Saturday, June 30, 2007

ZOE just finished a long day in the studio. We had a productive night last night and a good day today--slow but good. We keep making progress. After a few weeks we have some songs we're really excited about...and we're over half way done.

Here are the songs we've recorded so far...
--Everlasting God
--Where Joy and Sorrow Meet (a Sheryl fantastic!)
--Be Lifted High (written by Leland--on of Jason's artists--and recorded by Michael W. Smith)
--You Are Good
--Uncreated One (Chris Tomlin)
--Your Name
--The Glory Is Yours

We recorded another song today that is so awesome but it's being released on a major Christian artist's record in August (a few days before ours) and so I can't say the title yet. It's one of my favorite ZOE songs in a while. So far we are really excited about all the songs we've done. I'm looking forward to hearing some mixes soon.

Tomorrow we're back at it right after lunch. Songs on the agenda tomorrow include "You Are God Alone" and maybe "You Never Let Go" or "Be Praised" (a new song written by my buddy, George Rowe).

Kyler is leading worship in the morning. It's a good thing because I am not sure what my voice would sound like. It's his first time to do the entire morning by himself. I know he'll do a great job!

Last week I went to a lunch with all the folks who work with cruise ship entertainment for Gary Musick. Again I was impressed to hear them reiterate their mission for quality in entertainment and production. What a great group of people and an awesome company! It's been fun to be associated with them. Here's a picture from our lunch... the guy on the far left is Dave Patton. He was the creative director and genius behind many of the old Opryland shows. It's cool to see how that creativity has been taken to this genre. And, Gary was there but he is behind the camera!

Thursday, June 28, 2007

What if all of life was worship--the way we approached every day...expecting God to show up? Would it impact our lives? Wouldn't there be an overflow from our lives into our assemblies--Sunday, Saturday, Thursday or whenever...?

What would it look like in a 1000+ member church if we gathered each week in eagerness and suspense...expecting God to make Himself known in our midst. I wonder how it would impact the way we worship. I wonder how it would impact what was said. I wonder how it would impact the way we allocate our time for different parts of the service. Would we listen more? Can it really happen? Are we too conditioned? Has "Sunday morning church" morphed into something that leaves too little space for God's surprising presence? Or have we arrived? Is this what centuries of Jesus followers were longing to establish?

PS: Great comments, Steve! It's exactly where I was coming from but neglected to write...

Monday, June 25, 2007

People..loving them, living with them, eating with them, sharing your life with them, being true community with's a messy business.

In looking at the Pharisees and the way they approached life, it seems like they did everything possible to avoid a mess. Neatness was valued over people--and certainly over their complicated issues.

Jesus was pretty clear with them in action and words. Over and over he emphasized wanting our hearts OVER a nice looking outer appearance. He even broke many of their "rules" for the sake of ministry to the broken and hurting.

If Jesus was here today, who would He spend His time with? What kinds of people would he be reaching out to? What would the "church" say about it? What kinds of news reports would Pat Roberson run on his show? How would Jesus be written up in "Brotherhood" newpapers? Just curious.

I wonder sometimes if our time in corporate assembly is spent more on the outer appearance rather than getting messy. Nothing really happened yesterday to make me think that, it's just been eating at me for a while.

I'm reading Shane Claiborne's Irresitable Revolution right now and it's extremely convicting. Dangerous even. I'm also teaching a class on Wednesdays at Otter Creek called "Worship is a Verb". Studying these things again has provided me several sleepless nights...thinking, pondering, feeling that all too familiar tugging.

As my buddy Jeff Walling says...the MESSiah came to enter into our MESSES and bring us hope and healing. To even suggest we aren't a mess really implies we have no need for a MESSiah. (Jeff--loved our lunch last week...even if it was the meat of an "unclean animal". HA! Thanks for being my brother!)

How are you allowing Him to impact your messes today? (asking myself that too.) We're called to be His hands and feet too. Let's not be afraid of getting messy for His sake.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

What an awesome day it was! The wedding went well--Kim looked gorgeous and the girls were angels...they even made it through the entire wedding without leaving the stage...whew! I EVEN MADE IT THROUGH THE WEDDING WITHOUT LEAVING THE STAGE--bigger WHEW!

Here are some pictures that capture some of the moments I will be remembering from this day. We are so, SO thrilled for Kim and Kevin!! (Kiki and Biggie)

Have a blast in St. John, Mr. and Mrs. Penna!! We are SO jealous!

The wedding rehearsal went well last night--so fun! Cory has done a great job of decorating everything. And Sheryl did a fantastic job of decorating for the rehearsal dinner to make it extra special...

JV, Amanda and Brian are singing--Sheryl and I pre-recorded a song since we are in the wedding party. They also have a harpist playing.

The flowers and candles aren't up yet---but it's amazing what one bolt of silk can add.

The girls are nervous about their role but I know they'll have such a great time!

Sheryl made these ice chests for each table last night--kind of a bride and groom thing. Plus she had paper and colors on each table for the kids. Oh, the brilliance of a mom!

More pictures of the big day to come!

