Wednesday, December 30, 2009

New Recording

As a songwriter, it's always an honor to have someone acknowledge your music. Even more so, when someone chooses to record one of your songs it is such an amazing feeling.

Last night, I found out that the group Liberty Quartet released their newest CD in early November with one of my songs on it. The song is "He Came to Me". This is the second group that has picked up this song.

If you'd like to hear their take on the song, head on over to their website at www.libertyquartet.com. In fact, you can listen to the full version of every cut on the album from there.

Thanks Liberty Quartet! I'm honored to have one of my songs on this great project.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

MetroWest

January 11-13 we are hosting MetroWest here at Immanuel. This conference is for full time worship pastors in the western US. Its a time designed for networking, refueling, and relaxing. We all learn from each others ministries, getting new ideas as well as retooling older ones.

Brentwood-Benson, G3 Worship, Lifeway Worship, Meyer Sound, MusiCalifornia, DktrDave Audio, as well as California's State Baptist Convention have signed on as sponsors. Actor Tony Burton, best known for his role in the Rocky movies, Gospel recording artist Karen Wiggins, and worship leader and Singer/songwriter Mark Roach will be sharing testimonies and leading us in worship. Its going to be amazing.

If you are a full time worship pastor in the western US and would like to join us, please let me know ASAP. We'd love to have you be a part of MetroWest 2010.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Family

When Jody and I first were married, I found myself struggling with letting go of the single guy part of my life. I wanted to be married, but I had a hard time adjusting to my new responsibilities as a husband. However, the Lord did a work in my life early on and taught me what an incredible blessing he had given me in my wife.

In His perfect call of of us to move to Texas for seminary, the Lord taught me what it meant to cleave to my wife. It was the best thing for our marriage and we learned what it meant to love each other
and depend on one another completely.

Now, all I want to do is be with my family. The addition of what will soon be 4 kids has only added to that desire.

I really don't know why I'm writing this. I guess its because as I reflect on goals, both past and future, my biggest accomplishments all center around my family.

Thank you Lord for Your amazing blessings. I am so looking forward to 2010. We are welcoming our 4th child in January. I so can't wait!

Friday, December 25, 2009

California Christmas

This is our fourth year in California but just our first Christmas in socal. Our baby is due in January so we thought it best not to travel this close to the due date.

Last night we experienced our first Immanuel Christmas Eve service and it was amazing. We had dinner with friends and then got up early this morning for some Christmas fun. The Squeaquel was a great movie that we went to see this afternoon, and we'll go to another friend's home for dinner tonight. Our first Socal Christmas has been great.

Jody gave me the new Droid phone and it is amazing. I'm still learning what all its capable of and I'm already blown away. This little toy is going to be what I spend most of my time on for the next several days. In fact, I'm blogging on it now!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Christmas and Children

Christmas is so much fun right now with our 3 kids. They are so excited. I've loved watching them sit at the tree and talk about what they think is in each present. But, what has really been fun to watch is their creativity.

They have been making Christmas gifts for me and Jody, as well as each other. This will be our fourth Christmas at Immanuel, but our 1st in California. Because Jody is in her 9th month with this pregnancy, we felt it safer not to travel to Georgia this year.

We will really miss our big family Christmas this year, but we will have a great one together in Cali. So, Merry Christmas! Make it about family, giving, and the Savior. And for our parents- we can't wait to see you in the new year. We love you all and miss you very much.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Immanuel Lights Pictures

Here are some pictures from our Community Christmas Tree Lighting - Immanuel Lights:



Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Hello Cayman Islands

We've recently picked up some readers in the George Town area of the Cayman Islands. Thanks for following what the Lord is doing in our ministry. I'm always interested in hearing how you found this blog. Let me know...glad to have you.

I'll be posting some pictures this afternoon of Immanuel Lights. Check them out later today to see some of the sights from this year's Immanuel Lights.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Hello Mongolia

I just want to say "hello" to some of our readers in Mongolia. So..."hello". Thanks for reading and following our ministry. Write in some time and let me know who you are and how you found us.

If any of you reading this blog have a blogger account and want to receive updates from me every time I post, click on the follow link at the top of this page and become a follower of thechiefend.com.

Radio Show

Alright people - I need your feedback. If I started an online radio network, would you listen to it. The concept is not totally thought out yet, but here is sorta what it would look like: Christian Music, Commercial Free, Live Show Weekly.

I know that is pretty vague, but that's where I am. The Live Show would feature interviews, discussion of current events, topics (some of which would be chosen from listener suggestions), and church ministry issues. Other than the live show, it would just stream uninterrupted Christian Music 24/7.

It would be a lot of work, so I don't want to venture into this thing if there is no potential audience for it. Now it's your turn - tell me what you think. You in?

Lots of News

I have just come through an extremely busy time of year for our ministry. Sorry I haven't had a chance to sit down and write. It has been crazy. I will just give you a list of things here, but I'll do some follow up blogs with pictures soon. Here are a few things we've come through in recent days:

1) Immanuel Lights saw a larger crowd than last year. This is our community Christmas tree lighting. In it's second year, we are already seeing growth and larger interest in this ministry event. We had an estimated crowd of 1500 - 1800 people.

2) Thanksgiving Eve Worship Service was a HUGE success. Its success is being determined by the responses that we have received via emails, cards, and phone calls. Typically, this service hasn't had much response in past years. We're glad that this year saw an impact in the lives of our people as we honored the Lord together.

3) David Phelps led our church in a Christmas Concert with the Immanuel Choir. The response we've received as a result of this concert has been wildly positive. Here are a few quotes we've gotten from cards and emails:

"It was amazing! When is he coming back?"

"I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. It was the best concert I've ever been to in my life!"

"I came reluctantly, not knowing what to expect. I left impressed and amazed, wishing it had not ended."

"Can we please make David and the Immanuel Choir a Christmas tradition?"

"I am now ready for Christmas. Great call this year on bringing Phelps in."


I'll post some pictures soon of the various events. Now, on to Christmas Eve planning. You don't want to miss this, Immanuel. Start inviting friends and neighbors NOW!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

A Day of Thanks

This is officially my 600th post. It couldn't have come on a better day than Thanksgiving Day, 2009. I not only celebrate this milestone, but also this great day as I talk about what gives my life meaning and purpose.

God has radically changed my life and saved me, so I am very thankful for His salvation. With that understanding, I want to focus on His greatest gift to me apart from my salvation; my family.

I have the most amazing wife. She is my biggest supporter, my #1 fan, the mother of my 4 kids, and my best friend. She's everything to me. Jody, I love you with everything I have...including my bank account.

Each of my kids have my heart in their own way. Caleb is a sweet, thoughtful, giving, compassionate kid. He's my little buddy, and always seems to want to do the right thing...after I've threatened to kill him. Abby is my princess in every sense of the word. She is sweet, smart, and strives to do her best at everything...especially aggrevating her brother. Ella is our little tiger, filled with attitude, persistence, and stubborness. All traits that one day will bring her great success (we're praying!). And, our baby who is set to arrive in January. This little one has already filled our home with joy and laughter in anticipation of her arrival. And, has cost me thousands of dollars before she has even been born. What's that all about?

God has chosen to bless me beyond imagination with my amazing family. Undeserved, yet so appreciated. I am so thankful!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Thankful for our Church

Continuing our focus on Thanksgiving, today I am thankful for my church. Immanuel has been such a great place for our family. We've witnessed God at work in the lives of families and individuals over the past 3 years. He has done a work in our lives, as well. Our time in California has been amazing because of our church.

Without fail, we look forward every week to seeing our people on Sundays and Wednesdays. Our kids can't wait for those days, either. Our family loves Immanuel and Immanuel has loved our family. We are extremely blessed.

Our Pastor and staff are amazing. I serve alongside some of the best people in the world. Our volunteers are servants who serve the Lord with a passion that is contagious. We are so thankful that the Lord has blessed us with this great church.

What are you thankful for?

Monday, November 23, 2009

Thankful for Friends

This week, in honor of Thanksgiving, I'll be posting things that I'm thankful for. Today, I'm very thankful for friends. Jody and I have some great ones. Below, I've made a list of what and who we're thankful for. We have friends who:

1) Pray for us
2) Call and ask to have our kids come over. They love on our kids and treat them like extended family.
3) Invite us on vacation. In fact, we're staying with some this week in their time share at the beach. DLand today!
4) Have served with us in ministry in the past and still stay in touch with us after all these years.
5) Followed us all the way from TN to plug into our ministry here in California.
6) Sacrifice for self to help us.
7) We can be ourselves around.

What are you thankful for today?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Hollywood Meets Fontana

The movie "Due Date", starring Robert Downey, Jr. and Jamie Foxx, is currently being filmed. In fact, the 210 eastbound is being shut down tomorrow in Fontana, between Sierra and Ayala, for the filming of one of the scenes. That's pretty cool...sorta.

It's just funny to me that they can make a 30 ft tall monkey climb a building with a woman in his hand; they can have an earthquake end the world while a man in an RV jumps over holes in the road and navigates his family through a city that's falling all around him; they can send a man to the center of the earth, creating a whole new world of prehistoric creatures, yet, for a freeway scene, they have to go to Fontana and shut down the 210? I'm just saying.

