Monday, April 21, 2008

Thoughts from the other side of the hill

I did it, I survived my 20's. I want to take this time to say thank you to my 20's. We had some good times together didn't we. We laughed, we cried and then we got old. Not really. From what I hear 30 is the new 20. I know I already wrote about this a bit but since it finaly happened I am revisiting it. I can still confidently say that I am not too terribly fazed by the passing of my 20's, yet.

Some people look back and wonder what they have done with their lives and mourn the passing of the time. I look back and think, how the heck did I do all that in the last 30 years or even the last 10. The only sad thing to me is how fast it truly does go. It feels like time is standing behind me pushing me harder and harder towards the precipice. The reality is that it's just the way it is. I can't do anything about it so I better accept it. The consolation is that in the scheme of eternity I am still quite infantile. I am really not getting closer to death but rather closer to new life. It is hard to accept this concept sometimes in our fallen state. The frailty of life and shortness of life make me realize that it truly is not about me. If it were, it would be a pretty pathetic existence and very depressing. I don't want to mourn my own life especially while I am still living it. This life is not my own. It is a gift and it should be used to glorify the one who gave it to me. I think that when I start to get depressed about the loss of youth or days gone by I may be losing the proper perspective. I constantly struggle to let go of myself and be humbled. It is my nature to want to be in control but it is in my best interest to give up control. I believe true joy and peace in this life come when we give it up. When we give up ourselves to the one who is in control we get something far greater in return, we get hope. Hope for a better life to come. Hope that this world can be redeemed. Hope we will not only survive but be victorious. It is Christ's love that brings us this hope. The purpose of this life is to bring Christ's love and hope to bear on this world. That's what his kingdom is about.

So, as I enter a theoretical new phase of my life I will continue to pray that God will use my life to bring hope to the world through His love.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Out and About

It looks like it has been awhile since I wrote some words on this here little blog. Don't worry though, I have a great excuse. I've been working like a little monkey in a circus. We are on tour right now and sometimes that's just how it feels. We are doing 27 shows in 5 and a half weeks which means a lot of time away from home and not much sleep. We are barely a quarter of the way done and I'm tired. For this tour I am, as I have been before, the only tech person. This means that I get to wear a lot of different hats and try to make the show sound and look good at the same time. Fortunately the band guys have really stepped up and are pulling their weight. They are my crew and they are finaly getting things nailed down so that setting up and tearing down are much smoother. We are out with Shawn McDonald and our good friend Jason Gray. Shawn and his band are very kind and have been a lot of fun to get to know. The tour is gelling really well and the shows have been good. On this tour, like most we are on, we are focusing on World Vision child sponsorships. This has been going good too and many kids' lives are being changed every night. So, that's where I've been lately. I don't usually find myself with much time for writing or energy. We are working 18 hour days sometimes and the last thing I want to do is type. I will try though to offer some updates and tour tidbits. The hardest part of this tour, obviusly, is being away from my beautiful wife and daughter. Cali is growing so fast and I hate missing it. I do know that it is all part of God's plan though. I am really looking forward to tomorrow which is a day off at home. Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

One for the little guys

I haven't seen this story too much in the press anywhere, and I probably never would have heard about it if I hadn't seen it live while randomly fliping through the channels. It's a good story of the big guy sticking up for the little guy. I have to take my hat off to the Boston Red Sox, not just becaue they are the world champions and a good baseball team but because they stood up for the right thing. Last week just before their last preseason game in Florida the team refused to take the field. They had been scheduled to play the game and then head to Japan, where they would play their first game of the season. The issue was that the players had an understanding that their coaches and staff would be paid extra for the trip just like the players were. However, the morning of the game in Florida they found out none of the staff and coaches were gettig paid, only the players were. The team could have easily not cared and not done anything about it and no one would ever have known. Instead , the team rallied to their extended family in support. The players recognized that it was unfair for their extended staff to not get paid when they have just as much to do with playing the games as the players do. So, the team refused to play or go to Japan until a deal was made. In the end the league paid half and the team paid half of the support staff's extra salary.

