Friday, February 26, 2010

Jack White is Haunting Me!

So I've been really intrigued by Jack White since I watched Davis Guggenheim's documentary It Might Get Loud.

I'm intrigued by his passion for his music. His love for lo-fi. His gravitation toward the nostalgic, traditional, organic parts of musical & recording history. And his accidental success all-the-while loathing so many of the things that cause success in the music industry today.

He just seems to be driven to do what he does out of some inward passion or purpose and I am compelled to understand that more.

So I was very pleased (and just a little creeped out - I mean look at that guy!) when I got my new RELEVANT magazine today and Jack was on the cover! I guess I'm not the only one being inspired by him.

Their article continued to reveal a person whole-heartedly devoted to the thing he loves - his music and returning to simpler roots. What with three bands, multiple side projects, and his own vintage recording studio/record label/concert venue, he literally lives and breathes his passion.

I guess that is what is inspiring to me about him, how he gives everything to the thing he loves.

So who is somebody unique or unexpected that you are inspired by?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

What Did You Expect?

So something beautiful happened this week.

On Tuesday night, our Creative Worship team took some time and prayed through the needs on our Prayer Walls and cleaned them off. We also took the list we usually use for follow-up (A collection of people's names who have missed last Wednesday, haven't been in awhile, or have just started coming) and we prayed for those people.

We didn't call them. We didn't invite them. We didn't even tell them we had prayed for them.

...and a lot of them showed up last night! And I watched many of them be refreshed in their connection to God through worship and opportunities we gave for prayer in the service. It was exciting!

And I'm amazed at how God works, yet I know that I should expect Him to answer when we pray. I kind of think that is how it works: we pray in expectation and then become amazed by God when He does what we asked!

So how what do you need to expect God for in prayer today? How is He amazing you this week?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Monday Morning Blessings

To those of you who (LIKE ME) may be having a tough time getting it all together on this dreary Monday morning, here is a word of encouragement:

For the LORD has called you
like a wife deserted and grieved in spirit,
like a wife of youth when she is cast off,
says your God.
For a brief moment I deserted you,
but with great compassion I will gather you.
In overflowing anger for a moment
I hid my face from you,
but with everlasting love I will have compassion on you,"
says the LORD, your Redeemer.
(Isaiah 54:6-8 ESV)

Remember this morning that God is near to you, wanting to redeem you.

Even if you have blown it.

Even if you feel like He's not listening.

Even if you feel like He's distant.

He wants to show you compassion today and forever!

Grace and peace be upon you today.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Blast From the Past!

This is my clock radio.

It is an icon in my life.

This week as Isaac was turning all of the knobs, looking for that perfect station...

(That's his wee little arm in the picture;)

...I realized I have had that radio since at least junior high. That's like over twenty years! I suddenly remembered being an angst-ridden, love-sick preteen falling asleep at night listening to Every Rose Has It's Thorn by Poison.

I remembered how that red digital glow told on me when I was trying to sneak into my room as a high schooler after I was out way past my curfew!

I remembered hitting that snooze button over and over again when I had Calculus at 7:30am EVERY DAY my sophomore year of college (what was I thinking to schedule that!!)!

I remember...all of these things that my clock radio has seen! And it made me nostalgic for a moment.

So what are the icons in your life? What is it in your house that could tell decades of stories on you if it could talk? And, if you are old enough, what were you doing in 1988 when I was jamming to Poison?


Saturday, February 13, 2010

Happy V-Day!!!

So my family is on a journey.

And it's been a while a coming!

But it looks something like this: We feel God continually calling us to live according to His economy and not the economy of the world. He is calling us to try to live simpler and live with less and be satisfied with the abundance of His love

...and it's hard sometimes!

Lately, we are feeling Him call us to radically pursue decreasing debt. We've been working on that awhile, but it's easy to slack up or make those easy swipe purchases. But we have renewed vigor with a plan that will pay off everything but our mortgage in two years. Exciting!

But that means we look for alternatives to the "traditional" approaches to such things as...Valentine's Day!

So this weekend we have

1. Made our own valentines (and Valentine's boxes as you'll see above:)
2. Made homemade Almond Joy candy bars for a special V-Day treat!
3. Had a "drive-in" movie party in our living room with a John Hughes/Cameron Crowe 80's Romance Movie Marathon!

And it was all a blast. So tell us....

A.How are you living simpler?
B.What fun things did you do to celebrate "Be Mine" Day?
C. What is God challenging you to do that is radical?

Peace and love!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Bring on the Worship Eagle!

So I've been reading through Isaiah lately

...and it's pretty much a lot of doom and gloom. This nation is going to kill that nation. Your city is going to be destroyed. Judgement is coming.

You know, nice feel-good stuff.

That was why I was so refreshed to get to chapter 40 today. It's all about how good God is and His comfort for His people. It's about restoration and God's protection. It's about a God who listens and answers.

And then I got to the last verse: "but they who wait for the LORD shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles; they shall run and not be weary; they shall walk and not faint." (Isaiah 40:31)

A familiar verse...but I have just thought and thought about that verse today. I have let it's truth sink into my heart. I've found encouragement and strength in the fact that I will find perseverance and strength and ability ONLY if I wait on God. I can't figure it out myself. I can't do it by my plan or my might.

