Monday, December 28, 2009

Sunday Setlist 12-27-09

This entry is part of the list at Fred Mckinnon's blog. There you can see many other setlist from churches and find out what other services were like around the world.

Here's what we did at Westwood Sunday.

Prelude: I'll Fly Away (Instrumental)
*Not To Us
*How Great Is Our God w/ How Great Thou Art
Welcome / Announcements / Fellowship
*I'll Fly Away
*Jesus Paid It All w/ Oh Praise The One
Offertory Prayer
Special Music - Revelation Song  - Praise Team
Message: Joseph Kinnaird (Student Minister)
Invitation: I Surrender All (New Hymn arrangement)
Closing Chorus: How Great Thou Art (chorus only)

The service was very different than normal. Because of the holidays, I gave the choir and wind section of the orchestra the morning off. So worship was led by the rhythm section and praise team only. I had considered bringing the entire band out of the orchestra pit and onto the stage to give it more of a band feel, but the morning sermon included an 8'X8' tent as a prop. So that idea was put on hold until later.

"I'll Fly Away" is a song I've only led 2 or 3 times in 5 years of leading worship at Westwood. So when we do it, those who enjoy it really get into it. I used it as both the prelude (to help set the upbeat tone for the service) and as the song following the fellowship time.

The arrangements of "How Great Is Our God"  & "Jesus Paid It All" we did are great songs that have helped calm any worship wars that might creep up at our church. They are newer (written within the past decade =) arrangements of older hymns that any generation can connect to at some level. This time we did "How Great..." with a split of the bridge (Name above all names...) and the chorus between the men and women. It sounded great and transitioned beautifully into the chorus of "How Great Thou Art". I love it when the church is worshipping at a level where their voices can be heard, over the music, singing praises to God.

Since the choir was off, I had the praise team introduce "Revelation Song" to our church. The soprano soloist I had planned for the first verse was sick, so I did it myself. That was probably a mistake. Also, many of the praise team members had never heard the song until rehearsal that morning, and that was my fault as well. I should have made sure they all had access to it earlier, but with the rush of the holidays, it slipped through the cracks. Fortunately though, they picked up on it quickly and as we sang it some of the congregation began to sing along as well, so I invited them to stand and sing it with us. I thought it went well for a "first time" song. I have no doubt we'll be hearing it again in the weeks to come.

Our pastor was out of town for the holidays so Joseph, our student minister, spoke. He did a great job teaching about the sins of Achan in Joshua 7. The tent I mentioned earlier was used as a way to demonstrate some of the sins we may think we can hide in our tents. Inside the tent were many different symbols of things that can seperate us from God. It was a very visual message and I thought Joseph did a good job presenting it.

We closed with a newer arrangement of the old hymn "I Surrender All". I love this arrangement, but it always throws our folks who sing parts. The melody is the same as before, but the harmonies are not.

Overall, I thought everything went very well Sunday morning.

Sadly, things did not go quite as smoothly Sunday night when I had us do a favorite hymns service. The crowd blows the dust off the hymnals and calls out hymn #'s they want us to sing. This time they picked a bunch I'd never heard before. Not a lot of fun sight reading old hymns in a microphone. =)

How was your Sunday?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

On The Twelfth Day Of Christmas...

OK, I'm a doofus. Somehow I never posted this before Christmas. I saw it in my drafts folder today and realized my mistake. So here, finally, is the 12th in my 12 days of Christmas series, 12 cool gifts for the nerd in your life. Maybe, you forgot to get your nerd friend something. Even though Christmas was 10 days ago, it's never too late to give someone this wonderful gift...

On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me.

The series LOST on dvd.

I'm sure you're not surprised this made it into my list.
LOST is only the greatest show to ever be broadcast on television. It's better than "The A-Team", better than "The Muppet Show", even better than "Seinfield" (but that runs a very close 2nd.) With the final season starting in 2010, this would be a great Christmas to give someone all 5 past seasons so they can catch up. I considered listing the 12th day's gift as "your nerd's favorite TV show on dvd". But since no show can top LOST, my hands were tied. Some of your nerd friends might already have the past seasons, that's ok. You can always help them upgrade, and get the bluray versions.

I hope I've given you at least one good idea in the past 12 (plus 10) days. Now it's your turn. What cool nerd gift did I leave off? I look forward to your suggestions.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Happy Life Day

I'm speechless. Watch this.
From the infamous 1978 Star Wars Christmas special.
I wonder how they blackmailed the Star Wars cast into doing this.
This is the second worst thing to ever happen in the Star Wars universe.
(The worst is Jar-Jar)

On The Eleventh Day Of Christmas

This entry is the 11th in my 12 Days of Christmas series. 12 cool gifts for the nerd in your life.

On the eleventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

A Netflix Subscription

Whether your nerd likes movies or has a favorite TV show, it's likely he can view it on Netflix. This mail order movie service not only mails our your desired DVD's but now you can also view much of their catalog online via streaming video. I've been a netflix member for many years and absoultely love it. No video store hassles, no late fees, no need to even put on pants and drive to a "red box". Just mail 'em back, and like magic, another one comes to you 2 days later.
I have no doubt you'l be loved by anyone who receives this awesome gift from you.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

On The Tenth Day Of Christmas...

This entry is the 10th in my 12 Days of Christmas series. 12 cool gifts for the nerd in your life.

On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
iTunes Gift Cards

When I started this 10 days ago I mentioned that this list was for the nerd/worship leader in your life.  Even if your nerd is not into music, with an itunes giftcard they could download almost any audiobook or iphone app their little geeky heart desired.  So whether they're a fan of The Black Eyed Peas, The John Williams Star Wars sound track, or a Pac Man game for their phone, they can all be found on iTunes.
I can assure you they are there, and they're all great.

Monday, December 21, 2009

On The Ninth Day Of Christmas...

This entry is the 9th in my 12 Days of Christmas series. 12 cool gifts for the nerd in your life.
Also, yesterday's post by my 200th post. To all of my readers -  Thanks for putting up with my run on sentences, boring observations, and random weird thoughts.  All 3 of you are greatly appreciated.

On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
A Powermat

This is the kind of thing I would love to own, but would never buy for myself.
It's a mat that you can lay rechargeable gadgets on, and they will recharge without having to plug them in. Wow! That's pretty cool, don't ya think? Imagine all those miliseconds you wasted everyday pluggin in your gadgets. With the powermat, your pluggin' worries are over. Now you can used those valuable saved seconds to do much more important things that you didn't have time for before like blinking or having a thought. This device is going to change lives, I'm sure. And how much does this time saver cost? Only $89.98 at Target. Is it worth it? Hmm?
Oh yeah, and did I mention that every device you want to charge on this mat requires a $30-$40 battery adapter you have to attach to it. Like I said, cool gift to get. Maybe not so cool to purchase. I mean, come on? Who doesn't have time to plug in a charger?

This invention reminds me of something my favorite comedian, Brian Regan once said. He once had a simliar observation about the inventor of combined PB&J. Enjoy.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

On The Eighth Day Of Christmas

This entry is the 8th in my 12 Days of Christmas series. 12 cool gifts for the nerd in your life.

On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me...
An addition to a weird collection.

