Grace Church Set List 6.20.10

We had some sound issues that tend to creep in from time to time but nonetheless I felt very positive about the day. Sometimes it is hard for me to remember that God can work even through sound problems and things that I may notice but not many others may have missed. Yes I want things to always be perfect but let’s be honest perfection on Sunday’s shouldn’t be my primary aim. My primary aim should be to worship and to help lead others into worship.

The Love of My Life – Dave Moffit, Sue Smith, Travis Cottrell
All Over The World – Matt Redman and Martin Smith
Hosanna – Paul Baloche and Brenton Brown
Abba Father – Daniel Doss and Jason Ingram
Lead Me – Matt Hammitt, Jason Ingram, and Chris Rohman

You can check out other setlists from around the country at Sunday Setlists at

Friday Fun 6.18.10

It’s Friday!!!  So here is another installment of Friday Fun here at Contemplative Creativity.  Why do I take the time to post such seemingly useless things.  Well for one, they make me laugh.  Two sometimes even bad ideas spark good ones. And three, they make me laugh!  So enjoy share these around if you would like.  This first one has been spread around the internet to the point that it is starting to replace the RickRoll (if you don’t know what that means, you’re probably better off).  But I just can’t help but laugh the whole way through.  Then I laugh harder when I think of the person who sat there and typed the sub-titles. Enjoy.

Man this kid can dance! (found at Dangerous Minds)

Well I am at a loss for words. Wonder how sales were.

Tomlin's new album cover leaked!

Is that a veterinarian video game!?!

This hangs on my wall at my office. Love it!

Apathetic Worship

I am not a creature of habit. I normally fight routine and ruts as much as I can. While in college I had to keep a post-it note on my apartment door that listed the things that most people never forget because they are part of their daily routine. The note read; Wallet, Keys, Phone, Glasses. Yeah I can’t count the number of days I left one of those very important items behind. Nonetheless it is very easy to get stuck in a rut. There have been times and still are when as much as I fight it I get stuck in routines. Marriages struggle when things just become a routine, work, relationships, and so much more. And that goes for Church and Worship. I just go because I am supposed to. I sing the songs and just go through the motions (which is real strange when singing “The Motions” by Matthew West – it’s just so darn literal). Full disclosure – there are Sundays, even as a worship leader, that I feel more like I am going through the motions than anything else. It has to show, there is no way I can lead with an apathetic attitude and it not show. I never want to offer vain worship but I must admit there are days when that is what I am doing.

So how can we prevent our Sunday worship experience from being just another part of our routine? How can we prevent apathetic worship? My theory stems from Micah 6:8 “He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the LORD require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” You see the people of Israel had rejected the covenant God had made with them, they had forgotten how God had brought them out of slavery. You see our public worship is only a small part of our total commitment to Christ and if Monday-Saturday we are not remembering what God has done for us and not worshipping days other than Sunday they how do we suppose we can just offer something on Sunday’s and it really be sincere? We must walk humbly with our God everyday to be in a correct attitude when it comes to Sunday worship.

John 4:23 reminds us that “Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks.” One must come to God in complete sincerity and with a spirit that is directed by the life and activity of the Holy Spirit. Our life must be directed by the Holy Spirit, not just our Sundays. You see these things require intentional thought that can help us prevent the worship routine.

What do you think? How can we prevent worship from becoming just part of the weekly routine and something more intentional that we approach with a humble heart? Have you ever found yourself just going through the motions on Sundays (or any other days really)?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

Grace Church Set List 6.13.10

I have to say when I left the church yesterday I didn’t feel great about the set but I didn’t feel horrible. There were some transition things I think we could have cleaned up but I couldn’t really put a finger on why it just felt weird. I mean overall it was a good day just strange (could have been the squirrel that died in the side room ceiling over the 95 degree weekend and left a wonderful odor permeating the room – maybe). But when we got in and watched the service back on tape it definitely seemed much better than we felt when we finished the day. Overall especially after watching back over the day, it was a good day just for some reason was strange. And the strangest part was the number of similar remarks for their respective services a number of my Twitter friends made. Anyway here was the Set.

