Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Outreach Weekend

So this weekend was the biggest weekend I've had since coming to Clovis Hills. It was our big Christmas Program. We had three services and the whole thing was about sharing the gospel through drama, music and dance. Every element made up one big story and was interspersed with Pastor Steve tying it together with short mini-messages. It was pretty cool. We had 40 people renew their commitment to Jesus, and 20 people made a decision to follow Christ for the first time! Not to mention that there was a children's service and 33 kids came to Christ! It was such a cool thing to be a part of. There were a ton of volunteers who made it possible, from musicians and actors to the people who prepared food for us. Praise God for an amazing weekend.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Funny shirt of the week

I was pretty good about putting one of these up every week for a while and have since gotten off track. Well, the funny shirt of the week is back. Merry Christmas!

I'm still alive

When I was in LA at school, if I went a long time without dropping my parents a note or phone call or something, I'd inevitably get an email from my mom asking, and I quote, "are you alive?" That would be the entire email. No, "how ya doin'" no, "do you need money." Just "are you alive." Well, yes, I'm alive. I've gotten a little lazy when it comes to blogging, but it's probably because we are in the middle of the Christmas season and since people go to church during Christmas, it means I'm working a lot, particularly on our three evangelistic services this weekend. Here are some pictures of the set (sorry for the quality, I took them on my phone, which possibly makes them cooler. I love my phone): I'm going to be honest, I really love my job. I'm sure there are those of you who think I'm sucking up to my boss, but she probably doesn't read this anyway. I really love what we're doing. I'm getting to be creative in ways I never have before. I'm writing, I'm getting better at the guitar, though there are some that may disagree with that, and I'm still in the middle of ministry, which is awesome. In two weeks we saw 8 people come to Christ! Who comes to Christ at church? Well apparently, people at Clovis Hills do. It's awesome! Unbelievable musicians, an opportunity for me to grow and develop into a great worship leader, a chance to connect with guys in the band and with young couples at our church and in the midst of it, people are coming to know Jesus. How cool is that? So in the absence of something cool to write or a funny video to show, I'm sucking up. Sorry. Maybe I'll have something better to post in the near future. Pray for us this weekend, that a whole bunch of people would meet Jesus for the first time at our big outreach weekend.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Simplicity of Leading Worship

So it's Christmas time and we're preparing for our big outreach weekend and it's been a lot of work. I'm really excited and think it's going to be great, but I'm really missing just leading worship. I'm working out of my weaknesses, doing mostly administrative stuff, and want really badly to be leading Clovis Hills in some songs of praise. I guess I'll just have to wait till January. But if you're in Clovis in 2007, you should come check us out. It's gonna be fantastic!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Back in LA

so our friends, Christa and Abe, just popped out their third kid and we took our two days off to come down and see. Karter Brianne Percival was born Friday December 1st and now Abe is outnumbered 4 to 1. That's a whole lot of women in one house! Good luck buddy.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Funny I'm a Christ follower video

So a lot of people have made comments about me wearing sandals to church. Well maybe we should all take a lesson from these two.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Block Party

So, this past Sunday was the kickoff to our church-wide outreach for 40 Days of Community called, "3 wishes for the city of Clovis." We asked the city leaders to give us a list of things that they need or would like done and we're doing them. Sunday, we kicked it off with a block party in a neighborhood that the Clovis police department is focusing on to keep kids out of gangs. It was awesome! Some of the guys in the band played and rocked the house and then our choir "New Day," took the stage and worked it. So there are two wishes left and over 70% of our church is involved in a small group and are taking part in this outreach!

weight loss update

So I didn't mention the weight loss thing this week, because as of my weigh-in on Monday, I had gained a pound. Kinda pisses me off, because I was pretty good all week. We had halloween and were able to pawn off extra candy on other people. I was doing great and ready to break through to 40 lbs lost. Then the Percival girls rolled into town. Our friends from LA came up, Christa and her two daughters, Kaitlyn and Kennedy. I love these people, but the brought with them some of their extra candy and then shoved pieces down my throat. Kaitlyn is 3, Kennedy is 1 1/2 and Christa is 8 months pregnant, but they flat out overpowered me and forced me to eat candy and ice cream, and take an extra helping or two of meatloaf. Okay, so maybe they didn't force me, but I certainly did all of that. So in light of that, a pound isn't too bad. I'm back on track though and weighed myself this morning (don't tell anyone, you're only supposed to weigh in once a week) and lost 2 pounds! So, unofficially, because Thursday is not my weigh-in day, I am at 39 pounds lost! I'm hoping 60 by Christmas, though that may be pushing it. Wish me luck, and of course this year, gift cards may be the best gift, cuz who knows what size I'll be wearing!

Wednesday, November 08, 2006


I'm a great book starter. I just don't finish well. I love the idea of being a reader, but the discipline to finish is something I'm working on. So, even though "Knowledge of the Holy" by A.W. Tozer, is only 115 pages, I've been reading it for months. Tozer is pretty unbelievable. As I sift through all of the theological mumbo jumbo of a lot of other guys, there are only a handful that really bring me to a point where I can see the power of God. Tozer is one such writer. So I thought I'd share. In the last chapter he says we need to "Aquaint ourselves with God." And then he says this:
But the God we must see is not the utilitarian God who is having sucha run of popularity today, whose chief claim to men's attention is His ability to bring them success in their various undertakings and who for that reason is being cajoled and flattered by everyone who wants a favor. The God we must learn to know is the Majesty in the heavens, God the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, the only wise God our Saviour. He it is that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, who stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in, who bringeth out His starry host by number and calleth them all by name through the greatness of His power, who seeth the works of man as vanity, who putteth no confidence in princes and asks no counsel of kings.

