Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Defeating Discouragement 2007 Wrap-Up

The 2007 Hannaford Fall Conference wrapped up tonight. Wow! Each year, I am amazed at how God brings together complete strangers (except in Christ) and allows a cohesive theme to be communicated in a unified way.

This year was truly about "Defeating Discouragement." Dennis Lee is a gifted ventriloquist who is quite encouraging with his stories. Crawford Loritts spoke on Philippians 1 about having a Godly perspective and then having Godly pursuit. Matt Heard spoke in his three session from 2 Timothy 2:3-6; Defeating Discouragement ... as a Soldier ... as an Athlete ... and as a Farmer.

The conference ended tonight with Matt Heard's final encouragement to pastors (and others). It was related in a story about a missionary and his wife who had served translating in Africa.

Upon returning home to the U.S. after many years in the mission field they were on the same plane as President Roosevelt. There was a great greeting when the plane landed with people applauding and the band playing to celebrate the return of the President from Africa - but no one was there to greet the returning missionaries. After the President left, all the welcome party and the band left as well - and the missionaries were left alone. Quite discouraged that they had not received any recognition for returning home, God spoke to them a simple realization: "You are are not home, yet."

Matt then asked all the pastors and their wives to stand and he walked around the room telling each couple to their face, "You are not home, yet."

As we closed with Paul Baloche's Hosanna, I briefly explained the meaning behind this Hebrew term meaning "Save Us!" Hosanna is a call for help and it is what the people cried and sang as Jesus entered Jerusalem on a donkey in the fashion of a king. The people wanted deliverance from the Roman oppression. Little did they know that he would die a criminal's death upon a cross by the end of the week. Their hope was crushed. They were discouraged. But the message was the same ... "You are not home, yet." God had a larger plan to not so much free us from physical oppression, but from spiritual oppression. So when we are discouraged, we can still cry "Hosanna! Christ Save Us!"

Hannaford Fall Conference 2007
& Worship Center
While I didn't find the opportunity to find someone to take photo this year, I snapped a few with my phone during our last speaker. Click on the photo to the left to go to the gallery. If we run across any others, I'll add them to the gallery.

The new sound and video systems worked pretty much glitch free - that is quite amazing since we really didn't get it up and running until the day before the conference. There are just a few more things to install and others to adjust before all will be considered done on the technical side. The new Worship Center also has several other important things to be finished. We still have not installed the furnace or air conditioning, for example.

We recorded all the sessions held in the main Worship Center. As soon as (and if) we get permission from the speakers, we'll post MP3s on the Hannaford site or make them available for order. I haven't checked yet, but we might have a sample of the worship as well.

I am very tired and sore (especially from my falling incident on the stairs - see EEK!). We've gotten very little sleep in the last four days, and the Powell's have had very little family time in the last three weeks. With all that said, we are all looking forward to a little normalcy right now.

Thank you, God, for a great conference experience this year ... and for everything else going on at Hannaford. I pray we stay focused on You in the expected lull after this great high.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday Reflections - I Will Boast In The Lord

As I sit here with my computer on my lap, I am nearly nodding off. Whew! I am tired.

Today, we held our first worship service in the newly expanded Worship Center at Hannaford Street Bible Church. Today was also the first day of our 2007 Hannaford Fall Conference and Matt Heard from Woodmen Valley Chapel was our guest speaker. His message was titled "Defeating Discouragement ... as a Soldier." I feel like today was one of those amazing times when God brought everything together. Matt has been praying for our church since he last spoke here a couple of years ago. And his message reflected a lot of thought - not only about our theme, "Defeating Discouragement," but also in recognition of our first Sunday in the new room.

Matt basically shared how a new building such as ours can be a source of encouragement - but can also become a source of discouragement. As followers of Christ, we need to look at the differences between a resort and a soldiers barracks. Our building is not a resort - something that is to serve a simply a comfort for ourselves. It is a strategic tool in God's plan.

Our worship this Sunday opened of Paul Baloche's "I Will Boast" as a reminder that we do not boast of our own strengths and accomplishments, but in Christ and His power. We also sang Mike Hohnholz's "Your Glory" which has emerged as somewhat of a theme for our expansion - that His "glory will fill this place."

During our building, I have also been communicating the importance of community. Basically, we are more than a building, but a group of people, a family, the Body of Christ called to His mission and purpose. We continued the theme of community as well with a video "It Continues to Grow" and the song "The Lion & The Lamb" expressing the desire that every nation, tribe, and tongue come to know Christ.

