CatWest Wrap Up

What an incredible couple of days Catalyst West Coast was. I was challenged. Moved. Brought to tears. Convicted. And encouraged. And I was able to enjoy those 3 days with a few amazing guys and one fantastic girl as we celebrated Christ together, and opened our eyes to see what the Church COULD be.

I would be here all day detailing you every single thing that I loved about the experience. And no one likes a long winded blogger! So here’s some highlights…

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I had never heard Rick Warren speak in person and when he walked into the room I honestly had a preconcieved notion that he was just this pompous dude from one of the biggest churches in the world. I was gradually convicted of that and had my heart softened as Rick humbly opened up to all of us and shared some nuggets of info that I will take with me for a very long time. He kicked our butts.

Hillsong United. Need I say more. Wonderful time of them leading us to the throne….

My favorite session out the 10 or so amazing speakers that shared with us would have to be when Erwin McManus spoke on the dreams that every single one of us has deep inside our hearts. Erwin is a creative guru who delves into dance and art, film making and music. And he brought ALL of that when he spoke to us. 3 times he illustrated his point with dramatic dances performed by artists straight out of his home church.

I absolutely LOVE his heart for the art inside us all. If only more churches could represent that beauty more often. Here’s a sneak peek…

Also, I’m now a Guinness World Record Holder. Seriously. Me and 3000 other people. We played a game of Rock, Paper, Scissors before one of the sessions and widdled it down to 1 winner. It was the largest game of RoShamBo EVER. Guinness was there to witness it and it’s going in the 2010 World Record book!

All in all, I was privileged to journey to Newport and be a part of the first ever Catalyst West Coast. Can’t wait until next year…

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Catalyst West Coast

Next week I have the great privilege of attending the Catalyst West Coast conference beginning on Wednesday the 22nd through Friday the 24th. If you’ve never heard of Catalyst before, it’s a tremendously good conference devoted to raising up strong leaders both within the church and out. Some of the most influential leaders/speakers will be sharing over the two days, not to mention Hillsong United will be leading the group of about 12,000 people into worship. Not a bad gig at all!

To top it off, it’ll be one heck of a road trip with Brian Wurzell, Ryan Axtell, & Luke Peach and I all making the trek out to Orange County for Catalyst. We’re leaving late Tuesday night.

The Red Bulls will be flowing and we’ll be poppin David Jalapeno Hot Salsa sunflower seeds all night…

Will you be coming??

Here’s a peek into what happens at Catalyst West Coast:

Ash Wednesday & Lent.

This morning I had the great privilege and honor to participate in an Ash Wednesday Mass at Mt. Carmel Catholic Church. Brian and I and our good friend Colby went together early in the day and took part in this ancient tradition that precedes the Season of Lent. If you’re reading this and are unfamiliar to exactly what Lent is, this season is a period of 40 days of “fasting” from something in your life in preparation for Easter. It’s traditionally a time to fast, a time of committed prayer, and of giving to others, all in a conscious effort of refocusing on Christ before celebrating Easter.

It was a new deal for me, seeing as how I’ve always been immersed in mainly Western evangelical Christiandom if you will. But it was great to experience the liturgy of the Mass. To see the dedication of the people that were there. It was a fresh new approach to meeting with God this morning.

There are some things that I will be trying to focus on praying through this Lent season (sin issues and what not) and I’m going to try and drink JUST water for 40 days. Yikes! Hope I make it, haha. In any case, the daily choice to remember to drink just water will remind me of the season and the sacrifice that was made for me.

Is That You GOD?

Sometimes the Lord just has to be rather blunt with me to get me to focus. I’m pretty sure it was the case in this instance when I ran across this today…

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How many of you can’t help but do every single one of those to make your day complete? I know that it’s like a nervous twitch for me not to hop on Twitter or my email every hour…

Your Love Is Like A Rock When I’m Spinning Around…

For a couple minutes today I was feeling like my life was somewhat uninteresting. Like I should be doing “bigger” things. And getting to know “bigger” people. That I needed to be involved in more ministry. More networks. More projects.

More of just about everything. So that my life could be more purposeful.