This gift idea requires you to know your nerdy friend or loved one very well.
Most nerds have some kind of collection; stamps, comics, old books, belly button lint, etc.
If you truly love a nerd, then you know them well enough to ask about their collection.
Be warned though, this might mean having to sit through a seemingly endless one-sided conversation about their collection. But if you can mange to stay awake through that, then you'll get to the information you need. You'll learn what item is missing from their nerdy collection. Then you can begin your hunt to find that needed item, that "holy grail".

Here, in case you're having trouble sleeping, is a description of my nerdy collection that few folks know about.  If you feel you know me well enough, and don't want to know the depth of my nerdiness, skip the rest of this paragraph and I'll see you on the other side.  My nerdy collection is G.I.Joe figures. More specifically, 1982 straight arm G.I. Joe's. These are the first series of G.I. Joe's that were released when I was a kid. The earlier ones were 12" tall. These are only 3 3/4". After 1982 all the Joe's were released with a swivel arm and while I had very few of these straight arm joe's as a kid, they were the first one's I had, so I'm kind of fond of them. My collection is nowhere near complete, but since you asked, the one figure I consider my holy grail would be a 1982 straight arm Snake Eyes with all accessories and file card. Go ahead and look it up on Ebay, it's a little out of my price range. But maybe one day, my little nerdy collection will be complete.

So, If you know a nerd, I have no doubt they'd be willing to talk about their collection, and give you plenty of ideas how to help them complete it. Good Luck.

(Also, I know some of you are already looking at the books behind the figures. All I have to say is that when you're married, you have to add books to your bookshelf that you never imagined would be there.)

Saturday, December 19, 2009

On The Seventh Day Of Christmas...

This entry is the 7th in my 12 Days of Christmas series. 12 cool gifts for the nerd in your life.

On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

Bluetooth Headphones

I can personally vouch for this gift idea. It's awesome. I have these. These are the Motorola S9-HD. If the nerd in your life uses a phone, mp3 player, or stereo with bluetooth capabilities, they've got to have this. They are stereo wireless headphones.
I use mine with my iPhone. I can get in the car, put them on, and have easy access to everything on my phone; music, podcasts, even phone calls. No need to ever take my hands off the wheel.

Yes, I may look a little goofy wearing them, but the benefits are worth any goofy looks I might get.

You can also use them when doing more active activities than driving, but as you can imagine, mine are mostly used when driving.

Friday, December 18, 2009

On The Sixth Day Of Christmas...

This entry is the 6th in my 12 Days of Christmas series. 12 cool gifts for the nerd in your life.

On the sixth day of christmas my true love gave to me...

Nintendo Points (or Wii Points)
I have only recently learned about the fun that can come into your life with Nintendo points.
First, I'll tell you what they are. Nintendo points can be used to download games onto your Wii on NintendoDSi. With these points you can download older Nintendo games that are no longer available.
Just a week ago I finally managed to get my Wii connected to the internet. While I do not yet have high speed internet at my house, I have been able to connect at a speed fast enough to download games.
So far I've only purchased 1. I used 500 Nintendo points (about $5) and bought Super Mario Bros.

For about a week now, Ethan, Kristi and I have been playing and loving this old school Nintendo game from 1985. I was afraid that Ethan would get bored of it quickly because of it's lack of cool graphics, but he's actually been just the opposite. He's thought that it is fun to play a game that makes you start over when you die, rather than just saving your game at different points as most games do these days.

So if you know someone with a Wii, give them some old school fun by purchasing them some Nintendo Points. The next games on my donwload list... Earthworm Jim & Dr. Mario.
There's nothing quite like video game entertainment from 1987. (I'm not sure that's a good thing.)

Thursday, December 17, 2009

On The Fifth Day Of Christmas...

This entry is the 5th in my 12 Days of Christmas series. 12 cool gifts for the nerd in your life.

On the fifth day of christmas my true love gave to me...
The Beatles Stereo Box Set - USB Version

Ok, this one gets a little specific. I know not everyone likes The Beatles. I don't understand those people who don't, but I'll acknowledge that they exist. Clearly this gift is not for them. This gift is for people with good musical taste.
In September of this year a stereo box set of The Beatles core albums was released.  It featured all their core albums and many extra features including a documentary DVD. A box set of Beatles cd's would be cool, but what's even cooler is the digital version they released on a USB drive 12/08/09.

No Beatles recordings have ever been legally downloadable.  They have never released any of their songs to iTunes, amazon, or any other companies for purchase via download. So, in response to growing fan demand, they've released a version of their box set on a USB drive. Why would this be a cool gift? It is likely that many beatles fans would burn any CD you got them to their hard drive anyway, right? Save them some time.
Also, it's a cool gift because it's a bit of a collector's item. They were released a couple weeks ago and sold out within a few days. There are currently no more available. If you can find one, you better snatch it up.

They are only sold on the official Beatles website

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

On The Fourth Day Of Christmas...

This entry is the 4th in my 12 Days of Christmas series. 12 cool gifts for the nerd in your life.

On The fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me....
Fictional Character Statues

Most guys I know had a favorite fictional character as a kid. Whether it was a super hero or a character from a movie, we all had one favorite. Now that we're adults, our society has taught us that playing with toys is inapproptiate. But the nerdiest of the nerdy among us still think fondly of those characters we used to enjoy so much. Today's gift idea gives the nerd in your life a way to enjoy that character without the embarassment of them being caught buying toys or worse yet actually playing with them. You can give them a very detailed, sculpted statue that would look "not too inappropriate" in any home or office. Well, maybe not "any home or office" but mine at least.

Here are a few examples that I know would look nice on my shelf.

It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's Christopher Reeve.

"Luke,who's yo daddy?"

The G.I. Joe ninja "Snake Eyes" and his trusty pal Timber. Wearing his original gear from the 1982 version.  The pointing hand can be swapped for a hand holding an uzi. But why would a ninja ever need an uzi?

"Don't make me angry. You won't like me when I'm angry."

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

On The Third Day Of Christmas...

This entry is the 3rd in my 12 Days of Christmas series. 12 cool gifts for the nerd in your life.

On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me...

A Bacon Wallet.

Nothing I can say about the awesomeness of this gift idea can match what the guys at have already said....

"For those of us who bring home the bacon, now we have an appropriate place to put it. The Bacon Wallet is an actual wallet that looks like slabs of our favorite breakfast meat. It's made from faux leather (which is a fancy name for vinyl) and depicts tasty bacon on both the outside and inside. The well-made wallet has plenty of pockets for cash, credit cards, and the phone number of your cardiologist.

Frankly, we can't believe it's taken this long for someone to invent a Bacon Wallet. Everyone likes bacon. Everyone has to put their money somewhere. It just makes so much sense!  A year from now, Bacon Wallets will be as common as sausage cufflinks are today. So get a Bacon Wallet and put a little sizzle in your life!"

Monday, December 14, 2009

On The Second Day Of Christmas...

This entry is the 2nd in my 12 Days of Christmas series. 12 cool gifts for the nerd in your life.

On the second day of Christmas my true love gave to me....
A remote control Freedom Flyer airplane.