I think the fact that these players acknowledged how pivotal the role of these support people is was remarkable. I know from experience what goes on "behind the scenes", it definitely is a thankless job and one with little credit. There is so much work that goes into sports or entertainment, and the person on stage or the field is one part in making it happen. It is so easy to forget the others who work just as hard or harder to get it done. I work in a support role and I even forget the support people when I see a show or go to a game. It was nice to see the Red Sox give credit where it was due and take care of their extended "family". So maybe ball players aren't so selfish after all and maybe I'll have to become a Red Sox fan for real instead of just from afar. Here is a more detailed article.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

It's gettin hot in here

Global Warming, seriously? Last weekend, Nashville, which is in the South, got more snowfall than it has had in a decade. It has been one of the coldest winters here in a looong time. I wonder if my neighbor just a few miles north (Al the weatherman Gore) was able to use his solar panels when they were covered under 4 inches of snow in march? I have always been a big skeptic on the global warming issue mostly because it always seemed like it was just a great way to make a lot of money and gain political power. If you scare people and make them think the world is going to end unless they make these changes, then you can convince them to buy whatever "green" product you are selling. One of the most lucrative products in business right now is anything with "green" attached to it. Now, I'm all for taking care of the environment and more fuel efficient cars, but I think people are being manipulated into believing something that is just not entirely true, often for financial or poltical gain. I think in some ways the "green" bandwagon is good because new technologies are emerging. As a result, the environment, and more importantly mankind, will benefit from it. This, however, does not justify the actions of many who distort the truth and use fear tactics to get what they want. So just this past week I have come across several very intersesting articles. It appears I'm not the only one who feels this way anymore. Many reputable scientists are finally coming out against the theory of global warming. Here are some links to some interesting reading:

Global warming: Is it really a crisis?
Evidence of Global Cooling
The sun also sets

My neighbor Mr. Gore would have us believe that there is a consensus of scientists who support the theory of global warming, but in truth, there is no such consensus. In fact, it seems the consensus may be leaning the other way. This last article I will post I find somewhat amusing and a brilliant idea. It looks as though the founder of The Weather Channel, John Coleman, has had enough of Al the weatherman Gore and wants to openly debate him. Unfortunately, Al is not interested in debating. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that he would lose. If Al is shown to be a fraud his credibility would be completely shot and he might actually have to get a real job. So, Coleman's plan to get Al to debate? Sue him for fraud. If he sues Gore for fraud they will have to show all the evidence in a court of law and the facts on global warming will come to light. This could be very interesting. So stay tuned to see what happens. Hopefully we won't all melt or freeze before we find out. Here is the article:

Weather Channel founder sue Al Gore for Fraud

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Happy Birthday!

This last weekend Jess and I were able to enjoy an awsesome celebration. There was great music, flashing lights and confetti cannons. It was a birthday party that was a lot of fun and very emotional. It wasn't a party for a kid or one of our friends, it was for our beloved church. Fellowship Bible in Nashville, where we have been attending for about 4 and a half years now, just celebrated it's 10th birthday. The service was a celebration of where God had brought the church in the last 10 years and committing ourselves to where he was leading in the future. Fellowship started 10 years ago, like many new churches do, as a bible study with six couples in someones home. Those six founding couples are still members of the church and were able to get up and share their stories of what they have seen God do in His church. As I listened to these couples share I couldn't help but be filled with emotion and awe for what God has done. It's always great to hear prospective form the bigger picture. Sometimes we get so bogged down with the events of today and can't see or understand what the big picture looks like. When you have ten years to look back on it becomes a little more clear sometimes. For instance, after the six couples shared for a while another young couple came up to speak. They were from New York City and had moved to Nashville a couple years ago because of a jobh transfer. They had both grown up in fragmented homes with no Christian influence and lived life for themselves. When they moved to Nashville they somehow happened to come to Fellowship one sunday. They were surprised by the friendliness of the people as opposed to New York and ended up coming back again. Eventually they gave their lives to Christ and have become radically changed. After they shared their story they turned to those original six couples and thanked them for being faithful and obedient to God's call to start this church. There is a direct correlation between their faithfullness and lives being changed eternally. This of course was extremely inspiring and moving and as the congegation stood to it's feet to applaud the six couples were moved to tears. You could tell they were moved not because of what they had done but because of what God had done through them in spite of them.

I am very thankful to be a part of my church and praise God for ten years and look forward to many more. I also know that my church is not unique. God's church is alive and well all over the world. A great moment on Sunday was in a video they showed where many local pastors and pastors from churches around the world that fellowship partners with gave their congratulations. It was great to see harmony in the body instead of discord which we see far too much of. I think sometimes churches see each other as individual teams competing each other to be the best and biggest. That's just ridiculous because we are all on the same team. We don't always agree on everything but as long as we have the same focus and same hope in Christ, we are one. I hope to see more unity in the future but more importantly a deeper focus on what is most important and that is Jesus.

