Archive for February, 2011

February 8, 2011

John Ortberg Shares Great Advice For Christians Who Want To Know ‘HOW DO I KNOW GOD’S WILL FOR MY LIFE?’ – John Ortberg Is Pastor Of Menlo Park Presbyterian Church & The Author Of The Me I Want To Be & When The Game Is Over

 

 

 

John Ortberg shared some great advice recently for people who are struggling with the question of how to know God’s will for my life.  John’s words are highly practical and gives steps you can take right now as you go through this journey.

 

He writes:

 

I was at commencement at a Christian college this weekend, and it reminded me of the question millions of young people are asking this time of year.
We never grow out of that question: Who is operating out of a wisdom surplus?

But the vast majority of people start at the wrong place.
When I finished college, I desperately wanted to know what I should do next. Find a job? Go to grad school? Where? In what field?
I prayed until I was exhausted (and God was probably a little tired of it too). I was ready to do whatever. Just send me a postcard. Put it in sky writing. But I would have gotten more clarity with a Magic 8 ball.
For a good reason.
Which I did not understand for many years. And its this:
God’s main purpose for you is not what you do. Its who you become.

If I always told my kids what do to–wear these clothes, take this job, marry this person–they might do what I say. Their circumstances might even turn out OK.
But they would not grow into excellent persons.
To grow into an excellent person, you have to make choices, exercise judgment, take responsibility, and learn.
There is no short-cut for this.
So, if I want my children to become excellent people–my will for their life will often be: “You choose.”

God knew that I would grow if I had to make choices in ways I would never grow if I got a heavenly postcard.

“God’s will” is not a way of escaping the anxiety and responsbility of making decisions.

I had a friend–a really bright guy and great New Testament scholar–who was convinced it was God’s will for him to marry the girl he wanted to marry because a certain song played at a certain moment on a certain radio station.
It wasn’t God’s will. It was just a Barry Manilow marathon.
Sometimes a Barry Manilow marathon is just a Barry Manilow marathon.

How do I know God’s will for my life?
–Live this day in an open, repentant spirit.
–Understand that living in God’s will often means I must make decisions.
–Pray constantly, regularly asking for wisdom in small moments, without placing pressure on God to give any particular kind of response.
–”Let your life speak”: Parker Palmer wrote a wonderful book by this title from an old Quaker saying; if you look at the trajectory of your life with simplicity and openess certain patterns will emerge that will help you understand your shape and gifts and longings
–Have wise, godly people speak into your life with love and truth
–Be willing to make mistakes and learn from them quicker rather than slower
–Have a mind immersed with great thoughts from Scripture
–Practice making decisions and learning from them all day long
–Live in freedom and joy. Trust God that He can guide you into His will without your obsessing over it.

 

Great words, from a great thinker.  Thanks John for this helpful advice.

 

February 8, 2011

Christian Recording Artist Joy Williams Talks About Her New Band The Civil Wars And Their New Album Barton Hollow Which Debuted At #1 On The iTunes Charts (VIDEO)

 

 

 

Yesterday, the Civil Wars released their debut full-length album, Barton Hollow, and it immediately hit number-one on iTunes. We spoke recently with the duo about how they formed, why they work so well together and what it’s like to hear their songs on TV.

You two met at a songwriting camp in Nashville.  What was it that drew you to working together?


John Paul White: Joy and I have definitely talked about the moment a million times between us. The first time our voices sounded out together in the room, it was a weird pinch-me kind of moment. I’d never had that kind of marriage between two voices before in my days. We both [had] never felt that before. The origins were out there in that “first sight” kind of thing.

Joy Williams: I think it took several months before we actively thought there was a way to maybe build on that or to continue to pursue the idea of blending of the voices together. For me I remember particularly after the songwriting camp us getting back together four or five months after that and writing another song together and the blend continued to stay. It wasn’t a blue moon type of experience.

JPW: We always talk about the blending of the voices and that’s a huge part of it, but on top of that [there was] the melding of ideas. We have different viewpoints on things being from totally different backgrounds and geographical areas, but there’s a common thread to all of it too. The type of music that was coming out of us was kind of hard to explain being from our different backgrounds; so we just felt like we were kind of obliged to keep going with it. There was no way to stop doing it and see where it led to; here we are.

 

You both had pretty lengthy solo careers, and Joy, you were well-known in the Christian music industry.  Has the transition to this new venture been difficult?

 

JW: Yeah, ’cause John Paul is just such a diva, it makes it really difficult to get things done.

JPW: I shine so much onstage it’s really hard for her to even show up. People don’t even realize she’s there. I wear black so it dulls it down.

JW: Yet another odd thing about it, and by odd I mean sort of fortuitous, is the fact that the joining of the two musically just makes sense. It feels more fluid than most things I’ve ever done musically. That part’s actually really fun.

JPW: The live aspect for me is with Joy. … As a solo artist, it’s you. Everything is on you; the spotlight is on you, you carry all the banter, you lead the parade. But with this, there is a give-and-take that I never would have expected to be able to have with somebody on stage. I’ve been in bands a lot during my youth, but it was always five different perspectives, five different horses never pulling in the same way; this feels like we’re 200 percent what we could be as a solo artist.

JW: I don’t think I actively think about the musical chapter I feel like I’m in. I enjoyed what I learned in the process of being in CCM for about six or seven years, but I think, too, on top of that, I started feeling a little bit boxed in. I think within that genre of music, it’s very important to overtly express the worldview that you have versus what you see actually through that worldview. So I’ve been really enjoying the freedom of being able to write what I see through my worldview. And I think writing about truth and beauty in a way that plays with dark and light is really fascinating to me and something that I really enjoy.

Beauty can be bittersweet and truth can be hard to swallow, and I think we inadvertently write within that tension with what we do—though it’s never actually discussed. It is different, but it seems like such a good space to be in, and I’m really thankful to be linking arms with John Paul because I think [the] sum of the parts is different than any other music we could make or have made up to this point as solo artists.

What has the reception been like at your live performances?

 

JPW: The way it feels onstage is unlike most anything I’ve ever done. Joy and I have both played wide and varied locations and thousands of crowds, good, bad and ugly, but I feel a connection that I’ve never truly felt before. I don’t mind sticking my neck out there and saying that it’s been really good, because I hope they’re enjoying it as much as I’m enjoying it. I feel like that’s the way things have been and the crowds just keep getting bigger, so that can’t be a bad thing.

JW: We’re thankful again to know the music is not only connecting with people that show up to the shows, but also people within an industry format. That’s lifeblood for independent musicians, which is what we are. So not only is it a life-giving mechanism for us to continue to be able to make the music we love, but it also continues to be a great way to market ourselves in a way that we would never be able to do otherwise.

How does it feel to be getting a lot of airplay on television shows now?  Was that something you anticipated?

JPW: Having it on a show is a great thing in itself, but that people did latch on to it and seek us out, that’s just crazy.

What inspires and influences your music together?

JPW: Just about everything we’ve ever seen, heard, felt, every fight we’ve had with anyone in our lives—there are no holds barred with subject matter for us. We pull from anything that kind of floats into the air or what the news brings us that day. … Joy has got a lot more of a pop background than I do, and I’ve got a lot more of a country background. But we’re both huge rock fans, and most of my solo stuff has been rock stuff. We’re fans of everything from gospel, to bluegrass, to more middle-of-the-road jazz kind of stuff. We’re all over the place, from Billie Holiday to rap. We try to pull from every bit of it.

 

 

WATCH THE DEBUT OF THEIR NEW MUSIC VIDEO FOR “BARTON HOLLOW” THE TITLE TRACK OFF THEIR NEW ALBUM:

 

February 8, 2011

INTERVIEW WITH JENNA LUCADO Daughter Of Max Lucado Speaker With The Revolve Tour & Author Redefining Beautiful & You Were Made to Make a Difference

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Redefining Beautiful
Michael Hyatt recently had the chance to sit down and talk to Jenna Lucado daughter of bestselling author Max Lucado and author of You Were Made to Make a Difference. Mike asked her about her new book and the 2011 Revolve Tour and leading the next generation.
Her answers might surprise you

Q: Your father recently released Outlive Your Life and you co-authored to the young adult version, You Were Made to Make a Difference. Why were you excited about working on this project?

I grew up in a home where my parents opened our eyes to the needs of people around the world. We supported causes and organizations that fight injustice. As a result, I’ve always had a desire to reach out to the poor and disadvantaged. When Dad decided to write this book, he asked me to bring a younger perspective to the issues of poverty. I was able to blend my heart for the poor with my heart for next generation leaders. It was a perfect fit.

Q: So what makes this book unique?

You Were Made to Make a Difference takes the ancient book of Acts and makes it applicable to those of us living in the year 2011. It offers practical tips that young people can take out into their community to make a real difference. The book is a rich mix of Christ’s words, the disciples’ actions, and real-life stories of young people today who are changing the world.

My desire is that readers will understand that God can use them to make a difference—right now. He wants to use them today, without waiting for them to be older, stronger, richer, or even more “together.” God can use their minds, their spirits, and their hands and feet to make significant change for His kingdom.

Q: It seems that this next generation of young leaders wants more out of life than simply the “American Dream.” They want to make a contribution. In fact, they want to change the world. Where do you think this passion comes from?

In working with Revolve for the past four years, I’ve learned that young girls want to live for something bigger than themselves. They live in a world where they see disasters and pain from their living room couches—and on their smart phones. They can’t escape it. These girls are not content to sit on their hands and watch. They want to be doing something to help.

Q: How can my generation of leaders—the older generation—support and encourage this younger generation in their quest to make a difference?

Becoming aware of the young people in your life, and acknowledging and affirming them, is the first step. Because my husband is a youth minister, I get to witness first-hand the selflessness of these young leaders who work with the youth at Oak Hills Church in San Antonio. Their heart and hard work needs to be recognized.

Second, I think it is important to develop relationships with these young leaders. When you choose to make time for them, they become energized. But they want to do something with this energy. In my experience, when you pour into them, they pour themselves into others—especially the poor and disadvantaged. This is an investment that keeps on giving.

Q: You are traveling with The Revolve Tour this winter. What do you enjoy most about working with teenage girls?

I used to be one, so I know what they’re going through! As an adult, I love hearing their stories and telling them that God hears them, too. One of my favorite moments in the conference is when these girls finally understand how relevant the Bible is—it is that moment when the Word of God becomes real to them.

The same kinds of faith-deepening, heart-maturing, and confidence-boosting moments that changed my life in high school continue to change the lives of high school girls today. While fashion and trends change, the basic needs are the same. These young leaders want to be part of a larger story.

One of the great things about Revolve is that it’s girls only time. When boys are out of the room, the distractions are cut in half. So when they hear messages about their value and see dramatic sketches about topics they’re struggling with, they can open up, be themselves, and connect on an emotional level. I love seeing the spiritual transformation that takes place.

Q: Thanks for all you do, Jenna. YOU are making a difference, and I am grateful.

Now through February 28, 2011, you can get $10 off the full Revolve event registration price (which matches the per-person rate for a group of 10 or more.) If you’d like to invite the young women in your life to be a part of an upcoming Revolve event, visit our registration page or call 877-9-REVOLVE and use code DREAM when you place your order. This offer is good for up to nine seats and can’t be combined with any other offer or applied to previous purchases.

February 8, 2011

Thomas Nelson Shares List Of LITERARY AGENTS WHO REPRESENT CHRISTIAN AUTHORS

Fall all those aspiring Christian writers Thomas Nelson’s Michael Hyatt compiled a list of Literary Agents who represent Christian authors.

This may not be all the agents that could be listed, but these are the forty or so we work with at Thomas Nelson. While all of them represent Christian authors, they themselves may not necessarily be Christians or represent exclusively Christian authors. If you want to check out an agent or get the opinions of other writers, you might visit ChristianWriters.com or The Absolute Writer Water Cooler, two discussion forums for authors.

Regardless, this list does not constitute my recommendation. It is your responsibility to check references and ascertain whether or not a specific agent is right for you.

Keep in mind that agents typically charge a 15 percent commission. This is standard in the industry. However, you shouldn’t have to pay them until they actually sell your book to a publisher.

Here’s The List:

LITERARY AGENTS
Last Updated: 01/30/2011
Maurilio Amorim
Amorim Agency
112 Westwood Place suite 110
Brentwood TN 37027
WebsiteEmail
Matt Bialer
Sanford J. Greenburger Associates
55 Fifth Avenue
New York, NY 10003
Website | Email
Bruce Barbour
Literary Management Group
4238 Morriswood Drive
Nashville, TN 37204
WebsiteEmail
Jenni Burke
D.C. Jacobson & Associates, LLC
P.O. Box 1965
Sisters, Oregon 97759
WebsiteEmail
Terry W. Burns
Hartline Literary Agency
1414 Sunrise Drive #51
Amarillo TX 79104-4332
WebsiteEmail
Mary Chappell
Zachary Shuster Harmsworth
535 Boylston Street, Suite 1103
Boston, MA 02116
WebsiteEmail
Rick Christian
Alive Communications
7680 Goddard St., Suite 200
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
WebsiteEmail
Jonathan Clements
Wheelhouse Literary Group
1007 Loxley Drive
Nashville TN 37211
WebsiteEmail
Chaz Corzine
The MWS Group
321 Billingsly Court, Unit 15
Franklin, TN 37067
Website | Email
Claudia Cross
Sterling Lord Literistic, Inc.
65 Bleecker Street
New York, NY 10012
WebsiteEmail
Blythe McIntosh Daniel
The Blythe Daniel Agency, Inc.
P.O. Box 64197
Colorado Springs, CO 80962
WebsiteEmail
Greg Daniel
Daniel Literary Group
1701 Kingsbury Drive, Suite 100
Nashville, TN 37215
WebsiteEmail
Jan Dennis
Dennis Literary
19350 Glen Hollow Circle
Monument, CO 80132
Website | Email
David Dunham
The Dunham Group
2000 Mallory Lane, Suite 130–228
Franklin, TN 37067
Website | Email
John Eames
Eames Literary Services, LLC
4117 Hillsboro Pike, Box 103–241
Nashville, TN 37215
WebsiteEmail
Danielle Egan-Miller
Browne & Miller Literary Associates
410 S. Michigan Avenue, Suite 460
Chicago, IL 60605
WebsiteEmail
Esther Fedorkevich
Fedd and Company, Inc.
606 Flamingo Blvd.
Austin, TX 78734
Website | Email
Gary Foster
Gary D Foster Consulting
733 Viginia Ave
Van Wert, OH, 45891
WebsiteEmail
Rachelle Gardner
WordServe Literary Group
P.O. Box 1089
Monument, CO 80132
WebsiteEmail
Jennifer Gates
Zachary Schuster Harmsworth,
A Literary & Entertainment Agency
1776 Broadway, Suite 1405
New York, NY 10019
WebsiteEmail
Joel Gotler
Intellectual Property Group
9200 Sunset Blvd. Suite 820
Los Angeles, CA 90069
Website | Email
Steve Green
Anvil II Management
12175 Network Boulevard, Suite 150
San Antonio, TX 78249
Website | Email
Joyce Hart
Hartline Literary
123 Queenston Drive
Pittsburgh PA 15235
WebsiteEmail
Andrea Heinecke
Alive Communications
7680 Goddard St., Suite 200
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
WebsiteEmail
Kathryn Helmers
Creative Trust, Inc.
Media, Entertainment & Literary Management
5141 Virginia Way, Suite 320
Brentwood, TN 37027
WebsiteEmail
Judy Hilsinger
Heartfelt Books & Films, Inc.
6100 Wilshire Blvd., Suite 1660
Los Angeles, CA 90048
WebsiteEmail
Lee Hough
Alive Communications
7680 Goddard St. Suite 200
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
WebsiteEmail
Don Jacobson
D.C. Jacobson & Associates, LLC
P.O. Box 1965
Sisters, Oregon 97759
WebsiteEmail
Nancy Jernigan
Hidden Value Group
1240 E. Ontario Ave., Ste. #102-148
Corona, CA 92881
WebsiteEmail
Greg Johnson
WordServe Literary Group
10152 S. Knoll Circle
Highlands Ranch, CO 80130
WebsiteEmail
Kevin Kaiser
Creative Trust, Inc.
Media, Entertainment & Literary Management
5141 Virginia Way, Suite 320
Brentwood, TN 37027
WebsiteEmail
Natasha Kern
Natasha Kern Literary Agency
P.O. Box 1069
White Salmon, WA 98672
WebsiteEmail
Joel Kneedler
Alive Communications
7680 Goddard St., Suite 200
Colorado Springs, CO 80920
WebsiteEmail
Deidre Knight
The Knight Agency
570 East Avenue
Madison, GA 30650
WebsiteEmail
Janet Kobobel-Grant
Books & Such Literary Agency
52 Mission Circle, Suite 122, PMB 170
Santa Rosa, CA 95409-5370
WebsiteEmail
Steve Laube
The Steve Laube Agency
5025 N. Central Avenue, #635
Phoenix, AZ 85012–1502
WebsiteEmail
Wendy Lawton
Books & Such Literary Agency
Central Valley Office
Post Office Box 1227
Hilmar, CA 95324
WebsiteEmail
Shannon Litton
Amorim Agency
112 Westwood Place suite 110
Brentwood TN 37027
WebsiteEmail
Chip MacGregor
MacGregor Literary
2373 NW 185th Avenue, #165
Hillsboro, OR 97124
WebsiteEmail
Jan Miller
Dupree, Miller & Associates
100 Highland Park Village, Suite 350
Dallas, TX 75205
Website | Email
Kelly Gottuso Mortimer
Mortimer Literary Agency
52645 Paui Road
Aguanga, CA 92536
WebsiteEmail
Tamela Hancock Murray
Hartline Literary
10383 Godwin Drive
Manassas, VA 20110–2740
WebsiteEmail
Karen E. Neumair
Credo Communications, Inc.
3148 Plainfield Ave NE, Ste 111
Grand Rapids, MI 49525-3285
WebsiteEmail
Bill Reeves
Working Title Agency
2948 Augusta Trace Drive
Spring Hill, TN 37174
Website | Email
David Robie
Big Score Productions
1986 Pickering Trail
Lancaster, PA 17601
WebsiteEmail
Richard “Bucky” Rosenbaum
Rosenbaum & Associates Literary Agency
P.O. Box 277
Brentwood, TN 37024-0277
Website | Email
David Shepherd
The DRS Agency
317 Main Street/Suite 207
Franklin, Tennessee 37064
Website | Email
Meredith Smith
Creative Trust, Inc.
Media, Entertainment & Literary Management
5141 Virginia Way, Suite 320
Brentwood, TN 37027
WebsiteEmail
Karen Solem
P.O. Box 374
24 Park Row
Chatham, NY 12037
Website | Email
Les Stobbe
Literary Agent
300 Doubleday Road
Tryon, NC 28782
Website | Email
Mark Sweeney
Mark Sweeney & Associates
28540 Altessa Way, Suite 201
Bonita Springs, FL 34135
Website | Email
David Van Diest
Van Diest Literary Agency
P.O. Box 1482
Sisters, OR 97759
WebsiteEmail
David Vigliano
Vigliano & Associates
405 Park Avenue, Suite 1700
New York,, NY 10022
WebsiteEmail
Frank Weimann
The Literary Group International
The Stanford Building
51 East 25th Street, Suite 401
New York, NY 10010
WebsiteEmail
Etta Wilson
Books & Such Literary Agency
1114 Oman Drive
Brentwood, TN 37027
WebsiteEmail
Thomas J. Winters
Winters & King, Inc.
2448 East 81st Street, Suite 5900
Tulsa, OK 74137-4259
WebsiteEmail
Andrew Wolgemuth
Wolgemuth & Associates
8600 Crestgate Circle
Orlando, FL 32819
Website | Email
Erik Wolgemuth
Wolgemuth & Associates
8600 Crestgate Circle
Orlando, FL 32819
Website | Email
Robert Wolgemuth
Wolgemuth & Associates
8600 Crestgate Circle
Orlando, FL 32819
Website | Email
Wes Yoder
Ambassador Agency
P.O. Box 50358
Nashville, TN 37205
WebsiteEmail
Marian Young
The Young Agency
156 Fifth Avenue Suite 617
New York, NY 10010
Website | Email
February 8, 2011

Quote Of The Day – Patsy Clairmont Speaker & Author Of Kaleidoscope of Proverbs

 

Patay Bio

“Sarcasm is anger gone underground and come back up in a clown suit.” – Patsy Clairmont, At ReCreate Conference 2011

 

February 8, 2011

Blog For Us – Use Your Voice To Impact This Generation

Hey guys and gals, Awaken Generation is looking for bloggers.  You can blog as much or little as you want – once a day, 5 times a day or once a week—whatever you want.

We are a Christian blog of course and you can blog on any topic you want: (Christian) music, leadership, books – you name it.  Anything you want to- literally.

