Day Two Reflections @ NWLC

IMG_9090  The highlight of today was Chris Tomlin's songwriting session after lunch. The room was packed, of course. He shared with us his story of how he met Louie Giglio and began as a worship leader and songwriter. Here were some of his bullet points.

  • The Word of God is His inspiration.
  • Write from life circumstances, themes of your community of faith, and in community with others.
  • You are writing the songs that teach people about God.
  • I want to write the songs people can sing, want to sing, and need to sing

I appreciated his sincerity and his ability to be very transparent about how he never thought when he wrote songs like "We Fall Down" and "Holy is the Lord" that they would be sung all over the world. He was just expressing his heart to God. He really emphasized that our writing has to be God-inspired and from a place where we are worshiping Him.

The most interesting thing that happened today actually had nothing to do with the conference.  Chris took some time for Q & A  at the end of his session and a girl asked him something like " I know this maybe inappropriate, but why aren't you married?" Everyone laughed, Chris laughed and drank water and kept looking around the back of the room. It was about 30-45 seconds of this kind awkward moment and then he said." It's interesting you asked that question, because I just got engaged yesterday." Well, you can imagine...the room went nuts! It was quite a moment!

Jonathan Lee, Laura Story, and Chris Tomlin led our night of worship. It was probably my favorite so far - mainly because Laura and Chris led us in songs that we sing on a regular basis at LowCountry. The place was so alive and people were singing at the top of their lungs! When Chris was leading, I was overwhelmed with what happened in the room. To gather such a diverse group of worship leaders from ALL over the world and then to hear us all singing the same songs, one after another - it may be realize even more how much Chris Tomlin has written the songs of this generation of churches  all over the world.

I didn't film really anything this week because I just wanted to be in the moment an worship, but I had to grab the last 45 seconds of "Sing, Sing,Sing." so that you could see what is it like to get a room full of worship leaders together worshiping God!


Day One Reflections @ NWLC10

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I chose the songwriting track for Day One - Keith Getty, Laura Story, and Matt Redman. I felt as if the three of them got together (which they didn't) and talked about how they would connect their talks to one another!

Songwriting is a sincere passion in my life. I had my first song recorded by a Southern Gospel group at the age of 18. I've written songs for Christian artists. I've had the amazing privilege of writing arranging, and producing a record for our church in Atlanta with original songs from our church. I do not share all this as an accolade to myself. I share it as a testimony to how much songwriting has been a part of my life.

The last line of that paragraph is the point I'm trying to make...has been. I've allowed the busy schedule of raising kids, doing ministry, and pure laziness to invade this creative passion that God placed in my heart many years ago.  Here are some things that I learned.

  • At its essence, Christianity is a story. Hymns show us how to sing our faith. - Keith Getty
  • As songwriters, God uses the normal things in our lives to write the soundtrack for the church. - Laura Story.
  • What is in God's Kingdom that is about being the BEST at something? Being the best should not be the goal of songwriting. -Laura Story
  • What are the themes for your church right now? Ask you Lead Pastor what God is saying to him about the future of our church. This is visionary songwriting. - Matt Redman

I feel in some ways that God is rebuking me this week for not embracing this gift in my life. I feel the Holy Spirit telling me that it's time to not be a " former" songwriter anymore and embrace this calling on my life in this new season of my life at LowCountry.

The heart of these three worship leaders/songwriters was very exposed. They all have a passion for the local church which so resonates with my heart. They believe strongly in writing FOR the local church and writing songs for our own communities of faith. I know this is what God is calling me to do at LCC. Pastor Jeff has been reading my updates and has ALREADY affirmed me in doing this. I am processing this and asking God for the strength to do what I feel He is calling me to and being faithful to do it - regardless of what others think or whether these songs every leave the lowcountry. These will be OUR songs of faith as a community of believers.

The night of worship was tremendous. One Sonic Society opened (who I heard live earlier this year and LOVE), Tenth Avenue North performed, and then Matt Redman. The thing that struck me is that Matt has written SO many amazing songs that he could have lead us in only songs that he has written and WE would have known them all! But, he chose songs from others as well to lead us in worship. He lead us in worship and encouraged us as leaders to bring truth to our congregations..to teach the truth of God's Word...to sing the truth of the redeeming power of Jesus in our lives. 

More updates to come...follow me on twitter or facebook.


Haiti needs our help

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The images are so haunting. I feel so helpless watching the devastation. It is so overwhelming. I can hardly watch it anymore and I have to turn the channel. I just whisper prayers for these people.

