Thursday, May 31, 2007

How's the Weather Up There?

As a kid, I always towered above most of my friends. Because of my height, I heard some of the same lame comments that have been floating around since Goliath was in preschool. In fact, I can remember my shoe size being the same as my age for many years. When I was 11 I wore a size 11 shoe. Each year I went up a size with my age until I finally maxed-out at a size 15. My perception of my height and shoe size was relative. I didn't think anything about it until people made comparisons. I just knew if my shoe felt too small or just right. My concept of height wasn't in comparison with everyone else.

We see the same thing throughout our lives. Our view is shaded by experiences and location. When I meet some of our church family for the first time, I often hear "you're a lot taller than you seem on stage". Their view is shaded by their location. Until they are actually up next to me, their perception is not a true one. Let me put it like this. All of us have experienced a change in our perception of the size of an object. The further we are away from something, the smaller it seems. It's not until we're right up on it that we are able to examine it for what it truly is and access it's true size.

Keep all of this in mind when you think about God. Our reaction to Who He is, is based upon our perception. Who is God to you? What mental image do you have of Him? Theologian A.W. Tozer puts it like this; "How you think about God will determine who you become. You are a byproduct of your God-picture. And that internal picture of God determines how you see everything else."

I ended up growing to 6'4", which is not that unusual. However, God can not be measured by anything that we can comprehend or imagine. We can't really access just how big God is from a distance. We have to be up close, next to Him to get a true view. We will never dream big dreams with a small view of God. In fact, if your "God-sized" dreams seem easily accomplished, then your view of God is small. Get to know Him up close. Only then will you see your dreams become bigger than your immediate surroundings and take on a form that only God could accomplish.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

The Immanuel Choir

We had another awesome rehearsal again tonight. We are only 13 days away from our trip to San Antonio to lead worship at the Southern Baptist Convention, and are people are pumped. We sang a song tonight called Mountain Mover in preparation for Sunday morning, and it flat out rocked. I can't wait for Sunday Morning. Please continue to pray that God will heal my voice. I still can't talk much louder than a whisper with no relief in sight. I'm praying also that when my voice comes back I will sound like Larnelle Harris.

Taking the Hits

It has been really interesting to see how God is using this blog in the lives of others. I've had several, both verbally and in writing, share different stories with me about how the blog has encouraged them, or how someone they told about the blog enjoys reading it, etc. It has recently been brought to my attention that we have readers in New York, New Jersey, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Florida, Colorado, Georgia, Tennessee, and South Carolina - all in addition to California. What an awesome honor that is. I hope that each of you continue to find something here that inspires you, encourages you, and that makes you laugh.

Along those lines, something that we have recently begun within the Immanuel Choir is servant teams. Each of these teams have different responsibilities with the worship ministry. We have a team that comes in to help pull all of our music once a week. This team is responsible for getting all of the orchestra's folders prepared for rehearsal and worship services, as well as getting the praise team's music put together. Another team is our welcome team. This team greets all of our choir members each week at rehearsal, but more specifically, they meet and greet first time visitors. Part of their responsibility includes registering our first time guests, partnering them with another choir member, and helping them to get their music. By partnering them with another choir member, this guest immediately feels welcome and no longer feels alone in a room full of strangers.

The purposes behind servant teams are many. The top 3 would be:
1) For people to make an investment in their ministry. I have found that when people cease to be one of the many and actually take ownership in their ministry, they will become more faithful. We have seen proof of this at Immanuel.
2) To serve the Lord. How simple is that?
3) To enable the people to do the work of the kingdom.

When your people feel validated in what they are doing, they will do it with excellence. Empower your people to lead and you will see a ministry take off to regions you would have never before imagined.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007


How often do we say things like "I'm praying for revival"; or "I long for the day when we see a bunch of people saved"; or "we just need more programs in the church to reach more people"? Give me a break. What we need is for people to be sold out to a God they claim is real and living in their heart. We need people who will stop at nothing to see people saved, have a passion to see lives changed, and seriously long to see families restored. Now, is there anything wrong with praying for revival or wanting to see a "bunch" of people saved? Absolutely not. But, we have grown into a church who sits idly by and hoping for something instead of a proactive church who is willing to beat the bushes for lost people and make an investment in their lives. Revival starts with me. It starts with you. It's not something God is going to do in the life of a man or woman who continues to do the same thing they've always done while expecting different results. That is the definition of insanity.

