Saturday, January 31, 2009
Here is the SECOND picture they drew. Do you know what the message topic of the morning was. Don Whitney spoke on "Hell Is Real." Seriously.
Friday, January 30, 2009
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Scott asks a great question in his article — Is Christian music missing something? He believes it is.
His message to artists, labels, and fans?
Artists — Innovate, don’t imitate.
Labels — Don’t play it safe; take some risks.
Fans — Support great art.
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
Hey — be thankful I'm not David Crowder. He's got alotta soul, baby.
Guess I didn't need to spend as much on music education afterall...darn it.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
Questions they asked Casey:
- How did you end up at TBC?
- Are you happy here?
- Did you enjoy your part in The Shack (book discussion)?
- Do you consider people who go to church and call themselves a
Christian but do not believe the same things as I do (like the Bible
being truth) a believer?
- What is your goal in the future?
- How do you think the nation is going to go this year?
- Do you have any specific protocol for your quiet time?
- Do you do well at memorizing scripture?
Yes, ya got lots and lots o' trouble
I'm thinkin' of the kids in the knickerbockers, shirttails, young ones
Peekin' in the pool hall window after school
Ya got trouble, folks, right here in Topeka City
With a capital 'T' and that rhymes with 'P'
And that stands for 'pool'
Monday, January 26, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Saturday, January 24, 2009
Just learned what you heard was and wasn't Yo-Yo Ma. While the music group with Yo-Yo Ma and others played live, it wasn't what you were hearing through your TV set or on-site at through the speakers. See article at the end of this post for details.
Just posing a question here...which do we value more, excellence or authenticity? I'm inclined to admire someone more for taking a risk and sounding not so hot (or not doing it at all), than to take the safe road and not being real.
Instead the truth comes out afterward — we chose this option. There may have been other options they explored. For example, what about a second cello in the wings tuned ready to roll? Or ONLY IF a string broke, pull out the recording and say up front — this is what we are using.
What do you think? If I used a pitch correction unit on my voice (which TBC worshipers could benefit from), is that OK? How about makeup on women? How much makeup? Cosmetic surgery?
Where's the line for you?
Friday, January 23, 2009
The Bible has a story about the stock market — of sorts. The Bible says Jesus shared a story about giving talents and taking talents (talents was a unit of money) from servants based off how much or little they invested it for the master. The story says that the one who invested wisely for the purpose of the master (not himself) — was entrusted with even more. In fact, the servant who didn't invest it (and just hid it) lost his talents to the servant who invested.
What has God entrusted to you? Family? Friends? Acquaintances? Material possessions? Resources? Influence? Fame? Skill or knowledge? Maybe something else of value?
Whatever that 'something' is — God is watching us. And me. He wants to see how we will handle, today, what He's entrusted us with. Will we squander it? Will we invest in it? Will we use it for our personal gain, friend's gain, family's gain — or His gain?
Too many times my mindset is, "God, I want to be entrusted with more (for myself). What am I doing wrong?" Maybe He's not because I'm not currently investing wisely what He's given me TODAY. And maybe my motive is to gain more for me instead of Him. I'm not talking just about money, but everything my life is. That includes my time and the words I'm writing right now. It includes this very moment as you are reading these words. Are you investing wisely?
I sometimes wonder what the wise servant did with the extra money given to him. Did he continue investing for the master — or did he think it was his to spend? Or did he learn "if I invest, I get more." Or did he learn "if I invest, my master gets more."
23 “His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful slave. You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your master.’"
Lord, You've entrusted me with a certain amount of everything today. Help me gain the perspective that I should invest so that YOU gain more, not me. I want to be the servant that you smile at simply because I've invested wisely so Your return is greater.
Thursday, January 22, 2009
Monday, January 19, 2009
The next time you need someone to save you — the word works.
Check out this blog post on the word...
…And the multitude that went before and that followed cried saying, ‘Hosanna to the Son of David! Blessed is He who comes in the name of the Lord: Hosanna in the highest’.” And, later on that day, when Jesus was in the temple, the courtyard of the temple was full of children crying out, “Hosanna to the son of David.”
What made the Priests so angry was that they knew very well what Hosanna meant and where it came from. It is a quote from Psalm 118 and verse 25.
-Since we, as believers are already saved and redeemed, it is an echo of our gratitude to God, a thanks to Him in worship for rescuing us.
Sunday, January 18, 2009
Saturday, January 17, 2009
One of the things I enjoy most about technology is the fact that it's turning the term "global" into "local." My brother is on the other side of the globe, and we were able to talk to him via video for free with Skype. It was like he was in the room. I know many of you use Skype, but for those that haven't — give it a try and you'll realize how small our world is.
Friday, January 16, 2009
Thursday, January 15, 2009
I've had some great encounters at Burger King. A woman biking her way across the US because she wants to find God's direction for her life, inviting a Lowe's employee to church (who virtually helped me finish my basement), a man who lost his wife to illness (now eating alone), and a spiritual conversation with the manager after an employee was killed tragically in an automobile accident last Christmas. If I didn't eat there this frequently, then I may not have had that opportunity — or the opportunities to come.
