Monday, December 9, 2013

Sunday Setlist 12-08-13

First, a quick recap, since I haven't blogged much recently.
In mid-September of this year my family and I started on a new journey when I accepted a full time ministry position at Northside Baptist in Jasper, AL.

-My first Sunday was September 22nd. This church for years has worshiped with a blended worship style using only piano and organ.
-My second Sunday, the organist (who had played here for 50+ years)  turned in her resignation. Upon receiving this news, I was afraid I had done something to offend her, but she quickly let me and the church know she felt like it was just the right time. As usual, God has a way of working these things out, because that same week we filled the position from within the church and began discussing the possibility of adding a keyboard.
-My 6th Sunday, we added guitar and percussion to the praise band.
-My 11th Sunday, we added the keyboard we'd been researching. (We chose the Kawai MP6 for it's ease of use and great sound.)

-Yesterday, my 12th Sunday at Northside, we added another percussionist and our other percussionist played mandolin some (and will likely play bass soon.) Have I mentioned the fact that the Northside church family is dripping with musical talent? I should have. I'm looking forward to utilizing all these soloists and musicians more in the future.

I am LOVING this process, every part of it:
-Getting to know the folks here.
-Working with our 40-50 voice choir.
-Adding people to the praise band, allowing more folks to be a part of the worship leading process.
-Working with the sound guys to get the best possible sound from our system.
-Watching the church family worship God and enjoy the music.

There is still a growing list of things I want to accomplish.
This list seems to get longer everyday. A few of these things I'm working on include:
-Evaluating the current sound system to see if it can meet our growing needs. Comparing options for either a hearback system or maybe just getting a new digital board with personal monitor iphone app capabilities.
-Adding a full drum kit and bass player. The only thing holding this up is the sound system issues.
-Incorporating a vocal praise team.
-Continuing to tweak the service flow.

While we work through all of those, we continue to strive to glorify God in our services every week.
Here's what we did to accomplish that yesterday, along with a  few notes...
Prelude - Organ  (I said we got a keyboard. I never said we got rid of the organ.)
Sunday School Report - John

Sing To The King (Billy James Foote)
O Come All Ye Faithful (contemporary hymn arrangement)

Welcome / Prayer - David

Fellowship Song  - Angels From The Realms of Glory (contemporary hymn arrangement)

Children's Message - David

Your Name (Paul Baloche) w/ new Christmas themed 1st verse from Baloche's Christmas album.
Looking back, I think I should have done the chorus to this another time or two. Based on the raised hands and worshipful expressions in the room, I think people were really connecting with it.
Cornerstone (Hillsong)
This was our first time to sing this as a congregation. The youth choir sang it a month or so ago for the first time at Northside. I was a little surprised how many people sang out on it since it was new. It went great.  I had planned ahead of time to trim the 3rd verse and choruses at the end. But, when doing it, it felt like we ended too soon. I definitely wish I had kept the song going longer.

Offertory Prayer

Choir Special - Do You Hear What I Hear? w/ solo by Jill Bailey.
This was the first time our choir and praise band did a song together. It sounded great. We've been having some choir mic issues in recent weeks (mostly because I moved the choir mics a month ago and they didn't perform as well where I put them.) but this week we tried something new with the mics. Based on feedback I've received so far, it sounded great to others too.

Message - David
Invitation: I Have Decided To Follow Jesus (Hymn)
Closing Prayer
Postlude - Organ

I continue to see how God has led my family and I to Northside. I know we're where He wants us to be.
We're looking forward to seeing what He has in store for us here in the weeks, months, and  years to come.

Want to get updates on all my posts? You can like Tales From Street Road on facebook.

This post is part of the blog carnival at You can go here to see what other churches are doing in their services around the world.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

10 Questions I Have About My New Job

Have you heard I got a new job?
Then you must not follow me on social media.
I've kind of talked about it a lot.
Too Much?
But alas, I continue....

I worked out most of the details regarding my new position during the interview process, but now that I'm only a few days from actually starting, I've realized I have some more important questions about my new position. Most of these are rhetorical and don't require an actual answer. But you Northside folks feel free to answer any that you can.

1- The New Thor movie comes out in early November. Will I have met and friended a group of fellow nerds by then to go see it with me?

2 - Will someone be offended that, instead of the typical "footprints in the sand", I'll have this framed poster hanging in my office?

3 - How many times during the first month will I turn the wrong way off of Street Road when heading to work?

4 - In my 15+ years of driving an hour to work, I've gotten pretty good at getting important tasks accomplished from the car. You have to learn to be productive when you're in the car for 2 hours a day. Now that my commute will only be about 1/3 as long as it used to, when am I supposed to watch all those shows on netflix listen to all those podcasts that I used to while commuting?

5 - Will the Northside family be interested in going to Cricket County?
The cast of Westwood's 2010 play "Christmas in Cricket County"... and my farmer's tan.