Friday, June 22, 2007

I took these pictures a while ago---but ever since February when they got their flower girl dresses, the girls have been counting the days until "Kiki and Biggie's" wedding. (The kids--especially Sam, have named Kevin "Biggie". Hilarious!) Tonight is the rehearsal and tomorrow is the big day! We have all kinds of family and extended family in town. Please say a prayer of blessing for them as they take this huge step into their future.
From Psalm 20...
May the Lord answer you when you are in distress;
may the name of the God of Jacob protect you.
May He send you help from His sanctuary
and grant you support from Zion.
May He give you the desires of your heart
and make all your plans succeed.
We will shout for joy when you are victorious
and we will lift up our banners in the name of our God.
May the Lord grant all your requests.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

That's my boy! Sam's smiling and sunny disposition is one of God's greatest gifts in my life. He's saying so many new things. He's so curious. So interested in things. He loves to come up and say, "What do?" (aka: whatcha up to?) It's so cute. He still says "CHASEY, Daddy, CHASEY!!" and takes off running. Today I am overcome with gratitude for my family.

We have relatives driving in from all over for Kim's wedding this weekend. I am preforming their ceremony. Hopefully I will NOT say, "Mawwidge...and wuuv, twu wuv" But...I MIGHT say, "Do you have the 'wing'?" We'll see.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Last night we had our first night in the studio for our newest project (title TBA). We recorded "Your Name" and the background vocals to "Where Joy and Sorrow Meet". It was a long night, but it went well. It's so fun having the group back together again!

As we were getting ready to begin my mind went back to the last 10 years and so many hilarious memories. Pictures from that first recording in 1997 crack me up. We look like children...even David England! :) Along the way there have been marriages, births, miscarriages, joys and sorrow. We've walked a lot of miles together. I'm so thankful for my sweet ZOE family. Here are some shots we captured last night.

Here we are posing with our awesome engineer, Chris Yoakum

Kyler sat in the engineer booth and watched Chris work his magic!

Here are some more pictures from our time in Orlando with ZOE. Thanks, Amy, for sending these!! We had a great time with the Metro Church out there. Thanks again to all of you who were so hospitable!

Some of the ZOE guys...nice face, Pete!

Sunday morning at Metro

More of Sunday

Here we are in all our weirdness...I LOVE these people!

Saturday, June 16, 2007

For Father's Day I got some absolutely gorgeous pictures of my kids! I was really excited to get them. Here are a few...

Thank you, Sheryl, Maddie, Ella, and Sam!!

It's been a really busy week. We're gearing up to begin the ZOE recording this next week as well as trying to stay ahead on everything else. I'm really excited about the recording. We've got most of the ZOE veterans back--Sheryl, Melissa, Amy, Karin, David, Jason, Peter, and JV. (Philip Organ is also singing a few dates)

Some of the songs we're working on include...
--Your Name
--At the Cross
--Where Joy and Sorrow Meet
--Carried to the Table
--Uncreated One
--You Never Let Go
--You Are God Alone

Happy Father's Day tomorrow.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Here are some more pictures from the weekend with ZOE...

Last Monday, our second "Playground" kids' record for Parable was released. It's called "I Want to Shine!" I added a new link over there so you can order one...or two....or twenty! I am so pleased with the entire project. Now...rumors of a Christmas CD??

Here are a couple more pictures from Sam's party. Kyle took these and they were some of my favorites!

Monday, June 11, 2007

There's so much to say about the weekend...such an awesome time with ZOE and with friends in Orlando. The conference went well. Bret and his crew did a fantastic job. We all enjoyed being there and felt great about the weekend. However, I really missed Stephen being there.

There were lots of highlights for me. One was seeing Tim and Darcy Chapman...old ACU friends. Darcy and I were Sing Song hosts together. They are such amazing people. Tim kept me on the edge of my seat with stories of his visit to Africa to see our mutual friends, Randy and Kellie Vaughn. I was dying.

Another high moment was spending time with my buddy Rich Smith. He and I got there early Thursday to work on our worship leader's track. We also spent part of the day at Disney thanks to our favorite Disney employee, Charles! Thanks, brother!

Sunday morning we led worship at both services--the first was acapella and the second was with their worship band. Those guys were great--almost as good as our Otter Creek band :)

Finally, on the way home I sat with Jason McArthur, Amy Westerman and my mom and we had such a fun spiritual conversation. I always love the trips home because we get in these engaging debates. Jason is one of my all-time favorite people to talk to. He's not only one of the funniest people I know, he also knows scripture better than almost anyone I've met besides John Willis.

I'll have more pictures to post in a few days, but here are a few from the weekend--

Rich Smith and I went to Animal Kingdom first and then Epcot. While at Animal Kingdom, I saw the new Nemo show. My old friend, Juan, is in it. He was the lead in the Tarzan show that closed last January. He was great in Nemo, but it didn't feature him like Tarzan did. It was fun to see him though.

Sheryl and Darcy--Darcy and I were Sing Song hosts together back in the day at ACU. Darcy and Sheryl are both from Michigan and go waaaay back. in fact, I met Sheryl through Darcy.

Sheryl, me, Darcy and Tim--great friends!

Rich, my mom, Sally Gary and me. I was so glad my mom got to come and of course, it's always a pleasure to see Sally. Behind us is the lovely drawing that Jack and Jill Maxwell did during the conference.

More pics soon...

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Today is my son's second birthday! It's hard to imagine that he's 2! He is such a joy to me. I love how he comes over to me and asks me to play chase by saying, "Chase-y??!" I love how he enjoys giving hugs and kisses to all of us, but especially his sisters. I love his laugh. I love his waddle run. I love his tender but strong heart. He is a gift to Sheryl and me. Happy birthday, Sam! May the Lord bless you and keep you and make His face to shine upon you!

Here are some pictures from Sam's Thomas the Train party today--