So, be on the lookout tomorrow if you're planning a drive through that area. I guess Bass Pro Shop is out for me tomorrow. I'm not about to follow a Fontana detour.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve Worship




Thanksgiving Eve at Immanuel is going to be amazing. This is definitely the place you need to be Wednesday, November 25 at 6:45pm. We will hear about life-changing blessings from each of you. Those in attendance will have the opportunity to text in their prayers of thanksgiving. Throughout the service, we will post them on the screens and celebrate together what God has done in the life of our church and in the lives of our people. Come be a part of this celebration.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Gavin Owens


I have been following the story of a little boy named Gavin Owens for quite some time now. I first learned of Gavin through my friend, Travis . Gavin has been fighting for all of his 3 years on earth against mitochondrial disease. God has done some amazing things through this battle for His glory. Little Gavin has impacted lives all across the country. Mine being one of them.

Gavin went home to be with the Lord on November 6. Though gone from this earth, his victory comes through his ultimate healing and the impact he had in just 3 short years. His father, Adam Owens, wrote the following on his blog:

06 November, 2009
Dear Gavin,

You are my beautiful little boy. For 3 years we have been by your side day in and day out watching you literally fight for your life. It is hard for me to swallow that today will be your last day fighting. I can't even put into words how much joy you have brought into our lives.

But today we are sending you home, and one day soon we will see you again completely whole.

I love you... my baby boy


Daddy


Check out this amazing family at GAVINOWENS.COM .

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

David Phelps in Concert

Sunday night, December 6, Immanuel will host DAVID PHELPS in concert with the Immanuel Choir. This will be his "O Holy Night" Christmas Concert, and is going to be amazing. Tickets are still available at the church office or ONLINE at itickets.com . Below, you can hear "O Holy Night". This is one of the songs the Immanuel Choir will be singing with David that night. You don't want to miss it! Get your tickets today.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Thanksgiving Eve Services

November 25, we will have a Thanksgiving Eve worship service at Immanuel. We have been planning for a while but have just confirmed what the service is going to look like. Our desire is to make it a multi-generational service. Basically, we want to hear from everyone. I don't like "open-microphone" services because you never know what you are going to get. Some people will go on forever. Others will talk about everything except what they are supposed to. Still others will feel like any subject is appropriate...when it's not. However, we still want to hear from our people. So, we're just going to go about it in a different way.

We are going to have a texting service. Now, before you throw your hands up in despair (if anyone really does that), let me explain. Texting is just a different type of "open-microphone", except that we will have someone filtering the comments that come in. So, if people start thanking the Lord for the San Diego Chargers, we will be able to catch it.

At different points throughout the night we will display these prayers of thanksgiving on the screen. So, our people will text during the service and see their text later in that same service. We will display them in a cool way, as well. I'm really excited about doing something new that honors the Lord in a unique way. Who says we can't use technology to bring praises to His name?

We will also have a video from the kids about what they think the first Thanksgiving was like, some great worship music, and we will observe the Lord's supper together. If you are anywhere near Southern California on Thanksgiving Eve, bring your cell phone and get to Immanuel by 6:45pm. See you there!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Fun in Worship

I believe that worship is meant to be enjoyable. Not only should the Lord enjoy our worship, but it is fun to use the gifts and abilities He has blessed us with to honor Him. We should enjoy joining together with other believers in worship. Today, we did just that as we sang and made His praises known at Immanuel.
In observation of Veterans' Day we sang a rockin' version of "Mine Eyes Have Seen the Glory". Thanks for the inspiration Michael Neale. I stole a couple of chord progressions from you! Then we did an acoustic arrangement of "My Country 'tis of Thee". If anyone wants to use either of these for any upcoming patriotic services, let me know and I'll send you the pdf of the charts.

This set was in our contemporary service, where we also did "Glorious One" and Travis Cottrell's "To the King". Fun AND worshipful.

Thank you to everyone who has served our country in any capacity. I am truly grateful for your sacrifice.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Praying for Specifics

I am praying specifically for something significant in the worship ministry at Immanuel. If God made this happen we would see an immediate jump in our capability to expand our ministry outside the walls of our building.

I don't want to divulge the details yet. But, I do want to ask you to join with me in prayer. Just pray for God to expand our platform for ministry in His timing and for His glory. I'll let you know "when" this prayer request is answered and the details. Hopefully sooner than later.

Date Night

Jody and I are going out tonight, thanks to some good friends who are keeping our kids. We are so excited about what we're going to do that we don't know what we're going to do. I know. Crazy, huh? But one thing we do know is that we are going to have some quality time together.

I love date night!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Between Excellence and Inclusion

I had the privilege of leading a session during a conference at Fellowship of Church Musicians for the state of California earlier this week. The title of my session was "Between Excellence and Inclusion". The basic idea behind it was to answer one primary question: "how do you strive for excellence in ministry and bring everyone along with you?"

Understanding that everyone is not equipped to be the soloist, we have to be intentional about understanding each person's skill setting and develop ministry opportunities that they can plug in to. Taking your ministry to the next level means taking your people along for the ride. Your people must believe in you, you must know your people, and the vision must be kept in the forefront. If you can do better, then you are not reaching your full potential. Aim for EXCELLENCE in every aspect of your ministry and you will hit it more often than not.

Friday, November 06, 2009

What Happens in Vegas...

Jody and I recently drove over to Vegas to meet my parents. They flew in for a visit and spent a week with us. We were so excited and had an awesome time with them. We spent one night there and then drove to our house. Below are pics of me and Jody hanging out, our room, and me with Blue Man.







Kids' Baptism

Here are pictures of me baptising my kids, Caleb and Abby, on October 11, 2009. It was amazing. 2 more to go.


Week of Craziness

It has been a crazy week. I haven't had the opportunity to blog. I will catch you up on all of the happenings of this week in the next couple of days.

This Sunday afternoon I will be leading a breakout session @ a church musicians leadership conference in Riverside, CA. Rick Muchow will be leading worship with his band from Saddleback. Its going to be a great conference. I'll post again soon.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Lessons Learned from a 9 Year Old Boy and a Mouse

Last night I took Caleb to Disney Land; just the 2 of us. It was crowded, but the crowds didn't matter. We waited in line for 86 minutes to ride Space Mountain! But the wait didn't matter. None of that mattered because we were hanging out together. Caleb repeatedly told me that he was "so happy that I was his dad". It's hard to even wish for moments that great. But, they happened all night long.

I learned last night that no matter what he says at times, he wants to be with me. I learned that it is a necessity to shut out ministry and responsibility to invest in my kids. I learned that it's not about Disney Land or how much $$ I can spend on him, but it's about an ongoing relationship time together; quality AND quantity.

I learned all of this from a 9 year old boy and a mouse. The price of admission was definitely worth it last night.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Prayer for Granted

Do we truly have a full understanding of Who God really is? We love the Lord. We desire to serve Him. But, when we begin to really grasp the fact that we can communicate with Almighty God our faith and trust takes on a whole new identity.

Think about it; we can talk with the very One who won our freedom. We have an open line to cry out to the One with every answer to every problem we will ever encounter. Yet, far too often, we take the privelege of prayer for granted.

Here's the key: we have to stay in His word. If we are constantly drenched in the revelation of Who He is, our response will be an increased desire to talk with God in every moment. Stay in His word. Consider everything in prayer.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Facebook Rejection

Those of you that are already my friend on facebook may be aware of the recent rejection I just had. And, before we go any further, if we are not friends on facebook yet, send a request my way. Okay, so on with the blog...

This week, someone I went to high school with posted a comment on someone else's site. He said "is Jeff a pastor or something? All of his posts are so full of the 'jeebus' that I feel like I need to put a hex on someone just to balance it out".

In a later post, he said that he was going to clean up his friend list and delete anyone who mentions "the jeebus" more than 3 times on their site. Thus, I was deleted.

1 Corinthians 1:18 says "to those who are perishing the message of the cross is foolishness". That was not just a truth when it was first written. It is still truth today. I've chosen not to confront this person at this time. Instead, I am praying for him. Perhaps the opportunity for us to talk will come soon.

For him, the things believers say, and the praise we give to God seems foolish. But for us who are being saved, it is the power of God. And, I know that God saves, because He saved me and radically changed my life.
Pray for Jack. Pray that God will do the same for him. Pray that the day will come when Jack experiences facebook rejection because of his love for the Savior.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

He Came to Me

Thanks to each of you who have purchased "He Came to Me" on itunes. For those that missed the announcement in early September, this is a song that I wrote and was recorded by the group Voices Won. If you haven't downloaded it yet, you can get it on itunes or at www.amazon.com. If you have another favorite site for downloading, its probably there, too.

I apologize for this sounding like a commercial. I just really believe in this song and I know if I don't promote it, it won't have a chance of reaching more people.

Thanks for your support of this ministry. I hope you like the song!

Harvest Festival 09

Immanuel's Harvest Festival typically sees upwards of 10,000 in attendance. All indications point to this year's Harvest Festival having more people than any other year in recent history. Many of our sister churches are struggling financially to the point that they have cancelled their festival this year. As a result, we believe that more people will come to Immanuel in search of a safe and free event for their family.

We are still in need of candy and volunteers. Make sure you are a part of serving our community at this year's event. Go to www.ibchighland.org for more information.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Date Night

Jody and I have an agreement with friends of ours, and we love it. Once a month, they keep our kids so that we can have a date night without babysitter fees. In return, we keep theirs once each month for the same purpose. It helps that our kids all love playing together.

Tonight was our night to go out, and we had an awesome time. Men, if you are not dating your wives on a regular basis you have to start making it a priority. Every couple needs time alone away from the kids. And when you go out, treat her like a queen. You'll be amazed at how re-energized you are for parenthood after a nice romantic evening.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Meeting a UFC Fighter

Today, UFC fighter Vitor Belfort was at a local K-Mart signing autographs. Why K-Mart? I still haven't figured that one out. But, I was questioning the opportunity to meet him. Even though he recently knocked out my favorite fighter, Rich Franklin, I was still interested in meeting him.