I will simply say this. It was an awesome day! The band and singers were energetic. The sound system worked well - including the new subwoofers (although the room is too "live" acoustically - too much reverberation. The vocals seem to get lost in the low-mids - something we'll have to work out.). The lighting was great. The video went on without a hitch (using the new MediaShout software and electronic switching). In addition, we had our largest Sunday attendance around 550 compared to an average of this month of 430. I'm hoping someone got some pictures today so I can post them!

Hannaford Worship Center Update #9

This is my final Worship Center Update post. Let me just tell you that Friday and Saturday were insane.

On Friday, our sub-contractor finally came out for many of the finishing touches on the technical end. He soldered the connections on the floor pockets (48) and also reconnected 4 VGA connectors (no easy task). At the same time, I soldered a number of cables to prepare the audio rack for the hub (it contains the amps, EQs and what not - the "brain" of our sound system). The sound system got up and running, the lights got up and running, and the screen video system got up and running. The subcontractor, Andrea, and I were there until 2:30am Saturday morning.

After getting some sleep, we went down the next morning about 10am to get the stage working for a 2pm rehearsal. As suspected, we still hit several snags and didn't get rehearsing until 3:30pm. I was lacking sleep, highly stressed, and not a nice person on Saturday - I ended up making quite a few apologies.

After rehearsal, I had to wrap up some final audio routing in the sound booth. Then some more video routing to send signals to our foyer and overflow rooms. This included an 8pm run to Wal-Mart and ShopKo for more than $200 of s-video and audio cables.

Later, everything "magically" worked (props to our great God). As I stayed to clean and straighten up to get ready for Sunday Morning, Andrea took the kids home about 10pm to get them to bed. Apparently, the electricity was out in our block at home which also means we have no water pressure. So Andrea had to bring the kids BACK to the church for sponge baths.

While they were "cleaning up" I took a scary, head-first fall down the basement stairs under the stage trying to turn off an electrical breaker at the church (one of the items that did not come in was the relay to turn off the powered speakers on the ceiling). I had just turned on the light in the stair well, turned around to go down the steps and ... missed the first step. I took air! It was one of those moments where time seems to go in slow motion and as I was falling, the only thing I was thinking was, "I'm definitely going to break a bone here." While I am very sore and have several rug burns (from sliding down about 8 stairs), I seem to be okay. Praise God.

There were still several items that didn't come in on time, but nothing we couldn't work around. The sound system worked. The video system worked (in the Worship Center, foyer, and overflow). And the stage system worked. We got home and in bed by 1:30 Sunday Morning. The power and water were back on when we got up at 6am - another praise!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #8

We got approval from the city about 6pm last night to be in the new Worship Center this Sunday and for the conference. So after that, we spend a lot of last night moving things out of the Fellowship Hall into the new expansion. We moved chairs, sound equipment, instruments, music stands, mic stand, drums, etc.

Wow! the new expansion is looking awesome! I'll have to get a photo today - we were there last night until midnight.

There are still quite a few things to get working by Sunday. Please pray for us:
  • Sound system to be connected. A remote relay needs to be installed to turn on amps and speakers from the sound booth. It's something the sub-contractor needs to help with. Everything still needs to be connected in the sound booth.
  • Video system to come together. VGA video cables need to have ends re-attached. New equipment is supposed to arrive today. It all needs to be hooked up in the sound booth.
  • All the floor pockets need to have ends connected. It's also something the sub-contractor needs to help with. After that, we need to hook up all the instruments and mic on the stage.
One praise, the stage lights are now working properly. We had a problem where the lights were pulsating instead of dimming. our sub-contractor ended up switching out the circuit boards, but there was still a problem. It turned out to be a fuse that "almost" burned out.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #7

