Monday, December 31, 2007

New Years Resolutions

1. Pray more
2. Have more consistent Devo's with my wife
3. Be a better steward with God's money
4. Pray more

Reflections

O.K., so 2007 was such an incredible year that I thought I'd take some time and write about it. Are you with me?

It all started in the spring of 2006. I was so frustrated with my spiritual life and I couldn't figure out why. I began praying and God spoke to me about the fact that there was no real spiritual leadership in my life. While I had a wonderful accountability partner, there were no real relevant spiritual giants/mentors in my life. So I started asking the question, who do I know that I want to be like. Immediately my old Pastor/Mentor Mickey Stonier from Horizon came to mind.

I gave him a call and he invited me to join a mentoring program he was running at Horizon. So I began making the trek to San Diego every Tuesday night. What a great group of guys. Through my time there I reconnected with the basic spiritual disciplines and heard from God that it was time to look for a new Church.

Through some miraculous conversations with various people, God led us to Chorus Church. And this last year has been incredible.

The year started with a much needed vacation to Puerto Vallarta where my parents were making a stop on their retirement cruise. We stayed with them on their boat and did some amazing site seeing.

When we came back we were welcomed to Chorus Church with open arms and a ton of integrity and respect. Their leadership brought us to tears.

I took a few months to acclamate myself to the Church and the new oversites (Youth and Worship). I experienced an incredible Easter in the Park Service, re-designed our Sunday morning media setup, experienced Summer Youth Camp at Lake Skinner and helped launch our first ever Youth Service on Tuesday nights.

In the middle of all this, I made a trip to Alabama to see my friend Mark Peacock and experience my first Desperation conference (wow!). I also ran my first triathlon made some new friends @ the National Youth Workers Convention in San Diego and was a part of an incredible Christmas Eve Service at the park. Before I knew it, the year was over and we were having our first ever all worship Sunday as a way to reflect on all that God did in 2007.

I'm so excited about 2008. I can't wait to see what God is going to do.

How was your 2007?

December 30th Confessional

What an incredible day we had at Church yesterday! It was probably every Worship Leaders dream service. My only complaint was that we didn't have a lead guitar player so I had to fill in; which actually was kind of fun! I actually figured out some cool stuff for All we need using my DD20(God knows I've played it enough).

We modified the schedule a little from what I posted earlier. Here's what it looked like.

The music never really stopped thanks to Stephanie our keyboard player...

Awesome is the Lord (Tomlin)
Amazing (Redman)
-welcome- (we usually dismiss the Youth at this time but we had them remain in the service this time)
All we need (Hall)
Here in Your presence (Anderson)
Rescue (Anderson)
-testimonies- (Pastor Dave did a great job encouraging people to share what God did in their lives in 2007)
Amazing Grace (Tomlin)
Everything Glorious (Crowder)
-offering-
Everlasting God

I love my Church. They're learning what it means to worship and yesterday was a great time to do just that. The testimonies that we heard made us laugh, made us cry and most of all gave us hope for 2008. What more could you ask for; I mean, isn't that what Church is all about? ;)

Friday, December 28, 2007

Cars

I hate cars!

I talked with Mike, a mechanic friend of mine from Church today. He said that Pastors are all alike... they let their cars go until the last minute. He says it's because they have better things on their minds. I'm not sure I agree. What do you think?

Personally, I just don't really care much about my car. My dad worked in the automobile industry for over 30 years. At least 20 of those with Bob Baker. He's driven just about every kind of car there is (and he's allowed me to do the same). I learned early on that a cars purpose is to get you (and your gear) from point A to point B.

I think that could be my problem. I just don't care enough about my car and so I let it go until the last minute. Then I end up paying more to get it fixed than I would have if I'd just taken care of it when I was supposed to.

Today I got my car smogged (thank God that it passed) and then took it to Mike to have the breaks done. I'm praying that it doesn't need new rotors.

I think one of my New Years Resolutions is going to be to take better care of the cars that God has entrusted me with...

What about you?

Thursday, December 27, 2007

A day of worship and reflection

Coming This Sunday.

Here's the set list...

