Saturday, March 31, 2007

Baptizing Your Son: Photos

Just in case you wondered from before, I did baptize Kellin on Sunday, March 25. Andrea took photos which you can view in the ePhoto gallery here. We set the camera on "repeat" mode and so we ended up with 26 photos - more than we needed, but I put them together along the a title and soundtrack and it almost makes a short video clip...

2007 Jesus Conference Highlights, Part 2

As I mentioned, I was the worship team leader for the 2007 Jesus Conference, put on by the local Promise Keepers chapter Last Chance Men of Integrity (LMCI). One of our speakers, Hobe Rash spoke on "Seeing The Vision," focusing primarily on the life of Joshua. He had some great insights on pursuing God purpose for your life. This is part 2 of a 4 part series. Click on the label PK Jesus Conference to view all the related posts.

  • In Joshua 5:13-15, Joshua is doing "recon." He goes ahead to check out Jehrico for himself. We, like Joshua, need to experience faith first hand. No more second-hand faith! On God's team, there are only players. There are no spectators.
  • On "recon," Joshua comes upon a man "standing in front of him with a drawn sword in his hand" (the commander of the army of the LORD). What would you do if you were on "recon" and met someone with sword in hand. Run? Call reinforcements? Joshua is bold. He asks "Are you with us ... or them? Friend or foe?" The answer is neither, because it's not about who's team He is on, it's about who's team we are on.
  • God does not answer the question we ask - He answers what we need. The commander of the LORD's replied to Joshua, "Take off your sandals for you are standing on holy ground."
  • Joshua was looking for a plan for victory. Instead, God showed him a person. We need to yield our plans and yield our wins. Only then will God reveal His vision.
  • Joshua wanted God to tell him what to do. We're the same - we want to DO something. Instead God told him what to BE - holy. "Take off your sandals for you are standing on holy ground." In order to receive God's vision, we have to be holy.

  • After a hard day at work at the farm, I want to come in and eat. But Momma stands at the kitchen door, spoon in hand, saying "Don't you dare think about coming in like that!" At that point I realize I am not coming in when I have "poo on my shoes." God wants His holiness in us.
  • When we are holy, God does his work. The children's song "Joshua fought the battle of Jericho, Jericho, Jericho ... and the walls came tumblin' down" is a LIE! Joshua DID NOT fight the battle. God fought the battle and Joshua and his men cleaned up the mess afterward.

Monday, March 26, 2007

True Transformation - Romans 12:1-2

Often what we teach at church and what we encourage in our discipleship is not the root problem. We put patches on deeper issues and find short-term solutions. But true transformation involves changing the way we think as in Romans 12:1-2.

And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all he has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind he will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship him. 2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect. (NLT)

Rick Warren explains it well in his book The Purpose Driven Life:

To change your life, you must change the way you think. Behind everything you do is a thought. Every behavior is motivated by a belief, and every action is prompted by an attitude. God revealed this thousands of years before psychologists understood it: Be careful how you think; your life is shaped by your thoughts.” (Prov. 4:23 – TEV)

Imagine riding in a speedboat on a lake with an automatic pilot set to go east. If you decide to reverse and head west, you have two possible ways to change the boat’s direction. One way is to grab the steering wheel and physically force it to head in the opposite direction from where the autopilot is programmed to go. By sheer willpower you could overcome the autopilot, but you would feel constant resistance. Your arms would eventually tire of the stress, you’d let go of the steering wheel, and the boat would instantly head back east, the way it was internally programmed.

This is what happens when you try to change your life with willpower: You say, “I’ll force myself to eat less ... exercise more ... quit being disorganized and late.” Yes, willpower can produce short-term change, but it creates constant internal stress because you haven’t dealt with the root cause. The change doesn’t feel natural, so eventually you give up, go off your diet, and quit exercising. You quickly revert to your old patterns.

There is a better and easier way: Change your autopilot-the way you think. The Bible says, “Let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think.“ (Rom. 12:2b - NLT) Your first step in spiritual growth is to start changing the way you think. Change always starts first in your mind. The way you think determines the way you feel, and the way you feel influences the way you act. Paul said, “There must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes.” (Eph. 4:23-NLT)

To be like Christ you must develop the mind of Christ. The New Testament calls this mental shift repentance, which in Greek literally means “to change your mind.” You repent whenever you change the way you think by adopting how God thinks – about yourself, sin, God, other people, life, your future, and everything else. You take on Christ’s outlook and perspective."

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Just In Time For Easter...

