Wednesday, August 27, 2008


This weekend Pastor John continued with Part 4 of our Half-life series. He talked about the half-life we live as members of the body of Christ if we keep jumping from church to church. The cycle goes like so...

Phase 1 - Reconnect - to the church
Phase 2 - Romantic - "this is the perfect church"
Phase 3 - Reality - "this is not the perfect church"
Phase 4 - Response - What do you do now? Go back to Phase 1 at another church or
Phase 5 - Rediscover - When you stick it out! This is where whole-life is found.
(You can listen to the whole thing here if you like! Click on Half-life Part 4)

We had decided to split worship; two songs up front and two songs after the message leading into communion. After all, we were talking about the church and what better way to solidify that message than with corporate worship and communion?

Here is the original set list:
Up front:
My Savior Lives
Here I Am To Worship

After Message:

Just prior to rehearsal I was struck with this great idea for a song. So I decided to go for it because it was about the unity of the church and how God desires that we would be as one. Ok, great idea, right? The problem is that I violated one of my own principle rules of songwriting... Wait!

Now, what I mean by "Wait" is pretty simple... wait... as in don't go... as in not yet... as in let it simmer... as in don't pull out your "jump to conclusions" mat just yet. The reason I value waiting as a principle of songwriting (as well as a principle of any creative process) is because undoubtedly things tend to become clearer over time. After you get somewhat emotionally detached from something and can look at it objectively, you have a much better chance of really judging whether it's worth more effort or none at all. If you are an artist or a whatever, you have probably felt the rush of adrenaline that comes when you feel that what you just created is the absolute best thing that anyone has ever done! Immediately, you are filled with the confident resolve that everyone will like it as much as you do in that moment and that crowds will line up at your door for access to your new... whatever it is.

Ahhh! But if you wait, you will begin to see the flaws, the subtle ways in which you could make it even better, or the fact that it is not worthy to be seen or heard by the public at all.

The result of this particular situation? Well, I have to say that it wasn't all that bad, but it just didn't fit well on Saturday night during service. The words were great, the melody was good, but it just didn't fit with the flow of the service. It kind of put the brakes on the momentum that Pastor John had created with the message. This one small part didn't serve the purpose of the whole. Soooo, we ended up canning the new song and doing three songs up front with Center transitioning between the message and communion. Ahh and all was well...

So, the moral of the story is don't violate your personal creative code of ethics... unless you have just written a song that makes Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" sound like a nursery rhyme or you have painted a piece that makes people stand and say, "Mona who?" In other words...

DON'T VIOLATE! YOU MUST WAIT! (Johnny Cochran who?)

What is one of your most important guiding principles in your creative process?


Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Baseball and Fast songs

Hmmm... well, things are kind of busy today so here's the run down from this past weekend...

-Rehearsal went rather smoothly and ended about 10 minutes late. We did get the chance to run through the whole set with band and singers before the service. This may be something that all good worship leaders do every week, but we like to keep things raw.... and well, I'm just not the most effective runner de rehearsalos. I'm workin on it though.

-Actually started on time in 2 of 4 services... Victory!! After all, our motto here is "progress not perfection, right?" (and just in case you're wondering, I meant to put the quotations after the "right?" because most of the time we have no clue whether what we are doing is right or not. But dangit it, we will not lack for geniune love for God :)

-Set list
-Marvelous Light
-Everlasting God
-My Soul's Release - an original that Jen just kills!
(that's a good thing... youknow? kind of like a kill by Kerry Walsh in Olympic beach volleyball.... smashing... uhh... demons... and other stuff that needs to be killed by innocent God-fearing Christians)
-Center - Honestly, not much of a Charlie Hall fan and not just becuase I lack affinity for Kangol hats and long biker-gotees.... but this song.... yeah, it hits the nail on the head for our people and for me!

