Saturday, July 22, 2006

Trip Down Memory Lane - Part 1

This is Part 1 of a 2-Part entry.

I had a neat week heading down to Texas for a few days to visit my folks. I don't see them nearly enough because of the distance between where they live and where I live. That's too bad for many reasons.

They now live about (30) minutes north of San Antonio (where I grew up).

So, we (my Mom, Dad, and myself) decided to take a trip to SA and see the places that influenced me growing up. Wow, what an experience of "looking back". The conversation in the van as we talked about "landmark" after "landmark" was rich, funny, and rewarding.

I won't bore you with too much detail (I know - that's a first!), but here's a brief overview:

Benjamin Franklin Elementary School where I attended grades 1-6

continue to the next entry for more photos and memories.......

(oh, and the photo at the top is the front porch of the house I grew up in - I can tell you where every room in that house is........)

Trip Down Memory Lane - Part 2

....we continue the "tour" of some significant places of my child-hood........

Lakeview Baptist Church where I accepted Christ and was baptized at age (7)
(my Mom was also the organist!)

2239 Fresno Drive - the house I grew up in - (wow, it seemed SO much bigger when I was a kid!!)

Northside Baptist Church where I attended until high school!

John Greenleaf Whittier Junior High School

Thomas Jefferson High School - (they don't make schools like these anymore!)

If you are ever able to go back to those places where when visiting them after so many years bring thoughts and memories to mind (both good and sometimes painful), I so much recommend it. Visiting these places with my parents was an experience I will never forget.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Idol or Icon

This excerpt from Chuck Fromm, Editor of Worship Leader Magazine is a very interesting read........

Musical excellence ultimately centers on the topic of performance. First of all, "performance" is often a shunned discussion by Christians as it relates to worship and the church. Why? Because the word "performance" is often translated into something that is inauthentic or lacking integrity. We think of performance as something that is made up or acted out in public, but does not necessarily relate to our private lives. But this way of thinking when applied to a performance art like music is problematic. To make music or deliver a speech, for that matter, requires some kind of grade-able performance.

The amount of professional jobs available for musicians underscores the common phrase of "starving musician." The American Federation of Musicians (AFM), the largest musician union group in America, claim that only 15% of their 45,000 members have steady employment. Of the 35,000 records (CD's) produced professionally in the United States, less than 200 will sell more than 50,000 units. In other words, there are very few rich musicians.

We are a country of people that create our social identities around musical style; we will pay $400 for a U2 ticket and 36.4 million people watched Taylor Hicks become the 5th American Idol. Only the Super Bowl and the Academy Awards garner bigger viewing audiences. America loves excellence in music and performance.

Now admittedly what is "excellent" is very subjective; the criteria is based on the personal taste of the participant or observer. Those who watch American Idol have your own favorite judge. The discourse they create among each other helps give us a language to express what we feel about the performance, as well. Our need is to generate some kind of rational truth about the phenomena that we just experienced, and in order to do that, we need language. In other words, the work of the judges is just as much a performance as that of the talent.

Fortunately, this is not a public process that those responsible for music in worship have to endure. Why? Because our use of music, or any media art for that matter, in worship goes far beyond "mere performance." There is a major difference between an idol and an icon. And idol brings attention to itself. The icon points to God. The goal of our music is to relate people to God. It it does that, it is excellent, if not, it's not.....

Friday, July 14, 2006


This is an actual photo taken in downtown Chicago.

Better yet, THIS PERSON offered an on-line "photo caption" contest.

The two winners were:

"Some were a little miffed when the stewardship committee took over the church."


"Because MONEY matters!"

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Monday, July 03, 2006

July 4th - Talk About Fireworks!

A friend sent the following to me. Most likely a July 4th he will never forget!

Hello all,

Thought you might find this interesting. This is how my 4th of July tour started this year with the US Air Force Band of the Golden West. Yes, that’s our USAF truck filled with over $400,000 worth of tympani, percussion, music, personal instruments, and a brand new state of the art sound system burning to the ground and clogging our Interstate Highway System with cosmic debris. Click HERE and watch your tax dollars burn!

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Grocery Store & Famous People

I know I'm old when I enjoy going to the grocery store. Our Publix is nearby, so I often offer to go to the store for Karla, and more and more she entrusts me with this important task of obtaining those items that provide for our family's basic needs and then some.

Yesterday early evening, I was searching for just the right loaf of bread when I felt someone grab my arm. I looked up to find STEVE GREEN standing in front of me. What a delightful surprise at Publix. Now, I have seen several "famous people" at Publix through the years - one of the neat benefits of living in Nashville - but this encounter was so heart-warming because of who Steve is. He is always an encourager, and he was so gracious in many ways.

I laughed when he told me he was looking for just a certain kind of box fan for his bus. The kind that had a certain base and would not easily fall over. It's strange, but I knew exactly what he was talking about! He did not find it at Publix, so he was going to have to move on to another location.

He was leaving that evening for the Dayton, OH area for a concert that is most likely taking place as I write this.

The most interesting part of our conversation was when he told me in the course of our ever-so-normal conversation that he had just finished changing the sheets on the beds in the bus. My reaction must have surprised him, because his response was "well, I might as well do it - someone has to!". How's that for servanthood at its best.

Made me wonder how many other famous people I have seen at Publix who change their own sheets on the beds in their expensive tour buses!

I hope you will take a few more minutes to read about this extraordinary man of God -Steve Green. Oh, and I can't wait until December 8 when he will join our choir & orchestra for a one-night-only Christmas Concert! That will be grand!!

One of the advantages of a career that spans a little over two decades is the ability to look back and hopefully gain a proper perspective. God’s good providence can only be seen as we thoughtfully review the events of the past. From such a vantage point much that seemed important at the time fades away and the very common community of family and friends becomes the highlighted means of grace that God has used all along.

God sovereignly planted me in a missionary family, providing a remarkable context and training ground for ministry. He gave certain abilities and gifts that were to be stewarded and used for His purposes. Out of His free love, He extended kindness in Christ, rescuing me when I did not have the sense to know of my own perilous predicament. He gave me a wise and precious wife whose counsel, encouragement and constant love has strengthened me. He sent teachers and leaders and pastors to instruct and help give shape to a particular calling.

He let me meet Billy Ray Hearn and Peter York, who gave me an opportunity to record. He sent Greg Nelson and Phil Naish to give musical guidance and much needed assistance. He brought along Jon Mohr, Phil McHugh, Doug McKelvey and other writers to help put a life message into song. God called my brother, David out of the banking business to help and protect and be a companion in ministry.

He sent wonderful teammates, Cecelia, Mark, Brenda, Ed, Brian, Fred, Jan, Carry, Beamon, Jeff, Patti, Barny, Charles, Paul and many others who covered my weaknesses and taught me what serving is all about. God gave an entrusted platform that spread across 50 countries, letting me be an ambassador and representative of Christ. He put it in the hearts of church leaders to invite and provide a place for music and the communication of the gospel.

During an interview I was asked to describe the greatest moment of my career and also the lowest and most difficult. But how can we really know which is which? From heaven’s point of view it may be that the most thrilling event was perhaps the most dangerous and unguarded, and what I thought was the lowest point was in fact, the place of greatest blessing.

With each passing year there has been a slow (God is merciful and patient), but growing awareness that all of this has very little to do with me and everything to do with the sharing of life and calling along side other glad subjects of the King. In the end, the only appropriate refrain is, “For from Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory!”

To learn more about Steve, be sure to go HERE