Friday, March 07, 2008

Freak of Nature Marathoner

Ok, If anyone needs any inspiration to get off your butt and excercise a little or to even attempt a marathon check this out. After reading this article on Bustere Martin I really have no excuses. Not only does he work at a labor intensive job like plumbing but he is also training for the London marathon in his "spare time". Oh, did I mention he is a spry 101 years old! When Buster completes the marathon in April he wants to celebrate the way everyone who is exhausted and out of breath after a marathon does, by drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette. Is this guy for real? Well, my hats off to you Buster and I hope you do get to enjoy that beer and cigarette but somedoy should really tell him smoking could kill him.

Thursday, March 06, 2008

Act Now

Here's an unusual story for ya. It looks like their has been a huge increase in theatrical productions and people claiming to be actors in Minnesota this week. Why, you ask? Well that's simple, it's smoking. Uh, what? Yeah, smoking. The deal is that Minnesota just passed a law to ban smoking in all restaurants and nightspots. However, for some brilliant reason, they left in a loophole that made an exception for performers in theatrical productions. So, what would you do if you were addicted to nicotine and Minnesota nightlife? Well you become a thespian that's what. Bars all over Minnesota have christened themselves new playhouses and everyone inside is the star of the show. What's on the playbill? It's life in the bar, pre smoking ban. The smokers are "actors" playing themselves as they were before the ban. As funny as this light hearted rebellion is, these "actors" will have to look elsewhere to continue their "roles" soon because the government is not impressed with their performance. They are quickly trying to tighten up this ridiculous loophole and crackdown on these pseudo productions. I'm sure these smokers want the "show" to go on as long as possible but it won't be long until it's curtains.

Here is the full article on

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Larry Norman goes Home

Larry Norman(1947-2008)

Larry Norman is one of the fathers of the Christian music industry. In particular he was one of the first rock artists in Christian music. He was playing rock music when churches still though it was of the devil. It's because of people like Larry and many others that I have a job today. His pioneering work opened the doors for countless bands that populate the industry today. I met Larry once about 10 years ago. He was a nice guy although quite eccentric. I didn't really know who he was at the time but have since learned about what he did for the Christian music industry. Larry went home to be with his heavenly father on Sunday after a long battle with heart disease. Larry will be missed but his impact will forever remain.

Larry knew he din't have much time left so he left a farewell message on his website:

Goodbye, farewell, we'll meet again
Somewhere beyond the sky.
I pray that you will stay with God
Goodbye, my friends, goodbye.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Once upon the Oscars

The Oscars were on last night and I read today that they were the least watched in the 80 year history. I guess I was one of the few that did see it which is funny because I really had no reason to watch. I have not seen any of the films that were nominated so I really didn't care who won. I also have a bit of an issue with awards shows in general. How is it that something which is subjective, as art is, be objectively judged and awarded? It seems silly to me. I understand honoring and apreciating art that is well liked but when it comes down to it aren't these awards shows just more publicity? I think the force behind these awards shows is simple, it's money. The people who are nominated get hired more and sell more. The films or cd's make more money which is why it is so sought after. I understand that there is a history there and it's like being inducted into a club of sorts if you win but do we really need twenty different awards shows for the film and music industry? I also understand that these shows can be entertaining. I used to love watching the Oscars and would get all into it. I think maybe when it started it was more about honoring excellence in your craft but now it is a popularity contest driven by money. All that being said, there was one bright moment from this year. The little guy showed up out of nowhere and won a big prize.

A film called Once, which I have not seen yet but have heard about from Glenn and Jeremy, won the award for best originial song. This film was made 2 years ago on a super small budget of $100,000 and took 3 weeks to make. The film is about a guy and a girl who are both struggling musicians. They meet and try to help each other write songs for a demo so they can get a record deal and in the process fall in love. The songs in the film performed by them are very beautiful. The story is a bit about how these people stay true to their art and their dreams. It was nice to see a small budget "art" film be honored at the Oscars. Here is a clip of their performance at the show. I'm assuming from the ratings that not to many have seen it.

