Thursday, November 30, 2006

ESV Search Bar and More

With the blog overhaul I performed last week, I added several new features to my blog that I thought I would highlight for you all.
  1. On the right column there are two search boxes, one is powered by Google and the other by Technorati. Both of them can be used to search on topics from posts within my blog. In the Google box you can also select “the web” to launch a full Google web search.
  2. On the right below the “Parkview Links” (which feature Parkview related links including John Carlson’s site) you can find numerous “Bible Study / Resources.” These links include several Bible study sites where you can access different translations, do word searches, etc… At Monergism and Desiring God you can access numerous sermons and articles on various topics from the reformed perspective. Finally, there is an ESV search box where you can type in either a scripture reference or perform a word search that will launch you to the findings within the ESV Bible. For those of you who attend Parkview, this is the version Pastor Jeff most commonly sites in his messages.
  3. Toward the bottom of the right menu bar, I’ve linked to what I have titled Ministry Related Blogs. These are some of the blogs that I frequent. They are quite diverse in content and perspective. Seth Goddin’s blog is actually more of a business/marketing blog, but does offer some insights that are helpful for ministry.
  4. Finally on the lower part of my left menu bar there is a book currently reading section that links you right to the book for sale on Amazon.
I hope this has made the blog more effective, easier to navigate, and a better resource for helpful information. Please feel free to comment or email if you have additional ideas for how this blog can be improved to become a better resource for communication and for the building of the kingdom!

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Evening Activities Canceled

Due to impending icy conditions tonight, all church activities are canceled. The choir is leading worship in the atrium this weekend, so we will have a make-up rehearsal on Saturday morning from 9-10:45 am in the Atrium. This rehearsal will be for everyone in the Christmas Choir, so even if you can't help lead worship in the atrium venue, this rehearsal will still be very important for you to attend. Sorry for the inconvenience!

My Mom Reads My Blog

(HT: Vitamin Z)

Check out This is one of the more unique innovations I’ve seen from the Internet. To the best of my understanding this is how it works. When you are done reading a book you register (at the website) and “release” it to the public by leaving it in a public location to be found by either an innocent passerby or by someone intentionally looking for it who saw it’s location on The idea is simply that people keep releasing books and sharing them with others. I doubt I’ll use it because I have a specific reading list and tend to keep every book I read; however, it might be an interesting experiment for you to try. You can read more about it here.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Who is My Neighbor?

Josh Malone, Pastor of Young Adults at Parkview delivered a powerful message last weekend on the story of the Good Samaritan from Luke 10:25-37. If you don’t attend Parkview or were out of town you can listen to it here.

It is very interesting to me how followers of Christ tend to view their "neighbors" as those who they associate with in the context of Church. To a degree, this is appropriate. We should celebrate and embrace the fellowship of believers. In the same regard our love and friendships should extend, like Christ, far outside the walls of the church. Even to those who’s political and social positions are quite different than our own.

Now, it is one thing to recognize the need, it is another to actually do something about it. Here are some ideas of how we can expand our "neighborhood" to include those outside the church community.
  • Volunteer at a local hospital to help with the sick who are suffering with cancer or aids
  • Get involved in a group that shares your talents like a community singing group or sports league (don’t just play on the church team)
  • Host a neighborhood block party
  • Help with an after school program or free medical clinic (like our IC Hope ministry)
  • Others?

Monday, November 27, 2006

Elisabeth Elliot on Abortion

A topic not far from yesterday’s adoption post is the issue of abortion. How many mothers considering abortion would forgo their plans if they knew their baby was indeed a person, and that this person could be adopted and raised in a loving and caring home? 1.3 millions abortions are performed in the United States every year. Tragic!

A few weeks ago I mentioned a daily devotional my wife receives from Elisabeth Elliot. Today’s devotional on abortion was particularly powerful, so I thought I would share it with you all.

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As I mentioned earlier, some time ago I read of a new medical triumph involving unborn twins. Amniocentesis had shown that one of them had Down's syndrome. The mother decided she did not want that child, so with the simple expedient of piercing the heart of the baby with a long needle, it was killed in the womb. She carried the twins to term and delivered one child alive--the one she wanted to keep--and one child dead--the one she didn't want to keep. This was hailed as a remarkable breakthrough. I would ask you to pause for a moment here and consider this question: what was it, exactly, that was killed? What was it that was not killed? The answer to both questions, of course, is--a child. They were both children. They were twins. I used plain, ordinary words to tell the story--the words the news report used. Nothing ambiguous. Nothing incendiary.

I read the following week in the same magazine about another medical breakthrough. This time doctors had used an instrument inserted into a womb not to kill a child but to save one. This child had a serious heart anomaly which they were able to correct with intrauterine surgery. Can any honest and reasonable person fail to make the comparison here? In the second case, the instrument in the surgeon's hand enabled the tiny heart to keep on working. In the first case, the needle in the surgeon's hand made the heart quit working. What, exactly, should we call that?

The intrauterine surgery was called lifesaving because they fixed a baby's defective heart. What language are we allowed to use when we speak of destroying a heart that's working perfectly! There is a simple and obvious word, but we are not allowed to use it. Well, what about life-destroying? Is that permissible for this neat and efficient technique? Well, not really. Because the word life is explosive. Life is not relevant here. It's the mother's life that we are supposed to consider, nobody else's. The other isn't a life--not one worth living anyway, not one worth the mother's suffering for. So we must not use the ordinary words. They're too emotional. They're loaded. The fact is they stopped the heart. That's all. Just made it quit beating.

