Tuesday, July 31, 2007

OK, NOW I'M P.O.'d

Rapture Ready: The Unauthorized Christians United for Israel Tour from huffpost and Vimeo

In the video above, we find people claiming to be Christians yet ignoring the teachings of Christ. Forgetting the fact that we are called to be peacemakers. A pre-emptive strike (in this case against Iran) is perhaps on of the most un-Christian ideas of all. Even throughout the Church's history, the only real alternative to pacifism is a just war theory - which seeks peace first and never allows for the 'morality' of a pre-emptive strike.

The anti-Christ doctrine espoused here also cannot be found in the Church's history.

Why must some Christians abandon the teachings of their God in order to justify other teachings (or what they believe to be teachings) of their scriptures?



Certain parts of modern Christianity are a turn off, even to Christians. The way that modern Christianity is marketed is one of them. Christianity is not projected to the world as a radical commitment to a man who claimed to be God.

Instead, the faith is portrayed as an easy-out. It is marketed to the world as a life-choice, not a life-abandoning faith. The faith is reduced to a Heaven/Hell choice, as if Jesus came and suffered death so we can be happy when we die. But this is not the Biblical gospel. The good news (gospel) is the arrival of the Kingdom of Heaven - now, not later. We are called into a relationship with God, not to flock to a person who guarantees our place in Heaven. This is the true message of the New Testament, and can only be manipulated to say otherwise.

The testament of Christ's death is one of passion, suffering. It's not easy, for Christ or for us. Discipleship is a commitment of life - at any and all costs. It is not casual. In fact, the New Testament preaches against casual Christianity in Revelation 3, in John's letter to Laodicea. Following Christ is not a part time job; it is not a religion to enhance our lives. Christianity is a call to abandon our lives, our hopes, our ambitions, and seek first the Kingdom of God. It is a call to hunger and thirst for righteousness, to show mercy, and to seek peace. At any and all costs.

The Early Church often faced persecution from rulers and polities, which sifted and reduced the faith to only the faithful. Christians in America have forgotten that faithfulness is more important part of the faith called for in the New Testament.

Jesus, himself, turned away those who refused to be wholly committed to him (Luke 14:26-27). Why does the Church not do the same today?

It would save people who call themselves Christians from diluting the faith to an over-simplistic get-out-of-Hell-free card - who in the process, completely change the message of the New Testament for the sake of filling churches and increasing the percentage of people in America who call themselves Christians.

I find the shirts above offensive. I not only take offense to their appeal to American pop culture to market Christianity. But moreover, I find offense in what they portray the Christian faith to be. In the first picture, Jesus' death is portrayed rather comedically; the second portrays Christianity as an easy way of life; while the last reduces Christianity to a simple choice of residence in a life after death.

What would Jesus think?

Monday, July 30, 2007


Here is a video blog from the road this weekend after a concert I played in San Antonio, TX. It is from me and my best friend/road manager Allen.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


You are God of forever and ever, amen
The Alpha, Omega
Beginning and end
We sing Hallelujah
We worship in awe
Immortal, invisible God

This song, as yet untitled, was written by Laura Story, who pastored part of tonight's worship, and Ed Cash. This top picture is Laura leading worship tonight (Thursday). She wrote Indescribable, which was made popular by Chris Tomlin.

One of the things that I loved about this conference was that the people who led the services, were not the 'rock stars' who made the songs famous. Instead they are the people who wrote the songs for use with their congregations. They don't have record deals, they don't want to be famous rock stars. They are simply worship pastors at heart. And these were the men and women who pastored our worship this week. It has been wonderful.

This afternoon Francis Chan preached; he's a pastor in Simi Valley, California. He asked some serious questions. Like, if we love our neighbors as much as ourselves, why don't we spend as much money on them as we do ourselves? If we really believe Jesus is starving (cf. Matthew 25), then why aren't we doing anything right now to feed him?

So convicting. So true. It reminded me that we can actually make a different - and that we are not asked to, we are commanded to.

I've learned so much about worship this week - about who God is, and who I am. I am a different person, because I had an encounter with the Holy.

God is great and He will be praised by all creation. He doesn't and won't beg for our worship. He doesn't need us to worship Him. He doesn't need us to make His name great or known. That will happen anyways. He will be worshiped regardless.

Instead, it is us who should be begging to worship.

Thursday, July 26, 2007


Today (Wednesday) was another day of worship - true worship. I went to a seminar this morning on burnout. Shaun "Puffy" Groves taught it. I got a nifty picture of me and Groves - will post later. He raised some serious issues about how we treat ourselves and our bodies - and how it all contributes to our health, physical and spiritual. Sometimes we need to be reminded of such things. Thanks, Shaun.

Dr. Marva Dawn preached this afternoon. She kicked some serious _____. No joke. She preached on authentic worship. And how we must be authentic to who God is in our worship. We must lament the state of the world, we must act on our prayers, such as "Thy kingdom come..." In other words, we must act on that and do everything we can to bring about God's kingdom. It was a very convicting sermon. We must feed the hungry and understand our worship as a part of our place in a larger picture of God's creation - all of which calls our to praise His name.

Matt Maher pastored this afternoon's worship. He wrote Your Grace is Enough, among many other songs. He's a worship pastor in Arizona. Big Daddy Weave pastored this evening's worship. God really spoke to me. And I'm dealing with some serious stuff.

