Worship Matters

My highlights from Chapter 9, all quoted from Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin.

  • In a single conversation (Jesus) relocated the place of worship from the Jerusalem temple to himself.
  • There's nothing about our worship of God that isn't defined or affected by Jesus Christ.
  • Most people haven't spent much time considering their need for a mediator in their relationship with God. That's because we grossly underestimate the gravity and offensiveness of our sin in light of God's infinite majesty, holiness, and justice.
  • God's perspective is different.
  •   Glorying in Jesus Christ means glorying in his cross.
  • Worship itself cannot lead us into God's presence, Only Jesus himself can bring us into God's presence, and he has done it through a single sacrifice that will never be repeated - only joyfully recounted and trusted in.
  • We need to remember that our access to God is not based on last week's performance, today's practices, or tomorrow's potential. Rather, we're accepted "in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6) and need have no fear of rejection as we come before God's throne.
  • Nothing against skill, practice, complexity, nuance, musicianship, or sincerity, but only the finished work of Christ makes our offerings of worship acceptable in God's eyes. What a relief!
  • It's not the excellence of our offering that makes our worship acceptable but the excellence of Christ.
  • The hosts of heaven never tire of extolling the Lamb who was slain. Should we?
  • One of the most important aspects of biblical worship we desperately need to recover today is a passionate, scripturally informed exaltation of Jesus Christ and his redemptive work.
  • ...one of our primary thoughts as we plan a Sunday meeting should be: Will our time together cause people's view of, trust in, and desire for God's glory in Christ and him crucified to increase? For a worship leader's preparation, focus, and evaluation, no question is more important.

Good stuff. I have a hard time finding a single statement that resonates more strongly than the others. But if I had to chose, it would be the last one. That is something I have to consider weekly.

Yep. Got it.

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iPhone. Got it.

Like it.

Lots.

Really.

Catch up - Excuses

I went off a little bit last week. You can read it here if you haven't already.

Byron and Tahd added to the discussion. But Byron posed some questions that may bear some thought. He said:

...what should our expectations be of people for "remembering the Sabbath....and forsaking not the assembly together....?" If we are to have forms that resonate with the varying cultures of our southern Milwaukee county and beyond, what does that look like? By the way, the "beyond" part invites everyone reading this out there to jump in with some opinions.

Do we just prepare the table of worship and hope people come? Do we ask people what they like, and only fix things they will consume? Do we offer a wide variety, buffet, that we know everyone can find at least something they like?

We busted Keith a little for feeling bummed that people didn't show up after lots of people work so hard to prepare His communion table. What should it look like? What would He have us do differently? Or does He expect us to come through the doors indignantly because people have not honored His place as a House of prayer and worship and rather they treat it as a den of iniquity where you choose to buy-in or opt out week to week, moment to moment?

So, what do you think? What should we expect from our Christian brothers and sisters when it comes to meeting together?

Your turn.

Catch Up

I took a bit of a break from Between Nut and Saddle over Christmas. I'll be catching up over the next couple of days.

For those who are here very often, you'll notice a change in the comment side of the site. I'm trying out Intense Debate. It allows for a better comment structure. You can reply to other comments, give a thumbs-up or thumbs-down to comments, as well as some cool features that tie the blogging community together a little bit. So check it out and let me know what you think.

I'll be addressing some former posts and trying to spur on some more discussion.

To that end, let me share a little of my vision for what a blog should be. There are plenty of people who are content to look at other people's conversations and leave it at that. If that's you, you may find that you gain somewhat from the experience. But ideally, a blog offers you a unique opportunity. Read, think, ponder, respond thoughtfully. This can benefit the whole community. We're not face-to-face, but when you post a comment you join in community on a whole different level and with people who may stretch you and who you may stretch too.

So... please, don't be afraid to comment. Don't think that your two cents are not valuable. They are.

I'll be adding several posts over the next day or two.

Join in...

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Worship Matters

Starting back in on chapter 9 tonight while I'm waiting at the church...

Email submission

Testing email submission of blog post from my iPhone.

Sent from my iPhone

Excuses, excuses...

It was cold this weekend.

Cold. I remember looking at the thermometer in the van. It read -2 at 3:30pm.

Cold.

But the roads were not bad for the most part. The plows did their job and the snow was a light powder anyway.

But what I have a hard time with is this. Total attendance was down by almost 200 this weekend.