He really seemed like a nice guy. He commented on my daughter, Ella, saying that she was a beautiful little girl. He also said that he was privileged to meet me. I responded by saying "yes, you are." Okay...maybe I didn't say that. But, it would have been funny. After I choked him out in a triangle submission hold, I made him pose for this picture:



Overall, he seemed like a cool guy. I pull for the fighters I like personally. I'm thinking I will be in Vitor's corner from now on.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Bible and Your Kids

Caleb and I are working on his Bible memory verse for RAs tonight. RAs challenges the boys to memorize 4 scripture each month. This week's is:

Genesis 28:15 - I am with you and will watch over you wherever you go.

in context, this is part of Jacob's dream when he saw the stairway that was reaching toward heaven. God made Him this promise.

Jacob was obedient to his father and received a blessing. If we are obedient to our heavenly Father, we can dream big for His glory knowing that we have this same assurance that Jacob had. He WILL be with us and watch over us wherever we go.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Prayer

If anything is of value to you, cover it in prayer.
If anything is a hindrance to you, cover it in prayer.
If anything brings fear, pain, or suffering to your life, cover it in prayer.
If anything is worth being thankful for, cover it in prayer.
If anything is too big for you to conquer, cover it in prayer.
If anything seems impossible for you, cover it in prayer.
If anything draws your heart, passion, and love, cover it in prayer.
If anything.....

....cover it in prayer.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Invest for the Kingdom

My biggest fear in life is to live and die and no one know the difference. With that in mind, I must be intentional about making an impact that is larger than me. One of the greatest impacts in my ministry has been the willingness of others to invest in me. Therefore, I am trying to be intentional about investing in others.

I had the opportunity today to invest in another young worship pastor. His church has split, the Pastor has left, his choir has dwindled, and he has been left to minister to the people. What do we do when we're left with hurting people who hurt others?

We have the ministries we have because our people need leadership. We must not be afraid to lead. To maintain and be afraid to rock the boat is not leading. You will never make an impact by flying under the radar. Step up and lead. Trust the gifts the Lord has equipped you with. Pour into your people and lead them to make an investment in their ministry. Only then will we equip our people to lead and be a part of something that is bigger than self, and that will make an eternal impact on the Kindom of God.

Who is around you that you can invest in?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hair Today...Gone Tomorrow

On October 16, I celebrated my 35th birthday. As I've said before, 35 is just a number. But, people's view of it is based on perspective. Younger people view it as old. Older people view it as young. So, I guess I'm left to decide for myself. However, it didn't help when I went for a haircut the very next day. My normal person was not there, so I decided to let someone new cut my hair. Hence, my mistake.

I explained that I wanted her to use "a 3 guard on the back and sides, and then fade that into the longer hair on top. I don't want a line, so make sure you fade it." "Okay," she said. "Do you want the front even or left alone?" "Uh, even across the front," I responded.

The next thing I knew she was using the 3 guard and shaving from the front of my head to the back. "Wait!" But, it was too late. I had to go ahead and let her make me look like this:



GOOD THINGS FROM THIS:

1)At least now I know what I'll look like at 55 when my hair is thinning and/or turning loose.
2) I'm saving a ton of money in hair gel
3) Uhhhhh....that's about all of the good things.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Disney on your Birthday

Disney is celebrating their 50th anniversary. As part of the celebration they are giving a free pass to everyone on their birthday. If you already have a season pass, they will give you credit in that amount to spend on items in various stores @ Disney Land.

Funny enough, we've never been able to make it on any of our birthdays. Today was my shot. We planned to take the kids and go for the evening. but it was not to be. Our car began overheating and it won't be repaired until tomorrow. So, we're now 0-4 on the DLand birthday celebration.

DisneyLand, if you're listening, can we get some kind of hook-up?

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Have Your Cake AND...

One thing that is difficult in ministry for me is that I want it ALL for our people. I want to take us on tour every year. I want to record a CD. I want to publish songs from our church, our people, out of what God is doing in and through us. But, how much is too much?

I believe that we can overwhelm our people with way too much if we're not careful. With too many events going on, it begins to cause focus to be ever shifting and we lose sight of what we're working toward. With weekly worship prep thrown into the mix, too much can cause your people to pull away feeling that if they can't do it all then they shouldn't commit.

However, an even more dangerous temptation lurks for every worship pastor. If you're not careful, your ministry can fall into a rut and your people begin to feel that ministry only happens at 9:15 on Sunday morning. You have to find a good balance.

Keep your purpose before your people. Continue to steer the ship in the right direction - honoring God and investing in the Kingdom with every opportunity.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Random Things that Drive Me Crazy

Some things just make no sense to me at all. Some make me laugh, others make me cry, and some of them are just plain crazy. Here are a few of them:

1) While watching the local news, I saw a lady interviewed concerning the threat of a mudslide and the possibility of it destroying her home. Her comment was "this area was beautiful when we first bought out home 15 years ago. Now, we have these big hills and mountains that are threatening everything we've worked for." - Really? Those hills and mountains just sprung up over the last 15 years? Poor thing.
2) I sent an email to a worship pastor about a conference I am hosting in January. I received a reply that said "please remove me from your mailing list". I replied with an explanation of why I sent the email and that I wouldn't send anymore. The last reply said "there must be a mix up. I am the worship secretary. Not the minister of worship. So, please remove me from your list. I will not be attending the conference." - Seriously? You can't just assume for a moment that you should forward the email to him? Or, perhaps, that since his first name is at the top of the email that you should at least let him know about it? Come on, lady. Man, I love my staff.
3) It is raining right now in Southern California. Someone just walked into the church and said "there's a good chance that we might get some rain sometime today. I'm hoping to make it home before it starts." - Well, you might want to look outside. And, I'm sure it is going to be confusing later when you realize your jacket is wet and you can't figure out how that happened. Are you serious? For some people, I firmly believe in medicating.
4) I am receiving someone elses emails. Everything that goes to them comes to me. How is this happening? I get their spam, I get their bills, and I even get personal emails to them from their parents and friends. I get enough of my own emails that I don't want to read. I don't need yours, too.
5) 2009 Georgia Football.

What's something that drives you crazy?

Devil Child


I had to post this baby picture. This is actually someone that I know. They found this baby picture of themselves and shared it with me. Mistake number 1. I was actually shocked and frightened when I first saw it. Anyone else out there have a baby picture to rival this one? Send it to me at jbum5@hotmail.com .

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Seeing Vegas in under 24 Hours

Jody and I rode over to Vegas for 1 night. We came to see someone who had come to Vegas on vacation, and we had a great time hanging out with them. Now, we're about to head back home. This was our first time in Vegas - not counting all of our flying in and out of the airport.

We're excited about seeing the kids today. Caleb and Abby are getting baptized tomorrow. So, it's a big weekend for us. The choir is singing Travis Cottrell's "Praise the King" in the morning. So, make sure if you're in Highland that you make it to Immanuel. It's going to be another amazing day!

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Christmas with David Phelps and the Immanuel Choir

David Phelps is going to be in concert with the Immanuel Choir on December 6, at 7pm at Immanuel. David is one of the most prolific voices in Christian music today. His Christmas CD is my favorite one of his. Although, I have to admit that Christmas music in general is my favorite. So, it should come as no surprise.

We haven't even begun rolling radio spots yet. However, we are already getting a lot of phone calls and emails. Some of the stranger locations people are calling and emailing from are Montana, Las Vegas, and Northern California. I can't wait to see all of the places we end up having represented that night.

One of the emails we received was hilarious. This lady is a "Super-Phan" of David Phelps. You'll understand why I spelled it that way when you read the email. Check it out below:

Jeff,

I invite you to come to www.davidphelps.com and get a taste of DP. We are a Christian bunch of phans (we spell it that way) and we praise together, pray together, stand awestruck at The Curly One's talent. Yes, I guess, we are groupies. Come join the phun.


Are you kidding me?

Sunday, October 04, 2009

October in Cali

The weather has begun to really cool down. It was so nice this morning to walk out of the choir room into the coolness of October. My birthday is also this month. So, October has always held a special place in my life. The beginning of fall and the celebration of another year. This year, I hit the big 3-5. Whether that's old or young is all in the perspective of each person reading this. I actually see both sides of that coin.

I've got some exciting news I'll share with you tomorrow. Check back....

Saturday, October 03, 2009

A Little Tired After 3 Years

In case you haven't noticed, I took a little break from blogging recently. It wasn't a planned break, but a break nonetheless. This month, I celebrate the THIRD Anniversary of thechiefend.com, and I must say, it has been great. Recently, I went back through some old blogs and decided that I am ready to blog again. Hopefully, I won't hit a wall 2 weeks back in and give it all up again. We'll see how it goes.

So, check back often or click on follow, and join me for a renewal of this crazy ride! You and I have a lot of catching up to do.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Going to 3

On August 16, we will begin a third morning worship service at Immanuel. I'm excited about the fact that we are growing, and now have even more potential for growth. The Immanuel Choir will be singing at both the 8am and 9:15am services. Be a part of the excitement as we grow to 3 services beginning August 16.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Jesus and Mickey

Every night, we have the honor, and task, of putting our 3 lovely children to bed. Each night presents a varying degree of difficulty. However, there are usually laughs to be had and memories that I will cherish for a lifetime. Last night was such a night.

