IMG_8108IMG_8113IMG_8110IMG_8114IMG_8124IMG_8102 I  spent close to 36 hours with people I haven't seen in years and time was irrelevant.  We are all the same but have kids (as Kim said!) Most of the members of my era at LU on Sounds (1992-95) were in attendance. It was 3 days of stories, pictures of bad hair, music, lies, and more lies.  The band still feels inferior to the singers and the singers are still amazing singers (who still can't find "1", but I digress.) We have seen each other at our best and our worst...we know what we are good at and what we stink at...we would never have crossed paths except for this wonderful bond...we were on a team.   "Boss", as we call him, brought our lives together for a brief time and forever changed our musical landscape.   It was awesome to hear everyone share what God is doing in their lives and we all expressed how grateful we are for Liberty, Thomas Road, "Doc," and the friendships (and spouses!) that we gained during our time as a team. Sometimes having a history can be a really good thing.  Check out the video here...

Worship and Avril Lavigne

HOPE logo2 I have gotten into a pretty steady habit of going to the gym now about 3-5 times a week.  The TV's are all running the news and it's KILLING me because it is so depressing so I created a mix for my ipod that gets me through the treadmill and my weights routine (I start with "Livin' on a Prayer, baby!). One song that I include is about half-way through my hour workout called "I'm with You" by Avril Lavigne.  The fact is that it is one of my favorite mixes of cello with acoustic guitar, but that's not why it is on my ipod.  This song speaks to me about how I feel about my relationship with God and how I have hope.  If you click the link above, you can sense the hopelessness in her music video.  For me, I feel tremendous compassion on those who have no hope and I'm reminded that I HAVE HOPE. I'm not going to get into the theological break-down of this song (and there is one word in the song that will offend some of you),but when I hear that song, I worship God and I pray for those who come to mind who don't know God and feel there is no hope.

What song speaks to you that everyone else would think is crazy? Come on, you can tell me...

Charlie Hall's "Mystery"

Charlie I am a HUGE Charlie Hall fan. My 4-year-old daughter sings "Marvelous Light" all the time - it was also the first song that I led worship with on my acoustic (tear.)  I am constantly challenged as a songwriter and a God-worshiper when I study his songs and see the depth with which he writes about God and His relationship with Jesus.  His new record, The Bright Sadness, does not disappoint. I heard "Mystery" for the 1st time as a new song focus member with Worship Together and I just sat there...I couldn't really say anything. It was such a fresh and deeply personal song about Communion.  We offer Communion every week at our church campus as a Worship Station at the end of our service so I know that it why this song is stirring me.  Every week, I'm singing songs of response as people move around our worship space and take Communion silently, closing their eyes to reflect on Jesus' sacrifice.  It never grows old to me. I have not led this song at our church yet because I don't feel I'm ready yet to let it out of my personal worship time right now. Some songs do that to me. Hear are the lyrics to the chorus...

by Charlie Hall

"Sweet Jesus Christ my sanity
Sweet Jesus Christ my clarity
Bread of heaven, broken for me
Cup of salvation held up to drink
Jesus the Mystery.."

It's not about your music

0624146200 Talk about some fallout from the VMA's on Sunday night...No, we are not talking about the musical performances of the artists - we are talking about their political, social, and moral views.  To Jordin Sparks and the Jonas Brothers, a big APOLOGY from musical artists everywhere.  We should be talking about your music, but we're not.  I applaud their convictions, but this is a MUSIC AWARDS SHOW.  They should not have to defend one another's moral convictions or for that matter have Paris Hilton do it - this was a night to honor their music. As Randy says in his blog today, "Come on, MTV, give us art-whether we agree with it or not! It certainly would go a long way to help legitimize a preachy and meaningless award show--and channel. "

It's not about the music anymore...does this upset you?

