Thursday, December 25, 2008

Christmas Camping

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Eve Eve

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Thanks to Sherry for an awesome video!

Send your own ElfYourself eCards

Thanks to everyone who was a part of "Give Your Best Gift To Jesus" this past weekend! It was amazing!

Monday, December 1, 2008

Three Generations Together for Thanksgiving


So, we were a bit out-numbered, but it was fun getting everyone together. This is me, my Dad and my two sisters with all of our children.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Thanksgiving Treck #3

Thanksgiving Treck #2

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Thanksgiving Treck #1

Monday, November 24, 2008

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Breaking Out Christmas

Us with Bob

This picture was taken at two in the morning. Pretty good for six hours of mastering! Thanks, Bob!

Friday, November 21, 2008

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Mall Candy

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Finishing Videos During the Service

Videos Now On Our Website

I'm excited that now you can watch messages from our weekend services in their entirety on our website. Check it out at www.communityoffaith.tv - click the "media/resources"link.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Friday, November 14, 2008

Ok - I'm back!

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Friday, October 24, 2008

This Weekend's Songs

This weekend's songs:
God is With Us
Marvelous Light
Desert Song
Amazing Grace(My Chains Are Gone)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Day Off


So, today I took a day off. We had a wonderful weekend, but it was good to have a day to veg. It was also my little girl's three year old birthday, so we just chilled.
I am not sure why, but I watched a little TV this morning and, for some reason, made a two hour documentary on David Hasselhoff a part of my day. What the heck?
I don't know why - I really don't. Thanks Bio Channel!

A New Creation


New Creation from FC Post on Vimeo.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

This Weekend's Songs

Happy Day
Blessed Be Your Name
From the Inside Out
Father, Will You Come (New Song!!)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Booming in Cancun!

Puppy

The puppy's name is Jackson - thanks to Riley Kate, who after three days of trying to come up with a name, just blurted that one out and everyone loved it!

Monday, October 13, 2008

PuppyQuest 2008

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Cancun Update

Blogging with Robin

First, apologies for the audio. My computer was set to only record the microphone, not the audio coming from Robin's computer. But, this was already the second time we had done this vchat, so I was not about to ask her to do it again! Sorry, Villa!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

What we are doing

We had an incredible weekend at COF the past two days. We kicked off our Spanish services at our Houston campus and had a wonderful turnout. We also had awesome services in English world here as we kicked off a new marriage series called "Upgrade." I love this graphic, btw (maybe just because I made it!)
Anyway, I was reading another blog this afternoon and the guy was commenting on a church he had attended last week. This comment caught my attention, "Obviously, the passion that the worship team displays is caught and reflected back by those who attend the church." I love that thought! That is what I want for COF - for our worship leaders to display our passion for Christ and His Kingdom in such a way that our people catch it and reflect it back. What a cool concept!

Friday, October 3, 2008

This Weekend's Songs

We had our community group over last night and one of my new friends requested that I make the song list available to the people coming to worship. He said he likes to get the songs, but they go so fast in worship that he doesn't have time to make a note of them.
So, I am going to try and post each week the song list for the weekend. We don't usually finalize it until Thursday - sometimes Friday, so I will post it on Friday mornings.
Here is this weekend's list:
God Is With Us - Northpoint
Sing, Sing, Sing - Tomlin
Burn For You - Fee
I Want to Live For You - Pocket Full of Rocks
Realize - Colby Caillat

Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

POWER!

Thanks to an amazing person named Mike - who worked a 16 hour shift today and then came to our neighborhood on his own personal time and fixed a problem that the power company would not have scheduled for several more days, even weeks. Mike is our neighborhood hero - everyone is buzzing about a guy who would give of himself after working so hard for so many days!
His generosity and willingness to give of himself even when he is at the point of exhaustion is inspiring to all of us!
Thank you Mike!

Still Powerless

Well, we are still without power at my house. Day five. Our neighborhood has thousands of homes in it and there are only 78 left without power - of course, we are one of those 78!
According to the power company, they have left working in our area, so we have fallen to the bottom of the list. If you have seen any of the pictures from Houston on TV, the amount of people without power is still well over 1 million. We do have hot water and a generator, so we are thankful. Many do not.

Please say a prayer today for all of us still dealing with Ike and its aftermath. And enjoy your power today for all of us that can't yet!