6 - I've got to decide which senior adult woman to adopt as my grandmother. How will I figure out who is the best cook? (I know the answer to this one. Eat a meal with them all.)

7 - It is very important  that  I  that my boys figure out who is the candy man. Every church has one right? You've got to know the man who will slip you a piece of candy when you shake his hand on Sunday morning.

8 - Will Gavin and Ethan do well in the Northside children's choir? Their musical tastes are pretty varied.

9 - Who at Northside will Kristi have a "special"* relationship with like she did with Joseph at Westwood?
I know I used this pic yesterday. It's too good not to use again.

10 -  Do the folks at Northside have any idea what they've gotten themselves into?

I know I said 10 questions. But this just has to be included.
11 - On my first night there, someone asked me, in front of the whole church, if people who live in the community where I live "fight your chickens before you cook 'em." I knew right then we'd get along just fine. But still it's worth asking.....

Do I have any idea what I've gotten myself into?

*special = love / hate

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Sunday Setlist - September 8th 2013 - Goodbyes, Tears, and Laughs.

I'll admit, this should probably be 3 or maybe even 4 separate posts, but I'd rather just get it all out there because all this happened on the same day.

This past Sunday was my last day on staff at Westwood Baptist Church.
When planning the Sunday morning service, I really wanted to take the focus off of me completely, but it was hard not to pick some of my favorite songs knowing it would be the last time I'd lead them with this group of worshipers.

Here's what we did, and why, along with some video clips. (Thanks to my mother in law, Karen, for the videos)

Special Music: Deep Down (Selah)- Kara Kinnaird, Heather Potts, and myself.
We had done this song together a few times over the past couple years. My life was threatened by at least 4 people if I didn't include it one of my last Sundays.

Days Of Elijah (Darlene Zschech)
I had never heard this song prior to joining Westwood in 2001. It was one of our favorites then and still gets everyone on their feet when we sing it. Such a powerful song that focuses on our returning Savior. I especially love the drum solo we always start with.

My Savior, My God (Aaron Shust)
I picked this one for two reasons..1.It is a solid worship song the church knows well that would be a little more mellow that the previous two songs. 2. Because of the first line of the verse. "I am not skilled to understand what God has willed what God has planned. I only know at His right hand stand one who is my Savior." I teared up for the first time that morning singing that line. Trusting in Him as my family makes this transition.

Welcome / Announcements / Fellowship
As I looked over the announcements to be made, I purposefully skipped mentioning my ordination or farewell fellowship to take place that night. It just felt a little self serving to say anything about it. I was tempted to say "There's some kind of fellowship tonight. I heard rumor that people like cheesecake." But I avoided that temptation and didn't say anything.

One thing that I did out of the ordinary is I paused to take some pics of everyone. I even went as far as to say "Bear with me while I do this. But then again, if you don't like it, what are you going to do? fire me?"
I was not expecting my hands to begin shaking as I took the pics. They started shaking because the realization that this is the last time I'll see this view hit me like a ton of bricks. So I apologize that these pics are so blurry.

Power In His Blood Medley (HYMNS)
This is just an arrangement of hymns that I put together years ago. I love hearing the Westwood musicians jam on this. I wouldn't generally describe them as southern, but they know how to groove on this when asked. Lots of fun and a perfect song of celebration while coming out of a fellowship time.

10,000 Reasons (Matt Redman)
Love this song. Picked it because of all the reasons I have to Praise God.

Offertory Prayer

Choir Special: Saved (Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir)  - Solo by Kara Kinnaird
As soon as knew when my last Sunday at Westwood would be, I asked Kara to sing this song. It's one of my absolute favorites and I love to hear her sing it.

Your Name (Baloche)

Message: Bro. Steve

Invitation: I Surrender All (HYMN)
Closing Chorus: Sing To The King  (Billy Foote)

It was a special day to all, as evidenced by this picture of The Lovely Kristi and Joseph hugging. THIS IS A MIRACLE YA'LL.

That service was very powerful to me. I was encouraged. I was spiritually fed. I was led in worship by the musicians, the choir, the praise team, and the congregation. I am SO thankful for every day I was allowed to serve this church family.

Now on to Sunday night...
Sunday night I was ordained into full time ministry.
I thought it might be emotional because I was leaving but the emotion I felt was also fueled by the seriousness of the service and...
knowing that all these people were praying for me, praying with me, supporting me,
knowing that God had clearly let me know His will and that I was following it,
knowing that my Dad would have been bursting with pride if He had been there,
It was all very moving.

I'll admit... I cried like a baby.
But tried to hide it as I looked towards the floor in prayer most of the time.
(Note To Self: The next time you participate in an ordination service make sure the candidate has tissues nearby in case he becomes a teary/snotty mess.)

I will never forget some of the things the men said to me as they prayed with me.

(I guess I could have laid down on the step and looked a little more like Jabba The Hut. {sigh} Oh well, I guess I'll keep my weight comments for another blog entry.)

