This is Going to Be an Adventure

Have you ever watched God do something in your life and it is so crazy, even though you were living it, it was still hard to believe? Welcome to our lives.

To catch you up, after 8 years of ministry at NorthWood Church, I have resigned and we have accepted a new ministry position at Westwind Church in Waukee, Iowa – a suburb of Des Moines. We are moving from Texas to Iowa.

Honestly, November and December may very well be the hardest months I have ever walked through. I first connected with Brandon Barker, the Lead Pastor from Westwind, around the beginning of November. When we first talked, I told Kari – “Westwind seems like an incredible Church, but I am not sure the position would be a good fit for me.”

Maybe I am hard headed, but over the 2 month period, God got my attention and showed us it is for us. Believe me when I say we wrestled with God. It never felt like we were fighting God. But it felt like we were holding onto God for dear life and begging for discernment and confirmation of what he was calling us to do.

As we walked through the process I can say with as much human confidence I can have – We know God has called us to be a part of Westwind Church, and we couldn’t be more excited.

To my NorthWood family – We will miss you dearly. You have been our friends, family and everything in between for the past 8 years. Eight out of our nine years of marriage have been at NW and all of our children have been born while we are here. We simply do not know life outside of our relationships there. We love you deeply.

To my new Westwind family - We are pumped to get to know you. God has already put an excitement in our hearts to serve you. I hope you like us, because you are stuck with us now!

As far as a timeline, January 27th will be our last Sunday at NorthWood. As soon as we are done that morning we will start our migration north. We will be moving the week of Jan 28 and be introduced on Feb 3rd to Westwind.

One last thing. God has done a great thing. We have a contract on our house! We had an offer 4 days after it went on the market from the first people who looked at the house. After countering back and forth, we had a contract after 7 days on the market. Thank you Lord!

Live From NorthWood

Over the last year, our incredible Audio Engineer Heath Rosborough has been tracking our band during the normal Sunday morning Services.  I knew he recorded us some but never really thought that much about it.

About a month ago, he came and showed me some of the recordings he has done.  I was blown away.  I am so proud of our band and proud of him for the sounds he is getting.

The best part is there are no fixes, no overdubs, just mixing what we capture….. this is what you get at NorthWood Church on Sunday morning.  We have an INCREDIBLE team. Check it out!

Forever Reign

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Glory to God

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A Request From My Daughter – You Can Help!

My oldest daughter Avery has a request.

She does not understand why there are kids around the world that do not have food to eat, medical care, or access to education.  Her five-year-old mind doesn’t fully comprehend that our family can’t help every child, but she is truly bothered that there are hungry kids in the world.

Here is the story that my wife tells on her blog.

We were on the Compassion website looking at the little girl we sponsor. We were talking all about her country and finding pictures of other children who were waiting for a sponsor. After scrolling through page after page of un-sponsored children, Avery turned to me confused and asked

Why can’t we sponsor them all?

In that moment, as I looked into her eyes glistening with tears, I was ready to sell a kidney so we could sponsor some more kids.  Luckily, Brent was sitting next to me and began to try to explain money to her.  Her reply was

Well, what will happen to those kids if we don’t send them money?

Don’t you love how the concept of money is lost on children.  They only focus on the right thing to do, not the financial strain that might result!

We talked through how we can pray for those children and how God will provide for them.

What about your website?  Can you ask them to send money?

Yes, Avery is very persistent, some might say stubborn, and I do believe she has caught my heart for helping children in need.  So here is the request from my oldest daughter.  We know not everyone is in a position to sponsor a child every month, but her desire is for 10 children to be helped.

So what can you do?  Avery is asking:

  1. Sponsor a child. Compassion makes it extremely easy to see all the un-sponsored children.  Here is a list of  all children needing sponsored. Begin sponsoring a child today.  Its only $38 a month!!
  2. Donate SOMETHING. If you are not able to commit to sponsoring a child, visit Compassion and give even a small amount. At the top of their site there is a “Make a Contribution” link.  If you click on that, you can send money for anything from water filtration to AIDS initiative to wherever the greatest need is.  You can donate $5, $10, or any other amount you feel like you can handle this month. Every dollar counts. And although this money goes into a general fund and not to a specific child, with these contributions, 10 children will ultimately be helped.
  3. Let Avery Know. (This one isn’t necessary but it would be neat for Avery to see her idea in motion)  After you have donated, let me know either by a comment on the blog or through an email or contact page.  I would love for Avery to see her wish of 10 children being helped come true.

 

Feet That Move – Keeps Moving

So, it is kind of crazy how the whole music thing works.  We released the NorthWood Worship Record “Feet that Move” (iTunes, Amazon) last October.  These songs have become a part of NorthWood.  But the fun part is that the songs are now being used all over the place.

I am constantly getting calls, emails and tweets about other Churches doing the songs.  CCLITV just added the video of Feet That Move on their site.  And probably the most exciting thing yet….  KSBJ, the largest Christian radio station in Houston,  TX just added the song “Feet That Move” to their Sunday morning program.  It is the most listened to radio show in all of Houston on Sunday morning.  To say I am excited is an understatement.

Our goal and desire for this project was to spread songs that encourage the Church.  I am thankful the Lord is answering our prayers.

Easter Morning

No hope. Every plan failed. Broken hearts and weeping eyes. The fear of “what now?” terrorizing even the strongest of his followers. Jesus body in the tomb was a real way to see defeat and every dream shattered.

