Tuesday, April 08, 2014

The Health Of The Local Church

This photo is a picture of the health of the local church.

I remember the meeting as if it were yesterday. It was February 2011. I sat among our “leaders of leaders” - our Church Trustees - as they met to discuss what could be called any number of things - a leadership pipeline, a succession plan, a contingency plan, a plan for the future - any and all of those and more. I was so impressed that our men and women of our church were thinking this way. They were asking God “what if” - “what’s next” and so much more.

Fast forward to 3 short years later (April 2014), and I’m pretty sure no one in that room in February 2011 pictured what would be.

I took this photo a week or so ago.

On the left is Jim Baker. Jim has served as my Executive Pastor, direct supervisor, and friend for the past 10 years. He has spoken truth into my life, he has advised me, he has encouraged me, he has counseled me, he has served me, he has taught me, he has loved me (even in times when I didn’t deserve it) - he has seen me at my best, and he has seen me at my worst. He is one of the most self-less people I have ever met. This man’s love for God and His Church is incomparable.

Jim is retiring this month. He won’t ever really retire - he’s just moving into his next season of life where I believe he will have an even greater impact on the Kingdom.

On the right is Brian Dodridge. Brian was hired to be the Associate Executive Pastor a couple of years ago - to learn from Jim and to serve specific roles in the administration and organization of our church. Brian is now moving into Jim’s role as Executive Pastor.

In my final official meeting with Jim, we discussed (with Brian in the room) those things (between me and Jim) that Brian needed to know moving forward. It was a fascinating meeting - a “passing of the baton” - a picture of what has been and what is to come - all in the room at the same time. I asked them if I could take this photo. They looked at me kinda funny, then I took the picture.

This picture is very important to me. This picture is a picture of the health of the local church. This picture is intentional. This picture is necessary. One man with great experience and wisdom, handing off what he has learned to the younger man. The younger man will now lead our church into the future.

Jim is 62. Brian is 38.

I told my son this week that I am 24 years older than my new boss. He asked me if that was weird. I told him absolutely not - I couldn’t be more excited about it!

Friday, October 04, 2013

Take Time To Dance

Baptist Alert! You may find the following offensive!

I can probably count on one hand the number of times in my life that I have danced with my wife.

That is not because I’m against dancing, and it’s not because I don’t love my wife. I don’t have any good reasons why I have not danced more with my wife than I have. I just haven’t.

Yesterday morning, as I was in a hurry (which is most every morning) to get my stuff together to get to the office, I was about to walk through a doorway to get something, and Karla was standing in the doorway.

As I moved to one side of the doorway to slip past her, she moved immediately in front of me as if to stop me. As I then moved to the other side of the doorway to slip past her, she moved quickly to that side of the doorway to stop me again. This went back and forth until I said, “Oh - I get it - you wanna dance!” (remember - we never dance…..)

So I reached out my left hand to take her right hand, put my right hand on her lower back and we began to slow dance to no music. She actually complimented me on my dancing. The whole dancing experience lasted about 2 minutes (after all - I was in a hurry!)

Her physical interruption of my morning pace was spontaneous, make-me-stop-because-I’m-in-a-hurry, and never-in-a-million-years-would-have-thought-about-doing-that-at-that-time. It was 2 minutes of the pleasure of the company of my best friend/the one person in this world that I have given my life, love, all of myself to for almost 35 years.

So….take the time to dance - it was by far the best 2 minutes of my Thursday, October 3, 2013!

P.S. As we stopped dancing, I looked her in the eye, and said “we need to do this more often” - she agreed.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Remembering - My Dad

On the day after our nation remembers what we will never forget, I remember my Dad.

Wilburn Jiles Worley (WJ) would have been 91 today. He's been in heaven since April 2009.

Five years ago, I posted the following on this blog:

For all these years W.J has lived and contributed to so many people's lives in a variety of ways. He has done so in what many would call "the old fashion way" - hard work, determination, and caring for others.

His dry sense of humor, his quiet spirit, and his work ethic have always impressed me, and anyone who knows him.

As a child, I remember him working 12 hours @ day - 7 days a week at the Gulf Service Station. I don't know how he did it.

Together we have built many things in and around our home. They are constant reminders of his ability to use his hands to create something of value. I love "constructing things with wood", and that love comes directly from him.

My favorite of all time is this deck that we built 20+ years ago (in the summer of 1988). The people who now live in this house probably don't realize how special that "work of art" is to my family, but I will always remember that experience!
(Good grief, I hope I can build something like this when I am 66 years old!!)