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Hunker Down 8

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hunker Down 7

Friday, September 12, 2008

Hunker Down 6

Hunker Down 5

Hunker Down 4

Hunker Down 3

Hunker Down 2

Hunker Down Houston

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Jesus Is My Friend

Well, it is making its way around my world. So, for those of you who haven't seen this amazing clip...enjoy!

Monday, September 8, 2008

Studio Construction Update

Check my post from 7-31-08 to see the difference!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

I Give It Up (Live)

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Seasons

The thing I love about life is that there are seasons. The thing I hate about life is that there are seasons.
I love the concept that where I am is not where I will be in the future - that there will be growth and change, hopefully maturity and depth. I love to look back and see what I have learned and how I have become a better version of me. It also excites me to know that, hopefully, I will continually evolve in the future.
On the other hand, changing seasons means that there are times when life is not so fun, when my outlook is not so positive and my walk with God is vague and dim and lifeless. In those times, I know in my heart that it is just a season and God wants to show me something or prune me. But, it doesn't feel so hot and I get really bogged down. I find myself trying to make the season pass - how funny is that? I try to get in whatever posture I need to be in to learn whatever I need to learn just so it will be over.
Then, I realize I have no more control over the seasons of life than I do the seasons of nature. God is working and if it is winter, I just need to trust that he is birthing something that I can't see - and Spring, close or far, is coming.
If you are in a tough season, hang in there.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Facebook Profile Pics

If you don't use FACEBOOK, just ignore this whole post.

You know how sometimes you will hit a friend from way back and then get into a whole new circle of friends that you haven't really hit before? This past week that happened to me. I got connected with a bunch of people from high school days.

The problem is I may recognize names, but can't really remember who I really knew and who I knew in name only. You know? I mean I haven't seen some of these people in 16 years! And many people are putting pictures of their kids or group shots on their profile pic, so I can't tell. Come on!

Let's all help the community. If you are FACEBOOKing, put a clear picture of yourself as your profile pic so dorks like me can make sure we know you before we ask or confirm a friend request. Save your cute pics of your kids for your picture file.

That's all I'm asking, people.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Oaxaca Update 6

Oaxaca Update 5

Friday, August 15, 2008

Oaxaca Update 4

Oaxaca Update 3

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Oaxaca Update 2

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Oaxaca Update 1

Friday, August 8, 2008

Friday Morning

Hope everyone had a great week!
Here are the songs for this weekend:

Your Grace Is Enough
For Who You Are
From the Inside Out
At The Cross
I Need You

I'm looking forward to a great weekend of worship and preaching before Matthew and I head off to Mexico next week to work with our team on the ground there. Be praying for us as we go make friends in Oaxaca, Mexico.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Read this in a book today and it stirred something in me:
"I suppose that since most of our hurts come through relationships so will our healing, and I know that grace rarely makes sense for those looking in from the outside."

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Beginning to Build Our Studio

We have been blessed with some space to create a small production studio on our 290 campus. Here is some video of the first project in this transformation - building a sound-proof wall.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Friday, July 25, 2008

Creepy Blog

Friday, July 18, 2008

When You Really Need the Power

In Mark, chapter 9 there is an account of Jesus healing a boy that has been tormented by a strong demon since he was very young. His father tells Jesus how hard it has been because the boy is mute and has had seizures that jeopardize his life.
The father asked the disciples to drive the spirit out, but they could not. It seems this demon is really strong, and the father desperately turns to Jesus for help. After a short dialogue, Jesus sets the boy free. His release is so violent that the people around think the boy is dead, but Jesus grabs his hand and helps him stand up.
Later, the disciples ask Jesus why they could not drive the spirit out. Here is the moment - as I am reading I am thinking, "Man, this thing was so strong Jesus had to use some special force to deal with it. It was beyond anything that anyone else could do." I am getting excited to read what this great secret power is that only Jesus had the perspective to utilize.
And in verse 29 Jesus says, "That kind of spirit can only be forced out by prayer." PRAYER! No cosmic collisions, no secret angel brigade, no magic, no incantation - just the pure power of communication with God.
If it is the strongest tool Jesus had just maybe it can be that for us!