I will also never forget the words that my "best good friend" Joseph shared with me as he challenged me during the charge to the candidate.

Not only did he encourage me to be myself and not compare myself to other worship leaders, but he also ended by sort of singing and dancing the song "Brother Friend" including the part where you say "you're my beginning and my end" and point to your butt.
It was precious.
Sorry, no video is available.

The day ended with a farewell fellowship. We were given lots of encouraging words and hugs. We were also given a ton of cards and unexpected gifts. It was a fun time with lots of laughs. But it was also very special for me and my family.

One of my favorite ladies at WBC, Mrs. Elaine Fuller, asked me if I would accept this rose. I'd be a fool not to. I'm definitely going to miss her, Mrs. Olive, Mrs. Maxine, and many others who have been special to me over the years.

As we left there that evening, I walked into the main office, removed my church keys from my key ring, and placed them in my empty office mailbox for the office staff to find the next morning. We walked out of the office with no one else around.
We climbed into the car and started to leave. Instead of just pulling out onto the road, I took a right turn, taking us all the way around the building one last time. The boys asked me what was wrong.
I was crying.
Kristi was crying.
We were holding hands and I drove.
I explained to the boys we were just thinking about the past. This church ministered to us when Ethan was born, when Gavin was born, when Kristi's Grandfather passed away, when my father and grandmother passed away, and every other day over the past almost 13 years that we've been members.
I explained to them how excited I am about our future and about what God is doing with our family.

By the time I was done talking we were almost out on the highway.
I think that's when Kristi said something like...
Can you believe that idiot (Joseph) ended his talk with "Brother Friend?!?"
It was the perfect way to stop the tears and starts the laughs.

This post is part of the blog carnival at You can go here to see what other churches are doing in their services around the world.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Memories, Moving, And Mystery Milkshakes

My multi-career life is quickly drawing to a close.

I have had 2 jobs almost consistently since I was 18. But that streak will end in a few days.

I had my last choir rehearsal with the gang at Westwood Wednesday night. But we didn't sing a single note. Instead, they surprised me with a farewell party. It was fitting, not only because I like to eat, but also because it brought back memories. Ethan was born on a Monday in 2004. I led worship the first time as interim the following Sunday. Within a couple weeks, the choir threw us a surprise baby shower. So you could say we began and ended our time there with food.

Photo credit: Deb Ingram. Cake Credit: Deb Ingram via Edgar's Bakery.
We did eat a lot. But we also laughed a lot remembering the past 9 years.

Those memories kept coming to mind tonight as I cleaned out my office. Apparently I'm a hoarder of sample music from publishing companies. It took me multiple trips to the dumpster to get rid of all of it. But, with the help of The Lovely Kristi and both the boys, we finally got it cleaned out.

The After picture. The Before pic is not suitable for public viewing.
One of the best parts about cleaning out the office was looking through almost a decade of memories.
The Shawn Action figure. It does not include swivel arm battle grip.
This is one of my favorite things on my shelf. Back in 2004 Millie Caffee made a figurine action figure of me including my Penske logo shirt, Birkenstocks, pigeon toes, and hand on my heart as I led worship.

One of the many memorable comment cards I received over the years.
I received this comment card after wearing a Clone Trooper helmet into the service to promote our Fall Festival in 2010. I was glad to have inspired someone in such a powerful way. I'm not sure who wrote this, but I think his name starts with an "A" and ends with an "ustin Cranford".

Another memorable note from a worshiper
Unfortunately, not every note was always encouraging. But in this person's defense, he or she was right. At the time, I was trying to do too many songs. When I focused on better songs and less "filler" songs our services got better. Note: this person's name is not "Happy". I added a random sticker to protect his or her identity.

Warning: The next paragraph gets serious for a minute. One of the best parts of the night though was when we were finished cleaning up. I was overwhelmed. Having just packed up or thrown out almost 10 years worth of ministry stuff was a lot to deal with. I asked my fam to sit with me around the desk and just pray. I thanked God for the wonderful memories, friends, and ministry we'd had there. I thanked Him for blessing us in so many ways. I asked Him to continue to bless Westwood. I prayed for our future church family and ministry at Northside. I think my voice only broke with emotion a couple times. It was a powerful moment that I'll never forget.

Ok, the serious moment is over now.

After everything was packed, The Lovely Kristi headed home and the boys and I stopped for milkshakes at Sonic. I ordered a peanut butter shake. I drank it as I drove home and quickly realized there was something crunchy in it.


Now, I was aware they had a bacon shake. But I had not asked for it. So basically, I got a bacon surprise! After such an emotional night, you know what can help make things all better?
I'll tell you... surprise bacon.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Sunday Setlist, September 1st 2013

I knew that making the announcement about my upcoming move would be emotionally difficult, and I was prepared for that. What I was not prepared for is how emotional the services after that would be.
Even though I tried to plan a service without any references being made to it being one of my last Sundays at Westwood, somehow every song made me think about it.
Here's what we did...