So, thanks Mr. Worley for being around for 86 years. You are a really good man, friend, husband, father, grandfather, and great-grandfather.
And today, on September 12, 2013 I remember my Dad and thank God for him...... and I wish he were still around to help me build more things!

(The photo at the top was taken in 2007. He is with my sister's grandson. I love this photo and the expressions on their faces!)

(The photos below tell you that generations continue - 20 years ago, My Dad taking my son on a ride..... a few years ago, me taking my grandson on a ride.)

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

She Only Wrote One Hymn

I wish Kate B. Wilkinson had written more hymns. The internet tells me very little about her other than she was from England and she died at age 69. What I do know is that she wrote these words and they matter....


May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.

May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.

May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.

May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting; self abasing -
This the victory.

May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.

May His beauty rest upon me
As I seek the lost to win;
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.

Friday, July 13, 2012

PLOT DEVICE - One Year Later

Everyone has their favorite July 4th holiday memories and experiences. It’s no different for me. Growing up, we always went to my grandmother’s country church’s picnic. Many years later, Karla and I remember moving into our current house in 1990, and we were painting our bedroom on July 4th instead of participating in all kinds of neighborhood festivities. Who can forget our famous July 4th Choir Cookouts (featuring Back Yard Burgers coming to my house to cook them in my back yard) - with “live” music to annoy our neighbors and a hundred cars parked all over the common ground area.

For reasons I will re-visit in a moment, some very unexpected things were happening at the same time as last year’s July 4th holiday.

It’s been a fun year, and I thought I would take the space here on my blog to re-cap some of those highlights, and then I may finally change my Facebook profile picture! HAHAHA!

Seth’s short film, PLOT DEVICE released on-line on June 27, 2011 with ONE view! -
(I think it was me!)

20 days later it had 478,000 views! -
(currently it has 980,000 views counting YouTube and the “Behind The Scenes” clip)

In a 5-day stretch around July 4 last year, it had 311,000 views!

So, this time last year, we didn’t know what we were dealing with.
(people in countries I could not pronounce were viewing my driveway, front yard, and cul-de-sac on the internet!)

Since July 13 of last year, here are just a few things that have happened:

1. Seth went to Los Angeles in mid-July 2011 to meet with potential Hollywood talent agents

Hollywood Reporter - Article

Hollywood News - Article

2. Seth signed with ICM in August

Hollywood Reporter - Plot Device Filmaker Signs With ICM

3. Seth made his second trip to Los Angeles in September - had (21) meetings in (7) days - met with Producers who make movies and Executives who make the decisions which movies get made. (the purpose of those meetings was to introduce Seth to as many influential movie-making people in Hollywood as possible)

4. Seth was asked to speak at the annual NAB Convention’s MediaMotion Ball in Las Vegas

MediaMotion Ball - Seth Worley

5. PLOT DEVICE was featured as part of ‘in-flight’ entertainment on VIRGIN AIRLINES domestic flights during the month of April

6. PLOT DEVICE was nominated and won a Webby Award - (a Webby Award is supposedly the equivalent of an ‘Academy Award’ for internet content)

Plot Device - Webby Nomination - Red Giant Blog

Webby Awards - Plot Device - Winner - Article

Webby Awards - Plot Device - Winner

7. PLOT DEVICE was featured in an on-line Forbes Magazine article

Plot Device - Forbes - Article

8. Seth will be one of the speakers/presenters at the upcoming STORY 2012 Creative Conference in Chicago in September - (the list of speakers/presenters is quite impressive - if you want to take a minute to read about them at this quirky/creative website)

Story 2012 - Chicago - Seth Worley

There are many other really neat stories that happened along the way - new relationships - potential doors opening, etc… It’s been a crazy, wild ride of a year. Seth continues to educate me about the film industry - I spend a lot of time on my IMDB Pro app reading about who’s making what films, what they cost, and other inside scoop! (takes me back - a little bit - to my days working in the music business where I would open up Billboard Magazine to see what’s happening in the crazy music business!) I would never compare the Nashville Music Business to Hollywood because I know so little of both.

I do know that of all the websites, research, articles, and everything else I have read this past year, the most profound article was this one.

What It's Like To Fail At The Box Office

I will never forget what this guy says at the end of his article! It sums up what I believe about people with a calling and passion and ability. Seth sent this to me, and of all the great and fun things that we have experienced this past year - this article will remain central to anything that may or may not ever happen in Seth’s future. It’s a phenomenal lesson!

So - Seth is taking the necessary “next steps” on his journey, and when the time is appropriate, I will share those. Thank you for sharing in this past year with us.

