Wednesday, October 31, 2007

New Blogging Friend

Jason Bedell...I'll try write more about him tomorrow.


Two Things

1) I spent all day getting ready for ToT, which is why I haven't posted the things I said I'd post about that I really want to post about...I promise to try to post about it all tomorrow...but that may not mean anything since I'm only going to try.

2) ToT was amazing...we were hoping for 600, and we may have doubled that. We ran out of candy at the end of the first hour and had to go out for more. Again, I'll try to post more tomorrow.

Trunk or Treat


Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Forefront at The White Horse Pub

I'll blog more extensively about this tomorrow, but for now, here are a few pictures and a couple of quick thoughts.

A view of the "stage".

Me, Chris, Josh and Vince outside of the pub/church.

They've got something very cool going on. At least one girl gave her life to Christ tonight...say all you want about a church in a bar, but that's cool any place, any time.


At the Bar!

Here we are, 5 minutes ago...


This Made Me Smile...

...and roll my eyes at the same time...


Article about the Bar Church

Good Article!


Monday, October 29, 2007

Going to the Bar

We're going to Forefront Church (at the bar) tomorrow (the "we" being Josh and Chris and I) to check it out and maybe learn some things that we can use when we restart our Vintage gathering next year.

I'm especially stoked that we get to have dinner with Vince and pick his brain before church.


Who Won?

Somebody broke 4000 in the middle of the night...who was it? 50 points hang in the balance...


Sunday, October 28, 2007

Mutant Transformation - Step 1


Sunday Blitz

> Let's just get it out of the way...the Patriots are that good, and the Skins got their butts kicked (I place most of the blame on faithless Skins fans who shall go unnamed).

> This morning was the first of two Sundays in a row in which we're talking about having a mission. Today was all about engaging the culture.

> TRUNKorTREAT is this Wednesday! I'm going to mutate into my ToT character tonight...look for pics of the transformation coming tomorrow...

> We're learning a few new songs this week! I'm especially stoked about "With One Voice"!

> I'm also stoked that we're NOT going to Durham this week! We're taking a week off from Tricia's PT so that we can do the ToT thing.

> The BoSox are going to win the WS...and yes, I do care cause tonight might be the last night of real baseball until April, which sucks...I hate hockey and pro basketball, and there's not much to be excited about during the second half of the NFL regular season.

> I usually say only good things about our church...BUT, I'm totally dissapointed in the turn-out of CREST tonight...especially knowing that some people have told us that they just see the importance in coming (have they been awake the past several Sunday mornings?!?)... Huge props for the dedicated who did come out!

> Next Sunday is going to be cool. We've got lots of missional stuff going on right now. ToT, the OBX Marathon, The Festival of Trees (I'll talk about this later this week), Operation Christmas Child, and we're going to be talking about it all next week!

> A few of us are going up to VA Beach on Tuesday night to check out Vince Antonucci and Forefront's Church at a Bar. We're looking to get some ideas and vision for Vintage. I'm stoked!

> I just broke my personal record for most links in one post!

> Batman and I are making one final video for ToT tomorrow night. It should be sweet!

> Here's you "laugh at Nate" moment of the week: Meka and I doing some professional modeling this afternoon (seriously)...

> I know there's something else I wanted to mention, but it's not coming to me...I'll remember it later.

That's all.


Saturday, October 27, 2007

Worship: It's That Important (Part 7)

What would our Sunday mornings look and sound and feel like if every single one of us came every week ready to give glory to God and encourage each other as we worshipped together? I can't imagine...but I can tell you this, our job up on the stage as worship leaders would almost be unnecessary. All we'd have to do is point in the right direction and let you go. Wouldn't that be an awesome thing?

So, this morning, take a good long look at your heart and your life. Are you living a life of personal worship, considering that everything you think, say and do should be an act of worship to God?

Are you worshipping God 24/7 so that when we gather together for corporate worship you are glorifying God and encouraging others?

Or, are you a selfish worshipper, always looking to get something for yourself out of your personal and corporate worship without any thought of what it's really all about?

As we consider these questions this morning, weíre going to sing a couple of songs that both glorify God and encourage one another. Again, feel free to worship with us.

Maybe you're ready right now to sing with everything youíve got.

Or maybe you need to spend a few minutes getting some things right between you and God or you and another believer.

Or maybe, this is the very first time youíve ever been invited to experience real worship, and you are wanting to make a decision right now to become a God worshipper so that you can join in with what we are about to do. All you have to do is take a moment to talk to God. Let Him know that you understand that you've been worshipping something other than Him. That you believe in Him and what His Son, Jesus did for you by dying on the cross so that you could be free to worship Him now. That you want to spend some time right now worshipping Him.

Let's worship God!

Song - "Desperate People" by Hillsong United
Song - "Kingdom Come" by Hillsong United

(Check out the other parts of this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, and Part 6)


Kinda Like the Colorado Rockies

I'll give 50 points to the person who breaks 4000 guests on this blog! (fun to watch, but worthless when it really matters)


Surf's (Two Thumbs Way) Up!

My wife and I went with some friends to a screening of the new surf movie, "Walking On Water". This is a Christian film directed and produced by some friends of mine.

Now, I am usually an incredibly harsh critic when it comes to "Christian" films...I thought "Facing the Giants" was so cheesy and poorly acted (especially after all of the "good" things I'd heard about how it was so much better than the normal Christian film) that I wanted to cry.

But, this film blew me away. Here are a few reasons why:

> The directing, filming and editing are outstanding. I've seen most of the classic surf films as well as lots of the new stuff that is coming out, and this can stand up to any of them. By far, the most professional piece of Christian film art I have ever seen. Beautiful. I knew it was going to be different from the opening credits...

> The story is really powerful. From the website:

"When Bryan Jennings (Founder/Director of Walking On Water) was fourteen years old he was taken on his first surf trip by a local professional surfer. This trip had a lasting effect on his life. In Walking On Water Bryan returns the favor as he takes Tyler and Luke literally around the world in hopes that they too will forever be changed. Along the way they meet up with three-time world champion surfer Tom Curren, teen shark attack survivor Bethany Hamilton, top professional surfers C.J. and Damien Hobgood, and many others. Join Luke and Tyler as they travel to Hawaii, Peru, Australia, Indonesia, South Africa, and France. In this beautiful and inspiring film, the world becomes their classroom."

It's shot as a documentary...think of it as "Endless Summer" with a huge heart and seriously meaningful message for today's youth culture.

Whether you're a surfer or not, whether you're a fan of the ocean or not, whether your a Christian or not, I seriously recommend that you check this film out. This is one of the few times I've ever walked away from a movie theatre with this good a feeling about a film. It's that good.

Just watch the trailer and tell me you're not interested...


Friday, October 26, 2007

One-Hand Clap

'Cause I know I Sparked Your Interest...


Worship: It's That Important (Part 6)

God desires you to bring your gift of worship to Him every day, in your personal and corporate worship. He also desires that you be an encouragement to those around you. Yeah, worship is that important!