Every guy likes airplanes, whether they admit it or not, there's just something cool about a machine that can travel through the air. Most guys I know also like RC (Remote control) planes and would love to have the chance to play with one. But there's a problem. Actually two of them.  One, if you've never driven an RC plane before, how exactly do you learn how to land? Seems to me that the process of learning how to land is really just the process of learning how not to crash. So when your landing education  is not going great.....Wham!.. there goes your new toy, into one huge pile of FAIL! The second problem is with price. There's the issue of the price of said toy and it's replacement parts to fix what will likely get broken the first time you play with it. So while most guys might want to try to enjoy this activity, most do not because the risks are so high.

But, I think I've found a solution. I've found an RC place that repairs easily, is relatively cheap, and is made to crash and survive, the Freedom Flyer RTF. Not only does it look like a fun toy, it's got a fairly entertaining promo video.

The whole time I watched it, I expected the voice over guy to say I could fly it Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Sunday Setlist 12-13-09

This entry is part of the blog carnival over at Fred McKinnon's site. Check it out to see what other churches are doing. Here's our setlist from today's service at Westwood Baptist with comments to follow....

Orchestra Prelude: O Come All Ye Faithful (HYMN)

Joy To The World (D-Eb / HYMN)
1st, 2nd, and last w/ key change for last
O Come, O Come Emmanuel (Dm / HYMN)
1st and last verses with chorus repeat at end

Welcome / Fellowship

The First Noel (D / HYMN)
1st & Last verse w/ optional last chours setting for end, no pause into…
You Are My King (D / Billy Foote)
Bridge, Chorus, Verse, Chorus, Tag

Offertory Prayer

Choir Special: “Glory To God In The Highest” (From Night Of Alleluias musical)

Transitional Chorus: O Come All Ye Faithful (G / HYMN)
1st V & Chorus

Message: Bro. Steve
Invitation: Just As I Am (HYMN)
Closing Chorus: Go, Tell It On The Mountain (HYMN)
Chorus, 1V, Chorus

Today's service went well. No major hiccups or flaws. As you can see, it was very Christmas carol heavy.
These songs are only appropriate once a year, so they get plenty of rotation during the month of December.
Overall is was a good mellow service. While I would have liked a little more "umph" musically (just due to my personal taste in musical style) I think the songs were helpful in helping everyone to consider the Christmas season, especially O Come, O Come Emmanuel. What a great song.

How was your Sunday?

On The First Day Of Christmas...

Well, here we are, only 12 days until Christmas.
In honor of the classic Christmas carol "The 12 days of Christmas", I will be giving you a different gift idea over the next 12 days for the nerd / worship leader / cool dude in your life. If you don't know anyone that fits that description, I will be willing to accept these items from you. I will serve you in this manner, because I want you to have the opportunity to learn the joys of giving. If I have to sacrifice, by accepting your gifts, then so be it. I'm willing to do this for you, because I care. So here now,  I present the First Day of Christmas.

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me....
A USB powered desktop rocket launcher.

This would make a great gift for anyone that has a desk and pesky co-workers they want to keep at bay. Just imagine, you're sitting at your desk doing what all hard workers do (cruising Facebook) and then here comes the staff accountant asking for your "Quarterly Synergetic Optimization T-Report in triplicate with footnotes." One response would be to say "It's not ready yet."
But wouldn't it be much more fun to click a button on your keyboard setting off a barrage of foam missles at them? Or is it just me?

Includes software, missles, and missle launcher.
You can buy this lovely gift at kleargear. Which is also where I borrowed the pic.

I am not getting any sponsorship from them for this publicity, but I'm open to that if they want to discuss it.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

It's Not Easy Being Cheesy

Part of my responsibilities at my job is to book flatbed trucks to haul our products. So I get the pleasure (?) of working with trucking companies everyday to book truck and track delivery status of the loads. Usually this is a pretty big headache, but there are times when this position has its advantages.

I do get the occasional free lunch from some of the companies we use, but the best time comes at Christmas. Sometime in years past,  a salesman decided it would be a good idea to give small gifts of appreciation to his customers. Thankfully, other salesmen decided that was a great idea and decided to do the same. So now, every Christmas, salesmen all over the world are trying to butter up their clients with gifts. And thankfully, I'm one of those clients. One very important note, I don't let these gifts influence my decision on future loads, but they sure don't hurt their potential to get my business either.

So, each year I get interesting gifts from some of our carriers. In the past it's been typically pens, calendars, small chocolate trucks, etc. This year, the first gift I received was interesting to say the least. Yesterday I received a 10" X 5" wheel of cheddar cheese. It looked a lot like this

except bigger. I'm really not sure how to react to this gift. I mean, who needs that much cheese? But at the same time...CHEESE IS AWESOME! so I'm thinking, that's really cool. So now, I'm left with the question of what to do with this huge cheese circle. Do I slice it for sandwhiches? Melt it for dipping? Or just open it and practice my sculpting abilities?

Decisions, decisions.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

On Your Mark. Get Set. Go!

I was looking at my calendar yesterday and realized that things are about to get a little busy.
I have 15 Christmas related functions in the next 16 days.
Whew! it's gonna be busy.

Wednesday 12/09 – Choir Christmas Party
Thursday 12/10 - Pictures with Santa
Saturday 12/12 – Aimee's Christmas musical in Chattanooga, TN
Sunday 12/13 - Children's Christmas program Rehearsal 5pm.
Tuesday 12/15 – Church Staff Christmas Party
Wednesday 12/16 – Christmas @ Resonate (Church youth Christmas service)
Saturday 12/19 – Stinson Christmas @ Grandmaw's in Columbus, MS.
Sunday 12/20 Afternoon– Allred Christmas @ Grandmother Dot’s
Sunday 12/20 Evening - Children’s ministry Christmas presentation (Final Rehearsal at 4pm)
Wednesday 12/23 – Stinson Christmas in Woodstock, AL (Also, FESTIVUS for the rest of us.)
Thursday 12/24 – Christmas Eve Communion Service 5:30pm
Thursday 12/24 – Exchange gifts with kids and Kristi, Christmas Eve traditions, etc.
Friday 12/25 – Christmas….
7am View Santa stuff
9am  - Allred Christmas @ Mother & Father in law's.
Noon – Drummond Christmas @ GiGi's.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Three Blind Mice...See How They Run

This is too weird not to share....

So, an hour ago I was sitting at my desk, in my office, at work.
I was on the phone with a customer and looking at some misc blogs online.
One blog I enjoy is written by Jorge Garcia. He's the actor that plays Hurley on LOST (The greatest television program of all time.) I like it because he doesn't say much, but can still be very entertaining. Plus it's interesting to peek into the life of a hollywood actor and be reminded that they're just human too. For the past week or so, he's been posting video clips of he and his friend (girlfirend, wife, roomate? I don't know) and her struggles with the mouse in their house. It's been very funny.

Anyway, so I'm talking to a customer and looking at this mouse blog when I see it. Out of the corner of my eye, a small brown something runs into my office, along the wall, and under the filing cabinet. I know immediately that's it's a mouse. I continue with the customer and try to hurriedly get off the phone in hopes of catching or killing the mouse before he finds a better hiding spot. But no such luck.  Before I got off the phone he darted out from under the filing cabinet and under my desk. That's right. UNDER MY DESK!  NEAR MY FEET! Did I freak? No. I calmly rolled my chair back and tried to spot him. I figured freaking would not be the most masculine response, but at least backing away from the desk would decrease the chances of him attempting to find refuge in my pants leg.

