Sunday, December 13, 2009

Kid's Christmas Song

A few people have asked where to get the Kid's Christmas song "Heaven Came Down" that we wrote and performed this weekend. Anna, my daughter sang it! Here it is. You can download it for FREE!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Worship Leader Tip #2

Know your people. (Part 1 - the congregation)

This seems way too simple to even be a tip, but the truth is that many leaders will miss out on how they can best lead their congregations simply because they don't take the time to get to know them. We've all heard the saying that "people don't care what you know until they know how much you care", but it really holds true. Taking the time before or after services to engage in conversations with the people we serve is critical to their trusting our leadership.

This can be especially evident if there is a generational gap between the leader and a majority or core of the congregation. With the movement toward more contemporary styles in music, many churches are hiring younger people to help lead their congregations in worship. What this means is that there is often a gap between the leader and the core of who he/she is trying to help worship God.

It is all the more critical for this leader to intentionally and regularly connect with trusted advisors in the age group/generation that they serve. Scheduling a weekly lunch with a few people and asking tough questions like: What do you think about song selection? How is the volume? Are you able to sing the songs? Any theological concerns? Note: This does not mean that if you are trying to change the target age of your congregation that every preference of the older generation should be catered to, but these concerns certainly should be considered. Creating unnecessary division is just plain foolish.

A theme that I'll hit on quite a bit in these posts is asking a question that my brother, Jason Miller, brought up: "What is helpful?" If we're trying to facilitate a connection between God and our people, we need to first fall on our knees and ask God, "what for this service, season, event, etc will most help our people worship?" Then, truly, asking trusted people what they find helpful in worship can help us grow our churches in thriving worship communities.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Worship Leader Tip #1

I've thought a bit about what it means to help others worship God. I'm gonna try to throw a few ideas out there to see if they might be helpful to other people who are "in the trenches".

Worship Leader Tip #1

This is critical for people who are leading. A lack of authenticity is something that can smelled a mile away. A mistake that many young worship leaders make is that they find a particular person that they admire and then begin to emulate their style. Emulation is not bad in and of itself, but when it starts to eat away at the nature of the individual, becoming a sort of costume or mask, this is not good.

I started off "back in the day" highly admiring the leadership and skills of Tommy Walker, who was and is an influential leader in the worship music field. I bought all of Tommy's CDs. I got the DVDs. I went to concerts. I even got the headset microphone that is his trademark. (I even left it on once while I was in the restroom... but that's another story!) Besides his hair, since I have very little, I was a kind of mini-me of Tommy. I kinda lost my own voice in all of that.

As I've matured, I've found that pulling ideas from various artists/leaders across the spectrum of music has helped me form more of my own sound. Do I still borrow/rework/recycle ideas? You bet! But now the emphasis is much more on what is helpful for the people I lead and not so much about me finding my identity. Reminding myself with verses like Ephesians 2:10 "For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works which God has prepared in advance for us to do." This has helped me realize that God made me uniquely for the tasks He calls me to.

When people see the "real deal" on the stage, someone who is comfortable in their own skin, there is something contagious about them. Shakespeare said in Hamlet: "This above all: to thine own self be true." Great wisdom. Living out of a God-honoring, authentic self, is the best way for all of us who lead others to show them Jesus. Hope this helps.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

4 Chords Song at Innovate09

This turned out pretty good for an element that was sort of a last minute add:
Thanks DC for posting it!

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

New Song for 1st Wednesday

Hey everyone,

Excited to debut the song "Standing (We Look to You)" tonight at 1st Wednesday. We have a great drama/media that leads into it. Praying that people's hearts are drawn closer to God. That we would hold onto every promise that we read in Scripture. God is faithful and able. Hope you enjoy! Link HERE.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Vukmirovich Family Worship Team

This was our first time ever of leading worship WITH MY FAMILY at Hope Ministries in South Bend. We all played our own instruments and sang. Anna (10) on keys and singing, Sophie (8) on drums, and Lisa and I playing bass/guitar. I'm proud of my family. Hope you enjoy!

