Friday, November 30, 2007


Well, it's Friday, and I have a lot on mind. So, I thought the easiest way to blog today would be to make a list. It seems that is the going thing these days in the blogging world anyway. So, I...must...give...into....the....pressure.

1) It has rained ALL day today. In SOCAL, when it finally does rain, it pours.
2) We are having Abby's 6th birthday party tomorrow. Jody made 36 cupcakes for 10 kids. Hmmmmm....I wonder if there will be enough cupcakes???
3) I dropped in on a rehearsal last night for the Christmas musical. It is going to be awesome.
4) I just found out that my parents had a drive-by shooting at their store. No one was hurt, but the front glass was shot out by two bullets. (And they were worried about me coming to the gang-infested state of California. Please.)
5) My 7 year old eats constantly. I didn't think that started until at least 13.
6) The SEC Championship is this Saturday. It's sad when the best team in the SEC isn't even in the game. But, the Georgia Bulldogs will be in a BCS Bowl. I can't wait.
7) Today is the last day of November. That's crazy.
8) I'm working on a surprise for Jody for Christmas. She's gonna cry.
9) The Cowboys are 11-1. Super Bowl bound!
10) This Guy called me today with an idea. He lives in GA where they are in the midst of a severe drought that is threatening their water supply. His idea is for everyone in the Atlanta area to buy a case of water from Wal-Mart and pour it into the lake. That should pretty much take care of their water shortage. I like it!

Well, I've got another choir rehearsal in the morning in preparation for our Christmas Worship Service on December 16th. We also have the birthday party tomorrow and a parade we're supposed to go to. So, I'm going to go and take my wife out tonight. She deserves it. So do I.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Another Worship Tool

Yes, again this involves Paul Baloche. I've just found that he is putting some great things out there for worship leaders at little or no cost. Check out his website at . You can put in your email address and receive updates and download options. Also, there are a ton of songs on this site that you can download demos of and band charts for....all for free. Yes, that's right. FREE! What a great tool. Thanks, Paul, for putting great worship leading tools into the hands of worship leaders around the world.

Kingdom Minded people make me happy.

Collection of Note

As a worship leader, I am always on the look out for great music that is scripture based and facilitates worship. With the constant change in worship styles and formats, it is difficult to meet the needs of everyone with one product. However, Integrity Music has just released a new Paul Baloche CD that is a great tool for worship. The name of the CD is "Our God Saves" and has several great worship songs. But, what really makes this a cool tool is that it saves the worship leader tons of time in writing charts and/or searching for chord charts online. It is an enhanced CD that has the leadsheets on it along with instructional video clips that give you tips on different guitar techniques in playing each song. If this fits your church's worship style then go check it out. It's sure to be a great tool for you and your fellow worshipers.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Have You Ever.....

This blog is specifically for you Worship Pastors out there. Most of you will be able to relate to many of the following "have you evers". Each of these is an original that I've dealt with at some point in my ministry. I decided to take some of the crazy things I've had happen along the way and compile a list. I hope that others of you will find the humor in them.


1)...had someone start off a derogatory remark with the words "with all due respect"? That's usually just a "polite" way to tell you off and still feel like they did you a favor.
2)...had someone write you an ugly note on their tithe envelope to give you a "message from the Lord"? In most cases, if that amount you wrote is any indication of your normal tithe, I don't trust the messages you are hearing from God.
3)...called to apologize to someone for some petty little thing that you didn't even know you did because it had gotten back to you that they were upset...only to have them tell you that it didn't bother them? Really? So, it didn't bother you so much that you told 49 of your closest friends? I'd really hate to upset you.
4)...had someone complain that the sound in a church service is so loud that it is damaging their hearing, yet refuse to move to a quieter spot in the church because they like their seat?
5)...had someone who can't sing, can't play an instrument and can't hear try to tell you how to lead worship?
6)...had someone shake their fist at you during a worship set and try to get you to change the tempo to suit their opinion of how that song should go?
7)...had someone stand on the front row and hold their lighter up, igniting a 1 foot flame in the air as you sang that last worship song just before the Pastor's message?
8)...received a letter that threatened you physically because you didn't tell everyone to give a standing ovation to the children's choir director? (I was looking over my shoulder for a month for that crazy lady.)
9)...tripped on that last step going up onto the stage in front of an entire congregation. (And I was the guest worship leader for that day. I wonder if they lost my phone number. I haven't heard from them.)
10)...had to send a chaperon home from a student choir tour? (Yep. Did that one, too.)
11)...partnered with another church to come do a mission in their town for them, only to receive a bill from them for the water and electricity you used while staying in their dirty high school Sunday school class?
12)...received an email, card, or phone call from a church member that was full of encouragement and appreciation that made dealing with all of the other stuff worth it? I HAVE!