LCC is sending donations from our people at both campuses to Samaritan's Purse and their effort's in Haiti. LCC people can give online by clicking HERE and all putting "Haiti" in the memo section. All donations will go to Samaritan's Purse. I encourage you to give to the relief effort. Let's pray together and give together.

"Father God, I pray with great sorrow for my brothers and sisters in Haiti. I pray for peace in the midst of utter chaos. I pray for hope where there is no hope. I pray for resources to become accessible to everyone in this country. I pray for the relief workers to arrive, for safety as they serve, and for financial support to flood this area. Help us to be reminded to pray as we see the images - as hard as they are to experience. I pray for the families that have lost family members and for the children who have lost parents. Be the Father to the fatherless, I pray. In the Name of Your Son, Jesus, Amen."


I have better things to do on Sundays

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I read this recent article in Parade. Here is the main paragraph that stuck out to me...

"As a concrete measure of religious commitment, nothing beats counting how many bodies show up to worship every week. So how often do Americans attend religious services? Thirty percent said they attend once or more in a given week. But keep in mind that academic researchers who actually count the number of participants believe that only up to one-half of those who claim to be in their houses of worship are actually there.

Twenty percent of respondents said they go to services anywhere from once a month to a few times a year. Combine them with the 50% who rarely or never attend, and an interesting contrast appears. Although 45% of respondents considered themselves religious, 70% of them said they participate in organized religion sporadically or not at all. That means one-third of the people who identified themselves as religious were only minimally connected to traditional worship. "

Let me get this straight...70 percent attend church at maybe Easter, Christmas, or not at all. Let me catch my breath.

Here are some questions for you to ponder.  Do I invite my friends to church? Do I feel my church offers something for my unchurched friends that would be worth their time?  Do I consider regular church attendance (2-4 times per month) a vital part of my spiritual journey? If I knew that NO ONE would ever ask or care if I went to church, would I keep going? What keeps me from going to church every week? 

I would love to hear your comments. As a church leader, if I am creating a worship experience that is not engaging, not relevant to unchurched people, not encouraging you in your spiritual journey, and frankly just a waste of your time, please tell me.  I would really like to know.



I'm just sick

Not physically...although, I have a rotten feeling in the pit of my stomach. In the last 3 weeks, I have seen 4 Christian marriages fall a part. Yeah, it happened before that, but I just found out about it. We have become callous as a society, even in the church, to hearing the stories..."So-and-so did this and now this...and the kids are ..." It stinks BIG TIME. I walked this journey as a young adult within my own family...I'm one of the blessed ones that got to witness God's grace and restoration in our family. Not everyone gets that ending to their story. People ask, "What happened?" No offense, but honestly folks, do you not know? Does your own marriage not give you the perspective that if it were not for God's grace, we would ALL be in the same boat? I guess other people have their act together better than I do. Todd and I are flawed people. We have produced 2 flawed children. We are all sinful people and one stupid mistake away from totally wrecking our lives and our children's lives. My heart is breaking for my friends.  I called Todd today and just confessed to him that I take him for granted and I apologized. I thanked him for being a great husband and a great Father. I told him that I respected him and that I was so thankful for God's grace is our lives. So if you are married, stop and tell your spouse how much you appreciate them. Yes, they are flawed and not perfect...neither are you.


Legacy - Part Deux

I blogged here about legacy last week...and then I watched Leno's last show. WOW...I was exhausted from moving all day and I was almost jumping out of my skin watching this...one of the most POWERFUL moments in TV that I have witnessed. If you didn't see the whole show, click here.  The one thing this clip doesn't have is Jay's acknowledgement of his wife of 30 years, Mavis. He said that he brought her to the dance 17 years ago  and he was so glad to still be dancing with her. Watch this video clip with the eyes of a Christian leader and think about the legacy you are leaving when you take your "final bow."


I'm not being rude, really

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Congressman twittering during Obama's speech last night? Click here to read about it...