Our church, this body of believers cannot function properly if you’re not prepared to give your gift of worship. Listen to this:
(begin Ramon)

Romans 12:1-8
1 And so, dear brothers and sisters, I plead with you to give your bodies to God because of all He has done for you. Let them be a living and holy sacrifice—the kind He will find acceptable. This is truly the way to worship Him.
2 Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.
3 Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us.
4 Just as our bodies have many parts and each part has a special function,
5 so it is with Christ’s body. We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.
6 In His grace, God has given us different gifts for doing certain things well. So if God has given you the ability to prophesy, speak out with as much faith as God has given you.
7 If your gift is serving others, serve them well. If you are a teacher, teach well.
8 If your gift is to encourage others, be encouraging. If it is giving, give generously. If God has given you leadership ability, take the responsibility seriously. And if you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly.

I Corinthians 12:12-26
12 The human body has many parts, but the many parts make up one whole body. So it is with the body of Christ.
13 Some of us are Jews, some are Gentiles, some are slaves, and some are free. But we have all been baptized into one body by one Spirit, and we all share the same Spirit.
14 Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part.
15 If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body.
16 And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body?
17 If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything?
18 But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it.
19 How strange a body would be if it had only one part!
20 Yes, there are many parts, but only one body.
21 The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.”
22 In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary.
25 This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other.
26 If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad.

Ephesians 4:15, 16
15 …we will speak the truth in love, growing in every way more and more like Christ, who is the head of his body, the church.
16 He makes the whole body fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love.

(end Ramon)

And, most of us know about being part of the body of Christ…many of us have sat through dozens if not hundreds of sermons and devotions about this concept. But, putting it into action is hard.

Here’s a great way to think about how your personal worship affects the corporate worship experience. In worship, if the arm doesn't let the elbow move, clapping is difficult. If the hips don’t let the legs move, how can you dance? The person who is the arm or the hip must worship for the legs and hands to worship. They may worship without the hip or arm, but with them the worship is so much greater. Being part of the body is so much deeper than just belonging. It is a responsibility to the rest of the body.

Being part of the body is so much deeper than just belonging. It is a responsibility to the rest of the body.

Most of you know how incredibly talented I am…but I guarantee what I am about to show you will blow your mind. I only know of a few other people in the world who have this talent. Are you ready? I can clap with one hand. Would you like to see?

But here’s the deal about this talent. It’s amusing for a few seconds, but one, it really looks stupid, two, it gets tiring really quickly, and three, it just isn’t nearly as powerful as when I use both my hands and arms.

And that’s how corporate worship works. When you and I come wanting to do our own thing without thinking about God or those around us, we end up looking like stupid jerks, we get emotionally drained, and our corporate worship isn’t nearly as powerful and pleasing to God as it could be.

Yeah, worship IS that important!

(Tomorrow I'll post Part 7...Check out the other parts of this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, and Part 5)


Music Review: Steven Curtis Chapman "This Moment"

I'm a huge SCC fan. His "Great Adventure" album is largely responsible for my love of music and of God. I'm always stoked when I see an upcoming album release, and since SCC seems to create/produce more music than just about anyone else out there, I get stoked a lot. That being said, I've been a little disappointed with his recent releases. "All Things New" had some good tracks, but was overall only mediocre for me. In fact, his 1999 release, "Speechless" was his last album that I really love all around.

"This Moment" is, in some ways, very vintage SCC, and in other ways it is very fresh and new. It's got much more of the rock sound of his 2001 release, "Declaration", as opposed to the sound of 2004's "All Things New". I was a little bummed with my first listen, but I think this album's got the potential to grow on me. Unlike "All Things New", I think this album has more than 1 really good song. Here's my break-down track by track:

1) "Miracle Of The Moment" - A good opening track, with some good melodical hooks. The message is simply about living in the here and now, not missing the little things that make life truly beautiful, taking advantage of every minute we're given. This track sets the vintage SCC standard for production quality for the rest of the album. This track also gives you a good listen to how SCC's voice is getting a little older and more gritty, which I think sounds good.

2) "Broken" - The first track that really uses some more modern musical elements. A drum beat that will make you want to listen again and try to play along with you air-drum set, and some cool electric stuff, a very inviting chorus, and the seemingly-mandatory break-to-the-rhythm-acoustic-chorus near the end. This is one of my favorite songs so far from this album.

3) "Cinderella" - The first and maybe only real dud for me. I'm sure the parents and ladies will like this one (which may be why I don't)...a song apparently written to SCC's oldest daughter. Very similar to the classic (and worn-out) "Butterfly Kisses". I'm sure his family likes this one...

4) "Yours" - This song introduces one of this album's reoccurring themes, relating to SCC's involvement in missions and adoption. The message is simply that we can see God everywhere in the world. The sound is very much vintage SCC...sounds more like it belongs on with "Heaven In The Real World", but I like it.

5) "Something Crazy" - Sounding very much like it belongs on "Declaration", this is the other song that just doesn't work for me. The message is not bad, I just think it gets distracted by the music. Some of the musical elements (listen to the "c-c-crazy" bridge) are just incredibly cheesy. The most "produced" song on the album as well.

6) "Children Of God" - The first of a few very Hillsong United sounding songs, which is cool to me. This would be very fun to play at a youth event, with driving guitars and a modern drum beat. Even throws in some David Crower-esque la-la's. Should have let his son, Caleb, sing most of the song instead of just the second verse.

7) "One Heartbeat At A Time" - Vintage SCC....story-telling/personal lyrics and piano/strings music. My guess is that this song was written for his wife. Basically an encouraging song about how her life as a mother is changing the world. Good stuff. This would work really well on Mother's Day.

8) "My Surrender" - A song from a desperate heart crying out to God in surrender. Could be used as a great song for corporate worship. A bit of a worn message, but still a good one.

9) "You Are Being Loved" - Another very modern sounding Hillsong United-esque song. Although it's a little cheesy, I love the melody for some reason. SCC at his best being an encouragement...think "Treasure of You" from "Heaven In The Real World". The only thing I don't like is the choir stuff at the end, but whatever...

10) "Definition of Me" - Another of my favorites...this one's got a very 70's Elton John piano driven feel to it. The message is that we find our purpose and meaning in God and what He has done for us. The music on the bridge is a little cheesy. This would be a fun song to do sometime.

11) "With One Voice" - This is the best track, IMO. A super message about the Church worshipping together around the world, and a very modern sound. We're learning this one next week to use next Sunday. I think it's going to become a favorite.

12) "Run Home" (Bonus Track) - Vintage acoustic SCC with a message of hope and encouragement for those feeling lost and empty. I like this one a to remember for some future use on Sunday mornings.


With One Voice (Part 2)

We're learning this for next Sunday!


