Monday, December 29, 2008

Dec. 21st/24th/28th worship confessional

Well, to say the least it's been a very busy couple of weeks. I was talking to Vince earlier today about how important it is to be consistent with your blogging and I realized that I haven't updated my blog in quite some time... so I've decided to lump 3 services into one. So here it is.

Dec. 21st:

The choir was sounding so incredible at our rehearsals that we decided to give the Church a sneak peak at what the Christmas Eve service would look like. They sounded great! A special thanks to Steve Vos, Tammy Cook and Lynette Lawson for taking the lead in their respective parts. Couldn't have done it without them.

agtr - me
egtr - Kevin
egtr - Daniel
drums - Brandon
keys - Dave
vocals - Lynette

It came upon a midnight clear (Caedmon's Call)
All Creation Sing (Fee)
O come all ye faithful (traditional)
-message- John Cappelen
Empty Me (Jeremy Camp)
Empty Me

(Choir sang on first 3 songs)

Dec. 24th:

This was a packed house and a ton of fun! There were over 500 people that showed up (over 300 the first service). I wish I had more photos, but I only have these two... the first is of our Children's Director Sue Bushrow telling the story of "Humphrey the Camel" with Dave playing dramatic theme music behind her. The kids loved it.

This one is of my son Micah who when Sue called the kids down front for the story decided he wanted to jump up onto the choir risers and sing "Santa Claus is Coming to Town"... a boy after my own heart!

Same as above

Carol of the Bells (instrumental) Daniel and Dave sounded amazing on this one!
All Creation Sing (Fee)
O Come All Ye Faithful (traditional)
Angels We Have Heard on High (traditional)
-Humphrey Story-
It Came Upon a Midnight Clear (Caedmon's Call)
O Holy Night (traditional)
Silent Night (traditional)

(Choir sang on all songs)

The funniest part of the night was when Pastor Dave was talking about the Three Kings that came to worship Jesus. He said, "...and what gifts did they bring?" A little kid shouted out "Gold, Frankenstein and Myrrh!" Hilarious!

The best part of the night however was the choir... they nailed it!

Dec. 28th:

With the business of the holidays we decided to do an acoustic set this week. I love acoustic sets... in fact, I'd love to do them more often... maybe that can be my new years resolution!

agtr - me
bass/djembe/vox - Dan
agtr2 - Dave Bishop

Awesome is the Lord (Tomlin)
Everlasting God (Brown)
Here in Your Presence (Parsley)
-message- Jim Boyd
Create in Me a Clean Heart (Green)
Mighty to Save (Hillsong)

(no choir this week, although it would have been pretty cool to have one)

This was a fun set. Great acoustic feel with Dan's Harmonies and David's guitar parts filling in a lot. I brought in the old song "Create in Me" because Jim was speaking on Psalm 51. That brought back a lot of memories.

I don't know what it is about the acoustic set, but it feels good! What do you think?

Thursday, December 18, 2008


We went bowling with the kids for the first time a couple of weeks ago. What a blast!

Here are some photos...

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Vision 2009

We had an incredible Sunday... our Vision '09 Sunday. Check out the message here.

So I spent the week working on this video. Hours and hours of going over interviews and various footage. I finally got it down to 8 minutes... and then I sent it to Daniel who shot some of the footage. He spent about 10 minutes on it and got it down to 5 minutes and created some killer transitions, intros and added some amazing music. Here it is. Check out what God did @ Chorus in '08.


Andi - Pro Presenter
Crawford - Lights
Gordon - Lights
Enrique - Audio
AJ - Audio


me - agtr/vox
Dave - keys/vox
Daniel - egtr
Dan - bass
Ross - drums


King of Majesty - United
Marvelous Light - Hall
All Because of Jesus - Fee
God of this City - Tomlin
God of this City - Tomlin

The band nailed it today!!!

Monday, December 1, 2008

No Practice Sunday

Well happy belated Thanksgiving...

Because we usually practice on Thursday nights and it was a holiday weekend we decided to go without practice this week. We're in an Elementary School so we setup and tear-down every weekend but because it was a holiday week, the school let us leave our stuff setup this week. So we actually got an extended sound check on Sunday morning.

I have to say that whenever we do that, it's always a little rougher than usual. I really don't like doing it, however sometimes I find that I worship a little more because I'm not as worried about what the band is doing... ie, did they work on their parts, are they hitting that fill, here comes a transition, are they going to nail it?

In other words, when I'm not worrying about the music, my mind is free to focus on worshiping.

