It was a privilege to be a part of Worship Team Training hosting a Hangout with Branon Dempsey, Rich Kirkpatrick and myself. I love being able to talk about what God is doing at HHICC through our musical artists and how we are able to share their gifts within our community. I look forward to joining then again on Wednesdat, Dec 23rd!
Every year, attending Recreate is like drinking from a fire hydrant. I feel so immersed in fresh water that I cannot drink it all at one time. I wanted to do a daily recap like I have done in years past, but I was so enjoying the time with fellow attendees after and between sessions, I was not able to get my thoughts together during the week to even write about it! Here were the highlights for me:
1. Participating in Worship with 1211 from Gateway Church in Austin ,TX. I look forward to re-creating this worship experience set-up at LCC very soon. It was wonderful to meet all of them and get to hear their stories of life-change. Their leader, Ramy Antoun, is an amazing musician (drummer) and an Arts Pastor at Gateway. See a little bit of it here...
2. A live performance from Ed Kowalczyk (formerly with LIVE) and his new band. Ed shared a little about his new faith and then went into more detail in an interview with Randy on Wednesday morning. God is doing a redemptive work in his life and it was such a privilege to be a part of the concert and interact with him at the conference. CLICK HERE to read his interview with Randy Elrod. Watch some of the concert here...
3. Randy's talk on empathy, intuition, and charisma was my favorite session. I was challenged, inspired, encouraged, and comforted all at the same time! I will be dissecting a lot of his talk and writing about it here at cheval glass in the coming days, but my favorite sentence was this..." People have their best days and do their best work when they are allowed to make progress."
4. I was overwhelmed by Andrew Peterson and friends songwriting in the round and "Behold the Lamb of God." There are not really words to describe this two-hour experience on Thursday afternoon. The one word I came away with was BEAUTY. I just listened and drank in the beauty of the entire presentation as it was expressed through music, lyrics , lighting, sound, and most of all- skilled musicians.
5. I was immersed in community. This was the single word that was resonating all week through sessions and discussions (I agree 100 percent, Mark!) I spent more time talking with old friends and new friends over the five days than any other year at Recreate. There was such a sense of people truly desiring to connect with one another. I experienced so many meaningful conversations and life-changing discussion. I'm still processing all of it.
Charles Jones said “You are the same today that you are going to be in five years from now except for two things: the people with whom you associate and the books you read." These wonderful creatives that I have the privilege of knowing and learning from throughout year have changed my life. They continuously offer encouragement, wisdom, and accountability that I desperately need as a creative. They are my lifeline and I am more grateful for them now than I have ever been at any other point in my life.
Recreaters - you know who you are. Thank you for the listening ears, the nuggests of wisdom, the laughter, and the moments of authenticity. It is a privilege to be among you and to create with you. Thank you Randy and Chris, for your vision and your leadership. There are not words to describe my gratitude for your sacrifice to bring us altogether.
...and I've found a new team mate! We hired Eric Abney today to join my Worship Arts Staff @ LCC. Eric currently lives in Kennesaw, GA (my old hometown) and has served as a Worship Leader at Eagle Point Church and at NorthStar Church (where I served for almost nine years). He has worked with some of my favorite Worship people in the world (you know who you are!) He brings such a passion for worship and a genuine love for developing younger musicians at LCC. Eric is engaged to Kaylie (pictured above). They are getting married in late May.
Eric will be leading worship a couple of times this month here at LCC and then permanately moving here the first of March. Eric and I will rotate leading worship at both campuses starting in March.
I cannot express the excitement and joy that I feel tonight! It has been a very difficult year managing both campuses alone and I am overjoyed about the fact that I now have a great teammate to serve with here on a full-time basis at LCC. The time was right for all of us to make this step forward and I am very thankful for our Lead Pastor, Jeff, our Exec Pastor, Jason, and our Board of Elders for their support with this new addition to my team.
The 10th Anniverary of cre:ate was ALL that and a bag of chips! By the time I leave every year, I am brimming over with ideas and a replenished soul...this year was no different. The word for the week was "authenticity." I was so struck by that character trait in SO many of our speakers and musicians. There were SO many amazing moments that I cannot recount them all.
I will fail to mention in this post all the details of the wonderful conversations at meals, at our tables, and at late night gatherings with friends and new friends. That is THE BEST part of recreate. So for me, here were some highlights during the conference:
Our morning worship times with Ian Cron, Audrey Assad, and Matt Maher were the most spiritually enriching moments of the week. Look for a new song written by Audry and Matt called "Restless." It's not out yet, but look for it...I can't stop singing it!