Making classical cool

08_langlang2_lg I am a classically trained pianist, but I also play by ear.  As you can imagine, as a kid, I DID not want to practice Bach Inventions or Mozart Concertos.  I just wanted to play what I heard on the radio or at concerts and be cool. But, with the strict guidance of my parents, they would say, "You are going to learn it all so that you have the tools to do whatever you want in music someday." Of course, they were right and I have had an amazing musical journey. I wish Lang Lang had been around when I was a kid, because I would have thought he was cool.  I may have taken classical music more seriously as something that could be fun and not just what I had to do to get to do the fun stuff. Now as an adult, I love playing Bach and Mozart at home to stay fresh and keep my reading skills up to par.  So, I hope for more musicians like Lang Lang for my kids so that they see there is opportunity to be a great musician regardless of the genre.

Tomlin vs. the Laurie Berkner Band

Laurie05b Christomlinec03_2I purchased the New Laurie Berkner CD last week...Sydney and I are huge fans and we used to be Upper West Side neighbors with her in NYC.  The week before we moved, we attended her concert and it was awesome. I was very excited to get the new CD and we went to Walmart (I was going to download it, but Syd likes the packaging.) We get it in the CD player and the van is rocking! It is a terrific album.  Later that day, we are driving around and Sydney says, "I want to hear the 'Sing' song."  I said, " Are you sure?  This is so great!" She said, "The 'Sing' song is my favorite!"  So Chris, you win over the Laurie Berkner Band! "Sing Sing Sing" beats "Rocketship Run"

Do your kids have favorite songs that surprise you?

(This post is a part of Watercooler Wednesday. Join us!)

Making the band

I have shared my learning-the-acoustic-guitar journey with you all since March and yesterday was a another milestone for me.  Up to this point, I have to honestly say if "I" showed up to audition for my band, "I" would not let "me" play (just let that sink in). But today, I officially made the band. To put it into perspective, my FOH guy Rich said "Hey, is that a different acoustic guitar?" He was being serious. I told him, no, just an acoustic player who practiced A LOT and isn't making as much of a mess! Now, I am no great, unbelievable, out-of-the-park player, but I have a FABULOUS guitar player, Andy, who does it all. So, all I have to do is just stay out of his way and play rhythm and all will be well with the world.  I'm sharing just a minute of audio from straight off the board from our service Sunday with you...these are clips of 2 amazing songs that we used during our A.K.A. God series"Your Name" by Paul Baloche and "Jesus Messiah" by Chris Tomlin. Our worship was so active...I love it when our people just forget we are up there and worship God.

Thunder and calm

Image1 I've always been a human barometer.  I can tell you when a storm is coming because my head feels like it is about to explode. We are in the middle of those summer thunderstorms here on the Island and when one leaves, another is right behind it. So, basically, I have had a headache for a week. But, right now it is storming at my office and that means my headache has subsided for awhile and I'm just immersed in the sound of thunder and rain.  Even with the thunder, I sense a calm - the sound of refreshment and cleansing pouring over the earth. I'm working on a song right now that will reflect this theme...it's almost done and I can't wait to share it with you.

Active worship

4d0t2004 We had a great worship service yesterday.  I've added a viola to our flute and cello combo twice a month and it was really beautiful.  Pastor Jeff is in a series on the Names of God - yes, a worship leader's dream! Here was our set list:
"Forever" - Tomlin
"There's No One Like Our God" - Beeching
"Beautiful the Blood" - Fee
"God of Our Yesterdays" - Redman
"Your Name" - Baloche
I hold to a steadfast rule in worship planning to always keep very familiar songs within the set and then add fresh ones in spots that tie more to the theme. I've had 2 different seasons of my life (both before church plants) where I have not been at church every Sunday as the worship leader but as an attender and it was the most enlightening time for me.  I saw how much "new" we do in church and I didn't feel like I could participate because I didn't know the songs. (I was so guilty of this as a worship leader!) But, the churches I attended that they chose a couple of familiar songs and then maybe one or 2 new ones, I really engaged.  I know the argument can be made,"What is familiar?" but I think the main thing on that is repetition.  The most familiar worship songs are those that we can learn and remember easily. I thank Tomlin for doing that for us in his writing. Participation is a big deal to me.  I want our worship service to be ACTIVE and that value dictates so much of my choices.  Was your worship service active yesterday?