Monday, October 30, 2006

Back on Track

Okay, here's a little about me. When I went to college, I was looking for something. Satisfaction, success, joy, something. Whatever it was, I didn't find it in the places I was looking and so to compensate, I ate. I ate a lot. Over the course of my first two years in school I gained somewhere between 70 and 80 pounds. I slept a lot, then ate, missed class and ate some more. The last few years have been about realizing where joy is truely found, Jesus and learning how to live a life in pursuit of that. The last deed to undo from that period of my life is the weight, so in June I started counting points on the weight watchers program. Before moving, I lost 34 lbs! I was eating healthier and feeling great. I dropped pant sizes, shirt sizes and felt like I was on the road to healthiness. The process of moving though, made it easy to level off and being in transition was a good excuse. We've been in Fresno now for 2 months and it's safe to say that the transition is over. Last week I was watching my weight again and as of today, weigh in day, I lost 4 pounds! I'm down to 38 lbs lost and am now inviting all of you to be a part of the process. I weigh in every monday morning and will try my best to post the results. My goal is 80 lbs and I'm almost half way there.

Monday, October 23, 2006

The Gospel

On Sunday I got to have a conversation with people at church about Jesus and lost people. What struck me though, was that we're not all on the same page about people's need for Jesus. Essentially, the conversation was that you can get to heaven without believing in Jesus, and that it's "unfair" that God would send people to hell who have never been given the chance to hear the gospel. Maybe I'm being too vague and so you don't understand what I'm saying. If that's the case, I'm sorry. What saddens me is that we would look at babies who are still born (as my twin sisters were) or people in distant parts of the world who have never heard of Jesus and think that God is being unfair in not giving them heaven, instead of being so radically transformed by the unfairness of God dying the most brutal death ever imagined to pay the price for a lying, cheating, sinner like me. What about Grace?! When did the fact that God broke into my heart and rescued me from a death that I absolutely deserved become something I was owed. When did I or these unknown tribal peoples of the world deserve salvation. Why are we not blown away by the mercy that God has "lavished" on us and then stirred to go and reach these lost people. If we believe that this "in born knowledge" of God or "creation pointing us to God," as it says in scripture, is enough to get us to heaven, then why did Jesus die? Why aren't our lives so blown away by this one amazing act of grace that we are willing to die for others to know this Joy; this abundant life that we get? How can you and I take this gift of grace and then go back to our regular lives?

Thursday, October 12, 2006

The Honest Boss

Jenn is volunteering with ICON, the college ministry at Clovis Hills. Her new boss sent me this. I wonder what he's trying to say...

Friday, October 06, 2006

A little love for my friend by the Fresno Bee

So my buddy Dana made the paper! Dana's doing some cool stuff for the Susan B. Komen foundation. Since my mom is a breast cancer survivor I'm appreciative. Check out the story and his blog and hey, maybe send some support Dana's way. Check it Out!

I love blogging

So how stinkin' small is this little world of ours? I've been blogging for just a few short months now, but have already been more connected to friends and have made a few new ones along the way. Yesterday for instance, I read Carlos' Blog and found out that he was in Fresno for his wife's high school reunion. I posted that he should come by and today we met, hung out and talked about leading worship and everything that goes along with it. Los, I had a blast.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Funny Shirt of the Week

So I regularly do a funny shirt of the week. This guy did 155 shirts. He wins.

Saturday, September 30, 2006

Celebrating in style

Well, as of this past Monday I am done with college. I had to finish up one more class here in Fresno to be done and I have done it. So after quite an up hill climb, in the words of Jesus, "it is finished" (though He may have meant that in a slightly different context). Anyway, college was something I was not prepared for after high school. I just kind of didn't want to be there and after a couple of years of me not going to class, Cal Poly Pomona didn't want me to be there either. The last chapter of my life, therefore has been about figuring out who I am, becoming a finisher and realizing that if I want to live my life for Christ, I need to take advantage of opportunities like school in order to have greater influence. Anyway, I am (with the exception of a couple of tests) officially a finisher. It feels great to be done and for the first time since I was five, I don't have homework. What a relief. Today, Jenn and I will head up to Sacramento to celebrate with my parents and my sister and brother-in-law. We are going to have dinner tonight in Sac-to and then tomorrow we will head to San Francisco to see Barry Lamar Bonds and the Giants take on the hated Dodgers in the final game of the season. Growing up, I went to Candlestick Park (the Giants old stadium) a lot, but have never been to Pac Bell, err, SBC, err, AT&T Park. I've heard it's amazing and I can't think of a better way to celebrate than to be there. Let's just hope Barry goes yard. Now that would be celebrating in style!

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My big debut

Sunday was a big day in my life. I co-lead worship for theHills. It was made equally cool because we did a Crowder song and because it was pledge day. We've been asking people to trust the Lord for an amount that God would have them give to our More than Ready campaign to help prepare us to effectively minister to the thousands of families that'll be moving in to our neighborhood over the next few years. Here are some pics. What a day!