For now, whenever you need a good laugh, just click HERE and enjoy!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Masi Choir - Living Hope In South Africa

The journey began in July of 2004. Karla and I boarded a plane for Cape Town, South Africa at the request of our Missions Minister, Scott Harris who had introduced us to a man named, John Thomas. John's story is amazing, and his vision, leadership, and compassion for the people within walking distance of his home and church (who suffer in poverty and many with HIV/AIDS) is extraordinary. You can (and should) read about Living Hope HERE Karla and I led our first team of musicians to Living Hope in Cape Town in March 2006. We led seminars for local musicians/worship leaders, and we worshiped at the Masiphumelele Baptist Church, led by their (small in numbers, but powerful in spirit in sound) Choir! From the very first time I met John Thomas, it was his dream for someone to help this Choir record a new CD. The next year - March 2007, we took our second team to Cape Town with the primary purpose of recording this Choir. God led Steve Hindalong to us (Steve wrote the ever-popular worship song, "God Of Wonders"), and his passion for this group (as Producer of this project) was evident from the first time we walked into their tiny church building.
Between March 2007 and today, so many different people have stepped up at just the right time to do whatever needed to be done to help The Masi Choir and Living Hope. John met (3) significant Christian artists who all visited Living Hope and told John they would do whatever they could to support Living Hope, so through a series of what could only be called small miracles, we were able to record Dan Haseltine from Jars Of Clay, Mark Hall from Casting Crowns, and Michael W. Smith - each doing one song on this CD.
Dan Haseltine from Jars of Clay recorded his vocal on the song, LORD BLESS AFRICA - The South Africa National Anthem. Mark Hall re-recorded his song, IF WE ARE THE BODY - adding The Masi Choir singing backing vocals. Michael W. Smith recorded a new song (written by Steve Hindalong and Jeremy Johnson), WE SING - about the people of the community of Masiphumelele - who after their beloved Pastor of their tiny church was murdered in his own church - they still sang, and they will always sing.
So - tomorrow night - THURSDAY, APRIL 26 - we will gather in the Worship Center of Brentwood Baptist Church as part of the Worship Leader Magazine Song DISCovery Creative Conference and celebrate all that God has done and is doing, and part of that celebration will be for people to hear more about the work of Living Hope, and to launch the release of this CD - The Masi Choir - Living Hope In South Africa.
We will hear from John Thomas, be greeted (via video) by Dan Haseltine and Mark Hall, then hear Michael W. Smith sing his song from the CD and share of his experience of visiting Living Hope. Worship Leader Magazine Song DISCovery Creative Conference NIGHT OF WORSHIP Thursday - April 26, 2012 - 6:30pm to 8:30pm - Brentwood Baptist - Worship Center - FREE - Doors Open @ 6:00pm
If you cannot attend, please watch via "live" webstream on your computer or mobile device - CLICK HERE

Friday, April 06, 2012

Bridge Building

I have lost count of how many of these I have built. Actually, it’s probably only 3, but it could be as many as 5.

If you know our neighborhood, one of the things we love about it is the common ground behind our cul-de-sac that connects the backyards of homes on other streets.

Between those yards and common ground area are varying degrees of ditches where water flows (sometimes like a raging river) ultimately into the Harpeth River.

After 22 years of water flowing, you can imagine that some of these ‘ditches’ become pretty deep. So at some point several years ago, after watching many a kid using my backyard as a short-cut to get home in time for dinner, I decided to build a bridge to allow easier access for said kids. After all, I don’t want to be responsible for a kid being late for dinner because he drove his bike into MY ditch!

So, my simple combination of pieces of lumber to form an 8x8 bridge became just that - a structure spanning and providing passage over a gap or barrier.
By now, you may be asking why have I built so many of these in my backyard? Well, I never dreamed that water would flow so furiously that it would carry my bridge away, but it has - frequently.

Karla loves this bridge, and we have been without one for several months now, so this week I decided we needed the latest version.

I chose this week for another reason.

Today is Good Friday, and (3) years ago on Good Friday, we had my Dad’s Memorial Service.

One of the amazing things I shared with my Dad over the last 20 years of his life was the opportunity and privilege of building something together. He taught me many things about building stuff. I am not the craftsman of many of my friends, but I have many wonderful reminders of my Dad’s handiwork in and around my home.

So, as corny as it may be - I proudly dedicate this latest version of the Worley Bridge to my Dad - in memory and honor of you, W.J.

Thanks, and I miss you - you were a true bridge builder in the way you lived your life.