I'm trying to understand why.

I'm guessing that some would say it was too cold to get out with their kids. But one of our singers came Sunday morning with her three kids and was here by 8 AM. My wife was here to serve in the nursery and made it here in one piece with our 2 yr old. And we had several families here with young babies. One newborn - about a week old. So that kind of shoots the "It's too cold to get our kids out" argument.

I was at the church at 6:30 AM on Sunday. The roads were in good shape around here. No argument there. Unless you live in the sticks and they don't plow. But, I'm pretty sure I saw some families here who live way out there.

I suppose there may have been some who have no garage and their car would not start due to the cold. I'll concede that one. But if it were me, I'd have some way to keep my car functioning so that I could get to work during the week and use that on the weekend too.

I guess what it comes down to is that there is always some excuse to which we could cling. Too cold. Too hot. Too wet. Too dry. Too busy. Too early. Too late. Too whatever.

In my mind, church has always been a commitment that ranks pretty high on my list. Unless I'm puking my guts out, or I physically cannot get to the building due to impassable streets, I'm going to get there.

But then, maybe my perspective is skewed.

How to - Keyboard

This is mainly for our sound and tech crews.

Here's an instructional video on how to set up our Keyboard. Nothing flashy, but now you know. : )


How to - Keyboard from Keith Barger on Vimeo.

Video Training

I'm feeling like an idiot.

I've got several things that I need to provide training on. But getting everyone together is exceedingly difficult.

Moments ago I witnessed Dave Wilcox on the Undistract blog provide simple, easily referenced training.

I'll be stealing this idea for all sorts of things around Harvest.

Yeah! for working smart!

Small changes

I changed my blog page today. Not a huge change, mind you. But a change nonetheless.

I found a 3 column version of the theme I had been using and tweaked it to make it work for me.

Small changes.

With the New Year fast approaching, I'm thinking about some small changes that I can make to make life better in '09. I'm not talking about massive overhaul or unreachable goals. Those things never work out. Small changes.

  • Working time back into my schedule to get to the gym more days than not.
  • Possibly getting rid of the hundreds of TV channels that we never watch at home.
  • Finishing home projects that I start...

These are a few things, small things, that I'm thinking about for '09.

What small changes could you make that would make a big impact in your life?

Worship in the Mourning

I sang and played guitar at a funeral last week for the father of a family here at Harvest.

Another family is dealing with the sudden loss of a father/grandfather who was a pastor for many years.

My good friend Brian is caring for his family while planning and preparing so that his father can die with dignity.

Brian posted this to his blog today. It is a powerful explanation of true worship.

Worship really must be a life-consuming activity. Heart and mind joined together so that all areas of our lives honor and bless God. We have to worship in all situations.

Worship in the Mourning.

Celebrating all of Christmas

You and I both know that this has little (if anything) to do with celebrating Christmas. It has everything to do with giving money to the power company.

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When we celebrate Christmas we are really celebrating God fulfilling His covenant with Abraham from Genesis 12 .

If you just celebrate the Birth of Jesus, thought wonderful, you fail to see the scope of the story. The birth is only a step toward the fulfillment of the covenant.

This year Harvest is working through Advent in a different way. Advent is about preparation. So, we're looking at how God prepared for the coming, and sacrifice, of Jesus.

  • God created the world. Everything is His.
  • God Called Abraham and made a covenant with him to create His people.
  • God called Moses to lead the Hebrews out of Egypt and in their journey they become God's nation.

That's where we left off this weekend. The Hebrews becoming a holy nation. A step toward the coming Christ.

I'm looking forward to the next couple gatherings. We'll continue to prepare for Christmas - remembering the larger story of God's work - and seeing how it all points to Jesus. His birth, life, death, and resurrection.

That's what Christmas is all about.

The ageless...

I just found my youth pastor on facebook.

David Manner is now 50 years old.

That just should not be!

Welcome to FB, David. Now, where's the KNCSB Music Guy Blog???

Between Nut and Saddle...

I occasionally get asked about the name of my blog. Understandable.

It's a guitar reference.

I've added a link on the side of my blog to help explain.

Hope this helps!

Creative solutions

Hadn't thought of this one...


Chick Refuses to Be Towed - The best bloopers are here

Thoughts?

Worship Matters

Taking a quick break from prepping this weeks message about Moses to post some initial comments on the read.