Sunday, September 24, 2006

My to-do list

So I was reading Dana's blog and he has a section on there of to-do's. Because I am a giant copycat, I thought it would be cool to maybe get some to-do lists going from all sorts of people. So, I'm posting mine and then you guys can post yours. This will also be a good test to see how many people are actually reading my blog. So this is my list of to-do's. Some big, some small, but all very much mine. What are yours? 1) Become a better guitar player 2) Learn to play the piano 3) Overseas ministry 4) Plant a church 5) Lead worship in front of a crowd of over 5,000 people 6) Coach a little league team (preferably one my kid is on) 7) Record a worship album of original stuff 8) Go to Hawaii 9) Shoot a score of 80 or better in golf 10)Build a studio in the music suite at Clovis Hills

Saturday, September 23, 2006

My wife the blogger

The day has finally come. A moment I never dreamed of is here. My wife has joined the blogosphere. By the way, if we want people to stop thinking bloggers are lame, we should come up with a different name than blogosphere. It kinda sounds a little Star Trek convention-ish. Anyway, Jenn is up and running. At this point she only has one post, but we're pretty excited about it. Don't expect too much as you go there as she's still playing around with her sidebar and stuff, so it's under construction, but please feel free to check her out. Make sure you leave a ton of comments to keep her excited about blogging. Oh yeah, tell her Paul sent ya. Check it out!


So this guy's a lot skinnier than I am and it looks like he's shredding that guitar. All in all, I'm not sure if this looks like me. What do you think?

Monday, September 18, 2006

Bathroom Video

Okay, so I was checking out Carlos Whittaker's blog and thought this was hilarious. I usually try to avoid taking stuff from other blogs, but this was just too good.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

More Than Ready Leadership Event

Tonight is a special Leadership service for the More Than Ready campaign. We've been gearing up for pledge day, which is the 24th of September when people will come and give their offering as we trust the Lord to bring in over a million dollars so that we can prepare to minister to the thousands of families that will be moving in all around us over the next 5 to 10 years. Tonight though, is when the leaders of the church (staff, elders and volunteers) will come and bring our offerings. I'm excited about what the Lord's going to do tonight. I'm leading worship and feel like the stage is set for God to do some pretty sweet stuff. Pray for us!

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Jesus Camp

So there's been some buzz about this new movie coming out, Jesus Camp. Personally, I'm a little freaked out by it. I'm not talking about just the 8 year olds in Jesus'army or the rolling around on the floor should kids be catching the "Holy Ghost" stuff. I'm mostly freaked out by this one hommie's mullet. Take a look at this trailer and tell me that's not the freakiest mullet you've ever seen.

Funny Shirt of the Week

So it's been a while since I've posted a funny shirt. Partly because I truely love and have gotten great responses from the I gave my word to stop at third shirt. But all good things must come to an end and so in that same borderline inappropriate spirit, I bring you: Gonorrhea: Not as funny as it sounds

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A little frustration

I think it would be safe to say that I love this Church. I have been here less than a week, so maybe that's a bit premature, but everything about this place has been great. We had a retreat this past week with the creative arts department and it was awesome. I got to know my team so much better and we laughed a ton. I'm back at the office now, getting the feel for things and as I'm meeting people, doing more of my job and getting ready to lead my first band rehearsal tonight, I am loving this place. Except for one thing. Our office is completely Windows based. PC's on every desk and, while they are mostly new and look nice, they are not the greatest machines in the world. My computer froze three friggin' times this morning! Can you believe that? I got in at 9 and before lunch, I saw message after message from my computer saying, "I'm sorry, I suck and can't do multiple things at once" (that was a paraphrase of the windows error message). Then I went to the music sweet to work on some stuff and the thing takes like 5 minutes to open an application. I'm not talking booting up the machine here, I'm talking I double-click on iTunes (by the way, it's so hard seeing a great program like that having to submit to the will of Bill Gates on these machines) and it takes 5 minutes before it opens! At least the one on my desk is fast. I'm not trying to complain. I know that the cost of switching from PC to Mac would be incredible, not to mention the learning curve involved. As much as I love the idea, I would much rather see those thousands of dollars go to ministry, but seriously; why doesn't this thing just work.

Sunday, September 03, 2006

first few days on the job

Well, today was my first Sunday at Clovis Hills. I played guitar, no singing and loved it. We only did three songs, but at the end of the second service I wanted to keep playing. The band is amazing and it was such a cool environment to be in. People were really doing business with God and so being able to see that and help them go to the throne room was a pretty cool thing to be a part of. Here are some pictures. We're in the midst of a campaign called More than Ready where we're asking God to make us more than ready for all of the exciting ministry that is going to happen over the next 10 years as thousands of families move into the area around our church.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Fresno? Fres-yes!

Well, after a long weekend of packing, cleaning, loading, cleaning again, driving, sleeping, waking up, unloading, putting stuff away and then shopping, we are almost completely moved in. All that's left to make this place feel like home is selling, cleaning, throwing away, a lot of sleeping, a little picture hanging and some orientating (that's not really a word, but I'm going with the “ing” thing here). We had so many friends and family help us that we got done with all the hard heavy stuff in an hour or so in LA and here in Fresno. Thank you to all of those that came and helped. It was awesome. It's just one more reminder of the amazing community we have left. I don't quite think it's hit yet, just how much we're going to miss our friends from LA, so for all of you perspective Fresno friends, if Jenn or I burst into tears at a moment's notice, please give us a little grace. I start work on Friday, Jenn's got an interview this afternoon for her job and I'm playing this Sunday. After all this time I am so excited that we are here and that we can start. Praise God for new adventures and for incredible methods of communication to keep in touch with good friends!

