Friday, June 30, 2006

Day Three PDW Report

Thursday, day three, was structured just like day two. General session in the morning, more worship in the later morning, and three workshop slots in the afternoon. I was rather disappointed It's been blistering hot and humid here for SoCal - 106 degrees on Wednesday. Praise God it was a little cooler today and there was a slight breeze. Two of the workshops Andrea and I attended were in the canopies.

At the general session, some musical guests were Charles Billingsly and Brian Duncan. Later, Buddy Owens reminded us of 2 Timothy 1:12, "... I know whom I have believed, and am convinced that he is able to guard what I have entrusted to him for that day. "
  • Notice it reads "I know WHOM I have believed" (not "what"). Paul wants us to know that we need to know Christ. We need to be in relationship with Him. Head knowledge is not enough - a heart knowledge is required.
  • Buddy also encouraged us to let go - to open our hands and entrust to God all of our responsibilities. It is only with empty hands that they can be filled with what God wants us to hold.
  • And we need to TRUST God with these things. "Trust" is to allow someone to do something without fear of the outcome. We need to give God these things without fear of how He will deal with them.
  • Verse 14 continues..."Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you - guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us." Once we let go of what is in our hands and entrust it to God, He will entrust us with what He desires.
  • Did I mention that I like Buddy?
The main speaker at the general session was John Ortberg. He shared the story from the book of Esther and connected it to two terms: "mission" and "shadow mission"
  • We have a Mission - a reason God has placed us here.
  • Unfortunately, we all have a Shadow Mission - something dark that we choose to do with our life that is superficial and meaningless. Our Shadow Mission usually flows out of the dark side of our giftedness.
  • With this said, it is important to identify your Shadow Mission. What is it? To project a certain image? To feed your ego? Is it criticism? Control? Cynicism? A hidden life or addiction? The safety of being passive? perfectionism? You need to examine your life.
  • Your church and organizations can have Shadow Missions as well. When a church starts up, It's mission is primary and survival is secondary - "we might make it, we might not." As time goes on, the Shadow Mission of survival often takes the prominent spot over a church's true mission.
  • Our Shadow Mission becomes more prominent in our life (or in your church) when we lift up our giftedness over our character. Often our character cannot live up to our giftedness (some great Biblical examples are Sampson and King Saul - they could not overcome their Shadow Mission).
  • Don't be in bondage to outcomes. Let it go. If you watch people bowl, what do they do when they release the ball? They lean, scrunch, twist, etc. Don't be like that. Just let it go and walk away.
  • True freedom comes when my inner life is larger, richer, and more joyful than my outer performance in ministry (ouch!) A great example of this John the Baptist (I missed the real reference, but I looked up something similar). Luke 3:15 says "The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Christ." This was John's Shadow Mission, to garner glory for himself. John resisted and stayed true to God's purpose for him. Verse 16 continues, "John answered them all, 'I baptize you with water. But one more powerful than I will come. the thongs of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie...'"
  • Accept the joy from your true Mission and your life will be complete. There is no satisfaction in our Shadow Mission.
  • John Ortberg told the story of Esther (and read it) interspersed between these other comments. Basically, he focused on the true Mission and Shadow Mission of Esther. Her mission was not to life the plush life of a queen, it was to play a role in God's plan to save the Jews. And it was Mordecai who pointed out her true mission. “Do not think that because you are in the king’s house you alone of all the Jews will escape. For if you remain silent at this time, relief and deliverance for the Jews will arise from another place, but you and your father’s family will perish. And who knows but that you have come to royal position for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-14)
  • Who is your Mordecai? Who keeps you accountable? Who calls you out when you're following your Shadow Mission?
  • Even Jesus had a Shadow Mission - to be a messiah without suffering. At least three times He faced it. In the wilderness when tempted by Satan, by Peter ("Surely you don't have to die!"), and again in the Garden ("Let this cup pass from me").
  • But Jesus said for us, "If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me."
  • You need to make the hard decisions to follow your true Mission and reject your Shadow Mission for "who knows but that you have come to your position for such a time as this?"
Now, I've got to tell you that the music after John Ortberg was phenomenal. Tim Hughes (author of "Here I Am To Worship") and the PDW Worship Choir (made up of conference attendees) was one of the most moving times of worship I have ever experienced. I nearly wept several times. And it wasn't just me, God was really moving in that room. The arrangements, the songs, and most importantly, Tim's heart were perfect.