If you're considering coming along on this reading journey, here's a quote that sets up the book -

Worship matters. It matters to God because he is the one ultimately worthy of all worship. It matters to us because worshiping God is the reason for which we were created. And it matters to every worship leader, because we have no greater privilege than leading others to encounter the greatness of God. That's why it's so important to think carefully about what we do and why we do it.

I would add that this is not just for those called to be "worship leaders." We are all influencing others with our worship practice, be it in the church building or elsewhere. The world sees who or what we worship in ways that are often not obvious to us.

Bob relates some personal stories that end with a great realization -

If you were really hopeless, you'd stop trusting in yourself and what you can do and start trusting in what Jesus accomplished for you at the cross.

We all have to come to grips with his own idolatry.

Pride causes us to lose sight of what really matters.

How do we know God? In studying Scripture. Theology is not something we should shy away from. Rather it is something that brings us into greater understanding of God - and therefore, a greater capacity to worship Him. It's hard work. But it's worth it.

When the heart's affection and mind's attention are focused together on God, we are closer to true worship.

I haven't gotten very far in Worship Matters. But it's good so far.

No takers on the free copy yet. I'll give it until Friday. Then I'll open the free copy up to the larger body and see what happens.

Worship Matters

I had a quick thought before we shut the office down as the snow is deepening...

I've purchased an extra copy of "Worship Matters" by Bob Kauflin.

If you're a member of the Harvest Worship Team and want to read this along with me, I'll give you my extra copy.

But there will have to be some rules.

  1. Harvest Staff are excluded (sorry...)
  2. You must be currently serving in some capacity within Harvest Worship & Arts.
  3. You must be willing to read through the book and contribute to the conversation here at "Between Nut and Saddle"

Sound simple enough???

1st qualifying comment wins! (all others are encouraged to buy a copy and read along with us!)

Worship Matters

worship matters_400x606.shkl.jpgI've just started reading "Worship Matters" by Bob Kauflin.

It starts well, so I thought I'd start a little series on my thoughts/insights as I read through.

This will hopefully do several things. First, it will help me not to allow distractions to keep me from reading. Second, it will help me process what I've read. And third, it will hopefully spur some discussion here.

And perhaps, you'd like to buy a copy and join me?

So, I'll be starting on Wednesday with my initial impressions and work from there. At least once a week.

Worship Matters.

Birthday Presents

Yesterday was my birthday. And I've told my family that the best gift to get me is either cash or Apple Store gift cards.

There's not much I'm wanting in life. Usually, if I want it, I go get it.

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But Iphone is a fairly substantial purchase. So, I'm saving up for it. I'm a little over half-way there.

So, for anyone thinking of getting a gift for yours truly, Apple Store gift cards are the perfect choice.

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Pretty. Isn't it?

35 - 18

I dropped off my daughter with the sitter this morning and as I walked back to the car, I came to the realization that I am now half-way to 70. This really doesn't bother me. Really. We get older. I really have no problem with that.

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The strange thing is that as I was walking back to the car I felt very much like a kid. Like a teenager. Which is, I guess, how I see myself. Much of the time anyway. I'm wearing jeans, a thermal with a printed tee over it, and red Converse One-Stars. I don't feel like I'm fighting growing up. I've pretty well got growing up under my belt. I've been married 13 years. Got a 2-year-old and another on the way. I'm fully "adult".

Do you get to the point where you actually feel "adult"???

I haven't gotten to that point yet. And I hope I never do.

I always feel like I've got more to learn. I know that I'm not the best at anything. There's always someone better. Sad, but true.

Some things have changed. Responsibility changes some of our actions and choices. I don't drive like I used to. Though I'm still more likely to pass than be passed... I spend less. I would rather be home with my family than just about anything.

But some things have not changed. I still feel like the goofy kid who was never fully in the "in" crowd, but not fully out of it either. I would still rather laugh. I still try to find the fun in any situation. 'Cause if it's not fun, I'd rather do something else.

So, for this still-goofy 35-year-old, I hope I always feel this way. 35, going on 19.DSC_0011_400x250.shkl.JPG

Here comes the weekend

Getting ready for this weekend...

Leading at the Ladies Christmas Brunch. We do this each year, but have taken it off site this year. The band practiced last night and were excellent. As always...