The church is in desperate need of people who will not only pray for revival but will earnestly seek a deeper relationship with Christ. To pray for it is not enough. Act on your faith. If you truly believe that God is Who you say He is, then ask yourself this question: "what is keeping me from telling the world about this God that I know personally?" I'll tell you what I think it is. I don't think most people know God as well as they might have us think. I'm not talking about knowing the answers to a Sunday School lesson. I'm not even talking about having the "Romans Road" memorized. I'm talking about knowing the Savior of the universe in an intimate and personal way.

As a huge fan of a TV Show, we talk to people about it, we try to convince others why they should watch this show, and we make it our personal mission to keep everyone up to date as the plot thickens with each episode. We don't sit and fret about how to explain the storyline. We don't feel our palms get sweaty and our knees buckle as we consider asking someone if they watched last night's show. But, when it comes to telling someone how we were lost and on our way to hell until God saved our soul, we chicken out and talk about how that's not our gift. Something has to change.

Revival is an action - it's not an event. It is the result of your desire for a deeper relationship. We can sit by no longer and pray for things that we would like to see but are not willing to work for. Spend time with Him. Tell everyone you see about Him. When (and I do mean when) they accept Him, let's get them involved in the relationship. I pray new Christians don't learn from most of us. If they do, they will end up on the sidelines instead of in the game.

Now, what will you do with this challenge? Will you talk about how harsh it was? Will you speak of how much you agree? Will you think of how it relates to someone else instead of taking a long hard look at yourself? Or will you accept the challenge, get on board, and help me win this community for Christ? Is it time for a change - or are we going to repeat the cycle and keep doing things the same way?

Choir Feature

From time to time I like to feature certain people in the worship ministry that are going above and beyond in the name of Jesus. Today, I want to highlight Rrrrrrrosa Galarza. Rosa has been a constant source of encouragement and is always willing to step up and help. This past week she stepped in for Ellen so that she could go out of town to help her parents in Iowa. What a servant attitude! Thanks, Rosa, for everything you do for the sake of Christ. You wear His name well. And to all of the Immanuel Choir and Orchestra ~ You guys rock! I count it a blessing at every thought of you!

Ministry Highlight

I had the opportunity to meet by phone with Lavon Gray today. Lavon is the Minister of Music at First Baptist Jackson, MS. He will be the worship leader for one of the worship sessions with our choir and orchestra in San Antonio, TX at the SBC. During our talk we discovered that we had one year in common when we were both at Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, TX. I seem to run into "Southwesterners" more often than you may think. There are many of us in the ministry, praise the Lord! Lavon is leading his choir to St. Petersburg, Russia from May 31st - June 9th. Lavon, I am praying for you as you minister in the name of Jesus. I can't wait to hang out in San Antonio and hear about what God did on that trip.

I hope our Immanuel family knows what a great Pastor God has blessed us with. We seem to take for granted people and things over time. The things that we've been experiencing and witnessing at Immanuel are not happening everywhere. We should marvel in the presence of God at what He is allowing us to be a part of. Serve Him with everything you have this week. Do not allow negativity to creep in to any aspect of your life. A negative attitude is the beginning of destruction. Stay positive, giving thanks to God in every situation.

Sunday, May 27, 2007

UFC 71

It was a very entertaining night of fights as I settled down for a 2 1/2 hour slugfest. Yes, I did it. I spent the outrageous amount of money on the pay per view. But, I had to see the Chuck Liddell/Rampage Jackson fight. For those who don't know, I am a huge UFC fan. This is not the fake is real mixed martial arts. Also, those who are not familiar with my background, I am a trained MMA fighter with blackbelts in Karate and Judo. I was also a decorated wrestler with 2 national championships to my credit in college. (Okay, neither of those last two statements are true. In fact I've never been in a fight in my life. But, it felt really cool typing it.)

If you are interested in getting together for the next UFC pay per view, let me know. Everyone can bring $5 each, and we can pay for the thing together. I'll provide the food. Just know that I get in to it. If you're a fan, or would just like to come and hang out, let me know. It would be a great time of fellowship as we cheer for someone to get knocked the name of Jesus, of course.


