Friday, September 28, 2007

The Things We Do For Our Kids

The San Francisco Giants have made it clear...they are not going to re-sign Barry Bonds after the end of this season.

Caleb and I were invited to tonight's Dodgers/Giants game at Dodger Stadium by a friend and his son. We were to sit in box seats near the Giants' dugout. I was to have the chance to see Barry Bonds play live and boo him with the rest of the Dodger Blue faithful. Father and Son bonding time. Baseball under the lights. One of the game's biggest rivalries. I talked with Caleb and pumped up my presentation. Then something flew out of left field and into my line of vision as he responded with: "But Daddy. That is the same night as the fall festival at school."

What? You would rather get a piece of candy for picking up one of 30 rubber ducks out of a mold covered wading pool than to go to a Dodger game? You would really choose to win a tattoo for throwing a plastic ring around a stuffed animal? You would pick the chance to throw a bean-bag through the mouth of a wooden pumpkin that is being held up in the wind by a broom duck-taped to it's back? For what? A 3 pack of sweet tarts? Are you serious right now? Where is Ashton Kutcher? Am I being punked?

Those were all of the thoughts that went through my head. Of course, my real response was "are you sure? Okay then. We'll go to the fall festival...and we'll have fun." But, inside I was dying.

The things we do for our kids. In reality, we did have a great time at the festival. It was a lot of fun. And the cool thing was that our kids had a blast. So did we...just watching them.

But, oh what it would have been like in Dodger Stadium tonight....

Catalyst Conference

I'll be at the Catalyst Conference next week. This is a creative church conference. A lot of fellow bloggers are going to be there and I'm looking forward to meet all of you in person. Though, through the amazing world of Al Gore's invention (the Internet) I feel as though I know you already. I'm really looking forward to the breakout session with Mark Batterson. I'm sure that will be amazing. Be ready Immanuel. I'm sure I'll be returning with some incredible ideas for reaching people for Christ and enhancing the ministry God has called us to. To God be the glory!

New Song

Every song has its foundational story....or does it? One of the more recent songs I've written has its foundation in scripture. God's word tells us that there is none righteous. In and of ourselves we have no hope, no identity, and no future. However, God loved us so much that while we were sinners, Christ came and died for us (Rom. 5:8). Through that scripture, and others, God brought me to a realization that I couldn't get to Him. Though I may have needed a Savior, I didn't seek Him...He sought me. He also tells us that we love Him because He first loved us. Therefore, my relationship with Him was made possible by Him, and was initiated by Him alone.

With these truths in mind I wrote a song entitled "He Came to Me". Here's the chorus:

He Came to Me
Now My blinded eyes can see
He forgave, and set this prisoner free
He died, and He rose, and that's all I need to know
When my sin was all I could see
He came to me

Senior Adults

I had the awesome opportunity to lead worship at Immanuel's Senior Adult Luncheon today. They are always so encouraging to me. Far too often senior adults are forsaken as we put our ministry efforts in other areas. However, we would not be where we are today as a church had it not been for this generation of heroes. Every moment I have with them is a blessing from the Lord. Today, we sang some of the great hymns of the faith together, and I debuted a new song the Lord has given me to write. Good times!

Thursday, September 27, 2007


No matter who you are, you like to be encouraged. Whether you're in the valley or on the mountain top, encouragement is a welcomed visitor. All of us want it, and all of us need it. Sometimes it's what drives you, and other times it's what helps you survive.

I have been blessed to have had incredible people in my life. In every church I've served, God has placed people there strategically to encourage me. And His timing is amazing. Just today I received a telephone call of encouragement. In addition to that, I received 2 cards of encouragement. 3 encouraging contacts in one day. Needless to say I was on cloud 9 during choir rehearsal tonight.

I am so blessed to serve the Lord in the capacity to which He has called me. And He's called all of us to some sort of service. Whether it be in full time vocational ministry, or to play the roll of an encourager, all of our roles are important ones. Stay focused, know that He will never leave or forsake you, and keep your eyes on the prize. Eternity is just around the corner.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Washington D.C.

We're setting things into motion on the Washington D.C. High School Choir tour for 2008. We have some connections at the National Mall and are attempting to set something up there. Possibly a concert...or at least an opportunity to sing a few songs. What an awesome mission field that would be. People from all over the world come through that mall.

We're also looking at possible lodging. One of the vitally important things about a trip of this magnitude is keeping the cost down. It is very difficult to make such a big trip with a large group of people while also making it affordable. If you have any connections in D.C. that could hook us up with transportation while we're there for the choir, it would potentially save us big time in the finance department and make this trip affordable for many of our students.