I'm not leading at Harvest this weekend. Julie is leading and her rehearsal went great last night too. So, I'll be spending Saturday afternoon setting some things back up after the brunch. We've had to cannibalize our system a bit. So it's gotta go back together.

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Hopefully, I'll be finishing a desktop that I made about a week ago. Nice oak. Stain and clear and it'll be done. Then the install with shallow lower cabinet. Hopefully I can make some progress...

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no. not that kind of desktop

My daughter has super powers

Usually, Amelia is a sweet, beautiful little girl...

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Then inexplicably, she becomes a flaming ball of nastiness


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Today. Flaming ball of nastiness.

AAAAARRRRRRGGGGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!

virtual Community?

What is community?

Is it dependent on geography?

How is it created, sustained?

I found this post about community. It defines community as: "a group of people who form relationships over time by interacting regularly around shared experiences, which are of interest to all of them for varying individual reasons."

But he goes on to say, and I'd have to agree, that online community seems to be driven almost wholly by passion/interest, while physical communities seem to be less about passion and more about shared experience and commonality.

This has me thinking about passion and the communities in which I interact. Church, blogs, family, neighborhood...

What communities are you a part of?

Kansans...

I use Statcounter to keep up on stats for my blog. Pretty cool little tool. You can tell a lot of things about who's checking things out.

No surprise that lots of folks who keep up with Between Nut and Saddle are in the Milwaukee area. But, in looking at it lately, there are quite a few of you in Kansas who are following along too.

If you've got a second I'd love to know who's out there in Kansas. If that's you,

give a shout!

Baby Barger #2 - Pic #2














How cool is this?! You can see head, body, arms, legs...
Baby Barger #2

Saturday Night Reflections

It was a great kick-off to Advent tonight. We're taking a different look at advent. Specifically looking at major events throughout scripture and how they each serve to prepare for the coming of Jesus.

Tonight was about Creation. God's initial preparatory step.

We used Genesis 1 in a readers theater, interspersed with instrumental statements from O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Our Music and Drama teams were awesome! I hope that we were able to help people see creation anew. And I hope that we will all remember the importance of Advent - the importance of preparation for Christmas.

The more we can remind one another to inspect (and clean out) our lives, the better we'll be able to come to God in true worship.

Looking forward to see what He has in store between now and Christmas...

Ken

My friend Ken is a great guy. He's funny, he appreciates a fine burger, he is an aficionado of electronic gadgetry.

More than all these, Ken is truly creative. Prime example: Last Halloween Ken decided to go as Billy Ray Cyrus. But this was no ordinary costume. Ken decided on a course of action that many would shy from. Ken boldly went where only the reddest of necks has gone before. For many months, if not an entire year, Ken began to grow his hair - in order to more perfectly emulate the King of the Mullet. So that by the last day of October, Kens hair was truly Cyrusian in nature.

However, despite recent attempts, I have as yet been unable to obtain the photographic evidence needed to validate the year-long hair adventure.

So this post will serve as a calling-out, as it were.

Ken, we NEED the pictures. Please...

I gorged myself on ____________

(fill in the blank).

The Aftermath...

Mmmmmmm....












ours was tasty!

How was yours?

I'm Thankful...

for so many things. I have an amazing wife! Our daughter is the smartest and cutest girl I've ever met. I work at an awesome church with a great ministry and with some of the best people ever. Today I'm especially thankful that our family will be growing by one in July. What looks like a little grain of rice is our baby about two weeks ago.

God is good!

Birthday Time!

Today is my beautiful wife, Regina's birthday! We're heading out for Mongolian BBQ for dinner. Yummmm...!!! Post some Birthday wishes for Regina

Time Off?

I'm taking a couple days off this week.

That was the plan anyway.

But I ended up at the Management Team meeting on Monday night and I went in for staff meeting today. I'll probably end up making a video for this weekend's services sometime this week.

So, does that really count as time off?       Or am I just fooling myself??

I'm starting to think the later.

2" of Snow

It snowed about 2" this morning at my house.

That's not such a bad thing. Except that it was only 2".

If it's going to snow, I'd rather it be enough to pull out the new snow blower...

...I shoveled...

Weekend Recap

It was a busy weekend. Ray (R-Kaid)'s CD release party was Friday night at Harvest.

I helped the Young's move to a new house on Saturday morning.

