Monday, June 30, 2008

Ragamuffintop Challenge

This ain't nothin' compared to what we did last week, but I want to be faithful to complete what I said I would.

I spent the week in Ensenada with Bajabound Ministries which fed me better than I usually get fed in the states. You're amazing John Rose and Ben Gaines!

Here's where I'm at...

week 1: 179.6
week 2: 175.2
week 3: 169.2
week 4: 172.6
week 5:

The trip would have been worth it even if I had to gain 100lbs!

Ragamuffintop Challenge...


I just got back from this...

More to come...

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Ragamuffintop Challenge Week 4

There it is... Can I say "I told you so"? Well, after I came off of my fast I went to town and actually at one point this week was back up to like 178 or so. But I made an effort to curb my eating after Wednesdays binge. But yesterday (Friday) we went to San Diego and hit up Belmont Park and the Chilidogs, Fried Chicken & Sodas got to me. I did try to pace myself though.

I ran 4 miles today and somehow over the last few days, even with the Chilidog, I was able to get back down to 172.

week 1: 179.6
week 2: 175.2
week 3: 169.2
week 4: 172.6

We're leaving tomorrow for Ensenada. I probably won't do a whole lot of running and for sure no biking. But who knows what the food will be like. Maybe I'll still lose weight??? We'll see.

Please pray for us! We're going with no Internet on this trip, so you probably won't hear from me for a while.

Ragamuffintop Challenge...

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Sock Puppets

We're taking about 20 High Schoolers to an orphanage at Bajabound Ministries on Sunday. We'll be there for a week and one of the things we'll be doing is a VBS (that's Vacation Bible Study for those of you who don't know). As part of our lesson we thought it would be cool to give away some socks. They're not just any old socks though. We're going to be giving away sock puppets!

We'll use our own sock puppets to tell the story of the paralytic as found in Mark chapter 2. And then we'll have the kids make their own sock puppets. At the same time we'll give them all a new pair of socks to keep. Should be a blast.

The rest of the time our team will be helping to build another wing onto the Orphanage. I can't wait to see what God does!

Creative Chaos!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Worship @ Horizon San Diego

I had the wonderful opportunity to lead worship at Horizon San Diego's Second Saturday Singles Group last Saturday night. Now, normally it wouldn't necessarily be something that I would write about, however this weekend was special for me. Not only did I get to take a couple of the students from our High School Team down with me, but my sister met me there and got to sing with me for the first time.

My sister and I go way back... duh! (spiritually speaking). There was a time when both of us were walking in darkness. And then, all of a sudden I got the urge to sing like the guys from Simon and Garfunkel... you know, Simon and Garfunkel? Yeah, the two guys with the killer harmonies. Here's the problem... I didn't know how to sing at all. I'd never even thought of singing before. So two of my friends invited me to join the newly forming choir at Horizon San Diego to learn how to sing (this was in the early 90s). So I did and before I knew it I was giving my life to the Lord. I didn't even see it coming! It was awesome!

Now, my sister was pretty upset with God at the time because she had just gone through a divorce. Well, being the upstanding "Christian Warrior" that I now was, I knew that there was only one thing to do... preach, preach, preach... uhh... not so much. I quickly learned that I had missed the memo. The one thing I really needed to do was not preach, preach, preach, but pray, pray, pray. In fact God made that very clear to me one afternoon while praying for her. So I did. I began to pray, pray, pray. And pretty soon, she began asking questions, going to Church and eventually gave her life to the Lord. Now she's the one who preach, preach, preaches at me. And I love it.

So, you can imagine how special it was for me to lead worship with her by my side. Not to mention the fact that "there's no place like home, there's no place like home, there's no place like home..." I do miss my Horizon home just a little.

Thanks for setting that up sis...

Monday, June 16, 2008

Illiterate Taggers

I used to live in San Diego. At one point in my life I oversaw an Integration program at a Suburban School where we bussed in over 300 kids from the roughest parts of East and West San Diego. My minor is in Spanish and I spent the last couple of years at my Suburban High School hangin' with the only 2 Latino Gang Bangers in the school. Needless to say I know a little bit about Suburban Gang Bangers.