I was glad that the writer of the article on the baby whose heart was corrected acknowledged the possibility that fetal surgery might raise an ethical question which the medical world thought it had laid to rest. Might it be necessary, in view of these advances, to ask all over again whether a fetus is a person?

This is the issue today. It is, in the final analysis, the only question that needs to be considered when we speak of the unborn. Is the thing disposable? Is it an object with no life of its own, a bit of tissue which belongs to a woman who has the right to do with it what she chooses? If she needs it and wants it, she keeps it. If she doesn't need it and doesn't want it, she throws it out. So what's all the shouting about?

Truthfulness is the willingness to accept facts. Truthtellers are always regarded as either ridiculous, or so dangerous as to deserve death. "No truth," wrote Hannah Arendt, "that crosses someone's profit, ambition, or lust, is permissible. Unwelcome facts possess an infuriating stubbornness that nothing can move except plain lies."

Here are the unwelcome facts. We were talking about children: the twin who was saved, the child with the defective heart who was also saved, and the twin whose heart was pierced with a needle. They were children. Choices were made regarding those children: deliberate, conscious choices. One, to allow a child to live. Another, to intervene surgically so that a child might live who would otherwise die. (Would the surgeon who performed that operation have dreamed of telling the mother that her baby was not a person? He saved its life, and the mother was grateful.) But in the other case, what was the choice? It was to kill a child. These are the unwelcome facts, but they are infuriatingly stubborn. They will not go away. It was a child. It was killed. Nothing will move those facts except lies.

I ask you earnestly to look at the little creature with eyes and hands and beating heart, held in that safest of places, the mother's womb. No woman who holds such a thing within her doubts that she holds a child. No doctor who extracts it by whatever swift and putatively safe means can deny that what he extracts is a human being, and that what he does is to kill it.

I ask you for God's sake to look at the truth. And I ask you, finally, to think about what Jesus said: "I tell you solemnly, in so far as you did this to one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did it to me" (Matthew 25:40, JB). Jesus will not forget.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Prayer for Adoption

Tonight my wife and I prayed the following prayers to God...
  1. We want to give our lives to be whatever you want, be it big or small
  2. If you would like us to adopt an orphan either from the United States or from around the world, we are willing
  3. If this is something you would call us to do, we trust that you would provide the resources necessary to make this happen
Now, we do have five children and yes, we have a whole host of circumstantial reasons that it would be VERY (I repeat VERY) impractical to consider adopting. What it comes down to is this. When I was a young Christian in High School I told the Lord that I would never settle for status quo and that I wanted my life to always be an adventure for Him.

In this vein, tonight Carrie and I discussed adoption (in light of it being National Adoption Month). In our discussion it became very clear that Romans 12:1 does not give us the option of making any easy choices. The choice cannot be between easy and harder. The only question we can ask is “what harder?” In other words, our lives are to be living sacrifices and sacrifice requires the faith to take a risk. In life this may take shape in the commitment to seminary training, the adoption of a needy child, the sacrificial giving of our resources, the serving as missionaries to an un-reached people group, or all of the above. Too many people, by waiting for the right time or right circumstance, end up doing nothing. “Nothing” is not an option for the follower of Jesus… the only question we should ask is how and when? Of course, I am referring to a life of sacrifice and not only the question of whether or not one should adopt.

To be quite honest, my wife and I are not presently feeling lead to adopt; however, we are ready and willing. There are thousands upon thousands of children around the world who will grow up raised in orphanages, never knowing what it means to be kissed, loved, nurtured, and protected by loving parents. I only ask that you join us in praying with open hearts and open hands that we would all be available to God’s calling. For more information and testimonies about adoption and National Adoption Month, click here.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Black Friday

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving yesterday. Right now many of you may be fighting the lines and crowded parking lots in order to get a good deal. Personally, I wouldn’t be caught dead in a store today. Part of our discussion at the dinner table yesterday in our house included where the term “Black Friday” originates. Here is a definition from Wikipedia. Not only does Black Friday connotate several things, but it is also only number four in the most profitable shopping days of the year.
Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving in the United States, is historically one of the busiest retail shopping days of the year. Many consider it the "official" beginning to the holiday season. Most retailers will open very early and usually provide massive discounts on their products, and offer doorbuster deals to draw people to their stores.

Although Black Friday is typically the busiest shopping day of the year in terms of customer traffic, it is not typically the day with the highest sales volume. That is usually either Christmas Eve, the last Saturday before Christmas, or December 26th

One theory is that retailers traditionally operated at a financial loss for most of the year (January through November) and made their profit during the holiday season. When this would be recorded in the financial records, common accounting practices use red ink to show negative amounts and black ink would show positive amounts. Black Friday is the beginning of the period where they would no longer have losses (the red) and instead take in the year's profits (the black).

Another theory comes from the fact that shopping experience on this day can be extremely stressful. The term is used as a comparison to the extremely stressful and chaotic experience of Black Thursday or other black days.
For the whole article with links, go here.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Candles and Hebrews

Bob Kauflin posted on the use of candles in worship here (scroll down to Nov 17). I was somewhat surprised by the fact that some people associate candles with new age practices and that it is a stumbling block for them in worship. I agree with Bob that they candles are not inherently evil and that they can be used to create a contemplative environment as well as point to the light of the gospel and Christ.