Friday, August 07, 2009

30 Minute Assignment from Wess Stafford

Here's the digital version of Wess' homework assignment for leaders who have been wronged:

Homework assignment to leverage your past:
Make an appointment with yourself—30 minutes alone in front of a mirror.
(Guys—you may want to lock the door!)
Look at your reflection and ask God to give you His wisdom and
discernment to understand yourself more clearly than you ever have before.
Think back to the little boy/girl deep inside. After a few minutes, answer
these questions:

1. Who am I? What do I really care about?
Do I have a cause that can move me to tears?

2. What do I believe? What do I value?
Why am I the way I am? Why do I do what I do?

3. Is my daily life based on joy, fulfillment? Who do I owe for it?
Who believed in me before I believed in myself, and launched
me? Do they know it? Have I ever thanked them?

4. Or am I driven, even in success, by pain, sorrow or fear?
Who hurt me, humiliated or discouraged me?
Have I ever forgiven them?
Even if they have not asked for
forgiveness or are not even sorry: allowing them to stay in my
heart and mind is not hurting them at all—it’s only hurting me.
Whether your passion is fueled by joy or pain, the most profound question
you may ever ask yourself is:

5. What am I trying to prove, to whom, and why?

Prayerfully remain quiet.
Ask God to show you His next steps for you in your journey to wholeness.
He can redeem anything … He can leverage your past for His glory.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

School of Worship 2.0 Update

Here are the kids from our very own "School of Worship" performing God of This City and Every Move I Make. Very proud. They are making progress. (Kids' note: We'll be getting together again soon, I promise!)

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Interactive Worship Awesomeness

Oh man. This is HILARIOUS!
Nice job Jared. Thanks Matt Knisely.

Gopher Music Anyone?

This weekend, we launch our SandTraps series on communication at Granger Community Church. Caddyshack fans, you'll want to get there early. You won't want to miss some gopher music coming atcha (click the pic for a little fun):

Photobucket Image Hosting

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Value of Story

My team made me aware of an awesome resource for storytelling using media. It's a site called Deidox. The Bible speaks of the power of the word of testimony. These speak that power. If you are at all involved with church media, or if you want to be inspired, check them out. Here's the trailer:

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Jesus Wants to Save Christians

Rob Bell's book Jesus Wants to Save Christians is rocking my world. Here's a quote:
"When the goal of a church is to get people into church services and then teach them how to invite people to come to church services, so that they in turn will bring others to more church services-

That's attendance at church services.

And church is not ultimately about attending large gatherings.

Church is people.

People who live a certain way in the world."

Is a different rubric needed to identify a healthy church? I'm wrestling with this right now. How do we know if we're helping people grow?

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Workshops Coming in June!

Back in March, we had the opportunity to network groups of people from churches around the country in our One Day Workshops format.  Our next set of workshops is June 25 & 26.  You can register for one of these days (or both!) HERE.  This is a great way to get access to great people - seriously great people - who know what they're talking about when it comes to topics like: local/global missions, first impressions, working with volunteers, etc.

Cool new adds have been to have worship at the beginning of each day.  From the impressions in the March workshops, this was a great time for God to meet with people.  I hope you'll join us in June!

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Brilliant Night

The team from Hillsong London treated us to a wonderful night of worship at GCC yesterday! How thrilling to give our people permission to express their hearts to God. I also think we definitely stretched some people in decibels! :) My brothers in worship, Jason Miller and Trace Rorie helped pull this together along with tons of teams from the church. I'm so grateful for a night to simply take in all that God had in store.

Check out their video for Hail to the King:

Sunday, March 29, 2009


With the lovely Spring weather in Northern Indiana...

We're looking forward to 2 months to the day when we're going to...

We'll try not to gross our kids out like this. Or maybe we can't help it...

Friday, March 27, 2009

Birthday Traditions

My daughter, Sophie, just turned 8 yesterday.  Our family likes to make a BIG DEAL out of birthdays.  We've started traditions along the way and have kept many of them.

Here are just a few highlights:
  • on birthday mornings all the other family members wake the person up with a LOUD rendition of Happy Birthday
  • a Krispy Kreme donut with a candle in it is on their plate
  • balloons and flowers are at their place
  • birthday person gets to choose where we go out to eat - usually it's Carrabbas!
  • a poster of some sort with pix from the past year (sometimes a baby pic) is sitting by their place
  • for the kids, dad writes a birthday letter to each of them every year which I read to them.
We've been doing this last one since they were able to understand things (around 3 years old).  In this letter I love having the chance to, in writing, affirm God's working in their lives.  I also point out strengths and growth that I've seen in the past year.  I highlight a few key memories which will help preserve them for the future.  Often, I will challenge them to growth in a key area as well.  