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

A new kind of preacher

So I've been listening to a couple of podcasts lately. Matt Chandler and Mark Driscoll are pastors of churches that are an interesting combination of postmodern awareness and reformed theology. These guys are awesome! They have built and lead churches that love people and love each other. I have been so grieved by much of the emergent church becasuse, while their methods for "doing church" have changed and adapted to meet the needs of this culture, they have also twisted and adapted scripture to meet the needs of their methodology. The dangers of "emergent liberalism" are incredible so it is nice to have guys like these two that will stand firm on theologically and doctrinal issues, but do not have dead orthodoxy, refusing to change methods or practices. Their podcasts are their weekly sermons and are available on iTunes.

What is Worship?

The last few years of my life have been, in part, about figuring out what corporate worship is. I have had several thoughts that have been swirling around in my head, but I suppose it often times takes someone else to express them. I saw this interview with David Crowder and he says everything that I want to communicate about worship. The cool thing is that even in talking about what worship is I feel drawn closer to the Lord.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

My new baby

Before you get all excited about the title, let me put your minds at ease. Jenn is not pregnant. However, there has been a new addition to our family. He requires as much attention as a newborn, but makes a much sweater sound. Meet Martin. Or should I say, my new Martin guitar, which is, by the way, sweet. I was very confident that I made a sound investment, but even more so when Terry Talbot told me he has the same guitar. He could have helped me get this one for about a thousand dollars less than I did, but none the less, it's pretty cool. Now all I have to do is figure out how to play it!

Funny shirt of the week

This week's shirt is a reminder that some things are worth the wait. I gave my word to stop at third

Friday, August 11, 2006

David Crowder Presents - P.R.D.

Last night, I met David Crowder. I shook his hand cracked some jokes and may have left the impression that me and my two friends (who were backstage without passes or security badges) were in the hottest new band on the planet. It wasn't shady, we were legit. My buddy Ryan was working a convention in Anaheim and so Roots, Dave and I went to the show. We saw Crowder from an amazing view. There were two stages and in between them, but sunken down on the ground, is "monitor world." That's where speakers go to make a quick exit off stage and where the sound guys are providing the best possible mix. Ryan said that it was the best place to watch the show and he was right. Crowder ripped and we were right there (pictures to follow). Afterwards, we insulted Crowder's Drummer (Dave did), met Crowder and was close enough to tug on his huge goatee (we refrained ourselves though) and had created our band name - P.R.D. (pronounced Purtty, for Paul, Roots and Dave). We were dressed fairly cool if I do say so, or at least the way Crowder and the guys were and without the name tags or security passes back stage everyone just assumed they should know us. Crowder was like, "I'm sorry, names would help me" in a way that was like, 'I feel like I should know you guys but I can' place it.' We didn't lie or anything, we told him we were nobodies, but it was to pretend just a bit. Maybe he'll produce our debut album? It was awesome. Made me more excited than ever to lead worship and get more into that scene. B-Whack, Crowder's drummer, did say they were on the road almost 250 days a year, which would not be cool, but who knows, maybe at the next Crowder show you go to you'll see P.R.D. opening up.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Funny Shirt of the Week

I tried writing an explanation, but I'm speechless. Donde esta mi chones?

How's this for cool?

So I have a buddy named Micah. He and I went to High School together, and have been friends through college, though we haven't kept in touch as much as I would have liked (probably mostly my bad). We were in a Vocal performance group together (okay, it was a Christian Boy Band), and for some reason the Lord keeps intertwining our lives. When I called Micah to tell him I was getting married he said, so am I (and on the same weekend no less). I went to college in LA and then a year later, where should he end up, but Malibu. So as Jenn and I were in the job search process I asked Micah a few times if he had any thoughts (he had recently searched and found a job in Whittier at a Church there). And then the Lord did it again. I told Micah we were moving back to the "No" (Fresno) and he just laughed as he told me of the direction God was moving them and that the same weekend I was in Fresno interviewing at Clovis Hills, Micah was interviewing at New Harvest and he and his wife Erica have accepted the job. It's pretty stinkin' cool the way God does things. I'm lookin' forward to grabin' some coffee with my friend and talking about Jesus, ministry and loving people. You can check out Micah and Erica's blog right here

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

A theology for the emergent church

I was reading Rhett Smith's Blog today and he had a link for Dr. Ray Anderson's new book, An Emergent Theology for Emerging Churches. I have never heard of Dr. Anderson, and his book just came out, so I am not sure what is deal is. However, I read his "guest blog" on Rhett Smith's blog and was pleased to find the first commentary on the emergent church, or what it should be that was completely about Jesus! Enjoy.
What has Antioch to do with Jerusalem? Guest blogger: Ray S. Anderson ...This is why I argue that we must recover an emergent theology, not merely explore the edges of an emerging church in its attempt to make the message culturally relevant. Here is my case: An emergent theology is messianic. That is, it is a theology that is anointed and Spirit-led to point the way forward. An emergent theology is like the finger of John the Baptist, pointing into the world and saying, "Here is the lamb of God" (John 1:29). Emerging churches are missional. That is, these are churches that only exist as the continuing mission of Christ (the Messiah) in the world. Emerging churches are like Jesus arising out of the water of baptism, anointed by the Spirit, and moving into the streets and market place to heal, promote justice and seek peace. An emergent theology is revelational. It is a theology of the Word; it is the bread come down from heaven; it speaks truth and opens minds and hearts. Emerging churches are reformational. They seek to put new wine into new wineskins; they want to renew the church that already exists and translate the older formulas of the faith into new paradigms of contemporary communication. An emergent theology is Kingdom coming. It is a theology that proclaims a new order of God's reign already present as a transforming spiritual, social and economic power of liberation and rehabilitation of humankind. Emerging churches stress Kingdom living. They seek to be the gathering of all who seek the blessing of being 'grace-filled' believers and the empowering community that sends them forth as Spirit-filled disciples. An emergent theology is eschatological. It has the mind of the risen and coming Christ as well as the heart and soul of the historical Jesus. It is a theology that keeps hope alive by preparing the way of the future into the present while, at the same time, keeping faith alive by "looking forward to the city that has foundations, whose architect and builder is God" (Hebrews 11:10). Emerging churches are incarnational. Their language is that of the people; their message is communicated through culture; their presence in the world is ordinary so as to get within arms length to embrace others with extraordinary love.
Read More