We're believing God for a huge year in High School Choir. We believe we're going to take one of the biggest groups ever on this tour, and that God is going to use us to impact the world for His glory!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Sunday Rewind

Sunday, September 16th, was a kickoff day for many different facets of the worship ministry at Immanuel. The high school choir kicked off with a bang. Root beer floats, $5 Starbucks cards, and the reveal of this year's choir tour destination topped the list of favorites. The students discovered that we are taking Washington D.C. by storm this spring, and the trip is going to be an exciting one. We are already putting some things into place as we prepare to win people for Jesus.

We also began our Sunday afternoon Immanuel Choir rehearsals. This rehearsal is an alternative to the Wednesday night rehearsal. There are many whose schedules do not permit them to be at choir rehearsal on Wednesdays, so we're making it a little easier for them. This is a trial run. We are planning on giving it until the end of the year to see if it will warrant the participation necessary to keep it going. My hopes are that it will. Though we usually run upwards of 100 on Wednesday nights, this very first Sunday rehearsal brought us nearly 20 people. Hopefully we'll see the Lord grow this rehearsal from here as more people learn about the opportunity.

The orchestra had a retreat this weekend and saw much success. Ken Hughes was our guest clinician. Ken travels with the band "Denver and the Mile High Orchestra", and has also worked with artists such as TRUTH, Jaci Velazquez, Rosemary Clooney, and many others. His insight and leadership really made the weekend a success.

So, there you have it. Another blessed weekend. God is good.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Magic Numbers

Just so you know, I am a big baseball fan. I love everything about it. I especially love to be at the games. I've never been happier than when I'm sitting in a baseball stadium. The crowd, the energy, the noise, the food. The whole experience drives me to want to do it again and again. But, even as a big fan, there is still a line that I consider "too much".

I saw that line crossed when Mark McGuire passed the single season homerun record and the ball sold for $3 million dollars. Yes, you read it right. $3 million dollars. For a baseball. And, once again as Barry Bond's record breaking career homerun record ball sold for $752,467. Now, that does not seem so bad in comparison. However, it is still outrageous. Wow. Wouldn't it be nice to have that kind of money to blow on a baseball?

By the way, I finally broke down and got a myspace site. I had refrained for many years, but it seems to be the only place that I can keep up with old college friends, choir members from former churches that I've served, and friends from seminary. I've had the page for 2 days and already I've spoken with 7 people that I haven't had contact with in over 10 years. Amazing.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Where does your Passion lie?

I am now in my 15th year of ministry. I know what you're thinking. "You're too young to have been in ministry that long." On the surface it would seem that way. But, God was using me at a very early age. At the age of 18, I began leading worship at my home church. In these years of ministry, I have learned a lot. As a result, God has now given me the opportunity to share those things with others.

I am currently mentoring 2 young men. Both of them are very talented and I am sure God is going to do mighty things with them...if they'll stay committed and focused. One of the first questions I ask when meeting with someone is "what is your passion?" We should all be passionate about something. It doesn't have to be preaching, or leading worship, but we should all have a passion. My reaction to their answer is always "follow your passion!" Whatever you are passionate about, give it to God.

When we follow our passions, we give them all we have. Our time, our money, our thoughts. They all go into our passion. Give it to God, and in turn, you are giving all you have to him in that area of your life.

Let me put it like this: Think about the parable of the talents. Whatever God has given you, don't return it to Him without pouring all you have into it. Pour yourself, all that you have, into all that you give Him. As a result, you'll honor Him with an offering that brings Him glory.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Family Updates

I thought it was time for some updates on the family. Since we have so many family and friends that are on the other side of the country, I wanted to post some recent pics.

Our first born. Caleb celebrated his 7th birthday in May at Chuck E. Cheese....where a kid can be a kid. He can flat play some Skee-Ball. He is a video game junky, loves the computer, enjoys school, and is a spelling and math wiz. He is hilarious and continually keeps us laughing. (I hope this isn't sounding like a resume.)

I absolutely love this picture. It is great to catch these moments so that you can go back later and show the kids that they really did love each other at one time. For the most part, they do get along well. I can't get enough of hearing them make each other laugh.

This is Abby at Chuck E. Cheese. She is now in kindergarten and is loving it. She had to miss today for the first time because she was sick (bad sick). She hated not being there. She's that kid you made fun of at the school awards banquet because she won the "Perfect Attendance" award. Not that Abby will get that now...but she wanted it.
Yep. It's official. She's a nerd.