Wow! I've never led worship with laryngitis before. I must admit it was a very stressful and frustrating experience. It is amazing how God teaches you in moments like these. As much as I am convinced that God called me to Immanuel it is humbling when He shows you how much He doesn't need you. He is simply allowing me to be a part of what He is doing. Ministry is not a "have to" thing, it's a "get to" thing. It is insane that I "get to" be in ministry vocationally. What an honor that is!

It looks as though I am not going to be singing the national anthem at the 66ers' Game afterall. I have absolutely no voice left after today's worship services. However, I am excited that Anne-Johnston Brown will be able to sing tomorrow at the game. Our Pastor is going to be throwing out the first pitch, as well. I hope he has been practicing. Can you imagine him not even getting the ball to homeplate? Well, now that I think about it, it's not that hard to imagine. But, it would still be embarrassing. I'm pulling for you Pastor. I know (hope) you can do it.

Pray that I get my voice back soon. I can't stand to be without it. I think the kids are enjoying not having Daddy hound them about things today, though. I guess there are blessings for someone in every situation, huh?

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Just another Saturday Afternoon

I got online last night to see that the Immanuel Choir I Believe video had received 195 hits. This afternoon I checked again and found that it has now gotten 279 hits. Wow! I had no idea it would be this popular. It is a good measuring stick to gauge the need for this vehicle for worship. I'll look into it a little more. Give me your comments on how valuable of a tool this may have been for you in sharing the gospel with others. Perhaps you've found it difficult to share Christ with a particular person and this video gave you the "in" you were looking for. Let me know those type of things. I am always looking to do ministry in new and creative ways if it means reaching the lost, encouraging the saint, or worshiping the King.

I am feeling a little better today, although, still extremely tired. I feel like my voice is coming back a little better today. I hope it just keeps getting better. I missed the Pastor's Golf Tournament today but felt I was better served to rest and get over this than to hit a ball around and risk missing church tomorrow. Not to mention that my golf game is not something others would want to see. Keep encouraging others to view I Believe at If you don't have the link for them, just tell them to get on youtube and do a search for my name or immanuel choir. As a reminder, let me know if this video has been a ministry tool for you and how. I'll look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Not Good

It seems that every 18 months or so I get some kind of sickness that sets in and decides to take up residence in my throat. I guess it's that time again. I started feeling worn down last weekend, but thought it was just that....lack of rest. But, it seems I wasn't that fortunate. I have "the croup"...for lack of a better term. My throat is on fire, my head is pounding, my body is tired, and my voice....well, it's all but gone...and I have what feels like a large gold fish settling down for a long winter's nap in my throat. Will a healing come before Sunday? I can feel like death but still lead worship....but I need my voice. I'm up at 12:30am blogging because I just can't get comfortable. Pray with me that this is short lived. Okay....I'm sleeping 'til noon tomorrow. Good night.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Sneak Preview

Thank you to all of you who have viewed the Immanuel Choir singing I Believe on As of early this afternoon (my time) we had nearly 100 hits. Wow! That goes way beyond what I expected. Get that link to your friends, co-workers, family, and fellow church members. It would be awesome to have a church video have more hits this week than all of the other junk out there. Let's make it our mission to get as many hits on that video as possible.

This Monday is Memorial Day (for those of you without calendars). In our morning worship service this Sunday we will have a tribute to our fallen military men and women. On this Memorial Day we choose to remember. Shortly after the beginning of our service we will play a video that I wrote and a friend of mine, Larry Wheeler (the voice of 90 seconds) made for us. But, you don't have to wait until Sunday. Click on the following link and get a sneak preview of it. If you are referring it to friends, along with the I Believe video, you can give them this blog address or tell them to go to and search for jeff bumgardner. Check out the video and let me know what you think! Memorial Day Video

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

I Still Believe

Many have asked for a copy of this past Sunday morning's video of the Immanuel Choir singing I Believe. I felt the easiest thing to do would be to post it online. You should check it out. Let me know what you think.
Just click on this link: The Immanuel Choir sings I Believe

Sunday, May 20, 2007

I Believe

Wow! What an honor it was this morning to sing a song that the Lord had chosen to write through me. Immanuel Choir and Orchestra - thank you so much for indulging me and pouring yourself into it. You "sold it" and really made the difference. People have shared with me today how encouraged they were by your ministry. It is an amazing feeling to sing a song that was birthed from your heart and to hear others use it to convey a message. Each of you are the reason I do what I do. You are such an awesome blessing and I thank God that I get the opportunity to serve alongside you. See 'ya Wednesday!