Friday, February 22, 2008

The best are back

I'm excited! We have been off the road for awhile now and have another month at home with not much to do. So, there hasn't been a lot lately to get excited about but today i found something. Ok, I'm pinning all my hopes and dreams on this but it is something fun to look forward to. I just found out that two of my favorite bands will both be releasing new albums this year. U2, who is my favorite band, just released a 3D movie at the IMAX which I had the pleasure of experiencing not too long ago. That made me remember why I loved their stuff so much and why I loved their live show which I have seen twice. The problem is U2 only tours when they have a new album and there is usually quite a bit of time in between. However, I am pleasantly surprised that they will be releasing their newest masterpiece sometime in October of this year. I am of course excited to hear the new stuff but even more excited about the possibility of seeing them live again.

As if U2's new album wasn't enough, Coldplay is also set to release their latest in June. In many ways I see Coldplay as a younger version of U2.
They also have a great live show that I was able to experience and great records that I love. Coldplays new album will be called Prospekt. An interesting side note is that the uber talented and longtime U2 producer/ collaborator will be producing on both of these albums. Daniel Lanois will also be working on the U2 album, teaming up with Eno again to form an unstoppable force in music producing. I look forward to catching Coldplay live after this new album as well.

Ok, I guess it would only be fair and appropriate to give a shameless plug for the forthcoming Downhere album as well. I guess it will be competing with U2 but Downhere's has a month head start with a September release, hopefully. I haven't heard all the songs yet but the ones I have are great as usual and this new project will be another must have. Downhere is pretty good live too. I've heard they are on of the best sounding bands live, huh.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

CH Spurgeon

One guy who I’ve always heard a lot about in theological discussion s but never really knew much about was Charles Spurgeon. I’ve never read any of Spurgeon’s writings but I thought I should at least do a little research and learn a bit about him, so as to be informed. Since information is so readily available these days on the old interweb I really have no excuse to not know at least a little bit about Spurgeon.

Spurgeon was 15 when he came to be a believer. He had a bit of a Damascus experience like the apostle Paul did. He was on his way to meet someone when a bad snowstorm hit. He went in to a Methodist church to get out of the cold, presumably, and that is where his heart was converted. Only 4 short years later, at the age of 19, Spurgeon was given his first pastorate in London at the famed New Park Street Chapel. It didn’t take long to see that preaching was Spurgeon’s gifting. His sermons were printed and published each week and his readership as well as his congregation quickly grew. Spurgeon wasn’t preaching anything new he just did it with passion and with an authority that he took from the Scriptures. It wasn’t long before the congregation outgrew their building and had to relocate. The congregation had grown so big in fact that the only place that would hold them was surrey music hall. Spurgeon was regularly preaching to 10,000 people every Sunday. The astounding thing about that to me is the fact that this was before sound amplification was invented. That means that Spurgeon was preaching to 10,000 people without a microphone and sound system. I’m assuming he had a pretty big voice and learned how to project it well. There were even a couple times in which he preached to over 20,000 people with no amplification. As a sound engineer and a person with ears that is amazing to me.

Spurgeon had an amazing preaching and teaching career. In his lifetime he preached over thirty six hundred sermons and published 49 volumes worth of commentaries and other writings. Spurgeon is highly regarded in the reformed theological world and many denominations as well. His churched is considered one of the first “mega churches”. However, his church in no way resembled many of the “mega churches” of today. People were not drawn to Spurgeon’s church because of a seeker sensitive watered down gospel. They came because Spurgeon preached the truth with authority and passion because he preached from the ultimate authority, which is God as revealed in his Word. Spurgeon didn’t succumb to the humanism of his day but rather held fast to the truth.

I think Spurgeon is a great example for today. We can still have a huge impact on culture without sacrificing the truth or diluting it to please people. Our culture, and sadly much of our church, has become so completely man centered. Everyone is so concerned about what people will think that they completely ignore what God thinks or says. We need more Spurgeon’s and others like him. We need people with integrity who will stand up for truth and fight for it. Ultimately we know God is sovereign and in control. He is raising up servants every day to glorify Himself. God used a simple snowstorm to bring Spurgeon to Him and through Spurgeon His kingdom was greatly multiplied. The fight for truth is long and hard but God assures us a victory. Spurgeon understood that and I hope I can fully hold to that too.