Here is a small portion from the letter that I  wrote Sophie this year:

There is a verse in the Bible that says: “Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, that is how you should stand firm in the Lord, dear friends!” Philippians 4:1 You are my joy and my crown, Sophie. I’ve told you this from the very beginning of your life and whispered it in your ear as I held you in the hospital. Joy is something that runs deep inside me when I get to be with you. You make my heart smile (if it could)! A crown is something that a king or queen wears and is proud of. It is something for others to see. I have to admit, I want others to see what a wonderful daughter I have in you.

These are things that I want her to know.  I've heard countless times about the difference a daddy makes in the lives of his daughters.  In fact, Kevin Leman wrote a great book about it.   

We treat birthdays with a lot of love in our family because we believe that this not only speaks, but shows VALUE to our kids.  I wonder if you have some birthday traditions that we could learn from?

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Intentional Community

Our worship leaders, Trace Rorie, Jason Miller, Don Reynolds, Seth Bible and myself are getting together at Panera on a weekly basis now. We're finding that as things get more spread out between 2 campuses and various ministries that we need to have that regular contact, not only to "get 'er dun" but to build a sense of community and awareness of what is going on in each other's worlds.

I've been at points in my life where silo ministry has happened. People are working together, but they're not really "together" in truest sense. When things are smaller and only a few people involved, community can be less intentional. You do things together. You go to lunch. You work on projects because you are the only ones. As teams grow, the intentionality toward community must grow as well. We're choosing to make this an important part of our week. I can better pray for my brothers since I've heard where they're at. Our full staff team does this as well each week. Tim Stevens, our Executive Pastor did a great post on this a few years back.

I have to admit that this is a challenge for me because while I crave community, I also crave independence. As a person who has "IDEATION" as his chief character trait (check out Marcus Buckingham's Now, Discover Your Strengths), I like to do a bit of trail blazing. I realize though that as Mark Beeson has said that "the team outperforms the individual in the long run every time." I believe it and I'm willing to sacrifice some of my individuality and time to build God's church.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Best Mix Around

My wife, Lisa, and I are Diet Coke addicts.  Yes, you can say "that aspertame'll kill 'ya!", but we're responsible for boosting the local economy by purchasing fountain Diet Coke.  Note that we still are fans of cans ("that aluminum'll kill 'ya too!") but nothing beats a good 'ole fountain DC when you're thirsty.  

So, we have an unsaid rating system in our heads as we move around town as to which places have the best mixes.  The mix is an art form, we believe.  In fact, McDonald's (our favorite mix) has a standard special blend for all McDonald's across the country.  So here's how it breaks down locally:

Top 5
  1. McDonald's
  2. Sam's Club (we love the cafe' ladies there as well)
  3. Speedway (particularly the one at Edison and 23)
  4. Chick-Fil-A (the owners, Kathy and Brian go to GCC!)
  5. Phillips 66 at Day Rd & Fir (you can choose cubed or crushed ice or BOTH!)
Anyone else as anal-retentive about their fountain drinks?

Great Wikipedia article about the history if you're interested... yeah, I'm a geek!

Monday, March 23, 2009

Turning Down a BLT

I just met with my good friend, Gene Ort, over lunch today.  We talked about what it means to have a relationship that maintains it's focus on Christ moment by moment.  We thought about some of the spiritual attacks that seem to come our way consistently - patterns of temptation that occur more frequently than others.

Gene brought up the idea that if we are mindful of spotting things as temptations, we're that much more apt to treat them as potential for sin.  Understanding how and when these temptations creep in can be a great tool for us in defending against them.  

I've heard the acronym "BLT" used for watching for patterns of temptations.

B - BORED - When we're bored and not engaged in something, we can get off target.  Like King David, when he wasn't engaged in his kingly duties of going off to battle, he fell into sin with Bathsheba.  

L - LONELY - We were created for community.  God's intent for us is to point each other toward Him.  Proverbs 27:17 says "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."  When we isolate ourselves, we're daring Satan to take aim.