I guess the key is to just not worry about the music... ever! ;)

What are you thoughts on that one? I know that there are a lot of Churches/Worship Leaders that just have their teams show up on Sundays and their sound check is their practice. What about you. When do you practice? Do you notice a difference when you don't practice (duh)? Which do you prefer?

Here was our setup...


Audio - Charlie
Audio 2 - Paul
ProPresenter - Jessi
Lights - Crawford


me - agtr/vox
Lynette - vox
AJ - egtr
Kevin - bass
Ross - drums

Rob was supposed to play keys, but he wasn't able to make it. We're praying for you Rob!


Awesome is the Lord - Tomlin
All we need - Hall
You are so good - Third Day
Thank You for hearing me - Crowder
My Jesus I Love Thee (I asked Lynette to sing this at the last moment and she nailed it)

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Solid Family Church

They say that everything rises and falls around leadership... that people will only rise as far as their leader is capable of going... that a Church will be passionate about what it's Pastor is passionate about. Well I think it's safe to say that our Pastor (among other things) is passionate about family. And this is evidenced by the number of killer families we have serving @ Chorus Church, including his own.

If you've frequented this blog at all over the last year or so, you've probably noticed that Pastor Dave has been playing in the band a lot more lately. What you might not know is that his son Daniel plays guitar quite often as well. I have to say that it's pretty cool when they play together like they did this weekend. But it doesn't stop there. His son Grant plays percussion in our Jr. High Band, his other son Dean is an up and coming drummer (kids got it!), his wife Elena is on staff and can be seen designing bulletins, emails & flyers. She helps with setup, teardown and our Sunday morning welcome (amongst a gazillion other things). It's a lot of work for their family, but I have to say that something special happens when people see them all serving like they were this weekend.

You may have also noticed from our Worship Confessionals that Bradley and Andi are on Tech almost every weekend. But what you probably don't know is that they're husband and wife and have recently stepped up to provide oversight to everything tech @ Chorus. What a blessing they are, and not to mention their 2 adorable daughters who make me smile every weekend when they cuddle up next to me during prayer time.

And lastly, Kevin and his son Brandon blow my mind. There's something cool about family members playing instruments together, not to mention a drummer and a bass player. I think there's some kind of family connection that helps them lock in better than most. ANd when Kevin's not playing bass, he's making us sound good back at the sound board. What you might not know is that Kevin's wife Terri helps setup outside almost every week as well.

There are just a ton of families that serve week in and week out @ Chorus. In fact, there's too many to list. So many in fact that it leads me to believe that our Pastor values family... and our Church is all about family and family is all about our Church.

What about your Church and/or Pastor? What makes them unique?

Worship Confessional - Arrangements

This week was pretty cool. We were able to do a couple of my favorite worship songs, "Face Down" being one of them. They just seemed to fit with the message (The Transfiguration, matt. 17).

Things went pretty well. We had a little trouble with some arrangements that we did. Brandon our drummer was really excited about playing a couple of the songs just like the CD, but as you know, that doesn't always work on a Sunday morning; so we had to adjust. He did a great job holding back.

So here's a couple of questions that I have for you.

1. How often do you re-arrange songs and how often do you use an arrangement as is from the album.

2. How do you usually re-arrange the songs (tempo, verse/chorus/bridge structures, keys, etc.)

3. Why do you re-arrange the songs (unsingable key, lack of musicians, too long, too fast/slow, etc.)

I'm really interested to see what your responses will be.

Here was our setup for the week...


Bradley - Lights
Andi - Pro-Presenter (Gotta love a girl who will serve on her birthday weekend!)
AJ - Audio (his dad was supposed to do it, but he stepped up and nailed it!)
Cindy - Audio

Band (Father/Son Crew this week!):

me - agtr/vox
Dave R. - keys/vox
Daniel R. - egtr
Kevin S. - bass
Brandon S. - drums


Oh Praise Him - Crowder
Marvelous Light - Hall
God Almighty - Tomlin (off his new album "Hello Love")
Face Down - Redman
Jesus Paid it All - Stanfill

Monday, November 17, 2008

John Mayer... Songwriter, Musician, Philosopher???

I took this quote from one of John Mayer's latest posts in regards to the pressure that he's feeling from the paparazzi and everyone else at this stage in his career. I had to pass it along...

All I can do is concentrate on keeping my heart and soul correct and then redecorate around it.
Man, whether you agree with his personal beliefs/philosophies or not, you've got to admit that if we could grab a hold of that idea as Christians, this world would be a different place.

