcher, though not tall in stature, served up some big licks to really be a fine addition to the team. Welcome Mark! I really love the way Trace Rorie (my worship leading co-hort) fills in the sound with the Taylor T5 guitar. It hits the multi-function of an electric/acoustic, though I think he mostly used the electric sound.

Special - Takin' Care of Business by Bachman Turner Overdrive
Since it was the title of the week, we couldn't resist. J Aquila really sold the song well. Along with our BGVs,, Laura Waltz, and Kathy Sellers who added a little bit of dance moves - the whole song was a high energy start to the series.

Media - The Office Parody
Here our team wrote an original script which helped get us in the office frame of mind. One of our guitarists, Dave Taylor, made his acting debut as the Dwight character. My boss, Butch Whitmire, does a great job of bringing the goods in the part of Michael. A well produced media with the challenge of competing with the show itself (which we showed a clip from later). I think the team did a great job.

Message - Rob Wegner
A solid message about "doing whatever we do as unto the Lord". Giving God our best. No matter what we actually are doing.

Media - Doors Recap
This was a brilliant media produced by one of our volunteers, Russ Nelson, who used the David Crowder Band song "Oh the Glory of it All". Just seeing the faces on the people who crossed the line of faith. Very powerful and motivating to stay strong doing what God has called us to do - reach the lost!

A great launch to the weekend. Nice work everyone.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

The Nod

I had a cool experience in Sam's Club the other day (yeah, we love their pizza - and the fountain Diet Coke has the best carbonation mix around). I had seen a woman from GCC named Jennifer there before. At that time she mentioned how much she like the church, etc. Now, Jennifer is what I would consider very outgoing on the shyness scale, so I figured, she's connected. All is well.

So, this past Sunday, I was up on stage playing the prelude (where we don't sing) and just strumming along. I saw Jennifer and one of her kids walk in. And seeing her, I just kinda nodded toward her to say "hey". No big deal.

Fast forward to after church, and another trip to Sam's Club for a cool, refreshing fountain Diet Coke as a reward for a hard weekend's work. I see Jennifer in line with her kids. She calls me over, and after complimenting my wife's new haircut, she tells me how much she appreciated "the nod" that I had given her a that morning from the stage.

Now, my usual "store conversations" with people from GCC center around, the quality of the music, or the drama that was great, etc. But Jennifer notices "the nod". She went on to say how much it meant that she was recognized and felt "part" of GCC because of that simple gesture. She hasn't connected yet and would really like to. I gave her a few on-ramp options and hope she'll find a place.

Great reminder for me of two things:
1. People want to belong. As high of quality of production that any church can bring can only last for so long. People want to know and be known.
2. People are watching and how you live matters. As great as my intentions were for delivering a well performed set of songs, Jennifer remembered "the nod". Our ministry goes well beyond what we think in encompasses. Kind of sobering, but also a challenge to live in the moment. More on that soon.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Wisdom from a Friend

My friend, Heather Novak has recently lost a friend named Dave. She sent out this bit of inspiration after he had passed:

Honor Dave and people you have lost in your life by enjoying every minute you have that much grateful, even celebratory about what you have, who you are, and where you are in your lives RIGHT NOW.

And humbly accept the love that comes into your life...let people love you, and don't be afraid to love people back. We can be so afraid of getting hurt we never really unleash ourselves to connect...I am learning this about myself...I cannot be the only one. LIVE. LOVE. Live your love out loud.

There's some good wisdom to be found in that. Something deep about connection. Moving past the fear. Realizing that we all need to jump into that abyss of uncertainly. Letting others know how you feel. Good stuff Heather.

Back to School Fun

Very fun. New teachers. New friends. Very exciting!

AND, Mom's working in the building as well! God is good.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Weekend Arts

We had a blast this weekend!

For prelude, Dustin brought the goods on Daughtry's "Home".

