Sunday, June 29, 2008

Life is a Beach

On Friday, my family spent all day at the beach. When I say "all day", I mean "all day". We were there from 8:30 in the morning until 9 o'clock at night. We had a blast. Caleb spent all day in the water, and I spent much of the day with him. He is a natural boarder in the water. He picked it up immediately. As a result of an all day beach trip, I am toasted. But, it was worth it.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Solution for High Gas Prices

Like most of you, our family is looking for solutions to the high gas issues we are facing. We have tried many different things. But, I think I've finally found the solution. Watch the following instructional video on how to save money on gas. I think you'll find it very interesting.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Nothing New Under the Sun

It seems that most every church has had a battle at some point over music. Some have waged wars of tremendous magnitude. While others have disagreed, implemented a plan, and moved on. Mark Celoria , a good friend of mine, has recently posted this on his blog about music in the church:

Several months back, my pastor preached a series on worship. There was an illustration he used that I'll never forget. He was talking about how many folks are opposed to what Christian songwriters are producing these days when he read this quote taken from a preacher's sermon:

“There are several reasons for opposing it. One, it’s too new. Two, it’s often worldly, even blasphemous. The New Christian Music is not as pleasant as the more established style. Because there are so many new songs, you can’t learn them all. It puts too much emphasis on instrumental music rather than godly lyrics. This new music creates disturbances making people act indecently and disorderly. The preceding generation got along without it. It’s a money making scheme and some of these new music upstarts are lewd and loose.”

To whom was this pastor referring?

He was referring to The Father of English Hymnody, Isaac Watts in 1723.

Yes, the same Isaac Watts that wrote, "When I Survey the Wondrous Cross", "Joy to the World" and hundreds of other well-loved hymns of our faith. Guess it goes to show that there really is nothing "new" under the sun!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Glorious Day

Every so often I come across a great song or collection that I become very passionate about. I tend to be attracted by songs that fit me; who I am, my worship style, etc. In recent years, many of those songs and collections have come from Travis Cottrell. Well, this one is no different.

I have been living with the collection Glorious Day recently, by Travis, David Moffitt and Sue Smith. I feel as though I am being led to the Throne in worship every time I put it on. I'm definitely bringing this to the people of Immanuel in the next few months.

Great job Travis! We've got to "hang" again soon and sing some 80s tunes.

Saturday, June 21, 2008


I love the weekend. Saturdays can be so much fun with my family. However, today was very tiring. We started the day off with 2 soccer games; one at 10am, and one at 11am. It was crazy. By 10am it was already 100 degrees. Mucho no fun-o. So, after sweating off about 13.6 lbs, I came home to rehabilitate...or hibernate...whatever you want to call it. Jody really wanted to go to Jaime and Jenna's wedding (congrats guys), so I stayed home with the kids to let her go. She always misses out, so I let her get out of the house and see what the real world was like. She liked it. I may be in trouble.

The kids and I played a game called "Champions of Faith". Caleb won it at church for doing something. Later, we read, did the potty-training thing with Ella, gave her a treat for doing well, applauded and danced about like crazy people because our little baby had used her tiny plastic pot. What a day!

I am now getting ready to watch the Ultimate Fighter Finale. I can't wait. 7 minutes and counting. Okay...gotta go. I need to make sure all of my snacks are ready.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

A Week Full of Meetings why is it that when you already have a Big Hairy Staff Meeting week planned, it is followed up by all of these other meetings? Why do those meetings not get spread out more than that? So, I've spent almost every waking hour (at the office) in meetings this week. It's those weeks that when it is all said and done, you look back and wonder "what did I accomplish?"

Okay, I'm through with my whining.

On to better thoughts: We are looking to make some changes this fall in our worship services. Changes aren't being made just for the sake of change. Instead, we are making changes in an effort to grow this church by reaching lost people. I think I've said that before, right? Well, I am getting really excited about the contemporary service that we will launch this fall. It is the type of service that we will have total creative freedom with. Media, lighting, sound, worship music, all of it and more will be creatively developed. Our desire is to win our younger generations to the Lord and fill this church with new believers.

Join with us in prayer as we seek the Lord for wisdom and discernment in our planning. We want to honor Him as we make an eternal impact in the lives of others.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Staff Retreat Day 2

And so it continues. Today, we will be in day 2 of this year's Immanuel Big Hairy Staff Meeting. What does today have in store for us? Here are some thoughts I have leading up to today:

1) I hope there will be more of those cookies.
2) I've never seen him in shorts before:o
3) His 3-5 minutes was over 23 minutes ago.
4) We left that conversation 30 minutes ago. How did that come back up?
5) Another bathroom break? Isn't this the 3rd one in 15 minutes?
6) When is lunch?
7) There's a great idea!!! (it doesn't matter that it was mine;)
8) I can't wait for choir practice.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Staff Meeting Day 1

Okay. So, we met all day at California Baptist University in Riverside. They hooked us up with a nice conference room, provided snacks, and lunch for absolutely NO COST. Thank you Jesus...and CBU! It was a very long day. I am mentally drained. I am emotionally exhausted. And, it has bled over into physical exhaustion. Sitting around a conference table ALL DAY LONG will drain you. So, I'm going to bed. I'll share more later. But, I'll leave you with this: We had some of the most awesome prayer time that I've ever experienced with our staff. Much needed. Interpretation for Rosa...muy necesito (is that one "s" or two?).