In essence I believe that what he is saying is, if I quit blaming everyone else in the world for my problems, trials and insecurities I might actually accomplish something significant this year... and I believe that if we as Christians were to embrace this idea we'd put a huge smile on the face of Jesus by actually becoming salt and light instead of just talking/arguing about it all the time.

I tell my son almost everyday, "You worry about you and let everyone else worry about everyone else." I think I need to hear that myself every once in a while.

By the way, he's a pretty great songwriter/musician as well. Check out his latest live album "where the light is" My favorite song is "stop this train". It's pretty amazing! Oh yeah... and he plays a Martin. ;)

John Mayer, songwriter, musician, philosopher?

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Worship Confessional

Well, we're finishing up our Fear Knot series. We've got one week left. Pastor Dave and I have been working hard to tighten things up as far as the band goes and I think it's working. They sounded great this week... And they did 3 songs they'd never heard before.

I think God was really doing something this week, as evidenced by the trials/struggles that we encountered during first service. Here are some of the obstacles that were overcome...

We got a late start (we still got setup before 8:00am!)
There was a weird white noise coming from the bass channel (padded the direct box and it went away)
Crawford broke a bass string during sound check (Kevin's wife brought his for Crawford to play)
The Master EQ was all messed up for the 2nd week in a row!!??? (Enrique noticed it and dialed it in)
We did 3 new songs (I think we nailed them)
Mike's girlfriend fainted during the first service (Thank God for Sue Bushrow our resident Paramedic and Children's Director)
Dave's Mic was giving us all kinds of crazy popping/static (Enrique dialed it in)

Wow!!! What a great team we have. God really allowed us to be tested today and I think the team came through with flying colors!

Here's what the team looked like:


Enrique - Lead Audio
Paul - Audio
Kevin - Audio Setup
Andi - ProPresenter
Chris - Lights
Bradley - I'm not really sure what Bradley was doing... (Just kidding) ;)


Me - agtr/vox
Dave - keys/vox
Crawford - bass
Dalton - egtr
Brandon - drums


All Because of Jesus (Fee)
Let the Praises Ring (Brewster)
What if I Stumble (DC Talk)
Never Let Go (Redman)
Walk by Faith (Jeremy Camp)

Check out some audio clips here.

Thanks again team for all of your hard work and dedication!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Chris Tomlin Does It Again

Every time Chris Tomlin comes out with a new album I determine not to buy it. I'm so tired of hearing about this guy and his music. I think every Church in the world is playing his stuff. And every time I determine not to buy it, I end up buying it... And worse yet, I end up loving it! What is it about this guy that makes him such a good song writer? (can you tell I'm a little jealous?)

I've been listening to "Hello Love" for the last couple of weeks and it amazes me how incredibly perfect it is for today's Church (any Church!). It's almost like he could write a song about how Mark ran through the streets naked (Mark 14:51-52) and it would be a hit. The more I listen to the album the more I want to do every song this Sunday. It's like the perfect worship set. So here's my setlist for this week...

Sing, Sing, Sing (Tomlin)
Jesus Messiah (Tomlin)
You Lifted Me Out (Tomlin)
God Of This City (Tomlin)
I Will Rise (Tomlin)
Love (Tomlin)
Praise The Father, Praise The Son (Tomlin)
My Deliverer (Tomlin)
With Me (Tomlin)
Exalted (Tomlin)
God Almighty (Tomlin)
All The Way My Savior Leads Me (Tomlin)
My Beloved (Tomlin)

(Obviously he didn't write every song on the album, but you get the picture)

Could you imagine having this guy as the Worship Leader at your church (check it out)? I can just see him and Giglio now...

Giglio: "Hey Chris, I'm going to be teaching on how Mark ran through the streets naked, can you put together a song that drives the message home?"
Tomlin: "Sure thing Louie, just give me a few minutes would you?"
Giglio: "Hmmm... I'm not sure we've got a few minutes, the service starts in 2 minutes!"
Tomlin: "Oh, really, well then I'll just wing it."
Giglio: "Sounds good..."
5 minutes go by...
Tomlin (speaking to the congregation): "So Louie and I were talking about how Mark ran through the streets naked in Mark chapter 14... yeah I know, but I'm working on this song and I thought I'd share it with you guys."

One year later

"And the award for best new Christian album goes to Chris Tomlin for "Naked Worship"!"

You have to admit, as tired as you are of hearing about Chris Tomlin, the guy is amazing! He's like Bono and U2, they just can't write a bad song. Are you with me Karl?

