Family Photo 2015

Family Photo 2015

Monday, September 28, 2009

With Mighty Voice...

Each week I have the honor of working with a special group of ministers! The Venice Church of the Nazarene Choir is a really great group and I am humbled to have shared ministry and music with them for almost 4 years. As a music director/worship leader, I have some high standards for this group! Not just because I know how great they are, but because what they do week after week is not for their personal glory...but for His.

This summer, as I was challenged to begin this blog, I was inspired by my musical family to write the enclosed blog. Though this writing is not directly about them, it does capture the spirit of who they are as a ministry and their importance not just in the life of our local church, but to me. Recently, I was sitting in a small group at a conference when the subject came up that the church choir was dead. Those that know me know that I was caught off guard by this statement…especially because of my personal fondest to that group of servants. I begin to listen as people stated there personal reasons for approaching this topic. People used words like ancient, old, out of touch, not relevant, to describe this ministry that some churches treasure! Finally one person concluded that it was his belief that it is not worth the time or energy to train a choir to worship.
I was struck by many statements this person had made. I was saddened because I realized that 1. We, as a church maybe missing a really good ministry opportunity for people with the concept of a choir, and 2. Maybe we are confining worship to a style or art form as oppose to it being a daily act. I must confess that the “choir nerd” within me wanted to scream out at these words. It would be easy to jump back at those comments and critique his musical abilities…but I needed to take an even bigger step back and look to the Word. 1 and 2 Chronicles shows us an image of God’s purpose for musicians in worship (corporately speaking). As we read in the Old Testament, there were 38,000 Levites set aside for service in the temple. Of those Levites, 4,000 were selected to be musicians. I know we use musician as a broad term, but this would include those that sing and therefore they would be considered a choir!
We know that music is a tremendous gift from God. In today’s church we know that worship is expressed through music and song; and that musicians serve an important part of our expression in our corporate worship. When the congregation looks in at the choir loft and sees “Susie”, who is battling cancer, lifting her voice…God moves. When they look in the 3rd row and see “Ben”, who has lost his job, lifting his voice…God moves. When our congregations, who needs to hear from God, looks to our platforms and sees their brothers and sisters lavishing praises to the Lord…despite the personal situations, they are reminded that they are not alone. They are reminded that there is hope and that they have come to the place where his spirit dwells. That atmosphere is created by musicians such as a choir being willing to be used by God. To some that statement may sound arrogant, but you have to put it in the prospective of obedience. They are being obedient to the call to worship with people as well as lead them. The choir and all musicians are responsible for preparing His people to receive him! What a high calling!!!
To say that a choir is out of touch and ancient may be a misuse of words…at least in my choir loving mind! Maybe it is a matter of repurposing this ministry so that it can continue to be used by the Spirit to ignite a person’s heart to experience His presence.
As time passes, we understand that there will always be issues of conflict over worship styles and formats. I am sure that in 20 years there will be a new issue that involves some new form of worship music…and the cycle will continue. Worship music is here to stay. There may be different forms of it, but there will always be a song or musical way for us to worship the Lord. But we must be challenged to take that word worship and apply to the other days of the week beyond Sunday. Worshipping God daily will look different to every person. We have to remember that if we want to experience God in our worship, both corporately and privately, it is going to take sacrifice. Are we ready to look beyond the sheet music of praise and offer Him our all? Are we ready to turn down the noise of the world in exchange for the unique melody of his voice as he shapes and orders our steps? If we say yes together, with mighty voices, the unison sound of the redeemed will vanquish our sorrows, and grief’s. So let us sing along and sing loud as we proclaim His goodness!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ode to my wife!

So I wanted to take a moment and pay tribute to my amazing wife! I know I do not tell her enough, but she is truly an amazing woman, wife, mother, and follower of the Lord. I am honored to know her and humbled that she has chosen me for life! We went to another Dr. visit today to check on the progress of the baby!(things are going well, we find out boy or girl next month) As the doctor was talking and listening to the heartbeat, I found myself in awe of her. She was so excited to hear the beating heart...I was too! She later confessed how much she enjoys going to these visits just to hear the baby and know that things are well! Ashley is a caring person and anyone that knows her can testify to it!

I was recently at a wedding in Michigan and as I was going from the hotel to the rehearsal, I was looking at all the sites of the city...or lack thereof. As we were getting close to the church, I noticed one of those oversized marquee signs that said That was the only thing it said. There were no pictures and no catchy ad phrase to attract the drivers; just this web address. Later that night, after the rehearsal and stuff, as I was headed back to the hotel room I saw the same sign! My heart started breaking! I found myself feeling such sadness for people who would find themselves in a position to consider going to a site such as this for help. What situation could be so bad that you need this way out! Please don't miss read this. I understand that there are some abuse situation which are sickening; but when I stop and take stock of so many of my friends who are leaving their spouses or breaking their vows it has tended to be for petty reasons! I have to believe that your marriage must be something you on and it is something you just might have to fight for! On top of that, I was thinking back to my own childhood and being a child of divorce. Who would want to wish that on any child? I remembered back to a time when I was younger, I was praying that the Lord would not allow me to go through the pain that my parents were going through. I remember praying at that young age of 10 that I would not let my children hurt or go through something like this. Fast forward to today and I realize that I have a lot to praise Him for in my life! But I was also reminded that He was with me, hearing my prayers at a time when I felt so alone.

So I type before you today as a grateful man! I thank God for sending Ashley to me and blessing us with our son and our second child! If I could send out a challenge to all would be to take a moment and love you wives! Let them know they are special and that they matter! Let them know that what they do is important to your family unit! Also, pray for you wives, that God would continue to use them, and bless them wherever they go! Don't be afraid to take a stand for the covenant you have made with your wife! In choosing to be men of intergrity, we are choosing to honor these women with the utmost of respect and committing to place your marriage in the hands of the one who brought you together!

Spread Love!!!


Monday, September 14, 2009

Potty Training Ain't for Sissies!

So as many of you know, our son Keller has been potty training. For some in the parenting world, you may think that we are running behind schedule...but you are entitled to you opinion. Anyway, the point is, we have spent the majority of the summer in this process. But let me stop right there and say this; when I type the word we, I should really state that it was my amazing wife that had to do the majority of the work since I had to work. I LOVE YOU BABE! Back to the story...we have made a lot of progress, and for that we are extremely proud of our son. At the same time, we are not out of the woods. At this point in the game, we know that he can do is just a matter of him taking time out of his busy schedule to go to the bathroom.
So this weekend, we decided to go to our favorite Mexican food restaurant...which as the best queso dip ever! Mind you, we are always on alert when we are out in public with Keller, because potty accidents can still happen and do happen. Once we got settled into our booth, I had another "What are you known for?" moment with our server/waitress. Before I could order my drink, she said,"You want Sweet Tea! I remember you! You drink a lot of Sweet Tea!" I guess I could have been remembered for worse...Oh wait, read the previous blog!!!!!! HA
Anyway, she leaves and I decided to take Keller to the bathroom. Of course you have to be creative to get him to the conversation went something like this:

Me: Keller, do you need to go potty?
Keller: No Daddy, I don't need to go potty!
Me: I think you do. But you know what? Daddy needs to go potty! Do you want to help him?
Keller: Oh sure! I can help!!!

So we get up and head to the bathroom. As we are walking, this mighty 3 year old voice states: "Hey everyone, I will be right back. I have to help my dad go potty!" Of course, I stopped in my tracks and looked at him as he was making this statement to anyone that would hear...which included two couples and a large group of 10. The people were very supportive of his new venture and cheered him along the way! It is moments like these that I cherish!