My family and I did something yesterday that has been a long time coming...we had family pictures taken. We went to a park nearby and took some pretty cool shots on an old bridge. A good friend of our ministry, David White , took the shots for us. It was amazing to view the pictures. Because I'm with my kids everyday, I don't get to step back and see them growing up. Looking at these pictures made me realize how much they've changed, and are changing.

It's the same way in my walk with Christ. I get frustrated with my progress and feel at times that I'm not growing or becoming what He created me for. But, He is able to step back and see how far I've come. He sees the big picture and already knows the place He has for me to arrive. Wouldn't it be amazing if we could take snapshots of our spiritual lives? We'd be able to see ourselves maturing over time. Or, perhaps in some cases, not maturing at all.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Christmas Time!

As November ends and December begins, the days on the calendar are quickly being marked off. It is amazing how quickly time is flying by. The preparations that seemed too early to begin in August, appear to have begun just in time as we find ourselves on the doorstep of opening night for the Christmas musical. This year's musical is "It's a Wonderful Life". It is very much like the movie, but we've written in a spiritual element that is sure to stir the heart. Our hope is that people will be able to relate to the real life situations of the characters and understand that God has a unique plan for each of us. We were created for a purpose. If we make ourselves available to Him, we will see God achieve His will in our lives in ways we never dreamed possible.

Tickets are already on sale. December 6th, 7th, and 8th is a ticketed dessert theater, and the evening of the 9th is a non-ticketed general admission. Tickets are going fast. If you've not yet purchased yours, please make plans soon to bring your family to the Immanuel Christmas Musical, "It's a Wonderful Life". It's the perfect jump-start to the Christmas season.

Thursday, November 22, 2007


Turkey, Dressing, Vegetables, and Pumpkin Pie. What a day! And, we're going to this guy's house now to eat another whole meal. I'm giving thanks already. Mmmmmmm.

Happy Thanksgiving

We had our annual Thanksgiving Eve service at Immanuel last night. I had never heard of a church having one before. I'm sure that there are others, but the idea was new to me. We had a good turnout and a sweet time of worship together. My daughter, Abby, had her first church solo (it was a duet, but she was calling it a solo). She did a great job and I was so proud of her. I love Thanksgiving. Even though we have already decorated for Christmas and are highly anticipating that day, Thanksgiving is special, too. Nothing in the world is better than being with my family. So, today is going to be great.

On Thanksgiving, there are a lot of distractions if you allow them. So, stay focused on your family and make it a day to remember.

From our family to yours, have a Happy Thanksgiving!

Monday, November 19, 2007

Sound Advice

I just got off the phone with a good friend of mine in Plano, TX, Mark Celoria. He has recently been called to a church there as Minister of Music and Worship, and is loving it. He recently had the opportunity to meet with a hero of mine, Todd Bell. Todd is the Minister of Music and Worship at Prestonwood Baptist in Plano, TX; one of the greatest churches in America. I say that because of the impact they are having on people's lives worldwide, and God is blessing them tremendously. I've had the privilege of meeting with Todd in the past and he is always full of wisdom and sound advice.

When you are in a position of leadership, one of the things that you are concerned with is always having something to offer your people. Whether that be musically, or a word of encouragement, or wisdom, you want to be a blessing and constantly help your people to grow. That means risking being repetitive. In order to help people believe something, they have to see it lived out. That means repetition. But, where do you draw the line between pouring into your people and sounding like a broken record?