Monday, November 10, 2008

Worship Confessional

I'll keep this short and sweet (okay, so not really). From what I've heard and what I experienced myself, this was one of our best worship services in a long time in regards to worship. Probably somewhat due to my new Martin (just kidding... kind of), but also due to some fine tuning that Pastor Dave and I have been working on. Here's what we've been working on.


I'm praying more, Dave's praying more, the team's praying more. Enough said!

Tighten up the teams...

We're trying to keep the teams together so that they get used to playing with each other. We went from a fairly random scheduling system to something a little more structured. I'm trying to schedule teams instead of players. I also schedule them 2 weeks in a row. So the team will play for 2 weeks and then have some time off. Then they play for 2 weeks again.

Changing the sheet music...

I'm not a big fan of sheet music, but sometimes you've got to do what you've got to do. For a while I've been using sheet music that's based on patterns instead of the straight ahead chord over the word style. For example, instead of writing the chords over each word, I write "VERSE 1 (Em - C - D)". The purpose of this is to help people memorize songs quickly, thus eliminating sheet music. This worked great when we had one band that played together all the time, but with multiple bands and a lot of new music... not so much. So I'm back to putting the chords over the words (kind of). I think it helps...

Click Track...

While we don't always stay on the click track, it at least gets us started on the right track (get it?) and eliminates the whole tempo discussion. I think it's a must for every team. We use the Yamaha Click Station.

Setlist Scheduling...

We're trying to schedule our set lists a few weeks out now. While I'm not super stoked on being locked into certain songs, I do like giving the team a few extra days to work on the songs. The Planning Center Online is a huge help with this.

Sound Check...

While we're stoked to have so many different sound guys (I think there's like 5) it does have it's setbacks. Each person has a different feel and a different level of knowledge in regards to the board and mixing. We're going to be doing some training this Spring to help everyone get on the same page, but until then we're taking a more pro-active approach to our sound checks. Dan suggested we keep track of the settings for each instrument/player so that they're always the same. Also, I'm going to make an effort to listen more. In fact, I pretty much went the whole service this week without my ears. I'm contemplating not using them at all so that I can hear what's going on in the room and get a better feel for the mix. I'm sure my vocals will suffer some, but in the long run it's probably worth it. This week Pastor Dave was able to help Kevin dial in the Mix pretty well.

Here's the band we had this week:

backing vox - Lynette
agtr/vox - Me
bass/vox - Dan
keys/vox - Dave
egtr - Daniel
drums - Ross

Tech Team:

Lead audio - Kevin
Audio - Charlie
Pro Presenter - Andi
Lights - Bradley
Lighting setup - Crawford


Marvelous Light (Hall)
King of Majesty (United)
Everlasting God (Brenton Brown)
-bumper video-
I Can Only Imagine (Mercy Me)
I Will Rise (Tomlin)

I think one of the highlights of the morning was when we broke into an acappella, 4 part harmony of the bridge on "I will rise"... Good stuff and perfectly placed. Especially when Pastor Dave had just taught on not fearing death.

How was your week? What pro-active things are you doing to tighten things up in your area of ministry?

Gibson, Martin or Taylor?

For a few years now I've been playing a 1956 Gibson LG1. I love the way the low-end fills the room when I'm doing an acoustic set. It feels amazing and it looks even cooler. The L.R. Baggs pickup accentuates the lows like no other and one of the coolest things is that I sold my Taylor 310 for $1,000 and picked up the Gibby for $400 on ebay. Needless to say the Gibson sounds 10 times better than that Taylor ever did.

But here's the deal. I just don't do acoustic sets very often. And... well... the old Gibson just doesn't cut through the mix very well. When you've got drums, bass, keys & an electric guitar, there's very little room (or need) for such a full bodied instrument. Not to mention every time I use a capo I have to re-tune because it's so old.

So Pastor Dave has been encouraging me to pick up a new guitar for a while now. You don't even know how cool it is to have a Pastor that cares so much about your tone! Or maybe it was just the tuning during his prayer time...? Either way, it's pretty cool!

So obviously I had to make a decision. What kind of guitar should I get? I've owned a few in my short time as a musician. A Harmony (classic!), a Takamini, a Taylor and a Gibson. And of course I've played a million over the years. So I did some research and narrowed it down to 2 guitars that have decent reputations, will cut through the mix and sell for under $1000. Here they are...