This is perfect if you already have your own blog – feel free to post your own posts on your own blog first then re-post them here as well as.  This is a great opportunity for you to promote your own blog and projects and help get your name out there.

You could even do one-time guest blogging-whatever works best for you.

If you’re interested drop me a line at:  seinfeldfan2006@yahoo.com

February 6, 2011

Kari Jobe Interview – Revelation Song Healer You Are For Me

AAW: Your solo project from Integrity Music is filled with beautiful songs that not only express your heart, but are being used in churches all over. Share with us your experience working on this project… How long did it take? What are some of your highlights from that process?

KARI: This project was a desire of my heart for a really long time. A lot of the songs on this record came straight from my journals. It’s an expression of me pouring out my heart to God In moments of praise…as well as moments of brokenness. It was wonderful to finally have the CD recorded and ready to go because I knew it would allow me to step into a new season with God in what I was going to write about. It’s been an amazing journey as well since the CD came out. God has been blessing it and people are writing in constantly telling us what the songs are doing to help their churches and their personal lives!

AAW: One of the songs on the album, “Healer,” received a lot of controversy when a scandal was revealed with the songwriter. Could you share with us what made you decide to include that song on the album?

KARI: I wanted to keep it on the album because a lot of close family friends were receiving a lot of ministry from the song. I cried many tears over hearing the whole story…but I knew it was the truth about the word of God. I also want to be a change agent in my generation..to not just write people off when they fall or have sin revealed. To be a generation that shows grace and walks people through restoration in order to step back into the calling God has on their lives. No one is perfect…and we need to all cry out for His grace and strength to stand against the enemy and be strong. Some times those around us need our help. I felt that leaving this song on the album was a statement of grace…as well as not letting the enemy win since the song was already blessing so many. I’m so glad I left it on there!

AAW: Which song on the album was the most fun to write and/or record and why?

KARI: “Joyfully” was a lot of fun to write! It brought a smile to my face as we wrote this one! Ed Cash got the first part of the melody idea while helping his wife fold laundry…and then Ed, Mia Fieldes, and myself all sat down to fully craft the song. It was fun.

AAW: Could you share some helpful tips for co-writing? What have you found works well and does not work well?

KARI: You have to go in prepared with some ideas or at least some themes to work on. Give options of stuff you could write on so that the person or people you’re working with can see what they feel that they can connect to and run with. It’s also important to hear God on what songs you can co-write on and which one’s maybe He wants you and Him to finish. He’ll tell you.

AAW: If you could say one thing to all the young girls who are aspiring singers/songwriters, what would it be?

KARI: Journal, journal, journal. A lot of my songs come out of the time I spend with God. It’s also important to be a good steward of going back and crafting and really working on your songs. Most of them do not come in 2 minutes…the ones that really impact people’s lives are the ones that take a journey and process to write…be faithful to spend time with God, journal and see what happens!!

AAW: What can we expect from you in 2010-2011? What’s coming up?

KARI: A new album. New songs. New stuff!! : ) I’m writing and planning some new things now. Really excited about the direction God is taking me! I will give details and timelines through twitter and my website as I know the timing! : )

AAW: A question we ask at the end of every interview…share with us your most embarrassing moment while leading worship.

KARI: Oh goodness. Just one? Ha. I think one of them would be that as a service was starting, I greeted all the people and had them stand to their feet…then I said, “are you ready to worship the lamb of lambs?”…haha! It should be King of kings, or Lord of lords…not lamb of lambs. Hahahaha!

 

February 6, 2011

David Crowder Brand Talks About Latest Album Church Music In Interview – How He Loves Us Shine Like A Lion

David Crowder Band concert 

With David Crowder Band’s last album Remedy fans got an unusual glimpse into the making of the record via the band’s webcam, which recorded almost every move from the studio to the kitchen. It was a move that, in spite of some hesitation, the guys gave another go.

“We don’t learn from our mistakes,” David Crowder says with a laugh. “We had the cameras running. We also had live chats so that we could interact with people as they saw what was happening, which was quite fun.”

What the fans got an eye-full of was the makings of Church Music, their latest record. A band known for breaking the mold, DCB wanted to both embrace the familiar and stretch the imagination all in one musical experience.

“The phrase ‘church music’ came from a guy from Spin Magazine. I was having such a difficult time explaining to him what we are. To use the term ‘worship band’ — if you don’t have any context for what modern, progressive worship sounds like — does no good whatsoever. It was confusing to him.”

So David broke it down and explained that what the band really makes is “church music.” Then it clicked.

He says, ” As a country, we have a history of what congregational singing in the church is. [The music we made] gave him something to hold on to, but it also pushed on his limitations or expectations that he associated with the music of the church. The music he was excited about, he couldn’t believe it was coming from a Christian.”

The band has never been about blending in, and when other bands are trying to fit inside the Brit-rock model (“Everyone wants to sound like U2,” David says), DCB is finding ways to expand the definition of pop music.

“I love pop music. It’s what the majority of us are pulled to. Anytime you look at people who have written hymns, they always talk in terms of finding the language of the common people. The things that pop music does well seem to mirror a lot of what the hymns of the church or at least in the approach. So, we’ll take a straight forward pop song, then do some things that are not expected. So that there’s still some familiarity but there is still some criticism.”

The band saw a touch of controversy with their first single, “How He Loves”. It’s a popular worship song, written by John Mark McMillan, that became an Internet sensation when Kim Walker-Smith of Jesus Culture recorded the song live. In that version, the second verse goes:

So Heaven meets earth like a sloppy wet kiss

However, DCB’s version says:

So Heaven meets earth like an unforeseen kiss

I had to ask, why the change?

“When I heard it, I was on a flight from Dallas to Denver, weeping like a little child. By the time we land, I grabbed the guys and said, ‘You have to listen to this. The people who are attached to our music need to be affected like I was.’”

As the band researched the song, they found that churches had been put off by the term “sloppy wet kiss”. David says that some found nothing appealing about it. Others thought that the word “sloppy” should never be associated with a God who is so precise and engaged in the lives of His people. As a band, they had a decision to make.

“I was disappointed in this,” he confesses. “It’s a shame that many church settings are missing out on this because of those words. It means that the metaphor didn’t work for some people. Those who love the song already have it and have experienced it. So it was a no-brainer. I’m very careful with what we put in front of people that gives [them] an understanding of who God is what He does, how He interacts with earth, and this is one place that I would not assign sloppiness.”

He adds, “We wanted to be responsible and allow more people to experience it. If we take some flak in the process, we’re used to it (laughs). It’s been fun, and it’s caused a lot of great conversation.”

February 6, 2011

Hillsong UNITED Releases 11th Album AFTERMATH

After a long wait of over two years, Hillsong UNITED has released its eleventh full-length and second studio album, entitled Aftermath. After their last release, Hillsong UNITED took some time for a season of rest in their local church. The band members took the time to challenge themselves musically and lyrically. Their efforts have paid off, because Aftermath offers a very fresh, creative collection of 12 new songs that explore the life-changes that occur in the “aftermath” of an encounter with Christ. The only song I already knew on this album was “Awakening”, from the recent Passion album, but that made sense when I realized the song was co-written by Chris Tomlin and Hillsong writer Reuben Morgan.

“I think we just wanted to create an album that didn’t follow all the rules and that we ourselves would want to worship to, whether we’re in the car driving home, on the train on the way to work or wherever we happen to be. We didn’t want to rely on what feels familiar,” says Hillsong UNITED’s Joel Houston.

“Normally ‘aftermath’ has a negative, even traumatic, connotation,” Houston says. “At the same time, when I look at the Crucifixion as an event, it paints an extraordinarily negative and horrific picture. But the aftermath of the Cross is hope for all mankind. It’s grace, freedom, peace, life and everything that is good about God. I absolutely love that picture.”

This album definitely has a unique sound for Hillsong UNITED, especially since it’s only the second studio album by the group. As much as I enjoy listening to a live worship album, there is something about a studio album like this that is really appealing. On the whole, I would say it is a more contemplative, reflective album compared to other UNITED albums. Many of the songs are very artistic, ranging in style from rock, to orchestral ballad, to all electronic music.

Some of the songs that stood out to me:

Track 1 – Take Heart (Joel Houston) This is not what I expected for the opening track of the album, and I think that’s what caught my attention. With its pounding, driving tom rhythms, this song sets the tone for the rest of the album – “Hold on to Hope, and take courage again”. Hope in the aftermath is a recurring theme on this album.

Track 3 – Like An Avalanche (Joel Houston) This is a beautiful song that speaks of the paradox of Jesus, the King, becoming a servant for us, and of His humbling, amazing grace.“And I find myself here on my knees again, caught up in grace like an avalanche”. Again, the driving, syncopated rhythms, especially on the bridge, and the outstanding vocal duet make this a standout track!

Track 4 – Rhythms of Grace (Chris Davenport, Dean Ussher) I really enjoyed the progression of this song from a nice, lilting 6/8 song to a driving, syncopated, rhythmic, multi-layered offering of exuberant worship!

Track 7 – Bones (Jill McCloghry, Joel Houston) When this song started, I thought I was back in the ‘80s with the heavy synth pads, which continued to be the driving sound of the whole song. But, as the song went on, the sounds seemed to fit perfectly with the lyrics “You can take my dry bones, breathe life into this skin”. It actually became a fresh sounding, driving anthem of crying out for the Holy Spirit to revive us again!

Bonus Track – Search My Heart (Radio version) ( Joel Houston, Matt Crocker) This radio version of “Search My Heart” (Track 11), is one that will surely catch on in many churches! It is a cry of commitment and dedication “With all my heart, and all my soul, with all I am, Lord I will follow You”. An inspiring anthem that is easy to sing, and one that I can’t wait to use!

February 6, 2011

Bestselling Christian Artist & Worship Leader Chris Tomlin Talks About Getting Married & Wedding His Wife Lauren & New Album And If Our God Is For Us – Our God I Will Follow You I Will Rise

 

 

Chris Tomlin - I Will Follow [Single] (2010)

 

 

 

So you’ve had a busy week! Wanna share a highlight with us?

Chris: Well there’s a little something called getting married. It’s a little side project I’ve been working on (haha). No, seriously, it trumps everything. It’s awesome. That’s been a long time coming for me.

Big wedding? Small wedding? And be honest—were you nervous?

Chris: It was a small wedding—just our families and some close friends. I was a little nervous, mainly thinking ‘I want to get this right.’ But it’s been awesome so far. She’s amazing.

Your publicist was joking about how timely it was to get married right at the release of the new album. But looking back on your year, it doesn’t seem like there was much down time anywhere! Not only is your new project out… you also just received a huge honor for your previous one [Hello Love]. What has it been like to achieve something like that.

Chris: Yes… Hello Love going gold is quite humbling and I’m thankful and continually amazed by that. Particularly in these days and times… how music is sold. That’s very rare. So I’m like, ‘Wow! What in the world?’

Given the success of that project, how do you feel about the new direction the new album goes sonically?

Chris: We’ve definitely moved forward in the way that it sounds and people are responding. They’re saying, ‘Man this is different and it’s exciting.’ Or ‘Man this is different and I don’t like it.’ But at least they’re saying it’s different and I like that. It’s been ten years since I released my first record. After ten years, it’s easy to set cruise control and make songs that people will like or not because they liked [or didn’t like] my past music, but I’m not looking at that. I’m not just banking on making songs that are going to find a way to be a voice for the people in the church. And they’re just as exciting and powerful as those in the past. I’m really thankful for those in the past and what kind of doors it’s opened up for me and Passion and our church. Music is the universal language of the world. It’s really cool to be writing songs to give people the words to say what their hearts are feeling.

I love the new takes on production. And I know [producer] Ed Cash (Bebo Norman, Matt Wetz, and others) brought a lot to the table in terms of different musical structures. But the message is still pretty much the same… songs speaking to the church. I’m guessing that’s very intentional.

Chris: There are so many important songs for the church. That hasn’t changed at all. I haven’t gone into a new world of music or different genre. I’m still doing the same thing, which I’m excited about. I don’t want to leave people behind. This is what God’s given us. I want to do something that’s exciting and great to listen to, but also what hits the heart of worship and worshipping.

You’ve always been clear that, to you, worship is absolutely a lifestyle and not just a genre or a set up on a stage somewhere. Now that you’re married and have a new role as leader of your household, how do you plan on bringing that sense of worship into your home?

Chris: I ran into this worship leader in Brazil this year and we were talking about my upcoming wedding. I remember him looking at me and saying (through a translator), ‘If you can’t lead your own bride, you definitely can’t lead the bride of Christ.’ That’s what it’s about. Hopefully I can be the same to her as I would be on the stage.

The album is called, And If Our God is For Us. That entire phrase: ‘And if our God is for us, then who could ever stop us?’ is so encouraging and delivered with such conviction. But do you ever get in a place where it’s hard to believe that? In other words, has life… the real world… ever brought you to a point that shakes your certainty of God’s sovereignty? Or, have you met other people in that same place? What do you say to yourself or them?

Chris: The beautiful thing is these songs are for the real world… and that’s what it’s all about. That’s scripture. God is for us whenever life comes at you. We do worship a God that’s greater than all things that could ever come against it. It’s not a matter of ‘our God can beat up your God.’ There’s none like Him. That’s what we put our trust and our hope in.

 

February 6, 2011

Christian Artists Francesca Battistelli and Meredith Andrews Welcome New Babies!

Rising stars Francesca Battistelli and Meredith Andrews  both welcomed their first children this month.

Francesca Battistelli and BabyFrancessca Battistelli and son Matthew Elijah Goodwin

Francesca and husband Matt Goodwin, who plays with Newsong and most recently has been playing drums for his wife, welcomed Matthew Elijah Goodwin this past Wednesday, September 22. Matthew, Jr. weighed in at a little over 8 lbs. The happy couple recently celebrated their 1-year wedding anniversary and moved to Atlanta. Battistelli performed right up until her due date. Her second studio album is slated to release in early 2011.

Meredith Andrews and BabyMeredith Andrews and son Maverick Elijah Sooter

Fellow label artist Meredith Andrews gave birth to her first child earlier this month. Meredith and her husband Jacob Sooter, who plays guitar for Jeremy Camp, welcomed Maverick Elijah Sooter to the world the morning of September 1. The Sooters’ son weighed just over 8 lbs as well. The couple currently resides in Chicago where Meredith continues to lead worship at Harvest Bible Church on a regular basis. When she’s not leading worship, she’s out on the road promoting her “other” baby, her sophomore release, As Long As It Takes(Word).

For more info on these new moms, visitwww.francescamusic.com andwww.meredithandrews.com.

 

February 6, 2011

Third Day Band’s Mac Powell Talks About New Album Move In Interview The Recording Process & Fan Response – Revelation Cry Out To Jesus Born Again Children Of God

 

third day MOVE

He’s simply walking through the parking lot of the Murray Arts Center, an unassuming guy in black jeans and shades.

But still, there is that aura, something in his gait, maybe the longish hair, that radiates Somebody Famous.

As he walks, a middle-aged man approaches.

“You’re Mac, right?”

“I am, yes. And what’s your name?”

And so goes a cordial minute-long conversation between Mac Powell, lead singer of Third Day, and a random fan.

It happens frequently around metro Atlanta that the members of one of Christian music’s most popular and successful bands get recognized doing mundane tasks.

But that’s to be expected when you’re year-old inductees into the Georgia Music Hall of Fame and have won four Grammy Awards and sold more than 7 million albums.

On Oct. 19, Third Day releases its 11th album, “Move,” which the band recorded at its new Kennesaw studio, nicknamed The Quarry partially because of the actual quarry nearby, but also because the band thought, this is where the rock comes from.

Last week, positioned in a recording studio at the arts center, the quartet — Powell, drummer David Carr, bassist Tai Anderson and guitarist Mark Lee — talked excitedly for an hour about the freedom of working in their own studio, the gospel-rock elements on “Move” and their upcoming tour.

“Move” is Third Day’s first release since guitarist Brad Avery, a member for 13 years, departed, an occurrence that naturally affected the band’s dynamic.

“From a musical standpoint, it’s been interesting because the four of us started the band and he came in a year and a half after that. So in a way, this album is more of a return to our musical roots — a Southern, American-rock record,” said Anderson.

“When Brad left, it was a big crossroads for us musically,” added Lee. “We talked about, do we need to have somebody else in there because they’re big shoes to fill. But the decision was, let’s don’t. So we did a few shows to see how it sounded and from the first show — yes, it was a little rocky — everybody felt like they needed to step up more. So it helped to improve us as a band, how we interact musically.”

Along with recording at a central location where they could work the closest they ever have to a traditional 9-5 schedule and have breakfast and dinner with their families every day (all of them have kids), the guys believe that their recognition by the Hall of Fame served as inspiration.

“I don’t know how much (the induction) means to our fans outside of Georgia, but we’re so proud to be from here. We tell people every night onstage, whether we’re in Slovakia or Australia or Birmingham, Ala., where we’re from,” said Powell. “That’s something that comes through in our music.”

Anderson agreed, but noted that in the past, the band, which has an international fan base, might have reined in any sounds that were too Southern rock.

This time, though, “It was like, let’s let our Georgia flag fly a little bit.”

The album features haunting background vocals from the Blind Boys of Alabama on “Lift Up Your Face” and a sumptuous choir to complement Powell’s muscular vocals on “Follow Me There.”

The songs fit perfectly under the banner of gospel rock, a category that is a slight departure from Third Day’s usual pop-rock leanings.

“Gospel is an easier word for people to digest than Christian sometimes,” said Carr. “I think a lot of people think they know what we do and then we have to validate it a little bit.”

The band won’t necessarily have to worry about validating itself to the crowds attending the “Make a Difference Tour,” a monthlong outing with Michael W. Smith, TobyMac, Jason Gray and author/preacher Max Lucado that starts this week in Ohio.

The idea behind the tour is to challenge churchgoers to be better Christians and, said Anderson, change the world for the better.

Since Third Day has existed for almost 20 years, that translates into a robust and dedicated fan base.

The band works diligently to return that loyalty with frequently updated Facebook and Twitter feeds, special online listening parties and chats and, coming soon towww.thirdday.com, a catalog of all of their past live shows available for streaming.

But, what about expanding that fan base, of crossing into the mainstream to court radio play and late-night talk show appearances?

It’s a topic the band has discussed, argued and prayed about for years.

And the answer is now firm.

“We’re a band that yes, we make great music, but we also communicate a faith message and that’s why our fans love us,” said Anderson. “I think it’s never a successful formula with any genre of music to abandon your core to try to have greater success. The real successes aren’t the crossovers, but the spillovers.”

February 6, 2011

Lecrae’s Rehab The Overdose Debuts At Number 1

 

 

(Atlanta) – In the wake of the success of his two previous CD’s (Rebel and Rehab), Christian rapper LeCrae has once again landed on familiar territory with his latest CD, Rehab: The Overdose, which debuted at #1 on both the Billboard’s Christian and Gospel charts; number 5 on the Rap Chart and # 15 on Top 200. With a robust 22,000 units, Rehab: The Overdose should put to rest any doubt as to the ascendency of the Christian Rap genre. “It’s an honor and a blessing that my fans are supporting me with this project,” LeCrae says. “I appreciate their support and recognition of the messages that I am dedicated to delivering to the masses.”

Nominated for a Grammy in the category of Best Rock or Rap Gospel Album for Rehab, LeCrae will be the featured opening act on selected dates with the upcoming Rock & Roll Worship Roadshow alongside groups like MercyMe, Jars of Clay and Thousand Foot Krutch. A dedicated humanitarian, LeCrae also plans to spend time with his outreach efforts of working with disenfranchised youth.

For more information, please visit LeCrae’s website at http://www.reachrecords.com

LeCrae’s Tour Dates With the Rock and Roll Worship Roadshow
February 24 – Corpus Christi, TX American Bank Center
February 25 – El Paso, TX Don Haskins Center
February 26 – Lubbock, TX City Bank Coliseum
February 27 Colorado Springs, CO World Arena
March 3 Boise, ID – Taco Bell Arena
March 4 Missoula, MT – Adams Center
March 5 – Seattle, WA Key Center
March 6 – Portland, OR Memorial Coliseum
March 10 – Ontario, CA Citizens Bank Arena
March 11 – Phoenix, AZ US Airways Arena
March 12 – Sacramento, CA Arco Arena
March 13 – Fresno, CA – Savemart Center

 

February 6, 2011

Third Day Move Album Review

 

 

 

It’s been two years already since Third Day released their first studio record as a foursome (after original guitarist Brad Avery left to pursue other interests). Revelation was a return to a more southern rock approach after their successful more contemporary release, Wherever You Are. Now, with a brand new project, titled Move, Third Day channels even more of their southern roots, harkening back to their earlier days, especially the acoustic-driven Time, and marries it with the rock flair of Revelation. The end result? A healthy helping of southern hospitality that grooves and rocks hard at times and offers more of the worshipful songs fans have come to expect from the band.