And then God showed me in the small, simple ways that He always shows me, that I was exactly where I need to be with this verse that came to my phone through a text:

Ecclesiastes 4:6 –

6 Better one handful with tranquillity
than two handfuls with toil
and chasing after the wind.

Point taken Lord.

2009 New Things To Try.

As 2009 looks us square in the face, I have decided to committ myself to a string of new things to try this year. Things to cut out of my life. Disciplines to strengthen myself with. New ways to explore and uncover the great vastness of who God is. And who He created me to be. I’m sure some of these ideas, hopes, and motives will never come to fruition…well…because let’s face it. Sometimes I can be mayor of Procrastinationville.

But I’m going to put these notions down on paper. Or rather pixel space. And try my best to accomplish them in the 09. We’ll look back at the start of twenty-ten and see how well I did!

1. La Biblia. The Word. The Bible. Lord, please help, guide, encourage, push, challenge, and motivate me in whatever ways You see fit to commune and learn from Your word more this year. I’m sorry that I have put Your voice to me in the coat closet. I would love to change that this year.

2. TV. I’m committing myself to watch less TV. Not that I watch a ton, but I feel like it’s mostly a waste of my time when I could be living life and spending more productive time with my family. (This of course excludes LOST.)

3. The Great Outdoors. I want to be outside more this year. Breathing in God’s creation. Whether that be simply taking an evening stroll with my family or driving to new fantastic places with the windows all the way down. Or sitting outside some little street cafe with my dog Audio and some tea just watching people. Heck maybe, I’ll even go fishing.

4. Crafting the artistic side of me. I’m taking time this year to hone my photography skills and make myself a better musician.

5. Fellowship. In 2009 I’m going to commit to building and fostering deeper relationships with my friends and colleagues.

6. Leadership. I know that God instilled me with some leadership qualities. I’m praying that He would help me to find ways to develop these more this year and place great leaders and mentors in my life to glean off of.

7. Read. Read. Read. This is a big one. I’m disciplining myself to read WAY more. And not just the typical Christian spiritual life books either. Not that those are bad, but I want to get lost in some great fiction as well.

8. Debt Detonation. I’m charging hard this year to get rid of our household debt, Dave Ramsey style.

These ideas are really important to me so if you’re a friend that does everyday life with me please keep me accountable!

What are some resolutions that you are taking on in 2009?

Gossip In The Grain.

From one friend to another, please take my exuberant advice and go to your nearest Best Buy/iTunes store/Target/Wal-Mart/garage sale/whatever and place in your possession a copy of Ray Lamontagnes newest album “Gossip In The Grain”. (I was trying, but for some reason I can’t link to the iTunes store here (if any of you would like to show me how I’d be much obliged)).

I can’t stop listening to this CD. And I’m not going to try and explain how good it is or what tunes are my favorites or whatever…heck…this isn’t a Rolling Stones record review or anything. I just want to share this with you.

Anyways, you absolutely need to at least listen to this record. Now I’m not one to impose my musical tastebuds onto others, but I really want you to at least let it hit your pallete before you discard my words.

Every once in a while, there comes an album that is so full of passion and vigor and love and sorrow and truth and life and beauty that it beckons me into a time of real reflection and worship and thankfulness. Albums like Sigur Ros’s “Med Sud | Eyrum Vid Spilum Endalaust”, Coldplay’s “Parachutes”, Explosion In The Sky’s “The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place”, and now Ray’s new piece of his heart.

Now these albums would never be placed in the same grab bag of other albums that we so often refer to as “worship music”. And don’t get me wrong at all or take me for some heretic or something…I’m not saying that there is anything super spiritual about these works. They don’t have lyrics that paint a picture of God’s great redemption of the lost. They don’t portray the incredible freedom that is poured upon us through Jesus. They aren’t uniting the Church together.

But I sometimes find myself heart-deep in awe of who HE is when some of these songs reverberate through my bones. Often it is the mere simplicity and honesty of the music. And other times it is the overwhelming grandness of the sounds clashing together to create a melody that sends me into the clouds. In any case, I feel closer and my heart beats heavier for my great Father around these albums.

And as a worshipper and a worship leader, I desperately want and need beautiful things that point my heart towards Jesus.

So take a listen and tell me if you like.