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My friends at Shameless Plug (who are gifted artists and worship leaders, by the way) were kind enough to nominate our blog for a Liebster Award, which helps to spotlight blogs with less than 1,000 followers.  Part of the deal is that I answer some fun questions so that you can get to know me a little better, so here goes!

Q.Which is your favorite season?

My favorite season is fall.  Nice and cool (most of the time), and you have the end of the baseball season and the beginning of football season at the same time…I love it!

Q. What is your favorite movie, and why?

My favorite movie is probably “Chariots of Fire”…there is something about watching the scene where Eric Liddell wins the race after taking a stand for what he believes that is both motivating and convicting.

Q. If you could take your ideal vacation, where would you go and what would you do?

I’m torn.  I love Australia, but would love to hang out in Alaska or the Seattle area and see the gorgeous views as well.

Q. If you had a chance to take 3 things with you to a deserted island, what would they be?

My wife, my kids, and a piano.

Q. What type of cuisine do you enjoy the most?

I eat almost anything, but love to have Pho…it is one of my favs.  And I apologize for not having the slash above the o!

Q. Which band/artist would you like to see live in concert (if you haven’t already)?

David Ramirez.  I love the artistry of his lyrics and the authenticity with which he plays.

Q. Do you have any hobbies you’d like to take up? List it/them!

I would love to learn more about electronics when it comes to rerouting them to digital technology.  Yes, I am a geek.

Q. Who (one person) inspires you, and why?

My father, Lanny.  He is 63, serving full-time in music ministry after retiring from teaching music, and getting ready to embark on a whole new journey as well.  He works hard, loves hard, and follows after Jesus even harder.

Q. What is your favorite ice cream flavor?

Mint Chocolate Chip!

Q. Do you want to build a snowman?

Of course!  Every year our family builds a snowman and takes a family picture with it.  Sort of like tradition.


So now it is my turn.  I have several blogs that I am going to nominate, and ask them to answer a few questions about themselves:

Brandon’s Bits–This is a blog by my friend, Brandon Jones, who is a pastor in Herreid, South Dakota.  He writes highly intelligent, intellectual, and thoughtful blogs that you should check out.

Frayed Parent–This is by my friend, Jamin Garoutte, who also doubles as my counterpart in trying to remind each other to blog.  But when he does (get on it!), he blogs honestly and thoughtfully.

Heart Mommy’s Strawberry Shortcake–This is a blog by a foster mom who does a wonderful job of sharing the struggles, joys, and doubts and fears of fostering.

Worship Synths–This is one of my resource pages for my craft–keys.  Love it!


And the Questions for these bloggers:

1.  What motivated you to start blogging?

2.  What is your biggest challenge right now?

3.  If you could have a conversation with one person, who would it be?

4.  What is your biggest goal for the next year?

5.  If you could share one thing with your readers, what would it be?


Thanks to all who participate, and may this shed some light on your blogs!



Do you ever have those days that you just wonder if you are going to make it through?  Or wonder if everything is going domino out of control, leaving you waiting for the next shoe to drop?  Well, I was pretty sure that was going to happen yesterday…but it didn’t.

As much as I love technology and the way it works, I don’t love having print jobs stuck in between my computer and the printer like I did yesterday.  However, everything worked out, the music printed, and we continued our sermon series on Overcoming Sin by looking at reconciliation.

Our blended service started with “There is Power in the Blood” and continued into “The Power of Your love”, which was a nice way to start off the service by remembering that Christ sacrificed himself, and help set the tone for the service.  In the contemporary service, we started with “Our God is Love” and “O Praise Him”…in both, we continued our theme with “Overcome” and had a reading in the middle of the song of different struggles and sins that could be overcome through Christ.  It was a different way to sing the song, and hopefully was something to make people thoughtfully commit.

After the sermon, we responded by singing “I surrender All” and ending the service with “Healing is in Your Hands”…a song that reminds us of God’s power working in our lives.  One funny note yesterday was that we tried something different with announcements…we acted as if it was a phone call we were answering, and then proceeded to “talk” about the announcements we would be discussing.  One of our illustrious members proceeding to call my phone again while I was “pretending”, causing it to go off.  Thanks, Jim!

While we had our bumps and glitches, I am always reminded that it is not about us, but God as we lead our communities in worship…He can take our mistakes and make them turn into powerful moments…

How were your services?  Share below, or link to your blog in the comments section!

Monday Morning Recap

February 27, 2012 — Leave a comment

Mondays for me can be one of two things:  Complete brain freeze, or extremely productive.  So, in light of trying to be productive, here is a recap of our services from yesterday, or a followup of the precap from earlier in the week.

The blended service kicked off with a blend of “Victory in Jesus” and “You are Holy/Prince of Peace”.  One thing in my planning I hadn’t accounted for was the key of our sheet music for “You are Holy” which was in E, so we had to make a clean break to go into the intro.  It just goes to show you that double checking keys is important.  The transition was smooth, however, so it worked out well.