 

 

Third Day has been on a roll. Revelation was a grand step in the right direction after Wherever You Are, and Move is the next step in the band’s current musical evolution. Right out of the gate, Move is off to an intense start with “Lift Up Your Face,” an edgy southern rock number that was cowritten with the Rinehart brothers from NEEDTOBREATHE and features smart vocal support from The Blind Boys of Alabama. It’s soulful and it’s destined for getting stuck in the listener’s head. From there, “Make Your Move” has that edgy, gutsy rock attitude that “You Make Me Mad” had on Conspiracy No. 5. It’s got a delicious baseline and an undeniable Third Day sound. But after these two grand openers, any fan of the band’s lighter work will be relieved to hear “Children Of God” – a softer, more worshipful approach that could have fit on either of the Offerings projects as it features the New Hope Academy Children’s Choir for support. The track works well, but being sandwiched between “Make Your Move” and the anthemic “Surrender” is an odd choice. It throws off the album’s momentum a bit, especially when the track closes with just the Children’s Choir echoing the chorus.

 

 

“Surrender” leads off the remainder of Move with a return to the edgier sound of the album’s beginning, but utilizes Mark Lee’s skillful guitar talents and string accompaniment to give it a bit of a backporch twang before it goes for a rather epic ending. It’s quite easily another highlight on the record. But from here, Move begins to lose steam just a bit. Each track that follows can stand on its own, but the album gets off to such a strong start that it might be asking too much for them to keep it going throughout the entire tracklisting. Even on Revelation, they made the wise decision to push the infectious “Otherside” to the middle of the record to keep the album from being too top-heavy. At the same time, it’s difficult to disregard the rest of the record as filler since each track has highlight moments.

 

 

Thanks to Paul Moak’s lively production, Move‘s softer moments never feel sanded down or over-produced to satisfy most daytime radio listeners (like how much of Wherever You Are sounded). “Trust In Jesus” is an encouraging anthem for the Christian life while “Follow Me There” has pounding drums and a piano lead for a song that sounds like it could have easily fit on Time. “Gone” is a feisty acoustic rocker featuring background vocals from NEEDTOBREATHE front man Bear Rinehart and also has that Time feel. “What Have You Got To Lose” is a ballad encouraging listeners to lay their burdens down, with the unashamedly southern twang of “I’ll Be Your Miracle” following. “Everywhere You Go” picks things up a bit once again with an infectious rhythm and chorus (“Everywhere You go, will you take me with You? / Everywhere You lead, I want to be by Your side. Everyone You love, I want to love just like You love me. Everywhere You go, I want to go there“). “Sound of Your Voice” is the album’s latest acoustic duet, this time featuring labelmate Kerrie Roberts. It isn’t quite as memorable as Revelation‘s “Born Again,” which featured Flyleaf’s Lacey Mosely, but it’s a wonderful worship original. To close the record, Third Day offers another encouraging anthem, “Don’t Give Up Hope,” to leave the listener with a reminder, once more, that there’s light at the end of the tunnel. It’s an effective way to close a strong album.

 

 

While some of the real standout songs seem to cause a few of the album’s later tracks to blend together and pale in comparison, repeat listens breathe more life into those songs. In the end, Move showcases some of the best Third Day has to offer. Whether it’s better than Revelation or some of their other previous installments (like Wire or Conspiracy No. 5) is something to leave up to the listener to decide, but it does feel safe enough to say that Third Day’s Move is a dozen tracks of southern rock goodness.

 

February 6, 2011

Lecrae REHAB: The Overdose Review

 

 

 

 

Lecrae returns with fifth solo album: Rehab: The Overdose. The grammy-nominated Rehab sold over 25,000 in its first week while charting on the Christian, Gospel and Billboard Top 200 charts. The follow up sold just over 21,000 in the first week. The Overdose conveys the message of recovery and redemption.

Overdose starts out hard with the Street Symphony produced response record to Rick Ross’ BMF. Responding to a song by rhyming with a similar flow may not have been the best choice but the message was conveyed. Lecrae says: “you think your ballers you just some foul shooters.” More of Christ is essential in our daily lives. Lecrae brings the fire and passion over the Kadence produced cut. This track sounds like Go Hard 2.0. Perfect track leading into the Battle Song. With the Kanye style flow Lecrae states, “They can kill us now go get the yellow tape/A put me 6 feet in the group and watch a great escape. I promise aint a sick shooter that can keep me down/My God is so official that’s a technical foul.” Suzy Rock on the hook adds flavor however her verse was too light for this Tony Stone produced song. D-Flow provides the soundtrack to Anger Management. I love the concept and content with Lecrae and Thisl sharing about dealing with anger. Lecrae adds, “People pop off at the mouth I tried to keep it cool/All I want to do is fix’em trouble shoot’em.” At the end of the song Lecrae offers a mini sermon about the song which I felt could have been left off because the lyrics effectively articulated the message. Blow Your High is a cool song about the danger of engaging in sinful acts to achieve a high. The hook is catchy and adds depth to the song. Canon’s twista-like verse was good but I would like to have hear with more punchline style flows instead of fast moving rhymes. Strung Out is a Cheesebeats produced banger. Personifying sin as a lady fits perfect with the hook saying, “how could I love when I you ever did was wrong/how could I trust you you lied to me all along.” Lecrae articulates what sin does but faith in Christ can set you free. Selfish ambition can cause a person to Chase That instead of Christ. The PK produce song allows the listener to see ambition from a biblical lens. When Christ guides your vision then then you can experience The Good Life. Dj Official offers his production expertise on the J. Paul assisted song. Lecrae tastefully uses autotune on Like That as he encourages ladies to look at Ephesians 5 as their base for how a man should treat his wife. Overdose ends with Lecrae and Swoop Going In.

Overdose is the latest installment in the Rehab series. Lecrae experiments with a few new topics while remaining content in familiar territory. High quality production with razer sharp lyrics cuts through your ears. Several songs didn’t have commercial appeal sonically and lyrically. The big question to fans is whether Rehab is more enjoyable than Overdose. My view is Rehab overall is a better project than Overdose. More bangers doesn’t mean better album. Rehab tackled more issues and concepts with intriguing guest appearances. Overdose at times didn’t feel like a new album. With 11 the great songs overshadow good songs. Lecrae is consistently producing great albums. New album 2012?

Purchase on iTunesAmazonMP3, or discountmusic.us

Release Date: January 11, 2011

Label: Reach Records

Tracklisting
1. Overdose
2. More
3. Battle Song ft. Suzy Rock
4. Anger Management ft. Thi’sl
5. Blow Your High ft. Canon
6. Strung Out
7. Chase That Intro
8. Chase That (Ambition)
9. The Good Life ft. J. Paul
10. Like That
11. Going In ft. Swoope


 

 

 

February 6, 2011

Phil Wickham In The Studio Finishing Up New Album! – Heaven And Earth, Canons, True Love Died, Safe

 

 

I’m a huge Phil Wickham fan so I’m super excited to hear that Phil’s putting the finishing touches to his new album to be released in the near future.

 

He talked about this latest journey on Twitter saying:

 

“I’m so thankful for the team of people involved in the recording of the new record. It’s been an awesome experience!”

 

Congrats Phil! Can’t wait to hear the new songs.

February 6, 2011

MARGARET FEINBERG ON HOW SHE KEEPS HER RELATIONSHIP WITH GOD FRESH: ‘I SLEEP IN’ – The Sacred Echo, The Organic God, Scouting The Divine

 

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Margaret Feinberg shared in an interview recently how she keeps the passion in her relationship with Jesus fresh.

“This may sound so unspiritual,” Feinberg answered, “but I try to make sure I’m getting enough sleep. I carve out mornings when I allow my body to drink in as much sleep as it needs.”

 

Well to that I say,’Somebody turn off my alarm clock and pass me my slumber mask.’  I’m trying to keep my passion fresh.

 

On a serious note, Feinberg ended by saying,

“In addition, I love to read what I call Bible nerd books. I read commentaries, studies on ancient Israel and obscure books that really feed my spirit and soul. And Leif and I read a Walter Bruegermann prayer aloud together.”

 

I can already here someone say, “Who’s Walter Bruegermann?”  To that I say: Look it up.

 

 

 

February 6, 2011

Rob Bell Says He ‘Hates Blogging’ – Mars Hill Church Cedar Rapids, MI Author SexGod, Velvet Elvis & Drops Like Stars & Nooma

Rob Bell hates blogging!

In the latest issue of Relevant Magazine, during the question and answer interview with Rob Bell (see previous entries to verify I’m all for Rob Bell) he says:

“You have to be totally disconnected from the pain of the world to think that blogging is somehow a redemptive use of your time. I guess I have some strong thoughts on that.”

Ok, to be fair. the question was about how he deals with critics. It was a fairly long answer that dealt with how that “…the world is an emergency, it’s on fire. It’s drowning, it’s an absolute crisis..” and that followers of Jesus can think of nothing better to do than pick apart the work of other followers who are trying to do something to help the world. So I think he is referring to the blogs dedicated to criticizing him and others.

He also has some interesting things to say about what church is. And that anytime a church is large it is reason to be questioned. By large he means 20-30 people.

Hoping 2008 is a year of new starts for you and me. I know I could use some in a number of areas.

++++Update++++

I thought this was a provocative quote.  And I thought it worth considering how much time is spent blogging.  But I do think there are times that it can be very much a good use of time.  I also thought it worth considering if you spend your time criticizing or arguing about others beliefs that claim to follow Jesus.  But apparently some outside arguments that are part of what Rob Bell is speaking of came over here to continue their arguing.  So anybody got any comments about blogging or church size?

 

February 6, 2011

An Interview With Rob Bell Mars Hill Church Cedar Rapids, MI Author SexGod, Velvet Elvis & Drops Like Stars & Nooma

 

 

 

Rob Bell is the Pastor of Mars Hill Bible Church, one of the largest and fastest growing churches in America. However, this is no run-of-the-mill mega church. For starters, it took us forever to find the place. We had the physical address but drove by it three times before realizing that it was in an old mall. It is curious that a church without even a small sign could grow to over eight thousand people. The ministry of Mars Hill is what draws the crowd, and they definitely do not judge their effectiveness by the size of their steeple, or sign for that matter.

Vic Cuccia: I heard somewhere that you play guitar and you were once in a punk band, is that true?

Rob Bell: I am a total hack musician. In college I was in a band. I cut my teeth on Primus, Chili Peppers, Pixies, Violent Femmes, Midnight Oil…that was on the stereo all the time. I had a band with my best friends called Ton Bundle. We were underage so we would get gigs at clubs in Chicago and then literally wait in the alley until it was time to go on so that we wouldn’t get carded or anything. Then we would run on, do the fastest sound check ever and then play.

I was the lead singer…I did a whole James Brown thing, I would like start to faint and fall over and they would bring a cape out…it was nuts. One of the guitar players was like “yeah dude I was the head trombone player” so we would do a little Celebration by Cool and the Gang, right after we did a song by the Pixies, it was completely bizarre, and great fun.

Stylistically, how would you categorize what you did?

That band was in ’89 to ’91 when alternative meant something. Because you had Bon Jovi and then all of the sudden this guy named Kurt Cobain came along and everything changed. Prior to that you had like Mariah Carey or Bon Jovi but then you had this thing that was kind of emerging with Smashing Pumpkins and bands like that. Now that sound is just the mainstream but back then it was something new and different…I have great memories of those days.

Did you guys ever tour?

No, we didn’t. Our senior year of college the band fell apart and broke all of our hearts. The breakup of the band was actually me saying, “I got to go to Seminary and be a Pastor.”

Now you are a Pastor of one of the largest churches in America. Are there any similarities that you can draw on from be the leading singer in a band to being a Pastor?

Well, when you’re in a band, if you aren’t connecting with people they leave, they just walk out. No one has any allegiance to a band. What do people say,? “I’m going to go check out a band,” which means “I am to go stand in the back and if they aren’t very good I’m going to leave.” So when I got into Seminary and I did my first sermons I asked the question “why would we spend time doing something that isn’t great?” Nowhere else in your life do you give your time things that aren’t great. You don’t go sit through movies that you don’t like. You don’t pay for things that aren’t of a certain caliber that compel you in a certain way. So when I got into teaching my assumption was that the Jesus revolution ought to be the best thing going or do something else.

To this day I meet people who go to church because their supposed to; I absolutely cannot begin to comprehend that. You don’t do this in any other area of your life. You know you meet people who say they are just going through the motions, well why? You don’t do that, you take that CD out and put another CD in, I don’t get it. So back to the question, I guess being in a band has shaped me in some profound ways.

So now you are the Pastor of Mars Hill Church. Why did you choose that name?

Mars Hill comes from the book of Acts chapter 17. There was this hill in the city of Athens where the philosophers, thinkers and poets would exchange all the latest ideas. Paul, one of these first Christians goes in and enters into this discussion and he is really humble and smart and quotes their own writers and poets and thinkers and philosophers. He actually does this really brilliant sermon using their categories of thought.

My assumption is always that a Christian is not hanging out in some sort of anemic little subculture with C-grade art and music. They are in the middle of everything exchanging ideas and they are humble and smart about it. They aren’t just out offending people telling them that they are wrong but they actually love people enough to engage them where they are at. So Mars Hill was built on this assumption that a church should be at the center of culture engaging with whatever the latest ideas are.

From being here on Sunday I would guess there is somewhere between 8,000 to 10,000 people who are a part of Mars Hill. What is it that makes Mars Hill different than your typical mega church?

Any pastor that would answer that, I would be very skeptical. I am as skeptical of the mega church as anybody. In fact I am more skeptical, because I have seen things that people who would say they are cynical of the mega church haven’t seen. So I am just as skeptical as anybody. When you get big and God together, there is trouble there. So you have to be very, very careful. We’ve just simply asked, “all these people have gathered so what are we going to do?” We are going to try to draw attention to all of the causes and people who have no voice and no one is listening to. So we are going to try to help single moms, people in poverty, people who have lost their job, people who nobody will listen to.

We believe that anytime a crowd gathers if you don’t immediately start asking “how can we use this crowd and this gathering to promote the kind of thing that God cares about?” If you don’t ask that question, it becomes about yourself. Then yeah, something really destructive is going on. I think when people say they don’t like mega churches, I think people are scared because they know that when things get big their natural arc is to be all about themselves, so you’re building bigger buildings etc. Like yesterday, I was talking about Marilyn Manson who said, “it’s all relative to the size of your steeple.” It just becomes this giant ego show. We just try to strip it all away. What is this beautiful thing that we are all compelled by? Then let’s pursue that.

We are sitting here in what was an old mall, built in the 70’s or 80’s. Most churches this size would be looking for property to build a large nice facility to house all these people. Any intentions to do anything like that?

(Bell laughs) We are trying to preach sermons to free up some seats. I don’t know, in one of the most dangerous and under resourced neighborhoods in our city there is a warehouse. I would love to move in there. I think there is somewhere we could go but we would want it to be shabbier than this.

So no intentions of the giant steeple anytime soon…

Oh I don’t know how you could ever do that and still have your soul. I guess some people do, God bless them, and that is on the record, but I don’t know how.

I am actually in a church where that is the focus. We are in a 13 million dollar facility where we still owe 8 million and we are about to cast a vision for another 4 million dollar addition. Honestly, it is the kind of thing that breaks my heart and it is one of the reasons I am at this conference.

(Bells leans down close to the recorder) 4 million dollars! Wow you could feed a lot of hungry people for that!

Tell me about the “Everything is Spiritual Tour.” What was it and how did you come up with it?

Most of my days I wake up and I work on things that I am creating. So sometimes it will be like, that’s a sermon series, ok that’s a book, and we make these short films called Noomas, ok that’s a film. I was working on this thing called Everything is Spiritual for like 3 years and it was like a sermon on steroids but it didn’t fit in any of the mediums that I usually work in. So I thought, “I think this is like a club or a theatre, I just walk out and do a two hour talk.” So I told a friend of mine who is in a band. I told him I have this idea to do a club tour. Also, we had a lot people asking, when are you coming to Seattle? Dayton? Florida? So I thought “I’ll just go to all these cities, where apparently I have friends. So I said to my wife “what if we lived on a bus for a month and did a different city every night and took the family and see what happens?”

So my friend said I’ll hook you up with a guy who can book all the venues. I did it in July with my family and it was just awesome. You wake up every morning in a new city and each night I would do the talk. We filmed it so it will be out as a film in a little while. We gave all the money to WaterAid which is a British organization that builds sustainable water systems for people who have no drinking water. That’s wrong and we think that pisses Jesus off, that people don’t have water, so we are trying to do something about that. I just loved it, we are going to do it again, it was great.

I actually caught the Jacksonville stop.

(Bell laughs) Jacksonville was the one where the train came by and I had to stop for about a minute it was crazy.

It was also the one with no AC! Can you get a venue next time in Florida with AC? I can handle the smell of beer and vomit, but hot beer and vomit…

(Bell, laughing more) Hot beer and vomit that is something special right there…a couple of the clubs were just full on punk clubs with the low ceilings and smell like the end of the world and I just couldn’t have been happier. Some of those clubs I would walk into and be like, I would rather be nowhere else than here tonight. It’s things like that, that get you back to why you do what you do. I mean I can hang out here in Grand Rapids in this huge church and that is wonderful but a couple hundred people in Jacksonville…that’s awesome, I just loved it.

So the band never toured but now you have. Your ministry has created some controversy particularly among some more traditional churches and leaders, why do you think that is?

I think that what a lot of people call religion is actually fear. I think they say it is historic Christianity but I think it is a lot of terror and fear and shame and all sorts of other darkness, so they are not free. They are bound and terrified and working very hard to preserve and prop up whole systems and ways of thinking, living and believing things that are actually totally destructive. So I assume that sometimes those are the real issues. When people criticize you it says much more about them. For that matter when people praise you it says more about them. I don’t read reviews, I don’t read blogs, I don’t Google my name…it just has no place in my life, I don’t know what good that would do.

As a pastor what would you say to someone who has become disillusioned with organized church or what they have seen of Christianity?

I would wager that the things that most turn them off are the things that most turn Jesus off. There is not one instance in Jesus’ teachings where he gets angry with somebody who isn’t a follower of his or someone who doesn’t love God. His anger is always for religious people who claim to speak for God but live in another way. So if you find hypocrisy absolutely revolting so did Jesus. If you find people who think they are the moral police of culture repulsive, so did Jesus. If you find people who are ready to throw stones at the next sinner very hard to take, so did Jesus. And if you think that people who use Jesus to accumulate political power, to coerce people to live according to their laws, well Jesus had a problem with such things as well. I would say that your anger is shared by Jesus. He’s angered by all the same things.

It is my understanding that a few weeks ago you got very sick and were not able to speak on Sunday so you decided to show an interview with Bono and Bill Hybles, talking about faith and the aids pandemic, instead of doing a regular sermon. How did people respond to that?

We got great feedback, people were just like, “that was so awesome.” What most thrilled me is the number of people who were like, “yeah we have been hearing that, that is what it really means to be a Christian.” That made me really proud of our people. That is how God is and that is where God’s story always goes, to those who are poor and oppressed, it always goes there. He was born in a manger, how much more do we need.

Unfortunately it seems that many Christians and leaders for that matter seem to have missed this major point of the message.

I think it is really important for people to understand that they live in the empire. The empire is all throughout the Scripture whether it is Egypt or Rome. We’re the empire. There are whole systems of our culture that are devoted to protecting us and our empire. That is how it works, King Solomon built lots of military fortresses and lots of energy has to be spent preserving your empire. So in many ways it is like water people are swimming in. Unless you drag them up on the beach and say “can you see”, they don’t see it.

There is a new Hummer dealership in our town. In America they call a Hummer an SUV, in the rest of the world, it is a military vehicle! People in America use military vehicles to get groceries. So many people are so saturated, they are swimming and underwater in the empire and they don’t go, “wait a second what is going on here.” Then some people get the gift of seeing things from the outside and go, “wait God is going to judge us for what we do with all this wealth, ingenuity and entrepreneurial power, we’re going to be judged.”

A lot of the way you write and teach has to do with asking questions. What would you say to the person who says that too many questions regarding theology and the church can result in a lack of confidence or faith?

Jesus’ teaching is always about how you live and how you act in the world. So for us the questions are never the goal. The questions simply are the natural human response to the difficulty of sorting through what it means to be a person of faith. So if I am serious about taking Jesus’ call upon myself, taking his yoke and doing what he said to do and living how he said to live, a kingdom kind of life. If I am really serious about it, there is going to be a conflict here because the world I live in is not oriented around the Kingdom of God. So I am going to have to wrestle through exactly what that means and that is going to raise some questions but that is not the goal, it never has been and it not a very admirable goal. The goal is that the question, like everything else, would serve the greater thing here and that is us being the hands and feet of Jesus. So our goal has always been to find out how to be the people of Jesus here and do it. So yeah if there were all sorts of esoteric mumblings from the top of the mountain in the lotus position, that is not a very noble or worthy cause, but we are trying to figure out how to act here.

