Monday, November 27, 2006

Worship Like A First Grader

Jesus explained in Matthew 18:3 that "unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven." Consider that when you read the following from this article.

"Worship God like a first grader. You know what I mean—talking to your friends about Jesus without any shame or any fear of what they will think, singing Jesus songs like you've never heard any other genre, jumping up and down with joy for Him at random times. You are still His child and He longs to receive your pure praise."

What do you think?

Saturday, November 25, 2006

New Video Gallery

This three-day week, believe it or not, I had a little time to upload many of the videos we've created for worship at Hannaford. You can check them out on the Hannaford website or on YouTube.

The Other Christmas Season

Yesterday, on Black Friday, the Powell family drove out to Missoula in a snow storm, just to find some decent shopping. We got a few killer deals. With the Christmas season upon us, one thing we have to look forward for the rest of the month is the busy stores, parking lots, people, etc. Let's remember to make Peace, not war :-)

Thanks to Arron Chambers for this clip.

The Anticipation & Hope of Christmas

This year at Hannaford, I've suggested we celebrate anticipation and Hope of Christmas through the lighting of Advent candles and scripture each week. I got a few odd looks as if to say, "Isn't that some type of Roman Catholic ritual" Of course it is not. A great many church in America do celebrate the Advent season through the lighting of candles and recitation of scripture.

After getting the go-ahead, I began looking into how we might observe Advent. Much to my surprise, there is really no one way. I found that some use four candles, some use five. Some use three purple and one rose candle, and other use a different combination. I also found that for different people, the candles represent different things.

There is the Names of Christ Advent. For some there are the Prophesy, Bethlehem, Shepherd, Angel, and Christ candles for Advent. Also, there is the Waiting, Dreaming, Healing, Promise, and Christ Advent.

Regardless of the particular tradition, the observance of Advent candle lighting seems an important one for worshiping congregations. It helps foster the anticipation of Christmas, not simply for the giving and getting of gifts, but the anticipation of the coming of Christ.

The word 'Advent' itself, is defined as “The arrival of something or someone important or awaited.” An important aspect of observing Advent is to connect the experiences of ancient God-followers with ours today. Using the themes of Hope, Peace, Joy, Love, and Light, we will attempt to look back to those who anticipated Jesus' coming as well as hope for His coming return.
  • HOPE in Christ (December 3) - Like God's people centuries ago, we also look forward with HOPE and anticipation to the coming of the Christ.
  • PEACE in Christ (December 10) - Through long generations, God prepared a way in our world for the coming of His Son, and is still bringing peace to darkened lives. Jesus is our Peace, Jesus. – The Prince of peace.
  • JOY in Christ (December 17) - We know that when Jesus was born in Bethlehem, the angels brought "good news of a great joy, which shall be to all people." The good news of Jesus' birth and the promise of peace are still "tidings of great joy" for us today…not only because Christ came, but also because He is still here.
  • LOVE of Christ (December 24) - We ask God to give us such love and wonder, that with shepherds and wise men and pilgrims unknown, we may come to adore the holy child, the promised King; and with our gifts worship him, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
  • LIGHT of the World (Christmas Eve) - Christ has made God known to us, and He makes us known to God. He can make the darkness and the despair of our lives shine like day. He is the Light of the world, the dawning of a new day.
It is my prayer all people would experience the anticipation and hope of Christ this Christmas season; that you and I, like generations before, would find hope, peace, joy, and love through Jesus, who is the Light of the world.

Battle Rap of the Johns

One of my mantras is that the church must be relevant to society. Recently, John MacArthur of all people, released a rap song for Christian radio. Not to be outdone, John Piper teamed up with Michael Jackson and released his own rap. I think Piper's rap is really "bad"...

John MacArthur's Rap (mp3 - 1.1mb)
John Piper's Rap (mp3 - 0.6mb)

Thanks to Monday Morning Insight for the links.

Saddleback Training Film

Rick Warren's Saddleback Church is one of the most influential in America. It's no wonder churches across look to Saddleback for training and advice. Here's a great instructional video from Saddleback highlighting the best ways to greet people (he he).

Thanks to Monday Morning Insight for this clip.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Nobody's Watching, On Treadmills

If you remember the OK GO, ON TREADMILLS music video, then I've got another one for you. Be sure you check out the original first.

These guys called Nobody's Watching have attempted a treadmill video of their own. I came across them on YouTube and eventually visited their website. For great laughs, I highly recommend checking out their other videos there or on YouTube. Enjoy!

Piraka! Piraka! Piraka! Piraka!

Andrik (my son, 12 yrs. old) has discovered songwriting. He's really excited about the 7 songs he's written lyrics for so far, but we recently worked together to help him "produce" his first recording. This one, called Piraka, is about the bad guys in the world of Lego Bionicle. If you want to know what a Piraka is, he's holding one in the photo (click it to enlarge).

