Wednesday, October 31, 2007

It's October 31st!

As a kid, I was really into the excitement of Halloween. I loved going in haunted houses, watching scary movies, and sitting around in the dark with friends telling ghost stories. Growing older, I now have a new excitement for this time of year. Immanuel really goes all out for tonight's community focused event. This year, we will have 75 game booths (all giving out candy...yum), pony rides, a hayride that takes you through the story of the Wizard of Oz, a petting zoo, live music, great food, a hay maze, and a ton of other stuff. Did I mention the candy? Based on previous years, we are expecting an estimated 12 - 15 thousand people to pass through our campus throughout the evening. The majority of these people would never step foot on a church campus. Hopefully, just by loving on them and providing this event for their families, their interest will be peaked in the church and we'll see them again. If not, at the very least we loved on them and they know it.

The primary focus is being placed on providing a great event for the community. I can't wait until tonight. In fact, I'm bringing a pirate, a black cat, and Minnie Mouse with me. I'll post some pictures of that soon.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

You Can't Please Them All

Every now and then someone chooses to voice their opinion in ways that are not very encouraging. These people seem to rise up in our lives at times that are not the most opportune. As a result, the risk of discouragement is high and we can easily be pulled off course. Our response to such people speaks highly of our character and our faith. This does not mean that we can't reprimand when needed, but we must react in a Godly attitude that exemplifies Who He is in our lives.

We must also be prepared that if we are in a position of leadership, we don't get to just enjoy the glory. There will be times that we must endure the "mess". Where there are people there are problems. And often times, we become discouraged by the "problems" caused by the people, instead of looking to the "possibilities" in the people. It really is all perspective. Teach those around you while meeting their issues head on. It is the only way to accomplish, encourage, and "earn" the respect that we each feel we deserve in any position.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

A Dawg-gone Good Day

Though I waited with my heart in my throat most of the afternoon, it is finally official; Georgia defeated Florida 42-30 today! My day can't possibly get any better. It was an incredible game from the opening kickoff. After Georgia scored their first touchdown the entire team rushed into the end zone to celebrate. Though a penalty came as a result, it set the tone for the day that they had come to play and were settling for nothing less than a win. And that is exactly what they got.
What a day.

Now, I guess I'll go cut the grass. See, I told you my day couldn't get any better. I'll be celebrating this one for a while.

Friday, October 26, 2007

A Little of Everything

I spent much of the morning today creating practice tracks for the Immanuel Choir. This is in preparation for our night of Christmas Worship on December 16th. We've been working the music since the end of August, but feel that we can make the most of the time we have left by utilizing our resources. So, practice tracks should help polish off the memory work that we have left. We're having to adjust choir rehearsals to Sundays for the next 2 weeks because of cancelled services on Wednesdays. Lots to do.

I'm working on a song right now on the theme of thankfulness. Partly due to the season we're entering into. But, also because of where the Lord has me right now. Recognizing His blessings in my life and the life of my family. Were it not for the grace of God I could be alone, living on the streets, or worse. His power in my life goes beyond my imagination of what He is capable of. It surpasses my thoughts of what I need or could ever desire. He is absolutely everything.

"Let the people give thanks and praise Him, for He is worthy of our praise."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Fire Damage

My family has been blessed by God's protection during the recent fires in Southern California. However, there are so many families that have been displaced. I received an email today from one of our own choir members saying that she just learned that her house had burned in the Slide Fire in Running Springs. Lynn Wilder, was actually out of town when the fires hit. She and her husband had lived in that house for 33 years. So, it will take some major adjustment in the days ahead.

Where there is tragedy, God is glorified. In her email, Lynn said that she knew God was in control and she was glorifying Him. I'm sure the coming days will be difficult, but she is choosing to praise Him in the midst of her trials. God is bigger than our circumstances! You see people's true beliefs and character when they are in the middle of hardship. Lynn, we see your trust and faith in God, and we hurt (and rejoice) with you!