Lord Reign In Me (Brenton Brown)
Who Can Satisfy (Brooklyn Tab choir arrangement) This is one of the first songs I remember learning at Westwood when I joined there in 2001. For many years we've done this choir arrangement with the entire congregation singing along. Great memories flood my mind when I hear it.
Welcome / Announcements / Fellowship by Bro. Steve
Included special scholarship recognition for Sabrina Dodd. Congrats Sabrina!!
I Stand Amazed In The Presence (Hymn)
Jesus Messiah (Chris Tomlin)
Offertory Prayer
Choir Special: Walking With The King (Brooklyn Tab) I'd been wanting to do this song for a while and finally decided a few weeks ago to go for it. I'm glad we did. Everyone did a great job on it. I'm gonna miss that choir and orchestra.
More Precious Than Silver (Lynn DeShazo) Pulled out this classic chorus to discuss the first time I realized that real worship is not just singing, it's praying.
Message: Guest speaker: Dr. Don Hawkins
Invitation: Your Name (Paul Baloche)
Closing Chorus: Lord Reign In Me (Brenton Brown)

My favorite moments of the morning were:

  1. While singing Jesus Messiah, as we sang the bridge "All our hope is in You!" I took a moment and really enjoyed watching the church worship.
  2. Before the service, our pianist, Deb, gave me a painting she had painted for me. I love it! I've told the choir many times that sometimes they hit that perfect last note and I just want to "pull a Bugs Bunny". You know know what I mean, where I have them hold a note out and I leave my glove floating in the air while I walk off the stage.

What was your favorite part of the service you attended Sunday?

This post is part of the blog carnival at You can go here to see what other churches are doing in their services around the world.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Sunday Setlist August 25th 2013

I blogged yesterday about how I resigned from my position at Westwood this past Sunday.
But I haven't yet told you about some of the other things that happened in our worship service.
Here's what we did at Westwood yesterday...
The theme of the service was Listening to God: "When God closes one door and opens another."
I'm thankful that Bro. Steve focused on that theme and made my announcement so much easier to make.

Orchestra Prelude: Be Thou My Vision (Hymn)
Choir Call To Worship: Lord God Almighty (Speak Your Name)
With trax

*Worthy Is The Lamb (Zschech)
I love singing this one... beginning with "Thank You for the Cross Lord." It just doesn't get much more worshipful than that.

Welcome / Announcements / Fellowship

*I’ll Fly Away (Hymn)
Upbeat southern style, maybe even a little rockabilly

Kidz Praise – All The People Said Amen (With Shawn on solo and Joseph on Guitar)
I had a blast singing this one with the kids (even if the bridge was too high for me.) You'll hear little Alec, I believe he's 4, adding in his own part that he wrote himself. Thanks to my Mother-in-law Karen for the video.

*He Knows My Name (Walker)
*Be Thou My Vision (Hymn)

Offertory Prayer

*Where He Leads Me (Hymn)
1st & Last

Message: Bro. Steve
Invitation: *I Have Decided To Follow Jesus (Hymn

...My Announcement

Closing Chorus: *Lord I Lift Your Name On High (BH#347)
I had this closing chorus planned, but in the tearful state of me and some others in the church, Bro. Steve opted in the moment to close in prayer. That was kind of him. Not sure anyone wants to hear me sing anything while I cry. 


What was your favorite part of your service? 

This post is part of's Sunday Setlist. Check it out to see what other worshipers are doing around the world. 

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Why I've Resigned From 2 Jobs In 3 Days

The title is true. I've turned in my notice at both of my jobs this week. 5 months ago I never would have thought I'd be writing that sentence today. But a lot can happen in 5 months.

In May, I received this email at my church email address.

My immediate thought after reading this was "Sure. I know a couple guys." I clicked 'forward' and sent the email on to some folks I know. I thought that was the end of it, but God had other plans.
A week or so later, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I tried to convince myself that I should just ignore it because I wasn't looking for another ministry position, but God just wouldn't let it go. I was pretty happy with my full time job in industrial sales, and very happy in my part time worship leader position at Westwood.  Why would God not get off my back about this? So I did something crazy. I prayed about it.

For some reason, God led me to send in a resume. There were a number of conversations, interviews, and lots of prayers over the next few months. The whole time I was praying for God to give me a clear sign about what He wanted me to do. I was also praying for clear stop signs if I was moving in the wrong direction at any point.

So last Sunday, I led worship at Northside Baptist and was voted in. Wednesday, I let our choir and praise band know of my decision. Friday, I turned in my notice at my full time job. And today, I tearfully shared what God has been doing in my life with the folks at Westwood.