Todd Bell relates it this way: Any football coach worth his salt will continually, week after week, preach the fundamentals to his players. That is the only way they will truly "get it", implementing the fundamentals in a real game-time situation. It's the same with worship. We have to hear the fundamentals consistently that:
(1)We were created for a relationship of worship(2) You must first be a worshiper before you can be a worship leader (3) Your ministry is impacting lives for the glory of God (4) The joy of His salvation must show on your face before people hear it from your mouth (5) You must be prepared spiritually or the musical preparation means nothing.

These fundamentals, and many others, have to be a part of who we are. We are continually growing as worshipers and as worship leaders. Continue to strive to be the very best you can be, and allow God to be glorified in every aspect of your life.

Saturday, November 17, 2007

Preschool Chapel

I had the awesome opportunity to speak in the preschool chapel for the Immanuel Day-School yesterday. I expected about 20 kids, so when over 100 came through the door it blew my mind. I had decided that for preschoolers, I wanted to get them involved and tell a story that they were familiar with so that they would have a sense of accomplishment in already knowing it. I thought that I would have to explain where Adam and Eve were and why they were not supposed to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. But, to my surprise, the kids knew all of that. They were answering every question.

I brought volunteers onto the stage to be trees and bushes and stuff. Also, a couple of them were Adam and Eve and one was the serpent. It was hilarious. As I referred to them as their character, they would just stare at the audience and pick their nose or scratch their head. Point of the story? These kids are being taught the Word of God at Immanuel. I was so proud that 2-4 year olds completely knew that story and that most of them had an understanding of what sin is. Way to go Immanuel Teachers! You are making an impact for eternity.

Christmas Shopping

Every year we find ourselves in the same position as most Americans...rushing around at the last minute trying to finish our Christmas shopping. This year, we only have 2 family members left to buy for, and then some additional things for our kids. We are 90% finished with our shopping. I can't believe it. I just had to tell somebody.

Friday, November 16, 2007

I Promised You Photos

Here are some pictures of us putting up our Christmas tree on November 10th. Yes, it was early, but so much fun. We are having a blast everyday as the kids race to the tree each morning to plug the lights in. I love this time of year!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Saturday's Event

Okay...I haven't gotten the pictures up yet, I know. But, I will tomorrow. I just wanted to go ahead and tell you what went on in the Bumgardner house last Saturday. We all got up and fixed breakfast together. We made pancakes and the kids' pancakes looked like Mickey Mouse. Jody is talented like that. Anyway, as we were sitting at the breakfast table we could fill a cold breeze coming in the window. Jody commented that it felt like Christmas. So, I got up and put some Christmas music on. Now, as a worship pastor, I've been living Christmas since July. In my position, you have to start previewing music and picking out your Christmas program early. But, now we've brought it all home. Being in somewhat of a Christmas mood, we decided to do something "Christmassy". So, we pulled out the tree and indoor decorations and had a blast. Now, our tree is up, our mantle is decorated, and our stockings are hung by the chimney with care. It is a winter wonderland in here people...and I love it.
I'll post the pictures of us decorating tomorrow. "It's beginning to look a lot like Christmas..."

Monday, November 12, 2007

Veterans Day

I actually have the day off today. My family and I are going to go do something...still not sure what that is. But, you are not going to believe what we did on Saturday. Make sure that you check back in over the next couple of days. I have pictures. I will post them as soon as I can. If you know us really well, it won't surprise you (too much) to see. But, for others, it will be a "what in the world?" moment. I'll give you a hint....we just got a little ahead of ourselves. See 'ya then!

Saturday, November 10, 2007

Date Night

Immanuel's preschool ministry offered a date night tonight to church families. Free child-care was provided from 4-9pm. What a great ministry! Jody and I took advantage of that offer and invited another couple out tonight. We went to Victoria Gardens and ate at a restaurant called Gyu-Kaku , a Japanese restaurant. It was very interesting. The food was great and was all-you-can-eat. But, in the middle of each table is a grill. Yes, a grill. They bring you a big tray of different types of meat, and you grill it yourself. It was very good, and we had a lot of fun. The price is a little steep, but it's worth a try. Gotta love the Garden. There's always something to do out there.