Thursday, October 25, 2007

Worship: It's That Important (Part 5)

So, if we each have our own unique styles of Personal Worship that God loves to see and hear and feel expressed to Him, how in the world does that play out when we all get together on Sunday mornings for corporate worship? It would seem that, if we each came on Sunday mornings with the purpose of expressing our individual worship to God as best we could, we’d have a big, unorganized mess on our hands…

Thankfully, God in His infinite wisdom put some things in His Book that help guide us as we come together in corporate worship. Corporate worship has two purposes. The primary purpose of all worship is to bring glory to God. No matter what else is going on in our lives, God says that if we’re glorifying Him, everything else is going to fall into place. The second purpose of corporate worship is to encourage everyone else who is with us…that includes those who are already believers and those who have yet to discover life in Christ.

And if we want to accomplish these two purposes when we come together to worship, we’ve got to come with a heart that is ready to lay aside some of our personal preferences and worship styles.

Let’s read and listen to several New Testament passages that were written to the church, and let’s see if we can identify how corporate worship is meant to be unselfish so that God is glorified and people are encouraged.

(begin Ramon)

Ephesians 5:15-21
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise. 16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
18 Don’t be drunk with wine, because that will ruin your life. Instead, be filled with the Holy Spirit,
19 singing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs among yourselves, and making music to the Lord in your hearts.
20 And give thanks for everything to God the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
21 And further, submit to one another out of reverence for Christ.

Philippians 2:1-5
1 Is there any encouragement from belonging to Christ? Any comfort from His love? Any fellowship together in the Spirit? Are your hearts tender and compassionate?
2 Then make me truly happy by agreeing wholeheartedly with each other, loving one another, and working together with one mind and purpose.
3 Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.
4 Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too.
5 You must have the same attitude that Christ Jesus had.

I Corinthians 14:26
26 When you meet together, one will sing, another will teach, another will tell some special revelation God has given, one will speak in tongues, and another will interpret what is said. But everything that is done must strengthen all of you.

Colossians 3:14-17
14 Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony. 15 And let the peace that comes from Christ rule in your hearts. For as members of one body you are called to live in peace. And always be thankful. 16 Let the message about Christ, in all its richness, fill your lives. Teach and counsel each other with all the wisdom He gives. Sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs to God with thankful hearts. 17 And whatever you do or say, do it as a representative of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks through Him to God the Father.

I Corinthians 10:23, 24
23 You say, “I am allowed to do anything.” But not everything is good for you. You say, “I am allowed to do anything.” But not everything is beneficial.
24 Don’t be concerned for your own good but for the good of others.

Matthew 5:14-16
14 You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden.
15 No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house.
16 In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.

I Corinthians 10:31-33
31 So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.
32 Don’t give offense to Jews or Gentiles or the church of God.
33 I, too, try to please everyone in everything I do. I don’t just do what is best for me; I do what is best for others so that many may be saved.

(end Ramon)

Here’s the deal. God has given us 24 hours in every day, 168 hours in every week to worship Him in whatever ways we like the best….Sunday morning is just an hour or two of that time for you and I. In fact, it’s less than one half of one percent of your week. If you and I can’t learn to set aside some of our own personal preferences for that small amount of time every week, we’ve got much bigger spiritual issues in our lives than simple disagreements about music or preaching styles.

Now, let me state something that is hopefully obvious to most of us. We rarely have problems with this issue here at NHC. I have heard very few selfish comments about our church’s worship style in my 16+ months here at NHC. It is such a blessing to be a part of a body who seems to get this “it’s not about me” principle when it comes to worship, and I think that most of you would agree with me. It’s fun to worship with you every week!

But, just because we don’t hear about it all the time doesn’t mean selfish worship doesn’t exist at our church. I’ll be the first to stand in line and say that I’ve got to check my heart every week before I come to worship with you to make sure that I’m not coming with selfish motives.

And let me tell you something, that can be incredibly hard to do in my position…up here on the stage every week, it would be really easy for me and the others in the band to get a big head and a selfish attitude… And, I’ll be honest, sometimes I do get a big head about it…sometimes I allow worship to become all about me.

Before we come up on the stage each week, the band spends a few minutes in the back double checking our hearts and giving everything that we’re about to do up on stage over to God, asking Him to take all of the glory and to put us in the background.

How about you? When was the last time you thought about coming into corporate worship with an attitude of giving instead of getting? Do you take the time every week to stop and check your heart and your attitudes and to let God know that you’re coming to GIVE Him worship instead of getting your fill of worship.

Whether you love the music style or not, whether you get emotional during a prayer or not, whether you feel challenged by the sermon or not, unless you’re coming to give your worship to God and to encourage the people who are worshipping with you, you’re completely missing the point of corporate worship.

When you leave on Sunday morning, and you find yourself thinking about how much you either liked or disliked what took place, you probably missed the point of worship. Corporate worship is about bringing glory to God and encouraging others. Let me say that again…corporate worship is about bringing glory to God and encouraging others. Get it?

(Tomorrow I'll post Part 6...Check out the other parts of this series: Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4)


Free Book

If you're like me, you like free stuff, especially when it comes from people/groups like Barna.

Order your free copy of unchristian.


Friendly Reminder

Lots of people are coming and reading, but not so much posting...which is cool if you've got nothing to say, but my guess is you do.

Please, let me and everyone else know you've been here by adding to the discussions. I'd love to hear your perspective on this stuff. Be a contributer, not just a feeder!



Wednesday, October 24, 2007

With One Voice

Downloaded two new albums from iTunes today.

I wish I had "With One Voice" by Steven Curtis Chapman this past Sunday. We'll be learning this one soon!


Worship: It's That Important (Part 4)

In fact, we can see the preferences of God the Creator whenever we experience the world around us. He made the ocean a deep blue because that’s the way He wanted it to be. God designed the wind to howl in the winter here on the Outer Banks because that’s how He likes it. He created the rain to feel wet and the snow to feel cold just because that's simply what made Him happy.

Not only has He created everything we see and know on the earth, God is also largely responsible for my personality. Yes, our personalities are, in many ways, shaped by our families, our culture, our experiences, but it’s simple science that says each of us come out of the womb with unique personality traits, and I believe that it was God who made us the way we are.

Listen how Psalm 139 describes how the God of the universe knows everything about us…that He literally made us to be who we are before we ever saw our first day on earth:

(begin Ramon)

Psalm 139:1-4, 13-16
1 O Lord, You have examined my heart
and know everything about me.
2 You know when I sit down or stand up.
You know my thoughts even when I’m far away.
3 You see me when I travel
and when I rest at home.
You know everything I do.
4 You know what I am going to say
even before I say it, Lord.
13 You made all the delicate, inner parts of my body
and knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14 Thank You for making me so wonderfully complex!
Your workmanship is marvelous—how well I know it.
15 You watched me as I was being formed in utter seclusion,
as I was woven together in the dark of the womb.
16 You saw me before I was born.
Every day of my life was recorded in Your book.
Every moment was laid out before a single day had passed.

(end Ramon)

Whether you want to believe it or not, it was God who created you. And, I have to believe that it wasn’t just our physical features that God was working on…He was also shaping our personalities, and He has been using my family, culture and other aspects of my unique life to continue to help form my personality into what it is today. And that the same thing holds true for each of you.

If I believe that God has and is still playing an active role in shaping my personality, I must also believe that He has a purpose for doing so, and that this purpose must involve moving me toward becoming more like Him.

