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