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Funny Shirt of the Week

Not sure why this is funny? That's because you do the same thing. For the record, it should read You're a loser. Enjoy! You're a loser

Thoughts from a church planter

I saw this on "Church Marketing Sucks" and thought it was pretty cool. Some very cool thoughts on how God can build churches. 2 year thoughts.... In two weeks, we turn 2. It seems like yesterday we were trying to get this thing started. I have looked at so many pictures and video getting ready for this service and I have laughed more the this week then I have in a long time. I am a blessed man. What has happened here is an amazing thing and only God can get the glory. I look at other plants who have more education then me, are better speakers then me, are in larger cities then me, had more money when they launched, look better (that isn't too hard), and yet very few churches are doing what God is doing at RSC. I don't say that at all to be cocky, I say it to give God glory for all that HE has done. IF God can use me, HE can use anyone. Read More

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

This is stinkin' awesome

Okay, so Jenn was searching around the internet and stumbled upon this website which has the Bible acted out in Legos. That's right Legos. Check it out

Sunday, July 23, 2006

The humbling experience of being dunked

Today, I was baptised. It was a pretty cool experience and stirred up some thoughts that surprised me so I thought I'd share. I've been walking with the Lord for about 7 years now, but for some reason had never been baptised. I've been involved in a church for a long time, got a job at a church and even seen dozens of baptisms before taking the plunge (pun very much inteneded) myself. So while I expected emotions to come surrounding the event, I didn't quite know what kind to expect. What I felt, and what surprised me the most was that I felt a little embarassed. Not embarassed about Jesus or anything; I love Jesus. I think He's great, and every day I am falling more in love with Him. I was embarassed, however, because I thought that people would say, "I can't believe you haven't been baptised yet. aren't you going into ministry?" It's weird to come face to face with the reality of how much I've bought into my own hype. A lot of who I am and what I do is about people thinking I'm someone; people thinking I am capable or even that I know what I'm doing. I didn't want to be baptised because I didn't want people to know that I hadn't taken what I considered to be a "beginner step." What was cool though, was that no one said that. I got hugs, and congratulations and people saying it was so great. No one else had bought into my hype and it made me realize that what people love is when we are real. They want us to be authentic. I learned that what I want my life to be about is Jesus, not this image of myself that I've created for others to be impressed with. Today, I was baptised. As a declaration to the world that I am passionately in love with Jesus and that I want to follow Him. Praise God for an opportunity to understand more and more who He is and who I want to be...and that I didn't even get water up my nose.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Does anyone else feel a little behind the times?

Check out this article. Apparently my generation thinks email is just a little too slow. Email is so last millenium.
Young people see it as a good way to reach an elder – a parent, teacher or a boss – or to receive an attached file. But increasingly, the former darling of high-tech communication is losing favor to instant and text messaging, and to the chatter generated on blogs and social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace.

The responsibility of a worship leader

Well, I said I would post tonight and so I'm going to give it a shot. The more I think about this, the more excited I am, for what this could be. I think that as we bounce ideas back and forth, it will help us all to not only be better worship leaders, but better worshippers. So many times, whether leading or being lead, my worship is bogged down by unfair expectations. I often times expect people to take me places, or the band to be completely spirit-led, or even expect God to give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. Ultimately, however, worship is not about that. I wrote a blog about what worship is and what it isn't a couple of weeks ago, so rather than repeat myself, I want to talk about what the responsibility of a worship leader is and since so many of us, I believe, go into worship with the same unfair expectations the job of a worship leader is that much more important. A worship leader's job is to point the eyes of the people to the King for as long as possible. This doesn't just mean while he or she is on stage, but in conversations, phone calls, rehearsals, emails, the works. Worship is about God, seeing Him for who He is and then responding. You have to be wrapped up in the person of Jesus and have a burning passion for others to know Him too. That's why missions and worship are not mutually exclusive, but instead, worship should lead to missions. This doesn't mean you have to be on all the time. It doesn't mean that you can't be authentic and have a bad day from time to time, but it does does mean that your job is much more than playing a few songs on Sunday morning. This means that it is your job to get the band focused on leading people to the throne room. It's more than musical, it's about your band thinking in terms of worship, not music. Guitar solos, drum patterns, sound issues, vocals, whatever. They all need to be thought of in the frame work of worship. Musicians should think more of making much of God than of making much of themselves. What do you guys think? let me know. Next time, I'll talk about how we do this.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

The everchanging corner of the blogosphere I call home.

