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


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 . 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.