“Best” Reading…

September 15, 2008

So, I did the ‘swap’ with Fred today, and reluctantly handed off Kauflin‘s amazing WORSHIP MATTERS book in trade for UNCEASING WORSHIP by Harold Best.  I devoured the intro & first chapter at church (don’t tell!!!) this morning (I’m a very fast reader) and really liked the taste of it.  Anyone else read this?  If so, what did you think?

Advertisements

This one is a bit different… hope you like.

I present to you… my first worship confessional… well, actually my second.  I deleted the whole first draft.  I came across as an arrogant, self-centered idiot in it, which rendered me entirely incapable of editing it in iMovie.  This one is better, but still I wonder – will anyone want to watch a 13 minute worship confessional?  I can taste the sinking blog stats now…

By the way, in order to participate in Fred’s ‘Sunday Set-Lists’, the set-list for Sunday was:

WALK IN: Tell the World – Hillsong United
1.  My Savior Lives – New Life Church/Desperation Band
2.  Marvelous Light – Charlie Hall
3.  Lead me to the Cross – Hillsong United
4.  How Great is Our God – Chris Tomlin (w/ How Great Thou Art)
CLOSING: Hosanna – Hillsong United 

So I don’t forget to let you know, my talented bro-n-law has released a c.d. The official release is this Friday. It should really be incredible, and better yet, it’s free. On top of that, my band is opening, and debuting some brand new material. Doors open at 7:30 PM. We do hope to see you there!

What makes you feel valued – of worth? Gifts? A phone call? Has anyone ever sung a song for you (Happy Birthday, per chance)? Better yet, has anyone ever WRITTEN a song for you? Music is powerful – SINGING IS POWERFUL. I’m serious: guys, if you know you are ugly, and you want to get married one day, buy an instrument NOW! But, music – and singing – is not enough. What if someone wrote you a song, but then hit on your best friend? Wouldn’t be quite as cool, would it? In fact, you’d probably despise that song, and turn the radio station any time it came on. There is more to feeling loved – to being praised- than simply being sung about, or to. This is an important point: WORSHIP IS NOT – at least not in any ‘ultimate’ sense – ABOUT SINGING, and, in the most important sense of the term, I am not your “worship leader”.

Sure, I may lead people in song, and on my best days (or, hopefully, MOST days) I encourage then to sing to God, but that’s not necessarily ‘worship’, and at best that makes me a ‘lead worshiper’ or a ‘song-leader’, not a worship leader. My ‘official title’ here at the church, at least the one on my job description, says “Associate Music Director”, which is very appropriate, I think, and Biblical.

I know what some people THINK we worship leaders are trying to do. I’ve heard it. Haven’t you ever heard someone who was really into a corporate worship service say of the so-called ‘worship leader’; “he really led me into the presence of God”? Or were you the one who said it? Now, I think I understand their heart, and what they’re TRYING to convey, but they were absolutely wrong because NO worship leader today can do that! I can’t do that – I was never MEANT to do that! But, someone else was, and DID! Read the rest of this entry »

Let me start by saying – I LOVE MY CHURCH! I am happy and proud to be plugged into a church body that is Christ-Centered, Gospel-Driven, Grace-Filled, & Doctrinally Sound, with relevant teaching, wonderful times of corporate worship, and friendly people. Maybe that is why is saddens me to see so-called ‘Christians’ who are, as Josh Harris says, “dating the church”, rather than plugged in somewhere, serving and fellowshipping, committed first & foremost to one local body. Just this week Tim Challies wrote an excellent, powerful, and encouraging post called THEY WENT TO THEIR OWN about his commitment to a local body of believers. Adrian Warnock commented on Challies’ post in LOVE YOUR LOCAL CHURCH. One of my current favorite Worship songwriters, Stephen Altrogge, posted an very humorous excerpt of one of Josh Harris’ sermons, and the full sermon by Harris is available here: COMMITMENT TO THE CHURCH.

