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Monday, August 28, 2006

role reversal...

This morning, I spent some time in a coffee shop in East Town. When I walked in the front door I saw something that brought a smile to my tired face. Hanging from the ceiling close to the wall were three large stained glass windows salvaged from some church that had seen its last day. I thought to myself, "Isn't this interesting, the coffee shop is looking like the church while churches are trying their darndest to look like coffee shops." So many churches are promoting themselves as a "coffee shop atmosphere" where you can relax. Now coffee shops are promoting themselves as church atmospheres where you can relax. What gives?

Here's what I think...whether you sell coffee or Jesus, whether you have decaf or dechurched, whether you like heavy cream or heavy sermons...what makes an atmosphere is the people that fill it. Stained glass has never turned people away from God. It has been the "fall guy" for too long used by many to deflect attention away from their raging incompetencies. Pews aren't the blame for sleeping people in church...boring preachers are. Ornate thrones on the stage aren't responsible for the condesending nature of religion...narcissistic pastors are. Over dressed ushers with carnations stuffed in their lapels don't turn people off...judgemental, pious, snubbing and backstabing Christians do. Steeples, pipe organs, bulletins, missionary corkboards, dark paneling, flannelgraphs, three piece suits, offering plates, shag carpet, monolythic pulpits, foyers, hymnals...all these things aren't the blame for the irrelevance of the local church, human beings are. Because it doesn't matter whether you're at a coffee house trying to be like a church or a church trying to be like a coffee house, neither will be successful if the people don't show up. Because atmosphere is mostly people, not decor. I've been in churches that feel like hell and bars that feel like just depends on whether or not humans are fully alive inside the particular building that envelopes them.

So enough with all this talk of archaic this and progressive that...the people set the tone, the people set the table, the people set the's the people's always been the people.

Monday, August 21, 2006

I'm online...

Anyone that knows me well knows that I'm computer illiterate. There is no more asinine irony than that of me being online. I haven't a clue how it all works, I just know that Dave VanKuelen, my faithful sidekick, and interpreter of computer psychobabble, has graciously put his talents to work on my new website... . You have to go visit it. There are a few things yet to upload, but the best thing is that you can purchase the album through the website. Modern technology slays me.

So for all of you people out there "holding your horses", I now invite you to hold them no longer. Let them run free. And if you wouldn't mind, tell you friends about the website and maybe they can let the horses that they didnt' even know they were holding out to gallop wild and free. Seriously, I would love it if you could serve as a sort of street team for me spreading the word and directing people to the website. Let me know if I can answer any questions.

I'm going to Bellefontaine this Wednesday night for a cd release party. If you're around that area...I'd love to see you. This weekend I'm singing with the band at a festival here in Lowell. I'm opening up for Bethany Dillon (Adelsberger). It should be fun...come on over...I'd love to meet you.

Well...I have much to do today for the kingdom. God is doing so much around our church that I don't feel I could keep up if I had a rocket strapped to my backside. I want to pour myself out today, God. Please pour Yourself in.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

I've been catching up...

It's seem like an eternity since I visited this thing. Life has been going crazy. All good...but almost too much good for one guy to experience. Sometime I just get lost in wonderful opportunities. I need to ration out my energy better...

Anyways...this is just something that I was thinking about recently...thought I'd throw it on here to get this ball rolling again....

