Wednesday, July 23, 2008

NWLC Update: Days 2 & 3

Wow! There is so much to take in. Days 2 and 3 of the National Worship Leader Conference were full days - and I mean full! 2 workshops and three general sessions per day. Plus it's around 102 degrees and 100 percent humidity (not really, but it feels like it).

Day 2 - Tuesday, July 22, 2008
I already posted my notes for the morning session with Leonard Sweet, but here's a quick synopsis. Our morning workshop was Summoned to Lead (also with Sweet). Fantastic, thought-provoking stuff. I'll post my notes when I can.

We also attended David M. Edwards' workshop on Assessing Your Worship Service. Edwards is a worship leader and songwriter for artists such as Kathy Tricolli and Nichole Mullins.

Then we had the afternoon general session with worship by Rush of Fools (Undo, When Our Hearts Sing) and Marcos Witt speaking - they were great. Marcos Witt is a pastor and an ADHD musician, so he is always fun to listen to.

Finally, the evening session was just worship. First was Matt Maher (Your Grace is Enough) - pictured to right. I've never seen him lead worship and he was awesome! Then Leeland (Yes You Have, Beautiful Lord) shared some more worship - they were just as phenomenal as when we saw them at Harvest in Riverside, California. The night ended with Phillips, Craig, & Dean. Of course, those guys are great performers.

Day 3 - Wednesday, July 23, 2008
This morning's general session started with worship by Calvin Nowell, Drew Cline, & Nia Allen. I didn't recognize these folks, but I did recognize all their songs. They added a soulful flare to the worship, but we're really outstanding. I've also never heard Bishop Joseph Garlington speak. As a senior pastor type who is also a worship leader type, his message was extremely unique to me. He delivered his entire message with a backup band who basically played a "soundtrack" to his narrative story of Mary. Wow! Amazing!

The afternoon session featured Rita Springer for worship. Andrea and I have seen her before at Vineyard Anaheim. Springer is a talented and anointed leader, but definitely not our cup of tea. We were also very tired from the heat so that may have played into it as well. Gordon MacDonald spoke, stressing the importance of the people to whom we minister.

Our afternoon workshop was Teaching Narrative to Postmoderns by Frank Couch. Couch is certainly a qualified leader for this subject, but the workshop was not what we expected or were hoping. It was mostly about a new narrative translation of the scriptures he's been working on.

Finally, the evening worship was some of the most impactful worship I've ever experienced. Don Moen (God Will Make A Way, Thank You) was, well, Don Moen - a very gifted, talented, leader who relates well with his audience. Kathryn Scott (Hungry) flew in from Ireland (and was backed up by Paul Baloche on guitar, his son on bass, and Carl Albrect on drums). Then the group from Gateway Worship (You You Are God, Revelation Song) led some songs and it was fantastic. Chris Tomlin came in un-announced and just sang "How Great is Our God" which led the way for Lincoln Brewster (Love The Lord, Everlasting God). Man, that guy can play guitar!

This night was one of the most amazing worship I've experienced. Now, I'm tired. I gotta get to bed. Miss you all...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

NWLC Notes: Day 2 (1 of 4)

NWLC General Session - Tuesday morning July 22, 2008 at 9:30am. Fernando Ortega led worship and Dr. Leonard Sweet spoke. These are my notes from Len Sweet:
  • Think of a Biblical example of Jesus singing. "They sang the hymn" just after Passover in Mark 14:26. Also on the cross, "My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?" It is from Psalm 22 - the Hebrew hymnbook. Jesus likely sang it.
  • As a leader of worship, you are in the metaphor business. The primary medium of today's culture is not longer words, but images (or more accurately metaphors).
  • Metaphor is Metamorphosis. It's how you change lives. Image is everything. Jesus is the image of God. Jesus is everything.
  • Metaphors make the familiar strange. Jesus taught in 2-3 minute metaphors to make the familiar strange. "You've heard it said" (familiar), "but I say" (strange). We are fighting against cliche. When things become familiar, we no longer are impacted by them - so we must find the unfamiliar truth that we miss in our familiar things.
Seven Metaphors that will change the future
  1. DESIGN is important.
  2. TRANSFORMATION is change. The story of the oyster and the pearl.
  3. PILGRIMS are followers (but not leaders). We are followers that are sometimes summoned to the front of the line, but still follow behind Jesus.
  4. CONNECTION. The old world saw connection like a ladder (rational, set-by-step). But new image of connection is a web - everything is connected. In 1973 the first cell phone call was made. Now 3.3 billion people (1/2 of the world) have cell phones. Through the internet, 1/2 of the world can have access to all of the world's knowledge in a half of a second.
  5. ORGANIC. The future is an apple world (not referring to Apple computers - Sweet uses a Wintel machine). The old was an orange world. To eat an orange, you need to break it down - peel it, divide it up, organize it. We've done the same thing with the Bible - turned it into an orange. But apples are ready to eat. You just bite into them - You consume them. Don't tell Bible verses, tell Bible stories.
  6. WIND is spirit. This is the biggest problem we have. We've been taught that the trees move the wind - that the biggest forces in nature are material. In turn, we've made our ministries more about trees than wind. Does scripture say "not by power, not by might, but by..." programs? processes? No. It's by the Spirit. Worship is not about mastering and engineering of trees. It is about wind surfing. Ask yourself, are you predictable? Because the wind is NOT predictable. You are an empty space. The only question is "what are you going to allow to fill you?"
  7. HARMONY. Scientists are learning that matter is only vibrating threads of energy. Matter is built by vibrating frequencies. Sweet believes in "sound" theology - that you build a church from the "sound" up. Our job is to tune people's hearts with the tuning fork - Jesus. He is the perfect pitch. Jesus did not live a "balanced life." He did, however, teach a life of harmony. Everyone doesn't have to sing the same notes, or words, or use the same rhythm. But in "harmony," we can all still sing a love song to Jesus together. (We sang "Joy To The World" acapella - real slow to savor every word and harmony. It was awesome.)