I have now spent about an hour or so calmly looking for this little creature. I've been a little surprised at my own response. While I haven't felt the need to jump up on the desk or anything, I definitely have a good case of the "heeby jeebies".  You'd think that since I weigh approx 300 times what this little guy does, that'd I'd be completely fearless. If I saw this same mouse in a cage, I would likely say "how cute", or even be willing to hold him. But for some reason, that little brown blur that scurried across the floor is much more unnerving than I like to admit.

So, Is it just me or do you think it's a little bzarre that I was reading about someone hunting a mouse when a mouse ran into my office? I'm gonna go now a try to find a blog to read about someone winning the lottery when they didn't even buy a ticket.

Monday, November 30, 2009

3 Christmas Suggestions To Young Parents

As we enter the Christmas season, I've been reminded of some parental lessons I've learned over the past 4 Christmases. For your education I thought I might share 3 of them with you today.

1.) When decorating your Christmas tree, be sure to explain to your children that Christmas is still weeks away. There's nothing quite as sad as a child walking into the living room the morning after doing said decorating, only to find that Santa didn't come. I'm just sayin.

2.) There are two tools that every parental unit needs to be sure to have in their pocket at every Christmas function. 1.) A pocket knife. 2.) Wire cutters or kitchen scissors. Apparently a few years ago, toy companies decided that the items in toys packagaes were highly valuable and so they've mounted, taped, wired, screwed, and glued every part into the packaging. While I understand their tanacity in attempting to keep theft to a minimum, it sure does make gift opening less enjoyable hearing your kid asking (over and over again) "Is it open yet? Is it open yet?"

3.) Preplanning - Santa needs to be prepared. Some gifts are more fun Christmas morning if they are already put together. Some might be better to put together with your child. Be sure to distinguish between the two. And trust me, waiting until the late hours of Christmas Eve to put together something as difficult as a full size basketball goal or playhouse, is not a wise decision.

I'm sure there'll be more lessons to come.

Friday, November 20, 2009

LOST Countdown: 74 Days

ABC announced yesterday that the final season of my favorite show of all time, LOST, will premier on Tuesday February 2nd, 2010. This makes me happy & sad. Happy because I'm glad it's back and really glad it's gonna be on Tuesday nights instead of Wednesdays. It makes me sad because it's the beginning of the end. This is the final season. I wonder if I'll get answers to all my questions? Probably not. But it's gonna be a fun anyway.

So I've got 74 days until the premier. I'm going to attempt to do something crazy.

I'm going to watch all 103 episodes of the first 5 seasons before the premier date on 02/02/10. I think I can do it. That works out mathematically to 1.39 episodes per day. I think that's do-able. I typically spend an hour or so in my home office late every night anyway just goofing around on the interwebs and working on other projects. Should be easy to pop in a DVD.

The harder part will be trying to convince my wife to do it with me. She'll watch it, but she doesn't really care for the show. I really hope to get her hooked though, so that it can easily be a weekly appointment for both of us when Tuesday 02/02 gets here.

Wish me luck. I'm gonna need it.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What I Know About Worship #1

I’ve blogged before about how I know a little about a lot, but I know a lot about very little. One of the few things I do know something about is leading worship. (You know, being a song leader at church.) But let me be very clear… I’m not a pro at leading worship. I make mistakes every time I get in front of a group of people. But I figure in 17 years of leading worship, I’ve learned a thing or two. Who knows? Maybe I’ve even learned something that might be useful to someone else. So, today I decided to start a regular section in my blog called “What I Know About Worship”.

What I Know About Worship: #1 You can’t please everyone.

No matter how hard you may try, you can’t make everyone happy. If you’ve decided to attempt to lead a group of people in worship through singing, you need to be aware that someone in the group will not be happy with one of your song choices. There have been thousands upon thousands of blogs, books, and articles written about worship styles. I’m not even referring to that necessarily. You’ll likely have people in the room who may not be happy with your song choices simply because of the tempo, lyrics, or they may not like it because of a memory that is it reminds them of. There are too many reasons to list. We’re all familiar with the phrase that “opinions are like belly buttons(or insert other misc hidden body part here). We’ve all got ‘em and we don’t want to see yours.” That’s an accurate phrase of the attitude you have to take as a worship leader sometimes. When leading a group of people in worship, it’s important to remember who your audience is. It’s not the group of people in front of you. It’s the One we worship, our Creator, our Heavenly Father, God. Your purpose should be to organize and lead a service that will help the majority of people in the room focus on Him and have an encounter with Him. Now, I’m not saying you should ignore people’s opinions completely, or you’ll find yourself without a group to lead. But it’s important to remember that If someone is not happy with a particular song, you should remind them that someone else in the room might have needed to hear or sing that exact song. You just have to prayerfully plan the services and trust that the Holy Spirit will guide you in making those plans. I’ve had the attitude, for many years now, that if someone doesn’t like a particular song in our services, then I’m completely OK with that. That just means that song wasn’t meant for that person. Maybe that person should still worship with it though by watching those around them who are enjoying it and praising the Lord for them. I know that one day we’ll all be at His throne and we’ll all hear music that we’ll all love. Until then, some of us are gonna just have to be unhappy from time to time and that’s okay with me.

As I’ve sat now and re-read this blog, I’ve realized something though…

What do I really know about worship? Not much.

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Why would someone do this? Is there no better way to get rid of a pair of shoes? Do they not have a garbage can? Also, I'm curious how many times they had to throw them to get them to stay. It's a mystery.

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Friday, November 13, 2009

Kids Say...

My boys crack me up. Here are three examples why.

1.)    Monday night Ethan (5)  & Gavin (3) were playing in the bath together. I left the room for a minute to get some clean washcloths from the laundry room. While I was gone, I overheard Ethan saying “Ow! Stop! Quit it!” I rounded the corner and just stood there in the doorway. Gavin had a watergun and was carefully aiming at his older brothers nose. When Gavin noticed I was standing there, he froze, continuing to point the gun at Ethan, and just looked over at me with his eyes. I was giving him my best “I’m not happy about this” look. He simply said, unapologetically, “I shoot ‘em in da fates.”  (Translated “I shot him in the face.) I left the room quickly so they wouldn’t see me laughing.

2.)    A few months ago I overheard Ethan playing and saying “Ow! My tis-pits are burning.” It took me a long time, but after a while I figured out what he was talking about.  There’s a scene in Toy Story 2 where Stinky Pete the Prospector backs up too close to a campfire and shouts “Ow, My biscuits are burning!”  (referring to his backside) I attempted to explain to both my boys that he’s saying “biscuits”. But they thought “tis-pits” was much more hilarious.  So, sadly, that word is still heard in our house to this day.

3.)    Last night, I was sitting in our laundry room folding laundry. (Yes, believe it or not. I was trying to be more helpful) Both the boys decided it was time for Wrestle Mania 2009 and began climbing and jumping on me. In retaliation, I began covering them in the clean clothes. Before long they were completely buried in a mountain of clothes.  (Yes, you read right. We had enough clean clothes in the laundry room floor to cover two small children. Don’t judge me! =)  They loved hiding in the clothes and even arranged the clothes so that only their little eyes could be seen peering out of the mountain. When I told Ethan ”OK, buddy. Time for bed, we gotta go brush teeth.” Without hesitation, he quoted a line from the movie Ice Age. “I was born in this hole. And I’ll die in this hole!”