As I was holding our 3 year old, Ella, she began to fuss about going to bed. She said "I don't want to be by myself in my room. I'm scared." My response was "baby, you won't be by yourself. Jesus is watching over you." She immediately said "No, He isn't." "Yes, Ella," I said. "He is." "No, He isn't," she answered. "Jesus went home." " He did? Where is that?" I asked. "Disneyland," she said with a smile. "He lives in Cind-ella's castle."

Monday, July 13, 2009

If you could ask......

Who is your hero? Please don't be the spiritual one and say "Jesus". I know he is our hero. Instead, I'm talking about someone who has impacted you the most in ministry, your current job, in life. Who is that one person that you look to for advice? Who is it that you pattern your career after? Who do you try to emulate when you are making an important decision?

Now that you have that person in mind, if you could sit down in a roundtable discussion with them and ask them any question, what would it be? I'll tell you why I'm asking in a later post.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

TWITTER

If you have not gotten into the phenomenon known as TWITTER, then congratulations. However, as addictive as it can be, it is a great tool and resource. You can follow your heroes and mentors, getting valuable advice from them personally on a regular basis. You can post things about yourself and share ideas with those who follow you. And now, you can even follow your church, getting up the minute ministry announcements, prayer requests, and behind the scenes quirky little details.

You can follow me personally by clicking RIGHT HERE .

You can also follow Immanuel Baptist Church (where I serve as Worship Pastor) by clicking RIGHT HERE .

Don't miss another detail. Sign up for twitter today and start following. See you online!

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

New Baby on Board

Jody had her first appointment with her new doctor last week. With each of our previous children, our insurance has only paid for 1 sonogram. We found out that we are getting three with this one. The first of which was on our very first appointment. So, we had the thrill of seeing our baby at less than 10 weeks.

It was amazing. He/she is already moving his/her little arms and legs (stubs). The heart is beating strong and healthy, and everything seems to be on pace for a January 20ish delivery. So, any predictions? Boy or girl?

Longshot, the Movie

As I've told you before, my dad recently produced and acted in a movie with David Carridine. It is a western about a group of outlaws that are targeting the bank in various towns. One town, in an effort to protect their people and their bank from being hit by these outlaws, comes up with a strategy. They decide to hire a former "longshot" to pick-off the would be assailants with his great shooting ability. David Carridine plays a U.S. Marshall. My dad plays the role of Mr. Tether; a banker who is the key person in securing the "hired hand's" services.

The premiere was a lot of fun. I loved being able to be there to experience it with my family. My nephews, my uncle, my brother and his wife, myself and my parents, all enjoyed it together. It was a night that I don't think my dad will soon forget. The movie will go straight to dvd in the US, and to theaters in a few foreign markets.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

A Brief Blogging Break

Wow! That was the longest break from blogging I think I have taken in the nearly 3 years of "The Chief End". I actually spent much of that time on a mission trip to Hawaii with our Student Worship Choir. We were blogging and posting videos at another site. So, I wasn't totally away from blogging. You can check out the videos at THIS SITE . You can also purchase a DVD of the Homecoming Concert and Daily Videos by emailing spaul@ibchighland.org. Give us your name,address and phone number. DVDs are $20, and really tell well the story of what God did during our time there. We saw 4 kids pray to receive Christ, and our lives were impacted as well.

Lots to catch up on. So, make sure you check back daily. I will give you some updates about the new little baby we have on the way in the upcoming days. Also, a little news about my dad's movie premiere with the late David Carridine.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Gettin' Smoggy With It

I told you about my crazy DMV experience the other day. Well, when my number was finally called, I learned that I now need a smog test. So, this morning I showed up @ 8am for the test. The guy didn't come in until 8:45 because he got "held up" in Fontana. What does that mean? Were you robbed? Was it traffic? Was it a late night? Why were you "held up"?

I digress...so, he then tells me he has to wait for a delivery before he can do the test. So, I'm sitting @ Starbucks enjoying a Venti Iced Caramel Macchiato. I could have gone to another shop, but by that time, I would have been behind so many other cars that it wouldn't have made a difference.

But, it's gonna be a good day! Even in the midst of a stressful situation, our response reveals our character. Stay positive!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

FOLLOW IBC

Get updates and the latest, hottest news from Immanuel at followibc on Twitter. If you are not currently a twitterer, what is wrong with you? Go to followibc and start getting updates from Immanuel. It's that simple!

Hawaii Bound

I leave on Friday (at 4am) for Honolulu, Hawaii! I am taking our High School Worship Choir on tour for a week. We are partnering with Kalihi Baptist Church in an effort to reach the families of two housing projects for the Kingdom. We will do a total of 5 concerts, and 2 separate Backyard Bible Clubs for 4 days at each. It will be a busy week, but we've worked in plenty of touring, too. I can't wait!

Friday, June 05, 2009

Life @ the DMV

Things I've seen today @ the dmv:

1) A lady wiping off the eye exam test before using it. And I thought I was bad.
2) A lady made the examiner wait while she brushed her hair before having her picture taken.
3) A baby that souns like a goose.
4) A man with a tatoo on his calf of the rebel flag and a "white power" banner. Are we in Cali or Bama?
5) An old man who tripped twice, was disoriented, and looked like he had been resuscitated in a back room. His license was renewed. Look out.
6) A woman wearing tights with a t-shirt. That's all. It looked like two polar bears were in there fighting to get out.
7) A man came out of the testing room to tell his wife he had "dominated that thing". The next time he emereged from the room he proclaimed that the guy grading the test didn't know what he was doing. He failed. I laughed.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Random Happenings and Thoughts...

1) Ella (our 3 yr old) asked me this morning if she could be our new baby's mama when it gets here.
2) The group "Voices Won" just recorded a song I wrote called "He Came To Me". It is set for release sometime this summer. I'll let you know when. This group is nominated for New Group of the Year in Southern Gospel Music. (They'd better win!)
3) David Carradine died today. My dad was in the last film he made. Maybe that will catapult my dad into stardom. Maybe not.
4) Our Worship Band will be doing "Give Me Your Eyes" later this month in the Cont. Worship Service. Great tune!
5) We had crazy lightening in Cali yesterday. It struck the mountain near the church and started a fire. Random.
6) The Immanuel Choir is opening our Patriotic Celebration in July with a Neil Diamond song.
7) Downloaded Travis Cottrell's new project "Jesus Saves (Live)" today. It is great. Go get it on itunes!
8) Great stuff coming our way, Immanuel. God really challenged us at Staff Retreat and we are ready to implement the vision. Get ready...and get on board!
9) I wonder what I should do for lunch today. Hmmmmm......
10) My office looks like two mail trucks had a wreck on my desk. Disastrous!

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Major Announcement

So, I told you I would make a major announcement this week. Coming January 27,we will have a new Bumgardner baby!

Monday, June 01, 2009

Staff Retreat '09

The Immanuel Ministerial staff is in Palm Springs this week for our annual staff meeting. Before you get any ideas, know that we are working like crazy. It's gonna be a good week. I love planning, strategizing, and finding the most effective ways to build and grow our church by reaching as many people as possible for the Kingdom. And, yes, I put all of that into one sentence on purpose.

We are already talking about how to make the biggest impact by streamlining what we do as a church. I'll give you more info later. Just know that the future of Immanuel is looking bright!

Stay tuned this week for some great info. Also, I'll be making a HUGE announcement right here between now and Wednesday. But, you have to check back to know what that is!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Danny the Hampster

Yep. You guessed it. Caleb's friend, Paris, gave him a new hampster for his birthday. Paris was spending the night when Alex (our first hampster) bit the dust. He was as upset as Caleb. So, he was very thoughtful and got Caleb a new one.

Caleb named him Danny, and Danny is a running fool. He is on that wheel non-stop. Welcome to the family, Danny. If all goes well, you'll be around to love and play with our kids for a good two years or so ;).

Friday, May 22, 2009

Happy Birthday

Today is my boy's 9th birthday. He is so excited. We're going to be partying @ John's Incredible Pizza Co. For those who don't know what that is, it is like Chuck E. Cheese on steroids. There are rides, video games, and a pizza buffet.

It's Party Day! Happy Birthday, Caleb. I love you so much and am so proud of you!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

American Idol Review

Adam Lambert has an amazing voice. That is no secret. But, I feel like he was picked as the winner a long time ago. I just don't believe I would buy his album.

Kris, on the other hand, has consistently been churning out great arrangements every week. He is a true musician.

Who wins? In my book, the 2009 American Idol is.......................................Danny Gokey!

Congratulations Danny! We all knew you deserved it.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

A Run Down of Thursday

1) Took day off. Went to Disney Land
2) Set a personal best score on Buzz Lightyear ride. (Take that, Cottrell!)
3) Ella dressed up like Minnie Mouse all day.
4) Saw a lady who had written her phone number on the necks of her 3 children. Debated calling it, but didn't.
5) Watched some fiddle show twice, just because.
6) Twittered a lot. (twitter.com/jeffbumgardner - Follow me!)
7) A guy w/ a wife and 2 kids cut me off getting on the tram and Jody and I had to take 2 different ones back to the car. I could have taken him, but the kids were there. You know....
8) Ate Mexican on the way home and had a hair in my nachos. I twittered about it and got over 15 responses. That almost made it worth it. Almost.
9) Going to the office tomorrow. So excited about Sunday.
10) Going back to DLand tomorrow night!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother's Day Review

Our services yesterday were packed full of things to honor Mom. In fact, we had so many things happening that I was worried we couldn't fit them all in and give our Pastor enough time. But, we did! It worked well and Pastor Rob was up with plenty of time to preach. And, it was one of the best mother's day sermons I've ever heard. He did a great job hitting people where they are.