Also, here is a video he posted today from the conference I attended at his church in August. This was an amazing dramatic retelling of Hebrews 9-10. Ryan Furgeson's retelling brought the Word to life in a powerful and inspiring way!

Julie’s Educational Links

For those of you who have kids in home, private, or public schools, here is a link you should know about. Julie’s Education Links page provides a high number of web-based programs that reinforce learning in most every academic category. Lately, we have been using a few of the spelling programs early in the week while our older kids are preparing for their weekly spelling exams.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How Do You Feel About Worship?

Is it a sin to not have feelings of affection toward God when lifting your voice in worship to Him? If an unbeliever witnessed your worship, would it testify to them of your love for God? Read below for John Piper’s quote on the engagement of the heart in worship.
The engagement of the heart in worship is the coming alive of the feelings and emotions and affections of the heart. Where feelings for God are dead, worship is dead. (John Piper, Desiring God, 68)

Your Name on Toast

This guy is raising money for “World Vision” and numerous other charities by allowing you to customize burnt toast to say whatever you want to say and link to whatever you want to link. The web site is here. John Carlson’s “Great Sax” toast is third in line right now. If you want to contribute, you can also have your name (or anything else you want) put on toast.

(HT: Seth Godin)

New Template

For those of you who read my posts direct from this site (as opposed to those of you who use a blog reader) please let me know if you have any problems viewing this site. As stated in my previous post, I am in the midst of a template change over. I am planning to continue adding some new features and tweaking the look throughout the weekend. Thanks for your patience if this causes any inconvenience.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Time for a New Look

Just a quick FYI.... Over the next few days I may be transforming the look of my blog. During this process there may be some things that look a little funny, but I expect the transition to be pretty seamless and quick.

The Light Shines in the Darkness

The Christmas season is almost upon us and the Parkview programming team and Arts Ministry volunteers are working hard to prepare for our celebration services in December. Over the next two weeks the Visual Arts teams will be transforming our stage and you will be seeing promotional posters and invitational handouts showing up at weekend services.

Below are the service descriptions, dates, and times. For those of you who are regular attenders, please remember that on these big attendance weekends, we need to you to shift your attendance to Saturday in order to make room for all of the guests joining us on Sunday morning. In the mean time the ministry leaders, and scores of volunteers, working hard to prepare would benefit greatly from your prayers. Also pray that God would use this season to draw many people to himself!

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Christmas Offers Salvation
December 9-10
This weekend our main auditorium will host a celebration with contemporary orchestra and vocal team during our regular service times of 4:30 & 6:00 pm on Saturday and 9:00 and 10:30 am on Sunday. The venue service will host a traditional music celebration with drama at 9:00 and 10:30 am.
Christmas Offers Peace
December 16-17
This weekend all services will combine in the main auditorium with Adult Choir, Children’s Choir, and Brass Ensemble and will meet at the normal weekend times of 4:30 & 6:00 pm on Saturday and 9:00 and 10:30 am on Sunday. We will have an open chorus this weekend. Rehearsals will begin Wednesday, November 15th at 6:15 pm in the Atrium.
Christmas Offers Security
December 23-24
This weekend we will have three identical Christmas Eve services on Saturday at 4:30 pm and Sunday at 9:00 am and 4:30 pm. This schedule will provide maximum flexibility for everyone to celebrate the Christmas weekend whatever your family schedule may be.
All of these services will be specifically geared to share the good news of Christ with the friends and family you invite to attend. Please begin praying now of who the Lord may want you to invite! More information will be coming in the near future!

Friday, November 17, 2006

Pastors Who Plagiarize

Blog world was buzzing a few days ago about a big article in the Wall Street Journal about how more and more pastors are buying sermons from pastors such as Ed Young and preaching them from their pulpits. You can read the article here. (thanks for the scoop Dboats)

I agree with bloggers like Tim Challies who thinks pastors who just preach other people’s sermons are not being responsible in their calling. Especially if they use large portions of a message without acknowledging that “so-and-so” pastor wrote the message portion. It is really no different that copying large portions of another persons paper without giving the original author credit.

For those Parkview people out there, you can put your mind at ease. Pastor Jeff teaches original material. Sure, like every pastor, books and commentaries do provide inspiration from time to time but the majority of his time is spent wrestling with the passages from which he preaches. Pastors who don’t take time wrestling with the passage from which they teach don’t often have the verbal conviction that will come when you have truly dug deeply into the Word of God. They are also the type of pastors whose messages all start sounding the same after a few years under their teaching. I thank God we have a pastor who works hard to deliver messages that are passionate, well studied, and original most every week he teaches.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

How Good Are Your Aural Skills?

Click here to take a test that sees how tone deaf you are. I have not yet taken it, but am planning to tonight or tomorrow. My musician friends are all scoring pretty well. If you are brave, feel free to post your score as a comment. Here is the description of the test on the site.
While working at the music and neuroimaging lab at Beth Israel/Harvard Medical School in Boston, I developed a quick online way to screen for the tonedeafness. It actually turned out to be a pretty good test to check for overall pitch perception ability. The test is purposefully made very hard, so excellent musicians rarely score above 80% correct. Give it a try!