I saw this today on my nice quiet 3 mile run through the Suburbs and it made me laugh...

Note to all Suburban Gang Bangers:
If you're gonna tag in the Suburbs... if you're gonna represent you're home town... at least learn how to spell it correctly.
That's all I have to say.

Dad's Rootbeer, Wayne Cordeiro & a Worship Confessional

Yesterday was Father's Day. Everyone on stage was a father... I'm not sure if that was good or not??? Every Father got a Dad's Rootbeer and something to chew on... I think it was beef jerky. Anyway, here was the team.

agtr/vox - me
bass/vox - Dan
egtr - Rob
drums - Robert

Setup was crazy! I thought it would go smooth because I had extra time to setup the essentials on Friday, but I guess I thought wrong. For some reason we're still getting that nasty buzz in the bass channel. I thought we fixed it last weekend, but apparently not. We spent a good 1/2hr. trying to figure that out. We eventually ended up just putting a mic in front of Dan's Bass Amp.

I have a sneaky suspicion that it has something to do with our direct boxes. I don't totally understand them so I'm thinking about ditching them and getting new ones. Anyone know anything about these? Behringer ULTRA

Yesterday also marked the 2nd week of the One Prayer Campaign. We watched Wayne Cordeiro deliver an amazing message. Pastor Dave and the rest of the staff were a little concerned about how everyone would react to watching a video for 35 minutes. I think we were all amazed when everyone applauded the message. That just goes to show how accustomed we are to watching T.V./Videos.

My favorite part of the message was when Wayne shared about a disgruntled staff member who came to him and said he was leaving the Church because he wasn't "getting fed". Over the last 6+ years as a Church Planter, I can't even count the times that I've heard those same words. Wayne related that comment to how ridiculous it would be if his 28 yr. old son came to him and said he was leaving the family because he wasn't getting fed. He then responded with "FEED YOURSELF!" While I'm sure Pastor Dave and I have thought the same thing time and again, I'm not sure if either of us would actually preach such a thing (maybe?). It was refreshing to not only hear it preached but to have it received by so many.

Anyway, here's what our set list looked like...

Awesome is the Lord (Tomlin)
I am free (Desperation)
-father's day video-
-welcome- (Bradley did an amazing job!)
-intro to One Prayer by Pastor Dave-
-video welcome from Craig Groeschel-
-intro to Wayne's video by Pastor Dave-
-"Make us wise" video by Wayne Cordeiro-
-closing by Pastor Dave-
Word of God speak (Mercy Me)
From the inside out (Hillsong)

I did "Word of God speak" by myself because Stephanie our keyboardist wasn't able to get back from her trip in time. I have to say, first service was pretty rough. I used to do this song in the key of B but since I've been trying to do everything in it's original key, I did it in A. It has been a long time since I've played that song and the lack of a solid sound check caused a few off notes. 2nd service went much better.

Also, I still struggle with "From the inside out" but we get positive comment after positive comment every week that we do that song. I love it, but I think it's still lacking some punch in the Bridge when we do it. What do you think?

To top off a great Father's Day, the school has asked us to pack up all of our gear (Children's Ministry and everything) for the next 2 weeks while they clean. The cool thing is that after that we can leave everything setup until school starts again. I have to say that I was very impressed with how many dads not only showed up for a Father's Day Service, but hung out to help tear down! We have the best fathers in the Valley!

Like so many other men at our Church I came home to an awesome BBQ with my family (including my 2 dads). My wife made Teriyaki Steak, Zesty Steak, Shrimp, Salmon, BBQ Veggies, Watermelon, Rice, French Bread & Strawberry Shortcake for lunch. I can still taste it! Guess what I'm having for lunch!

How about you, how was your week?

