New Life Worship Counting on God




Just got a new CD that I am really excited about. Its from New Life Worship. Counting on God is another live CD from this great church. You may remember hearing about New Life Church in the news over the past few years. New Life is the former church of Ted Haggard and also the site of last years church shootings.

What really amazes me is that after all of that, New Life Church is still thriving. I really admire their worship pastor Ross Parsley who oddly enough shared the billing in an article featuring me a few years back. What amazing leadership it must take for him to keep the momentum at New Life Church going. Inside the CD Jacket there is a great message from Ross about the past few years and how the church has persevered.

If you like great music, you will love New Life Worship but this CD is also a testimony to the fact that God will work with us or in spite of us but either way He is going to get His Will done. That's what he's doing in Colorado Springs at New Life Church.


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I Guess You Really Can't Make this Stuff Up

I have never seen anything like this and apparently neither has Wolf Blitzer. I think Tina Fey is brilliant but talk about tossing someone a softball, check out this video.



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A Few Corrections for Last Nights Debates

You think these guys would go ahead and make sure what they are saying is correct but hey, its just a Presidential Debate, right? Here are some corrections from last nights debate thanks to my new favorite website FactCheck.org.


FactChecking Debate No. 1
September 27, 2008

Facts muddled in Mississippi McCain-Obama meeting.

Summary


McCain and Obama contradicted each other repeatedly during their first debate, and each volunteered some factual misstatements as well. Here’s how we sort them out:

Obama said McCain adviser Henry Kissinger backs talks with Iran “without preconditions,” but McCain disputed that. In fact, Kissinger did recently call for “high level” talks with Iran starting at the secretary of state level and said, “I do not believe that we can make conditions.” After the debate the McCain campaign issued a statement quoting Kissinger as saying he didn’t favor presidential talks with Iran.

Obama denied voting for a bill that called for increased taxes on “people” making as little as $42,000 a year, as McCain accused him of doing. McCain was right, though only for single taxpayers. A married couple would have had to make $83,000 to be affected by the vote, and anyway no such increase is in Obama’s tax plan.

McCain and Obama contradicted each other on what Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Admiral Mike Mullen said about troop withdrawals. Mullen said a time line for withdrawal could be “very dangerous” but was not talking specifically about “Obama’s plan,” as McCain maintained.

McCain tripped up on one of his signature issues – special appropriation “earmarks.” He said they had “tripled in the last five years,” when in fact they have decreased sharply.

Obama claimed Iraq “has” a $79 billion surplus. It once was projected to be as high as that. It’s now down to less than $60 billion.

McCain repeated his overstated claim that the U.S. pays $700 billion a year for oil to hostile nations. Imports are running at about $536 billion this year, and a third of it comes from Canada, Mexico and the U.K.

Obama said 95 percent of “the American people” would see a tax cut under his proposal. The actual figure is 81 percent of households.

Obama mischaracterized an aspect of McCain’s health care plan, saying “employers” would be taxed on the value of health benefits provided to workers. Employers wouldn’t, but the workers would. McCain also would grant workers up to a $5,000 tax credit per family to cover health insurance.

McCain misrepresented Obama's plan by claiming he'd be "handing the health care system over to the federal government." Obama would expand some government programs but would allow people to keep their current plans or chose from private ones, as well.

McCain claimed Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower had drafted a letter of resignation from the Army to be sent in case the 1944 D-Day landing at Normandy turned out to be a failure. Ike prepared a letter taking responsibility, but he didn’t mention resigning.
For full details, as well as other dubious claims and statements, please read our full Analysis section.


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I Really Like this Website

This is a long video but it will give you a taste of what FactCheck.org is all about. I believe that my conservative friends will think its liberal and my liberal friends will think its conservative. That's why I like it. Its just the facts, free of politics. Just imagine what would happen if people would actually find out the facts before making judgments about things. Wow, what would that look like?



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Fun Size...Really?