In other great church news, apparently there are many signs of revival occurring at Mars Hill Church in Seattle.   200 baptisms in ONE DAY alone!  God is on the move!

As it relates to music, Wisdom Moon posted a great new music theory resource, Milestone Worship added another helpful blog on Worship Songwriting, and a challenging post on SKILL LIDS was blogged over at I am an Offering.

And lastly, back to my church, Fred McKinnon, our music director, posted his thoughts on our Easter Service this past Sunday.

Blessings, and have a GREAT weekend!

Blog Love Quickie

March 4, 2008

First, more on the opening of our new Church facility from Travis, Chris, & Justin.

In other news:
Stuart Townend on  How to Write Hymns
Bob Kauflin responds in For Music

Lastly…I’ve been doing a LOT of songwriting recently.  In fact, it is my goal this year to finish writing at least 12 new corporate worship songs this year – given that I’ve finished one so far, and have at least 3 more started, I think I’ll meet my ‘quota’.  Well, while rehearsing for this Wednesday’s INSIDE OUT meeting, we were going to play “Meant to Live” by Switchfoot as our walk-in music – a song many of us like.  Right as we began to rehearse, the whole band basically mass-vetoed the song, and suggested playing my newest, “Call me to Life“, instead.  THAT made my day!   Hopefully I can get a live-recording of it soon and pop it up online.

Thank you, Jesus.

Amen.

Wow.

March 3, 2008

Wow.

Read the rest of this entry »

So far this week I’ve left my house every day by 7:50 A.M. and haven’t yet been home before 10 P.M. Who knew when I scheduled my Dad & step-mom to visit from Thursday (today) till Sunday that it would turn out to be the same week as the GP fundraiser, Worship Night, and our new church facility’s grand opening?! Buy hey – who needs sleep?


1. TONIGHT: The Gathering Place‘s annual fundraiser at the Jekyll Convention Center is tonight, and I’M LEADING WORSHIP for it with a rockin’ inter-church youth band! The GP is what originally brought me to the Golden Isles and is, as a result, how I met my lovely wife, so we’ve got ‘history’, and I am very excited to be a part of this evening’s event. The speaker is Darrell Scott, and the event starts at 7 P.M.


2. TOMORROW: My church, St. Simons Community Church, is hosting a special ‘night of worship’ at 7 P.M. For most, it’ll be the ‘first taste’ of our new auditorium, and the first time corporate worship will take place in our new facility. We’ve been rehearsing all week, and Fred has not only picked a good set-list, but the new in-ear system takes things to a whole new level for us musicians – I can hear things I’ve NEVER noticed before, and it’s super cool. Tech aside, however, God is going to show up, and we want you to be there too!

Lastly, get your iTunes gift-card ready, and purchase THESE – it’s for your own good:

Friday Blog Love

February 22, 2008

Happy Friday! Just thought I’d spread some blog-love around before the weekend.

My friend (and one of my ‘bosses’, though that sounds so harsh & authoritarian), Fred McKinnon, has posted a pic of our new auditorium. It doesn’t represent the full room, but you can get a feel for it. I’m EXCITED!

I just discovered a very cool older post over at Fundamentally Reformed called THE RISE OF THE MODERN HYMN MOVEMENT, as well as a newer follow up post; MODERN HYMN WRITERS. Mandy, you should enjoy this. Being in a songwriting kick, myself, I found it fascinating.

One of my few living heroes, Tim Keller, has finished his new book THE REASON FOR GOD. Along with N.T. Wright‘s SIMPLY CHRISTIAN, this may be one of the best apologetics for the Biblical faith for post-moderns written to date. Good stuff.

Rich Kirkpatrick recently posted a very though provoking blog in his ‘Worship Mythbusters’ series entitled WORSHIP IS NOT ENTERTAINMENT.

I’ll be taking a much-needed blogging break until March 3rd.  Until we meet again!

Amen…and OUT.

Welcome Justin!