With a guest speaker this weekend, I focused in on Thanksgiving. So, we covered Caedmon's Call's "Thankful". It went quite well. And I was surprised at how many people knew the song. I guess I shouldn't be surprised...it's a great song from some great musicians. Anyway, the rest of the set helped us focus in on God and His provision. Setting the stage for our Thanksgiving...

Hope your weekend went as well as mine.

You need a worship leader...

Carlos had a great, simple post that everyone should read.

Thanks Los!

How do you get your blogs?

Google Reader? Bloglines? Browsing to everybody's blog?

What?

Almighty $$$

We're all trying to save money now, right? Some of us are willing to go to greater lengths than others.

Regina and I have an on-again-off-again relationship with saving. It's moving back to on-again. And I'd like it to stay that way. But it's hard to balance the desire to live like we have for so long with the desire to live beneath our means.

Have you been successful at this?

How?

Life Soundtrack

I'm sure I'm not the only one who uses my music to provide a soundtrack for life.

Each day the music that is called for is slightly different depending on what's been going on. Sometimes there's no rhyme or reason to why a certain song/artist/genre is appropriate. Sometimes it makes absolute sense.

Today it really doesn't make sense to me, but Mutemath is the artist of the day. The groove is perfect. It's just enough behind the scenes. Not too much lyric. And just enough random noise. Perfect.

Tomorrow may be something completely different, like Chopin or The Black Crowes, Derek Webb or Foo Fighters. I won't know till it cues up and starts to play.

What's in your soundtrack today?

Too funny

I needed something to start the day off right today. Thankfully, John Voelz from Westwinds had the post of the day.

If you've ever sung in a choir, led a choir, seen a choir, or know someone who has - you NEED to check this out!

: )

Snowed yesterday.

What's your favorite thing to do in the snow???

Amelia woke up...


...and I can't get back to sleep. I hate it when this happens. Thankfully it is not that often. But when I have to get up out of bed, I have a hard time falling back to sleep. And tonight my brain is going strange places...

Much Better

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I'm sure it won't stay this way for long

I gotta clean...

...my office.

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It's a mess!

Weekend Recap

  • We've put a hold on getting Amelia into a Toddler bed. Not sure what I was thinking... this IS just about the busiest time of year. Sleep is at a premium.
  • We had a great weekend at Harvest. Child/Family dedication at the 10:30 service was nice. We borrowed an idea from John at the Vertizontal blog. They do some mad-creative things at Westwinds. The idea we stole in a nutshell: we are all connected. Even before we know it. We are connected to the children and families who were dedicated to God on Sunday. To help highlight that, Helen, our Children's Pastor, explained the idea. Then each person got a string and we spent some time greeting one another and helping tie strings on wrists. These were to help remind us to pray for the families and children. Hopefully it will stick with people...
  • We had an extended leadership meeting after the service on Sunday. I thought it went well. Props to Byron and his team for putting it together. BTW, thanks again for the cornbread. I miss southern cooking!
  • Went shopping at Target in the afternoon Sunday. Always a fun time. Looking at the toys and thinking toward Christmas.
  • It's stinking COLD. High of 36 degrees today. THIRTY SIX. I fear I'll be using the new snow-blower soon...


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Big Girl

We started Amelia in a toddler bed yesterday. Naptime and last night. Both were a struggle. She ended up back in her crib last night - after many attempts to get her back to sleep in the bed. We are tired.

You Deserve a Break Today!

This is undoubtedly the busiest time of year for just about everyone. At Harvest this is absolutely true.IMG_1045_400x300.shkl.JPG

I was talking with Julie about this fact this morning and she told me how overwhelmed she was feeling. I said

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"You know what we should do?"

she said "lock myself in my office and ignore everything else?"

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I said "no. We should all go out to lunch!"

Perfectly logical to me.

We were all feeling overwhelmed. So... I convinced everyone that we needed to go out to Chipotle for lunch.

It took some serious guilt tripping, but I accomplished a very difficult feat. Everyone who was here in the office went to Chipotle for lunch today.

We had fun. We laughed. We enjoyed the sunshine. It was good.

So, the moral of the story? Sometimes you gotta get out and take a break!

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Live, Laugh, Eat some really big burritos.

Peace

My little girl

She's growing up so fast! It's really cool. But it's a little sad at the same time...

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Life is good!

Advent

I'm planning Advent.