Here's what I read to them today...
To my dear Westwood family,
In January of 2001, Kristi and I visited Westwood for the first time. Since then Westwood has not only been our church, you all have been family to us. That is why it is so hard to write this letter.
After much prayer seeking God's will, I am announcing my resignation from Westwood Baptist effective 2 weeks from today, Sunday September 8th.
I have accepted a full time position of "Minister of Music and Outreach" at Northside Baptist in Jasper. When I first heard about this open position, I immediately thought of other people who might be interested in it because I was not looking to make any changes. But over time, God would not allow me to stop thinking about it. Since then Kristi and I have diligently prayed for God to reveal His will to us and He has.
I am so thankful for the experiences, relationships, and ministry God has allowed us to be a part of here at Westwood. I feel like this church family has ministered to me and my family as much or more than I've ministered to the church. You were there for us for the birth of both Ethan and Gavin. You were there for us in times of loss, such as when my father passed away. You were also a key part, through every person involved in our Children's ministry, in helping to lead both my boys to accept Christ as their Savior. In addition to all this, the entire music ministry and our Sunday School class has been such a blessing to us.
I will always refer to Westwood as my home church and will always consider you family.
As my family and I head into this new mission field for us, I have 2 requests of you. 1) Will you support us in prayer and 2) will you do me the honor of ordaining me into the ministry, thereby agreeing with me that worship ministry is God's calling on my life?
Thank you so much for allowing me the honor to serve with you these past 12 1/2 years as a member and these past 9 1/2 years as a staff member.
I now know what Paul felt when he wrote
"I thank my God upon every remembrance of you."
With love for you all,
-Shawn & Kristi

The next month or so is going to be very emotional. I am excited about the new position. I am excited about what God is doing in my life and in my family. But I am also going to miss my Westwood family and fellow staff very much.

I'll likely be posting a lot more in the days to come, journaling this whole process. As I make this transition, I'm going to invite you to do two things..
  1. If you live anywhere near the Forestdale community of Birmingham, AL and are looking for a home church, you should visit Westwood Baptist. I can tell you, from 12 years of being a member there, that it is a loving and welcoming church that is worth checking out and getting involved in.
  2. If you live in the Jasper, AL area, come join me at Northside Baptist as I get to know that church family and we work to show and share God's love in that community.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

Sunday Setlist August 11th 2013

This was the plan for our worship service at Westwood today:
Praise To The Lord, The Almighty (Updated Hymn Arrangement)
1st, 3rd, Key Change, 4V, tag (Use Hymn #1 for lyrics and in bulletin)
How Can I Keep From Singing (Chris Tomlin)
V1,C, V2, C, C.

Welcome / Announcements / Fellowship

Down At The Cross (Hymn)                                                                  
Southern upbeat style, 1, 2nd, & Last verses
Mighty To Save (Laura Story)
C,C, B, B, C, C, B, B

Offertory Prayer

Choir Special: Cornerstone (Hillsong)
As Written, will invite congregation to join us towards the end.

Message: Bro. Steve

Invitation: Have Thine Own Way (Hymn)
Closing Chorus: Because He Lives (Hymn)

Chorus Only

I really enjoyed today's worship service. My prayer is that God did too, since that is the main goal.
I think my favorite moment of the morning was when our choir introduced the song "Cornerstone."

It was great. Halfway through the song I turned and invited the congregation to worship with us. Not only did they really sing out, but some people (without being asked) stood and raised hands in worship. I love it when people express their worship in different ways regardless of what the crowd around them is doing. Seeing one lone worshiper stand and sing in the midst of a crowd of people sitting gives me the same thought every time...We should always be willing to stand out in a crowd in our walk with God.

My second favorite moment is not near as serious.
During our fellowship time our band/orchestra played a VERY upbeat and southern version of "Down At The Cross". Toes tapped, people clapped, and people smiled. ( I couldn't think of anything else that rhymed with tapped.) I wouldn't normal describe us as a "southern gospel" style church. But our musicians really know how to let loose when called upon. It was awesome.

What was your favorite part of your service? 

This post is part of's Sunday Setlist. Check it out to see what other worshipers are doing around the world. 

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Free Bacon, Fun Splashing, & Wet Burgers

I took the day off work Tuesday just to have fun with the fam at our local water park, Splash Adventure. Overall we had a great day.

Our day started out GREAT! I shared this on the book of the faces....

We had a couple of "buy one get one free" coupons that we got online. So we expected that many other folks wold have them as well, making the crowd almost unbearable. We were SO wrong. There was a very small crowd today. We rarely had to stand in line on any slide. It was great.
We learned a few things that day:
1. Most humans are weird looking, myself included. The various stages of undressed humans on display at waterparks is proof of this.
2. If a 9 yr old rides "Upsurge", he will go about this high...
Ethan riding Upsurge

But if you are a 7 year old, and ride with your "more than pleasantly plump" father, you will almost touch the top...