I have not heard of any other specific names of church family who have lost their homes. I'm sure there are many that we will hear about in the coming days. Please keep all of these in prayer as we seek to meet the needs of others and bring glory to the Father.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007


As my good friend Frankenstein would say...."Fire....bad!" The SOCAL fires have been crazy. While most of the world waits for the day that California breaks off into the ocean, we are sitting in the smut of what once was a very picturesque scene here in Southern California. The fire is not an immediate threat to my neighborhood. However, we are under a voluntary evacuation. That is mostly due to the fact that the winds could change and bring it our direction. Though, at this time, that doesn't seem to be the likely scenario.

Our area is covered in a dense fog of smoke and ash. The air quality is horrible, and many of our church family have evacuated. Coming into the office this morning was very interesting. As I entered the building I could see smoke hovering at the ceiling and the place smelled like a fire-pit. The decision to close the offices for the remainder of the day has been made, and all events on campus for this evening have been cancelled. But, even as I write this, the smoke seems to be lifting a little outside and is already beginning to look better. Hopefully, this trend will continue and tomorrow will be a brand new day.

Please continue to lift all of the evacuees, firefighters, and families that have been effected by the fires in Southern California. If anything crazy happens, I'll let you know.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Immanuel - God is With Us

The Immanuel Choir and Orchestra are preparing for Sunday evening, December 16th, for a night of worship...celebrating the birth of the King. It is going to be a great night of music, worship, and celebration. The songs we have picked are incredible, and I can't wait to share them with our church family. Each one speaks of hope, salvation, and the joy of knowing Him. We may even do an original song called "Bethlehem" that personifies the city. In all, our desire is to bring glory to the name of the One Who came as a child, walked with us as a man, and gave His life for us on Calvary. It is going to be a great night! I'm sure the choir and orchestra will do an incredible job, as always. I love Christmas! And this year, there is even more reason. If you are not there on December 16th, you will wish you had been.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sick Day

If you know me at all, then you know how much I look forward to Sunday. Sundays are what I work all week for. That is the day that I get to "enjoy" the fruit of our week-long labors. It absolutely kills me to miss on Sunday. So, today is that day for me. That rare occurrence when I just can't make it. It hit me about 4am this morning and I've been unable to shake this feeling of nausea since then. So, I'm hanging out on the couch today. Hopefully this will go away soon and I can make it to the evening service. But, at this point. I'll be happy just to be able to sit up for more than 5 minutes at a time. Oh, well. I might as well make the best of it and get some rest. I wonder if I am just sick to my stomach that Rich Franklin lost his title shot last night early in the second round? Is there any reason to ever watch UFC again now that he's lost his opportunity? Hmmmmm.....yeah...I guess I'll press on.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Music Reading

Thursday night I hosted a music reading with Lifeway Worship. I partnered with Roger Byrd, California's state music representative, and we hosted it at California Baptist University . We held it in their music building...what an incredible, state of the art, location. Stan Loyd from Lifeway was there along with several other ministers of music from various churches. Though a small crowd, we had a great time and made some great connections. Hopefully, these will be connections that we can expand on in the future as we partner together to make the name of Jesus known.


A representative with Lifeway Worship has requested I pitch some of my music to them. I am hoping that a door will be opened there for having something in print, but also for future opportunities to take our ministry around the world. Perhaps churches all across America will be worshiping the Lord through our music as a result of our ministry. That is my dream. And it's something that I can't make happen on my own. It is a God-sized dream. He will have to work out the details if it's His will. Meanwhile, I'll try my best to be faithful in every aspect of my life.

I'll keep you updated on the status with Lifeway. Thanks for your prayers.

Friday, October 19, 2007

10 Years

On January 10th, Jody and I will be celebrating 10 years of marriage. Wow. Those 10 years have flown by. 11 different homes and 3 children later, we are taking a dream trip together. We considered going to Hawaii, but Jody has always dreamed of being in a place where snow covers everything. So, without her knowledge, I started investigating different "snowy" locations. We've decided on a place in CO. I've lined up some things like a horse-drawn sleigh ride and dinner, snow tubing, and snow-mobiling...just to name a few. I can't wait for January.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Leading Worship

I had the awesome opportunity to lead worship for the FAITH Training and Equipping Seminar that was held today by Lifeway. What an honor! I love the opportunity to lead worship anytime I can. As a result, I was invited to lead worship in April at the Inland Empire Baptist Associational Meeting. I can't wait. There is nothing as sweet as leading people in worship of our Almighty Father. What could be any better than that?