The Taylor 214CE

The Martin DM

Needless to say, due to my past experiences with Taylor and the tone I so often hear from the guitar of choice for worship leaders I went with the Martin. In fact, I went with Martin despite the fact that the Taylor came with a pickup already installed. I went with the Martin even though the Taylor is a little prettier. I went with the Martin when every worship leader I know was urging me to get the Taylor (not really, but I'm sure they would of had I asked). Yes, I went with the Martin for a few very distinct reasons... Dreadnought, Tone and Reputation. Not to mention my good friend Kreg is a Martin man.

A few other selling factors were that it came with a hard case, new strings and a strap. And with the "Church Discount" I got them to throw in the Fishman Rare-Earth pickup (one of the best out there) all for a smokin' deal! My dad always taught me not to take "no" for an answer. ;)

So far, it's my favorite guitar of all time... even if it doesn't have those sweet Gibson lows.

What's your favorite guitar of all time?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Fresh Eyes #2

Here's the second installment of Fresh Eyes!

Clean Campus!
- The Church we visited was extremely neat and tidy. I noticed that they had put quite some effort into making their facility look clean. I led worship at a conference here a few years ago. I noticed that since then they've re-done their staging and lighting which made for a cleaner look.

I'm Lost - However, as clean as it was, it surprised us to note that there was absolutely no signage to speak of! As we walked up to the sanctuary, despite the fact that I'd been here before, we weren't quite sure where to go. And on top of that, there were no greeters to help us find our way.

Granted, we were 10 minutes early so maybe we missed the greeting party, but most first time guests will probably be 10-15 minutes early. The worst part was that we walked by numerous people, even staff members and not one of them said 'hi'. hmmm...

I hope we never lose the concern that we have for the first-time guest.

What are you doing to make your guests feel welcome?

Monday, October 27, 2008

Fresh Eyes #1

My wife and I took the weekend to celebrate 9 wonderful years together (more on that later). So needless to say I wasn't at Church on Sunday. But we did go to Church, just not our Church. It's always great to get out and experience other communities.

Staci and I have this problem though. Some people like to call it "Fresh Eyes". But Staci and I like to call it what it is... critical hearts.

It seems that whenever we attend other Churches, we have a tendency to be critical. Do you ever struggle with this?

Well, we decided that this weekend would be different. We were going to go to Church and worship... period!

That lasted about 30 seconds... the 30 seconds that it took for us to walk from our car to the sanctuary. So we decided that we would no longer consider this gift that God has given us to see the faults in other Churches as a negative, but as a positive. In fact, we're from this point on going to refer to this gift as "Fresh Eyes". And I thought it would be a great idea to share this gift with each of you in a series of posts dissecting the Church we attended over the next few days. (please note mild sarcasm).

Now let me preface the rest of this post and the posts to come with this statement. The Church that we attended is a great, Bible Believing, Jesus Worshiping Church. I want to make that clear. Overall, the experience was pleasant and encouraging. However as Church Planters with "Fresh Eyes" there were some things that we noticed that I believe will help all of us make our own Churches more pleasant and welcoming places to worship.

Here is my first observation...

Positive #1

Skatepark! - I used to run the one we had at Horizon in the late 90s. I'm all for it. It's a huge liability, but the connections that can be made with the community are well worth it. If you've got a facility and go about getting the right type of insurance, it can be a huge Kingdom Builder.

A couple of cool things about this one were that it was constructed well, it had a nice flow and a variety of ways to skate it (quarters, tables, rails, etc.) The coolest part was that kids were on it every time we drove by.

Area of improvement #1

Skatepark Staff! - Now I was only there for the weekend so this could be a little skewed. So let me make this generic statement to anyone who wants to start a Skate Park Ministry. If you're going to have a Skatepark, please be willing to staff it correctly! The whole point in having this type of ministry is to connect the Church with the community.

While every time we drove by the Skatepark we were sure to see kids skating it, we rarely saw any staff members connecting with the kids. In fact, on Sunday morning there were kids skating in there without any supervision whatsover. Not only is that a huge liability, but it's also a waste of resources. If you're not connecting with the kids, what's the point?

All in all, I love the concept and I think it is well executed at this Church. I do think they could beef up the staff a little.

Great idea!

Keep your eyes open for "Critical hea... I mean "Fresh Eyes #2"...

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Worship Confessional

It was a pretty solid week @ Chorus Church if I do say so. The band was tight, the music was great and the Church was totally into it!

