My sister, Joy, took some footage last night of the CD release. So here ya go. This song is called "Send Us Out" - track 14 on the CD. The night went really well. I felt really good about the whole thing. Following up Jarrett Steven's awesome challenge about maintaining a biblical perspective on reaching out to the poor, the widow and the orphan, we played "The Wonder of This Sight" which vamps the chorus "You're the hope of every nation. Perfecter of salvation." It was a great moment where application of the message happened and worship followed as a natural impulse. People were shouting the chorus with every bit of passion they could muster. It was pretty incredible. Thanks for all of you who came out to support us, and thanks for not making it a "stare-fest", but for genuinely engaging with God and worshiping your hearts out. Dave Hickman, thanks for allowing us the privilege of using C1 as an avenue for this worship project. We love all of you. If you get a chance, read the comment under my last post from my brother-in-law, Andrew Litke, about God's latter rain on our ministry. It's pretty phenomenal. Thanks for the kind words, Andrew. Love ya.
By the way, the CD is available for download on Digstation, and will soon be available on iTunes. Stay posted.
Also, in other news, (and I'm not all about numbers, but this is amazing) last night while we were having our CD release in Charlotte, my Dad was preaching the Gospel at a youth event in Chesapeake, Virginia. Out of the 150 in attendance, 25 students came to faith in Christ! Hallelujah! Those kids were serious about bringing their lost friends to hear the Gospel. Thank you, Lord! And thanks Dad, for being obedient to the Lord and His calling on your life. I believe in you!
Last night we played:
1. Send Us Out
3. O, How I Love Jesus/He Loves Me
4. How He Loves (John Mark McMillan)
5. The Wonder of This Sight
6. Be Thou My Vision/Now and Forever
Wednesday, October 29, 2008
Monday, October 27, 2008
This verse really spoke to me this morning. "...Sing praises with a skillful psalm." (Psalm 47:7) And I was reminded of the duty that we have as Christian musicians, worship leaders, etc. to sing skillful psalms to the Lord--to give Him our best--not give Him our leftovers--but give Him the firstfruits of our talents, of our songs, of our worship. It should be our duty, our joy, our desire and the expectation of the body of Christ to sing with skillful songs. Certainly and primarily they must come from the overflow of our hearts and be Spirit-driven, Scripture-saturated, and Gospel-centered; but they must also be done skillfully. They must be crafted in such a way as to reflect and express quality, passion, beauty, and excellence, all of which flow from God Himself.
The obvious question becomes: "What is the standard for something being 'skillful?'" I love what Paul Baloche and Mia Fieldes said during the Integrity Conference last week that applies to this. They said that there is nothing wrong with anyone being a learner or a novice or a beginner when it comes to leading worship. The problem comes when you're not moving forward. The problem comes if you're staying there. If you're not moving on. If you're not giving yourself to study, training and practice, seeking to become better. And really, that applies to anything we do in life. If we ever get to the point where we think we have arrived in song-writing or preaching or teaching or Biblical understanding or whatever the case may be ... then we have a problem. But let's make it our goal to bring glory to God in whatever we set our hands to do and to do so with the skill that God has given us while being careful to foster and grow that skill as good stewards.
Friday, October 24, 2008
What a great week! Tasha and I just finished out a 3-day worship conference with Integrity Worship - (we didn't lead it! just a part of it!) But it was awesome to just sit back and soak up the wisdom from great men and women of God, songwriters and worship leaders such as Paul Baloche, Mia Fieldes, Glenn Packiam and the New Life Worship team, Dr. Pete Sanchez, and many others. I learned a ton, and I'm fired up to lead worship this weekend. Conferences like these reignite me and help to stir up the fire that the Lord put there a long time ago - a passion for Him, for His Word, and to see His church become passionate for Him.
Monday, October 20, 2008
Today was a great day for several reasons:
1. I just got back from a planning meeting for the live recording at our home church, Southbrook Church, with Return Worship that will take place on Sunday, Nov. 9th. It's gonna be great. It's gonna have a Hillsong feel with about 5 different worship leaders who are also writers. Mark your calendar to be there if you can make it! It's gonna be sweet!
2. Got a call from Disc Makers. Our CD is on the way via UPS! Hallelujah! I was starting to wonder if they'd be here in time for the release next Tuesday. I can breathe a little easier now.
3. Tasha is just pulling back in the driveway from the grocery store. No doubt she saved us like $300 thanks to her frugality bordering insanity!
4. It finally feels like Fall!
5. I built a fire in the fireplace this morning.
Thursday, October 16, 2008
Last Friday I spent the morning at Rainy's preschool enjoying "Donuts with Dad." I'm amazed at how fast my little princess is growing up. And I'm reminded almost daily at how quickly our time on this earth passes--that I am just a vapor. My prayer lately has echoed the Psalmist, "Lord, make me to know my end and what is the extent of my days; let me know how frail I am." (Psalm 39:4). I want every moment of my life to count for His kingdom. I want to redeem the time because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:16). I want to spend quality time with my kids and I want them to know that I love them and care about them. And when I'm spending time with them, I want them to know that I am all theirs during that time. That mentally I am not somewhere else thinking about the list of things I need to get done.
Yesterday I had lunch with a Pastor friend whom I greatly respect. He told me that he took his family of 6 camping a few weeks ago. When they arrived at the campsite, his oldest son asked him, "Dad, are you going to be busy this weekend?" In other words, "Are you bringing work with you, or will you be here both physically and mentally?" He told me that in that moment he turned his phone off and never turned it back on the entire weekend.