Awesome is the Lord (tomlin)
Amazing (redman)
-welcome-
All we need (hall)
Here in Your presence (anderson)
Rescue (anderson)
-testimonies-
Amazing Grace (tomlin)
-testimonies-
Everything Glorious (crowder)
-offering-
Everlasting God (brown)

I can't wait!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Christmas Eve Under the Stars/Sunset ;)

So we decided to do a Christmas Eve service at Butterfield Park here in the French Valley. It's kind of a tradition for us at Chorus Church; that is, if you can have traditions in a Church that's only 3 years old. Either way, it's something that people at Chorus look forward to every year and I can see why.

This year we started the service @ 5:00pm. I wanted to run 3 screens, but the scary thing was that sunset wasn't until about 4:50pm. I was really nervous about using any screen at all because of the fact that we were outside. Pastor Dave assured me that it would be o.k. At about 4:30pm I looked up and still couldn't see anything on the one screen we decided to use. I contemplated scrapping the screen altogether and then it happened... The most beautiful thing any worship/tech guy could ever imaging. The sun went down and graphics began to appear in front of an incredible Southern California Sunset! Dave was right.

We started about 10 minutes after for 2 reasons... to let the sun set some more and to allow the people to fill the seats... and fill them they did. Our largest attendance ever! And check out the horizon in the picture. I guess the last couple of years they've had drizzle or rain. This year was incredibly beautiful.

All in all, it was a wonderful service. It was cool having Pastor Dave on Keyboards. It was as close to a true inter-generational worship team as I've ever been a part of. And Christmas is the perfect time to do so.

Here was our band...

Dave (adult) - Keys
Dan (adult) - Bass
Eric (adult) - Agtr
Josh (Young Adult) - Drums/Djembe
Skyler (16) - Vocals
A.J. (15) - Agtr
Daniel (14) - Drums/Djembe

Here was our set...

Carol of the bells (instrumental)
O come all ye faithful (traditional)
Joy to the world (traditional)
Angels we have heard on high (traditional)
-welcome- (Elena)
-message- (Dave)
Do you hear what I hear (Third Day arrangement)
O holy night (Skyler)
Silent night (traditional)

And by the time we got to Silent Night and lit the Candles (glowsticks actually) it was plenty dark.

How was your Christmas Eve Service???

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Logan

Some of you have seen this, some have not. I hope my kids are half as mature as Logan at his age...

Logan is a 13 year-old boy who lives on a ranch in a very small town in Nebraska. Logan listens to Christian Radio station 89.3FM KSBJ which broadcasts from Houston, TX.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Professionalism in the Church

So my son goes to Pre-School at one of the "premier" Christian Pre-Schools in town and last night they had a wonderful Christmas performance. I mean there were lights, cameras, stage props and plenty of music. There were 100s of people in attendence and probably over 100 little kids performing as well. It was a full scale production if you're ever seen one before.

So here's my dilema. With all of that going on, wouldn't you think that the school/church would want to put their best foot forward when it comes to professionalism?

As I'm sitting there waiting for the show to start my mind starts to ask all of the typical questions that worship pastors ask when they attend someone elses Church. Except for maybe the last one...

1. Why aren't they starting on time (over 5 minutes late)
2. Where are the ushers? Aren't there supposed to be people helping us find a seat?
3. With all of the money this Church has, don't you think they could come up with a less cheesy manger scene?
4. (As the show starts) Are they really going to make all of those kids (2-6yr. olds) sit on stage for the entire production?
5. Why is that guy winging his presentation?
6. Why is this lady reading her notes and still forgetting announcements?
7. Why is this lady reading the words that are on the screen (off center I might add) in such a dreary and monotone voice?
8. Why aren't the microphones coming on when they should be?
9. Why is the CD skipping, didn't they rehearse this?
10. Why does this lady keep reading the words that are on the screen in that horrible tone?
11. How can a Church this size function at such an unprofessional level?
12. Is this what God means when He says that He'll use the foolish to confound the wise? (1 Cor. 1:27)

That last one really got me. So here's my question...

If God says that He uses the "foolish things of the world to confound the wise", then why do we try so hard to produce such high-end professional productions in our Churches? Shouldn't we just be who we are and not worry about how professional we are or aren't?