Here's what it looked like...


me - agtr/vox
dave - keys/vox
lynette - vox
daniel - egtr
crawford - bass
wes - drums

andy - audio
aj - audio
charlie - audio
bradley - propresenter
paul - lights

Let the praises ring - Brewster
Amazing - Redman
Superman - Five For Fighting
Who am I - Casting Crowns
How Great - Tomlin

Pastor Dave challenged me to do Superman. I wasn't sure about it, but I think it went pretty good. On top of that, I wasn't sure who was going to drum for us until Saturday night. Brandon was out of town & Ross couldn't do it so I called a guy that I played with at Gospelfest and he just happened to be available (thank God!). Thanks Wes!

We did a pretty cool thing this week. It's something that we're going to try and do every week. We had some Elders and Leadership off to the side of the room and we invited people to seek prayer at the end of the service. I'm not sure how well it went, but I'm excited about the idea of it.

Also, we weren't planning on doing "How Great" but I realized at the end of "Who am I" that we still hadn't taken the offering. On the fly I called out the chords to How Great and the band fell right in line. What a great team we have.

How was your week???

Stretching Me Into "Superman"

Seems like I've been getting stretched quite a bit lately. I've been working in the studio with Rob and he's challenging me to use a different part of my voice than I usually use (lower register)... This week Pastor Dave had the perfect song for his message and of course he asked me to sing it. Wouldn't you know, it was a song that stretches my voice in a different way (upper register)... Superman

Check out a clip of it here...

How is God stretching you???

Monday, October 6, 2008

Worship Confessional / Throw Away Services???

We had a great weekend... Nothing special really, just a solid worship service and a pretty solid attendance (2nd service was packed).

Here's what it looked like...

agtr/vox - me
keys/vox - dave
egtr 1 - daniel
egtr 2 - dalton
drums - brandon
bass - kevin

audio - enrique
video - andi
lights - bradley
(aj helped with sound a little too)

All we need (Hall)
Remedy (Crowder)
-SNL "Don't buys stuff" video-
-message 1-
-tithing video-
-message 2-
Enough - C/V1/C/V2/C (Tomlin)
Enough - B/B/C (Tomlin)

I have to say that I think it was one of our best weekends as far as the click track goes. I don't know what the deal was, but Brandon was stinkin' on it! On another note, our first service has a tendancy to be kind of a "workin' out the kinks" kind of service. It almost becomes another practice, but not this week. In fact, I think our first service was actually better than our 2nd as far as the band goes. Especially considering we did 2 new songs...

Great job guys!

How do you keep your first service from becoming a throw away as far as the music goes?

Friday, October 3, 2008

They're growing up too fast!

So I was looking for a picture to upload for my last post on Alex's Flicker site and I ran across these... both from Miles' birthday party.

They're growing up too fast Alex!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

"Can I change my name to Alex?"

So we're driving home from school today and my 5 year old son Joshua, out of nowhere starts the following conversation...

Joshua: "Daddy, when I get older, can I change me name to Alex?"
Me: "What?"
Joshua: "When I get older, can I change my name to Alex?"
Me: "Alex?"
Joshua: "Yeah, you know... like Miles' dad?"
Me: "Sure, when you're 18 you can change your name to whatever you want."
Joshua: "And I'm gonna have a little boy and name him Miles... and a little girl and name her Macy."

Now every dad wants their son to want to grow up and be just like them... but after thinking about it I realized that I'd be stoked if my son grew up to be like my good friend Alex.

Who's influencing your kids... in other words, who do your kids want to be when they grow up?

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

A New Website & Gmail

We finally have a new website... Woohoo! Check it out.

In the process however, we changed servers to "dreamhost". The cool thing about that is that they're using gmail for their email, which means that we're now using gmail for our email.

I have to say that I've been hearing about gmail for a while now. In fact I even have my own personal gmail account, but I've never used it because it... well... I guess it just looked a little too linear for me.

So I just spent the last few hours playing with it and I have to say... I'm pretty impressed.

If you get a chance, go check it out. If you already have it, can you pass on any pointers?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Worshp Confessional

Crazy weekend... Both Dave and I have the crud that's going around. I've been to the doctor twice now. The first time he gave me an anti-biotic that seemed to work and just about got rid of it, but then it came back stronger than ever. I went back yesterday and he gave me two doses of it. Hopefully it goes away now.