Not Christmas. Advent.

This is something that I wish people could understand. Christmas starts on Christmas. STARTS.

Advent is before Christmas. ADVENT = BEFORE.

Advent is about preparation and I'm really excited about the intention that we're putting into this years Advent celebrations. It's my goal to help people understand that we need to prepare spiritually for Christmas just like we prepare physically (shopping, decorating, singing the same 12 songs 8 billion times...)

We have to prepare our hearts for the miracle of Jesus birth. And for the reason for that birth. We have to look past the straw and manger to see the life, ministry, death and resurrection of Jesus. If we're not prepared it's just singing songs and buying presents.

This year - it's time to get prepared!

Otherwise, you may as well celebrate with Chewy.chewbacca.gif

Why I love Guitar Center

There are way too many reasons to list. I mean, you get to test-drive awesome gear. And they know you're just playing - not buying. And they don't care! That is awesome!

But today I met one of my drummers, Mike, at GC to pick up some gear and try to trade in some faulty equipment. One of the broken items is a DW snare stand. We bought it over 2 years ago. I can't find the receipt. The manager spent a good 25 minutes looking up our old purchases and sorting through the receipts (there are many!) to find the specific one we were looking for. All this so we could return a busted stand.

That, ladies and gentlemen, is service.

They went out of their way for us when they didn't have to. And what's more, the manager was apologetic that it took so long to find the receipt that we didn't have. From two years ago.

Thanks Guitar Center! You guys rock!

My Site

So, I've been putting a little time toward a website for myself. I guess maybe that's where some of my blogging time has gone. Still a little bit in the works... Here it is

Ecto spacing test

Having trouble with Ecto putting extra spaces between paragraphs

So, this

Is a

Test.

New blog tools

I'm trying out two new tools with my blog.

Ecto and Image Shackle.

The first is a lot like Mars Edit which I've tried in the past. Basically it's an offline blog editor/composer. Seems to work well. If it keeps doing what I need, I wouldn't have to log in to Blogger to post. Free trial. Don't know if I'll buy it yet.

The second is an image sizing tool that resizes and converts to .jpg. Runs in the Mac dashboard. So it's always available and easily accessible. This one's free.

What I would really like that I haven't found is a way to copy the style of my website onto my blog. I'm sure the ability exists out there somewhere. Hopefully I'll find it!

Coffee and Chocolate Milk

I got Amelia ready this morning and I asked her what she wanted for breakfast. She said we should go get coffee and chocolate milk. Which meant we should head to St.Arbucks and then go to the park by the lake.

So that's what we did.

Chocolate Milk

Chocolate milk and Coffee

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Southshore Park

I'm Back!

Yes. I've been out of the country, in outer space, under a rock, in a coma... I guess it's just been a time I didn't particularly want to share the expanses of my deep thoughts with the www. Oh, yes. I've got some deep thoughts from time to time. But I've been feeling rather introspective. So, the deep thoughts have remained deeply hidden. On Monday, my cousin Kevin chastised me for having not posted for so very long. I told him I'd get back to it. So, thanks Kev. You got me up off my bloggin butt. So, what have the deep thoughts been lately? How do we treat the last part of Mark 16? What is the scriptural relationship between salvation and baptism? Will we always live in the frozen north? Why can't I seem to finish the remodeling project I started 2 plus years ago? Why does motivation take so much work? Can a minivan be cool? Will Obama pay my salary next year along with my healthcare costs? Those are a few of the questions that are rattling around in the attic today. So, Kevin, I'll do my best to keep things moving here "where the action is."

Out of Office

It's strange, really. I find it increasingly difficult to focus and get things done while in the office. There are interruptions and habits that keep me busy, but not really productive. I've been keeping the office cleaner - in an effort to reduce distraction. But it hasn't really helped. I generally take one afternoon each week and head off-campus to a coffee shop to do some planning and prayer. I did this yesterday. I felt like I not only got done what I needed to, but I was able to spend some time in prayer and song to God. It was refreshing! What do you do/where do you go to be productive?

Saving money

We're trying to live on less. We've always lived at or (gasp!) a little over our means. It's a difficult thing to spend less than you could. But we're finding that it is doing a couple things.
  1. we're a little more content
  2. we're losing a little weight (not eating out all the time)
I'd like to be to the place where we're able to save one of Regina's paychecks every month. We're working on it! Gina bought groceries yesterday and spend less than $40 for the week! That is Awesome!