T - TIRED - When we overwork ourselves, cheat on sleep, and run an unsustainable pace, these are ways that our guards can be let down.  We drop patterns of protecting our hearts - prayer, Scripture memory, meditation.  "Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life." Proverbs 4:23 

My brother Gene and I have the kind of commitment to each other that holds us accountable.  I'm grateful for Gene.  


Friday, March 13, 2009

Yep, it's True...

Hillsong London is coming to Granger Community Church on Tuesday, April 21st at 7pm. Tickets are $10. It is going to be awesome! Bring 10 friends! See you there!

Check out Jason Miller's blog for more details.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Baby Dane!

We had a chance to go see our Ted and Angela Bryant and their new baby, Dane last night.  What a beautiful family and what a cute baby.  It is great to know people like the Bryants who are some of the most intentional people we know.  They make time for what is important.  They are shining the light of Christ wherever they go.  They inspire us.  They encourage our faith.

We used to live just a couple streets over from the Bryants.  We miss them.  Was great to welcome their new gift into the world.

BTW - Ted founded and  runs Green Lockers which is a non- profit that helps get unused school supplies to kids around the world that need it.  Brilliant idea.  I love watching this thing grow.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

LIVE - This Weekend

Some of my teammates and I are heading up to Hudsonville, MI this weekend.  We're going to's LIVE Tour.  It features a day of training with some really great people.  Matt Maher (Your Grace is Enough), Brenton Brown (Lord, Reign in Me) and Michael Gungor Band (Friend of God) will all be there.  

Really looking forward to a time of worship that has nothing to do with anything that I have planned.  Sometimes it's difficult to allow God to minister to you when you're thinking about the execution of a service.  I'm hoping that the gift of this day/evening will be a great renewal for myself and our team.  

I'd really like to hear Matt Maher speak about Worship Old and New.  Having grown up Eastern Orthodox, the idea of giving new meaning to old forms excites me.  I'm also looking forward to Michael and Lisa Gungor's session on songwriting.  I've watched these two for a while, since they were up at Resurrection Life Church in Grand Rapids.  Love their hearts and I'm amazed by their talent.

For $55, this is a great deal.  

A Month or So of Thinking...

I've been thinking a lot this past month about blogging. This crazy cyberworld of ideas that is inundated every moment with more and more words.

I've been thinking a lot about the "why" of my part in adding to this pile.

In the past I think I've made some wrong conclusions about why I should maintain a blog. I had this crazy notion that everything I should say had to be either witty or at least original. Hitting both witty and original was the ultimate.

What I've found is that my focus (ashamedly) all too often came pretty much back to me. Maybe even saying this brings things back to me, I'm not sure how to psycho-analyze that one...
I don't know how long this will last, but I'd like to try a stab at simply sharing life with others. I'd like to help the people I lead at Granger Community Church get a better sense of who this bald guy who sings and occasionally acts like a cheesy music teacher really is. I'm going to "share the journey" as my friend, Jason Miller puts it.

Image management is a dangerous temptation in the world of blogging. I think of Brad Paisley's "Online" song. My hope is that you get more of the real Dan here. Not a "I've got it all figured out" Dan. We'll see what happens.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

White Guys Can't Rap

Yes, we set out to prove that we really don't "got it goin' on".  This is a fun video that our friend Albert Martin produced.  Albert, J Aquila and I froze as we filmed this baby.  It was almost, crazy delicious, you might say...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sometimes I Just Don't Feel Like Worshiping

Have you ever felt this way?  I read this just recently and found it helpful.

So, next time you are tired and feel as though you have nothing to give to God in worship, know that you are right. There is nothing we can bring before Him that He hasn’t first given to us. And on those hard days, we must confess that we don’t want to worship Him but we want to want to worship Him. Over time, He will cultivate that desire in our hearts and souls to say, with the great psalmist, “I will bless the Lord at all times.” (Ps. 34) - Laura Story in the Worship Corner

Full article HERE

Psalm 22

What an amazing Psalm in hard times!  This verse grabbed me this morning:

For he has not despised or disdained the suffering of the afflicted one; he has not hidden his face from him but has listened to his cry for help. - verse 24

We need hope today.  Christ is hope.  He is hearing our cries.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

New Book Coming Soon!

