Friday, March 31, 2006

120 crayons

I had a friend ask me last night about my blog name. Here's what I told him.

A few years ago, I was asked to give a "talk" on worship, and in my preparation, the analogy of the use of crayons came to mind. I quickly made a trip to Target to investigate crayons (since my kids were long past using them on a regular basis).

I found (at that time) the smallest box of crayons was (8) and the largest was (64). I used them as "visual aids" in my talk to make this point.

In worship, we experience God in ALL of His glory - His creation, and ALL that He is and has made. I would hate to think that we are limited to only (8) colors when attempting to describe God or in our responsive expressions of worship. So, why not use all (64)......So, now if you come into my office, you will find a box of (64) crayons. They are there as a reminder.

Since that time, I have researched and learned that the newest, largest box of crayons that can be purchased is 120. (Don't ask me why it's not 128 - I don't know)

So, there is the story - more than what you cared to read......

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Great Story

I forgot what an incredible story this movie is. I don't condone the language, but I am willing to look past that for the sake of the power of the story.

If you have not watched it lately, I encourage you to do so.

There is so much in the writing and in the two main characters.....not to mention a key line from one of my favorite actors, Sydney Pollack.

And finally, there are so many "take aways" from this movie....

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

My Favorite New Hymn?

One of my favorite new hymns is the incredibly, theologically-complete creation of Keith Getty (pictured here with his wife) and Stuart Townend entitled, "In Christ Alone".

Here is what Keith Getty has to say about how the song was written and one of their favorite responses to the song.

Of all the hymns we have written, this hymn is the most popular wherever we go. Ironically, it is the first hymn we ever penned together

I had a strong very Irish melody that I could imagine a large crowd singing. I wanted it to become a hymn that would declare the whole life of Christ and what it meant. Something that could teach people the foundations of what we believed in Christ – the God who changed all of history and who wants a relationship with each us.

Stuart penned a quite incredible lyric, which the two of us edited, developed and rewrote for a couple of weeks until it became "In Christ Alone".

As well as being a credal song, it fires people with hope – that here is the God who even death cannot hold – "No guilt in life, no fear in death, this is the power of Christ in me".

One particularly moving story was a letter we received from a soldier at war:

"I wanted to share a song that has been a real inspiration to me. It is a new hymn written, I believe, a year or two ago but it has the feel of the traditional hymns. I have listened to it almost every night and even tend to sing/reflect on its words on my trips across... It has been an inspiration to me because in each of it verses it reminds me of fundamental principles.

It moves immediately to Christ's burden for those who scorned him. Boy, can I relate. We are losing soldiers here everyday to people that we are trying to help. To know that Christ purposefully gave his life for us helps me to understand that he knows that soldiers are dying and that he is in control.

Till on that cross as Jesus died
The wrath of God was satisfied -
For every sin on Him was laid;
Here in the death of Christ I live

No matter how many times I hear that verse, I get chills up my spine. The picture of Christ standing in victory, the image of sin's grip being broken and the promise that I am his and knowing that he in fact is mine brings him incredibly close to me.

As I drive down the highway with my M-16 pointed out the window and my 9MM pistol tucked in my flak jacket pocket. I can tell you that I feel more secure in claiming the promise "No power of hell, no scheme of man can ever pluck me from his hand till he returns or calls me home" than I do with that rifle and pistol."

Monday, March 27, 2006

Worship - Table Of Contents

I receive "comments" about our worship services from time to time. Some are harmless, others are a bit more intense, and then there is this one I received today.

"I miss the worship service table of contents that used to be printed in the Sunday bulletin."

Interesting, isn't it? A "table of contents". Boy, I really want to have fun with this, but there is something strangely disturbing about this.

What have we created through the years in providing everything a "worship consumer" could ever want or need when attending the worship service of their choosing? I really wonder about the culture we have created......the expectation of "menu-driven" worship - after all, we just want to know what to expect, right?

I honestly do not want to be cynical about this, nor do I want to criticize a person who merely wants to know what is happening next. I do, however want to remind whoever cares to read this that when we gather to worship God, HE is the only One who should have an agenda. We all know it "should" be about Him, not us and what we want or expect.

So, I don't criticize this person for leaving me this note. I blame myself and thousands of other worship leaders for not doing their jobs.......for not using every resource available to us to create an environment where God is the focus, and He is so much the focus that it honestly does not matter what is printed and what is not. It just matters that we experience God in all of His wonder and beauty and then move on from that experience to live our lives diffently because of it......

I have no idea what that kind of table of contents might look like, but I will be looking for it from now on.......


Sunday, March 26, 2006


I love this photo. There is something rich and great and deep and historical about these doors. They are old - they are seasoned - they represent tradition and heritage and all those things we all long for.

I have friends who are dealing with some serious issues in their lives right now. I guess the longer I live, the deeper the relationships with people who matter to me. I hurt for them - I care for them - I pray for them. I have one friend whose wife was in a serious automobile accident last September. She has never fully recovered, and in fact might never fully recover. We even thought we might be planning her memorial service soon. She is fighting hard, and wanting to get better - God, please help her.....