Well, I've tried to spend some time in my office getting some of my "real" work done. It's been pretty fruitful, especially today.
  • I've pretty much finished designing the Fall Conference stuff like pastors' binders, name tags, and workshop signs. I've also made the order of worship and collected the music for the three services. I still need to prepare my music and plan the media in MediaShout (like PowerPoint).
  • We've also accomplished a few major tasks in the Worship Center. We mounted an ran wires for both the house speakers & projectors and the stage lighting is almost working.
  • Andrea's been busy, too, getting people help her make the church nice for the visiting pastors for the conference. She's been painting doors, the main sign up front, and entry way walls. Tonight, they mounted a big cross and some wreaths on the back wall of the stage. It looks nice.
There are still some concerns, though.
  • We had another city inspection today and have not yet gotten an okay for occupancy this Sunday.
  • While both the speakers and projectors are mounted, there are still some wiring issues our sub-contractor has to work out.
  • The lighting dimmers for the stage lights seem to have a circuit board problem and also needs to be fixed by our sub-contractor.
  • All the floor pockets still need to have ends soldered so it can connect to the sound booth.
  • I can't move any equipment we're moving in the Fellowship Hall until I know for sure we can use the Worship Center this Sunday. Once I can move it, there is a lot of setting up and wiring to do in the sound booth. I still have video equipment coming in Friday afternoon that will need to be hooked up, too
With all that is going on, I've been to Home Depot at least once a day for a week. Things are coming along, but it looks like the 12-hour days we've been putting in for the last two weeks are not over. It looks like a long weekend ahead.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #6

Here's an update on our progress for the projects I've worked on this weekend.
  • Soldered and installed wall plates for the subwoofers. On the right side of the stage I had to actually cut a hole through the wall and then place wiring track to cover the wire on the other side of the wall (the hub area).
  • Installed brackets in the hub area to hold all the wires coming from the sound booth, ceiling, and floor pockets. This group of wires coming down from the ceiling is about 2" in diameter and is rather heavy. The brackets re-routed where the wires were coming down and helped dissipate the weight from the conduit sticking out of the wall.
  • Began to terminate (solder connectors) to the remaining wires coming onto the sound booth from the hub. Routed them to the appropriate equipment. This included labeling the wirings, grouping them, and connecting them to equipment like the sound boards, light board, computers, etc.
There are still a number of projects that need to get done this week.
  • Terminate the wires (solder connectors) in the hub. This includes about 48 connectors from the floor pockets.
  • Get someone to re-solder and/or re-connect 5 VGA connectors
  • Mount and adjust the projectors as well as run wire and wire tracks along ceiling from the ceiling plates to the projectors (about 15').
  • Mount and adjust the house speakers as well as run wire and tracks also (about 10'). Still waiting for the clamps to correctly hang the speakers from the trusses.
  • Get someone to program and finish wiring the light dimmers.
  • Install a few more fixtures on the track lighting.
  • Correctly wire all the equipment in the sound booth together (no small task). Still waiting on some of the video equipment to come UPS.
  • Connect all the intersecting cables in the hub together.
Well, that's about it I guess. We have another inspection about mid-day on Wednesday. If all goes well, we will be in the Worship Center by the Hannaford Fall Conference which starts Sunday. (Oh yeah, I have to plan worship for that, too!) After the conference, I'll really feel like I need a vacation!

Sunday Reflections - Pie in the Face!

While Pastor Crosby spoke on prayer this week, I promised last week that God fulfills His promises.

Last week, I encouraged people to pray for everything to work out to allow us to be in the new Hannaford Worship Center this Sunday.

Knowing that we are to pray expecting that God has already fulfilled His promises, I said that I would take a pie to the face if we did NOT make it into the worship center.

Well, we did not make it. I know that God's timing is different than our timing, so He must have had a different timing in mind OR He just wanted to see me with pie on my face!

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #5

Even though today is my day off, I was at church again today.
  • I was working on more materials for the upcoming 2007 Hannaford Fall Conference. I created name tags and began on the binders we give out to the attending pastors. Check out the graphic above.
  • Andrea and I created some promo material for a bulletin board. It show photos and bios of our keynote speakers.
  • Andrea did some gardening at the church and finished up painting the little hallway between the foyer and the new worship center.
  • Andrea and I had our weekly "date" lunch at Jade Garden. Mmmmmm!
  • The lighting dimmers got installed today.
  • I went to all five computer stores in town to find two 15-foot VGA cables.
  • I also created a table for people to submit their name in the drawing to put a pie in my face in one of our worship services on Sunday.
  • Finally, the family went to the movies to see Dragon Wars.
Oh yeah, I also took pictures and uploaded them today. Check out the photos here or view the slideshow here.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #4

Here's a quick update for Thursday.
  • I spent most of the day planning worship for Sunday: Music, Charts, PowerPoint, etc.
  • Started on some conference material. I designed a Promo Slide, Posters, and Program Cover.
  • I also found a way to install Media Shout on the Worship Center computer.
  • We got some guys together in the evening to mount the speakers on the trusses on the ceiling. After working on it for a couple of hours, we determined we need a different plan. The clamps just aren't going to work.
  • I did solder up the wiring for the speakers, though.
  • We were able to mount the stage lighting, too (there were only 6).
  • Finally, I was able to snap a few photos. I hope to have them loaded here this weekend.
That's it.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #3