So I led worship this weekend, crud and all. Funny thing is that I seemed to get a few more compliments than usual this weekend. What does that mean? Do I sound better when I'm sick? Do I try harder when I'm sick? Do I care more when I'm sick? Or is it just a coincidence? If you were there, I'd love to hear which you think it is. ;)

For some reason this week we had a hard time finding a bass player. Kevin was scheduled to run sound so he wasn't supposed to play, but 4 others (that's right, 4 others) couldn't make it so he ended up doing it. Like he said, God must have really wanted him to play this weekend. Thanks to Charlie for going solo on the sound board for the first time. I got quite a few comments about how good it sounded!

Here's what it looked like...

Me - agtr/vox
Lynette - vox
Ross - drums
Kevin - bass
Daniel - egtr
Dave - keys

Charlie - sound (first time running solo!)
Jess - Pro-Presenter (Andi got sick too!)
Crawford - lights
Bradley/Andi - service directors??? (I like it, I like it!!!)

Let the praises ring (Brewster)
All we need (Hall)
All we need (reprise)
Revelation (Third Day)
-debt video- (very funny)
From the inside out
From the inside out
Let the praises ring

This was our first time doing "Revelation". I had trouble dialing in the bridge vocally so we just scrapped it and did the chorus an extra time. I almost scrapped the whole thing because of it, but the band talked me into doing it and I'm glad they did. I got a few comments on how much people loved that one. You can hear a short clip of it at the beginning of the podcast here.

Inside out was a tough one for me this week. I probably should have dropped it a key or two since my voice was going. I actually dropped out of it during the last part of the second service.

Does this ever happen to you? I'm struggling to make it through Inside out and I look out in the congregation. I see my wife talking to her friend and giggling. I look over and see another couple giggling as well and naturally assume that they're laughing at me because I'm struggling so much on the song. So what else is there to do but just shut it down... so I did.

Afterward I ask her about it and turns out they were giggling about something completely different. In fact, she said it sounded okay. She was wondering why I stopped singing.

Why do we always think it's about us??? And why is my wife talking during the worship service??? ;)

How was your week?

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Crazy Love

I just picked up this cool book called "Crazy Love". It's written by Francis Chan who I've heard speak a number of times including a year ago @ the NYWC in San Diego where he completely rocked my world.

The cool thing about this book is not just the new insight on our relationship with God, but also the online videos that accompany it.

If you get a chance, you should check it out...

Crazy Love

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Danny's Song Confessional

So this week was pretty amazing. Unfortunately, Pastor Dave and I both got that crazy chest cold thing that's been going around. Fortunately, I went to the doctor and got some antibiotics (only because my wife made me) and was about 90% by Sunday morning. Unfortunately, I think Pastor Dave's cold hit its peak about 9:00am Sunday morning.

We were all set to have him lead the first 2 songs and then decided to call that off because of his congestion. So I substituted a familiar song that we didn't practice, but the band nailed it because they're just cool like that... ;)

Here's what it looked like...

Me - agtr/vox
Dave - keys
Kevin - bass
Ross - drums
Daniel - egtr 1
Dalton - egtr 2

This was one of the first times that we ran 2 electric guitars (both of them High Schoolers). I think it went pretty well. We tried to work out parts and they played off of each other pretty well. I think they even kind of took turns playing lead and rhythm. I only remember one time when I looked over and saw them both playing the same chords, same frets, same patterns. We'll get there...

Here's the set:

Oh Praise Him (Crowder)
Here in Your Presence (Desperation)
Danny's Song (Loggins & Messina)
I'm coming Your way (Desperation)
I'm coming Your way (Desperation)
I'm coming Your way (Desperation)

What can I say, we picked three really long songs.
Oh praise Him is about 7 minutes long, Here in Your presence is at least 8 and the version that we did of I'm coming your way (complete with verses... I never knew it had verses, but they fit so well with the message) was like more than 10 minutes long. So all in all, we probably did close to 30 minutes of music. That's crazy when you factor in that we finished the service in right around 60 minutes.

Another cool thing that we did this week was our first ever multi-track recording. I picked up a super cheap (less than $200) motu 828 interface on ebay. I set it up and was got it working for the 2nd service. So I was actually able to do some post-edit on the music and message without too much trouble.

Here's what it looks like...

Instruments to Snake (duh)
Snake to board (double duh)
Board to Aviom (aha!)
Aviom Thru to Motu Interface (double AHA!!!)
Motu to Macbook Pro via Firewire
Firewire to Audacity

It actually worked better than I thought it would. I honestly didn't expect to get a solid recording for another couple of weeks, but we did it! I honestly couldn't have done it without the fact that we had an incredible tech team this week thanks to Andi's scheduling skills! ;) In fact, I think I'll start including them in the confessional.