There are certainly things about myself that I do not like or know are not what God has intended for me. For example, I tend to be impatient, overly-critical, selfish and sometimes lazy…these are things that God does not want to see in me. We call these negative things “sin”.

There are also things about who I am that I see as good and God-honoring…these are traits that I believe God desires to see in every believer, things that I can only attribute to the fact that I was created in His image and am being transformed by His Spirit. I would identify these positive things as being a part of my character.

And, there are things about my personality that I consider to be neutral…the things that are unique to me that are not in and of themselves good or bad. I would identify these things as my personal preferences. These neutral traits are things like my favorite color, clothing style, food, learning style, music style.

These are the things that really make my personality unique from anyone else…the things that set me apart from everyone else. I believe that God played a part in forming these things as well, and that His desire is to see me use these traits to worship Him.

So, I have to believe that, if God helped and is helping to shape my personality (again, the good and neutral aspects of it), He also must take delight in me when I allow these traits to be expressed in my life. Throughout the Bible, we see God telling us how happy we make Him when we reflect His creation and His nature back to Him.

Read Ephesians 1:5 with me:

“Because of His love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ He would make us His children – this was His pleasure and purpose.”

God delights in us, gets pleasure from us, rejoices in us, enjoys us, and even laughs at and with us! Anything we do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship, and I truly believe that He loves to see the personalities that He has shaped in us being expressed through our lives.

I can picture God grabbing one of His angels right now and pointing at me and saying something like, “Take a look at Nate and that crazy orange shirt…I helped him pick that shirt out!” or maybe about you sometime this week, He's says, “Do you see him/her showing compassion to that person…like Me, like son/daughter!” He enjoys watching my personality reflect Himself.

And, He loves to see your unique personality come out of you in how you worship Him.

In fact, we’re going to take a few minutes right now to give you an opportunity to worship Him in your own unique way. We’re going to sing a song the most of us are familiar with, and at certain points in this song, there won’t be any singing going on…just music, and that’s your opportunity to think or say or do whatever you want to express your worship to God.

You can sit, stand, kneel, dance, jump, clap, sing loudly, meditate quietly…whatever way you want to worship Him right now is OK, as long as it is bringing glory to Him.

Song - "How Great Is Our God/Hallelujah" by Chris Tomlin and Hillsong United (this is the first time we used "Hallelujah"...I was listening to some Hillsong United a few weeks ago, and this song came on and I thought how perfectly it would fit with "How Great Is Our God" turned out really well)

(Tomorrow I'll post Part 5...Check out the other parts of this series: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3)


(Quickie) Corporate Worship Songs

Here are the songs that we use at NHC that have the words "we" or "us".

"Changed" by Aaron Niequist (one of the best songs ever, IMO)

"Communion" by Third Day

"Desperate People" by Hilssong United

"Everlasting God" by Brenton Brown (We do both the CT* and LB** versions)

"Glorious" by CT

"Holy Is The Lord" by CT

"How Great Is Our God" by CT

"Kingdom Come" by Hillsong United (My current new favorite)

"Let God Arise" by CT

"Love The Lord" by LB

"Made To Worship" by CT

"The Blessing" by John Waller & Troy Denning (another one of the greatest songs ever)

"You Are Good" by Israel Houghton

"Your Grace Is Enough" by CT

* CT = Chris Tomlin
** LB = Loncoln Brewster

I seriously recommend all of these songs. What are some worship songs that you use that focus on the corporate experience?


Monday, October 22, 2007

Worship: It's That Important (Part 3)

And, this whole worship thing goes way beyond what happens here on Sunday mornings. Here’s the thing; anything that you or I can think, say or do can and should be an act of worship. Let me say that again: anything that you or I can think, say or do can and should be an act of worship. Get it?

The real worship equation should look like this:

Worship = Anything I can Think, Say or Do that brings Glory to God

And the cool thing about worship is, everybody has a different personality and style. And, at NHC, we try to give people the freedom and options to worship God in the ways that best fit their SHAPE.

So, the question is, what is your style of Personal Worship?

Just for the sake of time and relevance, and since everyone now agrees that worship is more than music, let’s talk about personal styles of musical worship. Again, everything we talk here about can be applied to every aspect of our worship gatherings and our lives.

Every one of us has personal preferences when it comes to music styles. And, my guess would be that every one of you has a different musical style than the people around you. In fact, take 30 seconds to turn to the person next to you and tell them your favorite style of music. Go!

Now, here’s the deal, the music style you like best says more about you than it does about God. The style of worship that you feel most comfortable with says far more about your cultural background than it does about your theology.

There is no Biblical style of music. We could sit here and discuss, or even argue theology for hours on end to great benefit. But, the moment we begin arguing about music style in a theological sense, we’ve crossed onto a path that has no good destination. We might as well be discussing our favorite brand of shoes.

I bought a pair of new running shoes a few weeks ago. I bought them from because I wanted something cheap. They are bright orange (see below), and I posted a picture on My CF Blog, and you wouldn't believe all of the nasty comments I got from people who are supposed to be my friends and family. But, that's OK, because I like them and they fit my personality.

It all comes down to the fact that our personal preferences about music and everything else are just that…preferences. Get it?

Turn to the person next to you and say, “You’re different, and that’s OK.”

And, if you’re like me, you’re preferences are always changing. And, that’s OK! Take our drummer, Chris for example. Chris’s preferences in music style have changed dramatically in his lifetime. Don’t believe me…watch this...

(Here's a picture of Chris now. He had no idea we were going to show this video (at least during the first gathering), and he was up on the stage at the time...good stuff!)

Yeah, that was Chris on the drums about 27 years ago. That music video was actually one of the very first videos played on MTV way back when MTV actually showed music videos in the early 80's. I think you can all agree with me when I say, thank God Chris’s music AND hair styles have changed.

The thing is, personal preferences are a good thing. Imagine how boring this world would be if everybody looked the same, acted the same, smelled the same, talked the same…how painfully dull would that be? And, I know personal preferences are a good thing because it was God’s idea to make us this way. Turn to the person next to you, take a good long look and say, “God made you like that.”

(Tomorrow I'll post Part 4...Check out the other parts of this series: Part 1, Part 2)


Any thoughts so far? I'd love to have some discussion and hear some more from you about this stuff.

Worship: It's That Important (Part 2)

Maybe it’s just because I’m a guy…but, I love this commercial! I love steak...I'm a guy. I love A1 sauce…which by the way, I suggest you never drink straight from the bottle, and this commercial just makes me laugh because every guy in this room can empathize. Today we’re taking a look at “Worship: It’s That Important.”

Worship is a HUGE part of what we do at Nags Head Church, and this morning we’re talking about how we as a Christ followers worship God both personally and corporately, both by ourselves and together as the body of Christ, and how these two aspects of our worship are intimately related.

We’ve been going through a series called “Get It?” “Got It!” Good!” in which we’ve been taking a look at the basics of why and how we do church at Nags Head. For those of you who are our guests this morning, our lead pastor is out of town, and I’ve been asked to fill in and discuss the topic of worship with you.