So to question certain issues of theology or tradition is to try to determine how to live this out rather than, let’s fight over this.

For instance a lot of Christians have really warped views about people from other religions. They don’t even know how to interact. They can’t even be human with someone who isn’t exactly like them. That’s a humanity issue and God calls us to respect the image of God in all of God’s image bearers. So we need to challenge the theology that wants to label all the world into these nice neat boxes and that wants to condemn these people because we’re so great. We need to challenge something because it gets in the way of the very thing Jesus calls us to be. Love your neighbor. If you can’t even conceive of your neighbor outside of this giant label, if you have never read their sacred texts and you can make these grand statements about their eternal destiny then how are you ever going to love your neighbor? You have no voice with them and Jesus called you to have a voice with them. So I am going to challenge that because I am trying to be obedient to Jesus

You recently preached a sermon called “God wants to save Christians from hell.” I was discussing the message with a guy who after hearing this message was a bit disturbed and somehow came to the conclusion that you didn’t believe in a literal hell. Let me ask you, do you believe in a literal hell that is defined simply as eternal separation from God?

Well, there are people now who are seriously separated from God. So I would assume that God will leave room for people to say “no I don’t want any part of this”. My question would be, does grace win or is the human heart stronger than God’s love or grace. Who wins, does darkness and sin and hardness of heart win or does God’s love and grace win?

I don’t know why as a Christian you would have to make such declarative statements. Like your friend, does he want there to be a literal hell? I am a bit skeptical of somebody who argues that passionately for a literal hell, why would you be on that side? Like if you are going to pick causes, if you’re literally going to say these are the lines in the sand, I’ve got to know that people are going to burn forever, this is one of the things that you drive your stake in the ground on. I don’t understand that.

Especially when so many fail to recognize the hell that many people are experiencing today and do little about it.

Yeah, I would think it would be your duty as a Christian to hope and long and pray for somehow everybody to be reconciled to God. If you are really serious about evangelism, as I’m sure you friend would claim, and you wanted to save people from hell, then wouldn’t your hope be that everybody reconciles with God? Why would you hope for anything else? It would be your duty to long for that. I would actually ask questions about his salvation.

Ok, last question, what is at the top of your IPOD list these days?

Let’s see…Early Police – Zenyatta Mondatta, Regatta de Blanc, Outlandos d’Armor. Beastie Boys Ill Communication has been getting a lot of spins lately, and my six year old is all over the Jay-Z unplugged album. But I am obsessed with British bands so everything from Doves, who I think are the greatest ever, to Athlete, Starsailor, Ash and Charlatans. I love that stuff…

Sweet…thanks so much for your time.

No problem.

February 6, 2011

Christian Rock Band Skillet Comatose & Awake Album – Lead Singer Jordan Cooper Talks To Awaken Generation Blog About Their Mainstream Success & Not Hiding From Being Christian (VIDEO)

 

 

 

'Awake' debuts at No. 2 on Billboard 200 chart

 

 

In the year 2000, Christian rock band Skillet released their first live worship album ‘ARDENT WORSHIP.’ The record was a mixture of original worship songs and covers of other well-known favorites—including “Your Name Is Holy,” “Jesus, Jesus (Holy And Anointed One)” and “Shout To The Lord.”

 

Today, 10 years later, the Memphis-based Christian band are officially a successful mainstream Rock band with all the accolades and sales to prove it.  Their latest offering ‘AWAKE’ was released on August 25, 2009 and debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and sold a record-breaking 200,000 copies in 12 weeks.  One year later it was certified GOLD by the RIAA for sales of more than 500,000 copies.  And with their “AWAKE & ALIVE Tour” the grammy-nominated band sold out venues Coast to Coast and rocked capacity crowds in Chicago, Tulsa, Columbus, Boston, Phoenix, Portland, Seattle, Boise, Denver, and Minneapolis.   And at times touring with iconic Rock acts like ‘Three Days Grace’ and CREED.

 

And yet in all of their success Skillet has never backed down or been afraid to admit that they are unashamedly a Christian band.

It’s rare when a Christian rock band can cross over to the mainstream, but Skillet has done just that: charted on rock radio yet without denying the roots that got it there in the first place.

We got a rare chance to catch up with Jordan Cooper, lead singer of Skillet about their recent success and how that affected their stance as Christians.

 

Is it true music was forbidden in your house growing up?

Cooper: Not all music, but anything with drums. Drums and guitar were the devil’s instruments. My mom was a piano teacher and voice teacher, so she loved music, just a certain kind. Classical, hymns and opera were okay. When I first heard Christian music, I felt vindicated, like, “It’s not the drums that’s evil.”

You’re one of the few Christian rock bands that didn’t abandon the genre after getting mainstream success.

Cooper: Thanks. I think I’m so adamant about not wanting to get rid of my Christian stance because it helped me so much in my early life. I’m not embarrassed about it, and I’m not silent about it in interviews. If people ask, “Are you a Christian band?” my response is, “Yeah. I love it.”

 

Your 2009 album, “Awake,” debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard 200 chart. Why do you think so many fans relate to this album?

Cooper: I think it’s because Skillet has a lot more fans than just Christian music fans. We are a Christian band, but we work very hard at writing songs about issues that, in my mind, everyone can relate to: atheists, agnostics, Jews, Muslims. I see that in bands like U2 and Switchfoot. Those bands have done a good job of having positive and hopeful messages, without alienating certain people.

What’s it like being in a band with your wife Korey (keyboard, guitar)?

Cooper: It’s awesome. She’s my go-to person to lean on when it comes to making the set flow and making songs sound better. She’ll do keyboard programming and songs will come to life. Personally, it’s nice on the road, because it makes the whole band feel more stable. We have our kids on the road, and it feels like a big family traveling and loving each other and having fun.

Your song, “Monster,” was No. 4 on the active rock chart last year and featured on WWE wrestling. How cool was that?

Cooper: It was awesome. “Monster” is a song a lot of stations said they would never play because it came from a Christian band. But the song kept doing better and better, and eventually, most of those people ended up playing the record.

 

I loved them during the ARDENT days and I love them today.

Thanks Jordan and Skillet for taking the light of Christ in places few Christians will ever get the opportunity to go.

 

WATCH:

February 6, 2011

Erwin McManus Pastor Mosaic L.A. Author Unstoppable Force Chasing Daylight The Barbarian Way Wide Awake Shares Why The Church Needs To Become Less Self-Centered And More Generous

Popular speaker and author Erwin Mcmanus shared some powerful insights recently about why the Church needs to become less self-centered.

When asked why he thought so many Churches in America struggle with declining numbers, McManus answered:

 

“My primary assessment would be because American Christians tend to be incredibly self-indulgent so they see the church as a place there for them to meet their needs and to express faith in a way that is meaningful for them,” said cultural architect Erwin McManus, lead pastor at Mosaic Church in Los Angeles, to The Christian Post Monday.

“There is almost no genuine compassion or urgency about serving and reaching people who don’t know Christ,” he added.

 

Wow. Ouch.  Amen.  All together.

 

You can read the whole article here.

 

 

February 6, 2011

CHRISTIAN ARTIST REBECCA ST. JAMES ENGAGED !!!!


 

Great news out of Nashville Christian recording artist Rebecca St. James in engaged her record label reported a few days ago! Congrats to Rebecca and her new beau!

According to her record label:

Singer-songwriter Rebecca St. James, announced Jan. 3 that she is engaged to be married.

“St. James will wed the man she’s been waiting for — Jacob Fink — on a date soon to be announced,” a news release from her publicist said. “The Christmas Day proposal came at Rebecca’s family farm in Franklin, Tenn., where she was presented the brilliant, solitaire diamond ring. The groom-to-be asked her parents, David and Helen, for their blessing prior to him surprising Rebecca with the engagement ring and his request for her hand in marriage.”

Fink is originally from Colorado and now resides in southern California. After spending two years as a missionary in South Africa, he earned a degree in communications with an emphasis on film production, and the couple met through mutual friends in Los Angeles, the news release said.

“We are truly amazed at finding our dreams and ideals met in the love we’ve found,” St. James said. “We are exceedingly grateful for this precious gift from God.”

For years St. James, 33, has promoted a lifestyle of sexual purity until marriage, lending her talent to the True Love Waits movement.

St. James’ new studio album “I Will Praise You” is set for release April 5, with its first single, “Shine Your Glory Down,” hitting radio Feb. 11. Her ninth book — “What Is He Thinking?” — is due out in September.

A decade ago, St. James released her landmark single “Wait for Me,” which helped spur the purity movement by challenging young people worldwide to wait honorably for the spouse God may have for them.

“Wait for Me has been one of those pillar songs for True Love Waits. Both the words of the song and the purity of the artist behind it have carried great weight with Christian teenagers,” Ross said. “We know from the Reformation and the Great Awakenings that music fuels movements. Rebecca’s Wait for Me would be an example of that phenomenon in our day.”

February 6, 2011

Cameron Strang Founder Relevant Magazine Gives Rare Inside Look To How He Started And What It Takes To Run A Magazine In Great Interview (VIDEO)

cameronstrang_relevant_socialnerdia

Cameron Strang, founder of Relevant Magazine did a rare and honest interview with Brad Lomenick recently on what how he started Relevant Magazine and what it takes to run a magazine company.

I thought Strang’s answers were surprisingly honest.  He wasn’t trying to glamorize Relevant or his company in any way, but rather gave sound advice to any person wanting to start their own venture.

Camerong also candidly shares about the role his parents played in helping him grow up and prove his commitment to what he feels God has called him to.

Here’s why I think Cameron’s words are worth heeding:  His words apply to anything you may want to do in life for God.  Anything.  And the truth is that at the end of the day our calling, our desire to do great things for the glory of God come down to real life, practical hard work.  Behind all the glamor of a TOMS Shoes or Relevant Magazine or Passion/sixstepsrecords in unglamorous hard work.

So I’d recommend you listening to Strang’s interview with the question:  God what do you want me to learn through this?

WATCH:

Here.

 

 

February 6, 2011

Brad Lomenick Catalyst Conference Atlanta Young Influencers List, January 2011 Edition

 

 

Every month Brad Lomenick director of Catalyst Conference does an interesting feature on his blog every month called “Young Influencer List” and for January 2011 he had a new list that I thought was worth taking a look at.

 

Here’s His List Unedited:

Every month I try to highlight some young leaders who are making a difference. So here we go- kicking off 2011!  The list not in any particular order.

1. Dharius Daniels– senior pastor and founder of Kingdom Church in New Jersey.

2. Jenna Lucado Bishop– speaker, author of Redefining Beautiful, and daughter of Max Lucado

3. Blake Canterbury– founder of BeRemedy, an organization that creates simple ways for you to help other people.

4. Isaac Hunter– senior pastor, Summit Church in Orlando

5. Karla Keatingeheads up the i-heart campaign for Hillsong United.

6. Tifah Smith– lead vocalist of a new favorite band- The Autumn Film. Check them out.

 

February 6, 2011

Pastor James MacDonald Harvest Bible Chapel Chicago, IL Presents New Event The Elephant In The Room Featuring Steven Furtick David Platt Mark Driscoll Matt Chandler Greg Lauri Perry Noble

 

Pastor James MacDonald

 

James MacDonald is introducing a brand new event called The Elephant In The Room on March 31, 2011.  It’s a one day event with 7 influential pastors.

 

It’s a day of conversations between seven pastors who share a common love for the Gospel, but take radically different approaches to ministry. So… it will be a Matt Chandler sitting down with a Steven Furtick to talk about approaches to preaching. Other issues include evangelism strategies, pastor pitfalls, reproducing the church, money, and so on.

It’s live in Chicago for a very intimate audience… and then broadcast to simulcast sites all over North America. The map is growing weekly…

The goal is to not polarize each other, but to allow iron to sharpen iron… to talk about the “elephants in the room” in our deeply divided ministry culture. This is not a debate, but frank conversations between pastors who aren’t afraid to mix it up.

 

February 6, 2011

CRAIG GROESCHEL PASTOR LIFECHURCH.TV EDMOND OKLAHOMA AUTHOR THE CHRISTIAN ATHEIST & IT GIVES INCREDIBLE ADVICE TO YOUNG PASTORS & PREACHERS: BE TRANSPARENT

 

Craig

Craig Groeschel best-selling author and pastor of Lifechurch.tv had some profound for pastors and preachers on his blog recently.

In a post entitled, ‘Authentic And Transparent Communication’ Groeschel implored speakers to make themselves more transparent and vulnerable in their messages and sermons.

“Most of the communicators I see struggle to bringall of themselves to a message,” Groeschel lamented.

 

It was really interesting reading this because I just thought about this last week.  In fact this is the one thing I think that sets Francis Chan apart as a speaker from everyone else.  He is transparent and authentic to a fault.  So in my mind Groeschel’s words were very wise.

“Bring You” Groeschel pleads with leaders.

 

Here’s More From The Post:

 

When you preach or teach, you must bring you. Without you in, around, and through the message, you will not impact today’s listener.

The younger audience today has a built in authenticity-meter. You can preach with passion, humor, clever points, or heart-wrenching stories. But if the scriptures haven’t touched your life, the listener will know it—and ignore your well-crafted message.

People want to know:

  • How has the text affected you?
  • How have you failed in the area the Scripture addresses?
  • What about the text makes you uncomfortable?
  • What do you feel about what Scripture is saying? (I know our feelings don’t trump scriptural truth, but talking about how we feel about the text can help engage others at a deeper level.)
  • How are you becoming different because of your study in God’s word?

Which preachers do you listen to that do a good job of brining themselves into the message? How are you learning to “bring you” as a communicator?

 

Do you think Groeschel’s right or wrong?  Would love to hear your thoughts

February 6, 2011

North Point Community Church Atlanta, GA Through The Eyes Of A Visitor – Pomomuzings Blog

 

North Point Community Church

 

 

Interesting thoughts by Adam Walker Cleaveland after he visited North Point Community Church in Atlanta for the first time.  I may not agree with everything but I thought he was right on the money with all the seat-saving.  It’s my biggest pet peeve about North Point.

 

Adam In His Own Words:

While in Atlanta last weekend, Mark, Sarah and I went to North Point Community Church, where Andy Stanley is the pastor. It was definitely my first megachurch experience. Sarah actually didn’t think the sermon was all that bad, and…it wasn’t. But, I just know I couldn’t attend a church like that. It was pretty hard to find a good seat because everyone just had rows and rows of seats saved (any theological thoughts on seat-saving in worship?). It’s hard to have any type of community there, unless you’re actively involved in one of the community/small groups. I didn’t really like going to church and having it feel like I was going to a concert or huge convention (complete with the parking lot attendants, orange vests and everything). We were in the auditorium that Andy was preaching in, but…there were a few more thousand people in the opposite auditorium where Andy’s sermon was fed into. Again, just not the type of interaction I want with my pastor (or, if I was the pastor, with the body in the church).

I’m not going to get into some “Megachurches suck and they’re a complete waste of time and space!” type of rant. I just know that for myself…yah, definitely not a megachurch kind of guy. There is no way that I could handle pastoring a church that big, and I most definitely would not want to be a member of a church that large…

Definitely an interesting experience though. Anyone else been there? Anyone else have any megachurch experiences that were bad…good…neutral?

 

February 6, 2011

PERRY NOBLE PASTOR NEWSPRING CHURCH ANDERSON, SOUTH CAROLINA GIVES RARE GLIMPSE A WEEK IN HIS LIFE – INSIDE THE MIND OF A MEGA CHURCH PASTOR

perry-noble1

A few days ago Tony Morgan did a live interview with Perry Noble, Mega-Church pastor/stand-up comedian/slash tell-it-like-it-is-guy.  You can check it out here.

Perry’s become very popular among next-gen pastors, especially for the way he has grown New Spring Church in Anderson, South Carolina, from a few people in a living room to more than 10,000 people in under 10 years, with numerous locations throughout SC today.  He’s also gotten quite a reputation for saying things that make people squirm in their seats, at first – then laugh, first uncomfortably -then uproariously. Like Mark Batterson says, “you can always count on Perry to tell it like it is.”  Perry’s got the kind of authenticity that makes others feel uncomfortable at first, then gives everyone around him permission to be real very quickly.  He is fast emerging as a leader many other leaders are looking up to.

It was interesting to go inside Perry’s mind during the interview, and hear how he views his role and responsibilities at his fasting-growing mega-Church.  He simply described his leadership responsibilities as follows:

1.  He spends the majority of his time on sermon preparation.

2.  He does what he calls ‘point leadership’ which he gets from Andy Stanley.  Which I think refers to appointing other people in key positions, or to delegate various tasks.

3.  He is only involved in big picture decisions at the Church.

4.  His primary responsibilities is to develop himself as a leader: his personal growth through conferences, books, resources, relationships etc.

5.  His major HR concern is to maintain his relationships with his key staff members.

6.  He’s not involved with the day-to-day operations of the church.

Some things this tell me:

1.  He understands that he is part of the New Spring team, not separate from it, and his key role is that of communicator.  As a result he spends the majority of his time on sermon preparation.

2.  His focus:  he knows he cannot do everything at the Church and he feels no personal obligation to do everything.  This allows him to focus as a leader on his key responsibilities and gifting.

3.  His commitment to personal development.  This ties in exactly with a post I did a few ago about The Relationship Between Knowledge and Exceptional Leadership. This commitment to personal development is true of every great leader.

4.  His most primary leadership responsibility is to his executive leadership team, or the team that reports directly to him.

5.  He guards against ministry overload.  He’s not doing a 100 m dash, he’s doing this for the long haul, and as such he guards against overloading his schedule, and he’s not involved with the day-to-day operations of the Church (here’s where ‘point leadership’ comes in).

My Observations (And Potential Leadership Blind-Spots):

One of the things I tend to notice with many leaders is, that while they have a high commitment to personal development, many leaders tend to leave organizational or staff development – to individual staff. In other words, staff are expected to be responsible for their own development instead of looking to the organization they work for to facilitate their personal growth.  Staff members are basically hired for their ability and skill they already have, and then additional development is not considered the responsibility of the organization or the leadership team.  Yet in the top performing companies and organizations like GE, personnel development is a high priority.  This is true of many exceptional companies and organizations, including North Point Community Church: development of the leader and staff go hand in hand.  That way staff grows as the leader grows and ultimately – the organization excels.

February 6, 2011

Ed Young Pastor Fellowship Church Dallas/Ft Worth Creative Church Conference Creative Pastors Shares How Prepares His Sermon Series Messages (VIDEO)

edspeaking

I  came across this really cool video a few days ago.  It’s from Ed Young’s video blog, and in it he shares how he prepares his sermons every week.  Ed is the Senior Pastor of the 18,000-member Fellowship Church, based in Grapevine, TX. He’s especially known for his provocative sermon series titles like “Forgiveness: The Real F-Word” and “Get Your Fear In Gear,” and his out of the box, creative stage design – some of the props he’s used in the past include a king size bed for his series on marriage, and and a Corvette for one of his series’ called “RPM’s”.  All these ingredients makes his messages fresh and entertaining while being fully grounded biblically.

So, how does he prepare his sermons?

He says that he reserves Saturday mornings for study.  Basically, he spends Saturday mornings in study and preparation for about 2 – 4 hours.

Some of the commentaries and tools he uses include:

1. “The Complete Idiot’s Guide To The Bible” – he says that so often when you’ve been preaching for so long it becomes hard to know what to say and what not to say in your sermons, for him he says he tends to say too much, when he could’ve said it in a more conscise way. So “The Complete Idiot’s Guide” helps him to keep his messages lean and to the point.

2. He uses the “Life Application Study Bible” (NIV) a lot – it has some cool notes in it and some great bible character sketches.

3.  He uses the Dallas Theological Commentary called “The Bible Knowledge Commentary” bu John F. Walvoord  – he’s been using this for a long time

4. He also makes a lot of notes and highlights Bible passages all throughout his Bible as he reads and studies, that tends to stimulate ideas for new and future sermons.

5.  He keeps a ‘preaching journal’ with different ideas and illustrations that he fills regularly with all sorts of thoughts and musings that come to mind, as an ideabank to refer to later.

6. He also uses the “Liberty Bible Commentary” by Liberty University, that he’s had for a while.

He’s Saturday schedule basically consist of studying for a few hours at home in the mornings, then he’ll go to the gym and work-out, then he’ll go to the Church, study some more at the Church for a couple of hours, then get ready to preach at their Saturday evening services at Fellowship Church. Sometimes he also paints after a time of Saturday morning study.