Then hope shines brighter than the noon-day sun. Christ is no longer held by death, but he is alive. The power of God displayed. Death has no sting, sin has no grip; Christ took it all and overcame. The power of God knows no end or enemy it cannot conquer.

On this Easter morning, Lord I humble myself to the truth that this good news is available to even me…. everyday.

 

Why I Love Good Friday

As a Worship Pastor, there is most likely not a busier time of the year than Easter. We are preparing for two radically different services within three days of each other and I couldn’t be more happy. In particular, Good Friday is one of my favorite services of the year.

Extended rehearsals every night this week, tons of extra work, and yet I am in my sweet spot. Why? Because I do not see Good Friday as a part of my job, I see it as a gift that I give to the Church. Every year we start clean and fresh. We don’t have an outline. The only thing we know we will do is communion, other than that, it is a blank canvas.

My goal every year is for the Good Friday Service is to force people to think about the cross in a way that they do not usually think of it during the year. To the best of our ability, we want to force the congregation to use different senses than they usually do in our worship center. During the normal year, our people usually hear the gospel and sing about the gospel. At good friday I want them to feel it, touch it, watch it be acted out, and take time to reflect on it. I want it to be different, I want it to be profound. The exact same truth, but told in a fresh way.

So why is this my sweet spot? Because as an artist, I have a year to think about what we will do. I know the target, I know the due date, and I love the subject matter. I am also blessed that our pastor is gracious enough to let us run with it. Bottom line, it is where my creativity gets to intersect with my faith. That is my sweet spot.

We work hard in preparation, but on that night we get to reflect with the NorthWood community on the sacrifice of our Savior. We walk out with a sober view of our sin and Christ’s work on the cross.  We look forward with deep anticipation of his resurrection and victory over sin on Sunday morning.

If you are in the DFW Area, we would love to have you. Here are all the details.

What do you do for Good Friday?

A Parenting Reminder

Sunday afternoon is perfect.

When I walk off the stage on Sunday morning it as if the sun goes down on my week. The week is finally over. When I get home laziness overwhelms me and my body longs for a couch and a remote and my eyes begin to shut.

Yesterday my cousin and her husband were visiting us, so my normal routine was a bit off. We were all talking in the kitchen when I peered into our room to see Elianna resting in our bed.

When I opened the door she jumped. This is normal for nap time. Nine out of ten times when she is supposed to be sleeping, she is playing. An open door is a sign that she is busted. But this time, I whisper, “It’s ok, Daddy wants to cuddle with you.” I climb in to the bed, pull her three, almost four-year-old body, next to mine. As she snuggled up next to me her beautiful blue eyes searched until they met mine and she said, “You are the best poppa in the world.”

My heart melted. I pulled her close, kissed the top of her head, and closed my eyes knowing I needed to remember this moment.

Having three kids all under that age of five often feels like a tornado. In the midst of trying to get everyone dressed with their shoes on and in the car, I often forget to get on their level and enjoy them. Yesterday was a reminder for me….

Take time. Get on her level. Do the things that matter to her – even if it means being a princess and holding a doll. She is worth it.

Each of my kids are different.  They feel special in different ways.  Overtime, I have identified what each kid loves. My two girls love individual time.  You can read about that here and here. Now just to take the time and do it.

So what about you? How do you make your kids feel special?

A Poem That Will Blow Your Mind

Unbelievable…..

I saw this and was speechless with tears in my eyes.  The truth is compelling and the art is deep and rich.  It reminds me that creativity is a fantastic vehicle for truth.

Beautiful art intensifies the truth.

Coming Out of Hibernation

If you haven’t noticed, I have been in hibernation.  As the new year turned, I knew I needed some deep rest so I have been hiding out, laying low, and taking a few months to just relax.

However, as the green grass begins to peak through the brown-dormant grass of last year, I feel myself waking up .  I am not sure exactly what that means, but I do know that I feel rested. For the first time in months, it feels like I have a reserve of energy and creativity that I am ready to start using.

Even though I have been laying low, I have still been living. Here are some of the highlights:

  • We released 30 new reading plans for EXAMEN.me, and our users are loving it!
  • I ran a 10k in 55:55.
  • Kari and I paid off our student Loan!  We now have no debt except our house.  We have been working our butts off to accomplish this. Thanks Dave Ramsey.
  • Justus just turned 2.  This is the first time we have not had a baby in our house since 2005.  That feels weird.
  • “Feet the Move” was chosen to be highlighted in Worship Leader Magazine on the Song Discovery CD sampler.  I feel very honored.  If you stil haven’t got the record.  What are you waiting for? Get it on iTunes or  Amazon.
  • Chris Johns finished editing all the videos from the NorthWood live recording.
  • I have read several good books.  Margin, The Power of Full Engagement, Harry Potter, Today We Are Rich.  And I re-read The War of Art. I recommend them all.
  • Netflix on-demand can be dangerous. I have never considered myself a TV guy, and have never had cable as an adult. Who knew there was so much to watch on TV – especially when it is commercial free.

Here’s to a new seasons and coming out of the cave of hibernation!

It’s Christmas Time!

It’s Christmas time…. so we have been making some videos to promote the new NorthWood Worship CD, Feet That Move. There are three videos in the series.  Here is the First one.  Enjoy!

You can get the new CD on iTunes & Amazon MP3.