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Writing Songs For My Community

I have been intentional to focus more on songwriting lately. I am not the best at it, but I have discovered the power in a song that is birthed from within a community. There is something special when people connect with a song that was written by someone they know, someone who is sharing the journey with them.
In his book, Matt Casper made this comment about the original songs he heard in one morning service while visiting: "Yeah, I knew they weren't from the same song factory that cranks out the tunes performed at some of the other places we've visited. Maybe that's why they feel totally nonmanipulative as they pull the heartstrings. The best way I can think to describe them is 'organic anthems.'"
I recognize that there are amazing songs written by amazing songwriters much better than me - and I will continue to use them as a part of the worship experiences I oversee. But, I am finding the freedom to step into the joy of writing "organic anthems" for Community of Faith. Songs that come from who we are as a community and how God is calling us to impact our world.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Real World

Cancun Worship Chat

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Song Posted on CCLI


My song "I Need You" just went live on CCLI's new website today. I am so excited to be sharing some of the music God is giving us with other churches around the world. CCLI's web-blast went out today to 160,000 email addresses and our song was featured in that blast.
I have already had three churches contact me about using the song in their services! Thanks, God!
Check it out here. It is in the OPEN MIC section.
Also, props to our awesome Tech Department for a great video!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Final Prep

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Just Right

Have you ever had one of those days when you wake up with something on your mind that kinda makes you a little anxious? I had one of those mornings. I woke up and went into my office to do some surfing and was reminded about Steven Curtis Chapman's loss of his daughter. So, I checked his site to get an update. Then, I read an email about a friend who's 15 year old daughter has been diagnosed with cancer.
Well, needless to say, I got a little bummed about losing loved ones - and I spent the rest of the morning playing "Hide and Go Seek" with my kids, thanking God the whole time for how wonderfully unique they are.
I was still kinda in a funk, and I sat down to read the Bible for a bit before I headed off to the church. Amazingly, the story that I read in the book of Mark and the follow up devotional point from Max Lucado was exactly what I needed to hear. It is so cool when God sees my heart and goes the extra mile to orchestrate a way to show His love for me.

Friday, July 4, 2008

Love it!

I Love It! They just opened a brand new one five miles from my house. If you are planning on having lunch with me in the next month, you better be thinking Arby's, Baby!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Human Rules vs. God's Commands

The worship team and I have been talking a lot lately about really being culturally relevant. We have been asking questions and pursuing dialogue about how Americans really respond to things in which they believe. It seems that the church culture is one of the few places where people sing out loud together for any length of time. I wonder how culturally relevant congregational singing is for unchurched people? Is it such a huge part of church culture because God intended it to be that dominant, or because we, as humans, made it that way. Just a thought...
Anyway, I am reading through the book of Mark and I found this story in Chapter 7 where Jesus was dealing with the same issue - Human expectations versus God's expectations. Even back then, the church leaders made up a bunch of rules and practices that they handed down from generation to generation until they became the unquestioned focal point of the religious culture. Jesus quoted Isaiah in verse six, "These people show honor to me with words, but their hearts are far from me."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Student Life - Day 2

Monday, June 23, 2008

Student Life - Day 1

Well, we made it to Windermere in Missouri. Chris, Zach, Seth and I started out early (up @ 4:45) this morning to catch our flights here.
We were an hour late for sound check and changed a bunch of songs from our original song list when we got here, but the first day went well. Preparing for worship tonight was a bit stressful, but as we were preparing the guys and I stopped and spent some time praying. It was awesome to remember that we are not here leading worship for 1100 students so they can think we are cool, but we are doing it so God will get the glory. During our prayer time each one of us voiced our desire for Him to be the center of attention and I think He honored that.
Please pray for the four of us, our families as we are gone and the students, leaders and staff that are here with us this week.
More later...

Friday, June 20, 2008

Friday Afternoon

Mark is back from Africa this weekend! Yee-haw!
This weekend's songs:
All Because of Jesus
Let God Arise
Awesome is the Lord
I Need You
Gotta Serve Somebody (Bob Dylan)
Live For You

Leaving for Student Life Camp on Monday morning! I am excited!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

That's How We Do It

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Friday, June 13, 2008

Friday Afternoon

Well, I didn't get to post this morning like usual, but here are the songs for this weekend:
Sing, Sing, Sing
Oh Happy Day (we are doing this with the kids this weekend)
Watching You (Rodney Atkins - for Father's Day)
Spirit, Come
Knees to the Earth
Marvelous Light
I am excited that our worship leader from our Cancun Campus, Kaycee White, is back with us this weekend. It will be wonderful to lead with her - just like the good 'ole days!