It's amazing what we can hear from God when we finally shut up long enough to listen.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007


Let the worshippers arise.

Phillips, Craig, and Dean pastored most of tonight's worship service. They closed with 'Let the Worshippers Arise." It was gorgeous. The vocals from the congregation (all worship leaders) was phenomenal. People harmonizing - perfectly - off the fly. Simply gorgeous.

Ana Laura also sang. I GOT AN AUTOGRAPH!! WOOT! WOOT!!

Today's conference was amazing. I went to a seminar this morning on arranging music for a volunteer worship teams (i.e., not paid professional musicians). Mark Townsend talked about how to best accomplish a good sound. Having a quality worship team beats having a quantity of people on stage with instruments. Music should add to and enhance the worship experience, not be a distraction. We, as communities, should offer our best - musically and otherwise, for worship. We owe it to our king.

This afternoon, I attended a class on songwriting taught by Paul Baloche (writer of Above All, Hosanna, Open the Eyes of My Heart, and Your Name - to name of few). (That's a picture of Paul teaching today at the top of this post). It was amazing. Paul is a great guy with a hilarious sense of humor; he's very personable. It was a lot of fun. He talked about writing worship songs by not trying to write 'hits,' but instead, by simply singing our prayers to God.

On another note, I will be speaking on worship this weekend in San Antonio, TX and leading a bit there, so I'm using this week to prepare spiritually for that. I'm excited to finish seeing what God has begun to show me this week.

Monday, July 23, 2007


Day 1 at the National Worship Leader Conference began with me getting a parking citation on the University of Texas campus. I've already got enough issues with UT, and now there's a dang longhorn on my parking citation!

Anyways, I finally found Riverbend Church, where the conference is being held. Tonight's worship was incredible. It was led by the folks who write the worship songs we sing, like Paul Baloche. Amazing.

Voices of fellow lead worshippers lifting up the name of God. Amazingly beautiful.

More tomorrow. God will work; I know it. I can't wait to see and to experience Him again tomorrow.

Amen and amen.


I'll post regularly all week, finally. I've got free wi-fi in my hotel. Yay.

Friday, July 20, 2007


This is a day late posting, but Happy Birthday to Allen.

I love you.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


I always feel a little dirtier after working at a homeless shelter. Dirtier, because I become painfully aware that I am a part of a corrupt social system that elevates material possessions over life itself. Angrier, because I am an active part of that system.

Today I spent the morning at a local homeless shelter that doesn't have enough food to operate but a few more days. They need donations and need them quickly.

It hits me rather harshly when that I get back in my air conditioned car to drive back to the church, to sit in an air conditioned office, and blog on a computer.

I wish this were not the case for Christianity. I wish that people were not divided in churches according to their socio-economic status in a secular society. I wish that the Nordstrom people would worship equally with homeless people. If this were really the case, I seriously doubt that after a short period of time, neither Nordstrom people nor homeless people would exist anymore. We would be equal. If we ceased to care about ourselves, and began to care for others in the name of Christ, equality would take care of itself. Equality in the Early Church was not a social-political plan to be implemented within the Christian community. Instead, equality was the result of the worship of God, and love for each other.

I'm not picking on Nordstom, as a store. But today at the shelter, someone had donated a paper shopping bag with the Nordstrom logo on it. People are in need of food, and the shelter is in need of bags. So, someone who shops at Nordstrom donated their bag.

But what if?... What if that were all different? We if you and I made a difference - that is, me and every one who reads this blog? What if...

Sunday, July 15, 2007


The idea of sin is an interesting one. It presupposes there is a god to sin against. And that that god has rules. And that somehow, I have broken those rules - whether I have discovered such rules or not.

The idea of sin is purely a faith concept. I believe these things, therefore I understand the concept. But what of those who don't? Can we expect people to understand what cannot be understood outside the faith?

Or is there something bigger in us, outside of faith that can lead us to the same conclusion: that sin exists, and we are sinners?

Despite these questions, if the Bible is true, we are indeed sinners. Not because we have broken God's "rules," but because we have broken God's Rule (that is, His Kingly Rule). we have usurped his power. We have not only taken over dominion over the earth, but everything, and everyone on the earth. Is that the way it's supposed to be?

We have strayed; we have fallen. But the message of the New Testament takes this idea further still. Not only is the existence of God, and God's Rule, and our sin presupposed, but Jesus is also presupposed (or understood) to have the power and authority to forgive such sin. We have reliance on Christ to forgive us for usurping the power of YHWH, the God most high. This is a giant leap of faith. So many presuppositions. This is what Jesus' accusers could not get past. The religious leaders of Jesus' day could not understand how a person could possibly have the power or authority to forgive sin, taking on the role of God, Ruler of All. This is quite a jump to make, and I can honestly say that I would have probably agreed with them.

Nonetheless, if the Bible is true, then this is so. Jesus did and does have the authority to forgiven the sin we have. Again, 'faith' is really the only word in play here. Neither the forgiveness, nor the sin can be proven. They can only be believed in.

And I have faith... that I am a sinner.

Friday, July 13, 2007


"My Vision"
Shane & Shane
Pages (2007)
Inpop Records


It was a challenge. A challenge we all needed. Good stuff.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007


One of the most incredible weeks is passing by all too quickly. I haven't had time for blogging lately. I'll be back soon and fill the world in on my life as of late.