Okay, so a couple of weeks ago, I changed the name of my blog and as I've been thinking of what to post, I believe that I have narrowed my focus. You see, I've been inspired by Carlos Whittaker and Phil Ayres, both blogs about leading worship (they are different though and you should check them out). I've thought maybe I would blog about my experiences as a worship leader, but the next month or so would be pretty boring cuz I don't start at Clovis Hills until September 1st. Plus, I'm young and still learning and maybe thinking that those blogs may not be that helpful because I'm still learning myself. So what I've decided to do is blog about an area that I feel I do know a little something about, and that's what worship should be. Not how it should sound or what it should look like, but what it should really be. I've been thinking about this a lot lately and feel like there's some stuff there. I'm hopefully going to post the first part of this blog series tonight, which I think will be called
what worship should be
(not a particularly clever name since I just told you that's what this whole things going to be about, but bare with me). And then from there, I want to break it down into catagories like, but not limited to,
The worship leader's responsibility in worship,
the people's responsibility in worship,
and maybe even
what does monday look like?
So stay tuned, I think it's gonna be fun.

About Me

Ryan Walton is the worship leader at Flood church in Sacramento. I stumbled upon their website and thought his about me was pretty cool. I changed a couple of things and made it mine, but I think it's a pretty cool attitude to have for someone in leadership. Enjoy. About Me I actually have no idea what I'm doing. I am the blind leading the blind and the broken healing the broken. I am a 'work in progress' and sometimes I change my mind just to make sure that it's still there. I have good days and bad days. I don't always like everyone I know. I've had some terrible church experiences. Both my finger and my heart have both been broken. I've doubted my faith, bought clothes to try and fit in, and even lied in order to make people think I am cool. I often put hope in things that are hopeless, faith in princes, and love in a world that revolves around me. I'm terrified of being alone and yet weary to give my heart away. I've voted democrat and republican. I've broken promises and compromised my integrity. I've judged other people and treated people unfairly. Finally, you should know that through it all, I've discovered that I am in desperate need of a redeemer. Through the despair and pain, I've tasted heaven and experienced this man Jesus in the lives of people I have known. It is my truth, my heart, and my life. It is in my desperation that I see...and in my confession that I am free.

Funny Shirt of the Week

I saw this shirt a while back and have been trying so hard to find it and I have! But you'll probably never see it, because "No one cares about your blog!"

Sunday, July 09, 2006

My blog has a new name

So I was thinking about the name of my blog in comparison to the content and realized that rather than commenting on the Church the Bible and the emerging culture, I want to talk about Jesus. Not that those comments and discussions aren't welcome, they certainly are, I just wanted to give this little corner of the world wide web a new focus. So here's why I went with Jacob's Well. It's taken from John chapter 4 where Jesus meets the Samaritan woman. This has long been my favorite passage of scripture, only because it's the first example of cross-cultural ministry in the new testament (which is pretty cool), but also because I believe gives insight into our condition as humans. You see Jesus calls this woman out as having had five husbands and now living with a man who is not her husband. In asking her for a drink she is shocked that He would even talk to her a "half-breed" and asks Him if he is greater than Jacob who's well this is (hence the name). Jesus' response is to tell her that if she knew who He was she would ask Him for water and that she would never be thirsty. So what does this have to do with the name change? Well, Jesus doesn't tell her that it's wrong for her to want love (presumably why she runs to guys) he tells her that she's drinking from the wrong well. We are all tempted and have desires and wants and needs. The problem is when we run to things that won't satisfy to fill them. Counterfeits (and there are many in my life) prevent us from walking with and seeing Jesus as the source of all joy and satisfaction. So if my blog is about anything, it's about trying to see Jesus for who He really is. Ahh! Now that's refreshing.

Funny Shirt of the Week

There's nothing I like more than a cheesy Christian shirt, and since I think Jesus is pretty cool, this week's shirt is right on.

Friday, July 07, 2006

Anyone looking for a job?...NOT ME!

Well, after nearly 10 months of searching and praying and wondering if the Lord wanted Jenn and I to pursue this crazy worship thing, I have found the perfect job in an unlikely place. Clovis Hills Community Church in Clovis, Ca (the neighboring town of Fresno, where I grew up) has offered me the job of music director, which I am very excited about. It is amazing to me how the Lord provides. Over the last few weeks I was realizing more and more that I probably just need seasoning at a small church and maybe need to work part time for a little while, but God has taken care of me. This job is full time, an opportunity to work with a great staff who cares about helping me grow and developing me more as a leader. It means working with a tremendous group of volunteer musicians ( I was blown away by their band) and it's a situation where I'll be able to grow as a musician and worship leader, without the pressure of leading worship every week. I will be in charge of the music department, rehearsing bands, auditioning people and working on the creative arts team which has a couple of stellar people already on it. I start in September and the more I think about it, the more blown away I am that the infinte God of the universe who is so vast and big is at the same time passionately concerned with me and my wife and desires that we are in a great situation. And that He would take us through this process of finding the perfect fit, which I believe this is. I confess though that I am a little overwhelmed at the size of this thing and self-doubt begins to creep in more and more. It is however, an opportunity to lean wholly on Jesus and trust Him with everything, which is a great place to be.