The Georgia Bulldogs had a blackout in Athens,GA on Saturday. For those of you who do not follow sports, the bulldogs encouraged their fans to where BLACK to the game today against Auburn. The football team broke out black jerseys (normally red) which not only pumped up the team, but the crowd was in this game before the opening kickoff and all the way through the end. What a great game. Georgia is playing like one of the best teams in the country. Go Dawgs!

Friday, November 09, 2007

A Night with the Darlings

You are not a true American if you have never watched the Andy Griffith Show. I love that show. And if you have seen very many episodes at all, then you know the Darling Family. They were a mountain family that played blue grass music, while their "Pa" blew in a moonshine jug to add that little "extra something". Tonight, our choir and orchestra will be hanging out together up in the mountains for some vittles and a little country celebration. It is going to be a great time. I can't wait to see each of them tapping their feet and chewing on a biscuit. What spells "bonding" better than that? I love hanging out with our people! See 'ya there.


The Immanuel School of Worship & Arts (ISWA) had their very first semester come to an end last night. It ended with a great night of worship as our students led us in songs of praise. I couldn't have been more proud of our students and our instructors. It is amazing to see how far they have all come in 8 short weeks. Keep an eye out in the upcoming weeks as we'll be promoting the next ISWA semester, which will offer private lessons on various instruments, as well as class settings in various subjects. Great job last night guys! If you missed it, plan to attend the semester ending worship night next spring.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Living Waters

One of the things I love about Immanuel is that we are Kingdom focused. We don't look to just build up "our" church, but instead we look to make investments in the Kingdom. One way we do that is that we have several mission churches that we support and help to reach the communities that God has planted them in. Living Waters is one of those churches. This church has been planted in San Bernardino and is trying to reach a very diverse culture with the gospel. Our worship team is working with their guys to pour into them as much as we can. Their team is very inexperienced, but they have a passion to reach people. That's where we come in.

We are planning on using every resource we have to build them up, strengthen their approach to ministry, and help them reach that community. Get ready San Bernardino. Living Waters is preparing to take that city for Christ.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007


I don't know why I am amazed any longer. I guess I just want to see the good in everyone. But, it kills me to see professing believers who do not seem to have integrity in any area of their life. I know that we will let each other down. I know that no one is perfect. But, when a lack of integrity seems to be a pattern, and our character is shaded by our choices and deceit, we cast a shadow on the cross of Christ.

Think about what David said in Psalm 101: "I will pay attention to the way of integrity. When will You come to me? I will live with integrity of heart in my house. I will not set anything godless before my eyes (now that is devotion)....A devious heart will be far from me; I will not be involved with evil."

How often do we rise up in the morning and make this kind of commitment to the Lord? Well, that is exactly what it takes. No one can live a life of integrity apart from a daily, renewed commitment to God. We have to renew that commitment every morning for it to be fresh in our hearts. That is why our New Year's Resolutions always crash and burn; we don't renew that commitment daily. Instead, we make a "one day" commitment with the intention of it being a year-long commitment. Renew your mind every morning. Focus on the things of the Lord. You will definitely see your character reshaped and your heart blazing with a new found passion to please Him.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Praise and Worship

The Worship ministry here at Immanuel began the Immanuel School of Worship and Arts this fall. Our first semester was a test-run with one class, Praise Band 101. Our instructors are incredible, and we've really seen a ton of growth in our students. In January we will be expanding with private lessons, as well as classes in basic music theory and such. Tonight is the last class for Praise Band 101 this semester. We will meet together to put the final preparations on our worship service that is scheduled for this Thursday.

It is going to be very cool. We will be worshiping together while featuring various students on their instruments. We have been teaching and equipping them to be worship leaders. Our goal is that they will grow in their understanding and ability musically, while learning what it means to be a worship leader. But, our primary goal is to help them grow as worshipers, ultimately glorifying God through all that they do. Make sure you look for the opportunities coming up next semester to get involved and grow in your abilities to lead the Lord's church in worship.