On a personal note, my 8 year old son, Caleb, sang in the contemporary service yesterday morning. He did awesome! I am so proud of him. It is amazing to see your child worshiping the Lord and singing His praise. After we put him in bed last night, we could hear him down the hall singing that song to Himself. Awwwwwww. Tear.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Mother's Day @ Immanuel

Tomorrow is going to be an amazing day @ Immanuel. We have 27 babies being dedicated along with their parents' commitment, the music will be sweet, we're featuring one of our mothers whose story was submitted to us via aboutmymom.com, along with several other surprises and an amazing message from our Pastor. You will be glad you came and brought your family.

I can't wait. See you tomorrow!

Thursday, May 07, 2009

National Day of Prayer

We are praying today for our country, leaders, etc. Join us at 12noon in the chapel at Immanuel.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Life's Lessons

I had a great blessing from the Lord today. We are seeing principles we've tried to teach our son his whole life coming out in his actions. It is amazing to see these things starting to become part of who he is.

Today, we had parents of a kid in our neighborhood knock on our door. We have just recently gotten to know them. They came over just to tell us how much they enjoy Caeb coming to their house to play. They told us that he is the most polite kid they've ever met. Yesterday, he had been invited to stay @ their house for dinner. The friend's mom said "when he got up to leave, he approached my husband, shook his hand, and said 'thank you for dinner, sir'". I was so proud that I had to....well, I had to, blog.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Traffic School and Little Known Facts

So, I finally attended traffic school for that ticket I got for not coming to a complete stop at a stop sign. I still say that I stopped. But, $500 later and completion of online traffic school, it is in my past. Taking the course online, they attempt to make sure you are paying attention to everything you are reading and learning. So, they throw in abstract statements throughout the course. If you are not reading all of the material you will miss it. However, I just googled the answers to the abstract questions. Below is a list of the most interesting things I learned from my online traffic school course:

1) Winston Churchill was born in a ladies' room at a dance
2) you can gain 1/10 of a calorie from licking a postage stamp
3) Donald Duck's middle name is Fauntleroy
4) Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, was allergic to carrots
5) The most common name in the world is Muhammad
6) The shortest complete sentence in the English language is "I Am".
7) Most advertisements for watches have the preset time of 10:10 on the watch face
8) Tigers have stripes on their fur and their skin
9) Sharks are the only fish that can blink both eyes

Pretty interesting stuff, huh? But, as I googled, I also found discrepancies with these facts. Some disagree with the findings. It's a good thing they were multiple choice.

Friday, May 01, 2009

Money

I'm headed out to meet with a financial adviser this morning. He will probably tell me to get some finances, and THEN come see him. I'm not sure how much he can advise me to do with no money. But, whatever...

Friday, April 24, 2009

True Worship

True worship takes us beyond ourselves and brings us into the presence of the King. We cannot hold on to selfish wants and desires and expect to simultaneously surrender all in worship. What would our corporate worship times look like if the majority of us were truly worshiping in spirit and truth? What would your personal worship time look like if you were engaged in true worship? What are we doing? It seems that most churches are not presenting an offering of worship to the Lord each week at all. Instead it has become about "me". "I want..."

Let's each try to enter into our worship services this week with hearts that are desperate for Him. Eagerly seeking to rid ourselves of the "me" mentality and abandoning all, offer up a pure heart full of praise to our Father. Just don't wait until that moment and expect it to happen. Prepare yourself for that moment all week long as you spend time in prayer, in the word, and in His presence. You will be amazed at how differently you see things on Sunday.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

...from the past


A childhood friend just posted this picture on Facebook today. This was our championship team in 1985. I was 10 years old. If you are having trouble finding me, I am center/back row. I know...the tallest one. I was on this team for 2 years. I think this team is the one that won the championship that year. Our nemesis was the Phillies. We played a preseason game against them and lost 20-0. Then we played them during the season. We were beating them until they rallied on a muddy, rain-soaked field to beat us 6-5. I remember the mud and rain very well because the ball was hit to me and I was slipping in the mud. I couldn't get my feet under me to get to the ball and throw it in. Meanwhile, runners were rounding the bases.

However, we faced the Phillies in the championship game at the end of the season. They were undefeated and we had the one loss to them during the season. In the championship game, we beat them 6-4. I went 2-4 in that game. How do I remember all of those details??? I loved sports and had a great childhood. Those things still mean a lot to me today. Wow.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Goodbye Alex

Nearly 2 years ago, Caleb got a hamster for his birthday. He wrestled with what to name him, but finally settled on Alex for his new friend. Alex became a part of our family and was so much fun to play with. He was a great pet for the kids because he never bit anyone and would let them play with him all they wanted. Unfortunately, Alex passed away this past Saturday. I think the kids have come to grips with it. But, Alex will be missed. Goodbye Alex! Thanks for the memories.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

MusiCalifornia


The Immanuel Choir will be singing with Bradley Knight tonight at MusiCalifornia. We are premiering his new Christmas worship project. It should be really cool. Buses leave at 3:30pm for Pasadena. I'm excited for the opportunity. MusiCal is always cool. See you there tonight!

Monday, April 13, 2009

College Flashbacks



For those of you who have not entered into the world of facebook yet, let me give you a little insight. As you gain friends, any of your friends can "tag" you in a photo. Basically, they post a picture of you, place a tag in the photo with your name, and any other friends of yours on facebook are notified that this picture exists. So it was with this picture. A "friend" posted this picture they had of me and Jody in college...and tagged it.

I actually love this feature of facebook. I love walking down memory lane with all of my college "friends". If you are on facebook, friend request me. If you are not, what are you waiting for? Let's be friends.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Pandora

I am so loving my blackberry apps. I still believe the iphone is the standard in phone technology and everyone else is left battling for a distant second place, but blackberry is making strides.

I recently downloaded the FREE Pandora app. For those not familiar with it, I can basically create my own radio station for my listening pleasure. Ex. I type in Phil Collins in the search window and it creates an online Phil and "the like" genre of radio for me. I can rate each song with a thumbs up or down to let it know if I want that song on my radio play list or not. Then, I spend the rest of my day listening to great music for FREE with no commercial interruptions. Who needs satelite radio anymore?

Try out Pandora. Its simply awesome!

Monday, April 06, 2009

What's Going On...

1) Jody flies in from Georgia tonight. We are so excited.
2) The drama ministry did a great job with "Building Bridges" this weekend.
3) Travis Cottrell is leading worship with the Immanuel Choir this Wednesday @ 6:30.
4) The Immanuel Egg Hunt is this Saturday @ 11am. Fun times!
5) Choir rehearsal this Sat. from 9-11am. Getting ready for...
6) MusiCalifornia on April 15 in Pasadena with Bradley Knight.

Saturday, April 04, 2009

I read a lot of leadership blogs, books, etc. Most of what I read is so inspiring. But, even guys who are great leaders get it wrong sometimes.

Recently, I read a statement by someone that I think is a very good leader. I don't always agree with his approach, but his execution and inspiring of people is amazing. He said, "if you are not offending people you aren't preaching His gospel".

While on the surface there is a lot I can agree with in this statement, I think we often times give ourselves too much credit. "We" should not be offending people. We should leave that to "the gospel". I know this may seem picky, but I see that approach far too often.

Secondly, when we go into an opportunity to preach God's word anticipating the offense, it is tempting to intentionally offend by our presentation as opposed to the content. I see it too often when a someone expects offense to take place, they present it with an "I don't care what you think" attitude and the offense takes place via the messenger and the message isn't truly heard.

Finally, our responsibility as believers is to presnet the truth in love. Let the gospel truly be the offense. Not our attitudes and intent to offend.

Friday, April 03, 2009

Twitter

I am now on twitter. If you are not following me yet, go to twitter.com/jeffbumgardner and click "follow". You will get all of my updates, thoughts, and random happenings through the day. Check it out.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

What's New

1) My dad is filming an indie film called "Longshots". In this western, he plays a banker. One notable actor in the movie is David Carradine. You'd know him from the series "Kung Fu" and as host of Discover's "Wild West Tech".
2) The Immanuel Choir is leading worship next Wednesday with Travis Cottrell. Worship starts @ 6:30 on April 8. Its gonna be awesome.
3) On April 15, the Immanuel Choir is premiering a new musical in Pasadena with Bradley Knight. I'm so proud of our choir. They are amazing.
4) "Building Bridges", a modern day look @ God and Man, is April 4 and 5. This Easter drama will help us better understand how the cross and resurrection impact us today.
5) We are having 3 worship services on Easter Sunday morning. 8, 9, and 10:45.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Westcoast Peaches

Let's be honest. While it is true our family has made California home, Jody and I will always have a special place in our hearts for Georgia. I will always be a Georgia Bulldog. We will always pull for the Braves. We will forevermore LOVE sweet tea. And I don't think we'll ever shake our accents...or want to.

With that in mind, it is with much pain and regret that I tell you that Jody is in Georgia right now. She went back to see family and to help throw a retirement party for her dad. The kids and I wish we could be there. We all love Grandpa sooo much. We are so proud of and happy for him.

So, our poor children are having to deal with my cooking this week. But, I'm kind of excited about this week. While I'm missing Jody terribly, it is going to be a great week to spend that extra time with my kids. I've already dominated Caleb on Mario Cart on the Wii, I've won a wrestling match, 3 against 1, and I've gotten dinner cooked. Orange chicken with rice.