Sunday Night 2

I really enjoyed my time with Bobby Welch today. I was filled with a respect for him during, and following, his stint as President of the Southern Baptist Convention, but now it's on a more personal level. I was privileged to hang out with both he and our Pastor tonight following the worship service. A man who could have spent his time talking about himself and all of the things he had accomplished instead spent most of his time encouraging me. I'm so thankful for guys like that. Continue to pray for Bobby Welch and his ministry as God continues to use him to challenge, encourage, and impact the Kingdom.

Sunday Night

What a sweet time of worship we had tonight. I believe it was probably the most powerful evening service we've had since I've been at Immanuel. The crowd was great, it was a very energetic environment, and God showed up. What more could you ask for? Bobby Welch was with us all day today and shared his testimony tonight. If you were not there you missed an incredible time. God is doing a great work at Immanuel!

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Vision Casting

As a Worship Pastor, I am expected to be a lot of things:
1. I must be a good musician. People expect you to excel in every aspect of music. (I can't disagree much on that one)
2. I must be a good teacher. People want to know that they will benefit from sitting under your leadership - that you can & will take them deeper in their walk with Christ.
3. I must be a good motivator. Even though we're dealing with adults in most instances, everyone needs encouragement. Each person needs to be challenged to give their best, and you can't settle for less than that. An offering to the Lord that is not the best we can give is worthless. It's often difficult to get people to grasp that concept.
4. I must be a good peace keeper. On an (almost) daily basis I am pulled into a situation where people are at odds. You have to keep your head and challenge both parties to reconcile. As strange as it may seem, not every Christian that believes he/she is a mature believer is a mature believer (that's hard for most people to see in themselves).
5. I must meet the needs of my people. Though this may seem like a foreign idea to some, people like to know they are cared for. I am not perfect (my wife's been telling me that for years) and therefore I miss opportunities in this area on occasion. However, my ministry is only as strong as my ability, and willingness, to personally minister to people where they are. After all, these are the people God has called me to.

That's only 5 of about 50. I'll get to some of the others in future blogs. Let me just conclude with this...Many church staff spend a lot of money going to conferences looking for the secret to building a successful ministry. They spend hours sitting in breakout sessions listening to what works for someone else at some other church in some other town. Let me save you a lot of time and money. If you are a worship pastor, here is your golden nugget of information - everything you need for a successful ministry is sitting right in front of you every time you lead a rehearsal. The answer? Your people. They want to cheer for you. They are pulling for you to succeed. Pour all you have into them. Invest in their lives on a personal level. Yes, you will let them down occasionally. Yes, you will make yourself vulnerable. But, your people will not respond to you if they don't know you. Make an investment in the people that God has called you to, and they in turn will stop at nothing to help you attain the vision God has given you.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Thought Provoking

I've been thinking a lot lately about people. People just like you and me. Fathers & Mothers. Husbands & Wives. Sons & Daughters. Just plain, run of the mill, ordinary people. People with dreams. People with disappointments. People with hope. And hopeless people.

All around us - in every aspect of our lives - these people are living, walking, & breathing. All around us - in every situation we encounter - we cross paths with them. Some we know by name. Others are strangers. Yet, people just the same. In an average week we come across thousands of them. A sea of faces all looking for the same thing. Hope.

I know where hope resides. I know how they can find it. I know the answer to all of their questions. I can sit silently by no longer. I have to throw out the lifeline. I want them to cease to be a faceless crowd. I want to know them. I want them to know Him. With me or not I'm going. If I am the only voice crying in the wilderness then at least there's a cry to be heard. Am I alone? Are you with me?

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Another Great Night

I've said this before, but as a worship leader I live from Sunday to Sunday. I look forward to that time we have together as a church family every week. But now, I'm every bit as excited about Wednesday nights! Every Wednesday's choir rehearsal is a sweet time of worship and is filled with such great energy. Once again the room was packed out last night and we were left scrounging around for more places to put chairs. I'm so thankful that God is using so many people in the worship ministry. What an honor to be a part of it.

