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  • When “Disaster” Strikes in a Sunday Service

    2013 - 09.30

    IMG_4677Yesterday was going to be a “normal” Sunday and we had a great service planned.  Here was the first set list we had planned:

    • Lay Me Down
    • It is Well (Todd Fields version)
    • Mighty to Save

    through our rehearsal, sound checks, and full-tech run-through it was all getting me pretty excited to experience with our people at Rocky.  As the first service began, I could sense that people were ready to sing and honor God…one of those great Sundays when it feels like everyone is on the same page.  I introduced “It is Well” and began to sing…Verse 1, Chorus, Verse 2…and then…


    the sound of lights clicking off…drums playing alone…and automatic release doors slamming in the back of the room.

    The power had failed and the room was daaaaaaarrrrrrrrk.  I paused for a second and my brain tried to register what to do next.  I pulled out my in-ears and searched the room for someone to tell me what to do next.

    And then, about 600 people provided the answer…by singing “It is Well”.  In fact, I’m pretty sure they never stopped. They reminded me that the singing shouldn’t stop when the music does.

    So…we sang…in the dark…without instruments.  It was powerful.

    After we finished the song, Ryan Rassmussen hopped on stage and said, “Well, I guess we should just dive in, huh?”  He taught for the first 5 minutes in the dark, lifting his voice to reach those in the back of the room.  Within a few minutes, our amazing staff worked on the electricity in the building and brought us all back online to finish our service.  There are times when what we plan goes off without a hitch, and those moments are great.  Especially when they have been planned with skill, experience, and prayer.  However, there are times when something completely unexpected happens; perhaps something that even scares us, that has the potential to be even better.  When this happened to me on Sunday, there was a moment that I didn’t know what to do.  It wasn’t my expertise that allowed us to continue.  It was the heart of the people in our church that sung, “whatever my lot, you have taught me to say, “It is well, it is well with my soul.”

    As we face today and tomorrow, lets be ok with rolling with whatever may happen.  Even more important, lets be ready to rely on those around us remind us of what is truly important.



    Turning off your brain…

    2013 - 01.09

    Psalm 139

    There are moments in life that we cant “turn off” our brain.  We constantly play out situations and circumstances trying to determine every angle and decision that can be made.  Then, we rewind it again and start over.  It can bring us to the point of exhaustion, worry and grief.

    But, we don’t have to stay there.  God knows our innermost workings…better than we do.  We can ask God to search our innermost, unconscious thoughts and bring them to “light”.  That is…to redemption.  We don’t have to carry those fears because he already carries the answers.  We can rest in that.  True rest.
    It does, however, require us to walk in the light of faith.  This is our difficult challenge.  We don’t have to solve the problems that are the source of our anxiety, but we do have to trust that God understands every angle, he knows every moment that we’ll face, and he is “for” the good of those that love Him.
    That is a powerful God.

    You are an expert in your own story.

    2012 - 12.09

    2 Corinthians 1:3-7

    3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. 5For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. 6If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer. 7And our hope for you is firm, because we know that just as you share in our sufferings, so also you share in our comfort.


    Whatever gifts, comforts and healing we receive from God, he wants to use that in other peoples lives. Were you abused and found comfort and healing in God? God wants to use that healing in other people’s lives. Whether it is addiction, moral failure, a terrible childhood, a crippling disease, whatever. God uses the comfort he has given us as potential ministry for comforting others. We have become first-hand experts in our own story and those stories are medicine to hurting people.

    Raising your hands…my take on why we do it.

    2011 - 11.22

    This isn’t a huge, burning question on all of our minds.  However, I do think it’s important to be reminded about the “why” behind some of our actions when we gather on Sundays.  Here’s a video I made following one our services at Brentwood.  It was some thoughts I shared from stage, but wasn’t able to share with both campuses.


    Feedback, other ideas, and thoughts are welcome!

    Sunday Set List (November 20, 2011)

    2011 - 11.22

    We’ve recently had a string of worship sets that have blessed me so much.  Not because we chose the songs so well or shared such wisdom between them…but because in each service over the past few weeks, I have felt incredibly connected with the people in the room.  There is something amazing about “being on the same page” with a room full of people.  I felt like we’ve worshipped our God together and given ourselves freely for his glory.  I love it.  Thank you for those that have been with us!!!  may we live that out today!!!!

    Here was the set…

    Here for You – Matt Redman

    God is Alive – Steve Fee/Eddie Kirkland

    You Never Let Go – Matt Redman

    No One Higher/The Stand – Steve Fee (via NorthPoint worship)

    Closing Song “Motion of Mercy” – Francesca Battistelli

    Never Stop Learning…You Dummy

    2011 - 06.27

    Romans 18:15  “Wise men are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.”

    I don’t know when it happens to Christians, but it always happens.  We reach a point where we don’t feel like we can or need to grow anymore.  We’ve sat through multiple sermons based on David and Goliath, Paul’s journey, and classes based on interpreting the meaning of Revelation.  We’ve “heard it all.”  Now, this is something we’d never verbalize publicly, because we know how unacceptable it sounds, however it’s true nonetheless.

    The only exception to our learning disability is the pursuit of more and more biblical or theological trivia.  Our intellect is tickled by some obscure or “deep” piece of biblical information that we have never heard before.  So, we praise our pastors when they limit themselves to teaching things that are too complex and obscure to have much practical application to our everyday lives.