In addition to the General session, Andrea and I ended up taking "Creating a Flow in Worship" led my Denise Graves, "Attracting a Crowd to Worship" led my Dave Holden, and "Style Diversity: Training Your Choir to Sing Any Style of Music" led by Stan Endicott. Stan's was by far one of the most beneficial workshops for me. If you know Stan, and if you know me, you know why :-)

Finally, the evening concert featured Mark Roach (we have sung his song "You Are" several times in worship) and Mercy Me. Both were great!

Well, one more day (half-day actually). I am really looking forward to the general session tomorrow (there will be no workshops). Louie Giglio, a founder of the Passion movement, will be the keynote speaker. The featured artist will be Chris Tomlin (Yeah!) It will be fantastic.

Oh yeah, happy birthday to me...

**UPDATE: See all the PDW posts listed here...

Thursday, June 29, 2006

Day Two PDW Report

Another outstanding day! For us, much of the meat for day two came from the morning general session. Our morning worship started with Rick Muchow and his kids leading worship. We're talking about four kids and two friends all from 10-16 years old. Wow!

Again, the Pastor of Ceremonies, Buddy Owens, shared a bit:
  • That God-shaped void that Pascal spoke of is never really filled, because when God enters in, He just keeps making more and more room for Himself. He becomes our all-consuming passion and hunger.
  • As leaders and shepherds, however, when spiritual hunger gets replaced by religious activity in our lives, our hearts become hardened. Song of Solomon 1:6 refers to the condition where I have taken care of my brother's vineyard, but have neglected my own. Are you tending your own vineyard?
  • Much of our Bible Study as leaders is spent preparing for others and the weekly service instead of for our own spiritual needs.
  • We need to remember that God is NOT looking for servants. He is looking for Sons and Daughters to join Him in the family business. He asks, "Am I your Master, or am I your Father?" Servants receive a retirement, but children receive an inheritance.
Then Buddy introduced Marcos Witt. Marcos is an Anglo-Saxon whose parents raised in Mexico. White on the outside, but hispanic on the inside. He is now the Pastor of Hispanic Ministries at Lakewood Church in Texas. A dynamic, fun, almost ADD-style speaker, Marcos again took on the theme of balance. Here are some nuggets:
  • John 4 reminds us that God is not seeking worship - He is seeking worshippers.
  • As worship leaders, are we teaching worship songs, or worship? Are we teaching our congregation show to sing songs, or how to worship?
  • Too often, the subject of worship polarizes. It should not. It should unify believers.
  • Finally, Marcos looked at worship in Revelation 4. If we're going to do these things in heaven (shout, praise, clap, sing, dance, lift hands), why are we afraid to do them now. If these things will be done in heaven, they must be acceptable now!
  • In Revelation 4:7 we see the four living creatures leading the twenty-four elders in worship. The creatures are weird. They have eyes in front. They have eyes in back. they have eyes on the sides. And they have eyes inside (NIV says "under their wings").
Our eyes are our sensitivity to the world around us.
  • Eyes in Front - We must have sensitivity to those before us. Be sensitive to the needs of the congregation. Worship leaders should always be in "sheep shape."
  • Eyes in Back - We must be sensitive to those behind us. There are those who "back us," who put us in the position we are in. Be sensitive to where the Holy Spirit is leading them.
  • Eyes on the Side - We must be sensitive to those who serve with us, our fellow musicians. Don't be a worship dictator. Buy them pizza. If you love people, they will follow you wherever you go. Remember if your drummer (guitarist, bassist) is weird - you're weird too!
  • Eyes Inside of Us - Under our wings. We must be sensitive to the Holy Spirit inside of us.
Next, Andrea & I attending the workshop, "Teaching Worship to Your Congregation"
  • Music is not worship - only words are sacred. Ask yourself, "how many musical notes are in the Psalms?"
  • Many people confuse music style with worship, but worship has nothing to do with style, volume, or speed. The music style you like says more about you - your background and personality - than it does about God.
  • Here is a biggie... WORSHIP IS NOT FOR YOUR BENEFIT. It is for God's pleasure. We need to stop judging it based upon what we like or dislike.
  • Worship is not part of your life - it is your life.
We need to find ways to express our worship to God. Here are five Biblical ways:
  1. SING to Him (Psalm 147:1, 100:2). Our singing should be alive (with joy), aloud (with enthusiasm), and aloft (directed to God).
  2. Lift our HANDS to Him (Psalm 134:2). Lifting hands is not a charismatic thing, it is a Bible thing.
  3. SPEAK our praise to Him (Hebrews 13:15) The fruit of our lips.
  4. Praise Him with DANCE and INSTRUMENTS (Psalm 149:3). Again, it's the Bible!
  5. Praise Him with OTHER BELIEVERS (Hebrews 2:12). We are to stand in the congregation and exalt Him.
We attended "Looking for God Moments" with Buddy Owens. There is simply too much to write from Buddy's session. He talked about our expected encounters with God (planning the worship) verses the times when God move in unexpected ways - God moments. He talked about how to prepare for the unexpected. He also talked about the ways in which we hear from God (Another one of my previous topics of discussion. I believe that God lives and He still speaks - not always directly from the scriptures. If God no longer speaks, what makes us think He's present. "How sad it must be to worship a silent God." I'll address this in another post later.)