I hope its a hit. Check back this week for updates on this crazy adventure.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

We ARE BUMgardners

We just hired a gardener b/c we felt bad for him. He couldn't find work. He is amazing. He cuts our grass, trims our trees, fertilizes our yard, weeds our flower beds, leaf blows, edges, and cleans up afterward for $50 a month. What?

The crazy thing is that we have a really hard time communicating with him. He speaks absolutely no English. But, he's a really hard worker. And, we're doing our part to stimulate the economy.
Now, I kbow what you're thinking. "If he speaks no English, are you sure you understood the price right?" Yes, I did. I had an interpreter with me the first time we spoke.

Oh yeah...and his name is Gustavvo. Don't you just love that?!

Recap: 1) we are stimulating economy (I'm not sure who's) by hiring a gardener. 2) he does it all for cheap. 3) his name is Gustavvo.

Jody says our next hire is a house cleaning service. But, I'm holding out for a butler named Jeeves.

Bridges

Have you ever heard the saying "build a bridge and get over it"? Well, that's exactly what we're going to do next weekend @ Immanuel. Saturday and Sunday night, April 4 and 5, be @ Immanuel for Bridges: a modern look at what Easter means for us today.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Do You Hear What I Hear?

It has only been 3 months since Christmas. In fact, Easter hasn't even arrived yet and the Immanuel Choir is already working on Christmas music. You heard me right. I didn't studder.

The reason is because we are premiering a Christmas worship collection @ MusiCalifornia April 15. While many are rushing off to the post office to get their taxes in the mail, we will be getting our fa-la-la-las on in Pasadena with Bradley Knight.

It's never too early to get ready for Christmas...is it?

Thursday, March 26, 2009

DLand

Today, Jody and I took the kids to DLand. Its nice being this close because we don't have to worry about getting it all done in a day. That was a good thing today because of the crowds.

We were there for about 3 hours and only rode 2 rides. Such is life during spring break, so no big surprises there. We had a great time.

Tomorrow we may try to hit a beach or something. It's the last day of spring break for the kids, and Jody leaves for GA on Monday. So, we're gonna try to get in a little more family time. Jody's dad is retiring after 36 years on the job and Jody is helping put on the retirement party.

So, I'll be a single father of 3 for the week. And, I'll leave it at that.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Power of the Cross

What does the power of the cross look like in someone's life? How do we see evidence of God @ work in the lives of His children? Well, there are many ways. But, I want to share an example with you.

There is a man in our church, Dave, who lost his job several months ago. He has done everything he can to provide for his family and keep his head above water. The whole time he has been struggling, he has remained faithful to the church and to choir.

Another man in our church, Bob, lost his job two months ago. He was in need of $150 in order to make ends meet. He too has continued to be faithful @ church and in choir. Needing that money on Monday, he came to church on Sunday, not knowing how God was going to provide.

That day, Dave approached Bob and handed him a check for $156. Dave still has no job. He's still struggling. But, he saw a family in need and knew God could use him.

That's the power of the cross shown evident in the life of a sold out believer. Bob, in this story, had also been blessing others even in the midst of his own struggle. God chose to bless Bob through another man who was in the same situation, just because He could.

What an awesome Father we have! There's just nothing else to say after that.

Hair

In my life time, I have probably changed my hair style a total of 3 times. It's funny to me how a lot of women are constantly changing. I don't really even know what else to say about that. But, I have news:

I am now married to a brunette. What?

The jury is still out as far as she is concerned. We'll see if maybe "it grows" on her over the next few days.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Conference Time

I am serving on a committee with the state convention that is responsible for putting together a conference in November. I talked with Rick Muchow (worship Pastor @ Saddleback) today about speaking @ the conference. I think that's going to happen. I've also contacted Tommy Walker about coming in to lead worship for us. I am praying that's going to happen.

I'll keep you updated. Rick Muchow is the man, and I'm so blessed to call him my friend. He has definitely made an impact on me and my ministry. Thanks, Rick for helping me and the rest of the guys put this awesome conference together!

The Measure of a Man

True integrity is seen when nothing is on the line and the fewest amount of people are impacted. What decisions are we making and how consistent is our character when there is no spotlight on the decision we are making? Do you take the most beneficial road, or do you choose the honorable path?

Monday, March 23, 2009

Friends for Dessert

Each month we celebrate the Immanuel Choir members' birthdays @ our house. Tonight, we have all of the March birthday boys and girls coming over. Jody has made a gingerbread cake with orange cream glaze, chocolate covered strawberries, chocolate CHUNK cookies, and a chocolate mousse pie. Its all good.

I love birthdays. Even when they're not mine.

Weekend Review

1) I had a guy mow my yard for me on Saturday. The first time I've ever done this before. I sat on my couch watching basketball cheering the fact that I didn't have to work in the yard. Will this continue? Hmmmmm......
2) Went to Buca di Beppo for dinner Saturday night. We ate at a table in the kitchen. They showed us every dish that went out and we watched them make it. It was pretty amazing.
3) I caught up on American Idol, since I had been out of town last week. My favorites are still Danny, Michael, and Matt.
4) Worship @ Immanuel was amazing Sunday. Our people seemed to be connecting on all levels. They were singing out, both outwardly and inwardly worshiping, they were responding to the preaching. It was awesome!
5) I ate lunch at "Dickey's Barbeque" Sunday afternoon. One word; YES!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Trouble Sleeping?

Have you ever had one of those nights when you were so exhausted that you couldn't wait to get to sleep? One of those nights that when your head hit the pillow you were gone? One of those nights that only 3 hours after you crashed one of your children woke you up? One of those nights when that child took everything You had to give before you could get them back to bed? One of those nights thay even though you were exhausted you were now wide awake and couldn't go back to sleep again, and as a result would spend your wonderful Saturday drained and tired?

Have you ever had one of those nights? Yeah, me either.

Friday, March 20, 2009

The Queen's Royal Review

As Rob and I stepped into the Queen Kapiolani Hotel in beautiful Waikiki, Hawaii, we were transported back to the time of faded floral print carpet and stained curtains. Things were much simpler then. In those days, vacuuming was not a problem because they didn't. Today, that tradition continues. The staff goes to great lengths to make sure you carry sand on your feet from around the world back to your room with you.

Old paitings hang around the hotel of kings of old. The Queen herself is immortalized on various walls, as well, as she seems to watch your every move. Even the staff seem to carry on the lore of the queen as they stare at you as if to say "off with their heads". So thrilling! I believe this is done to make you, as a guest, to feel as though you are next on the list for a trip to the volcano as an offering to the gods. Whaat an honor!

The room itself continues the mystique. The bathroom floor is chipped up and stained as if great Hawaiian warriors have trod there, chipping the floor with their powerful and rugged toenails. Infact, the shower curtain itself holds the evidence of those who have gone before you.

I was amazed at their ability to give you a spa treatment in the convenience of your own room. As you sleep, you receive a full skin exfoliation as the sheets and blankets rub against you. They are rough enough to remove those undesirable skin cells, yet soft enough not to make you bleed.

It is very close to the beach. With that in mind, I give The Queen a Royal review indeed! This reviewer gives the Queen 3 horn toots, each of them self produced.

(This review may or may not be the opinion of other occupants of room 501 at the Queen and were intended with absolutely NO sarcasm...kinda.)

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Queen Kapiolani Review

While in Hawaii Rob and I stayed @ a hotel to try it out for the group. Check back tomorrow for my review. It was insanely crazy!

On to Maui

The section of airport we sat in awaiting our "puddle jumper" to Maui appeared to be where they send the bad passengers who try to bring bottles of water and change in their pockets. "We say no change through detector. You sit now in 'dis section and t'ink 'bout watchu did. Maholo."

It was almost as bad as Long Beach, just minus the chain linked fence and the chickens. So, now I'm on the plane waiting to leave. Rob and I are both blogging while we wait for more passengers to fill the plane and take away the empty seat beside me, and along with it, what little leg room I have.

It was crazily funny when the flight attendant (who looks like a short-white reject from the Harlem Globetrotters) announced that he would be serving drinks once we reach cruising altitude. The catch sooned followed as he mumbled that there would be a charge for everything...including water. What? I just paid you plenty of money to warrant at least the opportunity to lick the salt off a peanut or two. This is because of the change in my pocket while passing through the detector isn't it?

Making the Last Few Moments Count

Our attempt on our way out the door in Hawaii was to cram as much as we could in during the early morning hours before our flight. We got up this morning @ 5:30 and headed to Hanauma Bay. This, our third attempt to snorkel and see why everyone says this is a must see experience.

We tried to go to Hanauma Bay on Tuesday, only to learn that they are closed all day on Tuesdays. We tried again Wednesday, but too late in the day and the crowds were too big, so they shut down the park to anymore coming in. Our third attempt was ruined this morning by an onslaught of vampire jellyfish. Their lifeless gel filled bodies littered the shore. We waited for the official call which came moments later. Once again, we were turned away.

So, we headed back to the room and got things together for our departure. We decided to swing by Dog the Bounty Hunter's office on the way to the airport to get a few pics and see "the Dog" and his beautiful bride. We got shots of the place, but no long blonde haired 80 year olds in leather were to be seen. So, on to the airport.

We will be flying over to Maui for a brief layover before heading across the Pacific for home. Pray for safe travels for me and Rob. Actually, pray for everyone on the plane, since their lack of a safe flight would greatly impact us!