    I hope we can fight this phenomenon within ourselves.  There is nothing wrong with biblical knowledge.  Even if we love the more obscure of “deep” things of the bible!  However, we must always remain hungry to lessons from the Spirit.  These come through reading the word, hearing a sermon, watching the sunrise, or spending time with a friend.

    15″Wise men are always learning, always listening for fresh insights.”

    I know I’m regularly guilty of being foolish and being insensitive to learning…and most likely you’re just like me.

    Would I Stop a Parade?

    2011 - 03.24
    Thoughts on Acts 14:11-14
    There will be moments in ministry when you do something well and people will take notice.  They will congratulate you, support you, maybe even “sing your praises.”  Depending on what you do and how you do it, you may even catch the attention of many people.

    If this happens, the first thing you’ll feel is euphoria.  “Job well done!  Look what I did!”  However, at some point it will turn into different emotions.  Guilt?  Shame?  Why?  Because you realize you are not what they think you are.

    At what point would you be willing to redirect their joy that is errantly placed in you?

    In Acts 14:11-14, the people in Lystra thought Barnabas was Zeus and Paul was Hermes.  gods.  Ok…well people will believe what they believe, right?

    Before you know it, they assemble a parade with banners, people lining the street, priests of Zeus and bulls ready to be slaughtered as sacrifices for these walking gods.  Barnabas and Paul didn’t realize what was happening at first…then it dawned on them.  These people are worshipping them instead of the God they were just preaching about.

    14 “When Barnabas and Paul finally realized what was going on, they stopped them.  Waving their arms, they interrupted the parade, calling out, 15 “What do you think you’re doing!  We’re not gods!   We are men just like you, and we’re here to bring you the Message, to persuade you to abandon these silly god superstitions and embrace God himself, the living God.”

    awkward (picture the parade horns fading in the background)  …but truth.

    If I were in their shoes, would I risk the social embarrassment of “putting people right”?  They assembled a parade!  Aren’t they going to feel stupid, deflated and judged?

    It didn’t matter.  Paul and Barnabas knew what was right and redirected the praise back to God and returned to their mission.

    Compliments are fine, and no one likes the “Jesus-juke” (see Jon Acuff) cliche of “praise god” after each and every compliment someone offers you.  But what if you redirected the conversation off of your accomplishments and back to what God is doing and why He deserves our adoration.  Why not redirect it back into the story of the person congratulating you?

    No one throws me parades, but I have to ask myself, “Am I willing to shrug compliments that turn from edifying into self-agrandizing?”

    It’s ok to be special and appreciated, but listen to the Holy Spirit within when you start believing that you are amazing.  It’s God’s blessing and provision in us that makes us truly special.

    Raising the Dead

    2011 - 01.26

    Based on Acts 9:40-42

    Peter just performed one of the most moving feats we can imagine. He brought a beloved dead woman back to life. No one was really expecting it, but he did.

    After these verses, Acts records one thing, “When this became known all over Joppa, many put their trust in the Master.”

    I would hope that my victories in faith lead to people trusting in Christ. However, my personal victories tend to serve me. That’s stupid and short sighted and ultimately worthless. How can I gain the faith, trust, and devotion to God to such an extent that His work in me immediately pours into others’ devotion to Him?

    I don’t quite know. However, I believe it starts with a genuine pursuit of what Godwants, rather than the miracles that Iwant in mylife. I doubt Peter was walking around saying to himself, “man, I’d love to bring a couple people back from the dead right now.” He was faithful and was guided step by step into a moment so big that he deflected the Glory to God.

    And God loves that.

    Can you relate?  Ever feel this way?

    God, help me with my selfishness. Help me experience a genuine devotion to your glory, rather than one filtered through selfish ambition.

    There’s a dork behind these fancy shoes and V-necks.

    2010 - 10.13

    Monday, I wore a V-neck and it almost ruined my self-esteem.  Actually, I often wear V-necks, but recently, they have received more negative press around the office than usual.  There are certain male staff members that take issue with them.  I won’t mention most of them (it’s all of them) but I’ll single Matt Cote out because he’s my friend and internet blogging nemesis (anytime you threaten dodgeball victories…it kind of hurts).  Anyways, I get slack from Matt about my V-necks but I have two main come backs.

    1)  My wife loves them and loves them on me.  (that one’s enough right there.)

    2) check the plank in your own eye first.  That gaping unbuttoned 2 button collared shirt is dipping lower than any V-neck I own.

    Matt and I fight a lot about this…but we always resolve our problems.

    onto other things…

    I rarely wear fancy shoes.  Usually I’m wearing sneakers, jack purcels, or something else cool my wife buys for me.  However, I woke up on monday and felt like it was a day ripe for fancy shoes.  I wore them and I received many a compliment.

    I know I know…they’re fancy and nice.

    Little did anyone know that there was something dark and sinister lurking behind these fancy shoes.  Something that gave away my true colors.


    Do you secretly hide your “un-fancy” side behind fashion like I do?  I recommend you do because keeping things like this secret all day long makes you feel ALIVE!  And then…you can blog about it because you’ve got nothing else…

    Let’s hear it…Thumbs up or down on V-necks?  (we’re not talking deep V’s)  They are never right.

    Church Gossip is good and fun. (I’m not Kidding)

    2010 - 10.10

    It’s not nice to brag or gossip about people.  Unless you’re so stinking proud of them and honored to be associated with them.  That’s how I felt this morning at Brentwood Church.  I needed to post some behind the scenes photos, although poor quality photos, to give a shout out the some of Bwood’s worship arts volunteers… Read the rest of this entry »