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Archive for November, 2007

Why i don’t like Christmas (or at least didn’t)

In yesterday’s post i made reference to the long running joke about me "not liking Christmas". The truth is that i love Christmas as much as anyone – but it is a fun topic of discussion for us around the Christmas holidays. Here’s the background on where all that came from…

On my first Christmas at hyde park I did some Christmas music (notice the emphasis on some, meaning that i conveniently worked in a few carols with our normal songs). We of course did the obligatory "Christmas Cantata" (which, if you don’t have a church background, the word cantata sounds like a holiday treat that would probably taste decent :) it’s a concert – call it a concert and let the "outsiders" understand what it is you’re having!). The next year, as Christmas approached, it was asked if "we were going to actually sing Christmas songs this year"? (in a very sarcastic tone by the way…don’t you just love the tone that "God’s people" can take when they don’t like something?). Feeling as if I had done something wrong by not singing "more" Christmas music the year before I went and pulled all the Carols from the hymnal and we sang nothing but carols that year…

…Problem with that was that I HATED IT!!! Not because I hated the songs of Christmas, but because the arrangements that I was forced to use made our whole music program take what felt like a step back-in-time. Our music was beginning to get good at hyde park, but the lame Christmas arrangements just brought the spirit of our services to a screeching HALT! I was SO READY for Christmas to get over, if for no other reason than we might sound like hyde park again!

During the next year I encouraged friends in the music publishing industry (often) to give those of us who were not traditional church something to work with at Christmas (to no avail). So, that year as Christmas approached, I lamented of how i was dreading it! The problem was that i lamented ALOUD around the office – which is where the joking started – you would think i was the grinch or something. :) That Christmas I once again called the publishers and practically begged for some contemporary sounding Christmas classics and this time they asked me to put it in writing so they could take my requests deeper.

The next Christmas got a little better…

But by my next Christmas the publishers FINALLY gave us some great Christmas arrangements, stuff that doesn’t take the worship spirit out of Christmas – after all, the true Spirit of Christmas is worship (think Shepherds and Wise men).

So that’s why so many people joke about me not liking Christmas. (and by the way – did i tell you that we kick off Christmas this Sunday?!? I’m EXCITED! Don’t be late – the beginning’s "strong")

The Christmas Season is here!

In_the_house5Can you believe that the Christmas season is here? I bet many WholeHearted readers already have their homes decorated and their tree’s trimmed just right!

We have a long-running joke around the office about me and Christmas. It seems that because I’m not the biggest fan of Christmas Carols that many believe that I don’t like Christmas. Truth is, I LOVE Christmas and all the stuff that comes with it! I love the parties, the sounds (yep – i DO like the sounds – for about 2 weeks :)), families getting together, children being excited…

More than anything, I love the fact that people who don’t normally attend church decide that the Sunday before Christmas is a time that they have a duty to GET THEIR FAMILIES into a church (because, after all, JESUS is the reason – right? :) even they know that!). I love the fact that we are the kind of church that they will often come to. What I love about it is that we have a shot on that day to show them that JESUS is not just a Christmas thing… JESUS is the meaning of life. Please pray that our Christmas Spectacular, "The Divine", does just that for many, many families on December 23rd. Our Challenge: to help as many unconnected families find a true "center" for their family this year by bringing them to hyde park with us!

And speaking of Christmas – it begins this Sunday at hyde park with our new Christmas Series, "In the House". We’re gonna look at the reason for Christmas in a variety of ways beginning this weekend – for example, have you ever noticed Christmas back in the story of Adam and Eve in the Garden of Eden? You may after this Sunday.

The Process IS the Point!

Momentum_questionmarkWe are an answer focused people, aren’t we? "God, we want to know our next step and quite frankly, we want to know it NOW!" I hope that we ALL discovered yesterday that we need to go through the process more than we need to know the answers to our questions – because without going through the process with JESUS the answers might not make sense.

I want to be a man of action – i want to follow through and do what i commit to do – i find myself yearning for God more today than i even did yesterday (even though it IS Monday morning and feels like it! :))

My question for you today would be: Did you enter in to "the process" with JESUS today? I hope that you did, because it’s not enough to hear what we should do, we are expected to do something about what we heard

22Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says. 23Anyone who listens to the word but does not do what it says is like a man who looks at his face in a mirror 24and, after looking at himself, goes away and immediately forgets what he looks like. 25But the man who looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues to do this, not forgetting what he has heard, but doing it—he will be blessed in what he does. James 1:22-25 NIV

Sunday Nite (on a Tuesday Morning!)

OK, now i’m ready to do my reflection on Sunday (I know that it’s Tuesday – you just had to be "me" to understand that i needed some "process" time :) ).

The reason I didn’t post on Sunday nite was that I was beyond beat – I haven’t felt that worn-down in a long, long time after Sunday Services. On Monday morning, I felt so drawn to seek the Lord that I seriously did not have time to adequately "wrap-my-mind" around all that i felt. So, without further adieu, this past Sunday…

  • I AM SO PROUD (!!!) of the hyde park worship ministry. For the past 5 weeks they have carried out the task of leading our congregation into worship of JESUS with me basically acting in a "behind the scenes" role (planning services).
  • I AM SO PROUD of the ministry that Rhonda Lovin has done! Rhonda Lovin has become such a great lead-worshiper and I feel very confident in her ability to step in when I am not available or other duties call. Rhonda, for the most part, planned the services and led rehearsals for the last 3 weeks and I felt they were all tremendous! A public "HI-FIVE" goes out to her…
  • I AM ALSO PROUD of Steven Easterling. Steven led worship yesterday for the 1st time and did an amazing job. (Side note: Steven, though a great frontman and talented singer, has never done the ministry of lead-worshiper and finds himself a little on the uneasy side in this ministry). I look forward to Steven stepping in and leading in my absence in the near future!
  • …by the way – i am FINALLY leading worship again this Sunday! :)
  • …by the way – i am READY!
  • While I am in the "PROUD" arena – our band has really taken it to another level! I look forward to great things out of them this Christmas!
  • December 23rd, "The Divine", is gonna be THE BOMB! (that means you better make plans not to miss it).
  • Coming off of my longest string of speaking assignments ever (4 Sunday’s in 5 weeks – which in hyde park terms equals 13 times because of the multiple services) I realize how tough it is to preach week-in and week-out. The task of staying fresh can be tough when you are preparing a new message every week! Though I LOVE the opportunity to seek the "mind of Christ" that I might speak into others lives and regard it as my most challenging task, I have an even greater respect from my pastor than EVER!
  • Sunday’s message was a tough one for me. The simplicity of the message is one of those that you feel when you preach it, "they aren’t gonna listen to me…i’m gonna lose them…they don’t wanna hear this…" but what is more important than learning to hear from God?
  • By the way, I am amazed that on the weekend’s that I question my effectiveness, so many of you come and tell me how much the message challenged you! Thanks for being obedient. I want so much for your walk with JESUS!
  • Christmas at hyde park begins this weekend – i’m excited (and that is saying something) and it is gonna be great!

The Coolest Political Ad EVER!

This was great (and short!) I love it when people don’t take themselves so seriously! Enjoy!

I really can’t believe they did something so…down to earth! Great way to tell what you really stand for – humor!