I have been twittering for over a year, but when I entered the wonderful world of iphone ownership about 2 months ago, I REALLY got into it.  Sometimes technology complicates life, but the iphone and twittering has enhanced my being a wife, mommy of 2, worship leader, creative soul, techy wanna-be life in a HUGE WAY. Todd and I LOVE to twitter and talk with ministry friends all over the world as well as just with each other. I get answers to questions faster and I learn from what others are saying.  I have also gone paperless...the wonderful NOTES app on my iphone looks like an actual legal pad and that is what I use in meetings now. SO much less clutter in my life.   I use the Youversion Bible App to do my daily Bible Reading and for sermon planning meetings.  However, I have been confronted with people that feel that my iphone use gives the "appearance" that I am not paying attention. Some people were offended at the twittering last night during the speech. Was that disrespectiful? I don't think so.  To the people who were following the twitters of their elected officials, I bet they felt more informed about where their guy/gal stands on the issues, instead of political rhetoric that they get from the news.  I am a multi-tasker. I can listen to what you are saying, make notes, get the info out to those who need to hear it, and keep listening to what you are saying.  I am just embracing technology.  I agree that if I am having a conversation one-on-one with you, IT IS RUDE! But in meetings or large groups listening and participating in dialog, let's ALL get in the conversation.  I'm not being rude, really...

What do you think?


This is love

098 Valentine's Day is my favorite holiday.  I love all the big red hearts filled with candy, giant teddy bears, red roses, and mushy cards.  I love romantic movies, especially "Sleepless in Seattle" which was the movie Todd and I always call "our movie." Todd knows how much I love this day and goes all out every year. I even got my own personal e-vite this year to a magical evening for the two of us. Well, that did not happen. Between my daughter's double ear infection and strep and MY strep throat, it's been a week.  Todd has dealt with the 2 of us being ill, working his job, answering my phone and dealing with my job,  keeping up the house, handling our very active 2 year old (he's not sick!), and trying to keep all of us fed and taking meds on a schedule...this is love.  No mushy card or candy (which I got this morning when I woke up) can show love like what my husband has done this week. I won't remember this as the best Valentine's Day ever (because I still feel horrible!) but it will definitely be the one that I remember that I saw love in action.  No movie, sappy card, or romantic dinner can top this. I love you, honey.  You are my  "Knight in shinning armor with medication and hot tea"...all my love.


Recreate - Day 2

Don't mess with a good thing...that is what I have always said. So, I didn't know how Recreate would be this year because it was going to be different than in years past.   I have lost count, but I think I have been to Recreate 5 or 6 times. This is the 1st year I brought my hubby Todd...we were not all staying at the same place. Let's just say, all apprehensions have been removed. I LOVE IT! Randy and Chris have once again KNOCKED IT out of the PARK!!!! Our sessions today with Dr. Steve Guthrie and Ian Morgan Cron were...I am without speech.  Here are some random thoughts.

  • The truth of God is announced in words or deeds...not just finding a song with the word "humility," but showing it.
  • Music and the Arts have an important teaching experience to give. Teaching is not limited to the words. 
  •  The most meaningful we may do as worship leaders is allow God's people to sing.
  • A Contemplative life is not all about content - it's about intent.
  • As artists and worship leaders, we need to help others seek clearly what they have felt vaguely.
  • Action without contemplation is a disaster
  • Contemplation without action is a disaster
  • There is nothing wrong with the loud moments in our worship, but nothing can imitate or replace the importance of silence.
  • Consider Jesus' prayer life.
  • The paths of beauty, truth, and goodness must all be explored to be a true contemplative.

Some of this might not make any sense to you.  However, I encourage you to read Ian's book Chasing Francis...it changed my life...get it here.

We enjoyed a songwriter's night with Meredith Andrews, Matt Boswell, and Michael Farren. The songs they shared were unbelievable and will definitely become a part of our song list at LCC-HHI. If that wasn't enough, Michael W Smith ended the evening by leading us in worship.  See the quick video clip below or view it on the right at Cullenhouse TV.  I can't wait for Day 3...


Speaking truth

The greatest thing about being a part of the blogging community is connecting with people...people that are just like me, totally different than me, smarter than me, crazier than me...you fill in the blank. The biggest blessing to me has been how God uses blogs of friends and leaders I respect to speak truth into my life...at just the right moment and just the right time.  Today, I received 2 blogs from 2 people I read a lot...Perry Noble and Seth Godin. These guys are on opposite ends of the spectrum of what they do and why they blog. However, today, they both had a word for me.  Perry's blog is pretty self-explanatory for why I loved it today.   #11 and #13 were a needed reminder. However, Seth's blog may be a little strange to you. He hit on something that I have experienced, watched happen to others, and that I want to help my children with one day when they face it. You're just dying to know what they said, huh?

Click here to read Perry's post
Click here to read Seth's post