Hey, so does anyone else find it difficult to keep good fast songs in the rotation? Is it just me or does it seem they just get so old so fast? Some slow songs just get better with time, but fast songs just don't. There are a few songs that have stuck around for me like Everyday and O Praise Him, but, for the most part, they're like the super-extra-tangy-sour lemon ice thingy that you get at a baseball game... they are pretty good for the first bite, but very quickly you realize that you should have gone for the milder and much more bearable-to-the-bottom watermelon flavor... and after all that, you have to go buy the $8 bottle of water because you are now parched as you bake in the solar oven that is.. a baseball stadium. And then you call into question whether baseball is a sport even worth attending... or is it even a sport at all, because you surely can't watch it on TV either.... hmmm... Does anyone else feel my pain regarding baseball or fast songs? For that matter, does anyone have any good suggestions for new fast songs that you are doing?

Here is a working song list that my buddy Aaron and I compiled for our uses here at Hope Fellowship.

King of Majesty Here I Am To Worship Marvelous Light From The Inside Out Everyday!!


Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Back In Action and HOT!

Big News this week! After an extended leave, the hottest worship leader on the planet was back in action!!! Of course, she also just so happens to be my wife! Yep! Our little man, Grady, was officially 7 weeks old yesterday and this past weekend his mom decided to join the action again. I can't tell you how cool it was to have her up there again. She has such a wonderful presence and 10x's the voice than yours truly! So here's to Jen... my favorite worship leader... (no offense to my other good friends leading worship, but I am quite unapologetically partial :)
Let's see, here was the set from this past weekend...

#1-Stand In Awe - Me - an original Key of "E" - There's a recording of it Here

#2-King of Majesty - Jen - changed to a "girl" key and it sounded really good - Key of "E"

#3-Lead Me To the Cross - Jen - Key of "D" probably could've worked a little better transition between "King of" and this one, but it worked alright. After the last chorus of "king of" died down we sang it with just acoustic and bass a couple of times a little slower. Worked well transitioning from the A at the end to the Bm at the beginning. This is my favorite song that Joey Honescko plays on the 'lectric gitter. He hits it every time! It is also a signature "Jen" song!

#4-Transition Chorus - Me/All - a simple original that I wrote on Friday, but totally forgot it by Saturday, so we had to kind of make it up on the fly. Yet another reason to record everything you write! Actually, I must confess that I stole the first two lines from a message that Louie Gigglio did at Catalyst a couple of years ago and the third one I think has maybe been used before, but not sure. chords: D D/C# D/F# G

My life for Your plans
My heart in Your hands
I surrender to You

#5-From the Inside Out - A - Me - Just a plain good song!

For next weekend, I'm workin' on a new fast song (well, i started it in October of '06 so it's new to everyone but me). I think it might turn out to be pretty good... We'll see.

That's the rundown! Any thoughts on this past weekend for you folks?


Wednesday, August 6, 2008

S is for Saturday - Yeah is for Sunday

Well, I'll be short and sweet this week with my update. Warning: Incomplete sentences and bullet points to follow (much to the chagrin of you grammatical crazies out there!)

-I love and hate Saturdays.
-arranging special song, programming lights for special song, rehearsing special song... making chord charts for special song in F# and Gb. (A guitar player's nightmare!)
-started regular rehearsal way late... while throwing in a new song "From The Inside Out" (I know it's not really "new", but "new" for our church.)
-Other selections included: Marvelous Light / Song of Hope / All That I Can Say
-had an idea for a video bumper for the sermon... turned out ok... kind of halfway thrown together
-didn't get to rehearse with singers.
-started a few minutes late... hey, why not?
-fluke mute scene button pushed on John's headset at beginning of message... whattayagonnado?

-it's a new day!
-the special song which was a medley of The Real Me by Natalie Grant and I'm Not Alright by Sanctus Real was really kick butt!!! Aaron, Jessica, and the whole band rawked it ouwt!
-I was so encouraged by how many people were truly engaging in worship
-The fellowship time was awesome!!! Mardi Gras masks, Chasing spotlights, E,W,&F "Shining Star", and Marticus!
-Message was a strong beginning to new series "Half-life"
-Great first service meeting w/ worship team - great feedback and people offered some great suggestions and help. Let you know how these things pan out.
-My baby boy got to come to service! We ran ProPresenter together during the special song!!

Started out rocky, but turned into a good weekend!

Anybody have just an awesome or sucky weekend? What did you do?