But, before we get into personal and corporate worship, we need to make sure that we’re on the same page and understand together what worship really is. There is a very common misconception among Christians about worship. This misconception says that:

Worship = Music and Singing

But that’s only part of the equation…worship is not just music and singing. For years, the verbiage of the church has caused us to divide the worship service into two main parts: the worship (or music) and the sermon. As a result, for many people, worship is just a synonym for music.

I’ve heard many people say something like this: “At our church we have the worship first, and then the teaching.” Or, “I love the worship at our church, and the teaching is good too.” How many of you have ever heard or talked about a worship service like this?

This is a big misunderstanding, and something that we try very hard at NHC to counteract. We believe that every part of a church gathering is an act of worship. In fact, we are always very diligent to talk about each element of our worship gatherings as a part of worship.

How many of you have heard us say something like, “Now we are going to worship God by giving our tithes and offerings to Him”? Or, “God, we want to worship You now as we open Your Word”?

In fact, I believe that, if my heart is for God and what is coming out of my mouth is the Truth, then I am worshipping God as I stand here and talk with you. If you’ve come this morning with a desire to hear from God and take what you experience here and be a blessing to the world, you are worshipping God even as you’re listening to me talk right now. There are some incredible people who, at this very moment are helping your Kids learn more about their relationship with God…if those people are doing what they’re doing for God’s glory, they are worshipping God.

Praying, Scripture reading, singing, confession, silence, being still, listening to a sermon, taking notes, giving an offering, baptism, communion, SIGNING a commitment card, serving on a ministry team, and even greeting other worshipers can all be worship if we’re doing it for the glory of God.

Listen to some of the ways the Scriptures command us to worship God.

(begin Ramon)

Psalm 47:1, 6 (NLT)
1 Come, everyone! Clap your hands!
 Shout to God with joyful praise!
6 Sing praises to God, sing praises;
 sing praises to our King, sing praises!

Psalm 150:4,5
4 Praise Him with the tambourine and dancing; praise Him with strings and flutes!
5 Praise Him with a clash of cymbals; praise Him with loud clanging cymbals.

4 I will praise You as long as I live, lifting up my hands to you in prayer.

2 Lift up holy hands in prayer, and praise the LORD.

2:11, 12
11 Serve the LORD with reverent fear, and rejoice with trembling.
12 Submit to God's royal Son.

8 I listen carefully to what God the LORD is saying, for He speaks peace to His faithful people.

6 I come to your altar, O LORD,
7 singing a song of thanksgiving and telling of all Your wonders.

4 Enter His gates with thanksgiving; go into His courts with praise. Give thanks to Him and praise His name.

17 Morning, noon, and night I cry out in my distress, and the LORD hears my voice.

2 Honor the LORD for the glory of His name. Worship the LORD in the splendor of His holiness.

(end Ramon)

God has given us so much freedom in how we worship Him…it’s so much more than music and singing. Get it? (...and everybody responds, "Got It!" and I say, "Good!"...this will happen a few more times.)

And, right now, we’re going to take an opportunity to worship God by giving Him our tithes and offerings. Let me say to those of you who are our guests today, we do not expect you to put any money into the bags this morning, and nobody is going to be watching you to see what you’re doing. Feel free to just sit back and observe. If you really do want to participate in this act of worship with us, we welcome you to do so, but again, don’t feel any obligation or pressure.

And, we’re going to do this a little differently this morning. Instead of somebody leading in a prayer from the stage and then the band leading a song while we pass around the bags, we’re not going to do anything up here, and we’re going to give you the freedom to worship God on your own as you give to Him. I encourage you to take a few moments to let God know that you’re giving to Him now because you want to worship Him in this way. Everyone understand?

Song - "All To You" by Lincoln Brewster (below is our video of this song from earlier this summer)

(Tomorrow I'll post Part 3...Check out the other parts of this series: Part 1)


Worship: It's That Important (Part 1)

Hey, I was given an opportunity to lead our entire worship gatherings this past Sunday, and I thought I'd share with you, as I best I can, what we did. I was asked to teach about how Nags Head Church does personal and corporate worship. I'm going to split this up into several sections (cause I know how hard it is for me to read long posts), and I'll try to include as much video and music and other elements that we used during the gathering as well as some of my own post-Sunday thoughts (in parenthesis) so you can get an idea of the big picture. This is the first time I've ever taught on Sunday morning, and the response was very good, and I had a great time sharing my heart and passion for worship with our church body. Thanks!

Good name is Nathan, and I want to welcome to you Nags Head Church. So, we’re a church that likes to do things differently, and this morning is going to be no different…

For starters, you’ll notice that your notes are completely blank. There are a few things that we are really hoping that we’ll get a good handle on this morning, but we’re also not going to force feed you anything. It’s up to you, as always, to decide how much and in which ways you want to participate with us this morning.

And, as always, we are here to worship, and our invitation to you is to worship with us as much or as little as you wish. The choice is yours.

(I had my bro-in-law, Ramon, read this next section, our "call to worship" as well as all of the big Scripture passages I used...One of the speakers at the Willow Creek Arts Conference this past summer did something similar to this, and it really gave the Scriptures a narrative feel, which was very cool and fresh, and it helped me to somehow focus more on what was trying to be, I thought I'd try it out. I think it worked really well, and it gave me a few breaks to grab a drink of water and catch my breath.)

(begin Ramon)

Psalm 19
1 The heavens proclaim the glory of God.
The skies display His craftsmanship.
2 Day after day they continue to speak;
night after night they make Him known.
3 They speak without a sound or word;
their voice is never heard.
4 Yet their message has gone throughout the earth,
and their words to all the world.

Psalm 15
1 Who may worship in Your sanctuary, Lord?
Who may enter Your presence on Your holy hill?
2 Those who lead blameless lives and do what is right,
speaking the truth from sincere hearts.
3 Those who refuse to gossip
or harm their neighbors
or speak evil of their friends.

Psalm 22
22 I will proclaim Your name to my brothers and sisters.
I will praise You among Your assembled people.

23 Praise the Lord, all you who fear Him! Honor Him, all you descendants of
Jacob! Show Him reverence, all you descendants of Israel!

For we have been created by the Creator to worship Him and encourage one another!
Before the beginning of the world, He knew that we would gather together on this day to worship Him.
He created us for this very moment. He has filled our hearts with wonder so that we will always remember that He is the One Who brought us to life.
So, let us sing and pray and live and worship together.
God, we give this worship to You for all that You are, for all that You have done, and are doing and will continue to do for us.
May You be pleased with all that we think and say and do today in this place.

(end Ramon)

Song - "Made To Worship" by Chris Tomlin (Check out our video below of this song from earlier in the summer)
Song - "Sing A Song" by Third Day

(Tonight, I'll post Part 2)


PS. Check out Every Part of This Series:

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5
Part 6
Part 7

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Sunday Blitz

> So, I taught for the first time ever on a Sunday morning today. I feel very good about it. Thanks to those who took the time to not just tell me "good job" but to give me some honest feedback!