I'll try to blog again in Maui to share some news with you if I get a chance, so check back throughout the day.

Last Full Day in Honolulu

Today was our last full day here. Our flight leaves in the morning for SOCAL. So, we had a lot to do. We didn't get to meet with the associational leaders, but I did get a phone interview with them.

My idea is to bring all of the baptist churches in Honolulu together for a one night revival and outreach. My hope is that we can meet in Kapiolani park, our choir can provide all of the music and a pastor can preach. It would be great for the churches to promote unity and help cast a vision for reaching the people of Honolulu.

Please pray that the association does what we need them to in order to make this work. Everyone has to do their job.

We're planning on visiting Hanauma Bay tomorrow...EARLY. If we're able to drag ourselves out.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Climbed Diamond Head (and barely survived)

Diamond Head is no joke. It was so beautiful. The view from the top is amazing. You can see all of Waikiki, look down on the coral reef at the oceans edge, and view the entire park area we will be doing some ministry in. However, there is a dark side to Diamond Head.

It is a constant incline. Once you get to a certain point, you look up and see a steep staircase empty into a dark tunnel. We braved the climb and entered the darkness. The tunnel is really cool. I thought it would empty out @ the top, but no.

We came out of the tunnel only to find a 100 step set of stairs...straight up. Rob and I climbed them, and then darkness......

After I sat for a while (actually I was laying down pouring water on my head), I went up the short little spiral staircase to the top.

The view is definitely worth the climb. I will never forget how breath taking it was.

Check back later for Associational meeting results and Hanauma Bay news.

It's Just Another Day For You and Me in Paradise

Yes, the title of this blog is a Phil Collins song. I guess the secret is out. Phil is by far my favorite singer. Now, onto Hawaii...

Rob and I are about to hike Diamond Head. We "need" to see if it's something worth taking the students on when we're back in June (said with smirk and slight sarcasm). Later, we're meeting with the local Baptist Associational leaders to cast our vision for helping to unite the churches of the island in a common effort. Pray for this meeting. Pray that they catch the vision and work to see it happen. More on this later today.

I've already had breakfast in bed (Cinnamon Toast Crunch) and am putting my hiking shoes on. Check back later today for more news and "interesting happenings". Here we go....

Partying with the Leprechauns

My grandmother was Irish. The crazy thing is that she was born on St. Patrick's Day and her favorite color was green. Perhaps that's why I really love Lucky Charms. But, I digress.

Tonight, Rob and I couldn't find a good party that didn't have drunk people dancing around like fish flopping on a pier. We ended up @ a restaurant called The Tree House. We were the only people in the place, but were right across from another joint that was hopping with a drunken party. I was pretty entertained from a safe distance.

Tomorrow is another crazy busy day. Please pray for us as we try to work out the details in preparation for the choir tour in June. More updates will post tomorrow. Maholo.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What a Day

Wow! We have been going strong ALL DAY LONG. Let me give you the run down:

1) Rode out to Hanauma Bay. Found out it's closed on Tuesdays. Note to self: don't take the group on Tuesday!
2) Met with University of Hawaii lodging director
3) Toured campus
4) Ate @ Yama's Fish Market
5) Met with Pastor John @ Kalihi Baptist Church.
6) Visited 3 different underprivileged apartment complexes. We are going to be doing backyard Bible clubs @ one of them. We will also do some clean up at the complex.
7) Pastor drove us to Chinatown and bought us some mannapua to try. It's basically a sweet roll outside with different stuffings. We tried sweet pork, coconut, and black sugar. Me likes.
8) We drove to the USS Arizona Memorial and walked through a small section of the tour to gather info and make sure it's worth bringing the group to. It's definitely a "must see".
9) We drove to Diamond Head to find out where we can hike.
10) We went to Kaliamoni Park in search of ministry opps. We found some. We are definitely following up on that in the morning. More to come later.

Now, we are looking for a great St. Patrick's party in downtown Waikiki. I'll give you the scoop on that when you check back later.

What kind of Pig?

We met this morning with the Director of Housing @ the University of Hawaii. It was kinda cool to be in the housing building that we MAY be staying in and look out over the football field.
Home of the Rainbow Warriors. (I know. It's just not that intimidating once you add in the word Rainbow.)

Talking to the director, we asked where we should go for authentic, off the tourist's radar, Hawaiian food. She told us that we had to go to Yama's Fish Market and get the Kalua Pig. "What kind of pig?"

It was amazing. Served in a cup of its own juice, rice, mac salad and a drink...$6.50. Yama's definitely makes my list of favorite local cuisine on this trip!

Hawaii in Green

Happy St. Patrick's Day from beautiful Waikiki, Hawaii! There is a St. Patrick's Day parade going on here today. I'm kind of curious to see what that will look like in Hawaii. Will they go with lots of drums, fire, and hairy, shirtless, facepainted grunting warriors? Or will leprechauns be dancing gleefully with pots of gold?

Today, we're going to check out a camp facility, the Polynesian Cultural Center, and meeting with Pastor John from Kalihi Baptist Church. Hopefully, we'll have some tentative itinerary plans for the June trip drawn up as a result of these meetings today.

Check back often. I plan to blog several times each day with updates. Some will be very interesting.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Day That Will Live....

So, you know how Spanish is the "2nd language" in the continental US? Well, in Hawaii, its Japanese. There are so many Japanese people here.

Now, I'm not saying that it bothers me at all. I'm just surprised. That's all. I just didn't expect this given the whole Pearl Harbor fiasco.

Toe Flossing and The Tower of Terror

So, yeah. Ministry does have perks at times. This happens to be one of them. I am in Waikiki, Hawaii on a pre-trip in preparation for our Student Worship Choir tour here in June. Rob Signs and I are meeting with the Pastor of the church we are partnering with, touring the area, doing sight inspections @ various hotels, and developing a general plan for the trip.

We landed today and it has been amazing. The island is beautiful, but we have also seen some unexpected crazy stuff.

Picture this: you're driving down the road looking for a hotel. You see beach, palm trees, people in swim suits, and various stores. All of a sudden something insane catches your eye. It is a 70+ year old man on a bench with his corn chip toenails up in his lady's face. She doesn't seem to mind, and proceeds to rub his feet with lotion. As we continued to sit @ the red light, she then pulled out a towel and began flossing between the old guy's toes.

Call me crazy, but I was intensely disturbed.

The Tower of Terror is the nickname we have bestowed upon the elevator at the Queen Kapiolani hotel. It just drops!

More later. Keep checking back for the misadventures of Jeff and Rob.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

The Breakfast Song

Have you seen this yet? Pretty interesting......

The Twilight Zone

When I was a kid, one of my favorite shows to watch was The Twilight Zone. I loved the old black and white ones. But in the 80s, they came out with a new series of The Twilight Zone, and I loved it, too. Even the movie was awesome to me. For those of you familiar with the show, you'll remember how strange phenomenons would occur and freaky things that we would never expect to see or experience in "this world" would happen. Recently, I think I may have entered into my own "twilight zone" or sorts. Let me explain:

This past November, I met a man for the first time at our Christmas tree lighting. During our initial introductions he asked me where I was from. I told him that I was from Augusta, GA. His eyes lit up and he said "I was born in Augusta, GA".

I responded by saying, "Really? I was born there, too, at St. Joseph's Hospital."
"Oh, my gosh!", he said. "Me too." The same hospital? Come on. And here we are in Southern California having this conversation.

Today, I had lunch with him and he mentioned to me that he grew up on Telfair Street in Augusta, GA. I was blown away, because my mother grew up on Telfair Street. Strange world, huh?

After lunch, I called a lady who was the mother of my childhood best friend. For whatever reason, I just had him on my mind last night and today, and thought I would call his "old" phone number just to see if I could get in touch with him somehow. Come to find out, they had just been talking about me earlier this morning. And then I called. The weird part of this is that we haven't talked, written, or corresponded in any way in over 20 years. How ironic that she would have that conversation about me on the day that I would call. (cue Twilight Zone music.) (Perhaps I'm the topic of conversation every day in their family. But, I think that would be even freakier.)

Maybe I'm making more of this than is really there. But, it has been freakishly cool. So, what's your "twilight zone" story?

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Cool New Songs

Tonight we are going to be working really hard in choir rehearsal. We are preparing for Travis Cottrell to be with us on April 8, so we have some new songs to learn. Also, we are singing at MusiCalifornia April 15. So, we're looking at some new charts for that, as well. Busy, busy, busy. But, it's during those times when you find yourself in the trenches, working shoulder to shoulder with other believers to accomplish a huge goal, that you experience the most growth.

Be there tonight as we move one step closer in preparation toward leading others in worship of our Mighty God. See you tonight!

Monday, March 09, 2009

Student Worship Choir

It has been a great year with the Student Worship Choir this year, at Immanuel. I have loved working with them. We are doing some rockin' music that is going to help us reach the people of Hawaii in June. That's right! We're going to be suffering for the Lord in Hawaii.

We are partnering with Kalihi Baptist Church in Waikiki, HI. We'll be doing Backyard Bible Clubs with kids in an underprivileged apartment complex each day we're there. At the end of the week we will host a block party for the kids, their parents, and all of the people in that area. SWC will be doing concerts throughout the week, as well.

I am flying over next week to meet with Pastor Jon Vaughn. He is planning on showing me around the island and allowing me to get my feet on the ground in the places we will be serving. It will definitely help to alleviate some potential problems that we could face in June. So, pray for the people of Hawaii. Pray for our students. And pray that God will do a great work in us, and through us, for His glory and our good.