Our two worship songs were:
Mighty to Save (Hillsong) - we keep the energy up throughout on this for our weekend crowd. A bit slower song than we normally do, but it's lyrics trump the tempo. I made a drum track which seems to provide a good groove.
Everlasting God (as perf. by Lincoln Brewster) - pretty straight forward on this one. After having experienced this year's Leadership Summit, the line "You're the defender of the weak" had enhanced meaning.

We did a drama called "The Memory of Water" written by our own Kristin Baker and performed by Lisa Deselm
which made a really touching moment happen.

Finally, Tim Prugh and I got to sing "Baptism" by Kenny Chesney and Randy Travis. Beautiful song with my favorite phrase "down with the old man, up with the new."

Several medias were played promoting baptism at Coveleski Stadium in Sept., but my favorite was "My Cubicle" from Eaglebrook Church in Minnesota. You'll have to click on the link on their site to view. Worth the extra click. Nice work.

Everyone did a great job! Keep it up teams!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Over 600!!!

What an awesome weekend! Over 600 people gave their lives to Christ during the 5 services at GCC. Amazing!

Highlights for me:

1. A 90 year guy, named Homer, missed the message to go up with everyone else and ended up walking through during the last song!
2. Seeing a couple, who are no longer together, both go through the doorway.
3. Watching another couple, breakdown in tears over their decision. I had a chance to meet up with them at Walmart after and they couldn't say enough how much our church has helped their family.

Can't wait to see the highlight video coming soon.

Check out the 10:30am service here until 8/12. Click on the last weekend's service icon.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

231 So Far

As of Saturday night, we have given away 231 Bibles to new believers in Christ! Very exciting. God's Spirit is moving! Updates as we get them.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

This is the Weekend

This weekend we will be asking people to cross the line of faith by walking through a doorway we have set up onstage. Pastor Mark Beeson, has evangelism flowing through his blood. It's at the heart of GCC. He talks about a farming approach to evangelism where we plant seed, water, fertilize, and patiently wait for people to be ready and then we harvest. Rather than asking people to make a decision for Christ every week, we do it only 1-2 times per year. Part of his rationale in this is that most thinking people don't make lifechanging decisions in 20 minutes. I agree.

Lisa (my wife) and I are so grateful to have the chance to serve together on this very special weekend in the life of our church. I remember back to a year or so ago when my daughter Anna, signed the Da Vinci "Last Supper" as a marker for her accepting Christ.

Having something like a doorway to walk through, a bridge to cross, a painting to sign - all these are like the altars that people in the Old Testament made when they met with God. Like the "ebenezer" or memorial stone that Samuel erected after a great victory over the Philistines. So people could, in fact, raise their doorway, or stone, or bridge moment when they sing "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing". Yeah, Ebenezer is a little dated in the common language department.

Seeing How People Date


If you're a married person, could you take a second and respond to the poll in the right column? Just getting some info on how often married people actually keep up in the dating department. 3 days left to submit your vote. Thanks.

When You Do What You're Made to Do

Dr. Bob Laurent, shared this video with us at New Community this past week. Paul Potts, a reserved guy, brings tears through his passion for singing opera. I think we can all relate. When we see people doing what they're made to do, we are moved. The world is a little better. A challenge to us all. Watch.

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Holy Molar!

(Alright, technically it was an incisor. But holy incisor wasn't really working as a title)
Our little girl, Sophie, jumped through a rite of passage yesterday, at Evan Almighty (three thumbs up from Lisa, Anna, and Sophie). Her first tooth - outta there! Luckily she wasn't eating any popcorn when the tooth popped out.

Man, the tooth fairy has upped her prizes. I hear first teeth run $5! Dang. Back when I was a kid...

Monday, July 30, 2007

One Day Workshops

Today is one of our One Day Workshop days at GCC. We're doing a Maximizing the Arts workshop within this. A little lighter turnout than normal with only about 13 people, but still should be fun. My bros, Jason Miller and Trace Rorie (yeah, that's him above, the one with the good hair...) get to do our Developing a Worshiping Church session.

I always look forward to networking with other churches at events like these. It's a little humbling to consider that we have any influence in how people across the country do church. For whatever reason, God has decided to entrust us with this responsibility. I pray we're faithful in that call.