I am also leading worship again in the morning (yes, on my BIRTHDAY - hint hint). We're going to be meeting the Lord with You, You are God, You are God Alone, and Made to Worship. It will definitely be a sweet time of praise.

Happy Birthday to Me

October 16th is my birthday. That's right. And I will be 33 years old. You know, Jesus was 33 when He died for me. That really helps me to put everything into perspective.

Jars of Clay

The Jars of Clay concert was incredible. They rocked out some of my favorite "old school Jars" songs, in addition to playing some of their newer ones. They also played some new songs off their brand new Christmas CD which is hitting stores tomorrow (October 16th). We just happened to get a sneak-preview of the CD and the chance to buy it early for only $10. Pretty awesome. I bet 2/3rds of the audience were not Immanuel people. This proves my suspicions that we need a venue in the Inland Empire for christian concerts.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

The Heart of Christ

A prayer that I have been praying lately is "Father, let your holy heart beat within my chest. Give me the passion and love that you have for lost people. Father, let me see with the very eyes of Christ. Allow me to see people as you see them; lost and undone with you." I am living with a song that we sang last week at Catalyst. A friend of mine beat me to the you can link to him by going HERE.

Imagine if we all lived our lives with this passion and understanding; shedding tears over the lost and unsaved. I'm sure this song will impact you as it has me. Leave me some comments and let me know what you think.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Jars of Clay

I am very excited about the band Jars of Clay being in concert here, at Immanuel. They will be here tomorrow night, October 11th. If you are not familiar with the band, go to itunes and do a search. You will recognize a ton of their music if you listen to Christian radio at all. Tickets will be available at the door, or you can purchase them online at .

Get your tickets and be a part of the "JARS" experience at Immanuel tomorrow night.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Catalyst Debriefing 2

Craig Groeschel had to have been one of the highlights of the entire conference. In fact, I'm in the middle of reading one of his books right now, Confessions of a Pastor . It is an incredible book. Very real. If you have the opportunity...get it.

Another thing that was absolutely hilarious was that there was a caveman walking around the stage at Catalyst, with a video camera. He finally ditched the video camera for a little still photography. Pretty funny seeing a caveman working a little technology. Did they invent the camera right after the wheel?

Catalyst Debriefing

The Catalyst Conference was everything I had hoped it would be. It was a great time of connecting with other Pastors from around the country, former co-staffers from past churches, and friends from seminary and college. It was also a wonderful refueling time for me, personally. I was challenged by the speakers, encouraged by friends, and led to the throne in worship. What a privilege!

One of the things that really spoke to me the most was something that John Maxwell said. It is something that all of us know. In fact, it is something that I've taught our people in various ministries for years. But, it was the way he put it that gave me a whole new perspective. He asked "what are you doing that is making an investment in the lives of others?" At first I thought "well, I minister to numerous people on a daily basis." But, then it hit me. How am I intentionally touching lives and making a difference?

My mind was flooded with the remembrance of missed opportunities over the past few days. I was convicted, yet challenged to do more. When my time on earth is done, I want to have made a huge impact in the lives of others...for the glory of God.

Can you imagine the change we would see in the lives of others if we were all INTENTIONAL about making an investment in people's lives? It only takes a word of encouragement here. It only takes a prayer there. Be intentional!

I'll share some other things that I picked up at the conference over the next few days.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Time to Refuel

I have the awesome opportunity to be fed this week. I am at the Catalyst Conference this week and I can't wait for the sessions to begin. I am actually using a friend's laptop tonight and won't have access to it later this week. If I can steal a second or two on someone's computer, I will give you an update later this week. But, no matter what, when I return I'll give you the full scoop. I love weeks like this one when I have the chance to sit under the teaching of anointed men of God who are serving in similar ministries in various parts of the country. Pray that the Lord will teach me by the power of His Holy Spirit this week. And that He'll fill me with passion and zeal to serve Him in creative ways like never before.