Monday, June 16, 2008

Staff Retreat

So, maybe the name is a little misleading, but we're not really on a staff retreat. The reason is...we didn't go anywhere. In order for it to be a retreat, you would have to actually, well, retreat. Since we're staying local, I guess we should just call it a big hairy staff meeting.

I've been looking forward to it for some time. I love change. I love it because change brings excitement. It brings a renewal. It brings an element of expectancy.

Today, I met with Pastor, Mark and Wayne (I just couldn't resist the weird looking picture) to lay out the plan for the next couple of days when the entire ministerial staff meets together. We made some real progress, and set some things into motion that I can't wait to see implemented within the life of the church. I'm not at liberty to share the details. However, let me just say "GET READY IMMANUEL". I really believe God is getting ready to do some incredible things in and through our church. Get on board and believe Him for something huge. If you want to be a part of making a difference in people's lives and reaching people for Jesus, NOW is the time. We're gonna take this city!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Father's Day 2008

Here's a list of things I'd love to have for Father's Day. The only thing is, I don't want Jody and the kids to get them for me. Why? Well, because they are dream items. If Jody and the kids get them, then it really comes out of my own money anyway. Make sense? Good.

1) Season passes for the family to Disney Land
2) Tickets to Sunday's Celtics vs. Lakers Finals Game (anyone out there want to hook
me up?)
3) A trip up the coast
4) Plane tickets home to visit family in GA
5) A trip to New York
6) A new (used) car

Hmmmm...looks like I need a trip somewhere, huh?

Okay...some things I don't want for Father's Day:

1) A pair of socks
2) A new tie
3) Deodorant
4) Cologne
5) Tools (I wouldn't know how to use them anyway)

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, June 12, 2008

3 Stripes

Caleb was awesome to watch on Tuesday night in his Mixed Martial Arts Class. They were grappling, and he was caught in a rear-naked choke hold. His face turning read, he somehow spun out of it and ended up on top of his opponent. At the end of class, his instructor, Brian Warren, commended him and awarded him 2 stripes on his belt for effort. He said "this little man fought harder and pushed himself more than anyone else tonight. I'm giving him 2 stripes!"

This brings Caleb to 3 stripes on his white belt. After the fourth stripe, he will be eligible to test for a belt promotion. He was so excited after class and made up a song on the way home. It goes like this:

I got 2 stripes on my belt.
I got 2 stripes on my belt.
I got 2 stripes on my belt and my mom is gonna scream!

Gettin' Ready

Next week is our annual staff retreat at Immanuel. We will be discussing many important issues that will impact the future of the church. I am gathering and preparing all of the Ministry Action Plans that I and my worship staff have put together, and will be presenting those at these meetings. A lot of time, work, prayer, and preparation goes into this, and I'm hoping God will do a great work through us. There is nothing more deflating than coming off of a staff retreat with no plan to execute. I'm trusting that we will come back renewed, excited, and ready to put into action new means for reaching this area for Christ.

Pray for us as we meet. I need it. We all need it. I can't wait to share with you the direction we feel the Lord is leading when I get back.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Abby Goes Hollywood

Abby had an audition with a talent agency in Hollywood yesterday. We haven't heard anything yet, but I don't know if that is a good thing or a bad thing. Honestly, we only began this quest to allow her to do some print work. She has asked for years to "be in a magazine" and do photo-shoots, so we decided to pursue that for her. When we got this call from an agency that does television, commercials, and movies we were shocked. But, we went on the interview as "a learning experience". If nothing comes of it, we've lost nothing. When she came out of the interview she said "that was so much fun". I'll keep you posted if anything comes of it. Until then, we have our hands full with our little Hollywood Diva. I guess I should go for now; Abby is requesting oreos, milk, and a shoulder massage. Ha!

Monday, June 02, 2008

Exciting Times at Immanuel

I love my church. I love most everything about it. I love our Pastor. Our Staff. Our people. I love the fact that our people want to see people fall in love with Jesus. As a part of that, we want to know what our people think. So, we took a poll of our congregation on April 20th, just to find out what they are thinking.

I don't want to steal our Pastor's thunder, so I won't tell you EVERYTHING we learned. However, we did find out that most people love the worship the way it is. But, along with that, we also learned that there are some changes that need to be made in the life of our church. So, we are looking at many many options. All of which will help us minister to our people better, reach out to the community more effectively, and meet the needs of Highland and the surrounding communities. I can't wait until staff retreat in a couple of weeks, when we will be discussing all of these issues and determining how to implement those new things that will help us to become the church Christ is leading us to be.

So, pray for us. Pray for our Pastor. Pray for our staff. Pray that we will follow the Lord's leadership. I don't want to be a church that offers programs for programs' sake. We can only be as effective as the ministries we offer. Together, Immanuel can see Christ do a work in and through us that will impact all of eternity for the Kingdom. I can't wait to see what's around the corner!