Please understand, the crew at Burger King is not a "project" to me. They are each loved by a God that would love them to know Him. I want them to know this God that loves them.
Recently, I hit the jack-pot when they wrote each of their names on a dry-erase board. I now have a list of names to be praying for. And it really helps to remember their names when I walk through the door...because I'm naturally challenged with names.
And here's Tom, the guy from Lowe's, who helped me finish my basement. He walked into Burger King — and he had lunch with me and Hunter, just by chance. Who says the King isn't at work?
Wednesday, January 14, 2009
church (after the hole is filled in).
"Sound of the Round" from Northland Video on Vimeo.
And for those of you who enjoyed the light show "Christmas Time Is Here" with the recording of the Charlie Brown kids choir...you'll appreciate this rendition that gives the jazz tune justice.
"Christmas Time Is Here" from Northland Video on Vimeo.
Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Instead, we took requests from worshipers all three services. It was a little nerve-racking not knowing what was going to come up. But the musicians and lyric tech did a phenomenal job. No crash and burns.
Here's how it played out...
1. I explained what was going on.
2. I invited people to raise their hand for me to call on them to give us the title, lyrics, or melody line of a song they'd like to submit.
3. We paired up the hymns and paired more recent songs together.
4. I had them vote with the applause-o-meter — so we had them vote between (for example) Amazing Grace and The Hallelujah Chorus. Whichever won...we put into our song set for that morning.
5. We took a total of 8 songs...and voted half of them off the island, leaving just 4. If there was a tie, then I kept the 5th song, and we did it at the end of the morning after Jim spoke.
6. I turned to Lisa, she said what key and we launched.
Special thanks to my wife — the musical glue for me, Thad (drums), and Stephanie (vocals). And a special thanks to Matt (lyric tech) who pulled up the songs on the fly and followed nicely.
And here were the results folks...
Ancient of Days
Open the Eyes of My Heart
Shout to the Lord
Holy, Holy, Holy
Days of Elijah
I'll Fly Away
In Christ Alone
Days of Elijah
Speak O Lord
What's interesting is that I had to PROMPT for an additional hymn in the 2nd and 3rd hour. That surprised me. It also surprised me that Days of Elijah made it in two of the three hours. Sometime soon I'll give you some insight into the song that may surprise you.
Monday, January 12, 2009
Sunday, January 11, 2009
Click here to listen to loop for Our God Reigns.
And you can watch the video here...
Saturday, January 10, 2009
Matthew 10 is Jesus' charge to His disciples. What were they supposed to do? Here are the verbs he used...
- go to the lost sheep
- heal sick
- raise dead
- cleanse lepers
- cast out demons
- do not acquire money
- inquire who is worthy
- abide/stay with the worthy
- enter the house
- give it your greeting regardless of how it returns
- if rejected, go out and shake off the dust
- beware of men
- do not be anxious for how you will speak
- flee persecution
- do not fear
- speak in the light and proclaim
- do not fear
- do not fear
Lord, show me how I can follow you better. Help me to not fear man or things of this earth if it means following you as a legitimate disciple.
Friday, January 09, 2009
The Bible has a similar story about a tax collector (Matthew 9). This IRS guy was at his office when Jesus stopped by. Not only did the tax collector listen to what Jesus had to say, he simply followed Him — and left his work. And it appears He left immediately.
In the end, the interruption was really an appointment with God - a divine appointment. This tax collector ended up inviting Jesus over for dinner - where many other of his friends (other tax collectors and "sinners") were also eating. It caused a commotion because it looked bad — Jesus hanging with the bad crowd. But Jesus' motives were to do what was right in His Father's eyes, not man's eyes.
When an interruption happens - do I ever look beyond it to see the divine appointment? If I see the divine appointment, do I embrace it - or think the opportunity to follow it is too risky?
Lord, help me to look for how You are working — and when You ask me to follow You, give me the courage to move where you want me to be.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
In the future, if the number of surveyed people stays above 10% unchurched - it's a good indicator that we are doing some good. Most outreaches I've been involved in in the past were 6% or lower. While the true percentage is probably higher, the measured amount is the only tangible number with which to make decisions.
Also, if the percentage of surveyed people who are unchurched begins to drop over consecutive years - it's time to admit that we are most likely on the backside of an S-curve. This means reinventing the light show...like a light show on a Kansas grain elevator...or completely killing it for a different event would be wise. What counts is not the sheer number of people who come to the event - but how many people who don't know Christ. It's all about having an opportunity to share Christ with them.
God, help us to make wise use of the resources You give us (time, money, people, energy). You said the harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. So we want to make what we do count. May You be broadcast in our community...help us learn how to best do it.
