Tuesday, February 26, 2008

System of Prayer

So I had this feeling that I wasn't giving my people the proper prayer support that I think they're due. Let's face it, as people involved in leading worship, we're on the front lines of attacking the devil's strongholds. So I thought about praying more for my people. This led to some inconsistent prayer as I was running, or just thinking about them. More frustration.

As an artist, I really need systems to keep me going. I'm thankful for deadlines (though I sometime loathe them!). So, I decided to create a prayer system for myself. I've written in my journal a column of people from our music team (and their spouses) and then another column of our arts team staff members (and their spouses). I take two people from music and two arts team people and pray for them on a given day. The next day two more from each team, etc. This gets me through my whole music team in about a month and 2x through my arts team. I realize this is not earth shattering, but maybe helpful to some of you who lead arts teams.


Jesus did it in John 17. He prayed for his disciples and then all believers. "That they may be one..." A good reminder for us. Especially if we have any concerns about unity on our teams. Pray like Jesus did. From experience in a couple situations recently, PRAYER WORKS!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Techno Worship

For our midweek, "believers" service called New Community, we normally give our band a break by having on week per month where we back things off in terms of instrumentation. This usually manifests itself in an "unplugged" night with acoustic/piano and maybe a small drum kit. This is great. I love the flexibility of this ensemble for leading.

Last Thursday we went on a new adventure for this service where we did "normal" worship songs that we do, in quite a fresh way for us. Everything was TECHNO. All keyboards and track. Here was our set:

O Sacred King - Matt Redman - pretty much did this one as a special - allowing our people to soak in the sovereign nature of our God as creator and friend simlutaneously.
Majesty (Here I Am) - Delirious - I used the main bass and strings riffs from the CD but added quite a bit in the drum track. I found that bringing a huge pad sound to the chorus on this really helped fill things out. I heard that Adam Callender mixed everything really FAT in order to bring out the emotion.
No One Like You - David Crowder Band - I used Crowder's arrangement from Sushi and Sunsets to make this one with a few adjustments to make it more singable. I also had the idea to sample in portions of audio from "That's My King" by SM Lockridge. This seemed effective but it would have been good to have it on a separate mix to bring it out more.

Jason Miller, my good friend and fellow worship leader delivered an incredible message about "Thou Shall Not Murder" which took us down the road of dealing with our anger and eventually redeeming it for the right purposes. So easy to lead people in worship out of great preaching! Way to go Jason!

Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus/Center - Newsboys/Charlie Hall - used a shuffle beat to keep a medley of these two songs in the same key. Turn Your Eyes was an arrangement that I heard almost 13 years ago at a Newsboys concert when they opened for Steven Curtis Chapman - yeah, I admit it. I was an SCC fan. Still am as songwriting goes. Sometimes hard to know what people know in terms of the melody of this song. Hoping it was helpful. Used a fun riff with choir and an opera singer sample to intro each verse. Center was pretty much the Charlie version with a techno shuffle beat. This was the one song I wish I could have spent more time on.
Awesome God - Rich Mullins - This was pretty much a big build and then pull back. My mind through this was racing and in another planet - missing chords on a simple chord progression. But I think it was meaningful.
Sing to the King - Billy Foote - This was probably my most creative arrangement of the night. I loved the siren like sound that played a riff that marked the intro and verse. Heidi Leets did a great job leading us on this one.

1. Don't try to do too much new at one time! I literally KILLED myself trying to put all these songs together.
2. Creative arrangements without practice can prove to be less effective than simpler arrangements with more practice time. I had confidence issues because I put my eggs in the arrangement basket and not in the practice time. So important to be able to lead in humble confidence.
3. We stepped into a new realm this week. As Jason told me, we may be able to take elements of this night and incorporate it into what we do "normally" to help create variety. Taking risks is important. This week was certainly that.

Thanks for everyone's kind words and support. You are awesome. What a great church to be part of.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

What Selling a House Has Taught Me

I (we've) learned a lot this time as we have sold our house. Here a few of the many lessons we've learned:

1. Talk is cheap. We heard a lot of "we LOVE your house" and "we're getting an offer together", but we've learned until you "show us the money", we're not packing boxes.

2. Trusting people at face value is not wise. We got burned a bit by some people who told us one thing and did another. Wacky, detailed filled lies. Yuck!

3. It is difficult to compare houses "apples to apples". There are often factors that are difficult to evaluate and compare. Location, size, school, distance from work, features all play out differently.

4. God is SOVEREIGN(of course). I think of Daniel 4:17: "the most high is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he chooses." Yeah, you've heard "a man's house is his kingdom" so I think this applies. I (we) don't have to worry, because God is working this all out. A reminder.

5. The song Everlasting God has hit us a lot lately: "Strength will rise as we wait upon the Lord." I think God is making us stronger through this.

I'm sure there are more, but my brain is tired. I go chill out now. :)

Friday, February 08, 2008


After having our house for-sale-by-owner for a couple months, Leah Hudson, our realtor, told us that she could get our house sold in 14 days. And SHE DELIVERED - TO THE DAY! Very exciting news. Now to see if the house we have an offer on will go through. Rumor has it that the seller doesn't budge a whole lot, so we'll see. Thanks for everyone's prayers! Keep 'em coming!

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Top 10 Vocal Health Tips

My friend, Tim Carson, of Vocal Artistry sent out a post to help singers manage the winter season. It covers things like hydration, rest, and avoiding abuse. It you are a singer in a church setting, or even someone who speaks a lot, it is a good post to read. Speaking pastors in multiple service settings really need to take heed of these tips.

Check it out HERE.

Monday, February 04, 2008


Okay, so I have a brilliant friend. Let me be clear here. BRILLIANT! Not just a smart guy, but brilliant. And he's barely 20 years old! He has recently designed some software that we use at Granger Community Church to project our words. It's called iWorship. We looked at other presentation software programs and were not satisfied. So Albert decided to write his own. Below is a screen shot:

If you work at a church, and need some cool software that LOOKS GREAT and is intuitive for your volunteers, then check it out HERE.
This is available via download from Apple. Or contact him directly at amartin@gccwired.com. Check it out!

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Punxsutawney Phil

Happy Groundhog Day everyone!

Yep, 6 more weeks of winter. Sad.

Details from Punxsutawney, PA HERE.

One of my favorite movies of all time. And MY VERY FIRST DATE WITH MY WIFE, LISA! Yeah, I was very cool... I got 2 NOSEBLEEDS during the movie and had to go to the restroom! Great first impression. But she stuck with me.

Have a great one!