Gavin & Shawn riding Upsurge
3. One might normally complain about the long lines at waterparks. One who would complain might want to consider how much more tiring it is to be able to walk right onto every ride. After a day with no lines, one might feel like he spent the day on a stair master.
4. It's amazing how many used band aids can be found on the ground and in the water at a water park, even with a small attendance.
5. If it begins to storm while you're at a waterpark do these 2 things.
A. Make a plan to cover your burgers and fries as you run through the rain to feed your family. Cheeseburgers are not as good when they are wet. I'm thankful the deli worker thought of that and gave me a tray to carry it on and a tray to cover it with.
B. Wait out the storm. Some of the folks with us waited it out and had the park almost to themselves for the last couple hours. I came home and took a nap. So it was still a win.
After that awesome nap, I've spent most of the evening watching Shark Week documentaries on discovery channel.
Again I'll say, overall, we've had a great day.

What have you learned at a waterpark?


Monday, August 5, 2013

Sunday Setlist August 4th 2013

Been a while since I updated the ole' blog and LOTS has been going on.
I've definitely got some catching up to do. But for now, I'll just talk about yesterday.

Here's a glimpse of our service from yesterday along with some notes and other thoughts about the service.

Crown Him With Many Crowns (updated hymn arrangement)
Open The Eyes Of My Heart (Paul Baloche)
Welcome / Announcements / Fellowship
Sing, Sing, Sing (Chris Tomlin)
Song Of Moses (Aaron Keyes)
Offertory Prayer
Choir Special: “Shine On Us” (Octavo)
Been many years since we've sung this. It sounded GREAT! I love hearing our choir on songs like this and seeing them worship.  
Transitional Chorus: Turn Your Eyes Upon Jesus (Hymn)

Message: Bro. Steve – “Listen To God: The Word that speaks to my Heart” (Acts 8:26-40)
Theme: How God uses scripture to guide us.

Invitation: I Surrender All (Hymn)
Closing Chorus: All Hail King Jesus (Kent Henry)

My favorite moments of the morning were watching one of our members worship as we sang the bridge of "Song of Moses" (sometimes the members lead me in worship more that I lead them.) and leading our choir and orchestra in "Shine On Us." The last verse was especially powerful...

Lord, let your love, love with no end, come over us, 
That we may be saved, That we may have life. 
To find our way in the darkest night, 
Let your love come over us.

This post is part of's Sunday Setlist. Check it out to see what other worshipers are doing around the world. 

What was your favorite part of your church service?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

This Easter Pagent Was Smokin'

We had a great Easter service at church Sunday morning. Everything went perfect.
We laughed. We cried. It was better than Cats.
We had a good crowd that included our pastor's parents, who had come all the way from Ohio.
Little did we know that while they were worshiping with us,
this was happening at their home church... (It starts getting good around 1:15.)

A few things that I love about this:
  1. The soloist never stops, not even for a second.
  2. Jesus kicks down the stone. Sometimes, I wish that's how it was really done.
  3. The guy that runs out carrying the burning stone. One article I read about this said he got second degree burns, but still played drums then went to the hospital. That's dedication. To all musicians who don't play when you have the sniffles....I think the bar has been raised.
I always pray that our programs will be memorable, but this is not what I mean, ever.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Happy Shawny Gras!

Happy Mardi Shawny Gras!

You may be asking yourself "What is Shawny Gras?".

I'm happy to explain.  Shawny Gras is that special few days every year when people all over the world in my house, celebrate life, happiness, and the birth of Shawn. I know it would probably make more sense to spell it Shawni Gras. But it's my blog. So I can do what I want. Neener, neener.

You see, today is my birthday. But it will be celebrated more than just today. It will be celebrated all week, until Saturday or until Kristi gets tired of me saying "Do I have to (insert household chore here)? It's my birthday week."

I realize this particular blog entry may seem very shallow and self focused. You know, because it draws attention to the fact that today is my birthday.  But that's not my intention. I think Shawny Gras should be celebrated by all.

Shawny Gras is lot different than Mardi Gras. Shawny Gras celebrations do not include parades (yet). It does not usually involve anyone in costumes. And no one is exchanging anything for beads. You see, there are plenty of activities everyone can do between now and the end of the week to celebrate life with me. Here are just a few examples....

 1.  Eat some cake!

  2.  Enjoy a project or hobby
3. Clown Around. Have fun. Why so serious?

4. Play a game.

5. Enjoy a rocking haircut and get dressed up in your casual wear...

...or formal wear
Class of '93.

6.) Get together with friends for lots of chuckles and belly laughs
7.) Take your significant other out for a night on the town.

As evidenced here, Shawny Gras is an all inclusive celebration. Its not just about me.
I encourage you to pick one or multiple of this options and have a blast this week.

But for now, if you'll excuse me... I'm got some celebrating to do.
Happy Shawny Gras and... 
Peace Out!!

Thursday, February 7, 2013

For My Sister On Her 40th Birthday

Today is Shannon’s Birthday.
Shannon is my older sister.

