Wednesday, August 30, 2006

This morning on the way to school Maddie said...

"I wish I could decorate the whole world!"

When I asked her what she meant she said,

"You know, put lots of ribbons in the trees and lights like at Christmas time. I could put big bows on all the cars that drive and everything could be decorated."

What a cool thought. Maybe one day she will. One thing is for sure, she decorates my life every single day.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Quick update...

First, thank you to all who wished me well after my, um, unfortunate "accident" shall we say. Wow.

Second, we told our life group about one of the families we met last Saturday (no fridge, stove, microwave, air conditioning, etc). That NIGHT after life group people kept coming back over delivering stuff. We ended up with a window unit air conditioner, clothes, shoes, bedding, towels, bags and bags of groceries, a toaster oven, a microwave, school supplies, laundry detergent and quarters, etc. It was SO COOL to see people respond...and not just respond at some point, but IMMEDIATELY respond. John Sandella, Travis, Lea Brown, Sheryl and others left for the grocery after group. Amanda and Geof headed home and came back with a huge bin of stuff. It was almost like Christmas!!

Sheryl, Travis and Doug went over yesterday afternoon to install the air conditioner and deliver the other stuff. It was a neat day.

Third, another hilarious moment with Cindy Craig. That girl makes me laugh hard. She was on praise team Sunday morning and was witness to a funny moment. At the end of services I stood during the final prayer (the team was seated on stage and usually their cue to stand or sit or whatever is given by me). I stood and held my hands down and back motioning in a way that I thought might suggest...don't stand. Well, Tracy Dean was seated next to me and the other soprano for the day. I guess she thought the motion meant...let's hold hands. HA!!! She reached out and took my hand. I heard Cindy snicker and that was it. Why do I love crazy moments like that so much?

Life, family, this journey...all full of awesome moments. Sometimes we take ourselves way too seriously. We should never forget how to laugh!

Saturday, August 26, 2006

This weekend has been full of important moments. Some are like the ones I wrote about last week...snapshots that you want to just freeze in time. Others are like snapshots of you from 5th grade that you want to burn in case anyone might possibly get their hands on them.

First, Sheryl brought the kids up yesterday afternoon while she worked at the Otter consignment sale (it was AWESOME!). Maddie and Ella were in the sanctuary trying on different costumes from my office (from old Otter musicals and things). They would dress up, sing and dance, and then Sam would clap for them. It was so adorable. Then we brought out three stools and I sat in the middle and the girls sat on either side. Sam crawled around. We sat there for probably 25 minutes just singing. They wanted to sing You are Holy, I Will Worship, Shout Hallelujah, What Can Wash Away My Sin, etc. They sat on their stools and just belted it out with all the gusto they could manage. It even sounded really good!

Second, through Doug Sanders' AWESOME connections with Metro Housing, today we were able to deliver a refridgerator to a family who lived in the projects. They live in what we would consider 3rd world air, no fridge, no stove, no food, only a mattress on the ground, but lots of smiles.

After dropping off the fridge we went to another area in the projects where a woman we'll call Janice lived. She's a single mom, 27yrs old, with a 5 yr old daughter (LaQuandra) and a 6 year old son (Elijah). They lost everything in a fire. Everything. Sheryl spent all morning rounding things up with the help of Maddie and Ella. I was proud of them for wanting to get rid of some of their "good" toys and dress up clothes. How many of us also have bedding sitting in closets we NEVER use? We were also able to take a bunch of kids clothes from the consignment sale to them. Anyway--Maddie, Ella, Sam and Sheryl came with me. Doug led us to "Janice's" house. LaQuandra ran out to meet us. Maddie and Ella disappeared upstairs (a nice, though little, place for the projects). Doug and I put her bed together and Sheryl helped unload some food. I went into "LaQuandra's" bedroom where she was telling Maddie and Ella she wanted them to see her toys. She pulled out this black bag and in it were 2 things---a stretchy thing that goes around a suitcase to hold it together, and a ratty old stuffed pink donkey that was losing all it's stuffing. She shrieked with delight at the dolls, dress up stuff, and books. Maddie and Ella beamed. On the way out Maddie said, "That was a good house...just the right size." They have no concept of "the projects". She just thought it was a cool place to live. I love the way kids think.

I say all that not seeking a pat on the back. I say it for this reason...I am so grateful for Doug Sanders. He is a GIFT to our church staff. It was his initiative that took us there...his idea. I asked him how Metro Housing got hooked up with him and he said simply, "Well, I just went down there one day and introduced myself to them and told them we wanted to help." DUH! I just continue to be grateful for the way he shows Jesus to me by helping push me outside myself.