I Need You

This is a video from one of the services this past weekend where we introduced a new song called "I Need You." We did the song during a response time while people were coming forward for prayer. I think it worked well.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Don't Know What To Say?

Every once in a while, I go back and read through entries in my personal journal. Now, let me say that I really am awful at journaling - which is partly why I started blogging. Having the accountability of posting will, hopefully, help me be more consistent.
Anyway, I was reading some entries from late in 2005. That was a really rough time for me in a few ways, and I was journaling a lot at the time. It is so amazing to see how God was at work in my circumstances and how He used my pain for His glory and my good.
I'm not sure about the translation, but I noted this verse and it jumped out at me again today:
"Thank the Lord because He is good. His love continues forever. That is what those whom the Lord has saved should say..." Psalm 107:1
I love the idea - THAT is what we should say!

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Fun Teaching Moment in Worship

Here is a clip from one of the services this past weekend where I took a moment to teach about worship being participatory.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Friday Morning

Getting ready to head in to have our final production meeting for the weekend. The good news is we have already received the message via video stream from Mark in Africa, so this weekend will be a lot less stressful than last - since we were still downloading the message at 4:30 last Saturday!

Here's the weekend's song line up:
Hear Our Praises
Blessed Be Your Name
City of God
I Need You
My Everything

I am praying that we have an awesome breakthrough in worship this weekend. It is so heavy on my heart that people are in need of an authentic encounter with Holy Spirit this weekend. I am trying to submit and wait on God instead of pushing and trying to make it happen myself. But, when I feel that God is ready to do something special, I get so pumped! I am praying today that God will give me clear direction on what to say and how to lead the service so He gets a lot of glory. Pray with and for me if you get the chance!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Car-blog

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

King's Cafe - Forever in Our Hearts

The worship team and I had a little retreat several weeks ago and ate at a little hole in the wall called King's Cafe. Two weeks ago, I was driving by the place again - and to my dismay it had closed. We were some of their final customers and didn't know it.
Join me in remembering the good times at King's by clicking here. (Thanks to Sherry for her video skills that day.)

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Loving Evaluation

My mom passed away three years ago. She was an amazing woman - a prayer warrior and an encourager.
This morning I was flipping through my Bible and I found a lengthy letter written by a friend of mine about the impact that she had made. My friend talked about how my Mom was such an encouragement and her little hand-written notes meant so much to so many.
It reminded me that everything I do should be done in love, and should be to encourage people to become all that God wants them to be.
I am a judger by nature. If you look at my Myers-Briggs Personality Assessment, that is what it says. I just naturally evaluate everything. That is one of the things that makes me good at my job, but that is also one of the things that can cause me to miss opportunities to love people.
Even in the process of evaluation, I am choosing to do it with love today.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

My Beauty

I have been thinking a lot about what I do as a local church worship leader. What I do well, what I don't do well, how I can improve in areas of leadership, musicianship, creativity and spirituality. Every so often I hit one of the stretches where I analyze who I am and what I am doing.
I have been thinking about taking vocal lessons (I think I have developed some bad vocal habits), guitar lessons, and writing songs more. I get myself all worked up about how I should be better.
Then, today I was reading about the story in Genesis 24 where Abraham sends a servant to find a wife for his son, Isaac.
A.W. Tozer makes an interesting observation:
"The adornment of her (Rebekah's) beauty consisted of the jewels and the raiment that came as gifts of love from the bridegroom whom she had not yet seen...It is a reminder of what God is doing in our midst right now...He gives us one by one the beauties, the gifts, the graces of the Holy Spirit...Thus, we are being prepared, and when we meet Jesus Christ as our coming Lord and King, our adornment will be our God-given graces and gifts." - from Whatever Happened to Worship
My life is a preparation for spending eternity with Jesus, the Lord of all beauty. The only things that prepare me for that are the gifts and graces He gives me. Therefore, I should spend my life receiving and walking in them, not trying to become beautiful of my own accord.
I am not saying we should not practice our crafts or try to improve our abilities as leaders - but, the key is keeping our efforts focused on the gifts and graces that Holy Spirit has given us, not the ones we think will make us better.

Friday, May 30, 2008

Where in the World is Mark Shook?