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Elisabeth Elliot Devotional

For almost a year my wife has been enjoying the daily devotional email written specifically for women by Elisabeth Elliot. It is a great resource for women and a quick read. No matter how busy your day is it will be a blessing to you. You can go here to subscribe to the email or link to it through your web browser. If you are not familiar with Elisabeth’s testimony, it is one of the most beautiful and redemptive stories I’ve heard. Here is Elisabeth’s website and a link to the documentary that was made about her life and the lives of the missionary couples who went to South America in the 50’s to share Christ with the tribal people in the Amazon jungle. Elisabeth’s husband along with several other men lost their lives while attempting to share Christ with the Quichua Indians. Elisabeth and her children later went and lived with the tribe who murdered her husband. While working with them she had the privilege of seeing many put their faith in Christ and experienced how the grace of God transformed a brutal tribe into a peaceful community of faith. The documentary is called “Beyond the Gates of Splendor” and is well worth your time.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Kauflin on Musician Summit

A few posts ago you read a comprehensive review of John Carlson's time at the Music Summit in the Seattle, Washington area. One of the session speakers John wrote about, Bob Kauflin posted today on his reflections from his time there. I found his specific reflections interesting so thought I would pass them along.

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This past weekend I had the privilege of joining 3000 or so folks at the Christian Musician Summit – Improving Skill, Inspiring Talent, held at Overlake Christian Church in Redmond, Washington, near Seattle. My good friend Pat Sczebel, joined me from Vancouver, BC, where he serves as a pastor in Crossway Community Church.

I marveled again at how diverse the body of Christ is. Ages ranged from 15 to 75, and I talked to people from every kind of denomination, meeting format, church size, and musical preference. Over two days people could attend 9 of 170 seminars that were offered, three main sessions, and two evening concerts.

It was a massive undertaking, but came off exceptionally well, especially considering the fact that the event was organized by two musicians, Matt Kees and Bruce Adolph. One of them (and from their comments, I’d guess Matt) must have a significant administrative gift. I was able to catch up briefly with a number of friends (Paul Baloche and band, Kathryn Scott, Tom Kraeuter, and Steve Merkel), and also met Brenton Brown (humble, gifted, great songwriter), Carl Cartee (guitarist, worship leader, songwriter), Ed Kerr (formerly of Harvest), Rita Baloche, and Chris Tomlin (who has actually heard of Sovereign Grace Ministries, to my surprise).

It was an encouraging conference. The depth in song lyrics is increasing, and those who taught, played, and sang were characterized by humility. How different from the world! This wasn’t a “worship conference” per se, but I think that a majority of folks who attended have something to do with corporate worship in their church. I was privileged to teach four seminars and the last main session.

Here are a few reflections from the conference.

The music wars are far from over.

Of the seminars I led, The Role of Music in Worship was the largest. When I asked how many people had experienced tension in their church over music almost every hand went up. While many churches have wholeheartedly embraced contemporary music in their services, a large number are still making the transition. But changing to a contemporary style may create more problems if we don’t have a biblical understanding of how music functions in worshiping God. Music is a tool to help us deepen the relationships we enjoy through the Gospel with God and each other. It should enable the word of Christ to dwell in us richly in us, express our unity, and enable varied expressions of praise to God (Col. 3:12-17). We’ll continue to battle over music unless we understand its role, and see it as an important but secondary issue in our worship of God.

Worship artists aren’t the only music leadership model for the local church.
God has undoubtedly gifted certain people to write, sing, and play songs to edify the church. Millions of Christians have benefited from their diligence and faithfulness. We should thank God for them and pray that He continues to use them for his glory. However, most of the churches at the conference will never have a leader as gifted as Matt Redman, a band as talented as Paul Baloche’s, or songwriters as skilled as Brenton Brown. Also, contemporary music is only one piece of the music spectrum. It has strengths and weaknesses like all genres. When the only songs we sing were written or arranged in the last ten years, we have effectively cut off the voice of the church for the past three hundred years or more. We can do more to make sure that smaller churches don’t labor under a false idea of what worship music should sound like, and that larger churches model the diverse musical resources available to us for worshiping our Savior.

While we all know that worship is our lives, we still think of it as our music.
It’s hard to shake the idea that we’re “really” worshiping when we sing, or that certain leaders “bring us into God’s presence.” I would love to see more teaching on how the songs we sing can affect and reflect the lives we live for God’s glory. It would also be good to hear more about how the atoning work of Christ is the only means by which we enter the Father’s presence (Heb. 10:19-22).

That being said, the conference was billed as an event to improve skill and inspire talent, and by that standard, it delivered as promised. It was a privilege to be there. Thanks, Matt and Bruce, for your vision to see Christian musicians equipped for the glory of God. May more local churches be inspired to do the same.

Hymn Sweet Hymn

I remember when the 80’s choruses swept the church. I became a Christian as a Jr. High student and remembered attending my new “evangelical” church home and being swept away by the church orchestra blasting away on songs like “Majesty”, “As the Deer”, “He Is Exalted”, “How Majestic is Your Name”, and any other song that was either released by Integrity Music or in the “Song’s for Praise and Worship” collection by Word Publishing Company. In my mind a revolution was being born. The congregation began clapping wildly for rousing choir anthems and hymns became nothing more than a concession to keep too many older folks from leaving the church.

Times seem to be a changin’. How interesting it is that you can go to most any contemporary Christian concert and the emotionally tender or climactic inspirational moment is when that chorus segues right into a refrain from some classic hymn (i.e. Chris Tomlin’s now famous “How Great is Our God” into “How Great Thou Art”). On top of this, the emerging church is blasting the trumpets calling the church to re-embrace the ancient and experiential traditions of the historic church. On top of this, Passion, Indelible Grace, Red Mountain Music, and numerous other artists are trying to popularize hymns for new generations. Before any of you “traditional types” get too excited, it’s worth knowing that these hymns aren’t packaged in nice four-part chorales for organ and SATB choir. As it’s been described to me in the past, the post-modern today is wearing his grandpa’s sweater with an ipod on his belt.