John 3:30 …Expanded…
He must become greater, I must become less.
He must Increase, I must Decrease.
He must become Higher, I must become Lower.
He must become Everything, I must become Nothing.
He must be Remembered, I must be Forgotten.
He must be Enthroned, I must be Dethroned.
He must become Exalted, I must become Abased.
He must become the King, I must become the Slave.
He must become Popular, I must become Unknown.
He must become the Spotlight, I must become the Shadow.
He must become Larger, I must become Smaller.
He must become Known, I must become Obscure.
He must be the Receiver, I must be the Giver.
He must become Pursued, I must become Abandoned.
He must be Maximized, I must be Minimized.
He must become Enlarged, I must become Reduced.
He must become Magnified, I must become Shrunk.
He must become Praised, I must become Persecuted.
He must become Bowed to, I must become Bowed down.
He must become Strong, I must become Weak.
He must become Loud, I must become Quiet.
He must become Great, I must become Grateful.
He must become Heroic, I must become Invisible.
He must become Famous, I must become Common.
He must become Awesome, I must become Awed.
He must become Sought after, I must become Rejected.
He must be Loved, I must be Hated.
He must become Alive, I must become Dead.
He must be Smiled upon, I must be Frowned upon.
He must become Full, I must become Empty.
He must become Treasured, I must become Ordinary.
He must become Priceless, I must become Breathless.
He must be God, I must be His.
He must be Together, I must be Broken.
He must become Needed, I must become Needy.
He must become Sufficient, I must become Desperate.
He must become Urgent, I must become Unimportant.
He must become Essential, I must become Nonessential.
He must become Present, I must become Absent.
He must be Glorified, I must be Hungry.
He must become Worshipped, I must become Worship.
He must become Recognized, I must become Aware.
He must be Lived for, I must be Poured out.
He must become Hollowed, I must become Reverent.
He must become Inspirational, I must become Moved.
He must become Sensational, I must become Sensitive.
He must become “I AM”, I must become “I AM NOT”.
He must become Irresistible, I must become Passionate.
He must become Worthy, I must become Abandoned.
He must become Trusted, I must become Dependant.
He must become the Focus, I must become the Fixated.
He must be the Joy, I must be the Dancer.
He must be Victorious, I must be Defeated.
He must be the Reality, I must be Real.
He must be Elevated, I must be Downplayed.
He must be Primary, I must be Secondary.
He must become First, I must become Last.
He must be Out of this World, I must be Out of my Mind.
He must be Above, I must be Below.
He must become Consuming, I must become Consumed.
He must be Fought for, I must be a Warrior.
He must be the Winner, I must be the Won.
He must be the Thunder, I must be the Echo.
He must become Desired, I must become Despised.
He must be Supreme, I must be Humble.
He must be Preeminent, I must be Subdued.
He must be the Center, I must be the Fringe.
He must be Before, I must be Behind.
He must become the Cause, I must become the Sacrifice.
He must become the Teacher, I must become the Learner.
He must become my Passion, I must become His Servant.
He must be Forever, I must be Today.
He must be the Best, I must be the Worst.
He must be the Greatest, I must be the Least.
He must be Phenomenal, I must be Typical.
He must become the One, I must become Ok with that.
He must become Cherished, I must become Discarded.
He must become Expensive, I must become Expendable.
He must be Handled with Care, I must be treated with Reproach.
He must be Lifted up, I must be Cast down.
He must be Kissed, I must be Slapped.
He must be Protected, I must Protect.
He must be Wanted, I must be Left Behind.
He must be Understood, I must Understand.
He must become Satisfying, I must become Thirsty.
He must become The Dream, I must become The Dreamer.
He must become Attractive, I must become Repulsive.
He must be Embraced, I must be Let go.
He must become the Fire, I must become the Offering.
He must become The Ransom, I must become Indebted.
He must become Overwhelming, I must become Overcome.
He must become Amazing, I must become Amazed.
He must become Incredible, I must become Speechless.
He must become the Main Thing, I must be Privileged.
He must Take Control, I must Let Go.
He must Give Commands, I must be Surrendered.
He must have the Last Word, I must Say Yes.
He must Get the Glory, I must Guard the Glory.
He must Lead, I must Follow.
He must Flourish, I must Perish.
He must set the Schedule, I must Agree.
He must Make Progress, I must Make Way.
He must Receive Credit, I must Deflect Credit.
He must Change Lives, I must be Available.
He must be the Answer, I must wait on His Timing.
He must Advance, I must be Covered.
He must be the Destination, I must be the Bridge.
He must be Impressive, I must be Impressed.
He must be Unbelievable, I must be a Believer.
He must be the Party, I must be the Guest.
He must be Apparent, I must be Transparent.
He must be Honored, I must be Passed Over.
He must be Watched, I must be Ignored.
He must be Noticed, I must be Hidden.
He must be Powerful, I must be Powerless.
He must become Rich, I must become Poor.
He must be Gain Success, I must Make Mistakes.
He must become Promoted, I must become Demoted.
He must be Raised, I must be Lowered.
He must be Enjoyed, I must be Forsaken.
He must be Preferred, I must be Deferred.
He must be Chosen, I must be Chastised.
He must be Appreciated, I must be Depreciated.
He must make an Appearance, I must Disappear.
He must become More, I must Fade Away.
He must Ascend, I must Descend.
He must Grow, I must Lessen.
He must be the Light, I must be the Mirror.
He must be Adored, I must be Abhorred.
He must be the Origin, I must be the Created.
He must be Feared, I must be Respectful.
He must be the Adventure, I must be Daring.
He must be Chosen, I must be Chided.
He must become Celebrated, I must become Crucified.
He must become My Boast, I must be Shrouded.
He must become Beautiful, I must become Ugly.
He must become Wanted, I must become Avoided.
He must become the Authority, I must become Submissive.
He must become the Attention of all, I must be Eclipsed.
He must be Defended, I must be Attacked.
He must Arrive, I must Depart.
He must Appear, I must Disappear.
He must be the Actor, I must be the Responder.
He must be The Deal, I must be the Witness.
He must be Meaningful, I must be Trivial.
He must be Major, I must be Minor.
He must be Superior, I must be Inferior.
He must be Transcendent, I must be Simple.
He must become Enough, I must become Incomplete.
He must become Special, I must become Thankful.
He must be at the Front, I must be at the Back.
He must be the Owner, I must be the Steward.
He must become the Priority, I must become Teachable.
He must become Thrilled, I must become Spilled.
He must Come, I must Go.
He must be Above all Names, I must become Nameless.
He must be Disclosed, I must be Concealed.
He must become Bright, I must become Dim.
He must become Lord, I must become Obedient.
He must become My Life, I must become Loyal.
He must become the News, I must become the Advertisement.
He must become New, I must become Old.
He must become the Song, I must become the Singer.
He must become the Memory, I must become the Reminder.
He must be Gained, I must be Lost.
He must be Located, I must be Misplaced.
He must become Refreshing, I must become Creative.
He must become Paramount, I must become Disposable.
He must become Somebody, I must become Nobody.
He must become Noteworthy, I must become Overlooked.
He must become Immense, I must become Finite.
He must become Wonderful, I must become Blown Away.
He must become Endeared, I must become Loathed.
He must Enter, I must Exit.
He must Take the Stage, I must Let Him.
He must Profit, I must Lose.
He must receive Praise, I must receive Insults.
He must be the Goal, I must be the Runner.
He must be the Journey, I must be the Traveler.
He must be the Music, I must be the Instrument.
He must Stand, I must Fall.
He must Emerge, I must Submerge.
He must Go, I must Stop.
He must Stir, I must be Still.
He must become Extraordinary, I must become Usual.
He must Preside, I must be Prostrate.
He must be Relevant, I must be Irrelevant.
He must be the Favorite, I must be the Outcast.
He must become Discovered, I must become Extinct.
He must Resonate, I must Fade.