February 18, 2008

Justin, one of my favorite people, and a fellow staff-member at St. Simons Community Church, just began his own blog called IN THE RAW.  He’s just beginning to roll, but already you’ll find some good stuff there.  Drop by and show him some love!

Last night we played “Alive” by P.O.D.

Aaron ‘rapped’/sang the verses and I sang the choruses.

Given the tiny amount of prep that went into, it REALLY sounded pretty good.

I love our Youth Group.

In other strangeness, I’ve been writing a new Saint Lewis tune, which is almost finished. I re-read the lyrics after returning from INSIDE OUT and realized that they almost exactly parallel last night’s teaching by Jon…confirmation that God is doing something VERY specific among us right now. Good stuff.

Quirky Tag

February 14, 2008

I was tagged by Heather, and I enjoy these ‘tag’ things, so I’m going to give it a shot. I’ve got to name 6 quirky things about myself… that shouldn’t be hard, as I’m one huge walking breathing QUIRK…
1) In spite of what everyone else on earth might think, every personality test I’ve ever taken states that I am an introvert.
2) As evidence for #1, there was a small tree named “Shannon” in the corner of a friend’s living room in college – behind their couch. It was placed there to keep me from occupying that space during parties.
3) Related to point 1 & 2, at one time my stage fright was so bad that a.) I turned my back to the audience and walked to the back of the stage during any and all instrumental breaks, b.) I kept my eyes closed throughout whole concerts, & c.) I grew my hair out almost to my belly-button, usually keeping it in front of my eyes, so if I did open my eyes I couldn’t really see anyone in the room. That was about the only way I could have any peace while on stage.
4) For some reason the numbers 2 & 5 both make me think of the color Blue, the number 3 makes me think of Yellow, and number 1 white, yet no number makes me think of one of my favorite colors: green. I have no idea why…for ANY of it. Apparently, I’m NUTS.
5) BLUE (wishing I were thinking of Green, though). Did I mention that God has convicted me as of late that I need to be writing more songs than I do? Yeah – that.

6) Unlike Heather, who tagged me, I think feet are very cool. All feet, even pretty feet, are still pretty goofy looking. I’ve never seen ‘sexy’ feet. Hence, at least as it regards our feet, we’re all equal. That’s pretty cool.

tagging: OUR TECH DEPARTMENT – Chris, Bo, & Travis!

Yesterday was one of those ‘highlights’ for me – a day where, from morning till sundown, I felt as though my every step was perfect.

In the morning I went to church and led the Rush Hour (Jr. High Youth Group) band, including a brand new guitarist who had never played with us before (apart from a rehearsal), and it was GREAT. Not only was the worship time intimate – the youth in the room seemed engaged, and during the quiet moments I could hear voices from every corner of the room, but the band sounded great, especially the new guitarist. I love leading worship, but even more-so, I love seeing young musicians ‘get it’, both spiritually and musically. It just lights me up to see a kid step up and DO IT, and do it well, even! It was a good morning.

After church, I spent the afternoon in the studio with my wife singing background vocals for my brother-n-law’s forthcoming c.d. (for whom my wife is the booking agent, so if you’d like him to play somewhere LET ME KNOW). He’s working under the name McKendree Augustas, and the new tunes are sweet. I’m excited to hear the final product, which should be mixed later this week.

Finally, in the evening, I got to open for David Herndon at his c.d. release party. Given the nature of the songs he was playing that night, I decided to be ‘Set on Edge‘ for the evening, instead of ‘Saint Lewis‘. I usually rely upon a group of excellent musicians, but instead focused on spicing up my acoustic parts a bit and did it solo. I not only felt very good about the performance (there was a great audience there – I’d guess 300+ showed), got many compliments, and sold a few cds, but also got in a number of great conversations, and for me those conversations/relationships is what good music really comes down to: a conversation between me, the listener, and God.