Shark!!!

Just got back from a dive. If you have never done it, I highly recommend that you try SCUBA if you ever get the chance. Unless you've done it, it's a little hard to understand. The feeling of breathing underwater while you're face to face with the fishes - pretty darn cool! Today we saw some really cool things:
  1. 2 sharks! (nurse sharks one was BIG and then a small one)
  2. Dolphins as we got in the water
  3. Some little jellyfish
Going on a night dive tonight - should be very cool. Last night they saw lobsters, shark, sea snake... Who knows what I'll see tonight!

Our Beach

video This ranks right up there with my favorite vacation spots. What's your favorite place to get away from it all???

No Problem...

We've had a couple days on Jamaica and it has been awesome! Second time to Couples Swept Away in Negril. Some highlights:
  1. floating in the ocean
  2. sleeping late
  3. sleeping in the middle of the day
  4. reading
  5. excellent food
  6. one scuba dive so far...
and a couple pics view from our veranda... the happy couple (yeah, I know. I'm working on the tan...) The weather has been great. A little rain in the late afternoon - perfect time to take a nap! Betcha wish you were here

The next step...

OK. So, if there is absolute moral standards exist, and secular music is not inherently evil. Is there a place for a straight (lyrics not changed) secular song in church? I've obviously got an opinion here, but I'd like to hear your thoughts before I throw my hat in the ring. Bring it on!

Christian vs Secular music...

Philippians 4:8. Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. NIV This is the verse that comes back to me when I have conversations about music in church. Specifically, christian vs secular music. In conversation, this verse is used to imply that we should only listen to "christian" music. And should only use "christian" music in our corporate gatherings. I struggle with this. I don't see that anywhere in the passage. And in context, it seems to say just the opposite. Paul is writing to the Philippians who are being persecuted severely. He is encouraging them not to throw in the towel in regards to the rest of the world. If you look back to the beginning of the chapter, Paul is encouraging the believers to get along. And to rejoice in all things, in good times and in bad, not to worry, and to pray. Then, we get to vs 8. He uses the word "whatever." Not "whatever - within your own church" or "whatever - in your own family." He says "whatever." In the context of the letter, he's got to be saying "look at the world and don't focus on the bad things. Focus on whatever is good..." I like the way the NIV Application Commentary puts it.
Paul's list of virtues in verse 8 assumes that the world contains many good qualities that merit the believer's consideration and affirmation. It also assumes that the pagan world has some notion of good and bad, right and wrong, duty and irresponsibility, beauty and ugliness, honor and shame... Paul assumes, in other words that absolute moral standards exist, that people other than Jews and Christians have affirmed them, and that the believer can benefit from pondering examples of them wherever they occur, even in the pagan world.
So, should we use only "christian" music? Should we listen to only "christian" music? What do you think???

I don't understand

why I am fine all day long but hungry like a bear in winter in the evening. It's killing me! Ran some yesterday after some weight work. Planning to do it again today. 4:00 @ Cardinal. Be there!

Losin It - week 4

OK. My slackerdom knows no bounds. It's Tuesday. I know. Last week. Held steady at a loss of 6 lbs. Strangely, the scale says that my fat content is going down. Guess the muscle really does weigh more. Ran once and that was it. I know some of you are doing well. Some are struggling. Keep at it. Hunger is not the enemy. Fat is the enemy. I'm done with fat.

Somebody must have been chasing me...

because I ran yesterday.
I always used to say that I don't run because nobody ever chases me. Somebody with a knife, a guy with a gun, Barney... I would run from them. But yesterday I pushed some weights and then walked over to the treadmill, stepped on, and ran. I ran slowly, but I ran. I did not run far. But I ran. I am proud a little proud. I ran about a mile and a half. Like I said, not far. But I can't remember the last time I ran for exercise. Before we moved anyway - 3 years at least. So, I brought my gym bag and I'm going to hit it again today. My legs hurt. But I'm going to run anyway. At least the same distance. Maybe more. The hard thing is convincing myself that someone is chasing me. I think I'll picture him... Scary!

My weakness...

I wish there were just one. But the biggest is sweets. Regina likes salty stuff much more. I like sweet. Thus, the ice cream and donuts this weekend. What's your weakness?