Finally we attended a workshop on "Vocal Styling - The Power of Communicating through Song." Let me just say that this fits into some plans I already have for the Praise Singers in the next two months. It'll be great!

Tomorrow is another great line-up: Buddy Owens presenting, John Ortberg speaking, Tim Hughes singing (writer of "Here I Am To Worship"), and also the PDW Choir led by Stand Endicott. Andrea and I have a few friends singing in the choir and we're looking forward to hearing them. Besides, Stan Endicott is amazing (and weird)!!!

Some of the workshops we're thinking about tomorrow? "Attracting a Crowd to Worship," "Overcoming Obstacles in Leading a Congregation in Worship," "Almighty Sounds" (songwriting with Tim Hughes) and "Style Diversity: Training Your Worship Team to Sing Any Style of Music" (with Stan Endicott). We can only go to three and they are scheduled in a certain way, so please pray for us that God will lead us where He wants us to be.

Also, tomorrow is my birthday (happy birthday to me, happy birthday to me)!

**UPDATE: See all the PDW posts listed here...

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

First Day PDW Report...

Hey everybody! Well our first day (half-day, actually) of the Purpose Driven Worship Conference is over. I took some photos, but used my phone camera - I don't have a way to get photos off of it yet, so you'll just have to wait.

Anyway, the conference today consisted of a main conference and a workshop, as well as a concert in the evening. As promised, I want to report on some of the treasures from Rick Warren in the general session this afternoon.