Lunch At The Conference

If you look close you'll see Paul Baloche spending his lunch saying hi to people.

NWLC Notes: Day 1

NWLC General Session - Monday evening July 21, 2008 at 7:00pm. Worship was led by Sarah Kelly, Jonathan Noel, Matt Redman, and Paul Baloche. Pastor Skip Heitzig spoke on worship:
  1. Worship is a RESPONSE to God - We love Him because He first loved us.
  2. Worship is a PROPER response to God - Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. (Romans 12:1)
  3. Worship is a proper response to God THAT COMES FROM THE HEART - God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth. (John 4:24)
  4. Worship is a proper response to God that comes from the heart WHERE WE PUT GOD ABOVE EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING ELSE.
  5. Worship is defined in relationship. It means looking at who He is AND who we are.
    He is the creator ... We are the created
    He is the Sustainer ... We are the sustained
    He is the redeemer ... We are the redeemed
    He is the Master ... We are the slaves
  6. 45 years ago, A.W. Tozer wrote that "worship is the missing jewel of the evangelical church." In many churches, it is still the missing jewell.
  7. We often rate or critique our "worship experience," but we need to remember that worship is about ascribing "worth" to God. It's not about how you felt about it. Did you give Him worth? Is what you gave to God in worship (as a congregation, as an individual) worthy of God? Our worship should say "I'm preoccupied with God."
  8. Worship IS emotional. Why do we feel that our enthusiasm for God must be carefully contained?
  9. If God has given you a beautiful voice, then make it your instrument of praise. If God has not given you a beautiful voice, then give it back to Him (in praise) :-) No matter what, the voice that God gave you IS an adequate instrument of worship.
  10. Remember in our worship, that God is not impressed with "secret admirers."

Monday, July 21, 2008

NWLC Update: Day 1

Hey guys! We hope everyone is doing well in Helena. We made it to Austin safely on Sunday evening and got a chance to scope out the local surroundings before the first National Worship Leader Conference General Session this evening.

We already posted this photo from the airport. It was so cool - there was a giant welcome banner for worship leaders coming to Austin for the conference AT THE AIRPORT!

Here's a couple of other observations we made:
  1. We haven't seen one person in Austin wearing a cowboy hat. I thought this was Texas!
  2. Everyone here speaks normally. I haven't heard any Southern accents (except from visitors to Austin). Go figure
  3. Austin seems to have a crazy road system. When the car rental place at the airport asked us if we wanted a car with GPS, I thought "we don't need any frills." But the road system is seriously confusing. It seems like all the major streets run parallel and right next to the freeways - and none of them have street signs! I can never figure out what street we're on.
Anyway, we went to the kick-off tonight at Riverbend Church here in Austin.

I can really say that some people are anointed to lead other before the throne of God - Matt Redman and Paul Baloche were outstanding. Early tomorrow we start our first full day with 3 General Session and 2 Workshops.

Well, that's it for now. Miss you guys, but having fun.

NWLC First General Session

Waiting in anticipation - the first general session is about to start. Tonight includes Matt Redman, Paul Baloche, and Jonathon Noel.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

We Finally Made It!

Halfway There...Kinda

Andrea here in Minnesota at the airport on layover.

Join Us On Our Trip To Austin!

While you may not be able to physically join us on our trip to the National Worship Leader Conference in Austin, you can journey with us thanks to the wonders of technology. Of course, I'm talking about the "world-wide-interweb" as it used to be called :-)

Thanks to what is known as Web 2.0 applications such as Blogger, Picasa, Twitter, and Facebook, we'd like to invite you to journey with us the whole week we're at the NWL Conference. You are already familiar with Blogger and Picasa through the eSomething blog and photo gallery, but the others are something newer that you might want to check out.

