Recreate 2010 Recap

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:

  • IMG_1152  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.

IMG_8876  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...

Sunday Recap - December Music

With this season being as "busy" as it is, I wanted to do a post about the three Sundays in December and share our song selections for these 3 weeks. I will do a separate post for our Christmas Eve services. There are certain songs I do every year and then I add a few new ones. I find that people LOVE the familiar at this time of year and when you throw in something brand new every now and then, it is received so much better. I try to have fun with the groove and arrangements of carols and let the band give input on that in rehearsal. We came up with a "Samba feel" on "Hark the Herald Angels" this past week. People couldn't help but move a little bit! "Winter Snow" was a hit...especially when you have a bass player that just bought an electric stand up! Love it, Davey dog! Our band is a lot of rock and roll guys and they have had a blast becoming jazz players this month. Randy the drummer bought some mallets, brushes, and even sleigh bells. It has been a nice "change" in our musical landscape. Don't get me wrong...we still rock it out, but it's nice to do something different. Here are our songs...

December 6th

"God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" - Russ Taff version from his Christmas record - GREAT record!

"Glory to God Forever" - Fee/Beeching

ADVENT  - WEEK 2 - LOVE - Romans 8

"Born in Bethlehem" - Third Day

"You Gave Your Life Away" - Kathryn Scott

"O Come Let us Adore Him" - Chorus

December 13

"Hark the Herald Angels Sing" - Samba!

"Glory to God Forever" - Fee/Beeching

ADVENT - WEEK 3 - JOY - Luke 2:25-35; Hebrews 1:1-2

"Emmanuel (Hallowed Manger Ground) - Tomlin

"Winter Snow" - Tomlin/Audrey Assad - MY FAVORITE CHRISTMAS SONG THIS YEAR!

"Emmanuel" - Bob McGee (we went right into it - same key - people loved it!)

December 20

"O Come All Ye Faithful" - Third Day "feel"

"Go Tell it on the Mountain"

ADVENT  - WEEK 4- PEACE - Romans 5:1-11

"Do You Hear What I Hear?" - Third Day

"Glory in the Highest" - Tomlin

Meet me at Fred's for more Christmas music...

Evening in December Recap - Hear a sample!

Our First Annual Evening in December Concert and Dessert was on Sunday night. I have been overwhelmed at the response from those that attended and from my team that pulled it off. I have dreamed of doing something like this for over a year at our Hilton Head Campus, and then I planned it for this year, but in my wildest dreams, I never imagined what happened. I say in my blog bio that I'm a wanna-be movie score composer because I love arranging and pulling off unique musical events ( my inner "David Foster!)

We did record it and it will be available NEXT YEAR for purchase. We just can't turn it around in 2 weeks (design, licenses...) and it be done right, so for those who have been year! And we WILL be adding shows so more can come.

We raised over our goal for Woodhaven Apartments and have brought more attention to the needs there as a result of this concert. Thank you so much to all of you who have e-mailed, called, text, or spoken to us about the concert. We are so thankful that you enjoyed it and we can't wait till next year!

Here's a little sample of the night for those of you who missed it...


Sunday Recap - My 1st Worship Confessional

I took a vacation last week for everything (including blogging and twittering!) so I'm back in the swing of it now...even if this is a couple of days late:)

The weekend after Easter is always the week that I make EVERY effort to plan worship that is very familiar and focuses on who God is and celebrating what He has done regardless of the message series we are currently doing. There is a natural "down" feeling after the hype of Easter. I think I have taken vacation almost every year the week after Easter weekend. We had the Verizon Heritage Golf Tournament this week, so people get out of here or attend the tournament and our Sunday attendance reflects that fact. We kicked off a new message series called "My House." We are taking a room in the house every week for 7 weeks and evaluating how our "houses" measure up to God's standard for our lives. I'm very excited about it. John, our Tech Pastor, did a cool bumper video for it...I'll try to upload it over the next few weeks in a post... my very favorite he has done thus far! Here was our service..