Wonder what they’ll say tonight?

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Wednesday, October 28, 2009

LOST: The Countdown Begins

I found this official LOST Poster online today and it made me smile. Only a few more months and the final season will begin. I also realized that if I watch a past episode everyday, I’ll almost get through the whole thing before the new season premier.

So, LOST fans, are you ready? If not, look very closely at who’s in the pic. Is that Boone? Michael? Shannon? Charlie?Are you excited now? Wow, this is gonna be good.

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You Gotta Be Kidding

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Monday, October 19, 2009

Vulcan Cold

This weekend Kristi and I took the boys and went to Birmingham to take care of a few things.… Flu shots for the boys, buy a few needed items at the mall, etc.

On the way home Ethan asked me “Daddy, what is that?” as he pointed to the Vulcan statue perched atop of Red Mountain. I proceeded to explain to him that it was a statue that reminded us about Birmingham being a city known for making Steel. I also told him a few memories from my childhood, of my parents taking me and my sisters up to Vulcan at night to see the city lights.

Without putting a lot of thought into it, I asked everyone if they wanted to go to Vulcan. Everyone said yes. So we made our trek through Homewood and found ourselves in the parking lot at the foot of Vulcan Park. I think Kristi was the first to make the following important observation… “Wow, It’s a little chilly out here.” We all quickly wished be had brought our jackets. The temp in Birmingham Saturday afternoon was in the 50’s.

I think Ethan made the next important observation of the day… “Hey, I can see his booty.” Needless to say there was a lot of giggling between the boys due to that fact.

We bought our tickets and quickly decided to head to the elevators for our journey to the top. Gavin let us know very soon that he was not a fan of the glass elevator and he wanted to go back down.

His opinion was only strengthened when we stepped out of the elevator onto the observation deck to realize that 50 something degrees is a lot colder when you’re at the highest point in the city and there’s nothing blocking the wind from you. The only way I can describe it is to say that is was definitely “Vulcan cold”.

Besides the cold weather, I was actually a little uncomfortable myself with the view. I haven’t been to Vulcan in many years. The last time I went the observation desk was an enclosed structure where you could look out the windows and view the Birmingham skyline. Since the Vulcan restoration project 5 years ago, they’ve made the observation desk an outside catwalk-like balcony that hangs around the outside of the base of the statue. So not only were we exposed to the winds, we were also able to see through the platform below our feet. I made the mistake of looking down once only to realize I would not be doing so again. Ethan was the brave one of us all. He ran around the observation deck like he owned the place, without a care in the world. He had no fear of heights and no concern for the freezing temps.

Our tickets also granted us entry into the Vulcan museum, which was much nicer than I anticipated. They’re really done a lot to make that a nice tourist stop. They had activities for the kids and cool interactive Birmingham maps. We took a little time to check it all out.

After we were done with the museum, Ethan wanted to go up Vulcan one more time. No surprise to the rest of us, Gavin did not. So while Kristi and Ethan headed back up, Gavin and I spent some time trying to stay warm on the ground.

Here was the final great view of the day. If my iPhone had a better camera you might be able to see Kristi and Ethan waving at us from the observation deck.

We had a great day. I think one of my favorite moments of the day though happened as we were leaving....

Ethan asked us “So, why is he not wearing any pants?”
I was surprised by Kristi’s quick and informative response about the steel industry when she replied “Well Ethan, people get really hot when they’re making steel.”

Good answer, Kristi. Good answer.

See and download the full gallery on posterous

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Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Dream A Little Dream

I rarely remember my dreams. When I do they're usually very strange. Last night was no exception.
Before I went to bed I saw a preview for a new movie coming soon called 2012. It's about the end of the world. I'm pretty sure I incorporated that into my dream. I dreamed that the oceans were rising fast and I was leading my family and a bunch of folks from church to find higher ground and shelter so we could survive. It was very tense.
When I woke up, I did like I do every morning and rolled out of bed thinking through all the things I needed to do today.... 1) get ready for work 2) take out the trash 3) help get the boys dressed 4) find higher ground so I can save my loved ones......
It actually took me about 10 seconds to realize I really didn't need to do all of those.

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Monday, October 12, 2009

Build A Better Mouse Trap

I'm often amazed at the things I see in Wal-Mart. Last night Ethan noticed this while walking down an isle. I gotta say, that's probably a very effective way to end your mouse problem if you don't mind a very 'hands on' approach.

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Friday, October 2, 2009

Reason For Concern

In the Halloween section at Walmart, Gavin headed straight for the goalie mask and bloody toy knife. I think I'll sleep with one eye open tonight.

Posterous - Test

Through supposedly I can post to all my online sites at once. We’ll see.

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Friday, September 11, 2009

Sunday Setlist 09-06-09

Each week I try to blog about our Sunday Service.
I include this post in the blog over at Fred McKinnon's site.
There you can see lots of worship leaders talk about their services.
I encourage you to check it out.

Here's what we did Sunday and some personal thoughts...

The format below is exactly as the tech and musicians get it from me.
Choir Call To Worship: A Mighty Fortress (Octavo)
Choir will enter as Orchestra plays intro

Welcome / Announcements - Shawn

He Knows My Name (Ab/BH#44)
Omit repeat @m12, V1, C, V2, C, C, C, tag
On last chorus change lyrics from “He knows” to “You know”.

How Great Is Our God (Bb/BH#5)
As Written (We’ll teach Chorus2 to Congregation) V1, C, V2, C, C2 2x,C)
then no pause into next

How Great Thou Art (Bb/BH#6)
Chorus only, broad

Prayer / Fellowship

Everlasting God (Bb/BH#121)
As Written / V, Channel, C, V, Channel, C, Channel, C
In Christ Alone (D-Eb/BH#506)
All 4 verses w/ key change and tag

Offertory Prayer - Deacon

Special Music: Deb Ingram - Pianist
Message: Bro. Steve
Invitation: Wherever He Leads I’ll Go (F/BH#437)
Closing Chorus: Everlasting God (Bb/BH#121)
V, Channel, C

I can't speak for everyone, but I had a very worshipful experience Sunday.
Some of the highlights...
1.) How Great Is our God - I finally taught the church the 2nd Chorus "Name Above All Names..." Hearing the ladies sing it while the guys sang the regular chorus really added to the song. Hearing the voices sing God's praises sounded so great I had us sing the chorus of How Great Thou Art a 2nd time acapella.
2.) Everlasting God - First time we've done this one at Westwood. Clearly it was new to most in the church, but by the end they were singing the chorus pretty strong. This is a simple to teach chorus that is very upbeat. I'm sure it will be done again soon. (I only wish the opening verse wasn't so low.)

Some of the "no-so-high"lights...
1.) We sang all the verses of In Christ Alone (My Hope Is Found). By the end, it felt like it was simply dragging on instead of building in worship. I'm going to attribute that to the fact that not as many folks knew it as I had assumed. I think when we do it in the future I might cut a verse and see if that changes anything.