WATCH

February 6, 2011

Donald Miller Best-Selling Author Blue Like Jazz & A Million Miles In A Thousand Years Talks About His Writing Habits In Great Interview

Donald Miller

 

Saw a cool interview on Donald Miller’s blog the other day.  Miller is the author of the cult favorite “Blue Like Jazz” that has sold more than 1 million copies to date.  His new book, slated for a Fall 09 release, is called“A Million Miles In A Thousand Years.” From what I can tell it sounds like the inspiration for this new release came from the experience of trying to adapt “Blue Like Jazz” into a screenplay a few years ago. Seems like that was a life-changing experience for Miller, as he came to see just how boring and unexciting his life has been so far – and this birthed a longing in his heart to be more and do more with the rest of his life.  So his new book chronicles his journey of trying to live a better story.  It’s an experience all of us identify with – the desire to be all we can be for God.  This new resolve caused him to make quite a few changes in his life, as well as attempt new things, for example, he increased his efforts with his mentoring organization for kids without fathers, as well as a bunch of other things he did in response to wanting to live differently.

 

But the part of the interview that I found really interesting was when the interviewer asked him about his writing habits.  I’ve always been curious about how much time he spends writing, and for how long etc.

 

I thought it was interesting, that he only writes for a few weeks at a time.  Fairly seasonal, in a way. Interesting – every writer has their own habits and writing schedule, so it was interesting to hear Miller describe his.

 

Here’s The Excerpt:

 

Tell me about your writing process. Are you disciplined?

Extremely. At 4 a.m. every morning I jog. [laughs]. No, it’s seasonal. I block out weeks at a time, so I’m in a writing mode now. And that’s the only thing that really works for me. If it gets really hectic around the house, a friend has a cabin on Orcas Island and I’ll go up. And it’s a beautiful place, but I hate being there because it’s just so lonely and I like people around. But it’s unfortunately productive. And so a lot of times I have to go up there.

And the other thing is I just have to turn off the phone. I get up, I usually take the dogs for a walk, come in and for the next several hours will kind of wrestle with the book, which means I do a lot of reading. And at some point I force myself to sit down—because I never want to—and within about five minutes I’m lost in the book. I’m really enjoying it. Which is just weird: to enjoy something so much and not actually want to do it. I think it’s because every fourth or fifth writing session is so bad. I can’t get the words to go where I want them to go. It creates a fear that that’s going to happen again.

 

Miller also posted an excerpt from his new book on his blog – you can check it out here.



 

February 6, 2011

Hilarious Picture Of The Day

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epic fail photos - THEME PARK WARNING

 

 

February 4, 2011

Hilarious Picture Of The Day

epic fail photos - Snow Plow FAIL

February 4, 2011

LOUIE GIGLIO: ‘PASSION 2012 At The Georgia Dome!’

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Louie Giglio announced recently that the annual PASSION Conference is moving to the Georgia Dome in 2012 to accommodate more students.

This year Passion was forced to have 2 events one in Atlanta and one in Ft. Worth, TX to have enough room for the massive crowd.

Congrats to Passion for this huge accomplishment!

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February 4, 2011

FRANCIS CHAN: ‘Prayers Make Christians Different; Our God Listens!’

 

 

 

Speaking about the importance of the prayer life of a Christian recently, Francis Chan admitted,

“My prayer life is so powerful in connecting me with God, that I’d even say it rivals Scripture in stirring my affections for God.”

Because when God answers his prayers it’s a tangible demonstration of His love and concern for him. “There are days,” he explains,

“I can’t believe that God you love me that much. Are you kidding me? I know Jesus loves me because the Bible tells me so. But at this time in my life, I can know Jesus loves me because my prayer tells me so.”

 

In fact, says Chan, referring to the Bible story of Elijah, “Prayer is what differentiates us from other religions.  Our God listens to us.  Our God is a living God. He’s not a block of wood you made up that’s not going to answer you. My God listens to me. He answers me.”

 

Wow.  couldn’t have said it better!

 

 

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February 4, 2011

Stuff Christians Like’s Jon Acuff: ‘When Lil’ Wayne Defines The Gospel’

 

 

Jonathan Acuff

 

 

Hip hop star Lil Wayne recently shared in a new Rolling Stone interview that while he was in jail, he actually read the Bible from cover to cover, for the first time.

 

When asked what he thought, Wayne responded:

 

“It was deep! I liked the parts where some character was once this, but he ended up becoming that. Like he’d be dissing Jesus, and then he ends up being a saint. That was cool.”

 

“What a great description of the gospel,” Jon Acuff wrote after reading Wayne’s words. “Some character was once this, but ended up becoming that. I was lost, but now I am found. I was once blind, but now I see.”

 

But the best part Acuff exclaimed was:

 

“Whenever I read stuff like that, whenever I hear celebrities describing brushes they’ve had with the Bible or God or the gospel, I always have the same reaction: ‘Hey, I know that guy too!’

Like connecting the dots between mutual friends with a stranger, I feel like shouting, That’s my God you’re talking about. I know that guy! You would love that guy if you got to know him. He’s awesome!”

 

We know how you feel Jon.

 

February 4, 2011

MARGARET FEINBERG INTERVIEW ON HER BOOK ‘SCOUTING THE DIVINE’

 

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Recently we had a conversation with Margaret Feinberg, author of the new book, Scouting the Divine. We asked her questions about her pilgrimage across the US, caring for a flock of sheep, and Wal-Mart. And this is what she had to say…

Have we heard incorrectly or did you recently come to Oregon, our neck of the woods (or should we say “God’s country”), to spent time with sheep?

I love me some Oregon. Seriously, I HEART the Pacific Northwest. After spending five years living in Alaska, it’s hard not to fall in love with your region of the country. Almost a decade ago, I met a woman from outside of Portland who took care of sheep. I never forgot our meeting all the rich spiritual insights that emerged from her simply talking about caring for a flock. Last spring, I tracked her down, cold called her, reintroduced myself, and garnered an invitation to spend time in her home and among her sheep. The experience was unforgettable.

Why ‘Scouting the Divine?’ Where did this concept come from?

I’ve become increasingly aware that the agrarian world of the Bible is distant from my modern suburban lifestyle, so I decided to be intentional about closing the gap. I went on my own “stay-grimage.” or “spiritual pilgrimage” in the United States. I spent time with the shepherdess in Oregon, a farmer in Nebraska, a beekeeper in Colorado, and a vinter in Napa Valley. With each person, I opened the scripture and asked, “How do you read this—not as a theologian—but in light of what you do everyday?” Their answers changed the way I read scripture forever.

Can you spend a minute and tell one of the truths that impacted you personally while writing Scouting the Divine?

There were so many spiritual discoveries. One I’ve been gnawing on lately came from my time with the beekeeper. I asked him why he thought the Promised Land was described as a land overflowing with milk and honey. The land could have been described as anything—the land of ginormous pomegranates or luscious olive oil. Instead, God chose to make the land famous for overflowing with milk and honey. When I asked the beekeeper, he noted that a land that overflows with honey means that everything is working in its proper order. The winter snows don’t melt too late. The summer heat isn’t overwhelming. The rain falls at its appointed time. The first freeze doesn’t arrive too early. If any of these factors are out of alignment then the grasses and flowers can’t bloom to their full potential and the bees can’t produce honey in abundance. That means that one of the defining characteristics of the Promised Land is that everything works in it’s proper order. I want to enter that Promised Land in my own life.–where I’m living in the season of life God has placed me in to my full potential.

On a side note, we’ve always been impressed – from following you on Twitter and reading your blog – that, despite the busyness of ministry, you prove to remain passionate about your relationship with Jesus. What are some practical things that you do to keep that passion fresh?

Even in the midst of a busy schedule, I try to take care of myself. This may sound so unspiritual, but I try to make sure I’m getting enough sleep. I carve out mornings when I allow my body to drink in as much sleep as it needs. Why? When I’m well-rested, I’m less like to make foolish decisions that lead me into sin and it’s easier to connect to God and respond to His leadings and nudging. I have a hunch the people of God would be far more effective if we were well-rested. In addition, I love to read what I call Bible nerd books. I read commentaries, studies on ancient Israel and obscure books that really feed my spirit and soul. And Leif and I read a Walter Bruegermann prayer aloud together. It’s one of the sweetest moments of our day.

When does Scouting the Divine release and how can people purchase it?

Scouting the Divine is available October 1 and the accompanying six-week DVD study releases from Lifeway in January 2010. You can check it out on amazon.comborders.com, or my own site—which is launching all-new in October!–www.margaretfeinberg.com. For all you Facebookers, I’m on as Margaret Feinberg and for all you twitters, you can find me@mafeinberg.

Next time you’re in Oregon herding sheep, you’ll have to stop by and say hi.

Would love to! I’ll be speaking at Living Hope Church in Vancouver, Washington, and George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon, in November.

BONUS: When I think of Wal-Mart, I think of … the hidden story of Sam Walton’s heart for caring for the poor that isn’t heard or heralded oenough. I just got back from Bentonville, Arkansas, home of Wal-mart, and discovered countless stories of outrageously generous and good things being done by this shopping behemoth. You’d be surprised at just how much!

 


February 4, 2011

RED. THE MOST FAMOUS CHRISTIAN ROCK BAND YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF

 

 

There’s a Christian Rock Band that very few Christians have actually heard of.  Sure you know about Switchfoot and Skillet and maybe even Thousand Foot Crutch.  But there’s a Christian band that no one’s ever heard of.  Think that’s strange?  It gets even stranger: They are dominating iTunes.  Case in point, they just released their latest offering ‘UNTIL WE HAVE FACES’ and it skyrocketed to #2 on the overall iTunes sales charts.   # 2 People.  # 2.

 

Who are they?  A band called RED.

 

I think you should familiarize yourself with them.

 

 



February 4, 2011

A REALLY COOL TAKE ON CHARACTER BY ERWIN MCMANUS

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I’ve been reading Erwin McManus’ “CHASING DAYLIGHT” the past few days, and he wrote something about character that I really liked.

 

He says :

“There are endless possibilities waiting for us [in life] .  And much of the life that God longs for us to live is just one choice away, [yet] so much of the fullness that Jesus promises us is lost at the character level.  When we sacrifice our character, when we choose a path that lacks integrity, we are trying to take life into our own hands.  It is a declaration that we do not trust the way of God.”

 

Ouch.

 

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February 4, 2011

Some Pictures From Louie Giglio’s Passion City Church

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Had an incredible time tonight at Passion City Church.  Chris Tomlin, Matt Redman, and Christy Nockels led worship and Louie Giglio spoke on “Made To Worship.”  Really an incredible night – thought I’d share some pictures with you.  Some of the pics came out blurry, forgive me, but I figured you’d wanna see them anyhow.

 

 

 

 

February 4, 2011

QUOTE OF THE DAY, DAVID CROWDER BAND

 

 

 

 

 

“A flight attendant just asked if the name of our band was “Beard.””

– David Crowder via Twitter

February 4, 2011

Purpose-Driven Fear of God By Rick Warren


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Was listening to a really cool interview that the guys over at the Catalyst Podcast did with Rick Warren at the recent Catalyst West Coast Conference. A definite must-listen-to interivew.  You can listen to it the here.  It was really fascinating, but there was something particular that Rick talked about that I found really note-worthy.

He says that he has a special file, that he’s had for many many years – every time he sees a story of a Christian leader who’s fallen into sin, he cuts it out and throws it in his file – he’s done that for many years now.  And he says that every 6 months or so, he’ll pull that file out and read through it to remind himself to live a life of integriy – and everytime it puts the fear of God back into him.

I thought was such a great idea.  So often we come across something that makes us think and make us pay closer attention to our own lives, – or convicts us – only to forget it too soon.  We all need to be reminded that momentary pleasures aren’t worth it. ever. I call his file the “Purpose-Driven Fear of God File.”

 

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February 4, 2011

THE BOOKS THAT ANDY STANLEY THINKS YOU SHOULD READ

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My bet is that if you’re reading this blog post with this title, you’re probably a big Andy Stanley fan.  For many pastors and Christian leaders throughout America, Andy stands as one of the most inspiring and exemplary models of leadership excellence – and rightly so.  So given his position as a great leadership model, wouldn’t it be cool if you could personally ask him what books have had the biggest influence on his development both as a leader and as a pastor of one of the nation’s largest and most influential Churches?  Well if you’d ever thought that, take heart and be of good cheer, for I bring good tidings of great joy.

Not too long ago I noticed in the NorthPoint Church bookstore that they have this special bookshelf over in the corner with a sign that reads “Books Recommended By Andy Stanley and NorthPoint Leadership” so I figured you’d love to know what books were on that shelf – and I took the liberty to compile those books into a list for you.

Here’s why I think this list is a big deal: it’s clear that Andy is an avid reader and student of leadership.  So when someone like Andy – who’s arguably read hundreds even thousands of the best leadership books over a lifetime of successful leadership – stands back and looks at the heap of books he’s spent thousands of hours reading, and walks over to that pile and picks out a few carefully selected books and says, “of all the many books I’ve read, here are the ones I would say you should definitely read” – that’s when I run to know which books he singled out.

The books are in no particular order.  Enjoy.

1.  Courageous Leadership – Bill Hybels

2.  Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney – Lee Cockerell

3.  E-Myth Revisited: Why Most Small Businesses Don’t Work and What To Do About It – Michael E. Gerber

4. The Dip: A Little Book That Teaches You When To Quit (and When to Stick) – Seth Godin

5.  The Creative Habit: Learn It and use It for Life – Twyla Tharp

6.  Be Our Guest: Perfecting The Art of Customer Service – Ted Kinni and Disney Institute

7.  Built To Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies – Jim Collins

8.  The 80/20 Principle: The Secret To Success by Achieving More with Less– Richard Koch

9.  The Fifth Discipline: The Art & Practice of The Learning Organization – Peter M. Senge

10.  The Five  Dysfunctions of A Team: A Leadership Fable – Patrick Lencioni

11.  The Five Temptations of A CEO: A Leadership Fable – Patrick Lencioni

12. Focus: The Future of Your Company Depends on It – Al Ries

13.  Killing Cockroaches: And Other Scattered Musings on Leadership – Tony Morgan

14. Influencer: The Power To Change Anything – Kerry Patterson, Joseph Grenny et al.

15.  Integrity: The Courage To Meet the Demands of Reality – Henry Cloud

16.  Leadership and Self-Deception: Getting Out of the Box – The Arbinger Institute

17. Made To Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die – Chip and Dan Heath

18. The Leadership Challenge – James M. Kouzes

19.  The New Gold Standard: 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of the Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company – Joseph Michelli

20.  The One Thing You Need To Know:… About Great Managing, Great Leading, and Sustained Individual Success – Marcus Buckingham

21.  Orbiting the Giant Hairball: A Corporate Fool’s Guide to Surviving with Grace – Gordon MacKenzie

22.  The Contrarian’s Guide To Leadership – Steven B. Sample

23.  Rules of The Red Rubber Ball: Find and Sustain Your Life’s Work – Kevin Carroll

24.  Silos, Politics, and Turf Wars: A Leadership Fable About Destroying the Barriers That Turn Colleagues Into Competitors – Patrick Lencioni

25.  Thinking for a Living: Creating Ideas That Revitalize Your Business, Career, and Life – Joey Reiman

26.  Tribes: We Need You To Lead Us – Seth Godin

27.  What The Best CEO’s Know: 7 Exceptional Leaders and Their Lessons for Transforming Any Business – Jeffery A. Krames

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Looking For A Christian Speaker Like Francis Chan & Louie Giglio To Speak At Your Church Or Event?

If you’re a pastor, Church staff member or event organizer looking for a great Christian speaker I want to let you know I’m a speaker who’s available for speaking engagements at Churches and other Christian events.  I speak mainly to college students and twenty-somethings and up.  My topics are mainly centered on living for the glory of God and I use a lot of humor.  For the past 10 years I’ve spoken at various camps, youth groups, conferences, Churches etc. etc.  I’m a speaker more in the vein of Francis Chan and Louie Giglio.  If you love them, chances are you’ll enjoy my talks too.  Some of my topics include, “Who Am I That I Should Go” & “Glorious Rescue” (A message on grace based on the life of David).

I’ve been a youth leader and singles minister at a various Churches including a 9,000-member megachurch.  Usually my fee is upwards of  $1,000, but for 2011 I am offering Churches and event organizers a discount of more than 80% off my regular fee, at a special price of only $200, plus travel.  Yep, only two hundred dollars plus travel to anywhere in the U.S.  In some cases I’d be more than happy to speak for free, just drop me line and we can talk about it.

If you’re interested and would like more information feel free to contact me at:  seinfeldfan2006@yahoo.com

Thanks for stopping by the “210 LIFE//: Awaken Generation Blog”.  Hope you enjoy the posts.

Hervict

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February 4, 2011

IS BLAKE MYCOSKIE A CHRISTIAN ?

 


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Everyday I get a ton of people coming to my blog with the question, “Is Blake Mycoskie (the founder of TOMS Shoes) a Christian ?

And the answer is YES, to the best of my knowledge he is.  Well-known Christian author and Pastor, Erwin McManus, who pastors Mosaic Los Angeles mentioned in an interview with the Catalyst Conference podcast a few months ago that Blake Mycoskie is a member of his Church (or at least attends Church there).  Also Blake is very good friends with a number of well-known Christian leaders and well-known personalities, and he speaks, and is a regular feature, at numerous Christian events every year.

So take heart, Blake Mycoskie is a Christian.

 

February 4, 2011

DAVID CROWDER *BAND RECEIVES HIGHEST FIRST-WEEK CAREER SALES WITH NEW ALBUM “CHURCH MUSIC” !!!


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Congratulations to David Crowder *Band for their career-high first-week sales of their latest release “Church Music.”  I’m so proud of these guys and this huge milestone.  For years I’ve been saying DC*B does not get enough respect for just how original and creative (and brilliant) their music is.  Undoubtedly one of the best Christian bands around, in my view.  So thrilled that they are finally getting the respect they deserve.

Here’s the official press release:

“David Crowder Band’s latest, Church Music (sixstepsrecords/EMI CMG), has proven to be a fan favorite raking in over 35,000 units the first week garnering the top spot on the Christian Retail Chart and the #11 position on the Billboard Top 200. also maintained a stay at #1 on the iTunes Christian and Gospel Album chart as well as peaked at #3 on the iTunes Overall Album chart.

 

Church Music is the band’s highest debut to date, with a 10% increase from the band’s previous release in 2007 of Remedy. David Crowder Band will be taking Church Music to the masses this fall on a 32-city nationwide tour with opening acts Danyew and Seabird starting tomorrow, Oct. 1.”

 

 

 

Sweet.

 

February 4, 2011

John Piper On Facebook & Twitter & What Social Networking Sites Tells Us

“One of the great uses of Twitter and Facebook will be to prove at the Last Day that prayerlessness was not from lack of time.” – John Piper

Ouch.

 

February 4, 2011

HILARIOUS DONALD MILLER, BLUE LIKE JAZZ, STORY ABOUT HIS FIRST BOOK!

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I saw this hilarious story that Donald Miller tells about the day he received a box of copies of his first book from his publisher. Hilarity ensues.

 

I’d spent a year or so writing my first book, and it was coming out early in 2000. I had the first copies sent to Texas where I’d be spending Christmas. My family knew I had a book coming out, but they didn’t think they’d see it for months. I received a box Federal Express and hid it in the trunk of the car I was using. I was dying to take a look at it, but there were too many people around. Finally, I ran an errand (my Mother sent me to Wal Mart to return something) and when I got there I opened the trunk, and the box, and reached in for a copy of my book. It looked great. I’d helped design the cover and I was proud of it. Anyway, I went into the store, flipping through pages and smelling the ink. Then I got in line to return whatever it was I was returning and I started reading. My favorite lines in the book were in the last few paragraphs, a scene in which my friend Paul and I walk into the meadow at Black Butte Ranch to watch sunrise one last time before we head different directions for the summer. And that’s when I saw the type-o.

The line was supposed to read:

“We were walking into the meadow. I was walking with my hands in my pockets.”

And instead said:

“We were walking into the meadow. I was walking with my hands in his pockets.”

 

I actually laughed it was so funny. It’s even funnier if you try to imagine the scene playing out that way.

 

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you can check out the original post here.

 

February 4, 2011

ANDY STANLEY LIFESTYLE & LEADERSHIP MINUTE


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Speaking at Catalyst One Day recently Andy Stanley introduced a great axiom that says,

 

 

“whatever gets celebrated, gets repeated”

 

And then he added something along the lines of “think potty training . . .” to which the audience burst out laughing. But bathroom humor aside, to me this is a truly brilliant statement, because of the great lifestyle wisdom it contains in a few words.  And here’s why: in our lives as people we can never grow if we do not change.  Which means that in order for us to grow in any area of our lives we need to change.  And there in lies the dark and dreaded challenge. Why?  Because as people we hate change – and we’ll often go to great lengths to resist it or put it off.  But it gets even more challenging than that (and here’s the real kicker): sometimes as people whether in marriage, parenting, friendship, as co-workers and even as leaders, we are often called upon to be an important part of helping those around us change and grow.  And so then the next big question becomes, “how can I as a spouse, father/mother, friend, co-worker, or leader help or inspire those around me to change when I know they hate change and resist it at every turn?” And it’s here that Andy’s statement offers us hope :

 

 

“whatever gets celebrated, gets repeated”

 

In other words, one of the best and non-pushy ways we can encourage and even assist people in changing is to celebrate the things we want them to continue doing or the areas we want them to keep growing in.  This seemly simple axiom can spare us hours of awkward confrontations and conversations.  So that instead of awkward direct talk moments you just celebrate the little things those people are doing in the direction that they need to keep growing in.