Last night we gave out some free chick-fil-a sandwich coupons to some of our choir. Use them! If you didn't receive one, please make sure you go anyway. They are a Christian organization. Their number 1 goal is to honor Jesus Christ in all that they do. They shared with me that they are striving to poor Jesus into as many of the new employees that they've hired as they possibly can. They will never be open on Sundays out of respect for the Lord, and we need to stand behind that. Support your new Chick-fil-a and get to know the new owners, William and Leigh Crum. They're an awesome couple. They moved here from North Carolina just to bring Chick-fil-a to Redlands. Encourage them to come check out Immanuel and love on them. They're also expecting a little "crum" in October. Congrats William and Leigh. We're glad you're here!

If you are not part of Immanuel and are ever in the area, come check out the Immanuel Choir on Wednesdays at 6:30pm. We'd love to host you!

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

You've Gotta Be Kidding Me

Every year this happens. Every year. There seems to be that one spark of hope...that one ray of light...that one "true" American Idol..but then this happens. A few years ago it was Latoya London - but she was ousted at #4. Then it was Chris Daughtry - but he was ousted at #4. Now, Melinda. I don't know what else to say. I'm going to bed.

American Idol

After our escapade at Chick-fil-a, our worship staff came back to our house to watch last night's episode of American Idol. It was a lot of fun as we critiqued each vocalist's performance. In the end I took a survey from each person as to who was GOING HOME. Here are the results:

Ellen & Les - Jordin
Sharon & Alan - Jordin
Amy - Jordin
Byron - Jordin
Jody - Blake
Megan - Blake
Brad - Jordin

Alright, now for me. I believe that Blake will be hanging around for the finale. Here's why: I think that Blake will get the little girl and teen votes. I think that any fan of that genre, Maroon 5 types, will vote for Blake. That being said, I believe that Jordin and Melinda are close enough in style that they will split votes. In that scenario, Melinda is going to bring more votes in. Therefore, I believe that Blake and Melinda will meet in the finale next week. Go Melinda!

Click on the comments below and tell me who you think is going home.


I promised you an update on last night's activities, so here it is. Chick-fil-a was incredible! It has always been my favorite fast food restaurant, and now there's even more reason for it. The cows were out in full force last night and welcomed us to the restaurant with a Polaroid picture with him as we entered the doors. We were taken to our seats located in the very center of a packed out dining room. Door prizes were given away (congrats Brad) and samples of chicken-minis continuously circled our table. I was on the way to being full long before the meals were served, but that wasn't going to stop me.

We had our choice of several value meals (all for free!!!), so I went with the trusty #1 chick-fil-a sandwich with waffle fries and drink. I topped that off with lemon ice-box pie, a slice of cheesecake, and ultimately a fresh hand-spun mint cookies and cream milkshake. No, that wasn't all of the food at my table. That was the food going in my stomach. Phewwww!

It was incredible. What a fun night. We had the opportunity to meet the new owners and operators William and Leigh Crumb. They seem great and are very excited to be in the Highland - Redlands area. I'm looking forward to getting to know them better. Go to Chick-fil-a! Wherever you are located. Go. They are a Christian organization whose chief goal is to honor Jesus Christ in all that they do. We need to support that kind of stand.

Alright Immanuel Choir - you have to be in rehearsal tonight. We have free gifts from Chick-fil-a that we are going to be giving away. There are approximately 40 - 50 things to give away, so your chances are good. See 'ya tonight!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Worship Team

Tonight my worship staff and I are going to be doing some hangin' out. My ministry assistant, Sharon, was given an invitation to Chick-fil-a during their training - so, we're hitting the restaurant tonight prior to their grand opening on the 17th. After dinner, we are headed back to mi casa (my house) to watch Blake, Melinda, and Jordin battle it out to see who will be in the finale of American Idol. This is the first year that there have been 3 extremely talented people in the top 3. Most years you can easily guess who's going home. I have successfully picked the ousted vocalist each of the past 7 weeks. So, tonight should be fun. As a worship staff we will rank who we think is going home tomorrow. I'll let you know every one's predictions. Who do you say is going home?

Monday, May 14, 2007

Ministry Lessons Learned

In 13 years of ministry God has taught me a lot of things. Some lessons were harder for me to learn than others, and many other lessons still await me. However, I feel that I've grasped some throughout the years and thought I'd share few of them with you.