2.) During the intro, I foolishly started talking "off the cuff" about God's love and how amazing it is especially considering the fact of how big He is and how small we are. I even mentioned a video I'd seen online last week comparing the size of Earth to other objects in space. Would have been nice to have shown the video instead of told them about it. That's what I get for working without notes. =)

How was your Sunday?

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Space, The Final Frontier

Tonight if you look up at just the right time, you might see something that will remind you how small we are and how big God is.
According to Nasa, the space shuttle and international space station should be visible passing overhead in the Birmingham area.
My wife, two sons, and I sat outside Tuesday night to watch it as well. Seeing those man made spacecrafts moving through the sky caused me to realize that I was looking at one of mankind's greatest achievements, but then looking at all the stars that filled the rest of the sky, my focus quickly shifted from what we've done to what our creator has done. As I watched, I couldn't help but think of the heavens that God has created, noticed all the stars, and imagined the galaxies that are beyond what I can see. The thought that I'm so small compared to all the wonderful things that God has created and yet he still chooses to love me, and sent His son to die for me, it's makes me want to worship Him. I know that Nasa didn't send those astronauts into space to lead me in worship, but Tuesday night, that's exactly what they did.

If you're in the Birmingham area, I encourage you to look in the Northwestern sky at 7:26. You might see a small shining dot moving from NorthWest to North, North-East. That will be the space shuttle. Then at 7:30, another small dot, following the exact same path. That's the international space station. They should each be visible for about 2 minutes.

You can find more info here...

Thursday, September 3, 2009

It's The Most Wonderful Time Of The Year

I started writing this blog today planning to talk about how much I love this time of year. College football, cooler weather, everyone's back to school. It's probably my favorite time of the year...BUT...

Right before I started typing this blog I received an e-mail from Netflix. Even before opening the e-mail, I knew what it said. It was going to tell me what wonderful movies they are mailing my way today. Then I realized something. We've now reached the worse time of year for DVD watchers. This is the time of year when movies that we're in theaters in Jan- April are released on DVD. Yuk, everyone knows those movies stink. The big summer movies don't start getting released until closer to the holidays. So for the next couple months at least, my movie viewing is going to be limited to movies that I'm indifferent about watching, nothing I'm just dying to see.

You may be wondering why I'd watch a movie I really don't want to watch. It's not that I don't want to watch them, it's that I'm just not excited about them. Plus, I'm spending $18 of my hard earned dollars every month to enjoy 3 movies out at a time. So I try to make the most of my plan and watch 3 every week which would mean I'm paying only $1.38 per movie with no late fees.

So here are the blah movies for this week...

1.) Sunshine Cleaning (I'm expecting this one to be "independent film quirky".)
2.) Pink Panther 2 (I'm expecting this one to have at least 2 good laughs. That's about all Steve Martin's earned per movie in recent years)
3.) Tyler Perry's: Madea Goes to Jail. (Probably the one of these I want to see the most.)

And one more thing...
If you get a chance to see Julia Roberts new movie "Duplicity", don't.

I'm through being whiny now.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Rubix, The Amazing Cube

Everyday I try to learn something.

Recently I've learned, or have been reminded, that I have limitations.
There's only so much I'm capable of doing. If I try doing anything beyond that point it requires outside help to accomplish the task at hand. The help required may be from another person, an internet source, or most of the time God himself.

Today I was reminded that I'm not as smart as I'd like to be.

Here's the evidence...

As you can see, this is a properly completed Rubix cube, or is it?

I spent a little while today messing with this while talking with customers on the phone. I quickly learned that my spatial aptitude and intelligence is enough that I'm able to finish two complete levels of this puzzle, but not the third.
I was so happy when I had all but the bottom level completed, then I realized, as I tried to complete the bottom level, I was only messing up the work I'd already done on the first two.

I'm aggravated that I'm unable to complete this puzzle on my own. Ugh. Apparently instead of studying in school and working to increase my intelligence I watched too much television as a child now facts like this take up space in my brain...
Did you know there was a cartoon in the 80's called "Rubix, the Amazing Cube". Even more trivial, do you know who sang the theme song. Menudo. That's right. 80's Spanish boy band, Menudo. Featuring little Ricky Martin. Sadly, I didn't Google that. I just knew it.

So take that Mr. Rubix! So what if I can't solve your little toy puzzle.
At least I remember your cartoon and it's theme.

Oh wait, that's not so good either.

The Pen Is Mightier...

It's no secret that I love gadgets. Cell Phones, computers, even gadgets as simple as some office supplies have been known to make me smile.

I tried to think back to when this love for gadgets started and I think it really stated in my kindergarten classroom. I clearly remember the first box of crayons I got that included a crayon sharpener installed in the back of the box. How cool was that?! Then as I got into the older elementary grades someone gave me a pen that had 6 colors in it. You'd simply click the color of ink you wanted on the top of the pen, and the corresponding colored ball point would come out. I think that's the first pen I ever used unil it ran out of ink. (a goal I've had ever since with any pen I use that I like.)

Well, that fondness for interesting gadgets has never gone away. In fact, it's gotten worse over time. Today I'll share with you two office gadgets that I'm rather fond of right now.

1.) The new Sharpie Pen.
Why do I like it? Fine point, dark print, no smear, and it will write on just about any surface. I've chosen the blue ink version because it helps the writing stand out on the page better.

2.) The Liquid Paper DryLine.
I know this has been around for years, but I just discovered it a few months ago. I went to the person who orders office supplies at work and asked for some lquid paper. She laughed at me when I said I wanted the old gloopy brush/bottle kind.
She showed me this beauty and I've loved it ever since. So now when I make a mistake with my awesome blue ink Sharpie pen, I can quickly cover it up with a nice clean strip of liquid paper.

What gadgets/office supplies are you loving right now?

Friday, August 21, 2009

Movie Review: 2 for 1

I haven't done this in a while, so I thought it might be time for another movie review. And since I've seen 2 movies recently that I enjoyed, I'll mention them both.

I've been working on rearranging my home office for a couple months now. So every night after the kids and the wife go to bed (9pm), I usually retreat to my office, put a movie in the dvd player, and work on organizing all my stuff while watching the movie of the day.

I've watched 2 recently I'd like to tell you about...

1.) The Kingdom: Starring Jamie Fox, Jennifer Garner, Jason Bateman, and many other character actors you'll recognize. It's a story of an FBI investigative squad who travel to Saudi Arabia to investigate a bombing attack on Americans citizens. I've had this on my DVR for months and had put off watching it becuase I never really felt in the right mood to watch a war movie. (That's what I thought it was originally) Wow, was I wrong. It's so much more. I highly recommend that you see this movie. The movie does a great job making you care about the characters and the action scenes towards the end are very well done. The only negative I have to say about this movie is that is takes a while to really get going. But once it does, you'll see that the beginning was all building up to something. It is rated R for violence and language, so consider yourself warned. But if you want to see a good movie. I encourage you to rent this one.