Hmmm... I know this post is going to ruffle some feathers. It's just an honest question that I've wrestled with for years, so be gentle.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Recording Software

At worship practice tonight we got into the age old discussion about recording software. I just recorded a version of "Away in a manger" in Garage Band on my MacBook Pro. What a cool program! It's pretty straight forward and easy to use. I used to have the full Pro-Tools Rig complete with the Digi 002. It was great. I loved the plugins, but there was so much that went into hooking it up right and even just recording a song. There's something beautiful about being able to open a program on your laptop and start playing/recording.

I've used Kristal, Audacity and a couple of other programs. They're pretty cool tool. I have to say though, Garage Band is great for in home recording.

What are you using?

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

music

I love the conversation about the purpose of music in the Church that is happening over at betterthanblank.org.

Check it out.

Legoland

Legoland Rocks... My buddy Alex and I took our families to Legoland yesterday. I've never been there before, but I have to say it was pretty amazing. There was pretty much nobody there. And because there wasn't really a crowd we were able to conquer just about the whole park in one day.

We built Bionicles and Legos, ate pizza and Apple Fries (who would of thought of that combination), we went on some pretty decent roller coasters, including a crazy, spinny thing that Alex got soaked on,
we saw a 4D movie, put out some fires and we even got to see most of America. All of that in one day? You can't beat that!

Oh, wait... maybe you can... we also had someone give each of our families $100 to spend while we were there.

Only in America!

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Rockin' Christmas Carols

So... Obviously as we're preparing for Christmas Eve, we're working on Christmas Carols. Here's the conclusion that I'm coming to. I used to really be into the whole "relevant" thing when it came to any type of music sung in the Church. So for the last 5 years I've constantly pushed to do our Christmas Carols with a modern twist. We did Audio Adrenaline's version of Little Drummer Boy, Matt Redman's take on O Come All Ye Faithful, Third Day's version of Do you hear what I hear and so on.

This year, we're doing Third Day's version of Joy to the World. As I'm working it, I'm finding myself simplifying it to the point of almost doing the original version all together, and it hits me... its a Christmas Carol. Christmas Carols are timeless. In fact, I think that people actually get frustrated when you try to modernize their favorite Christmas Carol for the sake of relevance. All year long people are waiting for Christmas time so that they can sing their favorite Christmas Carol and they show up to Church only to hear some crazy rock version of Silent Night that makes it almost unrecognizable and anything but singable.

What an idiot I've been... and all for the sake of relevance! Then again, maybe I'm just getting old.

What's your take on havin' a Rockin' Christmas?

Friday, December 14, 2007

Day at the beach...

Oh how I miss San Diego. My wife and I have a schedule that we try to keep to. I wont go into details, but Friday mornings I usually watch the boys so she can sleep in or do what she wants. Today I thought I'd take them to my old stomping grounds, just because I can. Also, my parents are in town for a short while so I thought I'd meet up with them for lunch.

We headed down to Mission Beach and the morning started with a little feeding of the pigeons...

Then a little stroll on the boardwalk...

A little Wave Machine action at the Wave House... Check out the link, this thing is pretty crazy. I could've stood there and watched these guys tear it up for hours. It's like a cross between surfing, skateboarding and snowboarding. I mean look at this barrel!

Lunch at "Canes" overlooking the ocean and then a little Cotton Candy & Ice Cream to top the day off. It just doesn't get much better than this!

Only in Southern California can you have a day like this in the middle of December!

Oh how I miss San Diego.

What'd you do today?

Let's see you top that one!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

"Fa la Frickin' La..."

That's about how I feel this week, but that's not why I titled this post that. "Fa la Frickin' La..." was almost the title of our Christmas mailer this year. We vetoed it because we thought that it might have offended a few people. We used this one instead-->

What do you think? If you received a mailer with the title "Fa la Frickin' La..." and a picture of a mother trying to hold everything together during this crazy season, what would you have thought? Would you have been offended?

What are the criteria that you use when choosing a mailer? Do you even use mailers anymore?

Addictions

O.K., so I think I've got this addiction. I love watching the UFC. I don't know why, but I stay up late at night watching the fights that I've TEVO-ed on television.