Simple truth. Profound reality for me today.

(I also really like it because it reminds me of this fantastic post on

So what are you weary of today? Where are you finding your strength? What is encouraging you today?


Thursday, February 4, 2010

Are We Reaching...?

So I'm speaking again Sunday morning as Pastor Doug is still in Panama this week.

I've felt led to talk about sharing God's story with those around us (Christian-ese translation: EVANGELISM), so I thought this would be a good opportunity to supplement that message with a post I've been meaning to make.

A couple weeks ago, my beautiful wife and our lovely children visited a Saturday night service at a larger church in Springfield.

We partly went because some friends had invited us, but we partly went to spy!!!

This church is a very modern, outreach focused church and I just wanted to share a few of my observations from my experience on HOW TO REACH THE CURRENT GENERATION:

1. JUST RELAX. As you enter this As you enter their parking lot, you are greeted with modern music and a smiling parking attendant who doesn't really tell you where to park as much as he waves at you enthusiastically. When you walk into the building there are people hanging out everywhere...and merchandise booths with tons of cool stuff to look at...and FREE COFFEE & COOKIES. Man, I love this! And Sports Center and music videos and Fox News are playing on various flatpanel TV's around the place. Now, when it's almost time for service, a countdown comes up on all of the monitors. But the most fascinating thing to me was what happened next. No one really moved towards the auditorium until the countdown was over. They shuffled in as a highlights video started and transitioned into the first song. It's not until after the first song when there was a welcome that most everybody found their seat. I personally liked the relaxedness of this style, but is this effective for everyone? Are there some people who are driven crazy by this? Is this an indicator of where our society is right now?

2. NEW DRESS CODE. Not many people were wearing suits or khaki slacks or dresses...ok, no one was really! But there seemed to be a different dress code. Almost every guy there (definitely all the staff and volunteers) seemed to be wearing an untucked, striped button-up shirt with a trendy graphic printed on it. This followed suit in the testimony video they played in the service and what the pastor was wearing when he came out. I am just wondering if, by trying to be different, are we just making the next generations traditional? Will I one day be looking at my grandkids and shake my head when they aren't wearing jeans and a polo shirt? "What's wrong with these kids today?"

3. HAVE A COOL NAME FOR EVERYTHING! Connection Time. Journey Rooms. Energetic Children Spot. Make sure that everything has a trendy, catchy descriptor. No old school Christian-ese here. Again, I like this approach. It put me at ease. It creates a comfortable atmosphere and an expectation that says, "This is gonna be good!"

4. WELCOME TO THE ROCK SHOW! Laser lights, electric guitars and edgy camera angles on three screens. My daughter's statement on the way home sums up the worship: "I'm trying to sing that rock song from that big church!" And it was well done. Excellent delivery. Superior musicianship. High-quality tech. But it definitely felt more like a concert than a transient experience. And for all the energy and enough lights to throw the best of us into an epileptic fit, I found myself easily feeling disconnected. Here were my questions for this new typical worship event: Does this foster community? Do people feel involved? Do you really need all of this media for this size of crowd?

5. COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION, COMMUNICATION! From the bulletin that let me know exactly "What To Expect Today!" to the video announcements and transitions to the clearly stated yet profound main point of the message, the communication was excellent and multifaceted. And for today's media driven society, you must be excellent at multiple levels of communication. When done well, as in the case of my visit, it leaves you thinking "where did that hour go?" But when not done well, overdone, or ignored it leaves you thinking "what was that about?"

6. OLD SCHOOL CAMP ALTAR CALLS STILL WORK! Probably the most amazing thing to me was the ultra-traditional end of the service. The pastor clearly and simply explained the gospel. He asked everyone to bow their heads and closed their eyes. He prayed a prayer of acceptance of Jesus as Savior. He asked for whoever prayed that prayer to raise their hands. He thanked them for their hands. And I was in the back of the room cheating! I watched and in a room of five or six hundred people there were probably twenty or thirty hands! People were responding. People were having their lives changed. And it was all so simple. Why do we try to make it hard? Why do we try to change some of the things that work while keeping things that don't?

All in all it was a good experience. And it gave me some food for thought. I hope this has done the same for you. I hope you share your thoughts so we can keep trying to follow God's call to reach the lost together! Peace.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


It is amazing sometimes the things your kids absorb.

So we were doing our morning devotion today. We were looking at 2 Corinthians 4. I had made a cool introduction using an acoustic live version of Thrice's Stare At the Sun as we were going to be focusing on what the light is that we need to look to to find the answers for our life.

When suddenly one of my kids said, "Yeah it's like BTL."

I was like, "What?"

Another one piped up: "BTL. You know from that video with that Ben guy. 'Be The Light.'"

And so I was reminded of this great video we had done awhile back just for fun...and also for the furtherment of my children's understanding of the Bible, obviously.

Hope you enjoy!

"For God, who said, 'Let light shine out of darkness,' has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." -2 Corinthians 4:6