Now back to the potty training analogy for a second, imagine a mom standing over her little toddler telling her what to do and how to do it and getting frustrated, and then compare that with a couple who gently shows their toddler how to use the potty and then erupting in celebration and adulation when their baby angel gets it even partially right.  Who would you want as a parent ? In the same way we can assist those around us to change and grow if we just celebrated their little improvements and attempts. Because not only is it true that ‘what gets celebrated, gets repeated,’ but the converse is also true: what gets ignored, does not get repeated. And your response will determine which one they choose to do.

 

 

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February 4, 2011

JON ACUFF BLOGGER & AUTHOR STUFF CHRISTIANS LIKE BUILDS A SCHOOL IN VIETNAM THROUGH HIS BLOG


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Huge congratulations to Jon Acuff uber-blogger of STUFF CHRISTIANS LIKE Blog (a Christian satirical humor blog poking fun at the weird things Christians do) who challenged his readers to band together and do something really cool – they all pitched in and donated enough money to can build a kindergarten in Vietnam (through Samaritan’s Purse).  They raised $30,000 in 18 hours. That’s crazy.

Here’s the school they funded completely.

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They did that in 18 hours. I still can’t believe it. That’s mind-blowing. 18 hours.

And guess what his blog post for today was titled ?

“LET’S BUILD A 2ND KINDERGARTEN” !!!


February 4, 2011

THE POWER OF EXCELLENCE : How CATALYST Conference gets 12,000 Leaders To Converge On Atlanta Every Year

 

 

 

 

I have been to the last 3 CATALYST Conferences (2006, 2007 and 2008) and to me this year – 2008 – was absolutely the best, hands down. Even Andy Stanley shared this similar view during his last session on Day 2. You may be wondering, ‘why do you consider this year’s event to be the best so far?’ The answer: it was because of the accumulative experience – the worship, speaker content, sense of united passion etc. It felt like the atmosphere, the experience, was pregnant with possibility. Like God was doing something special in the hearts of everyone there, that was both individual and personal, while also corporate and communal.

But I am convinced The CATALYST Experience can be reproduced anywhere if the same principles are followed.

Here’s What I Think Are Main Reasons For It’s Incredible Success :

 

1. Remarkable-  Catalyst is remarkable. Which means, as Seth Godin defines it, is: “something worth remarking about” (see Godin’s book “Purple Cow”).  And the Catalyst MC Lanny Donoho’s out-of-the-box thinking serves this value naturally. Whether Lanny’s bringing a Camel to John Maxwell as part of his CATALYST Lifetime Achievement Award, or bringing an Elephant into the Gwinnett Arena, or having a Mariachi Band pass through or bringing out Jeff Foxworthy as a surprise guest.  His endless list of surprise, fascinating and unconventional guests are natural ‘purple cows’. Not too mention his incredibly creative and side-splittingly funny videos. All this creates buzz (both in the blogosphere and the real world) and is the number one driving factor that cause people to talk about the event to their friends and family.

 

2. Tribal – Catalyst creates a community.  At it’s heart Catalyst is more than just another event.  It is a tribe of next generation leaders.  Throughout the year Catalyst builds and strengthens and serves their community, through the podcast, Catalyst Monthly (online magazine), the Catalyst Blog and the‘Catalyst Space’ website.

 

3. Serving us, Not Selling us.  We trust the Catalyst brand to have our well-being and best interest at the core of what they do, instead of trying to market us with all sorts of clutter.  Through their interviews and online resources, including products like special edition DVD’s and the Catalyst Groupzine, and speaker selections, Catalyst serves us – all those who are part of their tribe- for our best interest and success.

 

4. Inspires Hope – Catalyst inspired hope.  By showcasing the ground-breaking work and initiatives of so many ordinary people just like us, both at the live event and throughout the year, we are inspired as leaders to do more, give more and be more. The guest list of dreamers, world changers and movement makers is endless, and includes remarkable movements like : Hoops of Hope, Samaritans Purse, To Write Love on Her Arms, International Justice Mission, Call + Response, Compassion International, Convoy of Hope, TOM’s Shoes, Gift Card Giver.com, Rwanda Clean Water, 410 Bridge, Word Made Flesh, HOPE International, Prison Entrepreneurship Program, Land of a Thousand Hills. . . to name a few.

 

5. Movement – Catalyst inspires movement. When we come together at the conference in October, we’re inspired to change the world, and we’re renewed with belief that we can indeed change the world, and we celebrate each other’s movements, ministries and attempts at changing the world.  And above all, we are equipped and inspired to continue changing the world – for the glory of our King who died so that we might live.

 

6. Fun – At Catalyst people are never board. From the moment they enter the Arena to when they leave. Whether it’s beach balls, balloons, lighted pens, great live music etc. The fun never stops. And this fun has many attending benefits like : it breaks the ice between strangers, it fosters a sense of unity among attendees who otherwise may not interact.

 

7. Worship – Catalyst leaders (those who attend the conference) are really at their core a bunch of mushy worshippers who adore being in the presence of God, and absolutely love singing to their heavenly Father. And the organizer’s sensitivity to this fact is evident in the emphasis of diverse worshipping experiences throughout the event. Consider this : At the event in 2008 we experienced worship led by : 1. Steve Fee Band. 2. Kristian Stanfill 3. Eddie Kirkland 4. Todd Fields 5. A Special Five Women Singing Act (with notables like Candy Pearson-Selton, Christina Fyncher and others) 6. The Atlanta Pentecostal Voices Choir (or some similar name) who opened Day two. 7. The Daraja Children’s Choir from Nairobi, Kenya who rocked the house with “God of Wonders” and “Mighty To Save.” 8. Guest Worship Leader: Aaron Keyes. 9. Also Special worship songs performed by Jon Foreman, lead singer of the band Switchfoot . . . How’s that for an emphasis on worship.

 

 

 

 

 

February 4, 2011

A Prostitute, A Governor and The Marvelous Beauty of GRACE

 

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I had a real God moment this past Friday.

 

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Diane Sawyer from “Good Morning America”  did an interview on 20/20 last Friday, with the call girl that brought down the former governor of New York, Eliot Spitzer.  I was angry that she was even given a half an hour in free marketing and publicity on national TV.

I hated the fact that while Gov. Spitzer’s life has been irrevocably reuined and he’s brutally condemned by his state and other on-lookers, this girl -this prostitute- has now been made into a celebrity, and for what? For being a prostitute.  Since the fiasco, she’s turned down all sorts of offers that could’ve netted her millions of dollars in personal profits.  She’s been hounded by national media outlets,including TV and radio and magazines, for all sorts of interviews and profiles.

Yet Eliot Spitzer will never fully gain his life back, and he’ll never be trusted as a leader again, and for the next 20 years will remembered with this big black stain all over his legacy.

 

 

But to top it all off, what angered me most, was that this girl came on TV and made herself look like the victim in all of this. After all, she shared that her boyrfriend had just broken up a few months before the big scandal, that she dropped out of high school, and that she didn’t want to be a waitress any more so she decided to become a call girl.  Bare in mind, she implored tearfully, she was terrified of meeting strange men.  She’s a victim, even after she posed for a NY newspaper just a few days after the news broke.

 

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And it upset me that so many people watching the interview will be charmed by her and even embrace her, while still wishing they could have the honor of throwing Spitzer into the lake of fire themselves.  It angered me that our culture has these double standards.

 

And I felt for this fallen leader.

 

 

Then it hit me: who am I to judge this girl?  Who am I to condemn her and point out her obvious sin.  My mind went back to story in the Bible (John eight) where Jesus speaks to the woman caught in adultery.  Remember, a Jewish mob brings a woman whom they had just caught in the very act of adultery to Jesus.  Under the law of Moses, she was to be stoned to death for this evil deed.  And Jesus standing there, the perfect son of God, the one who’s truly worthy to judge her says to the crowd,

 

“He who is without sin among you, let him throw a stone at her first.” (vs.8)  What a powerful answer.  No one saw that coming.  They were caught by surprised, and confronted with their own hypocrisy, their own sinfulness, and their own need for a savior.

 

I love the next verse: “Then those who heard it, being convicted by their conscience, went out one by one . . .” (vs. 9)

 

And just when you think it’s all over.

 

The most powerful moment in the whole story happens.  The moment of confrontation, where this woman, this sinner, stands before Jesus, face to face looking into His eyes.

The Bible continues, “And Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst.  When Jesus had raised Himself up and saw the woman, He said to her, “Has no one condemned you?”

She said, “No one, Lord.”
And Jesus said to her, “Neither do I condemn you; go and sin no more.” (John 8: 8-11 NKJV)

 

 

Did you see that?  The power and beauty of this moment is brought alive when we look at the bigger picture happening before our eyes.  Here is the god of heaven and earth who saw her sinning, who witnessed her immorality and rebellion.  The God who stood there while she was sinning, who saw it all.  Looks at her, face to face and says, NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU.

 

“But God you saw me sinning, you know that I am guilty?” and again He whispers “NEITHER DO I CONDEMN YOU.”

And best of all, neither does He condemn you or me.

 

After all this dawned on me, I had to repent of my pride and hypocrisy. And I had to thank God again for his loving kindness that holds me even after I’ve sinned against Him.  And I had to confront the glaring truth: I am no better than the prostitute or the governor. For I too have fallen short of the glory of God, and stand in need of a savior.

 

Just like this girl Diane Sawyer interviewed, and the governor, we all stand condemned, deserving of death. But yet we are made alive through the One who picks us up even at our worst.  So that we are no longer focused on our sinfulness, but rather we’re overwhelmed as we stare up at the amazingness of GRACE.

 

And we find ourselves – as Matt Redman would say it – Facedown.  Because When You Face up to God’s Glory, You Find Yourself Facedown in Worship.

 

 

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February 4, 2011

WHY RICHARD BRANSON MAKES ME WANNA BE GREAT IN THIS GENERATION: Inside One Billionaire’s Secret To Success December 1, 2008 by 210 Leadership

 

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One of the best-kept secrets on television, in my view, is a show that airs every Thursday at 10 p.m. on the Sundance Channel, called Iconoclasts.

Basically, in each episode, two very different celebrities or icons get together and hang out for a few days and each gets a tour of the other’s life and work and background.  It’s a rare, honest look into the lives of these great achievers and icons.  I love every minute of it.  And I can’t wait for Thursdays to arrive, so I can watch the new episode for each week.

 

Well this past week they paired Noble Peace Prize winner and international human rights activist, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, with Sir Richard Branson, billionaire and founder of the Virgin Group of Companies.

 

 

 

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And about 45 minutes into the 1 hour episode, Bishop Tutu asks Richard Branson, “So, say I’m a young man and I see you on TV and in the media and I come to you and I say Sir Richard what must I do in order to be successful?”  and before Branson answer’s I say to myself – from what I’ve read about him, I think the secret to his success is that he’s always had the guts to not only see opportunity but act on it and take risks.

 

Then Branson answers and he gives a run-of-the-mill answer “well, I’d say money is not the most important thing, find something you love and something you can use to make a difference.”

 

But it’s obvious that answer isn’t good enough and Bishop Tutu shoots back, “what would you have done if you had never been successful?”

And Richard Branson says, “well I always believed that as long as I tried . . . (I’d be successful) . . .”

Then he adds, “I’m not the sort of person who fears failure.”

 

When I heard that I didn’t know if I should jump in the air, shout for joy or cry.  I nearly fell off my chair.

 

Did you get those pearls of wisdom, and insight into the mind of one of the greatest business visionaries and business icons of this generation?

 

He says, “I believe I would have been successful as long as I tried.”

Then he says, “I’m not the sort of person who fears failure.”

 

Did you get that : “I’M NOT AFRAID OF FAILURE.”

 

I.

AM.

NOT.

AFRAID.

OF.

FAILURE.

 

Wow !!!!

 

How many of us can say that?

Rather we say “If only I had blank _______ then I would.”

or

“I would try blank ______ but.”

 

And no matter how we choose to label it, all our excuses comes down to our fear of failure.  All the while we stare at the opportunity in front of us, but we’re afraid to jump, – AFRAID.

 

AFRAID to take hold of our future.

AFRAID to be all we can be.

AFRAID that we might fail.

AFRAID.

AFRAID.

AFRAID.

 

 

 

Think of the incredible visionaries in the Church who’ve done great things for God.

Billy Graham, Louie Giglio, Rick Warren – anyone else you want to pencil in there –

 

Why were they able to be great in this generation?

BECAUSE THEY WERE NOT AFRAID TO ACT. They were not afraid to be wrong, to be humiliated, to make mistakes.  To fail.

 

 

Why is this important to us as Christians?  I’m glad you asked.  Because we are individuals created in the image of God, created for glorious destinies.  But the biggest misconception about destiny is that destiny is a matter of chance.  Fate.  Irrevocable.  That if it’s meant to happen it will.

Nothing could be further from the truth.  You see, destiny is not a matter of chance,  it is a matter of choice.  It is not something that happens to you, it’s something you chase after.

 

Something you fight for.

A vision you sacrifice for.

An ideal  you strive for.

 

You don’t wake up one morning and find yourself in your destiny.  No you run after it, you fight for it.  You climb for it.  You pursue it.  You grab on to it.

 

How long will you continue to let the fear of failure hold you back from that vision, that job, that ministry, that life change, that Church, that girl, that guy, that business, that dream you carry in your heart?

 

When was the last time you looked at opportunity in your life and said, like one of Branson’s book titles, “Screw It.  Let’s Do It.”

 

You might just succeed.  If only you would try.

 

 

 

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February 4, 2011

THE POWER OF ONE LIFE : Rick Warren, Albert Mohler, Louie Giglio and Shane Claiborne Blow My Mind

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I have a truth to reveal.

 

I am a people watcher.  I thrive on looking at the lives of other people who just blow my mind and inspire me to be great in this generation.

 

I love reading autobiographies, biographies, memoirs and biographical documentaries and books that are about the lives of people especially high achievers, business icons, leadership experts etc..  I read wikipedia pages of people everyday, all day.

 

Nothing inspires me more than the life example of other world changers.

 

Here Are Some of The People Who’s Lives I Watch or Continue To Study:

 

1.  Rick Warren

2.  John Maxwell

3.  R. Albert Mohler Jr.

4.  Billy Graham (& Franklin Graham))

4.  Louie Giglio

5.  Shane Claiborne

6.  Richard Branson

7.  Michael Dell

8.  Charlie Wilson

9.  Dave Ferguson

 

And I’m sure I’ll think of others after this post . . .

 

 

Who are the people you look to for inspiration and who inspire you to be great?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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February 4, 2011

PAUL HAGGIS ON SUCCESSFUL WRITING & CREATIVITY: One Hollywood Legend Shares His Secret To Creating Memorable Art


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A few days ago I was watching a brilliant interview with legendary Hollywood screenwriter Paul Haggis.

Paul is one of the most successful screenwriters ever to apply his craft in tinsel town.  He is the first screenwriter, since 1950, to write two Best Film Oscar winners back-to-back – Million Dollar Baby (2004), and Crash(2005). For Crash, he also won Oscars for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay.

Just to give you a sense of his accomplishments:

In Television:

He was the co-creator of the cult classic Walker, Texas Ranger. He’s written for shows like Thirtysomething, Who’s The Boss, L.A. Law, Different Strokes and a host of others.

In Film:

He has written films in almost every major genre.  He wrote the screenplay for the Clint Eatwood breakouts Flags of Our Fathers, and Letters From Iwo Jima. In addition to Crash and Million Dollar Baby, he also wrote the screenplays for the international box office blockbusters, Casino Royaleand the recently released Quantum of Solace. He’s also currently writing the screenplay for the latest Terminator movie to be released 2009 Terminator Salvation.

So it’s fair to say he is one of the best writers in Hollywood working today.

During the interview Haggis made a statement that I thought was incredibly profound about how to achieve successful writing. Haggis mentioned that he sold both Million Dollar Baby and Crash on spec (short for ‘speculation’).  Just so you know: there are basically three ways you sell a screenplay in Hollywood –

1. A studio comes to a writer and say “hey we have a movie idea, but we’d like you to write a screenplay for it.” or

2.  A writer goes to a studio with a movie idea (but he hasn’t written the screenplay yet) and he pitches the idea and tells them he can write the script in 3 or 6 months. And they’ll buy the movie from him without the screenplay.  or

3.  A writer just goes home and writes a screenplay on his own without ever talking to a studio, and then when it’s done he gives it to studios to see if they’d be interested.  That’s what they mean by writing on ‘spec.’ (By the way selling a script on spec is one of the hardest ways to sell a script)

So during the interview, the interviewer says to him : “that’s incredible that you wrote both Crash and Million Dollar Baby on spec and you won an Oscar for both of them . . .”

And Haggis answers: “Well, I could have said to myself ‘what kind of movies can I write that I know studios would be interested in’, but I chose not to.  I didn’t want to do that.  I wanted to write something that meant something to me.”

Then he continues, “I think that’s one of the biggest mistakes writers make, when they write something.  Whenever I go speak at colleges or schools and I give the speech about how you should always write from the heart, someone will always raise their hand and ask ‘What kind of movies are studios looking for?” And I tell them ‘no stop, stop, – stop thinking that right now.  The really good producers aren’t looking for that anyway.  They’re looking for an individual voice.  They’re looking for a fresh story that moves them.  And if you start asking yourself ‘what do studios want, and write that – Then you’re never going to reach down to that great place where you discover great stories.

And sadly a lot of agents do that too – where they say to their clients, “Oh, this is what studios are looking for” – But I don’t think if writers write that, the studios will find that in you.  It’s sort of happenstance that they find that.

You’ve got to resist the temptation to do something for the wrong reasons like money or what others want.  You have to know that what you do is something that you care about and you want to say something about.  Always write from your gut no matter what they project is – always believe that question you’re asking yourself is worth answering or trying to answer.  That it is worth it (or important) to you personally.”  (paraphrased)

(end quote)

I think he’s words are not only limited to screenwriting.  I believe it applies to every form of creativity and art.  Whether you’re an author of both fiction and non-fiction, or whether you’re a speaker or a pastor, or a musician or song writer or an entrepreneur or filmmaker or even a blogger – No matter what it is you do – I believe Paul’s words are critical to remember as you seek to create  something for the world.

In some ways I believe whatever project you’re getting ready to do- the book, the novel, the song, the sermon, the blog post, the film – has to choose you.  Something that screams at you from the inside, instead of being concerned what other people would like or want.  You have to find that creative core that comes from your heart, your passion, your unshakeable conviction about something.

Why is this important?  Because every artist – whether you’re a writer, musician, leaders, pastor or painter – wants to be successful at what they do.  And often our desire for success clouds are judgment and creativity.  Because we begin to ask ourselves, “what have others done that’ve became successful,” or “what can I do that others will like?”  When really, we should be true to what we care most about.

Of course, the risk is that some people will not care about what you care about – many may not particularly go crazy over your song, or novel or book or sermon.  But you have to be true to yourself.

2 people that come to mind when I think about this principle are:  Louie Giglio and  John C. Maxwell.  Both of these succesful people have been true to what they are most passionate about.  Everything Louie does comes from that creative core of his passion for God and making Him famous in the earth.  Everything John Maxwell does comes from that central core and passion of leadership and personal development.

So, how do you know what you are supposed to create?  Look inside and ask yourself:  What do I care about most?  What am I most passionate about?  What would I do if I did not think what other people wanted or would like?  Those questions will lead you to that creative core – that will unlock your creative potential.

Think of Chris Tomlin, Hillsong United, Margaret Feinberg, Andy Stanley and even Blake Mycoskie, founder of TOMS SHOES – they all do their art, their creativity, from the center of their passion.

So what are your passions that drive you deep inside?  Because I believe those are an indication of what your mark should be in the world.

 

 

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“As artists, we have to be brave. If we aren’t brave, we aren’t artists.”

-Paul Haggis

February 4, 2011

THE THING THAT MAKES ANDY STANLEY BRILLIANT

 

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“WHAT MAKES ANDY STANLEY BRILLIANT IS NOT SO MUCH HIS GIFT OF LEADERSHIP BUT HIS EXTENSIVE KNOWLEDGE OF LEADERSHIP.”

