Friday, February 27, 2009

Church gives it all away

Saw this on NBC nightly news. In the age of the mega church, check out this pastor who works out of a coffee shop, rents a local school, musicians rehearse at someone's house, all so they can give away every penny they are given to help others.

Family game night at our house - shirts and skins

LED light tunnel "Multiverse"

One of Topeka Bible Church's drummers sent this to me (thanks, Thad) and suggested it for next year's light show. How cool!

Villareal "Multiverse" National Gallery of Art, Washington DC from Walter Patrick Smith on Vimeo.

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Met myself at Wendy's tonight

He spells it the same way I do, too. If you see Bryan, give him a shout
and say - hey, I saw you on vertical resonator blog.

Joshua's first laptop

How generations use technology

Where do you fall? If you are reading this, are you under 50?


New data from the Barna Group reveals the breakdown of technology use between different generations. You can read all of the conclusions here. David Kinnaman comments about some of the results:

blog it

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Topeka Bible Church 2009 light show video now online

A big thanks to Matt Ottman and James Covey for both voluntarily filming and uploading these light show segments.

The testimony of the guy who wrote Dust in the Wind and Carry On Wayward Son

Here is Kerry Livgren's story of the progressive rock band Kansas. This video was shown last weekend at Topeka Bible Church before Kerry came on stage to share some more with our lead pastor.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Topeka Bible Church staff meeting goes wrong

You'll have to come this Sunday to Topeka Bible Church to see what these pictures are about. Hilarious! All I can say is that you are in for a real treat! And, yes, Leoti got injured in the process. Poor, poor Leoti.

Monday, February 23, 2009

How to create sheet music from audio MP3 - Kristian Stanfill "Kingdom"

How do you create sheet music from an audio recording if you don't have a ton of time or the tools to do so? Answer:

My wife has a website
called where she takes requests from people to create sheet music that hasn't been written yet from the audio of the music. Here is an example of some great worship music by an artist called Kristian Stanfill. I've never heard of him until now - and now that I've heard him, I'm a fan. Lisa just finished transcribing his song "Kingdom."

If you'd like to see an example of the chords/lyrics/leadsheet for Kingdom - CLICK HERE. Email if interested in the full version.

His full album "Attention" comes out 4.21.09.

Check out the video of Kristian's song...tasty stuff. By the way, the video is a montage of the First Free Will Baptist Church's youth group trip to Student Life in Memphis. The song is "Kingdom" by Kristian Stanfill. And I just noticed that Francis Chan spoke at the event - great communicator of the truth.

How to create sheet music from audio MP3 - Kristian Stanfill "Alive and Running"

How do you create sheet music from an audio recording if you don't have a ton of time or the tools to do so? Answer:

My wife has a website
called where she takes requests from people to create sheet music that hasn't been written yet from the audio of the music. Here is an example of some great worship music by an artist called Kristian Stanfill. I've never heard of him until now - and now that I've heard him, I'm a fan. Lisa just finished transcribing his song "Alive and Running."

If you'd like to see an example of the chords/lyrics/leadsheet for Alive and Running - CLICK HERE. Email if interested in the full version.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

CJOnline interviews Kerry Livgren about the movie "The Imposter"

Check out the interview backstage with Kerry Livgren about the movie The Imposter.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Movie producer mentions Topeka Bible Church on blog

Check out comments by Daniel Millican about the movie this weekend sponsored by Topeka Bible Church at West Ridge 8 Theaters. Tickets are gone, gone, gone for 6 showings (3 show times, double-up theaters).
Topeka is packing them out this Sunday. Kerry Livgren's home church is buying out a movie theater and doing six screenings on Sunday. Brian at Topeka Bible Church says tickets are all gone for all six. Amazing!!
Daniel Millican
I am married and have two children. I write and direct movies, including Striking Range with Lou Diamond Phillips, A Promise Kept with Mimi Rogers and Sean Patrick Flannery, Keyman with Adam Baldwim, and The Imposter with Kevin Max.

Kids have a breakfast picnic this morning

That's Joshua's blanket he's using for a table cloth drapped over a box.

Kayla still running a fever this morning

Poor girl.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Pastor's wife goes for Nat's jugular after church business meeting

My vote at the TBC business meeting

They'll need a mirror to read mine.

At the TBC business meeting, WOW!

Exciting TBC business meeting

Food ALWAYS comes first before business.

TBC Youth Pastor, can you find him in this photo?

So cute.