Sunday, March 08, 2009

The World in Which We Live

This morning, a gunman entered First Baptist Church of Maryville, IL and opened fire. He shot the Pastor 3 times, and early reports say that 3-5 others were shot, as well. FoxNews reports that the Pastor, Fred Winters, later died at the hospital. Please pray for this church, the Winters family, and all others who will be affected by this tragedy. Romans 28 is still true. The Lord will work all things for good.

It's out of tragedies like this that God saves souls, increases faith, and does a mighty work that only He can do. Jody and I were in Fort Worth, TX at Southwestern Seminary when a gunman entered Wedgewood Baptist Church and opened fire on a congregation full of young worshipers at a "See You at the Pole" rally. God did an amazing work in the aftermath of that horrible day.

Remain faithful and lift up those who need us during this day of tragedy in their lives.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Post 500

It is official. I have posted 500 blogs. For such a time as this, I thought I should prepare a speech of some kind:

(cue cheesy underscore music)
First, I'd like to thank the academy for their recognition of my work. I have poured my soul and education in the english language into every word I have spoken...or, typed. The truths and heart-felt passion that can be found within the confinds of this online journal all pour from my pen as an overflow of my walk through each and every experience. Daily, my mind is riddled with dreams and fantasies of impacting as many people as possible, and leaving no life untouched.

Today, I feel as though the world stands with me as I (cue needle drag across record)>>>>>>>>>>

Okay. It's just my 500th post. I'm glad you were here to read it. Onto 500 more!

Sunday, March 01, 2009

I'm Sick of It

That's right. I said it. I'm so sick of being sick. I've not been sick in a long time. But, this virus has hit me with a vengeance. I've been sick since last Monday night.

Caleb and Jody have it now. But, it seems to be affecting us all slightly differently. I was hoping to have my voice back this morning. But, it was not to be. So, I'll be hanging @ the house today wishing I was @ Immanuel.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Variety Show

Last Friday night we had a Variety Show fundraiser for our Student Worship Choir. It was amazing. Our approach was to bring people in by personal invitation. This seemed to work well. Simply throwing out a blanket invitation leaves you not knowing how many to expect. This way, we were able to plan well, which helped the night to flow smoothly.

We raised over $5500 collectively. However, we issued the money based on what the students raised individually. What I mean by that is we didn't set this up like the Obama tax plan. Instead, you got paid exactly what you raised. We didn't do a share holding approach. So, some kids raised $250 toward their trip. Others raised $530. But, everyone had the same opportunity. I think it can only get better in future years.

I'm so proud of our Student Worship Choir! They are gonna rock it out on tour in June. We are doing some great music that I know will impact them individually as well as those who come to the concerts!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Behind the Scenes

We had a behind the scenes look at the Immanuel Choir last night. We encouraged anyone who had ever thought about joining to come check out a rehearsal and see what we do to prepare for Sundays. Eleven guests came! I was excited to see some faces that we hadn't seen in a while, as well as some new ones that were there for the very first time. All in all, it was a night of high energy and a great time of worship.

The Immanuel Choir is gearing up for a concert on April 8 at Immanuel with Travis Cottrell . This is sure to be a great night of worship. Make sure you are here on Wednesday, April 8 at 6pm.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

David Phelps

I'm really excited. Tonight we're at David Phelps' house for a bbq and private concert. How cool is that? He has to be the most incredible tenor (besides Larnelle Harris) that I've ever heard in my life.

Tonight is definitely nothing I could talk my way into in any other circumstance. I can imagine driving up to his house on my own and security telling me to slowly back away from the gate.

So, tonight will be a real treat. I'm so undeserving of the perks the Lord let's me have through others.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Filled

I have had an incredible week this week. I'm sorry I haven't blogged. It has been a jam-packed schedule and I haven't had a single moment to let you know what's going on. I am in Nashville, TN at a worship pastor's METRO conference. It is a round table of worship pastors from around the country. It has been amazing.

Last night, we toured the Nashville Country Music Hall of Fame, had dinner in the rotunda there, and then had a concert at the famous Ford Theater. The concert was the jazz sax player who played on Whitney Houston's "I Will Always Love You". Following that, Travis Cottrell led us into an amazing time of worship.

Tonight, we had dinner at the famous Heritage Hotel in downtown Nashville. Following dinner we had a time of worship with Michael Neale from People's Church, followed by Natalie Grant. Again...amazing.

I can't remember the last time I just wept during worship like I did when Travis Cottrell led us. I desperately needed to be led in worship...I just didn't realize it. It is amazing how quickly we can be emptied when giving all the time. I hadn't taken enough time for myself to be filled up. It has been great.

Moments like that just make me so desperate to get back to our people and worship with them. Be ready Immanuel. I am so pumped and ready to go to the next level personally, and as a church. Are you on board?

Friday, February 06, 2009

I absolutely love the people I get to serve with at Immanuel. Tonight, with all the rain and cold weather (at least it's cold for Southern California people) our worship band still showed up for practice. I know it's Friday night, but we need a once a month practice in addition to our weekly practices and it is the only night of the week everyone could agree on. Our band is awesome. We've been blessed with some great musicians, but even more importantly these guys are worshippers.

We're leading worship in Riverside on February 28. It's really difficult coming up with a set-list when you are leading worship for people you don't know. I never know if they are familiar with the newest stuff, so we try to keep it balanced. Here's our set-list for that day:

Everlasting God
Love the Lord
Let the Praises Ring
Jesus Messiah
How Great is Our God (everybody knows this, so it's our safety net)
Jesus Paid it All (Passion)
I Know Who I Am
Revelation Song

Come worship with us in Riverside at Mag Avenue at 8:30am on February 28!

Tuesday, February 03, 2009

The Bumgardner's


We recently had some family pics made. David White , a great photographer friend of ours, shot some beautiful images at a really cool place in Redlands, CA. The house in the background is ours (I wish). He did some really cool things with effects, too. But, no matter how good he is, he could do nothing for my face. I guess I'm stuck with it.

Pour into Your People

Communication is a good thing. Right? Well, in most cases. Unless what is being communicated is not well received. But, that's a different blog for a different day. Here are 3 ways you can pour into others around you and invest in people in your circle of influence:

1) Listen. It has been said that you can leave a conversation having someone say "that is the most interesting person on earth". Or, you can leave a conversation having someone say "that guy made me feel like I am the most interesting person on earth". Don't always feel like you have to talk about yourself. Let others feel important by showing interest in them.
2) Discover what is important to someone and meet that need. For example, if someone's child has made the honor roll, write a letter to them congratulating them on such a great accomplishment. It's difficult to do this on a grand scale. But, in smaller groups, or on an individual basis, it has a huge impact.
3) (Most) Everyone loves birthdays. Make that a big deal to your people. Jody and I recently began hosting birthday parties at our house for our choir members. We invite those who have had a birthday that month to come to our house for a mini-birthday party in their honor. It allows us the opportunity to get to know our people beyond Sunday morning, and it helps them see that you care. And Jody and I care deeply about the people God has placed in our worship ministry. They are the reason we do what we do. Make your people "feel" that important!

Thursday, January 29, 2009

What is Worship?

As believers, "what is worship?" should be a question we are constantly revisiting. The question itself holds so many possibilities. I have heard worship described with long definitions full of lofty words and intelligence that I will probably never grasp. However, when speaking of God, worship is simply a relationship.

Now, out of that relationship comes a lot of great stuff. The dedication of our heart's affection and our mind's attention. Our humbly glorifying Him in response to His greatness and His Word. These are the types of things that flow out of a relationship of worship. The fact that we raise our hands and lift our voices in song all in response to WHO God is does not "sincerely" happen unless we are in right relationship with Him.

Check you relationship with the Lord. Has it grown lately? Do you know Him and His word more today than you did previously? If not, all of the things that flow out of that relationship will be greatly diminished. Your praising and singing won't be as sweet. Your prayer life will start to wane. Your passion for spending time with His people will be quenched. And your desire to grow beyond self will be lessened.

If any of these "results" of worship have been compromised lately, it is probably because your "relationship" with God is not as close as it should be.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Ready for a Test

Check out this test. Just follow the instructions given on the video. Let me know how you do.

Monday, January 26, 2009

Issues

All of us want to believe that our opinion about an issue is the right one. Most of us find great pride in offering a solution that ends up being the best one. However, we have to be careful. Pride is a tricky thing. Soon we can find ourselves thinking that no one else's opinion is valid. We tend to find hidden agenda in other people's point of view, and we believe we have all the answers. Pride causes division. It causes growing programs and successful ministries to be ineffective.

Guard your heart. Always question your motive. In all things, honor God.

Music

I recently found out that someone is recording a song that I wrote. My publisher emailed me and let me know about it a few days ago. Pretty crazy, huh? It's exciting to think that it will be on someone's recording. I've hoped and prayed the Lord would use me in whatever way He would see fit, but secretly I wanted to write songs from my heart and have them impact the Kingdom.

In other news, the headline that Obama and Limbaugh are at odds made me laugh. Is this really news?

Thursday, January 22, 2009

A Picture is Worth....

I took my family to have pictures made last week. The kids did really well. We were outside, so they were able to run around and act crazy, which is a typical day for us :) So, I'm sure they'll look different in every shot. At one point, Caleb ran off and returned red-faced and sweaty for the next shot. Abby was spinning in circles and her hair became "less than" what Jody had intended when she fixed it. Ella followed the crowd and soon had grass-stained knees and an un-tucked shirt.
All in all, they should be pretty natural shots!