We had the choir sing “Be Still and Know” and transitioned into “I stand Amazed in the Presence”, which was a neat time for me.  I love listening to the congregation when they are fully confident in singing a song, and this was one of those times.  Since we were talking about forgiveness, about halfway through the sermon, we used the song “7 x 70” by Chris August to emphasize the point.

In the contemporary services, we kicked off the service with “You are Holy” and set the sermon up with “Hosanna”…and I forgot to double check the words in the 2nd service, so the vocalists did a great job of saving me there (brain fart).  After the sermon, we did “I stand Amazed” into “Mighty to Save”, which really had a lot of momentum to end the service…I made a mental note to remember how well those two songs complement each other lyrically and musically.

How were your services yesterday?  What notes did you come away with?

Welcome to the first of hopefully many posts that we collaborate on as we walk through the journey of worship planning!  I’m simply going to walk through what some of my thoughts were as I planned the service this week, and encourage you to comment, share your own thoughts from your planning, and ask questions and give feedback as you do!

We are currently in the second week of a series called Overcoming Sin, in which we are looking at several different disciplines involved in that subject, including confession, forgiveness, anger, grace, temptation, etc.  This week’s  discipline is forgiveness.  Because I have three services (and one is blended), I usually start with a pool of songs that I feel will cover all or part of the theme we are looking at.  For example, I looked at songs ranging from “Forgiven” to “Grace Greater than All Our Sin” to “Mighty to Save” when looking for songs that touched on the subject of forgiveness…but I also want to have a progression in the service that will help focus us to look at the subject.  This is what I came up with for the Blended Service:

“Victory in Jesus”

“You are Holy/Prince of Peace”

“Mighty to Save”

“I Stand Amazed in the Presence”

Setup Song being “7×70”

My thinking was to start with a broad view of Christ and his attributes as we open worship, and then to focus in on the idea of the forgiveness he has given us, and our need for a Savior as we progress through the service.  For us, we sometimes do a setup song that doesn’t necessarily work corporately, but hits right on the point we are making…Chris August’s song hits the nail on the head for us.  In our contemporary services, we backload the service, meaning we put a song set after the sermon to allow our community to respond to what they have heard.  We aren’t doing that this week in the 1st service.

“You are Holy/Prince of Peace”



“Mighty to Save”

“I Stand Amazed in the Presence”

One thing I might note is that we are not doing “Overcome” this week because we will use it next week in a drama.  So now that I have shared some of my thoughts, what are yours?

What are you doing this week in worship planning?


Starting this week, I will embarking on an experimental journey which I am encouraging you to join me in…I will be precapping and recapping every week’s preparation and execution of services.  Currently, you can see what has happened each week in many services through the Sunday Setlist at The Worship Community.  I am going to take this one step further, and I encourage you to join with me in this endeavor.

On Wednesday of each week, I will give you a peek into what I am planning for the week:  The sermon series/title, what thought process I went through to plan, etc.  My challenge to you is to do the same.  Share your planning thoughts in the comment section if your comfortable, share an idea about mine if you think of one.  Let’s begin a collaborative effort to challenge each other to think!

After the Sunday service is over, I will come back Monday and recap.  I will look over the ideas that began the planning, and see what worked, what didn’t, and what stood out.  Don’t worry, I am not going to be a critiquer of people or emotion.  This is simply about a journey through the planning and follow through of a service.  If you feel comfortable, do the same!  Let’s share in the beauty of our worshipping communities while committing to improving as ministers in daily and weekly reponsibilities.  If someone’s heart just blew your mind, share about it…even better, tell them!  Encourage your leaders, and be encouraged yourself…


Will you join me?  Come back on Wednesday and share your Sunday thoughts as we journey through ministry together!


We’ve all been there.  At the point where you really need good, smooth flow of creativity, your brain seizes…you try everything to get it back.  Coffee, freewriting (just like your English teacher taught you), scouring websites, Google searches and you still come up empty.  You become convinced you have simply run out of good ideas.

NEWS FLASH…Maybe you have.

The truth is, creativity is not always a one person job…and we try to make it that sometimes.

I have been meeting with a creative team, and it has blown my mind the kind of ideas that we can come up with just by bouncing back and forth one idea, concept, or phrase between each other.  As I progress in ministry and in life, it is another simple reminder that community and teamwork are the building blocks to true success.

Quit trying to do everything on your own.  Allow others to input their creativity and giftedness into your life, your planning, and your ministry or job situation, and see how it revolutionizes the way you work.

What have you learned from collaborating?  What tips do you have for starting collaboration?

In any worship service, transitions are the elephant in the room. No matter how well music is played, how effective the sermon is delivered, how many hours have gone into planning…those tiny little spaces in between parts of the service can make or break the flow of the service.

Like most worship planners, 

I am always looking for 

tips and tricks to 

make things go smoothly.

What do you do to help transitions? How do you handle announcements? Song transitions?


Leave your answers in the comment section, and let’s learn from each other!