My point of this post is first, to simply highlight an interesting cultural shift and second, to celebrate the change. I am all for practicing diversity in church music and think it is often ridiculous to declare some “new and exciting” revolution in church music. The reality is that there is exciting stuff happening in every style and community and trends are almost impossible to nail down in the “information super highway” world in which we live. To be completely honest, right now my perfect evening of worship would be a cup of coffee, my guitar, and a bunch of old hymn lead sheets in D, E, G, A, or C. My only regret is that my “contemporary upbringing” has left me quite illiterate when it comes to the broad range of hymn melodies and texts. As for a practical spin on this post, I am not sure there is one. All I can say is that I am glad that what I most enjoy musically (and lyrically), just so happens to also be a culturally engaging medium within the church.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

More from the Summit

Here are a few more pics and comments from the summit John attended this weekend. You can click on the pics to make them larger.

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The Saturday evening concert with Chris Tomlin which was very cool. I sat in the very last row just to take it all in. I snapped this with my camera phone during “Indescribable” right on the big hit/blind out on “where” during the first line of the second verse - “Who has told every lightning bolt WHERE it should go?” Fun stuff. I like it that you can’t see the stage or the band . . . just the blinding light.

Another pic from the Tomlin concert. Sorry you can’t see Chris, but I kind of like the idea of seeing God’s church worshiping.

Report from the Summit

The following is a guest post from John Carlson (Parkview's Instrumental Music Director), reporting from the Christian Musician Summit in Redmond Washington, near Seattle.

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I’ve had the great privilege to attend the Christian Musician Summit at Overlake Church in Redmond, Washington the past two days. What a great event this has been! After years of “doing” conferences at Willow Creek, and doing ministry day in day out, it is so nice to actually attend a conference and be ministered to, inspired, and refreshed. This is a unique conference only in its fourth year that I’ve had my eyes on and finally decided to attend after looking at the line up this year. Can you imagine Chris Tomlin, Paul Baloche, Lincoln Brewster, Brenton Brown, Sarah Kelly, Kathryn Scott, Charlie Peacock, Leeland, Bob Kauflin, Scott Kryppayne, not to mention many of the musicians and bands behind all of them, not only performing but also teaching many sessions. This also included many well known “behind the scenes” musicians of worship, such as Carl Albrecht, Norm Stockton, and Tom Brooks - and many more too numerous to mention. I counted 175 individual sessions over the the last two days, along with 2 great evening concerts by Paul Baloche and Chris Tomlin. WOW! Sadly, the Desperation Band from New Life Church in Colorado was supposed to be here, and had canceled out for obvious reasons. It was moving to pray as a group for their ministry. I truly thank Parkview Church and Scott for allowing me to attend this event, and Jim Coates, who is worship leading and directing band in my absence this weekend.

One of the highlights for me was Paul Baloche and his band doing a worship band workshop on the main stage. I’ve always loved Paul’s band, arrangements and musicality. This was a great workshop not only to pick up some new ways to teach & talk about certain elements of playing, but also in that it affirmed to me a lot of things we’re doing RIGHT at Parkview! Things that I often wonder if it’s really necessary or needed, like paying so close attention to tempos, playing with a click etc. But these are some of the things they talked about most. Paul’s great ability as a teacher, and often-humorous manner, made it really engaging.

Another outstanding highlight for me was Bob Kauflin’s (Sovereign Grace Ministries) teaching. Two sessions I attended with Bob were “The Musician’s Heart,” and “The Role of Music In Worship.” Some challenging quotes I took from Bob’s first class:
  • “Two things are happening when you’re up in front of people. The things that everyone sees, and the things that only God sees.”
  • “What does God see in our hearts? Do you know that God is never fooled?”
  • "We may do a great job up front, but if people are actually affected, that’s the grace of God.” “Being on a worship team is not our desire – it’s God’s calling.”
I was truly challenged by Bob’s honest and “soul provoking” teaching. He really brings things down to earth. I brought home CDs of the two sessions and will hope to share them with you at some point.

Another highlight of the conference was a beautiful worship service with Jeff Johnson that Jeff calls a “Selah Service.” This included Jeff on lush synth sounds and vocals, a pianist, and a violin. It was a toned down meditative and contemplative service that was just gorgeous and a great chance to catch your breath. At this link Jeff has gorgeous recordings that are very unique and interesting, including some acoustic Christmas recordings you can see here that are beautiful and I have used for arrangements in the past.