Here's what the team looked like:
Lead Audio - Enrique
Audio 1 - Richard
Lights/Audio - Chris
Lights/Everything - Bradley
ProPresenter/Scheduling - Andi

They rocked it... Great setup time and super smooth transitions.

How was your week? And if you were there, what did you think of ours?

Oh yeah, in case you were wondering what the heck Danny's Song is... here it is for you.

Friday, September 12, 2008

High Schooler's in Church?

I took this out of an article I read in Outreach Magazine about College
Students in the Church.

...each church has the responsibility to make students a valued part of ministry. An array of responsibilities always need to be filled within the church-sound and lighting technicians, ushers, greeters, nursery workers and parking attendants. Ask students to pray during services. Train those who are more spiritually mature to teach elementary school children.

The essential church utilizes all capable believers in the body for service, including students. Want to keep your students? Put them to the task and then watch them grow.

I think we're doing a great job at this at our Church... but could we be doing better?

For example, Sue our Children's Director did a great job incorporating High Schoolers this summer in our "Summer Sizzler's Program." And we're using kids on the Sunday Morning Worship Team almost every weekend, but what about other areas? Could we be training kids to run lighting and sound? What about Ushering, Welcoming and even preaching?

I usually think of Youth Ministry as kind of a Church within a Church, but
does it have to be that way? Why can't they be the church? Are there any legal issues to worry about? Hmmm...

I can see High Schoolers doing this as well. Thanks Alex.

Just thinking out loud I guess...

What are your thoughts?

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Worship Confession - Landslide

So I'd have to say, we had one of the best services ever this weekend. We kicked off our new series called "Fear Knot" with a bang today. Unfortunately you had to be there to know what I'm talking about. The recording just doesn't do it justice, but we're working on that.

I recently appointed Andi Waldrop as our leader over the Tech Crew and let me just say that it showed today... in a good way. There were a ton of elements and transitions this week and despite our struggles with setup, the tech team navigated them pretty much flawlessly thanks to our new leadership. Way to go!

One of the things that I strive for when leading worship is to lead with one foot in heaven and one foot on earth in an effort to draw people into a true place of worship. Pastor Dave is so good about thinking of how to do that very thing as well and I think we nailed it today.

Here's what it looked like (sorry, no video)...

-Countdown Video-
Let the praises ring (Brewster)
I am free (Desperation)
-"Reality" Promo Video-
Blessed be Your name (Redman)
-Bumper Video-
-Intro of series-
-"What about Bob" Video-
-Message Part 1-
Landslide (Stevie Nicks)
-Message Part 2-
You are my refuge (Pastor Dave)
You are my refuge (Pastor Dave)
-Wrap up-
I am free (Desperation

As you can see, there were a lot of elements and a lot of transitions. I think they all went off without a hitch. That's why I think it was one of our best services ever... not to mention that Skyler and Dalton nailed "Landslide"!

Here's what the band looked like...

Me - Vox & Agtr
Dan - Bass
Brandon - Drums
Dave - Vox, Keys & 12 string on "Landslide"
Skyler - Backing Vox & Lead Vox on "Landslide"
Dalton - Egtr & Agtr on "Landslide"

So, if you were there, I'd love to hear your feedback on the service. If you weren't there, I'd love to hear how your Church plans for and executes transitions and/or bridging heaven and earth?

So leave a comment! ;)

Friday, September 5, 2008

Worship Confessional Coming Soon!

It's been quite a while since I've done a confessional. For sure there's one coming next week and there might even be some video.

I'm so excited about this weekend. Here's a little hint...

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Unity #4 - Gospel Fest '08

Wow... we just finished a pretty cool night of worship called One Voice and wouldn't you know it, here comes another one.

Through One Voice I re-connected with Gwyn Sanborn who invited me to audition for Gospel Fest '08. Trusting only in my relationship to Gwynn (kind of sort of my cousin I guess) and not really knowing what Gospel Fest was all about, I headed down to the Old Town Theatre for the audition. To my surprise it was an extremely professional audition process. In fact, the further I get into this Gospel Fest '08 thing the more I'm realizing that it's probably the coolest thing I've seen hit the Temecula Valley Christian Music Scene since I've been here (since '02).

Not only is it going to be a cool night of worship, but it's a full on Worship Conference right here in our very own backyard. I'm not sure how many of your churches know anything about it, but if they don't, send them over to the Gospel Fest '08 website. It's something they should take their whole worship team to...

Worship Confessional Links from Youtube