I hope I never forget this. Thanks John for putting this little writing in the text. You're spot on, bro.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

My "ship"ment has come in...

I thought it would never happen, but alas, 1000 cd's are here waiting to find eager little hands to put them in hungry little cd players. I'm so excited to see this music move about and find its way into hearts, churches, youth groups, homes, cars and, of course, ipods. (that was for you, Tim) For those of you wondering how to get the cd, hold you horses until we figure out an online store deal. We may be able to stick in on iTunes for your purchasing pleasure. Suffice it to say, we will know that in the coming days.

Well, my youngest child is screaming bloody murder and needs some encouragement from my right hand. Oh, the joys of parenting.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Worship Band or Band of Worshippers?

This is an email I sent to the band I play with each weekend here at Impact. Just some things I've been thinking about lately as it relates to this confusing things called worship. What is it? Who does it? Where is it happening? Why do we do it? When is it nothing more than hogwash? Things such as this using a comparison/contrast between a worship band and a band of worshippers. These are only my humble opinions of course...take them with a grain of salt and a laxative...

"A Worship Band:
A worship band seems to need music to worship. They don't feel attracted to any other facet of Jesus other than songs about him. They don't find the Bible all that exciting and stuggle to listen when the pastor is sharing God's Word. They want him to shut up so they can get up on stage again and sing. They get into music, but not God. They seem to change their personality when they get up in front and play their instrument. Sometimes they don't play their instruments or sing these songs outside of practices and church services. They get done "leading worship" and then go sit down until it's their time to shine again. They rarely enter into people's lives "in between" practices and worship sets. They don't care about people that much, in fact, it's easier to just get the music over with and get out of the building. They don't like it when they are rotated out and have to worship "with the congregation", sometimes they don't even come to weekend services until they are "needed" again. They often times don't see a problem with living in sin and still leading worship. Sinning and singing go hand in hand to these kinds of people. There is a disconnect between worship and witness. They don't see it as taking God's name in vain to say things to God they don't actually mean or practice. In a nut shell, they just need a gig to hone their skills and get some public attention. God doesn't like this, but they don't know that, because they don't read their Bibles.

A Band of Worshippers:
A band of worshippers bows without a band. They see worship as a lifestyle, not a music style. They don't try to take people to places they haven't been that week. Their deepest desire is to be see through when they are in front of people, not seen. They don't say things to God during worship that they don't say to him throughout the week. They don't go to church to worship, they go worshipping to church. They don't use God for personal gratification and then dump him when the music fades. They hunger for the Word, not just Worship. They know you can't lead people until you love people and so they don't enter into worship without entering into people's lives. They know the Bible says that you can't love God whom you can't see until you love the people all around you that you can. They are humble, thankful, joyful and hopeful. To them, you can't keep singing and keep sinning. They aren't sinless, but they are sinning less. The weekdays mean as much to them as the weekends. They are leading worship in conversations, blogsites, emails, and phone calls. Leading worship doesn't start and stop with's a way of life. They don't care as much about their instrument as they do the whole band. They want to blend, not blare. They want to be seen as a fellowship of friends, not a talented musician. They want to bless, not recieve blessing. They want to praise, not recieve praise. In a nutshell, they could care less whether they get to play or not, their worship will go on. God likes this, and they know it, because they feel His pleasure.

I will continue to pray that God continues to reform us into a Band of Worshippers. The transformation is always in process, and we will never arrive, but I want to stay in hot pursuit of this vision along with all of you who have been called to this great ministry. I love serving with you all. Thanks for being on this adventure with me."