Kerry Livgren plays pipe organ

Check out Kerry Livgren playing the pipe organ at Washburn University prior to a Kansas concert with the Washburn Symphony Orchestra. Come on, Kerry, let's hear some Dust in the Wind or Carry On Wayward Son on those pipes.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

TBC transitions/future announced @ Wed TBC business meeting/potluck

Come Wednesday night 6pm to 8pm to catch the upcoming news before
anyone else! OK, that was a cheap way to get you to come to the
potluck/business meeting at Topeka Bible Church.

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Friday, February 13, 2009

Can others tell what you believe, like an Honest Abe?

What do people see when they look at us? I wonder when people look at my life, or meet me for the first time and spend 5 minutes with me, if they could tell exactly what I believe and why I believe it?

If not, then am I wasting God-given opportunities given to me? Just wondering.

Check out what USA Today, and others, had to say about Abe Lincoln's faith 200 years later...

clipped from
200 years later, Lincoln's faith remains an enigma

Lincoln didn't make things easy for historians. He was reticent and often inscrutable about his personal faith. Moreover, his ideas changed over time, as he dealt with the deaths of two sons and the pressure of the presidency amid the Civil War.

Still, Lincoln never joined a church. Some say he just wasn't a "joiner." Others argue that he couldn't abide by complicated creeds.

Many agree Lincoln wasn't the type to open himself to the spiritual scrutiny often expected of church members.

"He was a very private man," biographer David Herbert Donald said.

Nevertheless, when Lincoln's son Edward died in 1850, he turned to a Presbyterian pastor for answers. "Why did God take my son?" he asked the Rev. James Smith of Springfield, Ill., at the beginning of their friendship.

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Joshua and I work on his Grand Prix car

The tongue and dimple are his trademarks.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Vocal Team Notes

Here are some notes from last week's rehearsal with the entire Vocal Team. These are just some thoughts recently that I've been thinking of for us. It's not a full list — but important for today.
  • Music is NOT the most important thing here, our relationships are (with God and each other). While we seek musical excellence, it's not the main driving force...worship is (meaning what we are singing/playing). In other words, don't be afraid to be a little messy if it means you are authentically worshiping.
  • Wean yourself off sheet music ASAP. The music is there to serve the purpose of meaning something from your heart — rarely do others believe you mean something if you are reading it from something else. The video monitor screens in the back are there to help us lead without obstruction.
  • Lead into the next song by keeping the energy going between songs (applause, amen, visually).
  • Your visual expression of worship is more important than your musical execution. Both are important, but visual is more important.
  • Take the stage in a casual fashion. Come up from the back of the stage or from the auditorium or wherever...and at different times. We'll leave the stage orderly though.
  • Continue to sing if the worship leader backs away from the mic...they are letting you take the vocal lead.
  • Track with what is happening. Eyes and head should track with someone who is giving announcements or talking on stage during worship. People are watching us.
There are other things we've talked about — being messy, dressing to lead others in worship, and others. If anyone wants my notes...just email me.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stage view from the video production room

Ever wonder what it looks like from the crows nest where the video production room is? Take a look. My 4 year old son LOVES going up here. Hoping he doesn't fall out the window anytime.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Kids musical cranks up

It's that time of year again. The kids musical (grades 1-6), led by Joyce Harris and her posse, are cranking up the kids musical. There were a TON of sick families out this week. Glad they weren't there — I don't want to get sick. This year's musical is called Cross Country.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Father son creative project

Last week Joshua and I embarked on a creative adventure. Want to see what we made together. Check it out. We used a McDonald's fry box, chocolate milk drinks, cereal boxes, old thermostat, light stick, plastic forks, and a little tape.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Christians and atheists duke it out in marketing campaign

This one is great. Christian buys advertising. Atheist is offended. Atheist retaliates with own ad. Christians and atheists duke it out with slick marketing campaigns.

Wonder if anyone will trust Jesus because of this. What do you think?
clipped from

Christians and Atheists Battle in London Bus Wars

religion advertising transport london uk

The word of God is on the move in London — literally. Beginning Feb. 9, three
separate Christian groups will launch advertisements on more than 200 of
London's buses to convince pedestrians of God's existence. "It may be
unpopular and unpleasant, says David Larlham, the assistant general
secretary of London's Trinitarian Bible Society, a group that distributes
bibles worldwide, "but there is a whole lot of truth in the bible that
people need to get to grips with." His organization has paid $50,000 to
display posters on 125 of London's red double-decker buses that quote Psalm
53: "The fool hath said in his heart, there is no God."

Deadly worship lyrics

Imagine if you walked in church Sunday AM and saw lyrics and heard people singing the following...

The fighter jet and its pilot God has hurled into the sea. The prime minister's tanks and his army God has cast into the sea; And his top administrators are drowned in the ocean. The deeps cover them; They went down into the depths like a stone. Terror and dread fall upon them; By the greatness of Your arm they are motionless as stone;

I don't know about you, but I'd probably look at my wife and say, "We're outta here," with my eyes while clutching my kids — hoping none of the ushers TASER us on the way out.