TWITTER: You can find some of my Twitter updates in the sidebar at the right (look for the title "eTwitter-ing"). I can send updates from my phone throughout the day to update my Twitter feed and just let you know what's going on in short, quick updates. If you see a URL in the update (i.e. then that means I've sent a photo or a link to check out.

If you're reading on the eSomething blog, then you'll have to highlight, copy, and paste it into your browser to check out a URL from a Twitter update. However, you can also click on the "Follow me on Twitter" link and check it out there - clickable links and all. If you sign up for Twitter yourself, you can even be notified by email or phone when I update. It's all free, of course.

FACEBOOK: Facebook is something I just joined a few weeks ago, but I gotta say it's pretty cool. My Twitter and e|Something blog updates go there, too. You'll have to sign up yourself to check out my Facebook profile page, but if you are at all web savy I think you'll find it worth your while. If you do, be sure to "make me your friend."

Anyway, I encourage you to at least check up on us this week. And be sure to check out the Twitter feed.

Kellin Is A Pirate!

Here's a couple of photos of Kellin in costume from his pirate musical yesterday.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

How Metrosexual Is Your Worship Leader?

Okay, I read this over on Stuff Christians Like. Man, I could read that blog for hours - he cracks me up.

Back to topic. Prodigal Jon says "when you tell someone about your church, there's not a standard system to describe the degree of metrosexuality your worship leader possesses. Wouldn't it be awesome to say, 'You'll love my church and the music. Our worship leader scored a 78 on the SCL Metro Test.'"

I know that you know where this is going. He's posted the test. Go there now and rate your Worship Leader ... and then let me know his/her score in the comments. (It's okay to rate me - I think I scored about a 20 when I rated myself.)

Also, if you don't know what metrosexual is, you can look it up here.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

22 Years Ago!

Andrea and I went on our first date 22 years ago today. Wow! We were sooooo young. These photos are from the same year.

Monday, July 07, 2008

I'm No Music Scholar...

I came across this letter last week and thought I'd share. It read:

"I am no music scholar, but I feel I know appropriate church music when I hear it. Last Sunday's new hymn - if you can call it that - sounded like a sentimental love ballad one would expect to hear crooned in a saloon. If you insist on exposing us to rubbish like this - in God's house! - don't be surprised if many of the faithful look for a new place to worship. The hymns we grew up with are all we need."

I thought it would be fun to share this letter written to a pastor in 1863. The song they were writing about is the hymn "Just As I Am." It just turns out that the more things change, the more they stay the same. As Solomon said, there's nothing new under the sun.

Read the Dan Kimball's whole post here.

Thursday, July 03, 2008

Disappointed Again By Microsoft

One of the things that irks me about Microsoft, one of the worlds most successful companies, is that they let the customers do their quality control.

Whether it is with their software (Vista) or with their hardware (XBox 360), they make improvements on their products when they get complaints, rather than doing a thorough testing beforehand.

That is one of the reasons I am REALLY DISAPPOINTED after paying over $400 for my new XBox 360. After a few minutes out of the box, it was evident that the wireless controller that came with my XBox was not working correctly.

I called the store I purchased the console from and they said that I had to deal with Microsoft directly - Microsoft has some special policy about that. Then I spent 20 minutes online looking for a solution to my problem (not mentioned) and then another 10 minutes on the phone speaking words into an automated system. (Picture that phone commercial where the guy on the bus yells his password into his phone "I ain't no hollaback girl!")

Finally, I spoke with a guy who didn't care what my problem was, who essentially said I HAVE TO PAY to have the controller shipped to Texas. What!!! There are 20 stores by me that have literally hundreds of these controllers, but I have to pay for the privilege to wait almost a month to use something I saved 6 months to buy.

While some say Microsoft's customer support is great in spite of their problems, I say the best customer support is not needing any.

Needless to say, I am disappointed.

Quotable Quip - New Eyes

The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking, but in having new eyes."

Marcel Proust, from a poster at the Optometrist.

I saw this quote on a poster at the optometrist recently while I was getting some new glasses (photos to come). Seeking is not enough, we need to ask God to give us "new eyes."


As you may know, Andrea and I are attending the National Worship Leader Conference in Austin, Texas at the end of July. We are looking for some compassionate families to Adopt-A-Powell while we are gone - more specifically, Andrik and Kellin Powell. You can adopt either one or both kids for a period of one to seven days between July 20-26.

As an added bonus, we'll throw in a photo and handwritten letter from your adopted kid so you can post it on your refrigerator after they're gone!! :-)

Oh yeah, they're also good at doing household chores.