1) Dream Big - you don't need to work the details out to everything. Dream big dreams that only God can accomplish. Be diligent and sold out, then watch as He accomplishes the vision.
2) People are People - where there are people there are problems. In ministry, we are called to work with a diverse group of people. Not everyone is going to see things the same way. Instead of being defeated, use this to your advantage. Plug people into positions that suit their strength and build on that.
3) Teach people to invest in their ministry. People will be sold out to a ministry they have made a personal investment in.
4) Look at things as a first time guest.
5) Don't leave things alone. Every aspect of your ministry can always be done better.
6) Enjoy your people. Hang out with them and make a personal investment.
7) Experiment often. This is a key element to creativity.
8) Make your family your #1 priority.
9) Keep learning.
10) Build relationships with other churches. After all, we are on the same team!

These are just a few lessons - I'll share others with you at some point in the future. If you want, leave me a comment by clicking on the "comments" link below and let me know of a lesson God has been teaching you lately.

We Wear His Name

Ministry is not something that has to be done from a stage. The sweetest, most awesome ministry opportunities occur when no one is looking. We have made up nice looking name tags for all who attend Immanuel Choir rehearsal each week. Each person gets their name tag and wears it, and our guests are given name tags for the week. Each guest will have an "official" name tag available for them at their 2nd rehearsal. By having these name tags, it is easier to make people feel like they matter when you can call them by their name. Doing so, you automatically take people off their guard. I am convinced that if we ever become fully aware of what is going on in the lives of the people around us on a daily basis, we will be more intentional about ministering to the needs of people.

All around us in any given rehearsal are people who are going through a nasty divorce, those who are fighting cancer, those who have just recently lost a loved one, those on the verge of making a bad decision that need your encouragement. Find someone this week that God brings across your path and make an impact for all of eternity. Invest in the lives of others by ministering in the name of Christ. You don't need a stage for that!

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Chase that Lion!

One of my favorite blogs to read is by pastor/author Mark Batterson. His book, In a Pit With a Lion on a Snowy Day is without doubt one of my favorite books that I've read in at least the past 2 years. It has challenged me, made me think, and has helped to light a newfound fire under me. In a recent blog Batterson listed his "chase the lion manifesto". It gives you a little taste of the book. I've listed it below for you to consume, chew on, and then put into action. If you will adopt it as your own and apply it to your mindset, it will change your approach to not only ministry, but life itself. Let me know what you think.

Quit living as if the purpose of life is to arrive safely at death. Set God-sized goals. Pursue God-ordained passions. Go after a dream that is destined to fail without divine intervention. Keep asking questions. Keep making mistakes. Keep seeking God. Stop pointing out problems and become part of the solution. Stop repeating the past and start creating the future. Stop playing it safe and start taking risks. Expand your horizons. Accumulate experiences. Consider the lilies. Enjoy the journey. Find every excuse you can to celebrate everything you can. Live like today is the first day and last day of your life. Don't let what's wrong with you keep you from worshipping what's right with God. Burn sinful bridges. Blaze a new trail. Criticize by creating. Worry less about what people think and more about what God thinks. Don't try to be who you're not. Be yourself. Laugh at yourself. Quit holding out. Quit holding back. Quit running away. Chase the lion!

Friday, May 11, 2007

It's Friday

That's right. It's that day of the week that we look so forward to. That day that marks the end of a busy week and the beginning of a peaceful, relaxing weekend....or some might say. Tonight, we spent the evening at Victoria Gardens. We caught Spidey 3 and then grabbed some In-N-Out...God's gift to mankind in the form of a burger (double-double please...animal style).

This past Wednesday was another great night of worship and rehearsal. I was talking this week with Amy Donovan...God's gift to our worship ministry in the form of a secretary. We were talking about how God is bringing so many people to the Immanuel Choir that we're packing the rehearsal hall on a weekly basis. It was mentioned how cool it would be if choir rehearsal was shut down because we broke the fire code for that room with so many people. Can you imagine that hitting the church world? "California Church Breaks Fire Code in Choir Rehearsal"

Keep doing what you're doing Immanuel Choir! You guys are incredible. Bring your friends, neighbors, co-workers and family. Throw them in the car with you and get them to choir rehearsal where we are learning to be better worshipers and meeting Him face to face on a weekly basis. I can't wait to see you Sunday. Man, I love this ministry!

Thursday, May 10, 2007


In ministry you pray for God to bless you with the tools, the abilities, and the people to accomplish the vision you believe He has given you. It's awesome when you see Him answer those prayers. Most of the time His blessings come in the form of people. In Immanuel's Worship Ministry God has blessed us with some incredible people. So, from time to time, I will be featuring those special people that God is using in incredible ways to help me breathe a little easier, and that are impacting this ministry.

