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.