And why shouldn't we live that way? Because our time is short. Our families are our number one priority--not ministry. And they need us. They need us dads to be there for them both physically and mentally. So, dads, are you with me?
Wednesday, October 15, 2008
Here's what's in my ipod right now: John Mark McMillan's "The Medicine." Wow! One blogger I found described John Mark's music as, "The Counting Crows meets Bruce Springsteen, Rich Mullins, Mark Heard, Mark Knopler, Derek Webb and Keith Green at a bar out west in the desert. And after a long night, they end up singing worship songs together." I couldn't agree more. The depth and honesty of McMillan's lyrics speak to the fact that he's a typical guy living out the Christian life the best way he knows how, following Christ every step of the way, unafraid to ruffle feathers and present the Gospel through his ever-increasing creative juices. This is a great album. Check it out.
By the way, in case you're wondering "The Healing" is in no way a spin-off or subtle plaguerism of "The Medicine." It was purely coincidental. Since "The Medicine" was just released, hopefully the timing in relation to "The Healing" will speak for itself. That's the truth!
Tuesday, October 14, 2008
The Weekend Update:
In one word: Fulfilling and God-honoring! We had a great weekend as we traversed from one side of the state of NC to the other in just 3 short days. Friday we loaded up our Trooper and headed for Hendersonville, NC just shy of Ashville where we led worship for Parkwood Baptist Church's high school fall retreat. Andy Cherry and Skylar Mcnabb came along with us and did an amazing job as usual. Parkwood students are a rare and dying breed. These kids know the Word of God. They love the Word of God. They are passionate for Jesus. And they worship from their hearts unlike any student ministry I've ever been a part of. No doubt their maturity level in regard to spiritual things is due wholly or at least in part to the incredible leadership and biblical teaching they sit under every week.
Brian Lowe, the youth pastor there for the last 8 years taught them God's Word expositorally and unapologetically. He resigned this summer feeling the call of God on his life to plant Exodus Church in Belmont, NC which will be launching a few short months from now. All of that to say, these kids have been fed deeply from the Word, and continue to do so on their own as they grow in maturity in the Gospel.
Saturday night, following the last session, Tasha and I packed up our things and our kids and headed across the state to Henderson, NC, 45 minutes northeast of Raleigh/Durham. I was asked to preach for the Homecoming service Sunday morning at New Sandy Creek Baptist Church where I served on staff for 4 years from '02 - '06. It was awesome to be back there and see the awesome things that God is doing there. There is a definite sense of God's presence in that place, and a sense of the Spirit of God moving and working in the hearts of people.
I preached 1 Thessalonians 3:11-13, Paul's prayer for the church of Thessalonica. I made it my prayer for New Sandy Creek and encouraged them to:
1. Let Christ increase your love for one another (v. 12),
2. Let Christ establish you blameless (v. 13), and
3. Let Christ establish you in holiness (v. 13).
Thank you for your prayers for us over the weekend.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
This past weekend was awesome. We were in Wake Forest, NC Friday through Saturday night leading a Discipleship Now Weekend Event for Richland Creek Community Church. We had an awesome time with their students. You never know what to expect with D-Now weekends, and this was the first one we've done with Richland Creek; but if there was ever a church to do one right, it was Richland. They nailed it. They had plenty of adult volunteers and small group leaders. They made the atmosphere exciting and inviting for the
students (and the band), and they went out of their way to make us feel totally at home. We had a blast. Student Pastor Dave Miller preached each session out of Psalm 119 and did a fantastic job communicating God's Word. We brought the entire band this time, Andy Cherry on lead guitar, Skylar Mcnabb on drums, Scott Spruill on keys, Nate Proczak on bass, and of course Tasha and myself. Chad Lister ran sound and helped with loops and programming. My brother, Baikes, took care of all of the video and lighting.
The Saturday night session went really well. There was a really sweet sense of the Lord's presence in the room, and there were kids praying and weeping at the altar for quite a while. It was a cool time and awesome for us to be a part of it.
We pulled back into Charlotte really late Saturday night, and then had to be up bright and early for Ridge Church Sunday morning. But it all turned out well. Tasha and I were able to grab a really long nap on Saturday afternoon in Wake Forest, so that helped.
Our sets for the weekend included:
1. Happy Day (Tim Hughes)
2. All Because of Jesus (Steve Fee)
3. Immanuel (J & T Via)
4. Jesus Paid It All (Passion version)
5. Jesus Messiah (Tomlin)
1. Let God Arise (Tomlin)
2. Tell the World (Hillsong)
3. Sweetly Broken (Jeremy Riddle)
4. Be Thou My Vision/Now and Forever (J & T version)
5. How Great is Our God (Tomlin)
1. Salvation is Here (Hillsong)
2. Everything Glorious (Crowder)
3. Immanuel (J & T)
4. Jesus Messiah (Tomlin)
5. Be Thou My Vision (J & T version)
6. Oh, How I Love Jesus (J & T version)
1. Let God Arise (Tomlin)
2. Oh, Praise Him (Crowder)
3. He Is Exalted (Shane and Shane)
Monday, October 06, 2008
Friday, October 03, 2008
If you think about it, pray for us this weekend. Starting tonight we'll be leading a Disciple Now Weekend Retreat for Richland Creek Baptist Church in Wake Forest, NC. We're taking the whole band (Andy Cherry, Skylar McNabb, Scott Spruill, and Nate Proczak) and our kids. It should be a great weekend. We're all riding together in a 15-passenger van with our gear and luggage. Good times will definitely be had. And especially pray for the hundred or so students that we'll be ministering to, that the Lord will work in their lives in a great way this weekend. Thanks.