2.) Last House On The Left - I blogged a few weeks ago about how I was giving up horror movies. Well I take all that back. This movie was great. All I knew about this one going in was that it was about a family who's faced with dealing with a group of intruders after they've attacked their daughter. I also knew that this was a remake of a Wes Craven movie, so it had be be watchable. I don't want to give anything away about the movie. I'll just say this... I'm not sure who's more scary, an intruder in your home or the father of a daughter who you've attacked. Again rated R. Much violence and language. I'll close this review with a lesson that ths film and many others have taught me.: Apparently, if you've going to have a fight in the house, at some point you have to move the fight into the kitchen. There are many more weapons in there than in any other room in the house.

OK...I may or may not have also watched the Matthew Perry / Zac Efron remake of 17 Again. If I did watch it, and I'm not saying I did. It might have been much better than I might have expected it to be.

Have you seen anything good recently?

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Just Another Day In Paradise

It's hard to believe that summer's already over.
Moms are on facebook getting sappy about there little ones heading off to school, college students are using their status updates to talk about how difficult their new classes are.

My life has changed a little as well. Ethan started school this year, so now at some point in my day I get to have a conversation with him that usually begins with me asking "So how was school?"
So far his response has been the same everyday:

"Not good. We didn't get to go on the playground today. It was too wet from the rain."

I'm glad he's figured out what the important part of every day is.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Setlist 08-16-09

Each week I try to blog about our Sunday Service.
I include this post in the blog over at Fred McKinnon's site.
There you can see lots of worship leaders talk about their services.
I encourage you to check it out.

Here's what we did today.

Call To Worship - Choir: I’ve Been Changed (Very old Southern gospel song)

Welcome / Announcements

Made To Worship (G / BH#892)
V1, C, V2, C ,C
I Worship You Almighty God (F / BH#16)
Chorus 2x

Prayer / Fellowship – Bro. Steve
Choir exits loft during fellowship

All Hail The Power Of Jesus Name (F-G / #687)
All 4 verses with key change. No tags between verses.
Blessed Be The Lord God Almighty (Bb-C / BH#37)
V, C, V, C, Key Change, C.

Offertory Prayer: Jeff Hodgson

Grace Alone (C / BH#112)
Congregation will sing, As Written

Message: Bro. Steve – “The Parable of The Roadside Emergency” (Luke 10-:30-37) Theme: Compassion

Invitation: Wherever He Leads I’ll Go (BH#437)
Closing Chorus: Blessed Be The Lord God Almighty (Bb-C / BH#37)Chorus Only

When I planned the service, I did it this way thinking that the opening choir song would be an upbeat way to get everyone awake and involved in the worship. Unfortunately, something was up with the sound mix and the choir was difficult to hear. From there the service got just slower. I'm afraid I danced on that fine line between worshipful and sleepy today, and I fell on the wrong side of it a time or two. The service was a little more old school than our normal. We had a good mix of songs, but the two 80's choruses didn't help pick up the pace of the service any. Overall a good service, but I think I should have incorporated more celebration or upbeat songs.

I am looking forward to tonight though. Normally our Sunday nights are traditional Baptist formation: 3 hymns and a "special". We started having an entire rhythm section on the 3rd Sunday night of each month, so tonight I think we'll have some fun.
How was your Sunday?

Monday, August 10, 2009

Brush-a, Brush-a, Brush-a

I’ve said it before. I’ll say it again. I love being a dad.
One of the things I love most about it is watching by sons learn new stuff. I love the thrill of helping them learn how to do a bunch of manly stuff: fix cars, do yardwork, etc. One of those manly things that I’ve been working on recently is trying to teach Gavin ( 3 years old) how to spit. Yes. That’s right. I’m teaching him how to spit. While this may not seem like an important skill to you, I can attest that it is. If you didn’t know how to spit, how would you eat watermelons (the seeded kind)? How would you eat sunflower seeds? And most importantly, if you didn’t know how to spit, how would you brush your teeth? That’s what we’re working on right now. How to properly brush his teeth.
When you’re brushing a toddler’s teeth, there’s special kid toothpaste that can be swallowed without causing any sickness or trauma. Unfortunately “big boy” toothpaste is a little more powerful and shouldn’t be swallowed. So as a parent, it’s your job to help you child properly brush their teeth and spit out the toothpaste. A few nights ago I experimented with Gavin and “big boy” toothpaste for the first time. The toothpaste he’d been using was tasty but didn’t have any of the tingle or burn that adult toothpastes do. So I thought I’d go ahead and see if he could handle something without a cartoon character on it.
I brushed his teeth with just a little of it, because he said he didn’t want to spit right then. After I was done, I did my best to look excited and said:
“So, what’d you think of the big boy toothpaste? Did you like it?”
He looked me right in the eye and said:
“Big boy toothpaste makes me want to cry.”

I took that as a “no.”

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Sunday Setlist 08-09-09

Each week I try to blog about our Sunday Service.
I include this post in the blog over at Fred McKinnon's site.
There you can see lots of worship leaders talk about their services.
I encourage you to check it out.

Here's what we did today.
Orchestral Prelude: Since Jesus Came Into My Heart (Ab / BH#624)


O Worship The King (Eb-F/BH#738)
New Arrangement / V1, V2, Key Change, V3
Take My Life (Holiness) (F/BH#589)
Omit repeat @ m12, rest as written. V1, C, V2, C, C
Give Us Clean Hands (F/BH#590)
Begin @ m12, play rest as written. C, V, C, C.

Prayer / Fellowship: Bro. Steve

Since Jesus Came Into My Heart (Ab / BH#624)
1st, 2nd, and last
Offering (F/BH#103)
As Written until end @ m29 / V, C, V, C, C, no Tag.

Offertory Prayer

Choir Special: At The Name Of Jesus (Octavo)

Transitional Chorus: Take My Life (Holiness) (F / BH#589)
1V & Chorus Only

Message: Bro. Steve: “The Parable Of The Big Barn” (Luke 12:16-21)
Theme: stewardship, salvation

Invitation: I Have Decided To Follow Jesus (BH#434)
Closing Chorus: All Hail King Jesus (BH#295)

I was pretty happy with the flow of the service today. It was a little old school. The newest song was Paul Baloche's "Offering". But it flowed well.
We did a very southern version of "Since Jesus Came Into My Heart". I even hammed it up a lot on the formatas during the chorus. Imagine Bugs Bunny holding his hand up for way too long when directing the opera singer. There were a couple of those moments. Was that worshipful? Maybe not. But the song was very "celebratory" (Is that a word?) so I did it just for fun. I have no problem doing goofy stuff like that from time to time if it helps people laugh, loosen up, and maybe be more open to expression other emotions during the worship.

We transitioned from that to "Offering" which went really well. I started the service not sure what to say to help make this transition, but I guess God did it for me, because as we ended "Since Jesus..." we were laughing, and I was reminded about the joy God gives us. I was reminded that owe God everything, including our offering of praise. That led right into the next song.

Finally I've got to say something about the choir song.
I know a lot of churches who no longer utilize a choir and maybe have never even considered having an orchestra. Today was one of those days that I was especially glad we did have them. Hearing the choir, horns, and tympani drums on "Cindy Berry's "At The Name Of Jesus" was awesome musically and it led me to worship. I was especially glad when I turned from directing the choir and saw many of our church members on their feet giving praise to God.

I'm so thankful to be a part of what God is doing here.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Sunday Setlist 08-02-09

Each week I try to blog about our Sunday Service.
I include this post in the blog over at Fred McKinnon's site.
There you can see lots of worship leaders talk about their services.
I encourage you to check it out.