My friend, and co-worker, Kem Meyer is releasing her first book!  Very exciting!  

How we communicate as churches is critical to how the gospel is brought to this world.  Kem is amazing at this!  It is ready for pre-order on Amazon right HERE.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Anyone Need Help with the Bible?

Have you ever wanted to memorize the order of all the books in Bible?  I had the same problem and I wanted my kids to learn them as well.  So, I wrote a couple of songs that I thought might be helpful.  They are meant for kids, but I've found that adults find them useful as well.  Who needs Bible tabs?  We don't need no stinking tabs!

You can download the songs for free HERE.  Let me know if they work for you.  God bless.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A Prayer for President Obama

On this historic day, where the peaceful passing of power takes place.  Where a person who would not have had full voting rights 60 years ago, now is our President.  It seems right that we should pray.  Here is my prayer for our next president:

Lord God, maker of heaven and earth, set up your kingdom in the midst of Barack Obama.  I pray that he would have courage and wisdom to make decisions that would honor You.  I pray for strength for the journey and integrity to live without regret.  That his responsibilities as leader of our nation do not overwhelm him to the point of taking care of his family.  

I pray for Michelle, Father.  That her character and strength would only further her husband's resolve to live a Godly life.  That she, herself, would make a huge difference in this world and thus encouraging other women to do the same.  I pray for their daughters, Malia Ann and Sasha.  That they would be able to live lives still as children.  Though it will be different, I pray that they are shielded from some of the harsh realities of the world.  I pray protection over this family.  May they listen as you guide their every step.  

I pray for the people around our President.  That they would be people of integrity and that their counsel would be valuable.  I pray for great discernment during times when the path seems unclear and great understanding of the deeper issues that are at hand.  I pray for a soft heart for him, Lord.  May he keep humility deep in his soul.  Your word says that no leader is placed in power apart from your will.  I trust that you will use this man to allow the Church to be the Church.  The hope of the world.  He has said it himself that government is not the hope of our world.  I pray that he sees a strong Church in the coming years.  A Church willing to humble themselves and pray and so doing, see the healing of our land.  And beyond that the healing of the world.  

Jesus, forgive him when he sins.  Just as you forgive each of us.  May his conscience quickly convict him of wrong and bring about repentance. Holy Spirit, you are in the business of renewal.  You know that our country needs it.  So I humbly ask, that you would renew the Obama family.  Each day provide them new mercies.  Bless them richly with your favor.  God, I do ask that You bless our country - not in some selfish way that we would hoard what we have and oppress the rest of the world.  That we would, due in part to President Obama's leadership, be a blessing to this world.  That Your kingdom would come and Your will would be done here on earth as it is in heaven.  

This I pray in the mighty name of Jesus.  The strong Son of God.  Amen.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

A Song for MLK

This is a beautiful song by one of my favorite singer/songwriters, James Taylor.  Taking the time to remember a man (Martin Luther King) who was a great example of courage and leadership through immense resistance.     

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Anybody using Boxee?

Free internet TV.  Could be where we're all headed?

Thinking about checking this out.  Any wisdom?

NY Times article here.


Does anyone else LOVE this game?  I waited 3 Christmases to get this one.  My daughter, Sophie, and I love playing Rush Hour.   
I like it because:
  1. It's simple.  No complex rules - Have you ever played the new version of Life?  Oh my!
  2. It's lasting.  You can play it over and over again with the same cards and it's still fun.  It doesn't get boring quick.
  3. It's smart.  It stretches your mind while having fun. 
Thinkfun is a great game company.  Love their products. 

Just found the online version here.  Happy driving.

Friday, January 16, 2009

What messages are we sending?

Have you ever been in a situation where you are at a table for coffee with a friend and they get a "tweet" on their phone and they take the time to answer it?  Or that cell phone call that interrupts dinner?  Or that email that "bings" on the computer that has to be taken care of before bed?
3 areas of concern for me:
  1. Tact.  There seems to be a breakdown in social "tact" that just isn't right.  The twitter or facebook that "must" be tended to says something about value in a relationship.  At the cost of "cheating" the person who is present, a person will answer a text or tweet.  Something is not right.  Watch out for how many times we say "I've gotta take this."
  2. Availability.  We're just too available to people.  Though cells and instant email is good in many ways, we've got to learn to set limits.  As people who lead people, are we available ALL THE TIME?  I hope not.  At a certain point in the night, we should "put the phone down and walk away.  Just walk away."  Emails answered at 2AM give the impression that we do and should be working ALL THE TIME!
  3. Identity.  It scares me that a whole generation of people are being raised up that believe that their worth can somehow tie into how many hits or comments they receive on a blog/facebook/twitter.   It also scares me that I can easily fall into this trap as well.  
Our job as leaders is to set the example for others.  These are three areas that I'm working to be more intentional on.  Any thoughts?