 

What is the key ingredient that separates world-class leaders from everyone else?  Or let me ask it another way: What made Jack Welch such a master CEO compared to the thousands of other CEO’s working in America during the 1990′s?  According to 3 researchers who study expert performance, the key ingredient is only one main thing; knowledge.  Not knowledge in the general sense, but as in Jack Welch’s case, a certain kind of knowledge – detailed, thorough, specialized knowledge about GE’s work and industries, and organizational leadership.  In other words, Jack Welch simply knew more than other CEO’s working in the 1990′s.

“The most important ingredient in any expert system is knowledge,” says the research team of Bruce G. Buchanan, Randall Davis, and Edward A. Feigenbaum.  In other words, according to the researchers, what makes a leader like, say, Andy Stanley brilliant, is not so much his general ‘gift of leadership’ or his charisma, but “the most important ingredient in [Andy Stanley’s] expert system is his knowledge.”  And again, as with Jack Welch- a certain kind of knowledge.  Not just general knowledge about Church leadership, but  a certain kind of knowledge: specialized, detailed knowledge about organizational and Church leadership.   According to these researchers, what makes Andy Stanley a world-class leader is his in-depth knowledge about his -Church leadership- work that he has cultivated over years, through both acquired learning (books etc.) and personal experience.  In other words, like Jack Welch, Andy Stanley simplyknows more than other leaders.

If you think about it, it makes perfect sense:  As anyone who’s ever heard Andy Stanley speak at a leadership conference can testify – his knowledgeabout leadership is simply outstanding.  It includes everything from organizational systems, moral influence, team dynamics, playing to one’s strengths, open-handed leadership, his ability to communicate complex ideas easily, his understanding of how pride can undermine one’s own leadership potential, to understanding the role vision plays in an organization, working with his Church staff through leadership training materials, and empowering and unleashing other leaders in one’s organization.

So according to these researchers, all Andy Stanley’s superior leadership ability through the success of North Point Community Church, is the fruit of his knowledge:  Now where did he get all his knowledge you may ask? From his time at seminary, reading books, attending conferences, his research for the books he writes, developing staff training programs, his personal leadership experience, his nurturing relationships with remarkable leaders like his dad, Charles Stanley, and John C. Maxwell, and others.  All of these resources have allowed him to cultivate his extensive body of knowledge. And, according to the researchers, all this knowledge has enabled him to become a world-class leader.  The researchers summarized their finding by saying it appears that, “In the knowledge resides the power.”

 

So what knowledge have you accumulated today?  For remember: in your knowledge resides your power.

 

 

courtesy of Colvin.

 

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February 4, 2011

TIM TEBOW: THE FACE OF THE MISSIONARY GENERATION

 

 

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It’s official The Florida Gators are the 2009 College Football Championships! Go Gators.  The first half of play by the Gators was a bit iffy, but they gathered themselves during half-time, and came back to thrash a strong but unpolished Oklahoma Sooners.  Beyond the game, though there was one other star of the evening who stood out head-and-shoulders above anyone else: and that’s Tim Tebow.

 

It’s just phenomenal the respect this guy engenders from the Gator Nation, the student body of the University of Florida, coaches, teammates, fans, commentators and other observers of football, alike.  On top of that he’s been the recipient of all sorts of awards and honors and accolades, including the prestigious Heisman Trophy Award.  He’s considered one of the best players in in College football, period.  But one particular comment during tonight’s game, caught my attention: when one of the game’s commentators remarked at how much missionary and humanitarian work Tebow has done in some of the poorest countries in the world, including Croatia, Thailand and the Phillipines, where Tebow was born.

 

But the thing that surprised me, was that the commentator was so amazed at all the humanitarian work Tebow had done so far yet he’s only 21. And here’s why I was surprised at the commentator’s awe: compared to other College-age Christians Tebow is not that exceptional.  He is part of what I like to refer to as the ‘Missionary Generation’ that is sweeping America: This generation is made up of scores of talented and bright Christians who are are giving up opportunites to go to some of the most prestigious colleges, for the chance to go to unknown Christian Colleges all over America- and to be around other young people who share their passion for God.

 

They’re giving up their Spring breaks and Summers to serve the poor in Costa Rica, and to carry rubble and debris in New Orleans, and to dig wells in Africa.  And they’re setting a new standard for everyone around them.

 

They’re some of the most talented individuals, who are turning their backs on the most attractive careers, and are heading straight into missionary work.  And here I’m using the term ‘missionary work’ very broadly.  I’m referring to the most general and broadest aspects of the term.

 

But one thing is clear; these passionate lovers of God are a new breed and live by a radical new standard.

 

Instead of  going into corporate America, and the normal hunt for riches and materialism, they are choosing careers as foreign missionaries, community developers who are starting their own non-profit organizations and businesses, and choosing to work as staff at other Christian organizations and Churches.  They’re putting their gifts to work in the kingdom in the most creative and innovative ways.

 

And it made me proud to see these young people get such a public nod, for when the commentators praised Tim Tebow for his humanitarian work, they were also saluting the sacrifices of this missionary gnereation.

 

And the best part of all?  This missionary generation is not only made up of Christian College Students.  It includes next-gen pastors, social entrepreneurs, like Jamie Tworkowski of TO WRITE LOVE ON HER ARMS, and Blake Mycoskie of TOMS Shoes.  It also includes, stars like Catherine Rohr who gave up a career on Wall Street to work with Prisoners in Texas, and leaders like Louie Giglio and  Gabe Lyons, and visionaries like Cameron Strang of RELEVANT Magazine.  As well as the numerous Christian bloggers like Anne Jackson, doing their thing and showing people where life can be found; and the countless young leaders leaving corporate America to plant Churches and give birth to new cultures.  And the many many others like them, who are abandoning the corporate ladder, and starting their own ladders, and their own movements, that are birthed in their passion to impact this generation with the truth.

 

So, by all accounts it seems that Tim Tebow has emerged as the face of this subversive movement that is changing the spiritual landscape of North America.  Who would have thought, you could influence others simply by playing college football.

 

 

 

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February 4, 2011

FRANCIS CHAN ON ”GOD IS FAIR AND JUST”

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Francis Chan made a comment in his hit book “CRAZY LOVE” that just cracked me up.

In a section entitled, “God Is Fair and Just” He says:

“God is the only Being who is good, and the standards are set by Him.  Because God hates sin, He has to punish of sin.  Maybe that’s not an appealing standard.  But to put it bluntly, when you get your own universe, you can make you own standards.”

 

Ha! Say what? . . . .  ”when you get your own universe, you can make your own standards.”

Imagine saying that to someone who’s not a Christian. “Hey John – I really don’t think you should be sleeping around any more.  Because after all, you are living in God’s universe.  And when you get your own universe you can make your own standards.”

 

For some reason I don’t think that’s very inviting way of sharing your faith. But you cannot deny that that line does pack a punch . . . because it’s true.

 

So, know of anyone who got their own universe lately? Email Francis Chan at: pleasedontemailfrancischanaboutyourownuniverse@nosillyemailsplease.com*

 

 

*not really his email.

 

 

February 4, 2011

“FROM AROUND THE BLOGOSPHERE: Craig Groeschel, Anne Jackson, Pete Wilson etc.: Some Posts That Are Note-Worthy . . .”

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Saw a few posts this week worth noting:

 

1.  ANNE JACKSON:   Blogger extraordinaire.

Anne did a post this week called, “Head Into The Dark…”  that was both moving and uneasy at the same time.  Anne’s honesty and transparency are truly remarkable. Exhibit A:

“Christmas time was hard for me (for a variety of reasons that are personal) and I felt isolated…it wasn’t because people were ignoring me, but because of choices I made to isolate myself.  I felt too insecure to share the darkness I was experiencing. . . ”

You can’t get anymore personal than that.  More than 68 comments and counting.  Her radical honesty is touching many.  Gotta Love Anne Jackson.

2.  CRAIG GROESCHEL: One of the reasons God is raising Groeschel up to be a leader of leaders, I believe,  is because of his incredible humility, and his commitmmnet to serve others in building the kingdom.  Here’s what I mean: In one post this week entiteld, “The Differences I’m Thankful For”  Groeschel had this to say:

“I’m thankful for the:

  • Social conscious of the United Methodists.
  • Emphasis on being born again from the Baptists.
  • Focus on holiness from the Nazarenes.
  • Power of the Holy Spirit in the Charismatics.
  • Evangelistic hearts of the seeker sensitive leaders.
  • Message of grace from the Lutherans.
  • Attention to right doctrine from the Bible Church leaders.
  • Heartfelt worship from Pentecostals.
  • …and much more more!

I’m thankful that God uses different Christian Churches as His light in a dark world!”

That’s a statement from a man who knows what humility is.

3.  CARLOS WHITAKER: Los Wit, as he calls himself, did a short but gut-wrenching confession on his blog this week, in a post called “The Bride of Christ” where he shared:

“I work for a church
I spend the day thinking and processing things that reach people for His name’s sake.
I had 7 meetings today.
Strategizing, planning, and critiquing.
I prayed in none of them.
Actually I did.
For the unhealthy food I was about to eat for lunch.
And for 5 seconds.
I shudder at the tears He cried as I allowed my serving Him to replace my knowing Him.
Lest we forget.
Los”

Wow.  say no more.

4.  PETE WILSON:  Pete did a post entitled “Be The Church” past this week where he said:

“Yesterday someone read a quote from my message on Sunday which Jenni had put on her blog. The quote was,

“We need to stop playing church and start being the church.”

This person contacted me and asked me what I really meant. A quote of that nature probably deserves further clarification.

It means we need to stop arguing about style of worship and get concerned about the poor and hungry around the world.

It means we need to spend less time gossiping about others and more time allowing God to break our hearts over the people in our cities who are facing an eternity apart from Christ.”

Thought-provoking stuff.

Notice any themes here?  For me it’s:  look outside yourself.  Others are hurting, and trying to be more and do more for Christ, so give them a break.  There’s more to life than our self-absorbed bubbles.

In the words of Switchfoot:

“Life is more than fame and rock and roll and thrills,
All the riches of the kings end up in wills
We’ve got information in the information age
but do we know what life is outside of our convenient Lexus cages?”

– “GONE”

Switchfoot

February 4, 2011

ERWIN MCMANUS WOULD BE PROUD OF THIS LITTLE BOY !!

I saw this piece of news a few days ago, and it just cracked me up:

 

“SIX-YEAR OLD DRIVES CAR!”

 

“A six-year-old boy who missed his school bus hopped into the family car and drove alone 16 kilometres to school before losing control and crashing but escaping with only minor injuries, police said on Wednesday.

“It’s not only one miracle, it’s a multiple array of miracles” that allowed the boy from Wicomico Church, in the US state of Virginia, to avoid serious injury to himself or others, Northumberland county Sheriff Chuck Wilkins told AFP.

The boy took the keys to a 2005 Ford Taurus early on Monday while his mother was sleeping, and drove, possibly standing up, “during our busiest time of the day, when all the school buses are going, passing two or three cars at a time, and went over a bridge and almost made it to school” before striking a utility pole, Wilkins said.”

 

(end quote)

 

You can read the whole piece here.

 

I just died reading that it was so funny.

 

The reason I say Erwin McManus would be so proud of this boy is because of one Erwin’s chapters in his latetest book, “WIDE AWAKE.”

 

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In one of his chapters Erwin wrote a piece that still has me reeling, it was so profound.  He talked about being adaptable.  His main idea was that on the path toward pursuing our dreams, we will HAVE to be adaptable:  when we come to an obstacle or an unexpected hurdle, we need to be able to adapt and get around it, instead of just giving up.  It’s the same thing that William P. Young, author of “THE SHACK” did.  When every publisher rejected his book he started a publishing company with 2 of his friends and released his own book.  To it me it such a powerful truth: learning to be adaptable because we can never control what comes our way.

 

And that’s exactly what this little 6 year-old did- He missed his school bus and drove himself to school.  Erwin would love this story.  What an example:  do whatever it takes to get to your dream:  Even if it means driving standing up.

 


 

February 4, 2011

THIS GUY MUST BE LOUIE GIGLIO’S BIGGEST FAN!

I saw this picture not too long ago and I’m convinced that this guy is Louie Giglio’s biggest fan.

 

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This guy, I think his name is Jake, is showing Louie Giglio his tattoo – which happens to be a quote from Louie himself that this guy tattooed on his arm. Louie’s taking a picture of the tattoo with his cell phone.

 

Can you imagine doing that?

 

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Would you ever go so far as to tattoo a quote from your favorite speaker or author on your body?

 

 

February 4, 2011

Shane Claiborne Author The Irresistible Revolution The Simple Way Joins Twitter

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Shane Claiborne joined twitter a few days ago.  So excited to hear this news.

His first tweet:

“This is the real Shane Claiborne. Here we go!”

Then characteristic Claiborne way, he’s next week.

“Most good things have been said far too many times and just need to be lived.”

I’m looking at you retweeters.

February 4, 2011

MEET LANNY DONOHO – MC OF CATALYST CONFERENCE AND BIG STUF CAMPS

If you don’t know who Lanny Donho is, then you’ve got to ask somebody.

He’s the legendary MC of Catalyst Conference, a comedian, but one thing people may not realize about him right off the bat is that he’s an incredible visionary leader  who has a huge heart to serve the kingdom of God.  As is evident through the work of his organization Big Stuf Campswhere they run different camps for high schoolers throughout the summer, and now with his newest project the 4:10 Bridge, where he’s seeking to build relationships with Churches in North America with local Churches in Kenya. An absolutely brilliant idea if you ask me.  That vision and courage alone demands a ton of respect.

Listen to how they describe the 4:10 Bridge on their website:

“At the 410 Bridge, we believe that our personal relationship with God is directly proportionate to our service to His people. He has commanded us to use what is given to us to serve His people, and this command is the crux of our organization.  We share a heart for the nation of Kenya and a passion to build lasting relationships with the people we encounter there in an effort to help spur them on to change. We believe that a network of committed U.S. churches partnering with communities and villages in a single country in Africa can make a difference. We believe that this focused, single country approach will not only change the lives of God’s children in Africa, but also transform the hearts and minds of the American church through service to His Kingdom.”

To that I say wow, wow, wow. Where do I sign up ?

As I mentioned above,  Lanny’s also a hilarious – I mean laugh-out-loud-ow-my stomach-hurts-I-stop-making-me-laugh –  funny.  Here’s one video where he displays this gift.  Best of all, he’s funny even when he’s not trying to be.

Oh, and he’s also the author of “GOD’S BLOGS: Insights From His Site”

So readers, meet Lanny Donoho.  You can also check out his blog here.

 

 

February 4, 2011

A REALLY COOL TAKE ON CHARACTER BY ERWIN MCMANUS

I’ve been reading Erwin McManus’ “CHASING DAYLIGHT” the past few days, and he wrote something about character that I really liked.

 

He says :

“There are endless possibilities waiting for us [in life] .  And much of the life that God longs for us to live is just one choice away, [yet] so much of the fullness that Jesus promises us is lost at the character level.  When we sacrifice our character, when we choose a path that lacks integrity, we are trying to take life into our own hands.  It is a declaration that we do not trust the way of God.”

 

Ouch.

 

February 4, 2011

MAKE THE MOST OF 2011: Advice From Michael Dell

This year instead of flimsy resolutions that are more dinner conversation fodder than real-life changes for me.  I have adopted a new strategy about how to make the most this new year.  And I got it from Michael Dell.

In 1986 Michael Dell was 21 years and Dell Computer was 3 years old.  Dell was doing $60 million in sales every year.  Business was booming, but Michael Dell was unsure what would come next for the company.

 

To better think about the future of DELL and map the future of this fledgling company, Michael Dell called a brain-storming meeting in the California wine country in the Fall of ’86, for key company executives and thought leaders from both inside and outside the industry to figure out best to grow the the business and make the most of the future.

 

They came together to answer 5 crucial questions that Dell himself chose.  They were :

1.  Where is the company today?

2.  What do we think it will become?

3.  Where do we want it to go?

4.  What are the opportunities that can take us there?

5.  And how can we take advantage of them?

 

They came away with a wish-list listing 131 goals they wanted to achieve as a company over the next several decades.

Today, 22 years after that critical meeting, Dell Computer generates more than $61 billion in revenue and employees more than 82,000 people around the world.  And Michael Dell himself has a personal networth of $17 billion, and is the world’s 11th richest man.

 

I think it’s fair to say those 5 questions are worth all of us asking ourselves if we’re ever to make the most of the future, and particularly this new year.

 

For me, the answer to all those questions are 2 words: deliberate practice.*

 

What are your answers to the above questions?

 

 

February 4, 2011

Phil Wickham FREE Worship Album Download!

 

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One of my favorite worship leaders around is Phil Wickham.  I saw him perform live a few months ago, and was just blown away by this guy’s talent both as a songwriter and live performer.  He’s out of San Deigo. Best of all, Phil is the kind of artist whose music gets better and better the more you listen to it.  I have no doubt that he could be the next Chris Tomlin if he maintains his current momentum.  If you haven’t checked him out – you’ll be so happy you found out about him. You’ll see.

But the good news is that I was on his website a few days ago and noticed that he’s offering a free download of his live worship album called “Sing Along” that was recorded with a live audience of 3,000 worshippers.  The album got 8,000 downloads the first week it became available.

Here’s what Phil had to say about this album:

“This record has been something that I have wanted to do for a long time and finally on May 9th this year, I was able to do a show in Portland, Oregon with just me and a guitar and record it. The album artwork is simply the faces that were sent in to my blog from people that either attended the show or watched the show as it was broadcast on my blog. Thank you all for being a part of it.”

I’ve been listening to this album non-stop since I downloaded it last week. I have no doubt you’ll love it.

The album is available for FREE at his website.  You can download it here.

In case you’ve never heard of Phil or heard any of his songs before, here’s a video of his song “The Day That True Love Died.” One of my favorites.

Enjoy.

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February 4, 2011

Donald Miller On His Writing Habits: “I’m Extremely Disciplined. At 4 a.m. every morning I jog!”

Saw a cool interview on Donald Miller’s blog the other day.  Miller is the author of the cult favorite “Blue Like Jazz” that has sold more than 1 million copies to date.  His new book, slated for a Fall 09 release, is called“A Million Miles In A Thousand Years.” From what I can tell it sounds like the inspiration for this new release came from the experience of trying to adapt “Blue Like Jazz” into a screenplay a few years ago. Seems like that was a life-changing experience for Miller, as he came to see just how boring and unexciting his life has been so far – and this birthed a longing in his heart to be more and do more with the rest of his life.  So his new book chronicles his journey of trying to live a better story.  It’s an experience all of us identify with – the desire to be all we can be for God.  This new resolve caused him to make quite a few changes in his life, as well as attempt new things, for example, he increased his efforts with his mentoring organization for kids without fathers, as well as a bunch of other things he did in response to wanting to live differently.

 

But the part of the interview that I found really interesting was when the interviewer asked him about his writing habits.  I’ve always been curious about how much time he spends writing, and for how long etc.

 

I thought it was interesting, that he only writes for a few weeks at a time.  Fairly seasonal, in a way. Interesting – every writer has their own habits and writing schedule, so it was interesting to hear Miller describe his.

 

Here’s The Excerpt:

 

Tell me about your writing process. Are you disciplined?

Extremely. At 4 a.m. every morning I jog. [laughs]. No, it’s seasonal. I block out weeks at a time, so I’m in a writing mode now. And that’s the only thing that really works for me. If it gets really hectic around the house, a friend has a cabin on Orcas Island and I’ll go up. And it’s a beautiful place, but I hate being there because it’s just so lonely and I like people around. But it’s unfortunately productive. And so a lot of times I have to go up there.

And the other thing is I just have to turn off the phone. I get up, I usually take the dogs for a walk, come in and for the next several hours will kind of wrestle with the book, which means I do a lot of reading. And at some point I force myself to sit down—because I never want to—and within about five minutes I’m lost in the book. I’m really enjoying it. Which is just weird: to enjoy something so much and not actually want to do it. I think it’s because every fourth or fifth writing session is so bad. I can’t get the words to go where I want them to go. It creates a fear that that’s going to happen again.

 

Miller also posted an excerpt from his new book on his blog – you can check it out here.

 

February 4, 2011

IS BLAKE MYCOSKIE A CHRISTIAN ?

Everyday I get a ton of people coming to my blog with the question, “Is Blake Mycoskie (the founder of TOMS Shoes) a Christian ?

And the answer is YES, to the best of my knowledge he is.  Well-known Christian author and Pastor, Erwin McManus, who pastors Mosaic Los Angeles mentioned in an interview with the Catalyst Conference podcast a few months ago that Blake Mycoskie is a member of his Church (or at least attends Church there).  Also Blake is very good friends with a number of well-known Christian leaders and well-known personalities, and he speaks, and is a regular feature, at numerous Christian events every year.

So take heart, Blake Mycoskie is a Christian.

 

February 4, 2011

FRANCIS CHAN’S “CRAZY LOVE” SALES TOP HALF A MILLION

Congratulations to Speaker and Pastor extraordinaire Francis Chan. According to publisher David Cook, Chan’s debut book “CRAZY LOVE”has sold more than 500,000 in just over 12 months.