Now, finally, I will NOT be giving full details on this part...and hopefully most of you won't have read this far (Russ Debenport won't for sure). You all know me well enough by now through stories and other things to know what a big statement this is...last night I had the single most embarrassing moment of my entire life. The only thing I'll give you is this...during a play at a community theater in east Nashville, I...let's just say that I had some issues. Issues which have caused me more humiliation than I ever thought possible...even for me. Someday, possibly at my funeral, my old college roommates (Stephen, Craig, Chris) can share the story in its entirety. For now, suffice it to say, I will never be the same. And neither will any of the people who actually saw me. BLESS. I believe that's enough sharing for today.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Love this pic of Sam!

Phil Keaggy. Brilliant, humble, genuine, freakishly gifted. Note to self, when Phil Keaggy asks if he can bring some “friends”, ALWAYS say yes. Turns out his 2 buddies were the guys who made up the group Glass Harp back in the early 70s. That was the group that really put Phil on the map. Daniel and John played and sang with Phil as they had done 30 years ago when they were filling concert halls. The blend was awesome. The music they made was absolutely incredible. At one point as Phil played his 1970 electric guitar, I thought his fingers were going to catch on fire. Simply amazing! I have never enjoyed Phil as much as I did last night. I told him afterwards that it was so fun to watch him make music with buddies. (He and John have been friends since the 8th grade.) It was fun visiting with him. There’s just something about that guy’s heart—simply spectacular. So hard to believe they are empty nesters now. I really enjoyed the night. THANK YOU, PHIL!!!

I’m sitting at Williamson Medical Center waiting as my mom has cataract surgery. She’s a trooper. It’s hard to see your parents age. Though her mind continues to sharpen in wisdom and Godliness, her body continues to challenge her. Sometimes that seems backwards to me. But, it seems the Creator knows what He’s doing. (Mom came through GREAT!!! The doctors keep telling her that her blood sugar levels are looking great and she's really doing well. YEA MOM!)

ZOE is coming!! The conference is shaping up. Can’t wait to see those of you coming! I am really excited about my long time best friend and brother, Stephen Bailey, leading a track this year on Saturday. I’ve thought for a long time that one of the biggest missing elements is a track for ministers who are leading start-up ministries. There are unique struggles, unique blessings. Stephen came out of the film industry as part owner in a highly successful special effects company to lead worship at a church in the DFW metroplex. His gifts are perfectly suited for ministry to churches of any size, but his experience in starting the ministry at Lake Cities gives him a voice to those who are wrestling with how to start a ministry from scratch. I couldn’t be more excited about him joining us this year for our series of conferences. He and Joel Quile (the pulpit minister with Stephen) will both be at the conference. Joel will be doing a class on interpretive dance. (um, that’s sarcasm in case you missed it. Ha—can you imagine? Go Quile, go Quile, go Quile…)

Here are a couple of pictures from Lauren’s birthday party last week…

our friend, Lauren with Maddie

Kyle, Ella and some freak.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

All you Nashvegas residents and those within driving distance...

Come join us tonight for Phil Keaggy and friends at Otter Creek at 7pm. Doors open at 6:30. Free admission.

Come and bring a friend!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Here are some snapshots of moments I've enjoyed over the last few weeks. (Blogger is finally letting me post)

Girls are ready for their dance recital!

Ella is having a blast!

curtain call

Daddy and Maddie at the recital.

No real change in David's condition. Please keep praying. Apparently, they thought Sunday night was it after he caught Pneumonia and couldn't breathe. However, he made a serious comeback in the early morning hours Monday.

Do you ever want to freeze time? I've had that feeling a lot in life. I remember having it with my father when my young mind realized that he would not live to see my wife and kids. I remember having it in college as I laughed myself hoarse with my roommates. I remember feeling that way at our wedding reception as we were surrounded by our dearest friends. I remember certain days, certain pictures, certain feelings that remain as snapshots in my brain.

I felt that way Monday as I watched Maddie walk up those big steps to her Pre-K class at Otter Creek. It had snuck up on me. I hadn't stopped to realize that there wouldn't be anymore family days on Mondays when everyone was home. I held her that night and wanted to freeze time.

After loving on Maddie, I went over to Ella's bed and scratched her back and told her like I try to tell her often, "There's nothing you can ever do to make me not love you. I love you when you're good. I love you when you're bad. I will always, always, always love you." Then I laid down next to her and gave her a big hug and said one last time... "I love you!!"

She turned over and looked at me with this dead pan expression and said, "You told me that three times. I think that's kinda weird." (in her growly little Ella voice.) I laughed out loud. She's a nut.

Reality is, time is fleeting. Every minute, every second means something. We have opportunities that are here and gone in an instant. We are but a blade of grass--here today and gone tomorrow. The love of God is from everlasting to everlasting.