I was overwhelmed by Stephen Mansfield and Dan Cathy...these men had SO much to say to us as church leaders, I was inspired by their authenticity and challenged by their ideas.
Sheila Walsh and Luci Swindoll shared amazing testimonies with us that inspired me and brought such perspective to being in ministry and living life in general.
However, the most amazing and...well, the only word that I can use to describe it is "transcendent...was hearing Gungor perform their entire new album from start to finish with no talking or transition. What you hear on the recording, we saw and experienced live (including a string section) with amazing video elements that enhanced the musical experience. I haven't experienced any musical event that was as fresh, musical, worshipful, artistic, and as excellent as their performance. GO SEE THEM! It is amazing...I really have no words to describe it. Buy this record.
The founder of this conference, Randy Elrod, released his new book this week. I blogged about it here. It was so meaningful to hear Randy share his personal journey of writing this book. Randy and his wife Chris are life-long mentors and amazing people. They also have a 10 year old Maltese like me so that REALLY makes them special!
I feel so blessed that I have a such a safe place to go every year for 4 days and be encouraged, challenged, convicted, harassed :), to laugh, and to cry...all of this with friends!
I'm ready for what God has for me this year...and I know it is because He had my attention in a big way last week in Franklin, TN...
Most people just don't understand setting aside 4 days of your life to attend something every year even when you have no idea of what it is going to be like each and every year. For me, it is four days of being with friends I only see once a year. It is a time to let my guard down because you know without a doubt that this is a safe place. It is staying up way too late to talk about stuff that I probably don't talk about with other people. It is a time to not take anything way to seriously about myself, my ministry, or my job title. It is a time that I am laughing one moment and maybe crying the next because I was so moved by what someone said or something I experienced. It is time for solitude...to be away from everything with my thoughts. I have made some life changing decisions here over the last 9 years (I came the 2nd year it started and have only missed one year since because it was the week that Sean was born). I love the surprises, the amazing special guests that we have, and the musical events that we experience...BUT if all of that went away, I would still be here every year. My friends are here...an amazing group of early adopters, leaders, artists, and people that want to make a difference with their lives each and everyday. I admire them, I pray for them - they are my brothers and sisters in Christ and we need each other...even if only face to face for four days a year. That is re:create.
I love the way Shawn Wood communicates. He is one of those rare people who I believe is an excellent verbal communicator as well as an author. Reading his books are like hearing him speak and I like that. TODAY is the Book Bomb at Amazon.com....CLICK HERE to buy the book and I am telling you, YOU NEED to get this book! It is difficult growing up in church, being around church, and working at a church my entire adult life to not become callous and "Yeah, I've heard that before..." The 1st couple of chapters of this book absolutely gave me the smack in my face that I needed right now in my life. I like books that cut through the facade and say it. This is one of my favorite quotes from Sean in the book..." I like butter statements. I like the teachings of Jesus being churned down into an easy-to-swallow action step that I can add to the top of my already fat life as a spiritual topping. I guess sometimes I don't like getting slapped with the truth of what Jesus is really saying..." Wasabi Gospel (pg.6) This is true for me. I don't want to deal with forgiveness, anger, bitterness...just give me a quick 3 points and an illustration so I can feel better...I hate to admit, but Sean is right. This is what we do as Christians - at least I do. I've been chewing on this "forgiveness" thing a lot. Last week's message at church was on this subject and then I have been reading this book. This is what I need right now and Sean's book has just complemented what God has already been doing in my life. Need some water in your face? Get this book.
I love my team. Our church campus is 11 months old and I have already discovered the most AMAZING group of creatives to journey with me here on the Island. In the next few months, I will be spotlighting my teammates and and their creativity.
Joel Patrickhas been playing Lumiere in the Main Street Youth Theater's Production of "Beauty and the Beast" for the last month. He was awesome! I think I laughed aloud more than I was supposed to. He just bought a green screen for his video company (he is in high school) and we are using it to film some pieces for our upcoming MIssion Message Series. He is a video editor, director, photographer, runs video for our services, and his entire family is artistic...well, I don't know about Andy (old yeller?). Joe brings a young and energetic flare to our team and I cannot wait to see how his creative energy will change the world.