Just ate a fun size Snickers. Who was the meat-head who came up with the idea of naming the smallest size of candy bar the fun size. This is stupid. The most fun is to be had by eating the King Size. This reminds me of people who say "I liked our church better when it was smaller." What? You like it better when we weren't reaching as many people for Christ...when our church was less effective...when people in our area were walking around with no idea that they were lost? Yeah, I can see that.

Fun size is the size that you can eat, put away and eat later if you want not the size that just makes you want another seven. The fun size church is the one that is thriving, reaching the community, and helping to create fully devoted followers of Christ.

So, get rid of the "Fun Size" moniker on the candy bar and as I heard Perry Noble say in a sermon a couple of weeks ago "Satan wants churches to stay small, not Jesus."


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Great Weekend at TMS and then @ Bay Hills

Wow, went a whole week without posting. I had a very busy week and then it was off to the Thriving Musician Summit. We had a really great weekend (with the exception of the Auburn v. LSU game on Saturday night). I got to take 4 good friends out to Bayside Church in Roseville, CA (aka the Northern California Bible Belt) and hang out with some great musicians etc., and learn as much as we could. We all came back excited about what we had learned in regards to working together as a band, engaging the audience, Mic technique etc.

More than that though, these trips are always really nice to grow closer together as a group and talk about what God is doing in our lives and in our church. God has big plans for Bay Hills and it will be great to see them unfold. However, if you think our worship rocks now, just wait a few weeks.


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More on the Future of Bay Hills Worship

I'm doing a little vision casting today. This is more on the future of Bay Hills Worship. Brace yourself. I hijacked this from JesusNeedsNewPR.com and after this I agree with that website name.



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Embracing Today's Community

Every couple of months, Bay Hills hosts a meeting of area EFCA pastors led by Dr. Gil Stieglitz in which we discuss leadership, struggles, and church in general. Yesterday we had a great discussion on Commitment and Community. It was interesting to hear the different perspectives from pastors of all ages (of course I was the youngest), church sizes, and backgrounds.

One thing that we really landed on was adjusting our expectations for commitment and community. The brutal truth is that things have changed. The church is no longer the center of the Universe for church people. With so much going on in people's life good church attendance has changed from every week (with the exception of a vacation here or there) to 2-3 weeks per month. Along with this, the definition of community has changed as well.

The new communities are getting smaller and larger at the same time. Communities are getting smaller in that people have a small circle of close friends to hang out with face to face and generally seem to keep the same people in their inner circle. However, our casual relationships are getting much larger but they aren't face to face. The new (not that new but churches are always behind) casual communities are found on Facebook, Twitter, and through blogs like this one. I actually had a conversation with a friend of mine, Amir, from my high school soccer team. We hadn't talked since I graduated in '99 but we were talking smack about football and soccer like we saw each other yesterday. My wife, Beth has huge amounts of people who keep up with our kids through her blog. Every time we see people in person who follow her blog they say I feel like I've known Karoline and Anderson their whole lives. Many churches have started online campuses with full services, chat rooms, etc. to reach out to people who normally wouldn't step foot in a church.

"These are the things the church has to embrace" was the point I tried to make. Some objections were that its not "real" community and face to face is what it takes to really be a church. However right these objections may be, the fact is that we can either embrace this new community or give up on them. I don't like giving up.

More churches and pastors have to embrace technology. Every church has to have podcasts (probably every ministry within a church). Every pastor has to blog (and not just in their free time but as an outreach tool everyday). And if your church isn't actively pursuing relationships on Facebook, MySpace, whatever, you are missing out on a huge outreach opportunity.

All this being said, I could be wrong. But trust me, I'm not.

I'll talk more about commitment lately.


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Let's All Step Up

Hey guys. It seems as though we have missed the fact that Hurricane Gustav pretty much ravaged Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Its not our fault really, the media doesn't seem to think its as important as New Orleans but its not good down there right now. Check out this video and send a tarp (or a few tarps) if you can.


Hurricane Torn Baton Rouge Needs Our Help!!! from Catalyst on Vimeo.