My favorite fighter is Michael Bisping. He's just a solid, confident fighter. He doesn't look like a real tough guy but he won the Ultimate Fighter and is still going strong as far as I know.

Why am I addicted to this sport? Is it because I spent some time in high school wrestling? Is it because my dad taught me to box when I was in the 4th grade? Or is it just because I'm a sick and twisted man who likes to see guys get the crap knocked out of them?

What do you think?

Are you addicted too?

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Mistaken Identity???

So today I was a little early for a lunch meeting so I took a quick potty break at McDonalds on Los Alamos. As I walked in the door I saw Mike Dalton standing at the soda machine. I walked up behind him, put my finger in his back and said, "give me all of your money!" To my surprise he turned around with a fairly agitated look on his face and said, "do I know you?" My response was, "I thought you did, but I guess I was mistaken."

It wasn't him...

How embarassing! Can you imagine how you'd feel if some stranger walked up to you, stuck his finger in your back and said, "give me all your money."? I'd be pretty upset! Needless to say, I quickly apologized to my new friend (John was his name) and went on my way feeling like an idiot.

Mike, I'm not sure if you know it or not, but you've got a twin brother running around out there. The only difference now is that you're no longer sporting the mustache, and he is.

Have you ever had a case of mistaken identity before?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Home sick...

I'm home sick today... It's actually kind of cool since I work out of my house anyway.

I took some generic nyquil type stuff and slept for a few hours. I slept some more when my kids went down for their naps. I slipped into the office for a little bit just to make some flyers for our Youth Group that meets tonight. We're hitting Hume Lake (Jr. High) and Ponderosa (High School) this year and we're doing a White Elephant party next Tuesday. I wanted to be sure and promo them as much as possible.

Anyway, it's kind of cool being sick.

Anyone else catch the head/chest cold thing going around?

Worship Debreifing

I didn't lead worship today so I got to sit in the directors chair. Pretty cool actually because I coached one of our tech guys who I've been wanting to develop into a director (currently a lighting guy).

John Alwood lead worship for us this week. I couldn't have planned it better because I got sick and kind of lost my voice. He did great too.

He's from a Church Plant called Cross Church that just shut the doors due to in-adequate funds. I can't imagine the confusion and frustration that he must be going through. Please pray for him and their team as they find their places at other local churches in the valley. Most of them are plugging in at our Church, but not all.

Here's how he rocked it! (His guitar player is smokin'!)

Joy to the World (Third Day)
Give You Glory (Jeremy Camp)
Gloria (Mercy Me)
-message-
East to West (Casting Crowns)
-offering-
Forever (Chris Tomlin)

Friday, December 7, 2007

Help Wanted!

O.K., so I had lunch today with a friend of mine. He mentioned that he feels called to full-time ministry but he's not sure when, where or how. We talked a little. I shared how I took my first and second leaps into full-time ministry, each of which were a huge faith step in regards to finances. We discussed the desire to go and do whatever God's called us to do regardless of finances.

So the questions remain...

How do you know that you're called to full-time ministry. (is there any other kind?)
Do you have to leave your secular job to be considered a full-time ministry professional?

and lastly...

Is it logical, ethical or even spiritual to quit your job to pursue full-time ministry if you don't have a specific position in (or out of) the Church?

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

"relations"

O.K., so last night I had the daunting task of explaining the virgin birth to a about 50 kids from our Youth Group... Now, we meet on Tuesday nights and its a combined group, Middle School/High School so some of them don't even understand what sex is yet (granted, they're in the minority).

So while explaining it I guess I put my fist into the palm of my hand and used the word "relations". Probably not the best way to explain sex to teenagers. I think I even said, "they hadn't had relaaations yet"... All of the leaders were cracking up... the kids, not so much.

Anyway, I got an email from a parent this morning. I guess her daughter got all embarassed when she asked what we talked about. She tried to explain it but was too shy. It's a good thing she's a staff member... I can't wait to see what other responses I get. WOW!!!

The joys of Youth Ministry... I forgot what this was like!

Monday, December 3, 2007

Worship Confessional... Dec. 2nd

Are you guys doing any cool Christmas tunes this year?







Here's what we did this week...