Ragamuffintop Challenge - week 3

Well there you have it... Down another 6 lbs this week.

week 1: 179.6lbs
week 2: 175.2lbs
week 3: 169.2lbs

As you can tell by my postings (or lack there of), It was a crazy busy week for me. I found a new running path which is pretty cool. It's about 3 miles and I try to run it almost everyday except for Saturdays & Sundays.

I also broke out my road bike this week and took it for a spin. It was a great ride... about 10 or 15 miles. On the way back I found a nice little rock to run over. It burst my tube. Luckily I was only about a 1/2 mile from my house so I didn't have to carry the bike too far.

I have to admit that I kind of cheated on the weight loss this week. I wouldn't normally mention it, but because I don't want anyone to think that I found some great weight loss program or something, I want to make a point of it.

Our Youth Group is going to Mexico next week. So last week I challenged them to pray and fast for the trip. I won't get into the details of how long or how much (matt. 6:16-18), but let's just say that I didn't eat a lot last week. And don't be surprised if I put on a pound or two this week when I get back into my regular eating regimen. On that same note, we're breaking our fast tomorrow night with communion and I'm looking forward to what God will do!

Obviously, I wouldn't suggest a fast to anyone for any other reasons than your commitment to God. But if you want to learn more about fasting, I would suggest this book. "God's Chosen Fast" It completely changed my view of fasting and the necessity for it as one of our regular spiritual disciplines.

If you want to learn about a healthy way to lose weight with a partial fast, I would suggest Dr. Nick's Big Fat Greek Diet. We had Dr. Nick come to our Church a while back and launch a Health Steward Group. He was amazing. I would suggest this program to anyone who's looking for dramatic weight loss and/or just wanting to get healthy. Check it out!

So there you have it. How are all you other Ragamuffin's doing with your weight loss?

Monday, June 9, 2008

Worship Confessional

What an interesting weekend we had. I think Satan has been working overtime ever since Pastor Dave challenged us to pray for him. Obviously, we're doing something right! Overall, I think the services went great. Getting there was a bit of a challenge, but our incredible team did a great job!

To start with, Pastor Dave sat in with us on the worship team. It's always a pleasure to have him. He has this talent... You can ask him to play just about any tune and if he's heard it once, he's got it dialed! Music is a part of his being and you can bet that we're working on ways to get him in the mix more. So keep your eye out for that in the future.

Not so fun... our normal janitor wasn't there on Friday so the floor didn't get vacummed. Now to some of you that might not seem like a big deal, but when you're meeting in a public school like we are, that can spell disastor! But that was the least of our problems. Herb being the multi-talented person that he is stepped up and vacummed the floor for us. Way to go Herb!

Once we got everything setup, we noticed that there was a major hum/buzz in the system. After much frantic discussion, sweat and tears, we traced it to the backlighting. We started unplugging things here, checking things there, etc. etc. and so on to no avail. When all at once, we moved the main amp powerline to the back wall and moved Daniel's amp to a differnt plug (it was plugged into the same wall as the lights) and the hum/buzz went away. How do you spell relief? Q-U-I-E-T! Personally, I don't think it was the amps because they were plugged into the side wall which is on a different circuit. I think it was Daniels amp, but I could be wrong. Either way, we'll find out this weekend.

I'm not sure how this happened, but after we stepped off the stage in prep for the message, David Bishop shared with me that the whole left side of the sound system wasn't working. So as we investigated, we found that the left side had somehow, mysteriously been unplugged in between 1st & 2nd service. Phantom Speaker Unplugerer??? Could be... ;) Thanks David!

Here was the lineup:

Me: vox/agtr
Lynette: backing vox
Pastor Dave: egtr/keys
Daniel (PK): egtr
Kevin: bass
Brandon: drums

It was cool having the 2 father and son duos on stage (Dave & Daniel and Kevin & Brandon). They say music is in your blood. After playing with this team, I believe it. Our Second Set was so smooth. I haven't felt that comfortable in a while. There's nothing like having a solid band behind you to allow you to truly focus on worship.