I was hoping to get up to my office today, but spent most of the day in the Worship Center again.
  • I didn't get any photos yet
  • We got the projection screens mounted
  • I drilled holes in the sound booth shelf for cables
  • I mounted a handle for the removable floor panel in the sound booth
  • I moved some equipment into the sound booth. Hooked up the computer and tried to install our new presentation software - didn't install. I think the DVD is scratched
  • Got the sub-contractor to come by and talk to the electrician about the dimmer panels that control the stage lighting. He installed some ceiling plates for the speakers and projectors. He also dropped off some clamps to mount the lighting cans
  • We also passed the fire sprinkler test today
  • Andrea's also been doing some touch-up and trim painting around the church for the last few days
  • Did I mention that I've lost 8 lbs. in the last two weeks? More activity, less eating.
Tomorrow, I need to plan the worship for Sunday, prepare the media (PowerPoint), and begin on some of the conference materials. I'll probably be working though Friday and Saturday this week (my days off).

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #2

I wrote this stuff in an email to our friend Gert, so I thought I'd pass it along...

The basic structure of the sound booth at church has not been coming together as quickly as we need, so yesterday and today I've been out of my element paneling the inside and installing kitchen counter tops as a shelf (with some help). I'm almost done, but I haven't had any chance to even "visit" my office.

I'd love to get some pictures out so I'll try to take some tomorrow.

Also, it turns out that there are still a number of things the city is requiring before we can hold worship services in there, so we will not be meeting in the Hannaford Worship Center expansion again this Sunday. We're hoping we can on the 23rd when the conference starts.

Here's one last thought I know you all will enjoy. I told everyone in our services last Sunday that if we were not in the new Worship Center next Sunday (this Sunday, September 16), I would take a pie to the face - we had just shown a video of it happening to a bunch of our youth. I'll be keeping my word, so it should be an interesting couple of services in the Fellowship Room this weekend!

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Hannaford Worship Center Update #1

You might be wondering how Hannaford's Worship Center Expansion is coming. Well, first let me say that we will NOT be having our worship services in the Worship Center this Sunday, September 9 as we had hoped. There were just too many things to come together.

One of the major holdups that I have been dealing with are the technical details. Having to order nearly everything from out-of-state has been problematic to say the least. Another holdup is sub-contractors. The work just isn't getting completed soon enough. We are now shooting to be in there next Sunday, September 26. It would be really great if we could have at least one Sunday before the conference starting on the 23rd.

Here's some updates from my vantage point:
  • This week the carpet went in.
  • The trusses for lighting and speakers were completed and installed.
  • The floor pockets in the stage are nearly all soldered.
  • The soundbooth is coming along. It's done on the outside, but needs some paneling on the inside and the counter went in today.
  • Most of the wires from the ceiling, from under the stage, and from the soundbooth gather in an area behind the stage that we call "the hub." All those wires (nearly 60 connections) still need to be terminated (the ends soldered on).
  • Most of the equipment has been delivered including projectors, speakers, soundboards (see photo), lightboards, and stage lighting.
  • We are still waiting for video switching equipment, stage light dimmers, and various clamps to mount lighting and speakers.
  • We are also waiting for the A/C, furnace, fire sprinklers, track lighting, and various electrical to be finished.
  • Finally, we still have all the city inspections to take place for approval to occupy the building.
For my sanity, it would be great if you could pray for things to come together this week so that I can start to concentrate more on the worship life of our church. When big projects like this come up and take my attention, I always feel that the worship suffers.

A Giant Tree!

As we are working full steam on finishing up the Worship Center Expansion, I am realizing that the 2007 Hannaford Fall Conference is in two weeks.

Last year, a major visual theme of the conference was a door to symbolize "Rediscovering Hope: Encouragement for life & Ministry." We built a mock door on the stage and used doors & doorknobs in our materials. I took notice when I came across this picture from Bent Tree Bible Fellowship in Dallas, Texas. That door is huge! Keep in mind that the guy is probably about 6 foot.

This year our theme is "Defeating Discouragement: Strength for Today, Hope for Tomorrow." The symbol which has emerged to represent hope and strength is a tree. I was thinking, how cool would it be to be able to build, project, or create a big tree on the stage for the conference.