And now, for Ella Kate. Ella is just a happy baby. She has enough teeth now to kill a jaguar. Don't ask me how I know that. I just do. She can totally beat up her brother, and pretty much rules the house.

We have absolutely been blessed beyond anything we could have ever imagined. God is great, and continues to do incredible things in our lives. Continue to keep us in your prayers. As you can see, we have our hands full.....and we're loving it!

Monday, September 10, 2007

Publisher Demos

I just received the latest demos from the publishing company of the 2 most recent songs that I've written. I am investigating ways to post them here on When I get that figured out, I'll post them for you to hear. It is weird to hear the demos. They don't sound like what is in my head. However, I've learned that you are not pitching an arrangement of the song. Instead, you are pitching the song itself. What constitutes the song? Well, basically it is the melody, rhythm, and words. The arrangement is left up to whoever picks the song up. So, the demos are basically a keyboard, a little bit of percussion, and the vocals. Again, I'll post them if I can find a free, easy-to-use player to put on the site. Thanks for your prayers and support in this area of ministry.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Sugar Highs and Lows

Last night was another great rehearsal. However, I had been suffering from a really bad headache all day. Toward the end of rehearsal it became apparent to me that my sugar was off. So, I quickly made an exit and went home. I'm so thankful to have a staff that can just pick up things for me and run with them. They always do a great job. So, I've been recovering since last night. The headache is still with me, but overall, I'm feeling much better. Crazy huh? Maybe the government slipped something in my water. Hmmmm?

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Air Conditioning and Government Conspiracies

I.......I did survive.

My family survived the latest record setting heat wave of Southern California. Yea! Temps hit as high as 117 over the past 10 days, and we were feeling every bit of it. Our air condition went out on August 22nd, so we've been sweating to the oldies for 2 weeks now. Thankfully, friends of ours went out of town for Memorial Day Weekend - thanks Craig and Lisa - and they allowed us to stay at their house. Others - Mark and Gretchen - took good care of us as well by giving us an all expense paid stay in their daughter's bedroom. But, the part came in, the repair was done, and the air kicked on at approximately 10:09am this morning.

So, this guy shows up to fix our air. He seemed like a nice guy and everything, but when I started telling him about Christ he said "oh, I am a born again believer out of the Catholic faith, but I have a problem with preachers". He went on to bash Billy Graham, whom he told me had died (sorry Billy), saying that the Presidents knew him so well because of all of the indictments against him. When I said "I've never heard of any indictments against him" he told me "and you won't. The government is embarrassed that they gave a criminal access to the White House as a spiritual advisor, so they've erased all of the records of it." He then preceded to tell me about all of the government conspiracies that are currently going on in our country. He told me that George W. Bush is the CEO of Valero Gas Stations, and passes laws to ensure he continues making money at his gas stations. That was just a portion of the things he shared. The rest of his rantings I can't post here because "they" are watching. If I post them I could be taken from my bed during the night and forced to watch old re-runs of Good Times until my memories of the information that has been shared with me is flushed from my mind. And the thought of that is not so dy-no-mite, if you know what I mean.

Crazy Cat Video

Wow! The response from the crazy cat video was "crazy" itself. Let me give you the report back. Even though I put the disclaimer on the blog, it seems that just enticed many to watch the video anyway. Not my intention...but it is apparently human I've learned. I had 7 complaints about the video. 7 people who felt that I shouldn't have posted it. Let me say that I really do appreciate those opinions. In fact, my parents were 2 of those. So, Mom and Dad....when I put a disclaimer on the blog in the future and the video makes you sick...don't continue to hit the play button and watch it more than once. I promise, it won't get any better. (That was a joke, by the way). My decision to post the video was not purely based on the content, but instead the fact that it had been caught on camera. Dead cats are on the road every day, but how often does that get caught on film like that. It was that shock that I thought would make everyone want to see the video. My bad.

As a result of the complaints, I decided to pull the video down so that no one else could potentially be offended. After having done so, I received 17 complaints about the video being gone. Many of whom had told others about the video and wanted access to it. So, it seems you can't please everybody.

SO, on behalf of those who were sincere apologies.

On behalf of those who want to view it sincere apologies.

On behalf of Fluffy the cat with no more lives....well, I didn't shoot the video, and I wasn't driving the car. I just posted the results.

"Cat" we all just get along? (Meow)