She is the person who...
1. encouraged (dared) me to jump off a 2’ high ledge when I was 3 years old.
I broke my arm. I cried about it for hours.
The Stinson's, pre-Leslie. 1978?

2.) when I was 6, gave me an education on The Tooth Fairy, The Easter Bunny, & Santa Claus all within 5 minutes. I cried about it for days.

The Stinson's, in all our 1980 glory.

3.) sat with me and said “Yeah, I can do your hair for you. It will look cool and winged back like the guys on TV.”  I'm still crying about this.

The Stinson's, with special guest: Shawn's hair. 1986?

4.) who might kill me for sharing all these pictures.

She is also the person... who looked out for me, laughed with me, encouraged me, and gave me guidance and advice when I needed it. I’m thankful for her and all the great times we’ve had together.

Oh yeah, she’s also the person who turned 40 today!!!!
So maybe, she’ll give me guidance on how to survive that when I get there ....a looong time from now.

Happy Birthday, Shannon.
Love you!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The Accent Blog

Sometimes I have good ideas to blog about.
Sometimes I just borrow (steal) ideas from others.
Sometimes I take the time to make a 6 minute video with the intent to post it.
And sometimes, I wait and post it 18 months later.

Ok, so here's the deal. In September of 2011, Jamie (and some other bloggers) posted videos they all called an 'accent blog'. Each was just a video of the blogger reading a list of words and answering questions so you could hear what their voices sounded like. Jamie posted her accent blog, so a day or two later, just for kicks, I created my own.

I uploaded it to youtube, watched the result, and was very surprised. Due to my crappy internet connection, there had been some sort of glitch in uploading and my voice didn't match my mouth. It was so bad that it seemed "Godzirra" might "destroy my virrage" at any moment. So I chose not to post it.

I happened to find that video again recently. One element of the video that I had forgotten about was a little lesson at the end where I took a couple minutes to explain the correct way to say my name. It might not seem that difficult, but some folks just don't get it. If you don't have time to watch the whole thing, I recommend skipping to the 5min mark, so you can at least benefit from the lesson.
Now, for your amusement and education I present "My Accent Blog (from 18 months ago)".

The List:
Aunt, Route, Wash, Oil, Theater, Iron, Salmon, Caramel, Fire, Water, Sure, Data, Ruin, Crayon, Toilet, New Orleans, Pecan, Both, Again, Probably, Spitting image, Alabama, Lawyer, Coupon, Mayonnaise, Syrup, Pajamas, Caught

The Questions:
  1. What is it called when you throw toilet paper on a house?
  2. What is the bug that when you touch it, it curls into a ball?
  3. What is the bubbly carbonated drink called?
  4. What do you call gym shoes?
  5. What do you say to address a group of people?
  6. What do you call the kind of spider that has an oval-shaped body & extremely long legs?
  7. What do you call your grandparents?
  8. What do you call the wheeled contraption in which you carry groceries at the supermarket?
  9. What do you call it when rain falls while the sun is shining?
  10. What is the thing you change the TV channel with?

Was I wrong about any of that? If you think so, let me know.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

I Get Knocked Down, But I Get Up Again

First, I've got to say a huge thanks to all of you that liked my page on Facebook yesterday. I appreciate all of you. Now the pressure is on me to keep all of you entertained (or at least not annoyed) with the random thoughts I post on my blog.
If you haven't yet liked Tales From Street Road on Facebook, you can go do that now.

Now...on with the randomness.

This is not a new video, but I just saw it this week.

Clearly, this guy made the best out of a bad situation. He could have given up. He could have just laid there until someone brought a stretcher to get him. He could have acted like it was someone else's fault. But he didn't. He fell, he quickly assessed the situation, and then made the best out of it.

When I saw this video it made me think 2 things:
1.) I hope the next time I fall, or fail at reaching a goal, that I can have the presence of mind to make the best of the situation, get up, and try again.
2.) I wish I could dance like that.

What would you have done in this situation?

Monday, February 4, 2013

Sunday Setlist 02-03-13

Here's what we did at our church service this morning...
All went well. No musical train wrecks (or actual train wrecks) occurred.

Our service was very blended today, an even mix of traditional hymns and newer choruses.
It's always interesting to see different groups of people in the congregation perk up during different song styles. It's as if they are waiting on their style to play before they engage. But I don't mind at all. I'm glad that we strive to offer everyone an opportunity to worship regardless of their style preferences.
Here's the list..

Praise To The Lord The Almighty (Hymn)
Hosanna (Praise Is Rising) (Brenton Brown)
Welcome / Announcements / Fellowship
All The Earth Will Sing Your Praises (Baloche)
Holy, Holy, Holy (Hymn)
Offertory Prayer
Choir: We Serve A Mighty God / What A Mighty God We Serve (Gerron Davis) He Knows My Name (Tommy Walker)
 My favorite moment of the morning happened during this song. I could really hear the worshipers singing out on this one, so we repeated the chorus at the end acapella. It was great hearing the crowd with voices only praising the Lord.