Yesterday was one more day that makes me consider doing some really crazy things to enable every day to be like that. The thought of one day leading others in worship, training musicians and worship leaders and seeing them step into their own, writing songs that move people’s hearts and the heart of God, playing live, and recording – well, that just sounds like Heaven on Earth to me and leaves my head spinning.

Yesterday was a good day. 😉

I’ve always enjoyed conferences. I come away from them rested (even apart from getting no sleep, oft-times!), encouraged, challenged, and just plain excited, with a fresh of vision of what I can do and how things can be. Wouldn’t it be nice to take your whole team to a conference? Unfortunately, that’s just plain not feasible, given the complexities of people’s schedules, and financial issues. So a few years back I began putting on my own ‘mini-conferences’ for my youth group musicians, and those interested in one day being on the team, which I call ‘Youth Worship Workshops’. They’ve done well for us, not only in giving the youth a new vision for our team and a new passion for worshiping God, but also as essentially ‘try-outs’ to discover and invest in future talent which will slowly be integrated into, and one day replace, the current team. If you’re a worship leader an interested in doing one at your church, here’s the basics of what we do: Read the rest of this entry »

This past Sunday was such an encouragement to me. After a hard week at both jobs, I just didn’t know how Sunday morning would go. I felt beat down, tired, and discouraged on all fronts, so what’s the next obvious thing to do?: WORSHIP GOD! How true that is! One thing that did strike me as a real blessing was how God led me in choosing the songs before I even knew what David was preaching on. It didn’t dawn on me until I sat through David’s sermon on Sunday morning how perfect the songs were – every one tied into and emphasized the overall message that morning. Such a blessing! Thank you, Holy Spirit! Read the rest of this entry »

Our pastor, David Yarborough, hit a home-run today with his blog PLEASE JESUS. A little hint: it’s all about a bumper sticker that I almost purchased myself once when I was in college.

Our Worship Director here at St. Simons Community Church, Fred McKinnon, posted a humorous poke at our Youth Pastor, Jon Blankenship. Jon apparently worked with Fred on re-recording “I will Survive” for our KidJam ministry…as a sheep. You will most likely die laughing at this, so prepare yourself: go ahead and call 911 BEFORE listening.

Heather, wife of the fore-mentioned Youth Pastor, and our ‘Vocal Coordinator’ at INSIDE OUT, posted this excellent blog about Biblical humility she titled Broken Things, which is closely related to my last Worship Textfessional. Very challenging, and worth a read.

If I don’t post again soon, I pray you have a great weekend!

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” —1 Peter 5:5

What a wonderful night! First, God had been convicting a number of us leaders on the importance of humility and unity among our team, and we – in our prayer meeting before INSIDE OUT – leaders began to set forth a vision for the evening: humble dependence, desperate thirst and hunger for God’s Spirit, and repentance. Then we prayed, with the call to not leave the prayer room until we’re really ready. God showed up. Heather, our ‘Vocal Coordinator’, went into much greater detail in her latest blog: Broken Things. I think the key for this night was that ‘worship’ began long before the music or singing – an important lesson for all of us. Read the rest of this entry »

Chris Moncus, our Associate Tech Director, has been documenting the progress of the construction of our new facilities over at his blog. This picture is the latest…

We’re due to have our first service there March 2nd, 2008.

*DEEP BREATH

Personally, every time I visit the facility – or, in this case, look at a picture of it – I feel the weight of responsibility hanging over us – as stewards of what God has given us, and He has been VERY gracious, much will be expected. I pray we are able to use what He has given to be Christ to this community in a way that brings the Gospel to bear on the hearts of all who live in Glynn County, and even beyond.

O Lord – we do need Your help! Please.

Amen.

What a refreshing morning! I don’t know exactly what it is about leading worship – maybe the Spirit’s anointing? – but I feel so energized by mornings like this one! Read the rest of this entry »

As many of you that likely already know Fred McKinnon & Chris Moncus, those two need no introduction. Read the rest of this entry »