Monday, July 03, 2006

What worship is...and isn't

I've recently started (again) the book Knowledge of the Holy by A.W. Tozer. It's a book on the attributes of God and written in response to what Tozer calls
the lose of the concept of majesty from the popular religious mind.
Tozer says that
The Church has surrendered her once lofty concept of God and has substituted for it one so low, so ignoble, as to be utterly unworthy of thinking, worshiping men.
His belief is that this was not done intentionally but unintentionally and slowly over time, and that her unawareness makes the situation all the more tragic. Reading this book (which is very short and easy to read by the way) resonates so deeply with my heart as I think about how to help people understand true worship. I'm not only talking about singing songs or coming to church but how do we get to a place where we are struck with the reality of God. What could happen with our lives or our communities if we lived in light of the reality of God? I think it is here that the problem lies. We know, at least in theory, that to be fully engaged with and in the person of Christ, our lives would be drastically different. I think we know that to get there would, in addition, require surrender; a handing over of our lives and our comforts and our dreams to God. For some reason though, we are afraid. We are terrified that if we were to give our lives to God and open ourselves up to be changed it would mean the entire world seeing me for who I am and could mean a drastic change in my world.
What if I surrender myself to God and I don't like what he does with my life?
What if it means being uncomfortable?
Does God know better what I need than I do?
These questions are the crux of Tozer's book and I believe the reason that we can't give ourselves over to good in worship. Simply put we don't trust Him.We don't believe that God can provide for our futures, so we try and make it happen on our own and pray that He'll bless our efforts. We don't come to Church or walk through life with an expectancy of meeting the Lord, because we don't really believe He's there, or if we do believe He's there, we don't think He can do anything for us. Tozer says that this innacurate view of God is the reason for all of our theological inaccuracies and morever, the reason for all of our sin. Oh, that we would think rightly about God. Would we continue to run to T.V., sex, money and any thing else if we understood that God and God alone is the source of infinite satisfaction and Joy? If we understood fully or at least more fully, that God is capable of anything and desires for our good, would we trust Him more with our lives? Worship, whether through music or interaction with others or any other activity should be the joyful expression of our hearts celebrating the person of God. We should at all times be amazed and overwhelmed at His willingness to be huge yet here and His passionate care for us, His people. I suspect however, that the definition of worship I just gave is not the one we would all use to describe our lives.

Funny Shirt of the Week

Here it is, this week's funny shirt.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

The Great Church Job Hunt

So, it's been a while since I've posted anything, so I thought I'd write before my bride and I leave for Montana this afternoon. I'm feeling a little frustrated with the job search. It has now been six months of looking for something, and though I am convinced that the Lord has something for us, it's not here yet and that is hard. I feel like a small child saying "are we there yet?" But I've put together a list of things I have learned through this time that hopefully will encourage you to seek the Lord in the process, but it probably mainly a reminder for me that this has been the biggest period of growth I've ever experienced. 1) I've learned about the kind of church I'd like to be at. Because of my experience, or lack there of and primarily because of my gifting and passions, I want to be at a smaller, younger church that I can help build into something big. I don't want to walk into an incredibly established worship ministry and fit a mold of the sunday morning guy. I want to create, to build and to develop a worship culture. 2) I've learned for whom I'd like to work. I've talked to a lot of pastors now, all of them very nice and I'm sure filled with passion, but only one that oozed that passion. I want so badly to work side by side a man that will lead; someone who is passionate about the lost, the world, but mostly, someone who can't stop talking about Jesus. 3) I've learned what salary is important for me. Early on, I went deep into the application process with a church who was offering quite a bit of money, and immediately I started thinking about all the cool things I could do with that cash. I didn't get the job, and then was offered a chance to join two church platers in St. Louis. No money at the beginning, not sure when they could pay, but some amazingly cool ideas about ministry. I think the God's been showing me a few extremes so that we go where we will go for the right reasons. 4) He's showing that He'll provide. I've been waiting tables, Jenn's been nannying, and I've been finishing school (two classes to go). We haven't had a ton of money, but we've had enough, it's come in at just the right time, and we have been fine. This job search has been about so much more than a job. It's been about the process; it's been about drawing closer to Him and each other. When we do land somewhere, and I'm convinced that wherever that is, it'll be just where the Lord wants us, we will have grown more through this time than any other.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Funny Shirt of the Week

This week's funny shirt comes from RandomShirts.com You can check them out at www.randomshirts.com. There are all sorts of well...random shirts. Ninjas Hate Pirates

Something from Mark Driscoll

The recent April issue of GQ magazine includes a most curious article about Adriana Lima. She is the Brazillian Victoria’s Secret supermodel and the ninety-seventh highest-paid famous person in the world, according to Forbes. She made Maxim’s Hot 100 list in 2003. She was engaged to rocker Lenny Kravitz in 2002. And, like many supermodels, the internet is filled with nude photos of her, which I swear I did not look at. What makes story so dang weird is that in addition to being a supermodel, she’s also a devout Catholic virgin. Of her modeling (that includes a lot of nudes and near-nudes), she says, "God has given me a lot of work." Apparently that work includes a part-time job learning to spell the word c-o-n-t-r-a-d-i-c-t-i-o-n. Read More

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Wanting to Be Norm

This is a little something written by my friend Mike. He taught me how to walk with Jesus and is still doing so. This is from his ministry home page and is pretty classic Mike. Check it out. Mar 21, 2006 On Becoming Norm I don’t have a ton to write on this topic, but I have always wondered where Norm comes from. Do you remember Cheers? Whenever Norm would come into the bar, everybody would yell his name. Woody knew what he was going to have (beer) and everyone seemed so happy to see the chubby old guy. I’ve always thought there is something cool about Norm. Something about being connected and loved and talking about our lives with people who really know your name and are always glad you came. Read More