A few other highlights and things from the trip:
  1. Praise God for safe/un-eventful flights coming out here, and, if you’re reading this on Monday or before, please pray for the same going back on Monday!
  2. The Seattle area is truly beautiful. More trees than one can imagine and the fall colors are still gorgeous. (If wasn’t raining so much I’d have some better pictures.) The highways even through the city are lined with forest and trees. They don’t seem to have billboards here like some major cities, adding to the natural beauty. I’d love to come back and truly see the area when I have more time.
  3. The people out here seem really nice, joyful, very helpful, talkative and courteous – everywhere you go. Even driving I seemed to notice a general sense of people being “nice” on the road.
  4. I have always heard that Seattle is cold and rainy. And that is just the case: It has been cold and rainy most of the time here. Fortunately the local flooding did not (yet anyway) interfere with the conference or travels about.
  5. Yes, there is practically a Starbucks, or some sort of coffee house on every corner.
  6. Seeing good friends from Willow days, Tim and Cheryl Carson. Tim has started and was teaching several of the main vocal sessions here and had a great booth. Check it out!
  7. I broke my several week fast from fast food burgers and had a great mushroom and swiss burger, along with the largest onion rings I’ve ever seen, from “Kidd Valley Burgers” at a local mall which must be more regional here – excellent I must say!
  8. Top Pot Doughnuts are the rage here. I must agree! These leave Krispee Kreme in the dust!
Tomorrow on Sunday I will drive to the Boeing 747/777 aircraft factory and take their tour. I’ve always been kind of a plane nut and am really looking forward to this.
Boeing has the largest building (by volume) in the world there for assembly.

I’ve attached some pictures from the conference and the trip below – enjoy!

Seattle Clouds coming from the West from my hotel room.

Day one, walking into Overlake Church in the rain.

Projection of the Christian Musician Summit logo.

The stage and auditorium at Overlake. Great room and great sound!

Worship with Brenton Brown.

Onion rings at Kidd Valley Burger. Huuuuuge!

Just down the street from the church . . . you can’t get away from the Willow Creek influence I guess!!

Day two of the conference was much nicer walking in! A brief break from all the rain.

A beautiful graphic for the “Selah” Worship Service with Jeff Johnson.

The looong line waiting for the Chris Tomlin Saturday evening conference. This was open to the public as well as conference attenders.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Top Ten Things Not Found In A Missional Church

I found this list from David Fitch most interesting. The “missional church” is the description/title given a church that identifies with today’s “emerging church” movement. This movement claims to be the church for our new postmodern generation who appears to be tired of the production, professionalism, and isolationism that sometimes accompanies the mega-church model that has been at the center of church growth strategies over the last several decades.

Whether you agree with the “missional church” strategy or not, we would be foolish to not watch closely and try to learn all we can from what is going on in this movement. I say this because I feel that both national statistics and the conversations I have had with postmoderns have confirmed that there are some shifts in how these new generations think and what it will take to effectively reach them for Christ. Unfortunately many of these “emerging churches” have allowed the postmodern epistemology (how we know what we know) to steer them toward some dangerous theological convictions (perhaps it would be more appropriate to say dangerous theological non-convictions). Anyhow, only time will tell how this will all play out in our culture and the church. In the mean time, we must be winsome and take care to not allow the cultural paradigms we were raised with to render us irrelevant with new generations.

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1.) Should not expect to regularly come to church for just one hour, get what you need for your own personal growth and development, and your kid's needs, and then leave till next Sunday. Expect mission to change your life. Expect however a richer life than you could have ever imagined.

2.) Should not expect that Jesus will fit in with every consumerist capitalist assumption, lifestyle, schedule or accoutrement you may have adopted before coming here. Expect to be freed from a lot of crap you will find out you never needed.

3.) Should not expect to be anonymous, unknown or be able to disappear in this church Body. Expect to be known and loved, supported in a glorious journey.

4.) Should not expect production style excellence all the time on Sunday worship gatherings. Expect organic, simple and authentic beauty.

5.) Should not expect a raucous "light out" youth program that entertains the teenagers, puts on a show that gets the kids "pumped up," all without parental involvement. Instead as the years go by, with our children as part of our life, worship and mission (and when the light shows dim and the cool youth pastor with the spiked hair burns out) expect our youth to have an authentic relationship with God thru Christ that carries them through a lifetime of journey with God.

6.) Should not expect to always "feel good,"or ecstatic on Sunday mornings. Expect that there will ALSO be times of confession, lament, self-examination and just plain silence.

7.) Should not expect a lot of sermons that promise you God will prosper you with "the life you've always wanted" if you’ll just believe Him and step out on faith and give some more money for a bigger sanctuary. Expect sustenance for the journey.

8.) Should not expect rapid growth whereby we grow this church from 10 to a thousand in three years. Expect slower organic inefficient growth that engages people’s lives where they are at and sees troubled people who would have nothing to do with the gospel marvelously saved.

9.) Should not expect all the meetings to happen in a church building. Expect a lot of the gatherings will be in homes, or sites of mission.

10.) Should not expect arguments over style of music, color of carpet, or even doctrinal outlier issues like dispensationalism. Expect mission to drive the conversation.

(HT: VitaminZ)

Friday, November 10, 2006

Add ESV to Your Firefox Search Bar

I just did this and it is very sweet. You can go to this site and very easily follow directions to add a direct link to the English Standard Version Bible from your Firefox 2.0 web bar. If you aren’t a Firefox user, read this and see why you should be. For those of you not aware, the ESV is a new and respected version of the bible that is great for reading and research. When you assign ESV to your search bar, you can type in a verse reference or a do a word search that will take you right to the ESV bible page. The ESV is the primary text that is used in the teaching at Parkview.

(HT: JT)

Non-Confessing Evangelicals?

Check out Josh's post which features Scot McKnight's thoughts on how Evangelicals have no means for confession of sin and how this may contribute to an environment that enables situations like what recently happened to Ted Haggard. Interesting thoughts.