> Here's the video I used to set it all up message was titled "Worship: It's That Important"

> Totally caught Chris (our drummer) by surprise when I showed a clip during our worship gatherings from his MTV music video from 27 years ago. :D I'll post it on youtube ASAP cause it's flippin sweet!

> Skins just won!

> I've got a headache...not enough water last night/this morning combined with the extra energy I lost by leading worship and teaching.

> Our band rocks! They sat up on stage for the entirety of both gatherings, staring at the back of my head...

> We are so stoked about TRUNKorTREAT! It's going to be our biggest local outreach event ever!

> Nothing better than a baseball game 7 in late October! Can the BoSox do it again?

> My bro-in-law, Ramon totally came through this morning by hanging out on the stage with us and reading all of the Scripture I used during my teaching time. Gave it a very fresh and narative feel...thanks, dude!

> I'll post some stuff from my message today later in the week for some discussion time. Thanks to all who participated in the Personal Preferences Discussion! I used some of your thoughts today.

> Thanks to all of our church family who have been making us care packages for our travels back and forth to Durham. We love you all!

> Peace out!


Saturday, October 20, 2007

Eye Contact Part 2

WorshipTrench had a really good post related to this topic a few months ago. Check it out!


Friday, October 19, 2007

Eye Contact

So, I was encouraging one of our vocalists last night after practice to work on making more eye contact when on stage, especially when leading a song vocally. I personally have to consciously remember to look up from my music or to open my eyes and make that eye contact with the people I'm leading because like most (including the vocalists I was talking with), my natural tendency is to zone into my own experience and what's happening on stage (there's a lot to think about when you're the front-man) and ignore what the congregation is experiencing.

Two questions for discussion:

1) Why is it important to make a connection with the congregation, particularly with your eyes?

2) When do you feel it is important to make that connection, and when do you feel it is OK to step back and focus on other things or to close your eyes?

What do you think?


Thursday, October 18, 2007

ToT Games

Andy (our youth pastor) and I set up the inflatable castle bounce that we purchased for TRUNK or will be set up in our lobby the next two Sundays to help create a buzz for ToT. These things happen when the lead pastor is on vacation...


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Got Stuff?

I'm going to Guitar Center in a little while...anyone need anything?



(BUMP) Discussion #2: Personal Preferences?

I'm bumping this one more time because I would love some more input.

A hint at my personality.

So, some who know me (especially in the internet world) know that I have been trying to avoid debates and even lengthy discussions about just about anything lately because I'm beginning to understand how little most of these debates and opinionated discussions actually mean to the BIG PICTURE of what my life is really supposed to be all about.

BUT, there are still a few discussions going on among worship/church leaders that tend to spark my interest. One of the most "popular" of these discussions is focused on how much sway our personal preferences should play in how we worship God, especially relating to musical worship. And, it seems that 9 out of 10 worship leaders agree that our personal preferences should not play much if any role in how we worship God, and some even go as far to argue that it is sin to allow any personal preferences enter our worship experience.

I (and I know I’m not alone, because I see others like me get beat down when they dare speak up) am not a part of those 9…I actually believe that our personal preferences do and should play an important role in how we worship God. So, here’s my attempt to explain why I feel this way…it’s NOT an attempt to either add to the debate (which is why I’m posting this on my blog) or get a pointless discussion going here. I WOULD like to hear what others have to say about this topic and about what I think, but again, only if we can keep the purpose of this blog in mind.

(Before I say anything about personal preferences in worship, let me just make sure I’m clear about a few things. First, I absolutely believe that the bottom line of true, Biblical worship is to bring honor, glory, attention, etc. to God and God alone. To worship God with any other motive is not worship at all. God is a jealous God, and He deserves all of our worship because He is God and we are not. Also, so we can all be on the same page and because this is an important part of my philosophy of worship, I’m going to be talking specifically about musical worship here since that seems to be the focus of most of the discussions concerning this topic, but this conversation could easily be carried over to other expressions of worship.)

”Personality” as defined by

It is undeniable that God created each of us with a personality uniquely our own. Yes, our personalities are, in some way, shaped by our families, our culture, our experiences, etc., but it’s simple science that says each of us come out of the womb with unique personality traits, and I believe that it was God who made us the way we are. Psalm 139 describes how the God of the universe knows everything about us…that He literally made us to be who we are before we ever saw our first day on earth. I have to believe that it wasn’t just my physical features that He was working on, but also my personality. I also believe that God has been directly involved in using my family, culture and other aspects of my unique life to continue to help form my personality into what it is today, and that the same holds true for every beleiver.

If I believe that God has and is still playing an active role in shaping my personality, I must also believe that He has a purpose for doing so, and that this purpose must involve moving me toward becoming more like Him. There are certainly things about my personality that I do not like and/or know are not what God has intended for me. I tend to be impatient, overly-critical, selfish and sometimes lazy…these are things that I consider to be sinful and unwanted by God for any believer. There are also things about my personality that I see as good and God-honoring…these are traits that I believe God desires to see in every believer, things that I can only attribute to the fact that I was created in His image and am being transformed by His Spirit. I would identify these good and bad personality traits as also being a part of my character.

And, there are things about my personality that I consider to be neutral…the things that are unique to me that are not in and of themselves good or bad. I would also identify these things as my personal preferences. These neutral traits are things like my favorite/preferred color, clothing style, food, learning style, music style, etc. These are the things that really make my personality unique from anyone else…the things that set me apart from everyone else. I believe that God played a part in forming these things as well, and that His desire is to see me use these traits to worship Him.

So, I have to believe that, if God helped and is helping to shape my personality (at least the good and neutral aspects of it), He also must take delight in me when I allow these traits to be expressed in my life. Throughout the Bible, we see God expressing to His followers that we bring Him pleasure when we reflect His creation and His nature back to Him. Ephesians 1:5 says, “Because of His love God had already decided that through Jesus Christ He would make us His children – this was His pleasure and purpose.” God delights in us, gets pleasure from us, rejoices in us, enjoys us, and even laughs at and with us! Anything we do that brings pleasure to God is an act of worship, and I truly believe that He loves to see the personalities that He has shaped in us being expressed through our lives.

I can picture God grabbing one of His angels and pointing at me on a Sunday morning and saying something like, “Take a look at Nate and that crazy Hawaiian shirt…I helped him pick that shirt out!” or, “Do you see Nathan showing compassion to that person…like Me, like son!” He enjoys watching my personality reflect Himself.

So, why is it that some believe that expressing a personal preference for a particular musical style in worship is a bad thing? Again, worship is all about God, but why does that mean that it’s wrong of me to prefer to worship with one specific style over another…why do these two things have to conflict with each other?

I don’t believe that they have to conflict…I don’t even believe that we have to find the middle ground or balance. I believe that we can have worship that is all about God while expressing our personalities to Him. In fact, I believe that this may be the worship in which God is most glorified…worship that comes from individuals expressing their love to God through their unique personalities, experiences, stories, etc., joining together with one heart and one voice.