Piper's Cancer

John Piper is a hero of mine and so I thought it would be fitting to add this link to an article he wrote the evening before having surgery for Protstate Cancer. February 15, 2006 I write this on the eve of prostate surgery. I believe in God’s power to heal—by miracle and by medicine. I believe it is right and good to pray for both kinds of healing. Cancer is not wasted when it is healed by God. He gets the glory and that is why cancer exists. So not to pray for healing may waste your cancer. But healing is not God’s plan for everyone. And there are many other ways to waste your cancer. I am praying for myself and for you that we will not waste this pain. Don't Waste Your Cancer

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Barry Bonds

Though it may make me simultaneously, the most naive and disliked person in cyberspace, I believe Barry Bonds is completely innocent. That's right, amid all of the allegations, the growth of his now huge biceps (and possibly head) and his assault on baseball's all-time homerun record, I think he's innocent. I could engage in a lengthy discussion as to why I think he's innocent, but ultimately, I think I want so badly to believe him, because I want baseball to have heroes again. There was a time when baseball was king; when Mantle and Mays and Ruth were like superheros. Kids believed in baseball players. I believed in them. If Barry's guilty than it means this isn't real. It means that we aren't watching someone do what millions of us have only dreamed of. It means that we're not watching the records of heroes past fall. We're not seeing a new superman. Willie Mays is not coming back if Barry's cheating; neither is Mantle or Ruth. If he's cheating, then what was done in the past can never be done again. I just don't want to believe that. If Barry's cheating, then we'll forever be skeptics. If he's innocent though, then we have to live with the fact that we destroyed superman before he had a chance to do something really heroic.

Let me introduce you to the Mrs.

Marriage is great. I highly recommend it. When you're married to an amazing woman like I am, it's even better. This is my wife Jenn. She's a foxy little blonde whom I smuggled away from the great state of Montana. She's passionate about kids, women and people that don't know Jesus, and she kinda likes me too.

Funny Shirt of the Week

Often times I find myself searching for things that define me. A good book, a movie I can relate to or in this case, really funny T-shirts! Check out this week's funniest T-shirt!

Why won't anybody hire me?

The American church is at a cross roads. A cultural shift is taking place that makes traditional methods of reaching and connecting with people look different, but while a new crop of willing and Godly ministers want to get into the game with their new vision, passion and ideas, they are not given the chance because of a lack of experience. Because of this, many young men and women with a passion for the Lord and a zeal for ministry are relegated to taking jobs they don't like for the soul purpose of building a resume to get the jobs that they want. But what happens when a young person with passion and vision takes a job in an environment that doesn't share that vision and doesn't give them an avenue to implement those new ideas? Burnout. Young ministers are feeling more and more frustrated with the main stream church are "taking their business elsewhere." Ideas start to circulate and swirl around in the heads of these bright and talented laborers that "the church has no room for me," or that "they're doing it the wrong anyway, so I'll start my own church." I fear that a growing number of house churches and church plants are being built out of frustration and not out of passion or a call from the Lord. This causes people to think and ask questions about how they can make church and ministry different, a question that is many times valid and a good one, but that can also lead to radical changes in the direction of the church. Views of the disontented towards the mainstream church 1) They aren't reaching anybody. 2) They are out of touch with culture. 3) They are building something just for them with no desire to reach this emerging culture. 4) Church isn't exciting anymore. 5) Churches are too focused on theology and doctrine and not enough of those truely in need. Now, I'm 25 and searching for a job as a worship pastor, and so this comes out of experience of watching friends go through this transition and with battling my own frustration. I am fully willing to admit that this perhaps is not the case universally. However, I am afraid that if this idea of building out of frustration is prevelant throughout many in my generation, the answer to these grievances above are going to look something like this: 1) They aren't reaching anybody because their gospel is out of date. We'll change the gospel, admit that there are other ways to get to Heaven apart from Jesus. That'll bring people by the thousands. 2) They are out of touch with the emerging culture. So we create something specifically for the emerging culture. We will choose relevance over Biblical mandate and since the Bible is out of touch with emerging culture, we'll say it's a good guide book, but not innerrant and certainly not the only resource by which to live our lives. 3) They are building something just for them, with no desire to reach the emerging culture. They exclude our generation, so we will create church that only reaches a specific segment of the population, primarily those that are feeling neglected and we will exclude everyone else. 4) Church isn't exciting anymore. We will create different elements of worship; art, dance, prayer stations. We will meet the needs of so many who are discontented with the mainstream church by making church hard for anyone of another generation to connect with. We will use things like "lectio devina" which are designed to focus scripture and prayer on us and want God is trying to say to us and do for us. Let's do away with elders and leaders too. They get all the time at the podium anyway. Let's make it a sharing community where everyone gets a say. We'll include no filters for discernment and not test things against scripture, cuz after all, who are we to judge. 5) Churches are too focused on theology and doctrine and not on people who are really hurting. So let's just own all of Christian history. Forget the Reformation, forget councils brought together to cannonize scripture or thousand year old doctrinal differences that caused denominational splits. Can't we all just get along? There are people in need of help. Homeless people and those suffering from injustice. Let's not burden them with the Gospel but simply meet there needs. The sad part of all of this for me is that there are some ideas in here that tug at my heart. There are many people who are afflicted and hurting, struggling from homelessness, drug addiction or involved in prostitution. These people need a loving church and men and women who love Jesus to love them. I'm frustrated too with the mainstream church and their 75 piece praise bands and worship services not designed for intimacy and expeirence with God, but seemingly for a performance. However, God has moved historically and biblically through His Holy Spirit's response to our prayers and through the preaching of scripture to empower His people to reach their world for Christ. Methods have to change, I agree, but to change scripture, two thousand years of rich church history, that is the real danger.