Here was our set list...

King of Majesty (Hillsong)
Meant to live (Switchfoot)
-Elders pray for Dave & Elena-
You are so good (Third Day)
Everlasting God (Tomlin's version)

You'll notice that we're changing some things around a little. Pastor Dave and I are really passionate about reaching those who are far from God. One of the ways we're going to try to do this (some of you heard this at the gathering last week) is by keeping it rocking up front. We'll also be infusing some secular music to disarm people a little (nothing new there). As the service progresses, you'll notice the feel of the service becoming more worshipful (I hate that word because everything that honors God is worship). In other words, the second set of music will tend to be more contemplative and response driven.

As always, we'll be working hard to choose songs that get people thinking in line with the message. I will say this though... after discussing the day with my wife, we came to the conclusion that "meant to live" needed a little more work on my part (vocally). And she never usually comments. So what does that tell you? Dough!

That's a lot to take in... not to mention read. So if you've read this far, you have to leave a comment. I mean, that's what blogging is all about!

So what are your thoughts? Just click here where it says comments... v

Ragamuffintop Challenge - week 2

Here we are... week two of the Ragamuffintop Challenge. I think I've hit my stride... whatever that means. So last week I started running, but actually gained a pound because of a great weekend with the family (food everywhere I went). This week I was better about what I ate, I pushed my running a little more and I road a bike one day. That same day my buddy Gary and I ran almost 6 miles. That's the longest I've ran in a while... actually... I think that's longest I've ever ran... intentionally that is.

So here's my weigh-in this morning (sorry, no video... my wife has the camera at work).

4lbs is not bad for one week. I have a feeling that this coming week will be even better... Do you want to know why? Well you'll just have to come back next week and see...

Original weight 178
week 1: 179.6
week 2: 175.2

goal weight: 165

Oh yeah... and I'm back on track with my daily "book reading"!

Friday, June 6, 2008

Worship Gathering

We had a great time tonight at our Worship Gathering. Not as many people showed up as I had hoped, but the 15 or so who did make it, made my evening. We had a blast watching Pastor Dave get creamed by his son on Guitar Hero III.

But we also had a great time hearing the vision for Chorus Church from it's founder. I don't think you can ever cast vision enough. And each time I hear Pastor Dave share the vision for Chorus, it gets clearer and clearer and I get more and more excited.

Here are some of the things we went through tonight...

We started with some Guitar Hero III, Hanging out, Cheesecake, Chocolate Cake, Fruit Tray, Veggie Tray and Cheese and Crackers! We then moved into some Fresh Bread from various individuals (that's Christianese for what is God doing in your life). We gave some props to the Youth Teams and went over our new Required Reading List (I hate that word 'required').

The New "Highly Encouraged, If You Don't Do It I'm Going To Be A Little Upset Reading/Listening List" consists of...
This Blog ;)
A tale of three kings - Gene Edwards
SOLO - The Message Remix - Eugene Peterson
Equip - resources for worship - Vineyard's 6 part CD series

Our Suggested Reading List consists of...
Worship; The pattern of things in heaven - Joseph Garlington
The unquenchable worshiper - Matt Redman

We then proceeded to peruse this blog, look at some up and coming worship conferences, review some of the features of Planning Center Online, hear the vision of Chorus Church from Pastor Dave, and watch "100 Years Video" by Five for Fighting (we're showing that this Sunday (might even be playing it if I can get my falsetto working).

We ended the evening with some extended prayer time and then some more Guitar Hero III, Hanging out, Cheesecake, Chocolate Cake, Fruit Tray, Veggie Tray & Cheese and Crackers... Ahhh... who am I kidding, it was mostly Cheesecake & Chocolate Cake! I'll have to run extra today!

It was a fun night. I don't get to just hang out with these guys/girls very much. I love it!

How are you connecting/challenging your worship ministry?

Thursday, June 5, 2008

This one's for Karl!