When we tell each other that worship has nothing to do with our preferences or favorites, we’re limiting our expressions and stealing joy from our God. Can you imagine a 6 member band being forced to all play the acoustic guitar with the same pattern and voicing? It might sound cool for a little while, but it ultimately takes away the beauty of each individual being able to play their own instrument in their own special way and adding their unique personality to the bigger picture. To say that our personal preferences should not enter into our worship is to create a cookie-cutter style of worship, which I believe is a poor reflection of God’s desire for us.

I love to hear a well-rehearsed, top-notch choir singing songs to God. But even more, I love to see a group of believers coming together and being given the freedom to express personal worship in a corporate setting…worship that comes from unique lives being lived out fully for Him. There is nothing more beautiful, in my opinion.

Now, I am NOT saying that it is a church’s responsibility to cater to the personal worship preferences of every person who enters into corporate worship on a given Sunday. Just as each person has their own style of worship, so does every church. Our church is very open about the musical “style(s)” that we prefer, and we’ve taken a lot of time and consideration to choose our style (that’s another discussion). We couldn’t possibly appeal to everyone’s preferences during our corporate worship times, so we don’t even try.

We understand that we have been called to worship God with and reach out to a very specific culture (if you’ve ever spent much time on the OBX, you’ll understand), and we make no apologies for that. We also understand that there are dozens of churches in our area who also have their own unique style of worship, and we encourage anyone who enters our door to either be comfortable with and experience freedom in our style or find the church in which they can be comfortable and free.

The bottom line for us is this:

We believe that God is pleased by our worship when it is focused on Him.
We believe that music, in so many different styles can be an expression of our worship.
We believe that God is pleased when we express our preferences in worship because it reflects His creation and nature.
We believe that seeking to express preferences in worship style that reflect our desire to allow freedom in worship for the people we are worshipping with can be an expression of worship in and of itself.
We believe that all of these aspects of our worship of God are important, and that it is our responsibility to allow them to flow in a beautiful harmony of worship to Him.


(Read more about this topic by reading through my Worship: It's That Important series)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Sunday Blitz

(I'm writing this on Monday morning, but I'll pretend like it's still Sunday...)

> We showed two of our ToT Commercials this morning...they were big hits. Hopefully their helping to create even more buzz about ToT.

> Today's gatherings were all about (Love Is) More Than A Feeling. Good stuff.

> The kids were going crazy in the second gathering. From the auditorium, it sounded like they were on a roller coaster...that's awesome!

> Had lunch with my parents and sister, Sarah and bro-in-law,'s his birthday tomorrow. He's really old.

> The Skins looked horrible (I only watched the 4th quarter), but the cowgirls lost, so it was an OK day.

> The Rockies are freaking unbelievable...seriously, to think about what they've done over the past 20 games is mind-blowing. They are going to the WS and are going to be hard to beat by anyone.

> Our future office space/present Kid's Church area is almost complete. The only major thing left to do is install the drop ceiling. Did I mention the Kids were crazy today?

> The band may have a real "green room" within the next few weeks, which would really be sweet!

> I saw several new faces yesterday, and got to talk with a young couple named Melissa and Bryan (I think that's right) who were checking us out for the first time. She gave me a hug after the gathering 'cause she was so stoked about finding us!

> I am finalizing my ToT costume this week. Here's a hint: I'm going to be a superhero, and I'm growing my hair and facial hair out for it...

> "My Savior My God" by Aaron Shust has become one of our favorite songs to sing...

> I have to go now.


Saturday, October 13, 2007

ToT Commercial (Sonic Style)

Here is our inspiration:


Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Media Related Resources

(I've bumped this post up to the top as I've added another website)

Here are several online resources we use for graphics, sermon illustrations, background loops, countdowns etc. Most of these websites have a monthly newsletter and a free download every month, so even if you don't have much money to spend, you can still get some sweet free stuff. Enjoy, and please, help me add to the list! (these are in no particular order)












Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Death To the Worship Service!

We are not having any more worship services at our church...we're done with more!

Well, actually, that's not completely true. What we are done with is calling what happens on our Sunday mornings "worship services"...we're now calling them "worship gatherings" (I think I've mentioned this somewhere before).

Here's why:

1) only has one definition of the word "Service" that includes anything about worship/religion.

Yes, a lot of people at NHC (about 75%) do organized acts of service on Sunday mornings (teaching, leading worship, first impressions team, hospitality team, etc. etc.), and yes, we do consider those acts of service to be worship. But, about half of the people who attend our church do not come to serve, and some don't even come to worship God. So, to call it a "worship service" is more than a little bit of a misnomer.

2) Unchurched/seekers (especially those who have never spent much/any time inside a church building) probably couldn't tell you why most churches call it a "worship service"...most church members probably couldn't tell you either without having to think about it for more than a few seconds.

One of our goals at NHC is to help break down as many trivial barriers as possible that would keep our unchurched guests from discovering life in Christ. If calling it a "worship service" leaves people confused, maybe it's worth giving it a second look.

We're calling our services " worship gatherings" for a few reasons:

1) The main purpose of our Sunday mornings is worship.

Whether a person is singing, serving, listening to the Word, giving an offering, growing their relationships with others, reaching out to an unchurched guest, etc., we consider it all to be worship if it's done for the glory of God.

2) "Gathering" implies action on the part of those who are coming.

Even if a person never sings a note, doesn't drop a penny into the plate, doesn't take one dot or tittle of notes, the simple fact that they've come to gather with others makes them active participants in what we're doing. We don't expect unchurched people to come and worship a God they do not know, but we do want them to feel as if they are still a part of what is happening in the hope that they will take the opportunity to discover life in Christ.

3) "Gathering" forces us to think differently about Sunday morning.

Too often, too many of us come to church to worship, when instead, we should be coming to church worshipping. A worship gathering is an opportunity for the church to bring our individual lives of worship together to create a beautiful, huge gift of worship to God. Anytime we can remind ourselves of this fact, it's a good thing.

So, what do you think? Have you ever considered what your Sunday mornings are really all about? Have you ever thought about shaking things up simply by changing your lingo?


If you liked this post, you may also want to read the other posts in the "Rethinking Worship":

Gag The Worship Leader!

Fire the Worship Leader!

Terminate the Worship Team!

Burn the Sanctuary!

Almost a Perfect Sports Night

For a few minutes, I thought both the yankees and Cowgirls were going to lose BIG on the same night within just a few minutes of each other...

That would have been perfect...

Nate (Skins and METS fan)

Monday, October 8, 2007

Quote of the Day

"Design is how you treat your customers. If you acknowledge their intelligence, and treat them well from an environmental, emotional, and aesthetic standpoint, you're probably doing good design."

-Yves Behar- (the guy in the magazine in that post below)


Fast Company Mag

I just picked up my first copy of Fast Company. Lots of great stuff about leadership, branding, design, marketing, etc. Check it out!


Sunday, October 7, 2007

Sunday Blitz

> Our communion gatherings the past three months have been most excellent. It's so cool to have everyone set up around tables in the worship center for both communion/worship and the fellowship meal.