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Jake Shimabukuro rocks the ukelele

I saw this guy on Conan last night. I have always liked the song but for some reason I was really moved by his perfomance of it on the ukelele. It was simple but profound somehow. Conan was also impressed. He came over afterwards and told him that it was probably the best thing he ever had on the show as far as music and he was very sincere. So maybe it will move you too or at least you will enjoy i hope.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Colbert teaches Sunday School

I was flipping through the channels last week when I was fortunate enough to land on the Colbert report. I don't think I've ever actually watched more than a couple minutes of this show before but i just happened to watch it at what may have been one of his best moments. After watching this segment I had to do some research on Mr. Colbert because I was so intrigued by what he said. It turns out that Stephen Colbert actually is a Sunday School teacher and has been for a while. He is a devout catholic and also quite a learned scholar of sorts. He is the youngest of 11 children in an Irish Catholic family. His father and 2 of his brothers were killed in a plane crash when he was younger. Colbert got his start by working as Steve Carels under study in the Groundlings improv group in Chicago where he also met Amy Sedaris. He had his big break when John Stewart took over the daily show and gave him a regular spot on the show. That in turn led to the spinoff which is now The Colbert Report.

It's very interesting to me how people like Colbert negotiate their faith in a faithless industry. His character that he plays on The Colbert Report usually would just make jokes and act stupid in response to someone like Zimbardo. I think Zimbardo just pushed his button too far and he couldn't let him slide on his absurd statements. I thought He responded briliantly and the end of the interview was one of the funniest things I've seen in a long time on TV. So, I think I'm gonna keep a closer I on Mr. Colbert now and enjoy his show a little more often maybe.

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Over that Hill

Time is ticking. The big 30 is just around the corner. Am I ready? Am I where I thought I would be in life? The answer is probably no on both counts but does that really matter? Honestly, I haven't even given it much thought until now. I don't understand why people get so depressed or anxious about 30. I think we put these cultural mile markers in life that have certain connotations and for some reason turning 30 has a bad one for most people. I guess it is suposed to mean the end of our youth or the end of dreams for some. In reality though 30 is just the same thing as 29 or 25 or 15 except we are supposed to be a little bit wiser with more life experience under our belt. I'd rather look at this "milestone" a bit more positively. This is the begining of maturity right ha. I still feel young but I also feel like I know way more than I did 10 years ago. What I know now is this, there is so much I don't know. The more I learn in life and understand things or experience things, the more I realize how much I don't understand and how much there is in life to know and experience. I'm looking forward to my thities and what God has for me. I get to watch my daughter grow and I get to love her and my wife evry day. I can't ask for much more than that and yet I still get so much more. So i say, 30, bring it on. I look forward to it and I'll thank God he's brought me this far.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

New Year, new stuff

The year is new hooray, but i am the same boo. The changing of the year this time around was one of the most unenjoyable moments of my life sadly. The day started as any great day should by spending 16 hours driving in the smelly dirty van. We were trying to get to virginia before midnight so we could at least be in the hotel and watching the ball drop on tv or something. Instead we were about 30 minutes away at 11:30, we had just pulled off the interstate to finish the last 30 miles on a windy 2 lane highway when i tries to double check the directions. As i looked at the mapquest directions while going a slow safe 35 miles an hour I passed the sign that changed the speed limit to 25 miles an hour. It was also at that same time that I passed a police car that aparently had nothing better to do on new years eve at 11:40 than to pull me over for going 35 in a 25 and give me a nice ticket. So if that wasn't enough to ruin my night and the fact that i wasn't with my wife and baby but instead in a smelly van all day, when I tried to call jess at midnight my phone cut out right at midnight. So now i can only hope that things get better from here for the new year.

So far things have been better, we've been home a bit and I am enjoying that a lot. I put tile in our bathroom which was quite a big job and is still not totally complete but I am happy with the results. Cali is growing and scooting all over so we are having to keep a watchful eye on her. Jess is keeping herself busy with live beautiful and doing a great job. So that is where we are.

One thing I've realized about doing this blog is that it is difficult. I am a bit of a perfectionist so it bothers me when things are not quite right or not to how i want it to be. It is hard for me to write just for the sake of writing. When i write I want it to be good and have something interesting and originial to say. It is also hard to be inspired enough to sit down and write something out. I know i need to write more because it is a good thing to do and it is also good to not be so uptight about what I write and worry so much about how perfect it is. I do know that what I write will never be perfect or great but i will still try to make it at least a little interesting.

Happy 16th of january!