Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Christmas Event Hint #12

Hint #12: Some people like musical chairs, but these we'll use windows.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Christmas Event Hint #10

Hint #10: Three stories up on the south.

Christmas Event Hint #9

Hint #9: It takes place in 15 minutes.

Christmas Event Hint #8

Hint #8: There's a 5,000 seat capacity.

Christmas Event Hint #7

Hint #7: It'll happen in the dark.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Hot Air Ballons and 2 Year Olds

"Everyone was filled with awe." That's what the Bible says in Acts 2 about what happened when the first believers gathered together. It must have been a time of wonder and transformation!

It must have been a little bit like what our 2 1/2 year old son, Joshua, experienced when he saw hot air balloons up close for the very first time at Topeka's Huff and Puff event. The beauty. The power. The enormity. The gentleness.

Joshua held on tight, but his eyes were wide open - taking it all in. He wanted to stay glued, but wasn't sure it was OK to go closer. Check out the video of him.

When is the last time I stood in awe of God, just like our son Joshua did with hot air balloons?

God, remind me with a healthy fear of who You really are. You have ultimate power over my life and death - yet You care for me as a friend. I stand in awe of You. My words will be few - because who am I to say anything to You or about You?

Let My Words Be Few

Chorus 1
And I'll stand in awe of You
Yes I'll stand in awe of You
And I'll let my words be few
Jesus I am so in love with You

Verse 1
You are God in heaven
And here am I on earth
So I'll let my words be few
Jesus I am so in love with You

Verse 2
The simplest of all love songs
I want to bring to You
So I'll let my words be few
Jesus I am so in love with You

CCLI Song #3040980
© 2000 Thankyou Music
Beth Redman | Matt Redman

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Christmas Event Hint #6

Hint #6: They'll never come through the door.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Christmas Event Hint #5

Hint #5: There's be lots of electricity in the air.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Christmas Event Hint #2

Hint #2: There's definitely a Sonic quality about it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

How to Be Fast and Perfect

Someone once told me, "Anyone can play a guitar like Phil Keaggy, it just take them longer to get there."

After hearing Phil in concert, I want to shake people who make comments like this and say, "You don't know my limitations. My brain is not like his. My coordination isn't like his. My dexterity isn't like his." Regardless of these excuses I make, it's true - I can play (almost) like Phil if I'm willing to put in the time.

Here's the secret. Time. Musicians have long struggled to learn how to quickly become close to perfect in singing or playing an instrument. There's a fundamental problem with the word quick - because it fights against quality. Quality almost always takes time.

The mistake many musicians make is that they want to play that riff or sing that lick like their favorite artist right away. It's not fast food. It's a gourmet meal.

So what do you do? Slow down! Play/sing it hear perfect slowly. Work up to it. If you start making mistakes, you are going too fast. Look at the picture above. Musicians should strive to stay in the upper quadrants. As soon as you fall below the middle line, you are going too fast. Many musicians make the mistake of hanging out in the lower right quadrant (where the red X is).

What about my spiritual life? Any correlation? Do I want to become a man of God too fast? Am I willing to pay the price in time to be the man of God with character He desires? Or do I simply want to not try because it is unattainable. Without God's help, it is impossible. With God's help, a willing heart, forgetting the past, and future patience - God help me refine my walk with Him.

Am I willing to pay the price?

Philippians 3:13-15 (New International Version)

Brothers, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Nelson's Go to Another Church

Last weekend, my wife and I worshiped at a different church. We went to Elmbrook Church (Brookfield, WI). Elmbrook is #66 on 100 Largest U.S. Churches of 2006 and is #15 on America's 25 Top Multiplying Churches (according to What was our experience like? Here are some of my notes...