...It's The Greatest Action Story Ever Told! Too funny. Please don't email me and tell me how blasphemous this is. "Don't worry, He'll be back."

2007 Jesus Conference Highlights, Part 1

As I mentioned, I was the worship team leader for the 2007 Jesus Conference, put on by the local Promise Keepers chapter Last Chance Men of Integrity (LMCI). This was my second year and it was even better then the first. In addition to breakfast, lunch, and worship, we had three great speakers: Hobe Rash, Jim Pagels, and Jim Stumbo - each are pastors living here in Montana. Here are some of the highlights...

Jim Pagels spoke in the afternoon session on "Bondage Breaking." I was quite surprised at Pagels' background. He now pastors at First Assembly of God here in Helena, but has worked as a dairy farm hand, a nuclear material installer for military vehicles, and as a corrections officer. It was with the latter that Pagels spent much time working with men in prison for a variety of sexual offenses. While widely applicable, his presentation was specifically useful for battling bondage areas of men's lives - including lust, anger, and pride.

Jim Stumbo, Pastor of Helena Alliance Church, spoke in the second afternoon session. His presentation "Is Your Wife Married to Jesus?" was great! It was man focused and down to earth. Stumbo took the time to speak about marriage issues (loving your wife like Jesus loves the church) in a way that make "manly Montana men" feel comfortable.

I wanted to share most about the morning session with Hobe Rash. Rash spoke on "Seeing The Vision" focusing primarily on the life of Joshua. He had some great insights on pursuing God purpose for your life. I'll share from my notes in the next few posts. For now ... take a look at some more photos of the event in our e|Photos gallery here.

Write It Down!

I just decided that I have to get something off my chest. There is this new trend by aspiring "servers" at restaurants. We are usually seated at our table, served our drinks, and then the server takes our order. Here's where it starts.

In the "old days," the server would just ask us what we want and write it down on their order pad. Now, in an apparent attempt to be better at their job, I often get the server who has decided that they can memorize my order. This is what bugs me!

Invariably, this "new" server always gets something wrong with my order. ALWAYS! I am NOT impressed with your memory skills. You just stress me out with you memory skills. Just write it down and get my order right ... then I'll be impressed.

There. It's off my chest. Anyone else experience this?

Quotable Quips - Stupid Duck!

"We need to focus on what matters. People's problems are not their behavior - people's problems are that they don't know Jesus. Boycotting Disney as an example. That's stupid. Disney isn't a Christian organization. We can't expect a organization that isn't a Christian organization to act like a Christian organization. That's like getting mad at a duck because it acts like a duck. 'All you do is quack. Stupid duck!'"

Perry Noble from the Unleash Conference at New Spring Church in Anderson, North Carolina. As quoted by Tony Morgan from his blog. (March 18, 2007)

This is a great quote. I have talked about the "duck" repeatedly since I first read this. We have got to stop blaming the dark for being the dark. If we want to blame someone, we should be blaming ourselves. We are called to be salt & light to the world!

It is not society's or culture's fault that we sin. Although we can be influenced, we MUST be responsible for our own actions. Getting mad at and complaining about the world is like yelling at the duck! - "Stupid duck, all you do is quack!"

Letting Go & New Spring Portraits!

Just another update...It's Saturday evening. Tomorrow, I will baptize Kellin. I am also leading worship, two Bible studies, and rehearsing with Children's Church during both worship services. As my busy-ness increases, I tend to get more "stressed." I'm not sure things are progressing for Easter and that concerns we as well. It just doesn't ever seem things can come together ... but they always do. So, whew! I'll just need to let go and let God have control over all this. Thanks for listening.

Now for the portraits: I've posted some new photos in the e|Photos gallery here. There are some shots from the recent Jesus Conference (I'll be talking more about that), others are old ones from Christmas, and still others are new. Enjoy!

Saturday, March 24, 2007

You May Be Surprised!

If you were to walk into our Worship Center on a Sunday morning, you may be surprised to see a short brunette worshiping "enthusiastically." It may even look like she's dancing! That would be Andrea. Passionate about music since early childhood and passionately in love with Jesus, Andrea has embraced her calling to both lead worship and enhance the visual aspects of worship through decorating.

When she is not busy being a mom to her two boys and wife to worship pastor Eric, she can be found at a local thrift store or garage sale seeking our her latest treasure to create a "masterpiece."