Laughing Baby

Blogging has been a challenge of late. I've had some intense work days and am presently home sick. (ugh!) Those of you who are parents will enjoy this laughing baby. My kids are all out of this stage, but it does bring back some sweet memories. Enjoy.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Internet Church is a church that has 9 campus locations in three states which includes an Internet campus for those who want to attend church on the Internet. If you want to learn about their Internet church go to this link and click on the “Church Online? tell me more” box on the right of the screen. I’ve been told that people can actually respond to a challenge to receive Christ in a virtual way (like raising a digital hand or something) and that they’ve had hundreds of people make commitments to faith in Christ via this Internet service. So what do you think of the idea of a virtual church?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Challies Reflects on Haggard

This is a truly amazing article by Tim Challies in reflection of the Tim Haggard situation. I hesitated putting up any more posts on this issue, but I was so moved by Challies thoughts that I felt it was worth sharing. Below is a snip from the article. You can read the rest here.
If we look to Ted Haggard as a representative of all that is wrong in Evangelicalism, I think we miss the most important lesson. The lesson we need to learn is that we are every bit as sinful and fallible and willful and depraved as Haggard; perhaps more so. It is only the grace of God that, like a spider being held over the flame by a nearly-invisible web, prevents me from giving in to all the sin that is in me and being dragged down by it. Oh, that He would continue to extend this grace! And oh, that I would take heed lest I, too, fall, for what is in Haggard is in me.

Letters from Ted and Gayle Haggard

This morning in church services at New Life Church in Colorado Springs, Colorado two letters were read, one written by Ted Haggard and the other by his wife Gayle. You can view these letters by linking here onto Justin Taylor’s blog. I decided to link to these in part because it provides some sense of closure since this moral failing involves not only the pastor of a large Evangelical church, but also the former head of the National Association of Evangelicals.

My heart and prayers go out to all those who are suffering because of this situation. Though this has been a terribly painful situation, the confession of sin is the first step to healing. This situation serves as a wake-up call to all believers. Are we the same person behind closed doors in the dark as we are out in the open? As I have told my children over and over again, “your sin will find you out.” I pray the suffering and carnage left in the path of this situation will remind us all of the cost of sin, and hopefully prevent many from going down the same path that though sweet for the moment, leads only to destruction.
Stolen water is sweet, and bread eaten in secret is pleasant. But he does not know that the dead are there, that her guests are in the depths of Hell. Proverbs 9:17-18

Saturday, November 04, 2006

More Album Covers

Some more humorous blasts from the past!

(HT: Purgatorio)


This week I posted a photo and video clip regarding the John Kerry blunder about our troops in Iraq. Based on several comments to the post, I realized it was in poor judgment for me to use my blog to highlight a politician’s controversial comments. Since this is a ministry-based blog, in the future I will attempt to use better judgment in choosing appropriate posting material. The post has now been removed. I am sorry if the post and comments were offensive to readers.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Christmas Choir Schedule

The Christmas choir is open for guest singers the weekend of December 16-17. If you are High School age and older, you can join us for rehearsals starting Wednesday, November 15 from 6:15-8:00 pm in the atrium. Below is the complete preliminary schedule.

  • Wednesday, November 15, 29 from 6:15-8:00 pm
  • Wednesday, December 6, 13 from 6:15-8:00 pm
  • Sunday, December 3 in the Atrium
  • Friday, December 15 from 6:30-9:00 pm
  • Saturday, December 16 @ 4:30 and 6:00 pm
  • Sunday, December 17 @ 9:00 and 10:30 am

The Light Shines in the Darkness

This December at Parkview we are ushering in the Christmas season unlike years past. Rather than a large extended production we will be providing numerous weekends of excellent and diverse musical celebrations.

Christmas Offers Salvation
December 9-10
This weekend our main auditorium will host a celebration with contemporary orchestra and vocal team during our regular service times of 4:30 & 6:00 pm on Saturday and 9:00 and 10:30 am on Sunday. The venue service will host a traditional music celebration with drama at 9:00 and 10:30 am.
Christmas Offers Peace
December 16-17
This weekend all services will combine in the main auditorium with Adult Choir, Children’s Choir, and Brass Ensemble and will meet at the normal weekend times of 4:30 & 6:00 pm on Saturday and 9:00 and 10:30 am on Sunday. We will have an open chorus this weekend. Rehearsals will begin Wednesday, November 15th at 6:15 pm in the Atrium.
Christmas Offers Security
December 23-24
This weekend we will have three identical Christmas Eve services on Saturday at 4:30 pm and Sunday at 9:00 am and 4:30 pm. This schedule will provide maximum flexibility for everyone to celebrate the Christmas weekend whatever your family schedule may be.
All of these services will be specifically geared to share the good news of Christ with the friends and family you invite to attend. Please begin praying now of who the Lord may want you to invite! More information will be coming in the near future!

Ted Haggard

Undoubtedly you've heard by now the breaking news regarding Ted Haggard the leader of the National Association of Evangelicals and Pastor of New Life Church a church of 14,000 in Colorado Springs, Colorado. Below is a post from Justin Taylor that encourages us to pray fervently as this situation continues to develop.

- - - -

By now I'm sure many of you have heard that following news about Ted Haggard:
A Colorado Springs-based giant of the conservative Christian movement, with direct access to President Bush, stepped down Thursday as leader of the National Association of Evangelicals in the wake of allegations by a former male escort that the two had a three-year sexual relationship.