Take time today to take snapshots. Soak it all in. Seize an opportunity. Say something you need to say to someone you love. Don't wait.

Here's one last snapshot to leave you with...Maddie on her first day of Pre-K

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Please pray for Sheryl's oldest brother, David Largent. David has been struggling with cancer. It appears that it has spread pretty quickly. He fell last weekend and broke his hip in 3 places. The doctors aren't optimistic about time. We're praying that he knows the love of Christ before his life here is over. Please join us in that prayer.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Things I don't so much like...

--snakes (can barely type it)
--long boring meetings
--the endless barrage of spam email
--the RETARDED email forwards that threaten bad luck for 15 years unless you forward the email and subject your friends to the same stupid message. Did I mention I can't stand those??
--watching baseball on TV

Things I really love...

--my family
--celebrating birthdays (YEA LAUREN!!)
--Steak Maui at Houston's (Nashville no longer has a Houston's. BOOOOOO!!)
--seeing acts of kindness
--great movies

My friend Sally Gary comes in town this afternoon. She's on that last list too. I'm looking forward to having some good time with her. Maddie starts pre-K on Friday. I'm still trying to get my mind around that. I'm SO glad we decided to wait on Kindergarten. It'll be hard enough to get used to her being gone 3 days a week. She's excited though.

Feel free to leave some of your most and least favorite things...and if you don''ll have bad luck for 20 years. Pass that on to all the people you really want to annoy.

PS: I've been asked this several times don't have to keep up a blog to publish a comment here. You do have to register though. It gives you a profile which basically says your name and that's all you really have to do. Hope that helps answer some questions if there are those of you wanting to comment but not wanting to maintain a blog.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006


--the trip to Alabama with ZOE was a wonderful experience. The church was warm, sincere and very worshipful. I was so blessed to be there! Thanks to all those who were instrumental in bringing ZOE there.

--Sunday, some of us met down at SIR (a building full of rehearsal spaces that many touring bands use before they hit the road) to begin rehearsals for a night that will be called "A Light for the City". Nashville's brand new and amazing Schermerhorn Symphony Center will house a night of Christian music on October 15th. ZOE will be singing that night. More information on tickets soon. We are so pumped about singing in that space!

--Sunday night the girls danced their hearts out while 7 or 8 life group friends and their Nonnie watched. Geof and Amanda brought flowers for the girls as did the McInturffs. They were so sweet to do that. The girls were beside themselves with excitement. It was a great night. Hopefully, I can post pics soon.

Finally, today is a special day in our lives. On August 15, we celebrate several things...Karin Hensley's birthday (ZOE), Beth Ann Fisher's birthday (Craig's wife), Taylor's birthday (The Doggett's daughter)...but most importantly for us, our anniversary! We have been married 8 years today. I'm thankful for Sheryl, for her graceful ways and her loving heart. I'm a blessed man!

Saturday, August 12, 2006

We're in dance recital time. Maddie and Ella have done a fantastic job. They have one more performance Sunday night at New Song at 5:30. It’s been fun to watch them prepare and get excited about it. Blogger won't let me post pics for some reason. Maybe I've reached my max?

As I mentioned, I’ve been at the Willow Creek Leadership Summit. It’s been mostly good. As is always the case, you have to take some things and translate it to your own tribe or environment. Perhaps one of the greatest things I’ve been reminded of this week is that leaders are called to inspire people. And one of the best ways to inspire people is to paint a picture…a dream that’s bigger than ourselves. The Kingdom of Jesus is an upside down kingdom. It’s a way of death…not exactly popular. Come and die. Come and lose your life and gain His. Come and give up your rights and lay down your will. These are not exactly great conference themes. I’ve missed hearing some of that this week.

The other thing about conference or “group think” that is sometimes troubling is when someone we respect stands and says, “This is the best way to achieve results…” and people all nod their heads and leave trying to make their places look exactly like that. It’s troubling to me because there is a certain truth in principle to all of that, but there are often discrepancies. I’ve found myself uncomfortable in ZOE settings after teaching a class and going home replaying it in my mind. I have tried more in recent years to stress how the Holy Spirit wants to do a unique work in all of our places. There are awesome ideas we can share and ways communal discernment can create something better than we could ever do on our own...but I confess to you that often times the messiness of that causes us to opt for the least common denominator. I shiver when I hear people say things like…”Well, we can’t do it that way because that’s not how ZOE does it”. Or, today I heard someone say, “Well, Bill Hybels said we have to…”

Praise God for His example of the Body---all parts, all functions, all joined together serving our purpose and working towards the same end. We need each other. And…aren’t we glad?

ZOE sings in Athens, Alabama Saturday night (tonight). It's my first date back with ZOE. I'm looking forward to it!