Although Andrea enjoys leading worship and decorating, it is the quiet moments with the Savior that she longs for most. Savoring the opportunity to slow down and reflect on Who really matters in life, Andrea encourages each of us to meet with the King and come away "changed."

Happy Birthday Andrea. Love you lots!

Monday, March 19, 2007

Easter Finalized: The Greatest Day!

Our theme for Easter and Good Friday is finalized and posted here on the Hannaford website.
The Greatest Day: Through our greatest day, we are changed forever. What is your greatest day? All our greatest days are possible because of THE Greatest Day; the day that Jesus rose from the dead and demonstrated His power over sin and death. And because of this, EVERY day can now be our greatest. Come gather at Hannaford for worship and celebration to experience the God's love through the resurrection truth that we are forever changed.
  • With our John 3:16 as our anchor scripture, we will be focusing on the idea that we are changed forever because of Christ. Some music will include Tim Hughes' Happy Day (The Greatest Day in History) and Tim Timmon's Resurrection Life. We also have featured song we've been working on with piano and cello, Harvest's Where Would I Be?
  • We have plans for a "Man on the Street" video featuring interviews with random people around Helena. We'll be asking them "What was your greatest day?", "What was the greatest day in history?", and "Why?"
  • We are also working on a skit of someone making video of themselves on "MyTube" discussing how they wish everyday could be Easter (inspired by this video).
  • Finally, we're planning to have a 6-foot rugged cross up in the entryway of the Worship Center. It will have a crown of thorns on it and on Easter morning we'll add a purple fabric. Somehow we're trying to integrate the message "Can we pass the cross without being changed forever?"
Experience The Cross: God gave his one and only son so that we need not perish. This is something not only done for us, it is something done in in us as well. Come join us as we explore the deep meaning of God's sacrifice of love and "Experience the Cross" through reflective worship, prayer stations of Jesus' passion and a special time of communion.
  • The youth will be facilitating a prayer station service (multisensory worship) again on Good Friday, like last year.
  • The youth are working on and will be leading the music as well.
  • We're planning to theme the stations around John 3:16 to tie in with Easter morning. For instance, the first station will address God's love , "For God so loved the world..."
Well, I'm pretty excited about Easter. I wish I could get our sermon to go along with our theme as well, but it's not likely. That kind of integration and single-mindedness is something I've been praying for a long time. Either way, it should be a great focus on The Greatest Day!

Tomlin in Time

Although the article is nearly six months old, Chris Tomlin made Time Magazine. Interesting!

Baptizing Your Son

Well, it's official (almost). Although Kellin accepted Jesus almost a year ago, he's finally comfortable getting baptized. I remember when he was reluctant to ask Jesus into his heart because he thought that he was going to go to heaven ... IMMEDIATELY! He wanted to spend a little more time here on earth first. Once we got that cleared up, it wasn't a problem. :-)

With getting baptized, it wasn't quite so dramatic. I just wanted to make sure we weren't pushing him into it - that it was something HE actually wanted to do. Although we are still in the planning stages, it looks like I will have the privilege of baptising Kellin myself. What a blessing!

(I just hope it doesn't go like this)

Saturday, March 17, 2007

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Just got done leading worship at the local Promise Keepers 2007 Jesus Conference here in Helena. I am dead tired so I will report later (I have photos, too!) Also, please pray for the kids - they have been sick all week.

For now, I will leave you with something from Shane Yancy's

"Happy St. Patrick's Day. I love St. Patrick because he was a man who knew how to make a good object lesson. According the legend he would be hold up a shamrock and ask, "Is it one leaf or three?" When his audience would answer "It is both one leaf and three" he would then begin to teach them about the Trinity and how God is both one God and three."

Monday, March 12, 2007

The Greatest Day!

Usually I think of Easter as a busy time of year. And while, I'd like to say that there are slow times and busy times of the year, I'm learning that it never really slows down. As usual, I've got a number of things going on right now.

Promise Keepers: This Saturday is the local Promise Keepers conference here in Helena. It's gonna be great! I'm the Worship Team Leader again this year so I'm trying to wrap up a number of loose ends - presentation lyrics, transitions between songs, and so on.

Hosanna: I started rehearsing the song Hosanna! (by Carl Tuttle) with the kids in Children's Church this last Sunday. We're planning to have them sing to celebrate Palm Sunday.

Experience The Cross: We are doing a prayer station service (multisensory worship) again on Good Friday. Like last year, the youth will be facilitating the service. Gezer and Kaci are trying to theme the stations around John 3:16 to tie in with Easter morning. We're going to call it Experience The Cross again this year.