The Rev. Ted Haggard also took leave as senior pastor of the 14,000-member New Life Church he founded in his living room in 1985.

Haggard said in a statement he could "not continue to minister under the cloud created by the accusations."

He said he would step down to allow the church to carry out an investigation and so that he could "seek both spiritual advice and guidance."

His three-paragraph statement contained no denial of the allegations by 49-year-old Mike Jones, of Denver.

Jones, a bodybuilder and personal trainer, went public with a general claim of a sexual affair with a prominent pastor on Peter Boyles' morning talk show on KHOW radio Wednesday, but neither he nor Haggard was identified. KUSA's 9News first reported Haggard's and Jones' names Wednesday night.

Haggard, 50, initially denied the allegations, telling 9News Wednesday night that "I've never had a gay relationship with anybody, and I'm steady with my wife. I'm faithful to my wife."

But KKTV in Colorado Springs reported that New Life Associate Senior Pastor Ross Parsley told a meeting of church elders Thursday night that Haggard had met with the church's overseers earlier in the day and "had admitted to some indiscretions."

Parsley told the elders that Haggard had said some of the allegations were true, but not all of them.

Jones said on Boyles' show Thursday he felt compelled to come forward because he believes Haggard, an opponent of gay marriage, is a hypocrite. Jones said he received money from Haggard for sexual liaisons in Denver and that he witnessed Haggard using methamphetamine.
The rest of the story is here.

This is a deeply sad story. Readers should know that I do not want to engage in gossip, and therefore avoided posting on the story yesterday before it hit the national news.

According to the story above, Rev. Haggard has admitted to "some indiscretions." The temptation here is to speculate and to gossip, which really serves no purpose other than to satisfy our own curiosity and desire for inside knowledge. From everything I have been able to tell, the elders of New Life Church are actively engaged in sorting through the issues (which will result in church discipline if necessary), and we should be thankful for that and allow that process to proceed.

How should we as Christians respond to such news?

The main thing I think we need to do is pray.
  • Pray that the truth--no matter what it is--would be clearly revealed.
  • Pray that if indeed some of these allegations are true (as New Life's senior pastor allegedly told the elders), that Rev. Haggard would be fully honest and submissive.
  • Pray for Rev. Haggard.
  • Pray for his family.
  • Pray for New Life Church--both their elders and their members. Pray that biblical church discipline guidelines will be instituted and that this would not shake the church's confidence in the gospel.
  • Pray for yourself and your pastor. "There but for the grace of God go I." Resolve to mortify all ungodly desires in your heart and to boast only in the cross of Jesus Christ.
May God be glorified through this.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Are You a Liar?

Are you lying when you sing? When we used to sing the song “Amazing Love” I hated having to sing the closing tag line to the chorus “in all I do, I honor you.” Though most lyrics don’t require this level of dishonesty from the singer, we are always singing songs in worship that articulate sincere expressions of the heart. How can we sing honestly? Clearly our singing must be a reflection of our heart. This quote by John MacArthur identifies the “state of the heart” as the essential element in worship.
Music and liturgy can assist or express a worshiping heart, but they cannot make a non-worshiping heart into a worshiping one. The danger is that they can give a non-worshiping heart the sense of having worshiped. So the crucial factor in worship in the church is not the form of worship, but the state of the hearts of the saints. If our corporate worship isn’t the expression of our individual worshiping lives, it is unacceptable. (John MacArthur, The Ultimate Priority, 104)

Wednesday, November 01, 2006


In my message last weekend, one of the application points highlighted our need to contextualize faith for the sake of sharing the good news of Christ with our culture. Revelation 4 and 5 gives us some excellent examples of how God used visual representations that were highly contextual to the Jewish culture of that day. Throughout the scriptures, the cultures influence upon ministry is quite evident. Jesus considered cultural context in his teaching of parables and in Old Testament temple worship, pagan cultures influence can be seen in the use of certain musical instruments.

Our passion for relevancy must be great and must influence our strategy; however, we must also take care that our efforts don’t begin to erode our fundamental doctrinal convictions. Some may think, oh surely this could never happen! Think again, it is happening all over the U.S. in certain branches of the “emerging church.” To me this issue is the tight rope we must walk. To fall one way is to risk becoming fortressed and ineffective at reaching the lost and to fall the other way is to loose those distinctives that make us the Church. The following is a quote by Philip Graham Ryken on this very issue of contextualization.
"I do not think for a moment that the church should aspire to become irrelevant. There is always a need for Christians to speak the gospel into their own context. Rather, my concern is with the ever present danger of over-contextualizing. Consider what happens to a church that is always trying to appeal to an increasingly post-Christian culture. Almost inevitably, the church itself becomes post- Christian. This is what happened to the liberal church during the twentieth century, and it is what is happening to the evangelical church right now. As James Montgomery Boice has argued, evangelicals are accepting the world’s wisdom, embracing the world’s theology, adopting the world’s agenda, and employing the world’s methods. In theology a revision of evangelical doctrine is now underway that seeks to bring Christianity more in line with postmodern thought. The obvious difficulty is that in a post-Christian culture, a church that tries too hard to be relevant may in the process lose its very identity as the church. Rather than confronting the world the church gets co-opted by. It no longer stands a city on a hill, but sinks to the level of the surrounding culture."
Philip Graham Ryken, City on a Hill: Reclaiming the Biblical Pattern for the Church in the 21st Century (Moody Press, 2003), 22.

(HT: Together for the Gospel)