Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Happy Birthday To Karla!

My sweet wife turns 53 today!

Recently, she was counseling a 30-something female following one of our services, and as they talked, the subject of age somehow came up and when Karla told this young lady that she was 52, the girl blurted out, "no way - well, you sure are hot to be 52!!" I think Karla took that as a compliment.

This "hot-now-53-year-old" is spending her morning speaking at the Nashville Women's Rescue Mission - she took several paperback New Testaments to give to those homeless women who don't have Scriptures to read.

If you have a minute sometime today, be sure to wish her a happy birthday!

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Compassionart Project

Imagine the vision that brings the following names to come together to write songs for the sole purpose of helping to fight poverty world-wide?

Names like Michael W. Smith, Darlene Zschech, Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, Tim Hughes, Paul Baloche, Israel Houghton, Graham Kendrick, Steven Curtis-Chapman, Andy Park, Stu Garrard, and Martin Smith.

This CD and other related products releases on Tuesday.

I am particularly thrilled about this project because each artist got to personally choose the charity/organization their portion of the royalties/sales/proceeds would go to. In other words, every person involved in this project is donating to some cause somewhere.

Michael W. Smith chose Living Hope in Cape Town, South Africa.

If you have read my blog or know me at all, Living Hope is where a huge piece of my heart remains at all times.

In anticipation of Michael's 2007 Christmas Concert at Brentwood Baptist (where he agreed to do two shows as benefit concerts) he took the time while he was in Cape Town to meet with John Thomas, the founder and leader of Living Hope in October 2007.

Maybe that played a part in Michael choosing Living Hope to be "his" charity/organization.

As he put it to me - "it seemed like the right thing to do"!

God bless you, Michael, and God bless all of these incredibly influential songwriters/artists who took the time to come together and creatively submit to one another for a greater cause. What a picture that is - what a testimony to laying aside egos, personal and professional agendas to do something really important that goes beyond fame and fortune.

I hope you will take the time to read more about Compassionart, and you will purchase the CD and or other products - for in doing so, you will help to fight poverty, and minister to "the least of these".

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Very Random Moment

I hesitated blogging about what happened to me last Sunday morning after our second worship service because 1) I made such a "dork" of myself, and 2) this will really sound like I am either name-dropping and/or patting myself on the back.

What the heck - this is what really happened.....

I was standing in the main area of our Music/Worship Office Suite talking with two friends, and I was facing the door, when a man walked into the office, made eye contact with me, and asked if I had a moment to speak with him.

As I made eye contact, I immediately blurted out, "I know you!" (what I meant was - I "recognize your face", but I did not who the person was)

I walked over to him, shook his hand, and introduced myself. He introduced himself to me and began to as genuinely as anyone has ever spoken to me - look me in the eye and tell me graciously and humble how much he appreciated me, what I do, what we do as a worship ministry, etc.....

The person was Lee Greenwood.

It was so totally random.

He and his family have evidently been coming regularly to our church, and he told me that he followed me back to my office area to express his gratitude to me.

He then said if there was every anything he could do for me to call on him.

Again - so totally random.

If you are too young to know the name or have an appreciation for the extent of this man's musical career, be sure to check him out by clicking HERE.

You just never know who is going to walk up to you after a worship service!

(hey, at least he didn't write me an anonymous note!!)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

The Answer: Blue & Gold

Hats off to the Brentwood High Boys Basketball Team for beating (upsetting?) Franklin last night AT Franklin.

They now get to wear their own blue and gold practice jerseys come Monday in practice!

If you live in the area, mark your calendars now - Friday, February 6 - Frankin AT Brentwood. It's always difficult to beat the same team twice in the same season!

Who knows, maybe the Franklin coach should consider having the Franklin team wear blue and gold practice jerseys between now and February 6!!!

Friday, January 16, 2009

Will It Be Maroon Or Blue & Gold?

I love high school sports.

It's real, there's no media hype, there's no debates over play-off systems, there's no "business" in it - just young men and women having fun developing their God-given abilities and skills at a particular sport while hopefully learning the true meaning of competition. You never forget your high school sports playing days - ever!

Tonight, two teams will face each other as district rivals - they know each other, they have grown up playing against each other in sports, and they may even go to church with each other.

Brentwood vs. Franklin

If you live in Williamson County located just south of downtown Nashville, you have to at least know of these two schools. Each one absolutely loves to beat up on the other one - regardless of what sport it is. It defines rivalry.

It has been a long time since Brentwood has beaten Franklin in boys basketball.

Evidently, that is of major concern for the Brentwood head coach - so much so that he has refused to give his team their regular practice jerseys since the season began 3 months ago. He refuses to give them their jerseys UNTIL THEY BEAT FRANKLIN.
To make matters worse (and funnier!), in the meantime, he has made them wear maroon jerseys (Franklin's color).

So, what will it be come Monday in practice for Brentwood? Will they "earn" their coveted Blue & Gold practice jerseys or will they be forced to swallow yet another bitter pill and continue to have to wear maroon everyday in practice?

Tune in tomorrow where I will blog about the outcome!

I really do love high school sports!

Thursday, January 08, 2009

"Oh, The Choir's Not Singing Today"

That was the quote overheard by one of our choir members on a recent Sunday when they came into the Worship Center to sit down among other members of the congregation.

The lady seated behind the choir member said this rather disgustedly. When the choir member turned around to tell her that many of the choir members were out of town, the person replied, "I don't like it when the choir doesn't sing."

I get that alot!

I guess I should be grateful that people like our choir, and want to hear our choir, and expect to hear our choir each Sunday. I am one of those worship ministers who believe that the choir is but a part of the worship leadership of the church. Yes, they/we are an integral part of the worship leadership, but my prayer is that people would come to our services wanting so badly to meet Jesus, that it wouldn't matter who is standing on the stage in front of them leading them.

I am very concerned that we are living in such an "impress-me-consumer-oriented" culture, that even in church - maybe even especially in church - congregants come and "expect" to be "wowed", and if their favorite "whatever" is not on the stage leading them in their favorite song or if a certain thing does not happen in the service just the way they would have hoped, then they "can't worship"

On the Sunday after Christmas, I had the rare privilege to attend a worship service where

1. I was not in charge
2. I got to sit with my wife
3. I got to sit with my parents

(notice the "I" in each of those - I have become what I am ranting about!!!)

Actually, I don't think so - those three things were indeed important to me, but what was more important to me was the experience of worship in this wonderful church in Texas where the following were evident to me during my 60+ minutes being there:

1. The wonderful and kind gentleman who drove the golf cart up to our car and then to the door of the church so my aging parents did not have to walk all the way to the building
2. The way we were greeted, and the way people treated my parents as if they were Jesus and a few of His friends
3. The regular music minister was not there - it didn't matter
4. The choir did not sing - it didn't matter
5. The guest ladies choir was fun, genuine, and had an obvious love for Jesus
6. The children's sermon was memorable and engaging
7. The pastor's sermon centered around the candles of the Advent season was encouraging and challenging

So what?

Well, every Sunday of these kinds of worship experiences add up in a person's life. They all contribute to our journey with Christ. It's not so much about perfect attendance and being at church everytime the doors are open. It's way more about making the most of each worship experience (church service) that we are given - to (regardless of who is leading) learn more about the ways of Jesus so that we become more like Him so we are then better equipped to live our lives in ways that those around us can see that something is different about the way we think, the way we make important decisions, the way we treat our kids, our spouse, our friends, our co-workers, the way we love, the way we react - on and on I could go......I know you already know all of this!

I'm just not so sure that whether the choir sings in the worship service has that much to do with what is really important in our journey of becoming true followers of Christ.....