1. Buy one (or more) tarps at TarpsPlus.com.
2. Send the tarps to:
* Healing Place Church
19202 Highland Road
Baton Rouge, LA 70809
225.753.2273
3. Spread the Word! Post this on any blogs you read or write.

You may see a post like this many times today. Trust me, the Lord wants you to send a tarp.


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Ever Get the Feeling Most People Are Full of...

Watched this video last night. You may have already seen it but it pretty much goes to show you that most people are full of you know what and many of them make it onto Fox News Channel. Sorry all of my Republican friends but this is ridiculous.



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The Future of Bay Hills Worship

Hold on to your seats folks. I have seen the future of Worship at Bay Hills. I have seen this video on multiple blogs and had to share it with all of you.


Jesus is my friend by "Sonseed" from Peleg Top on Vimeo.


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Interesting Discussion I Thought I'd Share

An interesting thing is happening among Bay Hills' Youth Group (Elevate Student Ministries). A discussion has ensued on the discussion board about why students "hate" church. I had to share some thoughts on it today and thought I might go ahead and share it with everyone on this blog. To join the conversation CLICK HERE.

Well I have to say something. As a "pastor" and I use that term loosely, I know exactly why students and adults "hate" church. Its because they don't know the church. A famous atheist (his name escapes me, which makes my quote kind of worthless but I'll share it anyway) once said to Charles Spurgeon (an old English preacher, also famous), "if I believed what you (Christians) believe, that Heaven was a real place and that Hell was a real place, I would crawl on my hands and knees on broken glass through the streets of London to tell people." We aren't nearly that radical and that's why people find our message hard to believe. We aren't willing to love enough. We don't grasp the urgency of loving people to Jesus. I'm not talking about tracts or door to door evangelism. There is a time and place for that. I'm talking about stepping outside of our Christian bubble and loving people the way Jesus did.

Guys, the church is not a building or an institution. That's what people hate. The hate the establishment that calls for boycotts of Disney, McDonald's, and The Golden Compass. They hate the establishment that organizes anti-gay protests with signs that say "God hates fags." They hate the institution that spends millions upon millions on political ads. That is what they hate. We (the real church), have a message that can turn this world upside down but we don't share it and if we do its often about chalking another one up not about loving people. We sit by while people around us are hungry, homeless, sick and dying, but we don't help them.

Some of the same polls that show how much people hate the church also show that in general people really like Jesus. His life and teachings are influencing Christians and non-Christians alike. However, people aren't connecting with church because it has become a social club with weekly pep-rallies. Its become tame and insulated from the outside world, whereas Jesus was wild and always engaging the culture. We have to be Jesus to the world. We have to stop condemning people (that's the Holy Spirit's Job), we have to stop worrying so much about politics, we have to stop attacking those we deem to not have conservative value. I've never understood why it is we expect people who don't have Jesus to live like they do. They're not Christians, why should they act like one. Let's introduce them to Jesus and let Him take care of changing their ways. Most of all we have to end the idea that church is about us. Its not, its all about our Savior but we've made it into something its not.

This is literally a life and death situation for many but I'll tell you one thing, arguing about it won't solve the problem, that's what the Pharisees did and Jesus called them a "brood of vipers" among other things. We have to decide to go be Jesus to others, to love them, and the introduce them to the one who can change their life.

One more thing. Let's allow people to be anonymous on this discussion forum if they want to. Sometimes that allows some of the less outgoing to have a voice and to really speak their mind. That being said, it might be a good idea to moderate all comments as well.

Let's stop talking and start being.


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I'm A Goatee Guy

So I told you I would let you know what my actual score was on my "How Metrosexual is Your Worship Pastor" quiz. Well, you guys seemed to be pretty good hovering around the same area. When I graded myself I got a 23. That's right, some of you may be surprised but I guess I'm quite the man's man. I'm thinking about growing my hair over my eye though so that could bump me up. According to the scoring system, that makes me a "Goatee Guy." Check out the scoring system. Its pretty funny. Feel free to test this out on other people. How about a certain pastor with new fancy glasses and "long" hair.