Today, I want to send a thank you out to Brenda Heusterberg. Brenda is one of those God-sent choir members who is always encouraging me and willing to help. In preparations for San Antonio she brought her laptop to choir rehearsals each week and set-up shop in the choir rehearsal room - booking flights for numerous people over a several week span. Thanks, Brenda, for all that you do and your willingness to serve. And the Immanuel Worship ministry has several "Brendas" who are seeking to serve others. This is why I believe we see so many people joining the Immanuel Choir and staying...they feel like it's home. Keep working guys. We're gonna take this city for Jesus!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Mountain Mover

The Immanuel Choir and Orchestra are working on some new material. One of the songs we're working on is called Mountain Mover. What an awesome song. Some of the lyrics are My God is a mountain mover. My God's gonna make a way. How true is that? Have you ever had a GIANT in your life? All of us have at some point. That daunting mountain that seemed that it would be the death of us. But somehow, in the midst of the trial or circumstance, God brought us over the mountain...through the Giant, granting us victory. Everytime. Every single time.

Everyone of us has a story (probably several) of a time in our lives when God sustained us and brought us through impossible circumstances. David - he would have never defeated Goliath had God not provided the stones. The children of Israel - they would have never crossed the Red Sea and escaped Pharoah's Army if God had not provided the dry land. Paul - he would have never impacted the church for all of eternity had God not temporarily taken his sight. In each circumstance, there was no hero who had super-human abilities. Instead, there was man, and there was God. They had nothing more, and nothing less, than we have. Know, that no matter the circumstance - no matter the situation - no matter the gray skies - My God is a Mountain Mover. My God's gonna make a way!

Family Pics

I couldn't help but share this shot. This is me and my youngest daughter, Ella, in our front yard. guessed it. She's got me wrapped....

Saturday, May 05, 2007

The Battle

A crowd gathered to see the action, hoping that the sheer battle for survival would provide both entertainment and a rush of adrenaline. A cheer unlike any other was heard as the warriors took center stage. The two armies stared each other down as their leaders approached. Their beady eyes locked on their targets as the sounds of the crowd around them were drowned out by the beating of their own hearts. A loud alarm put the event into action.

Dirt was flying, sweat was dripping, the two sides engaged one another with sheer determination, each one hoping to live to fight another day. Like a powerful thundering herd each pounced their prey in an effort to subdue and conquer. Many were drug unwillingly to the ground as their enemy unmercifully laid upon their struggling bodies. Others trampled their opponent as if nothing could stand in their way. Cries of approval were heard from the crowd as they begged for more. However, just as suddenly as it had began, a loud shriek signaled the ending. When the dust had settled, the field laid barren thirsting for the bodies of more victims to trample upon it in an engagement of pure will for survival.

The battle rages on and can be seen by those who desperately seek it. The next battle will take place a week from today on Immanuel's green fields as the Kindergarten League of UPWARD Soccer meets for Week 2. Be there!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Coming Up

I'm so excited about the remainder of 2007 that I can hardly contain it. I met with my Pastor today and we talked about creativity. One of the rules of creativity is to constantly experiment. We are going to be doing that in several areas of ministry this year. We want Immanuel to be culturally relevant. Our desire is to reach Highland and the surrounding area with the Gospel of Christ. We are willing to do whatever it takes to see souls saved and lives changed. Pray with us that God will inspire our people with an unquenchable passion to see people saved. If we, as a church, would wake up and finally get it, there would be no limit to what we could see God do. Get ready Highland. Immanuel is on a mission.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Good Problems

Have you ever heard that term before..."good problems"? Well, it is a term we are having to repeat to our people on a regular basis now on Wednesday nights. God has continued to bring us new people to the Immanuel Choir, but the past few weeks has been tremendous. We have had to bring chairs out and create a whole new section outside of the risers, on the floor, of about 20 more chairs. People are packed shoulder to shoulder and it is uncomfortable. We are running out of music and people are having to share. But, what great problems to have. We will be ordering more music, we will be pulling out more chairs, and we will try to make it as comfortable as possible. Praise the Lord He is growing our ministry. May He continue to bless us! Way to go Immanuel Choir! I love each of you! Keep bringing more people!