Hey Karl... this is for you (I know it's one of your favorite songs). Do you remember when Vince brought Phil to the Life Church Youth Group before anyone really knew who he was. Good times, good times. ;)

I found this video at Visual Trademark... my new Blogging buddy and fellow lawn mower! Thanks CJ.

Mowing Grass

What is it about mowing the grass that so inspires creativity? My wife and others have encouraged me to hire someone to mow our lawn for us but I refuse to do so. I love to mow the grass! It's a time to check out, listen to some good music and be somewhat creative. That's right, I said be creative while mowing the grass. Sometimes I'll make straight lines, sometimes they're diagonal. Sometimes I'll crisscross the lines and sometimes I even make them wavy!

But the real deal is that when I mow the lawn I hear from God. He whispers to me as I walk up and down our yard. He says, "Eric, why are you so worried about that issue?" or "Eric, you need to get your act together." Sometimes He even says, "Eric, I'm very proud of you." And sometimes I just feel His presence...

Now, if I could just remember what He said while I was mowing the grass today. I need to carry a notepad with me when I mow!

What about you? Do you mow your own grass?

Creative Chaos!

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

"link loved"

Brody Harper has this cool idea. It's called "link loved". Basically you get to show love to your top referring sites... That's the top sites that refer to your blog in case you were wondering.

Here is mine for this week:

Better Than Blank... This is my buddy Alex. I probably wouldn't be blogging if it weren't for him. He's one of my closest friends and pretty much a genius. I don't think I've ever met anyone like him. He's a musician, a graphic designer and a media geek that understands ministry on a pastoral level. That's a combination that you just don't find very often (if ever). Not to mention, we pretty much see eye to eye on almost everything relating to worship.

When I was the Worship Pastor over at Life Church we asked him to consider coming on staff to oversee the Media Arts Department along with various other responsibilities (you know how Church Plants are...). At first he said 'no' but after looking at the job description he said, "I like doing that, I know how to do that and I'd like to learn how to do that, that and that. I'll do it!" What a great attitude! And now after a few years (some of them more challenging than others), he's now the "Executive Pastor". That means he's learning and doing new things again! I have a lot of respect for him because of what he's done/endured over the last year alone.

So go check out his blog here. He's been out of town for the last week so he put up a few pre-written posts honoring Carlos over at Ragamuffin Soul to keep his blog active. I think that's pretty en genius if you ask me. See what I mean?

Oh yeah, and he gives me the most "link love" out of anyone!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

How to boost your blog activity

Check it out... I'm fairly new to the whole blogging thing. Seeing as how I don't really blog that often (couple times a week if I'm lucky) I'm usually pretty stoked if 60 or 80 people visit my blog on any given day. But I think I've figured out how to boost my blog activity. It's pretty simple really, just find a way to get your blog linked from Carlos' blog over at Ragamuffin Soul. Check out my stats after joining his "Ragamuffin Top Challenge".

I feel special!

Monday, June 2, 2008

Day on the bay

My parents got back from their 2 year cruise to Mexico last week so we went down to the bay to hang with them on Saturday. The boys were so excited. It seems like we did a lot in one day. Here are some photos...

A little lunch to start the visit.

A little boat ride in the dingy...

Some navigational training from the captain.

A little walk around the club and some good old Anchor Climbing!

and a look at some "fish parts"!

Gotta love the "fish parts"...

And then some fishing of our own.
Check out the look on Joshua's face as he catches his first fish ever!

and his second...

We ended the day with some pizza and a nap.

Here are some more photos from the day.

This photo says it all...

Rgamuffin Top Challenge

Alright, so I joined the Ragamuffin Top Challenge this week. Our goal is to try and get healthy! If you don't know what a muffin top is (go here). Originally I stated that I wanted to get down to 165lbs. In the video I state 170. I'm going to stick with my original goal of 165lbs. There's no reason I can't get there!

Here's my first weeks weigh-in. Wish me luck!

My neighbor just bought a new bike... maybe I'll start riding again!

Worship Confessional Links from Youtube