> I can't say enough about our band and tech teams and they're ability and willingness to be so prepared for our worship gatherings even when I'm gone for most of the week! It's great to know that it doesn't depend on me!

> I signed up for Google Reader and Google Analytics this week. (I realize this is probably nothing new to you, but...) Google Reader allows me to keep track of the blogs I read a whole lot easier, and Analytics keeps good stats on who's checking me out. I had a guest from Iran check me out this week... :)

> We simplified things tonight, musically...just me, Josh on bass and Chris on drums. It was a cool, mellow groove. And, it's so cool to be able to play with musicians who can do stuff on the fly.

> I love October baseball! The phillies are going home where they belong - Great! The Cubs are waiting 'til next year again - bad! The Sox move on - good! The Yankees are probably going home - GREAT! I think the Sox are on their way to another championship, which is cool with me. I just wish there wasn't so many brooms...

> I think almost every person in the building tonight had their hands raised and their voices singing "Jesus Paid It All" tonight...that was very cool.

> Skins win again! I didn't get to watch a single minute of the game (or any other game for that matter), but that's cool.

> God is good. He continues to provide for our needs during Our Transition, and from the most unexpected places (which is how He likes to do things, I'm coming to learn).

> Got to hang with my family tonight after our communion gathering. It's super cool that both of my sisters are married to Godly guys and that everyone lives here int town. (It's cool that the out-laws live close by too.)

> I'm putting some thoughts and ideas together for Oct. 21 when I'll be leading our worship gatherings and talking about worship.

> Trunk or Treat is going to be lots of fun. We're thinking we may attract well above our goal of 600. It's not too late to plan your own ToT event! I'm stoked about my costume and trunk!

> My voice and guitar skills are suffering from missing Thursday night practices...I was actually losing my voice this morning, and I wasn't even singing that much.

> I have to head out to Durham again tomorrow, so I'm heading to bed. Later.


Saturday, October 6, 2007

Christmas Time Is (Almost) Here

We don't do big Christmas productions or even a simple choir event...our band just rocks the house with some fun and sincere Christmas music.

For those of you who are beginning to think about Christmas, I cannot say enough about Mercy Me's "The Christmas Sessions" album. We used 6 songs from this album last year in church, and will probably do the same again this year. Some of the best and most fresh (which is saying a LOT for a Christmas album) renditions of some old favorites (both "sacred" and "secular") that I've heard in a long time. "God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen" is especially fun to play.

And, I just's on sale for $7.99 at iTunes.

What are you planning on doing for Christmas that involves you band?


Friday, October 5, 2007

New Blogging Friend

Check out Fred McKinnon and his worship/ministry related blog!


Thursday, October 4, 2007


2 more posts and I've got 2000 people who've checked out my blog in the past month. That's surprising...


Traditional =

Here's a rather intersting statement I came across the other day on one of my forums:

"We have kind of an odd problem here at our church. Our traditional service is stuck in a rut. We would like to spice it up somehow, and do something different once in a while, but we just don't know how to do it without making it Contemporary. It's just the same thing every week."

I've come across this statement (not exactly this statement, but several just like it) many times. For some reason, this time it really struck me as odd.

My first thought was, this really is not an odd's a problem that I consider to be prevelant in most US churches.

My second thought was, isn't this statement, "Our traditional service is stuck in a rut" a bit repetitive? I mean, the whole purpose of a tradition is to surround people with the things that they are familiar with, make them comfortable, keep them from experiencing things fresh and new...that's what I would define as a rut. Let's face it, the moment you start doing something different and new, it becomes something untraditional.

I've decided that I don't like the term "traditional" when refering to a worship service, and I will never use the term "traditional service" again in our church. If we ever do a "traditional service" again, we will call it something like "vintage" or "old school". There's nothing wrong with having traditions and using them to worship God...every church has traditions, and in fact, I would argue that if your church does something more than 2 or 3 times in a short period of time, it will become a tradition in the mind of somebody in your church. The problem comes in when we begin to allow our traditions to dictate our worship.

But, to have a "traditional service" is basically setting yourself up for having rutty worship. In most people's (Christians) minds, "traditional" means that you're going to do things the way you've always done them, or at least the way you used to do them before you went all "contemporary" on them. Traditional gives people the expectation that you're not going to force anything new or out-of-the-box on them. Traditional assures people that they can come to church knowing what is going to happen (which IMO means that most people come to churchsimply ready to go through the motions).

The person who made the statement above finished be asking, "Any interesting call to worships, prayers, or other suggestions (to help us spice things up)?

My only suggestion was to drop "traditional" from the title of the service.

Any thoughts?

Read Isaiah 29, esp. vs 13-14 to get an idea of what God says about traditions and rituals in worship.


DCB (David Crowder Band): Remedy

So, based on the overwhelming positive reviews of the newest release from the David Crowder Band, I went against my better judgment and spent the $10 on iTunes to download. I have always just liked DCB, only love a few of his songs but never a full or even majority of any of his albums...I admit they're good in concert, but I've still never understood the hype.

I would normally give a track by track review of the album, but because it was so underwhelming (again, compared with the comments I'd read, not comapred with my previous experience) that it really wouldn't be worth my time. I readily admit that part of my bias is due to the fact that I can use very little DCB material at our church for worship or other stuff. I will also admit that DCB is incredibly creative and talented musically and lyrically, their willingness to incorporate deeper theology than the norm is to be applauded, and I have extreme DC hair's just not my favorite style of music.

So, I'm sorry DCB...continue doing what you're doing because you've obviously got a huge following...and I certainly won't easily passup an opportunity to attend another of your concerts. I just won't be "la-la-la-ing" with my iPod anytime soon...


(my feelings for DCB always feel really weird because I know because of my age, musical tastes, culture, beliefs, etc. I should be the stereotypical DCB fan...)

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Church in a Bar?

Yes! Check Out what my friend, Vince Antonucci is doing VA Beach. Really cool stuff!


More NHC Graphics

Since at least one person showed interest in our in-house graphics, here are a few more from our past few sermon series.

"Regeneration Renovation" was all about renovating our lives from the inside out. We stole the graphic concept from HGTV's "Generation Renovation".

"Challenge The Ordinary" took a look at some of the stories from the life of Daniel and challenged us to live extraordinary lives. Bought the stick figures graphic from

"Urgency: Live Like There's No Tomorrow" took a look at four of Jesus' parables. Again, bought the hourglass graphic from

I know they're nothing spectacular, but I'm getting a lot better at this as we move along. Amazingly enough, I did all of these using PPT...I'm hoping to buy a more suitable graphics software sometime soon. :)


Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Guess Who?

My wife and I at ToT last Halloween. Mad props to anyone who can figure out who we were.


Beautiful Video

Thanks to WorshipTrench for brining this to my attention!

What musician hasn't played the air drums to this song. Lucky monkey!


Get It!

We finally came up with a graphic that we like for our new Sunday series, "Get It Got It Good!.


Monday, October 1, 2007


If you're involved (even as a consumer) in the music business, This Is Huge!


Killer Site

Check out for a look through the eyes of people who are leaving the church...not for the faint of heart.