  • The worship space seats 1,800
  • The facility is 90,000 sq.feet
  • They had enormous flat screens in lobby (put they were off?)
  • They used clear, large, simple, and graphically unified signage
  • Message theme was "knowing the Lord of jubilee"
  • The bulletin/program cover themed with series, had limited info (featured info only), and was designed for first time guests in mind
  • The worship band (bass, acoustic, acoustic drums, piano/keybrds, four vox (pno,guitar, plus 2 vox)/, auxillary perc)
  • They opened with singing a "performance" song of "Majesty" five-minutes before the actual start time, lyrics were displayed on two large screens at this time, few worshippers in the house sang during this time, there was no welcome before this, the worship leader invited us to stand and sing on 2nd chorus of the song (I kinda liked the slow 'ease' start)
  • There was a 10-5 second transition btwn first two songs
  • Second song was "Come, Thou Fount" traditional lyrics with a different middle chorus, "sing praises to the lamb, who for my peace was slain, sing praises to the Great I Am" (enjoyed the variety, ancient/future feel)
  • All graphics on song lyric projection fit the semon theme
  • Hip-hop praise kids dance troup was introduced with a disclaimer, claiming to redeem this style of music/dance, dancing was appropriate, they wore jeans and purple T's, although this element didn't seem to fit the theme of the worship gathering
  • The middle school pastor came up immediately to seque to a welcome to to the "Brook" (nick-name for the church), he featured a kick-off to ministry called Tuesday Night Live Sept 11, announcement for everyone (men, women, children), followed up with a table and booth in lobby after worship, total time was 3 minutes
  • They used IMAG (image magnification during worship, but not during songs), used shadow behind text, used a font other than Times New Roman or Arial, was easily readable
  • After announcement, the worship band went immediately into next song, no invite to sing right away, but then did invite to sing on 2nd chorus (again, nice way to ease into the song), "Here Am I" song "take my voice and let me sing, always only for thee," invited to stand at second chorus
  • No jeans on stage (except for hip-hop element), all khaki pants, all untucked shirts
  • Song by Fernando Ortega "...when the morning falls on the farthest hill, when dark trials come and my heart is filled" (nicely done, performance element)
  • Worship leader setup a audio/video report from the Senior Pastor in Nirobee, stage was setup with message illustration objects for drama during this video (good time to do it)
  • Followed with prayer by middle school pastor immediately after video, "let's pray" is all he said, it's all that was needed at that point
  • Worship leader asked ushers to come forward immediately following prayer and began the next song "let my words be few"
  • Worship leader began almost...each song as a solo
  • Worship leader simply said "you may be seated" following the song (I liked the limited 'gabber' following the songs and introducing them)
  • The audio EQ wasn't set right on pastor giving the message, however it was corrected in the first 1 minute to be better, volume was always fine, just EQ
  • The pastor began with a common story about "duel citizenship"
  • Following the common story scripture read
  • They used a video lowered third when reading scripture --- "Luke 20:20-40, page 744 pew Bible"
  • Prayer after scripture reading
  • The pastor used illustration objects on stage (telescope/future, golf clubs/hobbies, crib/family, wedding cake/marriage, drinking fountain/work, school desk/school, piggybank/finances)
  • When the pastor prayed, the video screens went to a blank graphic screen with message themed graphics
  • He told a riveting story about an usher who found a seat at a tent meeting for a young Billy Grahm, who then turned his heart to Christ that evening, this usher is an unknown kindgom builder, so who influenced the lives of millions (Billy or the usher, or God?)
  • Worship leader followed message with "I Surrender, All to You" copyrighted by
  • The word (solo) was displayed on screen when it was just one person singing from the front and the worshipers listened
  • The Senior Pastor came back up and closed the worship gathering, he gave a special welcome to guests, featured a special evangelistic event on Sept 14, Lee Strobel, he deemed it an evangelistic event for co-workers/friends, brochures available in in the lobby following, he then featured (for a second time) if you want more info on Tues Night Live to hit the table in the lobby
  • Pastor invited people to stand, and he closed in prayer- band played final chorus instrumentally of final song
  • I met the worship leader following the worship gathering. His name is Matt DePreist, one of 5 on their music staff. They used CCLI Song Select leadsheets. Matt said they have a variety of music each week and that I'd want to come for a month to catch the real Elmbrook music culture.