The Greatest Day: Easter is coming up quick! Our theme this year is "The Greatest Day!" with John 3:16 as the scripture anchor. Through our greatest day, we are changed forever. What is your greatest day? Could it be that all our greatest days are possible because because of THE Greatest Day; the day that Jesus rose from the dead and demonstrated His power over sin and death? Because of this, can everyday now be our greatest day? We are forever changed!

Kellin Sick: Kellin was pretty sick with a fever today. He stayed home from school, but we're praying he'll feel better tomorrow.

Busy Decorating: Andrea has been busy decorating for some people in our Helena. Lots of work, but she likes it and she's getting paid.

Devil's Brigade: Andrik has this encroaching big project. It's pretty exciting. He's got some major research, supposed to find some sources to interview, and then the school is going to film him. Each kid gets a 30 second spot and will be broadcasted on PBS Montana. Needless to say, both Andrik and I have been researching his subject: The Devil's Brigade. Apparently, this joint American-Canadian brigade was formed and trained right here at Fort Harrison in Helena. Officially called the First Special Service Force, it was the basis of the formation of all modern elite forces including the Green Berets, Delta Force, Navy Seals, and Canada's JTF2.

Recent Weather: It's been getting warmer here in Helena (in the 60's). We might be looking at an early Spring, but you never know. Today, it got up to warm and sunny 75 degrees - and then just an hour later it was 62 and raining.


You know, God challenges us repeatedly in scripture to be wholehearted in our worship of Him:
  • Deuteronomy 4:29 tells us to search for God with all our hearts.
  • Deuteronomy 4:6-8 tells us to love God with all our hearts.
  • Proverbs 3:5 tells us to trust God with all our hearts.
  • Jerimiah 29:13 tells us to seek God with all our hearts.
  • Zephaniah 3:14 tells us to shout for joy to the Lord and rejoice with all our hearts.
The Psalmist wrote in 9:1-2, “I will give thanks to the Lord with all my heart. I will tell of all Your wonders. I will be glad and exult in You I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High.”

When Jesus gave everything on the cross to demonstrate His victory over sin and death, it was not a half-hearted sacrifice. He put it all on the line for our sins to be forgiven - for us to receive an abundant life now and an eternal hope for the future.

For our response then, let us not offer half-hearted worship to God. Instead, let us give everything we are in return. Let us seek His face. Let us learn how to love Him, to trust Him, and to rejoice in Him. Let us praise Him with lofty words, with boisterous singing, and with lives that are recklessly abandoned to Him.

He is an awesome God and Savior and He deserves our wholehearted worship.

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Beauty & Truth

Have you ever been asked the question, "Do you believe in absolute truth?" My response to that question is more than a simple "yes," because I know Absolute Truth personally.

When God made Himself man through Christ, He showed us truth about about Himself, about Heaven, and more importantly about ourselves. Jesus said "I AM the way THE TRUTH and the life and no one comes to the Father except through me."

And that's what we sing about when we sing songs like "Beautiful One" by Tim Hughes. We're not singing about how physically attractive Jesus is. In fact, the prophet Isaiah tells us that "He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him" (Isaiah 53:2).

When we sing of beauty, what we're really singing about is Truth with a capital "T." We have to get around this idea that beauty is always a sense of aesthetics - a subjective personal preference of how pleasing something is.

The ancient Hebrews saw beauty as something more. When they said that something was beautiful, they were saying was that it was suitable, fitting, or right. It was "good" as God created and intended - not corrupted and perverted. Think about that when you look out over the mountains at a breathtaking sunrise (see the current Featured Photo to the right).

And let's think about that when we sing songs about the beauty of Christ. He is the embodiment of Truth.

Friday, March 02, 2007

When We Get Serious

How do people react when you get serious? It's a lot different when a late night talk show host gets serious for 12 minutes during his monologue! I came across this video monologue yesterday that blew my socks off. Honestly, when it comes to late night talk show hosts, it's the last place we expect some serious, provocative thought. It took real guts for Craig Ferguson to allow 12 minutes of his Late Late Show to something he feels very serious and passionate about.

Instead of posting the YouTube video here, I'll point you to Eric Wright where I first found the video on his blog The Merge.

Still Amazed

Last week I showed you a video of the beatboxing flute player. While more conventional, this guy's pretty amazing as well. I like what Greg Atkinson wrote when he put it on his blog at He introduced the video in his blog with "My gosh. I don’t know whether to go practice guitar or quit." Enjoy!