I have friends who are wrestling with decisions that greatly impact their future. These doors represent all kinds of questions - what's on the other side of the doors? How can they know that once they walk through "their" doors, they can know that God is with them - still leading them - still walking with them......

As you read this, I pray that whatever doors stand before you, that you will have the courage to open them in faith and obedience to God. I would hate to stand on this side of the doors wondering and never open them for fear of what God has for us on the other side......


A Bit More On South Africa

We have now been home over a week after returning from South Africa. I have had numerous conversations with those who went on our trip. We all agree - let's go back - RIGHT NOW!

Strange isn't it? Actually, it isn't all that strange. God put together a team of folks, appointed them for duty, assigned them with specific tasks, and then He accomplished His design in and through this team. If only we could leave it like that, and come back to our normal routine and continue on as if nothing had happened........

But something did happen - God moved.

This morning during our congregational singing/worship time, we were in the middle of singing "I am a friend of God" over and over again. There was enormous energy, there was great excitement and enthusiasm, but something seemed missing. I can't put my finger on it, but it happens often when standing on a stage in front of people. You give and you give, and sometimes the "receiving end of things" from the congregation/audience just feels less than what one might hope for.

I don't say that in a judgemental manner at all. I know it is not up to me how people respond in worship, but I do wish every now and then people would just jump up and down in favor of God!! I love James 2:23 - Abraham believed God, so God declared him to be righteous, and he was even called "a friend of God". That just makes me want to jump up and down!

So, back to "God moving" - I don't want to believe that I saw God moving in a more powerful way in South Africa than I do in Brentwood. I honestly don't know that, but I do know that God opened my eyes and He opened my heart. I know that happens alot on "mission trips". I am glad - my eyes and heart needed to be opened.

I am grateful for this team - their friendship, their passion, their gifts, their calling, and their "next mission" whatever it may be. And if you ever get the opportunity to "go on mission" and work with John & Avril Thomas in Cape Town, South Africa, just say yes - you will never be the same.....


Thursday, March 23, 2006

Kids These Days.......

I wanted to title this entry, "I Bet You Can't Find This At Wal-Mart"......

This is the latest in the on-going joy of watching what happens (in my garage) in the minds of our young ones when left alone with technology, toy guns, cardboard, and duct tape. I have yet to ask Ben exactly what this is, but when I do, I will let you know.

I love the creativity and imagination of kids. This "piece of art" was created from a "gargage-sale-special" very outdated VHS camcorder, a used cell phone, an old Shure sm58 microphone, a toy gun, some window viewer cut out from a shoe box, and of course the ever useful duct tape. Where is "show and tell" when we need it? Ben gets an "A" in my book!!

I am reminded of how the ever-famous WD40 got its name - after 40 tries at finding something that would "displace water" to make two surfaces rub more smoothly together, the guys came upon WD40 - water displacement on the 40th try........

Who knows what Ben Worley will call this and who knows what he will come up with next......can't wait to see!!


Friday, March 17, 2006

Back From South Africa

Karla and I are home after spending the past (11) days either on an airplane to and from Cape Town or on the ground in Cape Town leading a team of (13) of the most talented and gracious people I know. I'm still trying to figure out how my interest in SA became so intense, but I am so glad it did. (Yes, I know it was God.....and probably Scott Harris had some to do with it as well!).

John & Avril Thomas are two people I hope to get to sit next to in heaven. Spending any amount of time with them either in SA or here in the USA inspires me and challenges me to look beyond myself, to look beyond all that I have and own (or think I own or act like I own) and see (and respond) to real need. I know there are needs all around me, even in Franklin and Brentwood, and maybe my concern for those whom I have met on the other side of the world will spur me on to do more here. John & Avril not only see the need around them, but they are doing something about it - and they are doing something about it by faith, not by sight.

I hate to admit this, but I don't live much of my life by faith. I live way more of my life by sight. I think that the more I have, the less I live by faith. The more I have, the more I can depend on the stuff - my experience, my wisdom, my relationships, my resources......there is such a fine line between what God has given to us to make use of for His glory and what God has yet to reveal to us simply because we lack the faith to act on what we have yet to see.

My body is very, very tired right now, so my mind may be in that same mode. I do know this - God has given me way more than I could ever deserve, and I am humbled that He would allow me to connect with people from the other side of the world to do what I can - to offer what I inspire and encourage them in what they are doing to bring the hope and salvation of Jesus Christ to their communities.

I know that I will be wanting to write more about this, but for now, I just needed to voice my heart and say how grateful I am.

BTW - the photo is a lighthouse near where we stayed. I love all the meaning behind this photo. John & Avril and their team of very ordinary, but very dedicated people ARE this lighthouse. All you have to do is walk through their communities to see this and know this. Thank you, Lord for these wonderful people....

til next time...

Friday, March 10, 2006


This photo sums up my current state of mind and heart.....

Being in South Africa with these people is simply overwhelming...

Everyone should have lunch with the homeless at least once a week.....

More later.....