Rick spoke on "How to worship instead of worry" and based the discussion on 2 Chronicles 20:1-27 when three armies joined forces to make war on Judah's king Jehoshaphat - J-Phat is what Rick often called him :-)

Here are some highlights:
  • Rick said that to worship in "spirit and truth" means to worship in "authenticity and accuracy." A good explanation in my opinion.
  • Rick pointed out that there is no such thing as sacred music, only sacred words. What does that say about our music preferences?
Ask God for Help (vv.3-4)
  • Just like Judah who had the Moabites, the Ammonites, and the Menunites join forces against them, we also have three enemies battling against us: the world, the flesh, and the devil.
  • J-Phat was afraid. What do you with fear? Rick encourages us to use fear as a motivator. Use fear to help us focus on and rely on God.
  • The entire country of Judah was united in "seeking God's help" in prayer and worship. These are often our last and not our first resort when we encounter difficulties. "Help" is a worship word (Rick believes "The Beatles" wrote the first worship song. "Help, I need somebody. Help, not just anybody!"
Believe That God Can Handle The Situation (vv.5-7)
  • We need to remember Who God is (His character) and remember what He has done (His conduct, actions). Rick has removed the word "impossible" from His dictionary.
Confess My Inadequacy (v.12)
  • "We are powerless against this mighty army...We don't know what to do..." Buddy Owens shared this point. Have I mentioned that I like Buddy? When we confess to God, we aren't telling Him anything He doesn't already know. In fact, the word "confess" means "to say again."
  • In John 15:5 Jesus tells us, "Apart from me, you can do nothing." If you look up the word "nothing" in the original language it means..."nothing." We can't do it without Him, but so often we think, "Hey God, I've got this one covered."
  • If I think I can do something without God, I probably will try to. That's my pride. That's thinking I am God. I'm not Him. God wants to pour out His grace and love, but He won't do it if our pride is in the way (1 Peter 5:5). We need to rely on the strength and power of Christ in everything we do.
  • Rick continued by giving a great illustration about being a passenger in a 747 plane flight. Us trying to do God's job is like getting into our seat on a plane and then flapping our arms as hard as we can to get the plane to take off. It's really not us that does the work...God wants us to "cut the flap!"
Depend on God to Save Me (vv.12-17)
  • The nation of Judah were "Looking to God for help" (there's that word "help" again). And the men led the way (v13).
  • The Lord encouraged the people "Do not be afraid or discouraged...for the battle is not yours, but God's" (Great application here). As minister and workers in the church, we are tired and exhausted. We are tired because we are fighting God's battles. We assume God's role - when we act like God, we take on stress. I'm not helping God with my great ministry - that's why we are tired, worried, and stressed.
  • God encouraged the people of Judah, "you won't need to fight...Just stand strong in your places..." Let God fight the battle instead of us - God has NEVER lost a battle!
Express Thanks to God in Advance (vv.21-22)
  • "The...king chose men to be singers. As they marched IN FRONT of the army, they said, Thank the Lord..." Thanking God after the fact is called "gratitude." Thanking God before is called "faith." And without faith, it is impossible to please God.
  • Thanking God in advance is approaching a situation with worship instead of worry.
  • Worship must always comes before service
  • When the singers in front of the army "began to sing and praise, the Lord caused the armies of Ammon, Moab, and Mount Seir to be gin fighting...and they destroyed themselves." God fought the battle. Tommy Walker came out and led us in "That's Why We Praise Him." Then Rick continued...
Find the Blessing In The Bad (vv.24-27)
  • "...There were dead bodies lying on the ground for as far as the eye could see..." The "men went out to gather the plunder...There was so much plunder it took three days just to collect it all!"
  • We sang "Blessed Be Your Name" and then Rick continued...
  • Worship God, don't try to be Him, and allow God to fight the battle, and you'll receive more blessings than you can handle.
WOW! There were some really great treasures in the first day. Denise Graves also did a great workshop on Building, Leading and Rehearsing a Worship Team. Finally, the evening worship was out-of-this-world! It was a well-crafted, yet Spirit-led journey into the presence of God.

I can't wait to see what tomorrow has in store...

**UPDATE: See all the PDW posts listed here...

Saturday, June 24, 2006

The Night Before...

Well it's finally here! The night before we leave for California to attend the Purpose Driven Worship Conference & Festival at Rick Warren's Saddleback Church in Lake Forest California (see previous post here).

