Month: April 2009

so if you ever wondered about where i am….


i thought i would take one of our Flip cams and shoot a little footage around the campus….

now since i’m ADD, i won’t make you, my cherished readers sit through a long video.  nope, i broke it into a few videos. i’ll put three up today(but only because i ran out of batteries right in the middle of the second one.

so enjoy…

part 2…

and after a battery change….part 2 continued

i’ll post some later.

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i love benedictions…


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some of my favorite moments of worship come from some benedictions.  it’s like challenge and a blessing rolled into one.  i posted one of my favorites a week or so ago. the benedictions that they do at Ecclesia church in Houston are beautiful, broken and amazing.  our pastor does great benedictions every Sunday.  i love to hear great, well thought out ones.

the benedictions that speak the most to me are the ones that Rob Bell does on the Nooma series of videos.  he really has studied some cool rabbinical and early church writings so that his benedictions come in that vibe.  they are beautiful and traditional in their structure, yet very modern in the language and content.  he always sets up the benediction (what he leaves you with) with a question earlier in the teaching.  for this particular one i want to share with you from the video “Today”, the question is, “When you think of your life, what was the best time?”

he ends the video with these words…

May you accept the past for what it is.  May you celebrate what needs to be celebrated and grieve what needs to be grieved and then, may you receive from God a new spirit, one for here, now, today.

 

….i love that thought.  rejoice and mourn, but then receive what is in store for you today.

have you forgiven mike guglielmucci yet?


i know the story sent reverberations through the worship world.  he lied?  he lied about being sick?  i’ve heard the song “Healer” is tainted.  i’ve heard people say they will never sing it again.  i’ve heard so many things, but when i went back and listened to the song again today.  as i cried while i sang with him, i couldn’t help but think that song came out when i needed great healing.  i would sit in my office and sing it every day.  why do we behold such offenses and then write people off.  when you behold the offense…you become the offender!  so i forgive you Mike.  i forgave you the day i found out.  i believe that the Holy Spirit has used that song to help many people.  i will still sing it.

and for those of you who are still sitting in judgement…

stop reading the Psalms they were mostly compiled by a murdering adulterer. 

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and you might want to lay of the Epistles too.  Saul/Paul was a pretty bad dude.  i believe he said he was the “chief of sinners”

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i like Kari Jobe’s version, but this song is powerful live.  i think the song is redemptive.  let it be what it is.

here is Kari live at Pink Impact.

it’s Sunday Setlist Time….


this post is part of SundaySetlists over at Fred McKinnon’s Blog.

sunday-setlists

we had a great week.  thanks to Justin Romack for filling in for Mark our regular drummer.  he did a great job.

i felt like my energy was down just a bit this week.  we’ve had a great month, and i sometimes expect a dip.  i don’t like it, but it happens.  just makes me focus more on what is important, and my own preparation so that our people can worship.  that being said, here’s what we sang.

Everlasting God-Brenton Brown (we did the Lincoln Brewster version and Jay, our guitar player, did a great job)

Cell Phone Video (this was  humor video we showed of an usher destroying a blackberry because it rang in the service)

Your Grace is Enough-Matt Maher (first time we’ve done this one.  it went great)

Your Love Never Fails-Chris McClarney (Ok, we did this for offering two weeks in a row and this week we introed it into the worship set.  as much as i love it, i don’t think the congregation is going to sing it.  it’s kindof a tricky rhythm, so we’ll retire it for now, we may come back to  it)

New Doxology-Gateway Worship (i love this arrangement and new verses to this hymn, we had some issues going from 6/4 to 4/4, but it came off well.  we don’t get alot of rehearsal time and need another week to gel on this.  we introed it as the offertory)

Sermon-We Are the Children of God

You Alone-David Crowder (invitation)

overall a great day.  worked on some sound issues.  really getting things fixed all around.  about to have  buddy of mine come out and work with our video stuff. i’m excited about what God is doing and is going to do in the body here at FUMC Lufkin.

what are you entitled to…


so yesterday i talked statistics, today i’m going to see where that puts us. again from Jesus Wants to Save the Christians….

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Empires accumulate.  And that accumulation has consequences.  Blessing and abundance can turn into burdens and curses.