All we need
Amazing
-welcome-
Do you hear what I hear (Third Day)
-message-
You are my strength (united)
All we need

Friday, November 30, 2007

Another Extreme Boy Video...

The Good Christian?

Recently there have been times when I get tired of the whole "Church" thing. I want to give it all up, sell everything and become a wandering street evangelist going wherever I feel called to go. Then I think of the people who look to me on a regular basis for spiritual guidance, not to mention my wife and kids. It's then that I realize that God's given me a huge responsibility to guide these people into a meaningful relationship with Him.

I have to say though, I’m getting a little tired of being a “Good Pastor”. Do you know what I'm talking about? I mean, there are times when I dream of being that crazy guy that is radical about his faith. You know what I'm talking about, right? You know that guy that stands on the street corner holding his "Jesus" sign singing praise songs at the top of his lungs.

I mean if Jesus really did what the New Testament says He did; if He really gave His very life so that I might have a place in His kingdom, then shouldn’t our response to that be a little more than a well-rehearsed Sunday morning performance? I know that it's more than that, but that's what it feels like sometimes. I mean shouldn’t we be more concerned about pleasing Him than pleasing them? Shouldn’t we be more concerned about spreading this incredible news than hitting that high C? Shouldn’t we be more concerned about living for Him than we are about putting on a good show for all of the looky-lus that may, or may not show up each Sunday morning?

I keep coming back to a message that I heard in Alabama a few months ago. The whole point of Pastor Chris’s Hodges message was this…

Jesus never called anyone to mediocre faith. In fact, every time He called someone out it was an extreme calling. “leave everything and come follow me!” The times we’re living in call for no less. God’s looking for extreme commitments from His followers’… extreme purpose, extreme purity, extreme passion, extreme prayer.

What a powerful statement! I’m tired of being a “Good Christian”! I'm tired of the pats on the back and the "at-a-boys". They make me want to puke! Where are the "that's a little over the top" and "I don't know if I'd go that far Eric" statements. I want to be the “Extreme Christian”. I want to be that guy that people look at funny…

Most of the time I feel like I’m living anything but an extreme life for Him.

What about you???

Here are some old videos of a fictional character named "Extreme Boy" that our old Youth Pastor put together. They have nothing to do with what I'm talking about... ;)







Sunday, November 25, 2007

Worship Confessional... nov. 25

I taught today... Stephanie led worship...

She rocked... I didn't...

Blessed be Your name
Holy is the Lord
-awesome, heartbreaking cancer survivor video-
-message on Acts 12-
Amazing Grace (my chains are gone)
Empty me

'nough said...

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Tae Kwon Do or Youth Group?

I had lunch with one of the leaders from our Youth Group today. He's a freshman in high-school and an incredible drummer. He loves hip-hop, he's a black belt in Tae Kwon Do and just an all around good guy.

Here's my dilema... when I hear him talk about Tae Kwon Do, I get jealous. He talks about how he is who he is today because of what he's learned in his Tae Kwon Do studio. He knows the tenants by heart. He knows more about honor, respect and discipline than any other kid that I know and he learned it all from his Tae Kwon Do instructors.

When I ask him about our Youth Group and what our tenants are, he's pretty much clueless.

That sucks!

Why don't kids talk about Christ with the passion and respect that they have for their Tae Kwon Do studios or their baseball or football teams? There's a lot to be learned from organizations like these! What are they doing that we're not?

Monday, November 19, 2007

The joys of parenting...

Ahh, the joys of parenting. Today, Joshua had an excellent day at his pre-school. The teacher said that he was a good listener, he cut out his letters like he was asked and played well with the other kids. And then, this afternoon, his little brother came home and broke into a bucket of white paint... for the 2nd time this week.

Just when you think things are going well...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Worship "Debriefing?" @ Chorus This Week

Wow... It's been a long time since I've done a confessional. I'm not sure if I like the word "confessional". It seems a little more like a debriefing than a confessional... Semantics...

Anyway, Rob, who usually plays keys has been going through our online database and learning all of the songs on guitar. Not just learning them, but learning them note for note. He started with "All we need" and went all the way to "You are so good" (over 30 songs). He really impressed me (and everyone else). All I can say is, we need more guys like Rob in our Churches. It's rare to meet a musician that cares more about the worship experience than his "own creativity". And what an amazing tool Planning Center Online is!