Anyway, I used my talents and equipment to help put a techno soundtrack to the melody and words he came up with. He even came up with the bass line! Click the link below to listen (you must have an mp3 plugin like quicktime.)

Piraka (mp3 - 2.4mb)

***UPDATE 02-2007: Check out the Piraka music video here***

PC vs. Mac

Of course, you know that I am a Mac user. I don't really understand why someone would want to use a PC, but "to each his own." You'll be happy to know that I don't think it's a major issue of salvation. :-)

Community Christian Church in Naperville, Il. recently created a series of parody videos based on those PC vs. Mac commercials. A good link to find all four videos is here at But the best video can be seen here on YouTube. (he he he)

Saturday, November 11, 2006

The Opposite Of Serving Our Communities

Referring to the last post here, I've been blogging about serving our community (here and here and here). Thinking back to Halloween two weeks ago, it ocurred to me one way we don't serve our community is acting like weird Christians! Halloween is the perfect example. I was reminded of this reading a recent post from Kevin Hendricks at Church Marketing Sucks. He was referring to a post Gary Lamb made regarding the holiday. You've got to check the original post here!

When we have our "Harvest Parties," we need to be thinking about how to reach and serve our community rather than just serve ourselves. The question I have is "Who are these parties for?" Most kids are happier "trick-or-treating" in the neighborhood because our neighbors are much more generous with the candy than most churches. When churches have games, they often make kids "earn" their candy based on performance (it reminds me of how churches often make people think they need to earn favor with God).

I was very happy to stay at home and give out oodles of candie and non-candy gifts. We had one of the best decorated houses in the neighborhood and quite a few kids recognized me as Pastor Eric. I think it was a great statement to show how Christians can love the community rather than separate themselves from it.

Another Idea For Serving Our Communities

I've been blogging about serving our community (here and here and here). Here's another idea from those crazy New Zelanders. Steve Taylor at Opawa Baptist Church in New Zeland posts about their Annual Spring Clean Day. Keeping in mind that it's Spring there in
November, this is a great way to serve the community without asking anything in return.

McManus: Challenging The Church

I may or may not have mentioned that two of the most influential books I have read lately are Rob Bell's Velvet Elvis and Erwin McManus' The Barbarian Way. I've never been able to see McManus in person, but Perry Noble has...and he blogged about it here. McManus spoke recently at Willow Creek's A2 Conference. Here are my excerpts of Noble's excerpts. I think it is really good when churches are challenged to be what Christ intended.
  • How are we going to reach people across the world when we won’t even change our style of music to reach our own kids.
  • The opposite of a “come as you are” church is a “don’t come at all” church!
  • Most of the time the people who have not met Christ are way more honest than those who have met Christ.
  • Many times if you lead the attack for the cause of Christ…the spears thrown at you will come from behind you.
  • It’s a tragic thing when Christianity exists without Christ.
  • The churches that look perfect–they’re dead!
  • Many churches have an “intimate” feel–but not in a good way. it’s sort of like when you walk in on someone making out…it’s intimate, but you just feel like you’re not supposed to be there.
Feel free to pass these thoughts around. It's time we start taking the Christ's mission, our mission, seriously.

Following God Again...

I am much more pleased with my activity this week. Not really because I got more done (as my title implies), but because what I did work on was more in line with the values and goals of the worship ministry, my role, and my calling. Here are some of the things I worked on...
  • Finished planning for Thanksgiving Eve worship (an extra service in the workflow). - Planning our worship services is one of my main responsibilities.
  • Planned out readings for our Advent celebration. Came up with a list of names. I still need to contact the people and see if they will participate. - Allowing people to get involved in worship is also a vital responsibility of the worship ministry.
  • The Women's Ministry is going through a study regarding the Joy of Serving. They asked me with share during their class this Sunday. I spent some time this week working on how I might convey how God leads us to serve, how He led me to where I am today, and how others can get involved in the worship ministry. - Again, building relationships is important. And allowing people to worship through service is what my role and calling areall about.
  • We finally had the Worship Ministry Fellowship that we've been planning. There was a decent turnout (about 22) and it was a fun time. We had pizza and food, listened to some music, and played a long game of Encore. Families were invited so the kids played video games and watched the movie, Cars. - Relationship- and team- building is one of the areas we've fallen short in and it's a key focus of the upcoming year.
  • Tonight, I'll be driving a team of middle-schoolers around town for the Middle School Youth "Where's Waldo?" event.
It was a busy week, but I'm glad to be moving in the direction that God wants.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Yet Another Week, Yet Another Video

While I am getting ready to simply put away all my worship leading duties, here is yet another video. This is the third video for the third week and it should make the series complete. This video called Discover Hannaford: Impact, presents the impact God's people can make by sharing the recent life events of the Smiths, a family at Hannaford. Anyway, we used and remixed clips from three DVDs Jane DeLong produced (also from Hannaford). Don't forget to have some tissues handy...