The number of Americans taking antidepressants has tripled in the past decade.

If all of this was supposed to make us happy, why are so many of us so sad?

But not everybody is sad.  There is another response to accumulation, and it’s called entitlement.

Moses spoke of the need to constantly tell the exodus story, the one about rescue from slavery, “otherwise, when you eat and are satisfied, when you build fine houses and settle down, and when your herds and flocks grow large and your silver and gold increase and all you have is multiplied, then your heart will become proud and you will forget the Lord your God, who brought you out of Egypt.”

Moses can see the days of abundance and blessing coming.  Someday they will not only have enough, they will have more than enough.  And he knows that this blessing is going to bring with it tremendous temptation to forget the God who provided it. How does a person forget God?  The answer we’ve seen again and again in the Scriptures is that you forget God when you forget the people God cares about.  Over and over God speaks of the widow, the orphan and the refugee.  This is how you remember God: you bless those who need it the most in the same way that God blessed you when you needed it the most.

Moses describes God as “the one who brought you out of Egypt”.  Everything is connected to their experience of redemption and the extending redemption to others.  In an empire of indifference, as it becomes harder and harder to understand the perspective of others, it becomes easier and easier to confuse blessing with entitlement.

Entitlement leads to immunity to the suffering of others, because “I got what I deserve” and so, apparently, did they.

Moses warned about this as well in Deuteronomy 8, when he said “You may say to yourself, ‘My power and the strength of my hands have produced this wealth for me.’ But remember the Lord your God, for it is He who gives you the ability to produce wealth.”

In an empire of entitlement, when the fundamental awareness is lost that this is all a gift, luxuries can begin to seem like necessities.  Excess can become normal.  And it can be very easy to lose perspective on just how much we have…

…In the same way that entitlement can cause us to lose perspective, it can also cause us to resist the checks on consumption.  If a particular resource becomes scarce at home or in other parts of the world, it can be very difficult to cut back, because powerful forces of entitlement convince us certain things are deserved.

Empires naturally accumulate, accumulation has consequences, and those consequences are expensive.

wow!  that just hits me between the eyes.  how many times have i said.  “just buy it Chuck, you want it, and you deserve it.”  how much money have i squandered and wasted just because i felt i was entitled to something.  have “luxuries become necessities” for me and my family?

Please Lord, change my heart!

so i’ll be honest…


i’m a fan of Rob Bell.  i’ll quantify that with, “i don’t agree with everything he says”, but that’s how Rob would like it.  i think we could have some great conversations.  the thing i like best about Rob is his books and videos challenge my idea of my own faith.  he gets me asking questions.

rob-bell

that being said, he kicked me square in the butt yesterday with a passage from his book Jesus Wants to Save the Christians which he cowrote with Don Golden.

they are talking about Empires in the bible and then make these statements.

America controls 20% of the world’s wealth.  There are around six billion people in the world, and there are roughly 300 million people in the US.  That makes America less than 5 percent of the worlds population.  And this 5% owns a fifth of the world’s wealth.

One billion people in the world do not have access to clean water, while the average American uses 400-600 liters of water a day.

Every seven seconds, somewhere in the world a child under the age of 5 dies of hunger, while Americans throw away 14 percent of the food we purchase.

Nearly one billion people in the world live on less than one American dollar a day.

Another 2.5 billion people in the world live on less than two American dollars a day.

More than half of the world lives on less than two dollars a day, while the average American teenager spends nearly $150 a week.

Forty percent of people in the world lack basic sanitation, while 49 million diapers are used and thrown away in America every day.

1.6 billion people in the world have no electricty.

Nearly one billion people in the world cannot read or sign their name.

Nearly 100 million children are denied basic education.

By far, most of the people in the world do not own a car. One-third of American families own three cars.

One in seven children worldwide (158 million) has to go to work every day just to survive.

Four out of five American adults are high-school graduates.

Americans spend more annually on TRASH BAGS than nearly half of the world does on ALL goods.

Now, when many people get a glimpse of how the world really is, whether it’s through study or travel or reading statistics like the ones just cited, it can quickly lead to guilt.  We have so much, while others have so little.