Losin it - week 3

OK. I'll admit it. I'm a slacker. Put it off on Saturday. Didn't do it Sunday. I'm finally on it today. I'm holding even from last time. I did really well this week until Thursday. We went out with friends to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. Ate too much. Then needed sweets. Dairy Queen and a med choc dipped cone. Saturday did great until after dinner and needed Dunkin Donuts. Oooh so good! Sunday, didn't do bad, but had pizza for dinner. I. Am. Bad. So, hitting the gym at 4:00 today if anyone wants to join me. Cardinal on Howell. How'd you do???

Thursday shots

Lots going on this week.
  • I've been working on an alternate Harvest web site. Basic, but functional and fairly attractive. I'll update when it's out for public consumption (if it goes that far).
  • Getting ready for my big project this weekend. I'm re-siding my garage. It's needed it pretty much since we bought the place 3 years ago. This weekend it's happening.
  • Next week is the Oak Creek 4th of July parade. We've got floats in it and I've got some work to do for one of them. Should be a great opportunity to increase Oak Creek's awareness of what's up here at Harvest.
  • We bought a new scale last weekend. It weighs 2lbs heavier than our old one. I'm not sure how that works, but I checked it a couple times. 2lbs. So, If I compensate for the new scale, I've lost 6 lbs as of this morning. 224 (adjusted) isn't bad. Hopefully I'll be at 223 by Saturday. That'll leave just 13 lbs in 9 weeks. If I can manage 2 lbs/week I'll be at 205 by the end of August. I'll really have to push it if I'm going to break the 200 barrier.
  • 6 weeks and 2 days till vacation. Can't wait!

Losin It - week 2

All right. If you're in on the challenge you need to weigh in today. So post up with
  1. your weekly weight update
  2. what you did this week to lose it
  3. how far you have to go
For those in on the $$$ side of the challenge, See me this weekend at Harvest with your $5. I'll have a log for you to check in and envelope for the $. Here's my info for week 2.
  1. weight: 227
  2. how I did it: I ate less and smarter.
  3. to go: 17 lbs left.
Your Turn.

Coldplay/Vanilla Ice

I've been a fan of Coldplay for several years. And I've been listening to the new album for the last several days. I like it. Jordan posted this today and I had to laugh. Not exactly the same, but pretty close. How much do you suppose they'll end up paying for this$$

3 lbs

I've been weighing each morning. So far, I've lost 3 lbs this week. Actually in the last two days. If I keep up this pace, by the end of August I will have lost 126 lbs!!! Makes 20 seem pretty easy, huh?

I'm feeling...

hungry. It's been a long time since I've actually stuck to a diet plan. Didn't really follow my plan this weekend. Father's day involved cake, ice cream, pizza... But the last two days I've done well. Fruit, healthy sandwiches from home, no St.Arbucks... Regina and I are keeping track of WeightWatchers points. Today I'm up to 10 points. For the uninitiated, that's not many. I think I get up to 32/day. I am hungry.

Viva la Vida

Coldplay's new album is out. I've only given it a cursory listening. But it's definitely Coldplay. With a twist. A little rockier in places, but the same song structures for the most part. I'll have to spend some time with the lyrics. But for now. I'm liking it.

Losin It

Ok. Seriously, is no one else joining the challenge??? Everyone else is completely happy with how the scale reads? Somehow, I find that hard to believe.

Budget Tool

Just found this great budgeting tool. Mint.com We've been trying to get our spending habits under control. Tied Pear Budget. It's OK. But Mint actually syncs with your accounts and categorizes things for you so that you can see at a moment where you're spending. Also lets you set up a budget based on the categories and what you're spending. This may be the one I've been looking for. Yeah!

Losin It-the Beginning

Today is the day! We're joining the good folks at RagamuffinSoul with our own spin on the RagamuffinTop Challenge Add your comment with:
  • Starting numbers
  • Goal
  • Basics on how you're going to get to your goal
  • Let us know if you're in for the $ challenge
Don't be shy. In 12 weeks we'll all be ready for the beach!!! Here's my starting info...
  • June 14th weigh-in: 230lbs
  • Goal by August 30: 210lbs
  • How? Hitting the gym 4 days a week. Weights and cardio (elliptical/treadmill) and eating better (haven't got that part solidified yet)
  • I'm in for the $$$$$
Your turn!