Monday, August 29, 2011

ACU Opening Day Chapel 2011

This morning Sheryl and I attended the opening day chapel ceremony  for ACU's 106th year. It is always something to behold! Like a scene from the opening day of Hogwarts, it is full of pageantry and tradition. We LOVED getting to be there today. The singing brought chills!

Here are a couple of videos from today...

Friday, August 26, 2011

ACU Welcome Week Candlelight Devo

Tuesday night I went to the annual ACU Welcome Week candlelight devo in the ACU amphitheater. It was always. It had been almost 20 years since I had been to it. I loved hearing the more than 1000 voices sing with passion to the Father. Many of the songs were ZOE songs/arrangements. It was surreal in a way. I thought of my friends who had written some of those songs...probably having no clue the life it would have within my particular tribe, and wished for them.

My buddy Chris Davis who wrote "Here In This Place" probably never imagined how his song would be tied in a very emotional way to the beginning of all these students' college experiences. Chris is a good friend and a good man.

I'm wondering if my friend Eric Wyse ever imagined the picture above when he wrote "Light the Fire"? Eric and I produced several kids records together for Parable Bookstores and we've done multiple projects together including the Hymns project for Family Christian Bookstores. I love and miss you, Eric! Please come see us.

I'm wondering if my friend from Belmont Church, Rob Still, could have ever imagined how "A New Anointing" would take on a life of its own? Rob has often told me how ZOE brought that song to life. Worship Leader Magazine had used our recording to introduce that song in their Song Discovery program. I wished for him as I heard these kids belting it out. A season for a NEW anointing! Powerful words for these kids in this time in their lives.

And every time we sing Shout Hallelujah, I think about the night in the studio when Randy Gill introduced us to that song. It's one of my favorites! I love how Randy has helped shape the worship vocabulary within our tribe and beyond.

One of the MOST bizarre things is how songs take on a life of their own. I stood there as the students sang these songs and listened as the girls all sang the adlib parts by that my wife Sheryl, Jason McArthur, Zach Wilson and others made up while we were in the studio. I listened as the tenors soared on parts in "Salvation Belongs to Our God" and "Worthy is the Lamb" and remembered how the tenors and altos haggled (a serious ZOE tradition) in the studio over who would sing which part. The tenors always want to sing the alto parts. HA! And those students were just belting it out. There were no lyrics...they just all knew them by heart. It was so incredibly moving. I just cannot express how full my heart was that night.

I doubt most of these kids knew any of the background or history of these songs. I did some quick math in my head that night and realized that they were all 3 and 4 years old when the first ZOE CD came out. Talk about a fossilizing moment!! What they WERE thinking about was worship. They seemed to be transported right into the throne room of God. And, after all, THAT is what it's about.

I walked away that night thinking about my ZOE family...all the experiences, the journey, the laughter and tears, the prayers....and I thanked God. It's in times like that when words completely fail you. But I know that in ways I cannot know, the Spirit was able to help me as I prayed. As we have said from the beginning in ZOE...there is only ONE audience and it's our Father. He is the Almighty, Abba, Alpha and Omega, King of kings and Lord of lords. His glory is above the heavens. What I saw Tuesday night was that His fame and glory were being celebrated in powerful ways. Hallelujah! May this generation take that to even higher heights! I want to be a part of THAT! We serve a mighty God! I stand in the shadow of the cross and feel so thankful that I have a hope in Him. Without Him, I am nothing. He gives Life. He takes my meager offering and makes it into something I could never imagine. He takes my brokenness and makes beauty from ashes. He loves beyond my wildest imagination. I want MORE of God and LESS of me! Praise God for his unfailing love!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sam Thomas Elementary

We were so very honored by the Abilene Newspaper doing a front page article on my dad and our family returning to Texas and being a part of Sam Thomas Elementary. What a treasure for us to keep, always! I absolutely loved the pic of Sheryl and Sam too.

To read the story...go here-- Abilene Reporter News

Friday, August 19, 2011

School Days

School starts in Abilene on Monday. The kids will be new students at Sam Thomas Elementary--a school built and named after my father. It is a dream that we are getting to be there. It is an awesome school and the administration and teachers are incredible.

Last night we had meet the teacher night. We got there a little early to find long lines waiting out the front doors to get in. Once the doors opened, we walked past this picture of my dad smiling down on us...I think we all took a collective sigh of peace.

We love Mrs. Smith--the principal. She has done so much already for us. Sam has Nyla Davis for Kindergarten (long time family friend), Ella has Mrs. West for 3rd grade and Maddie has Mrs Sutherland and Ms. Mayhall for 4th grade. They are all really excited about their teachers. We are at Thomas with some of our favorite Abilene friends...Bill and Laura Carroll's daughters as well as Houston and Karen Heflin's daughters.

Last night was a blast. We are all excited about being a part of this community and school. It seems like only yesterday I was starting school as a Kindergartner riding to school with my dad. Every morning on the way to school he would sing "Oh, What a Beautiful Morning". And it was...just about every single day.

Here's my Kindergarten school picture...

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Thomas Family Pics Summer 2011

Our dear friend, Jill Batson, took some pictures for us before we left Nashville that have become my favorite family pictures we've ever had made. Go visit her website! Jill Batson Photography

Here are some of my favorites...

Thank you, Jill! Tomorrow the kids get to meet their teachers at Sam Thomas Elementary and they will begin a brand new chapter on Monday. We're all excited!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Happy Anniversary

In the course of 2 months so many things have happened in our lives that it seems hard to keep track right now. I haven't had much blog inspiration since we lost Sheryl's mom. But so many wonderful things have occurred. We are transitioning well into Abilene life. More on that later.

The true purpose of today's blog is to celebrate our 13th anniversary! Happy anniversary to my lovely wife! It's been an amazing journey of faith and laughter over the years. I am a very blessed man. 13 years ago today we stood with Mike Cope and many of our closest friends to join our lives. Many of those friends have walked every step with us. What would we do without community? We are deeply thankful for the friendships and family given to us. God is good!

And over the years God has added to our joy by giving us 3 amazing human beings. Each birth was special. Each child a unique piece of God's heart for us. We love them!




Summer 2011