My second favorite moment was during rehearsal when we noticed the misprint in the worship guide calling this song. "He know my name." That led to a conversation acknowledging that  "He know where I stay too."

Message: Bro. Steve
Invitation: Wherever He Leads I'll Go (Hymn)
Hosanna (Praise Is Rising) (Brenton Brown)

How was your service today? What do you think of ours?
Feel free to ask questions or make comments.

This post is part of the Sunday Setlists that can be seen at The Worship Community.  Go there to see what other churches are doing and maybe even submit your own service.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Sunday Setlist 01-20-13 and The Co-Host

I'll tell you about our Sunday services in a minute, but before I do...

Have you ever had an idea that didn't work out exactly like you expected? A few years ago I attempted to record a video blog with my 3 year old son, Gavin. The final result that I posted can be seen ...Oh wait. It can't be seen. I never actually finished the video. But the first couple tries at filming are below..

Fast forward 3 1/2 years and that gets us to current day. So now here's a recap of our services this week. It was a bit of an unusual day today.
  • Our bass guitarist was out of town.
  • Our fill-in bass guitarist was out of town.
  • Our youth ministry was out of town at a retreat.
  • Our PowerPoint volunteer for the day was even out of town.
How in the world would we solve these problems? Easy.
  1. Our percussion guy played the bass line on tympani. Seriously. You haven't heard a good bass line until you've heard it on tympani. Well, "good" might be a stretch but it worked.
  2. Get a PowerPoint volunteer from another week to fill in. But since she's supposed to also be doing Children's church, allow her to head that way during the message and get our baritone player to run PowerPoint during the last couple songs. Easy, right? Clearly Nathan thinks so...
Actually, he didn't mind pulling double duty at all. It was his idea. I think his look is more about the fact that I'm taking the pic.

Even with these interesting situations, it was a good day.

Knowing that our students would be out, I planned the service to lean a little more traditional in style because of the crowd I knew we'd have. Here's what it looked like...
Crown Him With Many Crowns (Hymn with slightly updated arrangement)
Your Name (Paul Baloche)
Blessed Assurance (Hymn)
Worthy Is The Lamb (Darlene Zschech)
Offertory Prayer
Choir Special: Here I Am To Worship (Tim Hughes)
Amazing Love (You Are My King) (Billy Foote)
I Have Decided To Follow Jesus (hymn)
Blessed Assurance. (Hymn)
Do you think a worship leader should put together a service based on who will likely attend and their worship style? Or should a church stick with a certain style every Sunday regardless of the attenders? What say you?

Also, isn't Gavin the cutest thing ever?
What say you?

This post is part of the Sunday Setlists that can be seen at The Worship Community.  Go there to see what other churches are doing and maybe even submit your own service.

Thursday, January 10, 2013

A Conversation With Myself, AKA Taco Bell And The Big 'Un

A conversation with myself that I had today. (Written late on the night of 01/09/13)

Shawn - This is the Shawn you know. His thoughts get filtered before you hear them come out of his mouth. 
Self – This is the internal Shawn that very few of you know. The mesh in his filter is torn and well, it don’t work so good. 

7am – While driving to work. 
Shawn: Self, we’re going to eat healthy today, right. I’m mean, look at us. It’s time to get it back in gear like we did a few years ago. 
Self: Yeah. Sure. Whatever. 

9:30pm -  While driving home from church 
Shawn: Self, we did pretty good today, right? We ate less than 1700 calories all day and drank plenty of water too. Maybe we'll even get on the treadmill for a mile or 2 when we get home? 
Self: You do see that Taco Bell sign ahead, don’t you. 
Shawn: Yeah, I see it. I’m trying to ignore it.
Self: You know a taco doesn’t really have many calories.

Shawn: I know but we’re agreed to not eat after 8pm anymore, didn’t we. 
Self: But, it’s a church night. Doesn’t that make a difference? 
Shawn: I don’t know, man. I mean we did stay out later and didn’t really eat much supper before church. Maybe a chicken soft taco or 2 wouldn’t hurt. 
Self: Exactly. I’m glad you see it my way. Do you remember how tasty that XXL burrito we had last week was. What if we got that instead?

Shawn: But that’s like 800 calories or something crazy like that, isn’t it? 
Self: I’ve got one word for you...Tasty 
Shawn:  Ok, fine. 1 XXL Burrito...and a diet coke. That will even it out and make it ok won’t it? 
Self: Yeah sure. You go ahead and think that, Big ’un.
A few minutes later after having received the food – 
Shawn: Hey wait a minute. They also put a chicken quesadilla in here. We didn’t order this! 
Self: Woo hoo! A freebee! Gotta love it. 
Shawn: I guess we’ll just throw it away. We really don’t need th... 
Self: (With a full mouth.) Shut up dude. I’m trying to eat.

Things will be different today I’m sure.
Self: (whispering in the background) Yeah. Sure. Whatever.