There are some successes that are simply the result of God’s favor and orchestration and I truly believe the success of Chan’s book is one of those instances.  And I am convinced that this book is only getting started, I predict it’s going to follow “The Shack” as a mega bestseller with eventual sales that will top millions of copies sold.

Here’s the official press release:

“Since its release in May 2008, Crazy Love, by author and pastor Francis Chan, has sold well over 500,000 copies.

Crazy Love is Chan’s first book published by David C. Cook. “We have received so much positive feedback about Crazy Love. This is a book that readers can’t wait to share with their friends, whether in the structured environment of a small group study, through social networks, or over coffee,” says Ryan Dunham, senior VP of sales and marketing for David C. Cook. “At David C. Cook, our ultimate mission is to transform the lives of people around the world, and this book is a perfect example of that transformation. Crazy Love readers are making radical changes in their lifestyles, their giving, and their approach to God. We are thankful and proud to have Francis Chan as a Cook author and of the way Crazy Lovecontinues to minister to the body of Christ.””

 

February 4, 2011

ENGAGE Atlanta: Atlanta Churches Work Together To Serve Local Community

Through a new initative called Engage Atlanta.

February 3, 2011

MARK BATTERSON, Author of “In A Pit With A Lion,” “Wild Goose Chase” and ”Soulprint:” ‘God Doesn’t Want Another Billy Graham!’

To Christians who think they have to be carbon copies of someone else, Mark Batterson wants to tell them: stop trying to be someone else and discover who God made you to be.

“I think a lot of Christians feel like they have to be more like Billy Graham or Mother Teresa. The truth is you have to be more like you, like the person God has uniquely created you to be,” Batterson, pastor of the National Community Church (more popularly known as “the theater church”), in Washington D.C., told The Christian Post.

“When you come to understand that then that’s pretty exciting,” he said. “The fact that there has never been and never will be anyone like you is not a testament to you but a testament to the God who created you.”

In his thoughtful new book, Soulprint: Discovering Your Divine Destiny, Batterson takes readers on a journey to help them unravel what he calls a “soulprint.”

Just like no two finger prints are alike, he makes a case that each person has a unique “soulprint” which functions like spiritual DNA in hardwiring them to live out a unique God-given identity and destiny.

“It’s who God has destined you to become from the inside out,” writes Batterson in his fifth book. “Not unlike your genetic code that programs your physical anatomy, your soulprint hardwires your true identity and true destiny.”

Using David’s life and his own as a framework, Batterson reveals how God uses circumstances –especially the darkest, most private, and most embarrassing ones – to chisel us into a reflection of His image.

By looking in retrospect with God’s eyes, readers can see that their disadvantages actually honed unique talents and gifts like David who was trained to defeat Goliath while he was still a simple shepherd boy protecting his flock.

“Every past experience is preparation for some future opportunity,” writes Batterson.

When it comes to the past, he says we can either let the complications or mistakes, from death to divorce, rule our identity or instead we can choose to set them up as “lifesymbols” that mark our spiritual milestones. All it takes is having “holy hindsight” to interpret experiences, whether positive or negative, as sources of empowerment.

He said his favorite chapter of the book is “Crags of the Wild Goats,” in which David demonstrates epic integrity by deciding against killing Saul in the shadows of the cave even when the opportunity and circumstances appeared right.

There are no cutting corners in finding your God-given destiny, according to Batterson. He said too often our culture celebrates people with for good looks, athletic talent or entertaining abilities, but integrity –doing what is right when no one is looking –goes neglected.

“Integrity is a good example of something we need to celebrate. It may not get celebrated in our culture but we need to make sure it gets celebrated in our churches so it’s something people aspire to even more than the external traffic to success,” said Batterson.

The 154-page book is not all serious talk. Batterson knows how to laugh at himself as he recounts his experiences throughout the book, from his ordination interview to the time a seven-member band performed for an audience of four people at his church.

Writing in his trademark conversational style, he applies the story of David’s life not just for 20-year-olds looking for a “self-help” book that will get them jumpstarted in life, but to people who might feel they’re already at the tail end of self-discovery process.

In one chapter of the book, Batterson explains how David didn’t let his sins and mistakes of adultery and murder define his present or future.

“You would think that David wouldn’t have much of a future in God’s purposes but the Scripture said that he is a man after God’s own heart,” remarked Batterson. “What happens is that we feel our mistakes disqualify us from the plan of God the grace of God. But change is the byproduct of the genuine repentance. You have to genuinely confess your sins and repent. If you do that, you come to terms with the fact that you can’t change your past but you can change your future.”

“If you are child of God then the grace of God defines you, not the mistakes you’ve made,” he continued. “It sure seems to me that God did some of his best work with those who honestly almost seemed like they made some irredeemable mistakes.”

One thing Batterson is clear about in his writing is that we cannot truly find out who we are until we know who God is. This is not a journey of self-discovery that we take with God tagging along, but it’s a path that leads to God. The conclusion of the winding trail is to bring glory to God through a one-of-a-kind life of worship and legacy.

“No one can worship God like me or for me,” said Batterson. “When people begin to understand that then they will take responsibility for the uniqueness given to them.”

 

 

February 3, 2011

Tim Keller: Spiritual and Secular Jobs are God’s Work

 

 

Pastor Tim Keller challenged a crowd of New York City professionals Sunday to rethink how they view work and to debunk the notion that spiritual vocations matter more to God than secular work.

Keller, founding pastor of Redeemer Presbyterian Church in Manhattan, explained why all work matters to God and why God matters to work in a lecture held at the Hunter College auditorium for members of the church’s vocation groups. The lecture is the fourth entry in an eight-part lecture series organized by the church’s Center for Faith and Work, which represents professionals from at least 15 industry sectors, including the arts, business and healthcare.
In making his case that all Christians are “priests” in their respective fields, Keller contrasted the approach to work by the medieval church and the radical reformation with that of the 16th century protestant reformer Martin Luther.
The Medieval Church took a “triumphalism” approach to society that attempted to dominate and make all things Christian where as those in the Radical Reformation encouraged “withdrawal” from society, which they believed to be “Satan’s world.”
Both approaches, according to Keller, had a tendency to look down on the work out in the world and only consider work in the church as God’s work.
He explained that Luther’s theology offered a “middle way” and a biblical approach to work, in which there was no dividing Christian work between “spiritual estate” and the “temporal estate.”

“He says, hey, do not say only people inside the church are doing God’s work. Oh no. We are all priests. Therefore, every Christian is doing God’s work,” said Keller, citing Luther’s reference to the passage in 1 Peter 2:9.
Keller said that God could easily give us His gifts without our help but it is through our works that He wishes to involve, train and include us as part of the family. Quoting Luther, he went on to point out that although man’s work is “child’s performance,” they are the “masks of God” by which He works.
“God doesn’t have to do it that way but He is. He’s loving you through other people’s work. He goes as far as to say that the baker and the farmer in work is God in disguise. These are the masks of God. God is loving you and distributing His gifts through work,” said Keller.
The New York pastor also put the value of work in perspective by looking at Jesus’ occupation.
“There is no menial work. Jesus came not as a philosopher, not as a general. He came as a carpenter,” said Keller. “The Bible says that all works matter to God. All works. Not just works that make money.”
Christians, meanwhile, should always reflect upon how God matters to their work, added Keller.
He cautioned against serving idols in work, whether it be profit in business or self-expression in art, instead of serving God.
Belief in the Gospel, according to Keller, should impact one’s motivation of work, work ethic and treatment of others around them in work. He urged listeners to continually gather together and through talks and prayer, accumulate wisdom on how God can have a greater impact in their field.
“You are in a very big city, New York. It is an exhausting city. It’s a very hard place to work. It’s a secular city so it’s very hard to bring your values onto the way you work,” said Keller. “Therefore, because of the power of the Gospel, I call you to think like a prophet, serve like a priest, and plan like a king. It means getting together to think, think, how does the preeminence of God reign in my field. It means serving each other and serving people around you in the city.”
The “Gospel & Culture” series seeks to prepare the congregation for effective engagement in the culture of NYC. Organized by the church’s Center for Faith and Work, the lecture series will be held one Sunday every month and will culminate with the first Faith & Work conference this fall.

 

 

 

February 3, 2011

Darlene Zschech Leaves Hillsong Church

 

 

Sad but happy news was made recently when Darlene Zchech announced and she and her husband were leaving Hillsong Church after 25 years.

 

Darlene and her husband Mark, are starting a new chapter as the new senior pastors of Hope Unlimited Church, located north of Sydney.

Though sad, the move signals a desire of the Zschechs to be more of a light in a local community.

“More than ever, I sense the responsibility as a Christian, to bring and be the felt expression of Christ into our communities, and into every sphere of life where we have a voice or influence,”

Darlene shared about the hard decision.

 

No word about whether Darlene will continue to appear on future Hillsong Albums.

 

Congrats Darlene and Mark, we are all so proud of you!

February 3, 2011

Steven Furtick: ‘You’re Not Francis Chan!’ (VIDEO)

 

 

A few months ago, Steven Furtick listened to a friend say he feels like such a bad Christian because, “Francis Chan had the faith to walk away from his church and kind of launch out into the unknown.”  “But,” Furtick’s friend lamented, ”I don’t have the faith like that to leave everything that’s comfortable to me and embrace something new.”

“The friend’s words Surprised me,” says Furtick.  “I thought it was weird that he’s standing there telling me ‘I don’t have the faith like that to leave everything that’s comfortable to me and to embrace something new,’ because I know this guy, I thought he was a great man of faith.”

The conversation bothered Furtick for months, so much that he said, “If I could go back, I’d tell him You’re not Francis Chan.”

Furtick explained his remarks by saying,

“Sometimes as a Christian you can be down on yourself because you’re in one certain position and you think ‘man, I’m not really making a difference here’ and you hear about somebody like Francis Chan … who gets up, leaves everything and goes.”

“But,” Furtick cautioned, “Sometimes, God gives you the faith to get up and go but other times God gives you the faith to stay put.  [God] might be calling you to stay in a place to do something very normal and that will be your greatest demonstration of faith – faithfulness.”

Then he ended, “You’re not Francis Chan and I’m not Francis Chan; you’re not Abraham (of the Old Testament).”

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February 3, 2011

Harper Collins To Publish New Tim Tebow Memoir

Tim Tebow is to release new memoir, entitled, “Through My Eyes” with Harper Collins.

The book is slated for a April 2011 release.

According to Harper the book will focus on Tebow’s five-year journey to college-football stardom and top-prospect status as an NFL pro.

Can’t wait to read this book.  God’s raised Tebow up in a special way.

February 3, 2011

THEY SAID WHAT?!?!$% Notable & Quotable On Twitter – Tweets That Shouldn’t Have Been – From Hillsong United’s Brooke Fraser

Brooke Fraser, beloved worship leader with Hillsong United, shared a new feat she pulled off with the world via Twitter.

Her first tweet was:

“Tonight I successfully peed in a portaloo in the pitch black, using only sound as my guide. Like a bat.”

Then  2 minutes later she added:

“I feel pretty good about it.”

Then 1 minute later she added:

“Thinking of you, Queenslanders.”

Don’t believe me?  See for yourself  www.twitter.com/brookefraser

* (‘pitch black,’ meaning very dark – in other words she was able to find her way around a Port-O-John in complete darkness)

February 3, 2011

FRANCIS CHAN: ‘God Called Me To San Francisco’

Francis Chan, perennial speaker and author of “Crazy Love” and shared at The Desiring God Pastors Conference on Tuesday, February 1, 2011, that he had relocated with his family to San Francisco.  Which sounded like a permanent move.  Chan had shared previously that he was unsure where exactly God would call him and his family to move after leaving Cornerstone Simi Valley, the Church Chan founded 16 years ago.

 

The Chan’s sold their house last fall (2010) in Simi Valley before visiting Asia for an extended stay visiting various ministries and orphanages.

 

So glad to hear about the move.  We’re all rooting for you Francis!


February 3, 2011

Bailee Madison, Little Girl In Adam Sandler’s New Movie “Just Go With It” Is A Christian (VIDEO)

 

By now you must’ve seen the trailer for Adam Sandler’s New Movie “JUST GO WITH IT” starring Jennifer Aniston.

Turns out the little girl in the movie with the dark hair is a Christian. (See her talk about her faith in the video below) Her name’s Bailee Madison. (not be confused with Sandler’s Classic Movie “Billy Madison”)

Here’s a hilarious scene of Madison and Sandler.

Here’s Bailee talking about her faith.

Pretty Cool.

February 3, 2011

Craig Groeschel, Bestselling Author Of “The Christian Atheist” To Release New Book ‘WEIRD’

 

 

 

Craig Groeschel, pastor of Lifechurch.tv, and bestselling author of “The Christian Atheist” announced that he’s releasing a new book entitled, “WEIRDBecause Normal Isn’t Working.”


The book is scheduled to release in Spring of 2011.

 

“The Christian Atheist” has also been picked up Wal-Mart to be carried in their stores which a huge accomplishment.

Congrats Craig!

February 3, 2011

PASSION CONFERENCE’S Kristian Stanfill Teams Up With Brandon Heath For New ‘Leaving Eden Tour’ Spring 2011

 

Just found out that Kristian Stanfill’s teaming up with recording artist Brandon Heath for the new Spring 2011 “Leaving Eden Tour.”  Heath just released his latest album by the same name, a week ago to wide acclaim.

 

Cities include Waco,TX, Panama City Beach, FL and Omaha,NE.

 

Stanfill’s star is definitely rising, 2 songs of his new album, Mountains Move, really signalled a big turn for me in his songwriting ability.  “Day After Day” and “Always”  are seriously two exceptional songs, especially live.  To me they are of the calibre you’d expect from David Crowder Band or Chris Tomlin.  So I was very impressed these songs when I heard them for the first time.

 

As a special bonus Heath will be doing a special acoustic session before the main event.  According to the press release:

“On this tour, Brandon will be hosting the Leaving Eden Soundcheck Session each night before the show. Leaving Eden Soundcheck Session participants will be treated to a unique acoustic performance from Brandon Heath before the general public is allowed in the building. Attendees will also get a limited edition Leaving Eden Soundcheck Session poster signed by Brandon that is only available to participants of the Soundcheck Session.

 

Concert goers are in for a treat.  Dave Barnes is also set to join Stanfill and Heath as supporting act.

 

February 3, 2011

Bible Verse Of The Day

“But I trust in your unfailing love. I will rejoice because you have rescued me.”

– PSALM 13:5

 

February 3, 2011

Ed Young Pastor Fellowship Church Dalla/Ft Worth Debuts New Sermon Series Based On The Twilight Phenomenon, “TWILIGHT: Modern Romance Meets True Love”

Ed Young debuted a new sermon series on love and romance recently based on the Twilight Series . . . and all the guys said . . .”ookkkaayyy???  I guess I’m staying home from Church on Sunday.”  Ed got a huge response when asking the crowd on the first day “Who here’s for Team Edward?” to mild cheers, then “Who’s for Team Jacob?”  and the cheers were a bit louder.  Then he asked “Who here couldn’t care less?” and the place erupted.  To that all the guys said . . . “Amen.”

According to the official description of the new series:

“As life unfolds along the path before us, we often find ourselves seeking connection, hope, love. But it’s more than a desire to find the right feeling. Our deepest desire is to know-and to be known. Ultimately, we want to discover the potential, the presence and the power of romance.

In this series, Ed Young takes a unique look at romance throughout Scripture. And he shows us the reality that true romance from God’s perspective is about much more than a fleeting feeling of infatuation. It’s the very thing that can help us experience love, meaning and direction every day.”

Part 1 & 2 is available on the Ed Young Podcast on iTunes or You can watch Part 2  on the Ed Young site here.

February 3, 2011

LECRAE: ‘It’s Me Against The (Hip Hop) World’ – Doin’ It Hard For The Glory Of God

 

I don’t know about you but usually when I think about the idea of Living For The Glory Of God, I think about singing a Chris Tomlin worship song maybe with my hands raised, and maybe a Louie Giglio talk.  Neatly pressed, familiar.  Suburban.

Now, what comes to your mind when you think about Hip Hop?  Exactly.  Now think about Hip Hop & The Glory Of God, doesn’t it seem like oil and water coming together.  Two things that should just remain separate.

Well enter Lecrae, an Atlanta-based Christian Hip Hop Rapper.  Who is single-handedly taking on the Hip Hop World.  In fact his retort to the hip hop world in his new single, “Chase That (Ambition)” is:

“Ay you can have the money, And you can have the fame
But me I want the Glory, I’m livin for the Name”

So move over.  Chris Tomlin.  Move over Louie Giglio.  Move over John Piper.  There’s a new voice rising, that’s extending beyond the conference halls of suburban audiences.  His name is Lecrae.

I loved the lyrics from the rest of the song I quoted above.  Definitely worth a read:

 

I’ll tell you whats better, or better yet worse
Chasin your own glory by doin the Lord’s work
So holla if it hurts
But we were made for greater
Our greatest satisfaction is making His Name famous
So if we’re never named among the greatest, (or) they don’t critically acclaim us
Aint nothing to be ashamed of
We gave it up for the Savior”

 

Say no more.

I’m a new Lecrae fan.

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February 3, 2011

MARTIN SMITH: ‘Delirious Getting Back Together!’

We just found out the news of the decade!   Iconic Christian Worship Band Delirious is getting back together!  And their first album back will feature all original material.

No word yet on a possible title for the album.  Get your tickets ready, because word is there’ll be a World Tour too.

for more information email:

thisisajokesodontemailme@whatkindofmadeupemailaddressisthis.com

*a guy can dream right?

February 3, 2011

Quote Of The Day

 

“Tonight I successfully peed in a portaloo in the pitch black, using only sound as my guide. Like a bat.”

Brooke Fraser via Twitter

February 3, 2011

Radical By David Platt Reaches Radical Sales: 500,000 Copies In Print After Only 10 Months! (VIDEO)

 

Huge congratulations to David Platt. CBA just announced that after only 10 months, “Radical: Taking Back Your Faith From The American Dream” now has 500,000 copies in print!

Platt’s publisher, WaterBrook Multnomah, is over the moon.

“We’re honored to be representing David Platt’s message and to have reached this milestone,” says WaterBrooks’s President, Steve Cobb. “David Platt is helping readers everywhere lead a life closer to the Gospel.”

We’re thrilled to hear how much God is blessing this book.  Congratulations David!

You can read an excerpt of Radical on Relevant Magazine’s website.

 

 

February 3, 2011

Word Of Wisdom Of The Day

Nothing is a waste of time if you use the experience wisely.
– Auguste Rodin

February 2, 2011

Andy Stanley: ‘First Lady Michelle Obama To Speak At North Point Community Church,’ Wednesday, February 9, 2011 4 p.m.

 

North Point Community Church announced to their volunteers today that First Lady Michelle Obama will make a special appearance at the Alpharetta Campus on Wednesday, February 9th, 2011.  It will be a ticketed event where the First Lady will address the issue of childhood obesity.  Andy Stanley shared with the staff a few days ago that the White House had called to request permission to have North Point host the event.  The White House staffers will arrive on Friday, February 4, 2011 to start preparations.  No details were provided about how to obtain tickets.


February 2, 2011

Louie Giglio & Passion City Church To Hold Second Ever Sunday Morning Service Super Bowl Sunday, February 6, 2011

Passion City Church, the Atlanta-based Church started by popular Christian speaker, Louie Giglio, will hold their second-ever Sunday morning service on Super Bowl Sunday – Feb 6, 2011, at the Tabernacle, in downtown Atlanta at 10:30 a.m.
It is the only Sunday morning service for the young Church, after its first Sunday morning service held on Easter Sunday 2010.   For more details see the Passion City Church website.
February 2, 2011

Download NEW Brett Younker ACOUSTIC EP for FREE

 

Brett Younker, worship leader at Louie Giglio’s Passion City Church, has just released a brand spankin’ new acoustic Live Worship EP called, “All Things New” and it’s available for free here.

My favorite song: “All Things New.”

Thanks Brett.

I’d grab mine now if I were you.

 

February 2, 2011

Why We Love Tim Tebow

 

 

A Picture Is Worth A Thousand Words.

 

February 2, 2011

Hillsong United’s Joel Houston Jams To Their New Worship CD “AFTERMATH” In His Car While The Rest Of The World Waits Patiently

Joel Houston, frontman of uber-popular Hillsong United took to Twitter this morning to share how awesome it’s been to rock out to the new Hillsong United Album AFTERMATH in his car,

“Been waiting so long for this moment!!!!” he gushed.

Then added he rubbed it in just a little bit more with, ” . . . best feeling ever . . . !”

Ouch Joel, that hurt man.  We’re all dying to hear the new album too.

I have to go scrape the salt out of my wounds now.