Here it is - our crazy little intro to Pastor Mark preaching from Africa:


The Big "D" Word

I want to learn. I want to learn to be a better me. I want to learn the things that God wants me to know so that I can be what He wants me to be. In order to do that, "To learn, you must love discipline; it is stupid to hate correction." - Proverbs 12:1
It says I need to love discipline - love it.
I know there are areas in my life that I am not consistent. I know there are areas that God wants me to learn more things and practice what I am learning in a disciplined manner. The potential for God to get more glory because I am dedicating myself to learn - even if it means that I have to be corrected a lot, well, that makes it worth it. I'll take my lumps so I can learn my lessons, and I'll ask God to show me His perspective on my growth so I will learn to love it.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jingle Thursday

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Am I Evil?

One of the on-going life issues artists deal with is ego. We all have them, but I think artists and musicians especially struggle - even more so if their work is displayed on a stage for all to see.
It is so easy in the choices that I make to have a hidden agenda. "Well, if I do this song I can really wail on it and people will tell me how great I am." I never really process it like that, but deep down I can feel it.
Jesus' brother, James, talked about selfish ambition in his book of the Bible. The Message puts it this way, "As it is, you are full of your grandiose selves. All such vaunting self-importance is evil." He didn't say selfish ambition is disappointing or being off track or less than the best - he said it's EVIL! Man, that one hurts!
Anything I do or choice that I make that promotes me so that I will receive the credit is evil. This sin is a sneaky one and can slip in before I know it. I will have to keep an eye out for this one.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Saturday Rehearsal/Dinner



Saturdays

Friday, May 23, 2008

Astros Game

Friday Morning

Every Friday morning, the worship/production team meets at 9 a.m. to pray and finalize the weekend. I have learned over the years that it doesn't matter how well you plan, somethings always change throughout the course of the week. Our initial planning meeting is earlier in the week, but we always regroup on Friday to finalize and make sure everyone is on the same page.
We also pray for quite a while and get our hearts in tune with what we think God is wanting to say and do in people during the weekend gatherings. Often, I will use this time to refocus the team and accent the "basics" so that we don't get off track spiritually or artistically.

Here is what is on schedule musically for this weekend:
Happy Day - Fee
Hear Our Praises - Reuben Morgan(Cool New Version we just introduced)
Peace - Robbie Seay Band
Live For You - Connersvine
What I Cannot Change - LeAnn Rimes

Oh, and we are taking the Tech Team to see the Astros play tonight. I am hoping to take my video camera and post some footage from that this weekend!

Thursday, May 22, 2008

I love technology.

So this afternoon, I am standing in Kroger getting a few things for my wife for dinner, and my cell phone rings. It is Mark, my pastor, which is not abnormal - except for the fact that he is in Rwanda Africa! Man! Right there in the can drink isle I am talking to him cell to cell and he is half-way around the world! He is telling me about some video footage he is going to upload to us so we can show it in worship.
I'm grocery shopping and planning worship with my friend (who is on another continent) all at the same time. Beautiful!

From the wisest man that ever lived.

Ecclesiastes Chapter 5 begins like this: "As you enter the house of God, keep your ears open and your mouth shut! Don't be a fool who doesn't realize that mindless offerings to God are evil. And don't make rash promises to God, for he is in heaven, and you are only here on earth. So let your words be few." (vs. 1&2, NLT)
Wow! Not the worship advice I expected from the wisest man to ever live. Solomon didn't talk about bowing down, or singing, or raising your hands, or even confessing your sin. The wisest advice for worshipers is to listen more and talk less!
But, how does this apply to the worship team and/or leaders? Well, BE IN THE MOMENT. Don't just execute your program, but listen. Listen to Holy Spirit. Listen to the people. Watch how God is moving. Say as little as possible - meaning, don't just talk because you have the mic or because you have to make a smooth transition from one song to the next. Verse 1 says that "mindless offerings to God are evil." Heart check: how many times have I just blurted out "worship jargon" mindlessly during a gathering. Don't let phrases like "bless the Lord" or "praise God" become empty time fillers. Lead the worship that is happening right then - in the moment.
I encouraged our team this last weekend to this very challenge. We do three identical services every weekend, and by the last one, it can feel very safe and predictable on stage. But, Solomon has given us wise counsel to always, always listen and engage our minds in how we are leading the people.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Insanely Cool

I saw this today and couldn't believe how cool it is...

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

And So It Begins...

Welcome to by blog. I hope this works.