Guilt is not helpful….honesty is helpful.  Awareness is helpful.  Knowledge is helpful

Guilt isn’t.

Human history has never witnessed the abundance that we consider normal.  America is the wealthiest nation in the history of humanity.  We have more resources than any group of people anywhere at any time has ever had.  EVER!

God bless America?

God has.

And we should be very, very grateful.

tomorrow i’ll hit you with what they say about entitlement…..are you ready?

what a great Sunday…


this post is part of the Sunday Setlists over at Fred McKinnon’s blog.

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We had a great Sunday this week.  It was the first week of our “TwoGatherings” where we move to one Traditional and one Contemporary service.

our stage had been cleared for a banquet and noone had told me so we got started a little late on rehearsal which meant i missed the first part of the traditional service.  i did get to catch the choir special of Dona Nobis Pacem.  it was very beautiful.  i have to say here that it’s the second time in a week that i’ve sat in a pew and sang from a hymnal.  i haven’t done that in about 13-14 years.

so onto our setlist.  my female vocalist showed up with no voice, so it was just me and the band.

I Am Free-Jon Egan (Promise Keeper’s Version)–and boy did they ever sing the echo back.  Awesome.

Song of Hope-Robbie Seay Band –i love this song.  i still haven’t hit that falsetta note like i want to, but it will happen.

Mighty to Save-Hillsong –first time i’ve done this one with FUMC, but they knew it.

Your Love Never Fails-Chris McClarney–we did this one for offering again.  i’ve got it slated for next week, but may drop the key to G for easier congregational singing.

Sermon-My Lord and My God

Come Ye Sinners-Robbie Seay Band–i love this setting, it’s so simple.

well there you have it.  it was a good day.

so today i thought i might….


hit you with some ancient prayer and maybe a benediction…

you know shake things up a bit.

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i love to read old prayers.  especially this one by Francis of Assisi.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace,
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
where there is injury, pardon;
where there is doubt, faith;
where there is despair, hope;
where there is darkness, light;
where there is sadness, joy;

O Divine Master, grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.

For it is in giving that we receive;
it is in pardoning that we are pardoned;
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
 

i mean that says it all for me.  i love that

how bout we end this post with a benediction?

appropriately a Franciscan one.

A Franciscan Benediction

 

May God bless you with discomfort

At easy answers, half-truths, and superficial relationships

So that you may live deep within your heart

May God bless you with anger

At injustice, oppression, and exploitation of people,

So that you may work for justice, freedom and peace.

May God bless you with tears

To shed for those who suffer pain, rejection, hunger and war,

So that you may reach out your hand to comfort them and

To turn their pain into joy.

And may God bless you with enough foolishness

To believe that you can make a difference in the world,

So that you can do what others claim cannot be done

To bring justice and kindness to all our children and the poor.

Amen

so i’ve been capturing video and making DVD’s all day…


but i’m taking a break to blog.  just for you my reading public.  i haven’t even checked the stats today, but i will.

today i just want to talk about the greatness of what Ian Kinsler did last night.

Orioles Rangers Baseball

he hit for the cycle.  now those of you who don’t know what that is.  he hit a single, a double, a triple and a homerun in the same game, now if you don’t know what those are, stop reading my blog immediately and go to MLB.com and learn about the game…JK…keep reading my blog.

this is only the 4th time a Texas Ranger has hit for the cycle in team history (ok the team has only been around since 72, but still it’s hard to do)

he was also 6 for 6 and scored 5 runs.  the Rangers were an offensive machine last night driving in 19 runs and breaking a 5 game losing streak.

i wish i could have been there.

thanks Ian for making me baseball happy…

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oh yeah.  GO RANGERS!!!!

we are heading back to Lufkin…


i love my new job.  i’m hoping we only have a few more months of this commuting.  we had a really low offer on our house yesterday, so we are still praying about that.

i’ve really been enjoying a worship artist named Chris Quilala as of late.  you can check out their stuff here.

we did a song that he recorded on Easter, and are going to do it again the next few weeks.  it’s kindof a tough song to sing rhythm wise, but it has an amazing chorus and bridge.

i hope it blesses you like it blesses me.