Check out more Stuff Christians Like Here

The Score Sheet for the Metrosexual Worship Leader
If you didn't read post "#269. Understanding how metrosexual your worship leader is," this won't make a lot of sense. But after posting, some readers pointed out that I needed a score system to interpret what the results of my metro guide meant. For instance, let's say you score a 22, what does that mean? What's a 43? Great point.

So here it is. My hope is that everyone will post comments and confess which category they fit in. I scored a 35 by the way.

0 - 10 points = Hymnal Hero
You my friend are what is known in the industry as a "Hymnal Hero." (the industry of sarcasm by the way) You're not metro in the least bit. You don't like fruit flavored chapstick and think that songs that were written in this century, or the last one for that matter, are "too new." If married, your wife tries to get you to wear hip jeans but you're not into it. When my hymnal cologne comes out, you will buy a case.

11 - 20 points = Tomlin Curious
Oh, well hello there, you're Tomlin Curious. I am of course referring to Chris Tomlin, one of the founding fathers of metrosexual worship leading. You're currently dipping a toe, pedicured even, into the idea of all of this. You still rock the occasional hymnal but recently you saw a wide leather bracelet at the mall and thought about getting it. When you sleep at night you can hear voices calling you, "come style your hair, come frost your tips."

21 - 40 points = Goatee Guy
Right now, you're wearing Pumas and drinking a coffee that has fourteen words in its name. It's cool, I have Pumas on too. You've gone over to the Salmon side. (This is the side where instead of saying "pink" you say things are "salmon" or "melon" or "coral.") You rarely play a hymn and style yourself after Jeremy Camp. For breakfast you had something with "wheat grass" in it.

41 - 60 points = Girl Jeans Gambler
I've never personally rocked the girls jeans because they make my legs look really skinny. Oh, and I'm also a boy. But you're thinking about it. I mean you're not ready to do the Chris Daughtry eyeliner thing, he's a bit more rock than metro anyway, but when you shop for clothes you get a little tempted. You've never sung a hymn and think Chris Tomlin is "too traditional."

61+ points = The Carlos
My friend Carlos of Ragamuffinsoul.com, who works at North Point, is perhaps the most metro worship guy I have ever met. He's also one of the coolest too, but that's beside the point. Not only does he have a tattoo of Paul's conversion, he was featured on the show "LA Ink" getting it. He has a cool nickname, "Los" and hangs out with creative types like photographers a lot. He's really funny but can bust out an instant, "I'm a serious rockstar worship leader" face for his photos and was sent to Africa by Compassion International because his blog is so big. He is the Michael Jordan of Metrosexual Worship Leaders. If you reach this level then you are on another planet my friend, the Carlos planet.


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Why Hurricanes Are So Dangerous

For those of you who don't or have never lived in a area affected by hurricanes, allow me to explain to you why they are so dangerous. Of course we know all about the the wind, storm surge, and flooding, but that's not what makes them so dangerous. For those growing up on the East Coast and especially the Gulf Coast where I am from, we have a few of these things threaten every year. All I can remember of hurricanes was sitting around watching the Weather Channel. You couldn't go anywhere or do anything so you just sit, wait, and sit some more. You can only watch Jim Cantore (sp?) so many times before you asking for a tree to fall on you.

The problem is that generally hurricane warnings are so mundane, so boring, and span such a large area that you ride them out and nothing happens. This is what happened with Katrina. Everyone thought it was just another hurricane but it wasn't. No one had any sense of urgency and they got caught napping. For those of you who live here in California, imagine if there was a way to give an Earthquake Warning. They would tell you 10-15 times a year that an Earthquake was coming and like most of our earthquakes they'd be little tremors (like what they felt in the Midwest earlier this year and totally freaked) or would hit 60 miles away and all you would hear was the news report. If that happened we would be bored with Earthquake warnings and wouldn't worry about it.

Imagine the scene in Austin Powers where the guy is in front of the steam roller but doesn't move out of the way. Hurricanes move painfully slow and most people don't get out of the way, but when they hit you, they flatten you. How about that for an extended metaphor?


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