We will be leading worship Sunday morning and then we'll head South out of town. We've gathered around, laid hands on it, and prayed over the Grand Caravan. We prayed to bind the "spirits of wayward deer" :-) if you remember what happened at the start of our last trip. And besides, we're not superstitious - we really are counting on those new deer whistles we just installed on the bumper. (We actually did put some on - it can't hurt.) In all seriousness, we're just praying for a safe trip.

You can also pray for Grandma & Grandpa. They get to spend the first four days watching the kids by themselves while Andrea and I are at the conference (see photo to confirm need for prayer).

I can't confirm that I'll have time or access, but I would love to report to you on our experiences at the PDW conference. Keep looking in case I get a chance to post a blog or two. Bye 'till then.

**UPDATE: See all the PDW posts listed here...

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Fiesta! VBS at Hannaford

It was a long week, but it was pretty amazing. Fiesta! VBS was held at Hannaford Monday through Friday from 9:30am to noon each day. We rotated three different groups with around 200 kids through the sections: Sing & Play Olé, Grande Games, Maraca Munchies, Cactus Crafts, Hot Bible Adventures, Chadder's Desert Drive-In Theater, and the Fiesta Finale. Here are some highlights...
  • We had around 200 kids on our biggest day.
  • Part of Fiesta! this year was to raise $100 to send blankets to kids in Central America. We also took on a project to raise an additional $400 to help build a church (complete the roof) for a church in Kenya. We raised an amazing $850!
  • Andrik helped run PowerPoint (words & songs) for the Sing & Play Olé and Fiesta Finale.
  • I thought we could get someone to run sound other than me, but it didn't work out. Maybe next year.
  • Andrik got to bring his friend and his brother (Casey and Trevor) for four days.
  • Kellin & Andrik really liked it. Especially the songs.
  • Photos on the Hannaford site are here.
  • Photos of just the Powell kids are in the photo gallery here.

Science Experiment

Andrik did another science experiment for school in early May like he did last year. He wanted to see what breakfast cereal would respond most to static electricity. This involved pouring out some cereal, laying a plexiglass sheet above it, and then rubbing the plexiglass with a wool hat! Which one moved more - Rice Chex, Corn Flakes, or Rice Crispies?

Although we don't have photos of the display or documentation, we thought you might like some photos of the experiment. Check them out in our e|Photos photo gallery! And to determine your own results, make sure you check out the YouTube movie to see the final results.

Monday, June 12, 2006

We're Still Here

I know, I know ... You've been wondering if we dropped off the face of the earth. Not really. We just been too busy. I am emphasizing the "too."

At church, we had DaVinci Code one week, Mother's Day the next, a continuation of DaVinci Code the next, Memorial Day the next, a building dedication the next, Mission Mania the next, and we're still looking at Father's day next Sunday. Not to mention VBS all this week. The conference in two weeks will certainly be a much needed refreshment.

Here's a list of some other things going on...
  • We got new cell phones. That's right, we now have flip phones. I stayed up all night inputting my phone numbers from my and Andrea's old phone. I guess the $10 charge at Verizon isn't that bad after all :-)
  • Our taxes turned out okay. We were really concerned about them with our first year as a "licensed" minister. The way our tax guy acted, we though they might be as much as $4K. Our guy didn't get our taxes done on time, didn't keep us updated, and finally called us to come in about four week late. When all was said and done, we owed about $400 to the state of Montana and got some back from the Fed.
  • School's out. "Mom, I'm bored." It's only been four days!
  • The kid's and I spent half-a-day putting together a new basketball hoop.
  • Got a weed-wacker. (Keep in mind that we've been here for almost two years without once "weed-wacking.) It takes us three charges of the battery to do the yard.
  • Had a four-family garage sale at our house yesterday (I bought an old computer).
  • Saw "Over the Hedge" and "Cars" at the theater.
  • Drove to Missoula twice and Great Falls once in the last three weeks.
  • Working on a friend's website - just launched a new design. If you're living in the Florida area and looking to send your kids to camp, this might be the one.