The rest of the band did great too... we're so close to running loops. Almost had it this week thanks to John Alwood.

Great week!

I am free (Newsboys version)
Grace like rain (Agnew)
Freedom (Surreal)
Everything Glorious (Crowder)

A real Worship Confessional

I got this at Terry Storch's blog... thought I'd pass it along...

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Friday, October 26, 2007

To click or not to click... #2

I'm re-posting this because I only got a couple of responses. Are any of you using click tracks or loops on Sunday mornings? What suggestions do you have for us as we think about moving in this direction?

Victor @ The Wonderful Noise

Well, I finally got to meet my blogging buddy Victor at NYWC this year. We spoke for about 1 minute in total. It was good to put a face with a... or uh... I guess I've already seen his face... so it was just good to meet him in person.

Check out his blog... The Wonderful Noise

He's a lot taller than I thought.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

NYWC - Francis Chan

Francis Chan by far shared the most moving message at NYWC last week. I was moved not only by his message but also by his 7 year old daughter (pictured here) who has obviously been impacted by her father's example of prayer.

For more on his message check out wakebirds blog titled "I cried today".

To click or not to click

I'm thinking about implementing loops into our worship. If for no other reason than to use as a click track that only the band hears.

What suggestions do you have?

Yamaha Click Station
Ableton live
Others???

So-Cal Fires

Please pray for my friend and mentor Larry Klein and his students in Jamul. He sent me this email today.

"If you have seen any of the news most of my school district has burned... Most of these people are currently being housed at Steele Canyon High School... A couple of teachers live out there and we are not sure if their houses are still standing. Probably will not know until the weekend when the fire fighters can get back into the area to assess the damage.
Last night on the news they interviewed a number of students at the Steele Canyon Evacuation center. It really hit me when I was able to put faces with the stories. Many of the Hispanic students that live down in Barrett Lake area have lost everything... I sat in my living room listening to a couple of my students telling about losing everything. That is when I basically lost it. Please pray for me. I need to have the strength to be a light and find ways to help my students. This is not going to be an easy task for any of us."

Saturday, October 20, 2007

New music...

O.K. I discovered two new bands that I didn't really know anything about (what can I say, I've been out of Youth Ministry for almost 10 years), but they totally killed it yesterday and quickly became my new favorite bands... Family Force 5 (Chistian, 80's, Screamo, Punk-Rock) and Flatfoot 56 (Modern Irish Rock complete with bagpipes, kilts and Irish accents).

www.familyforce5.com

www.flatfoot56.com

Check them out!

Thursday, October 18, 2007

NYWC

I'm working the main stage and it's almost done. If anyone wants to hook up for lunch or something, just ask Tic or one of the volunteers where Eric on Main Stage is and they should point you in the right direction.

Main stage is going to be incredible. 8 projectors (four up front) all run by the Spyder System which means you can do mulitple Picture-in-picture, manipulate them anyway you want and add multiple layers. Full line array system and a pretty cool stage setup.

Can't wait for the artists to get here!

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

My kids are amazing.

My kids are amazing and I'll miss them for the next week while I'm at NYWC. Hopefully this will get me through.


2 reasons not to use In-Ears...

O.K., so here's the deal. We won a 4 pack of AVIOM In-Ears last year at NAMM (yeah, can you believe it?). So some of the musicians are having trouble with the system. I love them, our drummers all love them, our sound guys swear by them, but some of the other musicians are not so hot on them yet. Have you guys experienced any of this? What have you done to help them out?

Here's my theory. I believe that there are only 2 major reasons not to use the in-ear systems. #1, you are so in love with the live sound that you have trouble playing to the processed, stereo sound. And #2 you don't know how to work the system.

I believe that a lot of musicians have spent so much time depending on the sound guys to dial in their mix that they struggle with figuring out just what they want in their monitors. Another issue is when a sound engineer changes the gain on a channel, it affects the monitor mix so if your sound guy is adjusting gains (for hopefully valid reasons), it can get very frustrating.

I think it all boils down to training your musicians to use them, and we've done... uh... well... let me see... pretty much... uh... no training at all! Dough!

What about you???

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