BIG NEWS!!!!!!!
The kids' record I produced with Eric Wyse called Playground released yesterday! The first shipment to stores was 20,000! Wooo-hooo!! TJ sounds great on it! He wrote most of the songs. He and I co-wrote a couple. It will also be available on itunes. I'll let you know when. Click here to find a Parable bookstore near you! God's hand was on this project from start to finish. It was one of the most enjoyable projects I've ever been a part of. Please, go buy lots of CDs!!

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Willow Creek Leadership Summit today at the People's Church in Franklin. Should be a great day.

We had praise team auditions last night. That's always an important night, somewhat stressful, but I'm convinced it's the right way to go. It affords me an opportunity to spell out the vision of the worship ministry and stress the importance of gifting and heart. Basically, just because someone can sing doesn't mean they should be leading worship (on praise team). We're really looking for men and women who have a passion for worship and leading worship.

The girls have their first ever dance recital today. There will be another one Sunday night at New Song Church in Franklin. I'll try and post pics tomorrow. I can't wait to see it!!!

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

(Look real close)

OK, please don't throw stones at me, but I LOVE ME SOME RICKY BOBBY! Some guys from life group and I went last night. It could quite possibly be the funniest movie I have seen in a long time. I laughed until I hurt. Absolutely hilarious.

I needed the laugh. My cousin, Deana, was in a bad motorcycle accident over the weekend. She was life flighted and is in critical condition. She had surgery today and they are hoping to save her foot. She broke both legs and has severe head trauma. Please lift her up. I'll keep you posted.

Last night at Samson we talked about "responsibility". It brought up some quirky feelings in me. Some that I'm still processing. I have this love/ hate relationship with responsibility. I was actually named "Most Dependable" in my High School year book...please save the jokes (I was also named best dressed, but at Wylie in those days that wasn't too hard to manage.) After losing my dad I felt a lot of self imposed responsibility. It did weird things to me. Not all bad. We're all responsible to live up to our calling as children of God. Perhaps my struggles with it come from knowing how desperately far I am from deserving that title? Whatever the case, it's one more reminder that I am a work-in-progress. end a weird day of extreme emotions, I ate most of a pack of chewy Spree. 75% of them were red and purple. Gotta love it!!! What can I say? There's joy in the small things!

Monday, August 07, 2006

Last Friday we took a quick trip to Chattanooga to meet Paul and Jill Young and their family. They moved to Atlanta last year and we really miss them. Jill's parents live in Chattanooga so we met there since it is half way.

Maddie and Mack were inseparable as babies and toddlers. It was so fun watching them all play together again. Paul and Jill have a new addition to their James! Mack, Champ, and James are like little brown surfers...making our little white marshmallows look even whiter! It was so fun laughing and being together again. We love the Youngs! Here are some pictures of the weekend.

The kids pose on Friday after taking a walk in the rain.

Paul and Champ. Champ's hilarious personality shines through!

Sam cools off in the shade

Ella and Mack

Maddie and Ella at the fountains

At the park

The kids enjoy Hawaiian shaved ice

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Last night I was laying on Ella's bed waiting for her while she brushed her teeth with Sheryl. She came and jumped on me and kissed me. I said, "Wow! Your breath smells good!!"

She stared at me with a funny, confused expression. She sat up, pulled her shirt collar out and stuck her nose down the front of her shirt.

"My breasts don't smell like anything," she said.

I haven't stopped laughing since.

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

I'm in car hell. Literally. One morning last week my trusty old '98 Blazer with 122,000 miles wouldn't start. I called Doug Sanders and he came and jumped it for me. I drove her to my AWESOME car mechanic (Nashville residents, ask me about this place) who changed the battery for me. Once they did, however, it appeared that something got fried in the jump start. The temperature thingy (this is why I don't work on cars) is all messed up. As a result, the air conditioner doesn't work.

The guys at the garage worked on it for 2 1/2 days. TWO AND A HALF DAYS! I was thinking the labor costs alone was going to kill me. They called and said that after they called GM, ordered parts and tried everything they couldn't figure it out. So, yesterday I picked it up and they charged me...nothing. YEA! They are awesome!

So, the thing is, the air conditioner is broken yet blows air...air that can't be turned off...air that blows out the top and on my feet...air that is somewhere around 500 degrees. I drove to work at 8am this morning and in the 10 minutes it took me to get there I ended up looking like a cat that had fallen into a swimming pool. Nasty. Car hell.

Praise GOD for the Pearmans at Otter Creek who are loaning me their Dodge truck. I am cruisin around in a king cab, baby! Hallelujah and praise the Lord for air conditioning!!!!!!!


At my Samson group last night the discussion topic was "honesty". More on that later this week. It was an amazing that has stuck with me and given me food for thought today.

Have a great night, friends!