Does anyone have any good ideas on how to do this? In just two weeks?

I Believe In Vision

You may have heard me say that I believe strongly in having a vision - God's vision. While I may not talk a lot about "vision" at Hannaford, I definitely try to cast vision with every thing I say and do. I came across these great truths about vision from Tony Morgan.
  • Vision is what distinguishes one organization from the next. Both may be great organizations. They just have unique visions.
  • If you grow, eventually, someone will try to shift the vision in a different direction. That's a guarantee.
  • People need to be reminded frequently of what the vision is and where you're going next.
  • Sometimes you have to confront people and their agenda when it's not in line with the vision. Doesn't necessarily mean their agenda is wrong. Just means it's not your vision.
  • Sometimes you have to ask a leader to step down if they can't fully support the vision. Doesn't mean they're not a good leader. Just means they're not your leader.
  • The vision needs to be big enough to capture the hearts of leaders.
  • The vision rarely changes, but the immediate objectives for accomplishing the vision must constantly be defined.
  • Vision unifies.
So here's my point. If vision is so important (and I believe it is), what is our vision at Hananford?

Let me know your answers and responses in the comments.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Good Reading Around The Web

Here are some things I read this week that stretched my brain. Check them out!

Dan Kimball writes about The Fascinating Matisyahu. Haven't heard of him? He is a Hasidic Jew with a reggae rap music career. I have to agree with Kimball who saw him in concert, Matisyahu IS facinating. Read more from Kimball here. Check out Matisyahu's site here.

Mark Batterson writes about the Elder Brother Spirit - do you have it? In other words, "if the younger brother had run into his elder brother first he would have never made it inside the house!" Read Batterson's post here.

Seth Godin writes about The Galapagos Post Office. I think this article is the most interesting of the three. I'm not sure what to make of the story, but I know it has some deeper implications.

Well, that's it for now.

Regulating Religion

There is, what I think, a fascinating story in last week's August 20-27 issue of Newsweek. Apparently, the Chinese government has passed new regulations limiting reincarnation. The original article here reads...

In one of history's more absurd acts of totalitarianism, China has banned Buddhist monks in Tibet from reincarnating without government permission. According to a statement issued by the State Administration for Religious Affairs, the law, which goes into effect next month and strictly stipulates the procedures by which one is to reincarnate, is "an important move to institutionalize management of reincarnation." But beyond the irony lies China's true motive: to cut off the influence of the Dalai Lama, Tibet's exiled spiritual and political leader...

While we know that the Chinese government is quite weird on religious issues, I wonder how often we try to legislate religion in our own lives. Can religion really be subject to the rules of humans? Or maybe we're talking apples and oranges? I would prefer to bypass religion and simply follow Christ!

"Everything's Coming Together..."

I've been pretty much absent from the blogosphere this week – so many things are going on right now. As you can probably guess, the Worship Center expansion at Hannaford is coming to a climax and to be honest, it's stressing me out! We've set next Sunday, September 9 as our first Sunday in the new Worship Center and it's going to be a difficult last sprint to the finish line.
  • I've must have a million things on order for delivery. It seems like you can't just go out and BUY anything in Montana. You've got to order it. Different things are coming in UPS and FedEx everyday
  • Even more are NOT coming in – they need to be if we're going to finish! We've got all these technical things to work out, but we don't have all the parts
  • I keep going down to the Worship Center to try to work on whatever I can. This week I tried to run some of the last cables under the stage (see the photo). I was excited to get a computer network cable working in the soundbooth after nearly a year of troubleshooting.
  • On top of everything, I'm still trying to plan and rehearse weekly worship, as well as maintain the website
  • I need to train all the techs on the new equipment and software, but most of it won't even be installed until 2 or 3 days before we're going to use it.
  • The 2007 Hannaford Fall Conference is just three weeks away. I have gads of graphics, worship planning, and scheduling to do for it.
  • Andrik and Kellin both started school this week. We had this big fiasco over Andrik needing more shots and the school not releasing his schedule until he got them (Montana seems to require about 3 times the vaccinations than California)
  • Andrea's thinking about working again - things are really tight financially.
But there is one thing I know – God is faithful AND He is in control. I came across this scripture from Jude 1:1b this week that gave me a calm of heart.

"Relax, everything's going to be all right; rest, everything's coming together; open your hearts, love is on the way!

From the looks of things, though, it may be a few weeks before I'm back and blogging regularly.