The words are more important than anything else in a worship song. What do the lyrics say about God yesterday, today, and in the future? Do they accurately describe God? Will the lyrics resonate with those who use the lyrics as a vehicle of worship.

Now check out the lyrics that the Israelites sang in worship to God as they remembered what God did for them as they fled Egypt.

The horse and its rider He has hurled into the sea. Pharaoh’s chariots and his army He has cast into the sea; And the choicest of his officers are drowned in the Red Sea. The deeps cover them; They went down into the depths like a stone. Terror and dread fall upon them; By the greatness of Your arm they are motionless as stone; Exodus 15 (excerpts)

How 'bout them worship lyrics? They helped the Israelites remember what God did as they passed this song on from generation to generation. And here you are reading the lyrics. It must have been important to remember what God has done in the past. It's still important today — because we forget so easily how God worked in our lives just this past year.

Lord, help me wisely choose songs that speak of who You really are, what You have done, and what You mean to us. Help me not forget what You have done for me.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Wondering what difference I can make, I'm just one person

I've grown up with the band Delirious?. [For those that don't know, the ? is a part of the band's name.] I just read an article in the Topeka Capital Journal about a project this band (and its leader Martin Smith) are undertaking. Parts of the article "Artists respond to the needs of the poorest of the poor" are clipped below.

How about me? If God has placed me here on this earth to make a difference, what should it be? Can little me really make a difference? If so, how?

Or do I shy away from making a difference because of the old thought that I'm only one person — what could I possibly do?
clipped from

Artists respond to needs of the poorest of the poor

Martin Smith, shown with his wife, Anna, was so moved by what he saw in Mumbai that he started CompassionArt with some of his Christian music cohorts.

Smith, who has gained worldwide acclaim as the lead singer of the UK-based group Delirious?, took time out from staying in a five-star hotel to visit a mission project in the slums of Mumbai.

So, instead of bringing home one child, Smith and his wife decided to adopt all 70 children who were living in the project.

In a recent phone chat from the UK, a six-hour time difference from Topeka, Smith seemed gratified and a little surprised at the attention CompassionArt has garnered to date.

"It's amazing, isn't it?" Smith said. "I think God must be in it. We're grateful for all the support."

Smith said there was no "game plan" for CompassionArt but did say he was hopeful the artists would band together for some live shows next year.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

TBC rockstars and moviestars, oh my!

Check out the trailer below. TBC's own Kerry Livgren plays a significant role in the new movie "The Imposter" showing at Westridge 8 Theater on February 22 @ 1:30, 4:00, and 6:15pm. Several of Kerry's songs are featured in the film, including "Carry On Wayward Son" sung by Kevin Max of DCTalk. Pick up FREE tickets in the TBC lobby on Sunday AM — or during the week during office hours (M-F 8:30a-5:00p) 785-234-5545. Each show is limited to 270 people and first come first serve.

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

White Church Guys (Can't) Rap

Yikes! If you need to know, yes — they aren't trying to do the real thing here. But entertaining — and sets up what they are talking about for the morning. Let's see Hank and Doug do a Run DMC for us to kick off our next message series at TBC.

Hard Times from Granger Community on Vimeo.

Monday, February 02, 2009

Lunch with two Topeka worship leaders

Had lunch last Wednesday with two other worship leaders in Topeka, KS. On the left, Ken Broom (Fellowship Bible Church). On the right, Gary Greening (Northland Christian Church).

We had lunch at a great place in Topeka — becoming one of my favorites. It's called Via Pizzeria. If you haven't tried it...try it. It has a little place for kids in the corner, and a Foosball table in another corner. Anyway, enough of the great place.

Why did we have lunch together? It's because I wanted the skinny on their churches, the dirt, the tricks, slick moves — you know...all the stuff that we are in competition with them on and makes us jealous. OK, that was only half of it... (seriously)

It was a lunch simply to talk shop, hang out, and get out of our box.
You see, we rarely sit down over grub to discuss what's working and what's not with others NOT in our church. It offers a fresh perspective. And it also promotes teamwork. Listen, these guys are on my team. What they do is what thousands of churches do every weekend. We all want the same thing. We want to see people led to Christ and respond in worship to Him. If our goal is the same, and we are on the same team — then by all means, let's huddle together.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

Are you second or first?

Watch Brian Welch, guitarist from Korn (and others you might know) explain how they are "second" and how someone else is "first" in their life.

Thanks to David King (drummer/librarian tech) for sharing this great website with me.