Wednesday, January 07, 2009
I'm taking a risk in publicly revealing the results from the online survey from the 5,500+ people who came to the 2008 Topeka Light Show. Why bare all and reveal the results? Because we need to know if we should continue it.
Without saying whether or not we'd continue the 3-story drive-in light show with live musicians - download the comparison report to take a look at the results and decide for yourself. In another post, I'll share my thoughts on the data and let you know what I think.
UPDATE: Link should now work properly. Thanks Dustin for catching it.
Tuesday, January 06, 2009
One of the things I was impressed about TBC's musicians right from the start was the fact that they have breakfast together every Sunday AM between the 1st and 2nd hours of worship. They usually pile in one or two cars together and head out for some grub before they came back for the 2nd and 3rd round.
This impressed me because it builds relationships and camaraderie far more than anything structured I could ever set up. They laugh together. Learn about each others' lives. Rehash the 1st hour of worship. Share joys and frustrations. This is MORE IMPORTANT than the music we play. I'm not gonna make it a challenge for them to do this - I'm looking for ways to make it easier. In fact, I take a $20 out of the offering each week to pay for their breakfast...and I ask them to keep the change (ok folks, kidding).
They use a parking cone to get a prime parking spot when they return from breakfast. At first glace, the cone looks like the band members are lazy or simply don't want to walk further to the church. In fact, an anonymous person wrote the word "LAZY" not once - but twice on the cone. I don't know who wrote it - and I hope I never find out. I'm not a big fan of poker playing Christians who like to do things anonymously whether it's a back-handed joke or just crank turning. The only place anonymity has in Christianity is when you are praying/worshipping, giving, or serving - all perfect places for a cloak.
They aren't LAZY - trust me. These folks come every Thursday for 2-3 hours. They practice music at home. They show up every Sunday at 7AM to setup gear and don't leave until after 12:30PM. Let me ask you - is that a lazy group to you? No. OK, so you might think they are lazy for parking in the front. I wonder if the person who wrote LAZY is giving as much unpaid volunteer time. Enough of my poison-pen-cone-scribing friend. I forgive you - publicly.
Allow me to explain the #1 reason they NEED to park close to the church. They simply don't want to be late to the 2nd hour of worship. I don't want them to be late either ... I need them to lead worship with me. So they park close to the church so they can pile out and be ready to roll.
Folks, I want this musician breakfast vehicle parking close to the church!
However, I can completely see how parking right in the front makes the rest of the TBC worshippers and our guests feel. In fact, if you were looking for a good parking spot, saw a bunch of people get out of a vehicle to move a cone and park there - then you yourself have to hike two blocks to the church in subzero weather ... and as you enter the auditorium, you see the same group of people lead you in worship ... well, I might be a little miffed to - if I didn't understand the "why" behind the cone.
So here's what we are going to do...all musicians who use the 1 or 2 cones for breakfast parking will park right next to the church in the back West Mulvane parking lot (right outside the backstage back door). This will get them to breakfast quicker and back quicker - and allow the MORE IMPORTANT thing to happen ... RELATIONSHIPS.
Listen, at the end of our life on your deathbed - where you park isn't going to make any difference, but the relationships with the people around your deathbed will.
By the way, I'm finished with my library parking lot commitment for 2008. I have to admit - it wasn't just bitter cold some mornings...my spirit was slightly bitter when I made the walk up to the church and back to the car in the cold. I'm not going to be lazy and park right up at the church so my car takes up 3 parking spots all morning.
Lord, help us focus on things that really matter to You. I'm talking about the big things. Not what we wear, eat, drink, or where we park - but where our heart is with You.
Monday, January 05, 2009
Lord, I don't want to simply hear Your words. I want to act on them. But if I'm honest, many times I'm not even listening to Your words.
Here's what I need to do...
1. Read the Bible to listen to Your words
2. Determine what action You'd like me to take
3. Act on it
4. Look back to evaluate what action I've taken and how it matches up with Your word
5. Don't be satisfied with taking one action, repeat #1-4
Thank you for being patient with me while so many times I hear, but don't budge. I don't want You to have to move my butt for me. I want to do it because I love You and want to follow You with every move I make.
Saturday, January 03, 2009
Regardless, we've all been insulted at different times in our life. Maybe it was our mullet, rolled jeans, or comb in the back pocket in the 80s. Or maybe because we like music that isn't popular. When it gets really bad, some call it "persecution." The larger question for me is WHY have I been insulted.
The Bible says God desires to bless those who are insulted and persecuted because of Him (Matthew 5:11). I may be insulted, but if it's because of a decision/action that I made on my own — it doesn't count. If I'm insulted/persecuted just 'because' — it doesn't count. But if I'm insulted by someone because I've lived my life in light of how Christ would live — then I believe I'll be blessed.
The question is — the next time I'm insulted, am I being insulted because of my association with Christ? Or something else? Am I ever insulted at all for Christ for anything? If not, am I playing my life too safe and wasting away opportunities God is bringing me?
Why do people insult you these days?