Here's the list of what we did in our service Sunday.
I've decided to post it this week in the same format I give it to our musicians.
Maybe it will shed a little light on what goes into planning a typical service.
By the songs you'll see a couple of notes.
Song Title (Key / Book and Page # where song is found)
Then I'll have some performance notes in italics below.
You'll notice we do a lot out of the BH (Baptist Hymnal). We bought the newest version last year and I've been very pleased with the amount of new songs and new arrangements of traditional hymns.

I've included some additional notes below the list.
Orchestral Prelude: Crown Him With Many Crowns (C / BH#704)


Not To Us (G / BH#905)
V1, C, V2, C, C
Days Of Elijah (Ab / MSFP&W#139)(Book is More Songs For Praise & Worship)
As written

Welcome / Prayer / Fellowship: Pastor

Crown Him With Many Crowns (C-D / BH#704)
1, 2, and last verses with tag.
Jesus Paid It All (Bb / MISC Chord Charts)
Stanfill Version, All 3 verses, tag, then Chorus Acapella if led

Offertory Prayer: Deacon

Choir Special: Holy, Holy, Holy (Sanctuary)

Transitional Chorus: I Love You, Lord (Ab / BH#555)
repeat as led

Message: Bro. Steve
Invitation: I Surrender All (BH#716)
Note: New Arrangement
Closing Chorus: Not To Us (G / BH#905)
Chorus Only
I felt good about Sunday's service.
As always the place lit up when we did Days Of Elijah.
While on paper, it looks a little hymn heavy, these were almost all newer arrangements, and it flowed very well.
We introduced "Not To Us" for the first time on a Sunday morning. We omitted the bridge that makes reference to the "universe spinning" and "children dancing, dancing, dancing". I'm just not sure that we (I) can sing it with a straight face.
But, maybe more smiles would be good on a Sunday morning. =)

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Lost & Found

I hate losing stuff.
Unfortunately, due to my cluttered lifestyle, it happens way too often. Usually when I lose something I know I’ll find it again soon. Whatever it is that I’ve lost, I usually find it buried somewhere in the trunk of my car, in the cushions of my recliner, or somewhere in the piles of junk on my home office desk. Sadly, that has not been the case with the item I’ve recently misplaced.
2 months ago. I lost my keys. I know what you’re thinking. “That’s’ crazy! How does someone lose their keys?” It was actually pretty easy (and stupid). I made the mistake of taking my car key off of my keyring. It would take me too long to explain why I did such a stupid thing. So instead I’ll just say I left my car at home, with my car key in it and I took the others with me to church. On Monday when I went to work. I got in my car and remembered that I only had my car key. Hmmm? Where had I put my keyring with my other keys? I had no idea, so I went for weeks and weeks looking everywhere I had been hoping to find my keyring. But alas, no luck.
Sadly here’s what was on that keyring that I lost…
1.) House key
2.) Work Key
3.) 2 church keys
4.) An empty 16 gig usb flash drive
5.) A penny that I drilled a hole in 15 yeas ago while working for ROHN industries.
6.) A small Penske emblem that I received for working 5 years for that company. (I’m not sure why I was still carrying that.)
7.) And the biggest loss… The clicker to my car.
The keys were all easily replaceable although the loss of the church keys has stressed out some “security committee” members. The flash drive, will be missed as well, but I’d already moved on to other methods of portable storage. I’m gonna miss that penny because I would look at it from time to time and notice that the hole getting bigger and Lincoln’s face was slowly wearing down. But the clicker! Wow, that’s expensive to replace. It was already cracked, and didn’t work all of the time, but knowing that I’m going to have to replace it now. That really stinks.
2 things have happened in recent days though that have brought a smile to my face. First I think I’ve remembered where I put them. When we left church that morning I remember loading Gavin into his car seat in Kristi’s car and placing my keyring on her car’s roof. As I buckled him in I rememeber thinking “Shawn, don’t forget your keys.” But strangely, I don’t remember actually grabbing them off the roof. I think that is the most likely scenario. They are probably somewhere along the road within 100 yards of my church. I’m smiling about that because I’ve realized I could have easily lost my car key too if it had been on there.
Second, I’m now smiling because of my new key ring. A Lego store opened in the Riverchase Galleria this weekend and while my boys were looking around I found this piece of Darth-lego-awesomeness on a keychain.

Monday, July 20, 2009

You've Got Mail

I sent an e-mail out to our church choir and orchestra members a few minutes ago regarding some upcoming practice notes and schedule changes.

I started off the e-mail with this....

Hello Everyone,
Hope you're having a great Monday.
(Mine hasn't been good so far. I was supposed to leave for work at 7am, but instead I woke up at 7:36.)

I then went on to talk about choir stuff.

Well, apparently I had one e-mail address wrong because I got the following response back within just a few minutes from someone I don't know....

Hey Shawn,
Maybe you should lay off the booze so you can get up on time. Also, you should know that I've decided to quit the choir. Way too much gossip for me...

I laughed out loud.

Friday, July 17, 2009

A Picture Is Worth...

My friend Jamie blogged today about family beach photos.
In response, I offer a glimpse into how these pictures come into existence.

It’s approx 3pm on a beautiful Florida afternoon.
Picture a cute little family playing either on the beach or around the hotel pool when the wife says….
“Come on everybody. We’ve got to go get dressed for pictures.”
Husband: “Pictures? What pictures?”
Wife: “We’re having pictures made on the beach.”
Husband: “But I didn’t bring any nice clothes for pictures.”
Wife: “Yes, you did. I packed matching shirts and pants for everyone.”
Husband: Sighs, and roll his eyes “Come on kids. Let’s go get dressed.”

2 hrs later (It does not take the husband or kids nearly that long to get ready.) they arrive at a section of beach that is absent the hotels and condos that cover the rest of the beach. As the family exits their vehicle they see at least 50 other people in matching clothes trying to find the perfect spot for pictures. Apparently this time of day is “Perfect for pictures” so something in many mothers has caused them to bring their families to this section of beach. I’m not sure why theses pics are so important, but apparently there’s some Mother’s code that says you must have picture of your family at the beach and some seashells in your bathroom. I think Jeff Foxworthy said it best when he said “You won’t ever see a toilet on the beach, but you will see a beach on your toilet.”

When taking such pictures, if you listen closely you might hear any or all of these statements from the families:

Kid: “I hate sand, Do I have to take my shoes off?”
Dad: “Stop kicking sand on your brother!”
Kid: “Are we done yet? I’m tired of smiling.”
Mom: Almost in tears “Can’t we just be civilized for once. I just want a picture of my family on the beach. But you can’t even give me that. We can't have anything nice!”
Dad: “Kids, the quicker we get this done the quicker we can go eat at Captain Anderson’s. So Stop Whining! And Smile, dang-it!”

One of the biggest problems with taking pictures involving children is trying to get them to smile at the same time.
We’ve learned that if you can get all the older kids in the picture to keep smiling, then hopefully you’ll be able to get just one shot of the littlest child smiling as well.
If all goes well, you get a picture like this.

But most of the time you’ve got one goofy person in the picture who can’t seem to keep it together and you end up with this…