"Marvelous Light" - Hall
"Alleluia (More Than Worthy) - Carr
Message Series Set-up
Missionary interview - video
Message Bumper
Time of Response
"Jesus Messiah" - Tomlin
"How Great is Our God w/How Great Thou Art" - Tomlin

My worship confessional will tell you more and especially the part where I am SO glad God gave me a really good ear :) I'm having a little trouble with audio and video matching up, so this is a little funky - I'll work on it for next time...

Meet me at Fred's!

Worship Confessional - April 19, 2009 from Cynthia Cullen on Vimeo.

My thoughts as a Worship Leader on Sunday, April 19th, 2009 at LowCountry Community Church - Hilton Head Island, SC, USA

Top 5 Ways Your Gigs are improving

I give credit to my friend and fellow musician here on the Island, Andy Pitts, for this blog post today based on a recent conversation.

#5  You have so many gigs that your day job is suffering.

People actually know you from the 1 or 2 bands you play in... not from the 5 -8 restaurants you used to make your money from playing "mood music."
#3 You bring one instrument to your gigs. You don't have to drive around with a 5-piece rhythm section in your car because...WHO KNOWS what instrument will be needed because, well... WHO KNOWS who is actually showing up for the gig.

#2  The Restaurant owner pays you and then lets you go home after you've played for 30 minutes because it is 40 degrees outside and you are trying to create a mood on your acoustic while dealing with frostbite.
#1  You are not asked to play every Irish drinking song you know in the St. Patty's Day Parade on a float for 3 hours!

Sunday Recap

This was our first week being same message/same week because our Bluffton Campus started a Saturday night service. In theory, we thought it would work, but you love it when it REALLY works! I attended the Saturday night service and it was great.  I got the hand off of the DVD (straight burn from image mag to DVD) and the new worship folders (new design - love it!) and we were ready to go on Sunday. The DVD looked great and sounded great. Our tech team rehearsed the DVD cue on the front and back end several times in soundcheck and did great in the service with the cues. Our Tech Pastor in Bluffton attended our services on Sunday and he said he was pleased with the overall product. Whew...I'm taking a nice, big breath today.

I tried something different in our service this week. I moved the Message up sooner in the service and left more time at the end for response and reflection. I really liked it! Here was the service flow...

'Unchanging"  - Tomlin
"Forever" - Tomlin
Time of Response
"Mystery"  - Hall
Responsive Scripture Reading - Isaiah 61:1-11 (Key chapter for this message series)
"Everlasting God" - Brown

We all get into ruts from time to time and it is VERY hard to change that sometimes. We had a lot of run-through in soundcheck so that everyone got the transitions and understood the emotional flow of the service. I was pleased. We had 7 people accept Jesus Christ as their Savior between the 2 services...Praise God!

After being gone all week at Recreate, I was so pumped to be back with our people. Meet me at Fred's for more discussion...(I got to meet Fred this past week! It's awesome when bloggers ACTUALLY meet face-to-face!)

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 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...

Recreate - Day 1

Meet and Greet here...Dinner here...Live Jazz by him.  This is your typical church conference :)
You never know what to expect at Recreate and that is why I am here.  We have a great 3 days in store and I can't wait to share about it here at cheval glass. Follow me on twitter for micro-blogging throughout the conference.

Christmas in NYC

IMG_8282 IMG_8285IMG_8251 It was SO cool to watch "Christmas in Rockefeller Center"  tonight with the family. This had to be one of my favorite years in a LONG while...Jamie, Harry, Tony, Faith, Beyonce...artists who can REALLY sing! Beyonce on the roof with St.Patrick's Cathedral behind her? Yeah,THE money shot. Lighting is everything, but I digress. NYC is so enchanting this time of year. I don't care how many times you visit or if you live there, the holidays are magical. Even being there last week, the city was already coming alive for the holidays. We never attended the Rockefeller Tree Lighting in person when we lived there (we chose to do the Lincoln Center Tree Lighting) but I never needed an excuse during December to take the 1 train to 50th Street and walk the few blocks to see "THE TREE." We did the parade and made it to Macy's to see Santa last week (20 minute wait - Todd was very happy!) Sydney and I went ice skating in Bryant Park....Magical...the only way to describe it. If you haven't been, go...if you have, you know what I'm talking about.