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

iTunes Anywhere!

Apple just announced that iTunes is now available on both Wi-Fi and now it's cellular network.  This is good news when you're out and about using the Shazam app and want to download the song you are hearing in Mall bathroom.  Um...  Is that a little too much info?  

Article here.

Monday, January 12, 2009


The five members of our Senior Management Team from Granger Community Church are going on a multi-day retreat this week to pray, plan and strategize for the coming year/years of ministry.  

My friend, and teammate, Adam Callender came up with this idea:  

For the 5 leaders of our church, pray 5 minutes at 5pm for this entire week. 

I love to see the pastoral heart of Adam in this.  Here was his email to our staff:

I don’t think I need to convince anyone that this is a very important time for Granger, not because of budget, but because we have a whole community, country, and world that needs to know Jesus TODAY, all while we face challenges like we have never faced before. Because of that significance I’d like to ask you to join me by praying for them this week. I will be praying for our 5 pastors for 5 minutes at 5pm everyday this week. With that here are the five things I’ll be praying for:

· Their families—that God protect them and show them love and peace while they are away

· Wisdom and Discernment to make sense of our current situation

· Unity—that God grows them together as one during this time

· Strength—to persevere for the 5 days of meetings and conversations

· Courage—Mark (and I believe God) made it very clear to us last year what his One Prayer is for His church and I don’t think that has changed today. Pray for courage for them to lead boldly not cautiously, so we can be a courageous church that gives glory to God.

Again, this is what I’m doing. You may choose to do more or less but I do encourage you to do something special this week.

I'm with him.  If you'd like to join us, please do.  

Sunday, January 11, 2009

FOOD DROP '09 - Family and Friends

I had the great chance yesterday to serve at the Food Drop '09 where we feed literally thousands of people in one day!  Unloading boxes of food and personal care items from Feed the Children and then getting them to people and food pantries across Michiana.  What a privilege!  What an honor to be the hands and feet of Christ.

I got to do this with my family.  This is our first year of actually going to the apartments where we could deliver the food face to face.  I think it was a great experience for my girls; putting a face on the boxes that we had loaded in years past.  We are praying for the people we delivered the love of Jesus to.  For Wes who lost his job 5 months ago.  For Sky who wants understanding in her family.  For Paul who wants to move forward and not stay stuck in a rut.  Our family is praying for these people.

I also got to do this alongside friends from the GCC Creative Arts team.  These crazy people give me life.  I pray for them and I know they are praying for me.  I love doing life with them.  It is so fun to serve with people you really love!

Friday, January 09, 2009

Special Time

A few nights ago, our family did what we call "special night time stuff" (catchy, huh?).  This is a time where about 20 minutes is spent one parent to one child where we ask each other questions and we tell true stories.  (We tried the make believe stuff, but it didn't fly.)  They like to hear about our pasts.  Adventures when we went to camp, how we were when we were their age, vacation stories from when we were young.  We try to do this every week 2x so that each kid gets contact with each parent.  

So the other night, my oldest , asked me, "Dad, are you going to do anything different this next year?"  Earlier that morning I had some prayer time with God and got the impression that I needed to spend "special morning time stuff" with God.  I have been pretty consistent for about 5 months of each day getting up and reading my Bible.  Part of the process has been looking for a word/verse to share with my other blog  What this has been doing is it has been taking my focus off what I need to hear from God and focusing on what I think others need to hear.  My morning routine has become a bit longer because of this, but I can already sense the benefits to my walk with Christ.  

As leaders of others, we need to protect that which is most central to us - Christ.  It's kind of the put your own air mask on first before you try to help others.  I think once we shift into "output only" mode, it is there that stale religion and obligation can take root.