Floodgate – Paul Colman and Michael Neale
Blessed Be Your Name – Beth Redman and Matt Redman
Oh Lord You’re Beautiful – Keith Green (Jesus Culture Version)
All of Creation – MercyMe
This Is How It Feels To Be Free – Dave Clark, Shawn Craig, and Don Koch (choir)

You can check out other setlists from around the country at Sunday Setlists at

Ricky-Bobby at Church

I talk with my hands to the point that it is hard to type my blog entries due to the excessive use of hands while expressing my thoughts.  So why did I use have so much trouble figuring out what to do with my hands during worship.  Now granted I play guitar so I avoid the awkward “Ricky-Bobby-esque” moments of not knowing what to do with my hands during worship.  I mean I could see everyone around me at church and other worship events raising their hands but I never understood why.  My more charismatic friends never understood my hesitations and questions, I mean it’s a part of life for them.  They are born with lifted hands.  So one day, who remembers how long ago, I decided to dig a little to figure out why we raise hands.  I mean I talk so much with them (and Xtina and other diva’s sing so much with them) why didn’t I use them when worshipping?

There are two main themes I came across when digging into this subject, Supplication and Blessing.
Supplication – to ask or beg for something earnestly or humbly. Stretching forth one’s hands is a gesture common in many different cultures to implore another person to help. One thing we represent when we lift our hands in worship is a desire to invoke God’s help. It also seems to be deeply connected to more than just the physical person as well, it reflects the inner person. “I stretch out my hands to thee; my soul thirsts for thee like a parched land” (Psalm 143:6). Hands mirror the soul stretched out to touch God, “… for to thee, O Lord, I lift up my soul” – verse 8 – “Let us lift up our hearts and our hands to God in heaven” (Lam. 3:41, NIV). The lifting of hands is an outward representation of a lifting of the inner being to be in communion with God.

The other major theme that showed up was Blessing. We lift our hands in blessing to God. David lovingly calls to his faithful God: “So I will bless thee as long as I live; I will lift up my hands and call on thy name” (Psalm 63:4). “Ezra blessed the Lord, the great God; and all the people answered, ‘Amen, Amen,’ lifting up their hands; and they bowed their heads and worshipped the Lord with their faces to the ground” (Nehemiah 8:6). “To lift up the hands” is a gesture that expresses adoration in the context of worship.

So why do you lift hands in worship services? Why don’t you? I mean I myself am not the most demonstrative worshipper but understand that some people are and really connect that way. So what do you think?

Friday Funny 6.11.10

It seems i have not had a lot of time on my hands this week as my normal blogging has taken a back seat to everything else going on lately. But somehow in the midst of a crazy schedule I have managed to collect a ton of hilarity. One could argue (quite well) that the little free time I do have could be better spent. But regardless I hope you enjoy the fun. Let’s start with a video apropos to the current world situation.

I knew it! Wonder how long the it took to develop the grunt remover?

All dog’s go to heaven? Well just to be safe.

Ahhh yes; like a record Jesus, right round, round, round.

The tag line at the end cracks me up!

I'm sure it was created with the best of intentions but really? The Catholic Priest model has been discontinued.

Sunday Conversation: I Believe Because?

It’s the crux of why we do what we do and why we dedicate so much of our lives to the church, helping those in need, and sharing the gospel of hope and peace. One of the hardest times in my life came after I asked myself this question. It’s not like I hadn’t asked before but for some reason this tine sent me down a dark road that was a struggle to walk. It was a tough time but a very important and life shaping one. My hope is that it is not a question that finds you a similar fate but one that encourages you and others as well. It’s hard to look past the “proper christianese” answer and just speak from your heart.

I Believe Because…?

Grace Church Setlist 6.6.10

Well it was the first official Sunday for our new Senior Pastor. Because of how the timing of things played out, he was unable to be around the office so we never really had much time together as a staff before he came to preach Sunday. There is a strange tension on the first Sunday of a new Pastor. It’s not a bad tension but it’s there. It ended up as another great Sunday with a powerful worship set and inspirational and powerful message. I think this is the beginning of a wonderful friendship.

Today Is The Day – Paul Baloche and Lincoln Brewster
All Because Of Jesus – Steve Fee
He Made the Difference – Christ Church Choir
Revelation Song – Jennie Lee Riddle
God You Reign – Lincoln Brewster and Mia Fieldes

You can check out other setlists from around the country at Sunday Setlists at

Coming in for a Landing

Oh man it has been a long 6 months at Grace Church.  I remember roughly 6 months ago, sitting on my couch at home and receiving a phone call from a good friend (who was also my Senior Pastor).  He was on his way home from the Nashville airport after a quick trip to Denver Colorado.  Turns out when he mentioned to us that he was heading to the mountains for the weekend he was really heading to a job interview.  We all assumed, living in middle TN, that he was heading towards Gatlinburg for a vacation.  Nope.  It was like a little punch to the gut to find out the guy who gave you your first job in a church was leaving.  But alas God had called him to Denver and there he now resides.

So in the mean time we have had 6 months without a Senior Pastor, a Connecting Pastor who like me is younger and working at his first job in a church, a Youth Pastor who had practically just started, a Children’s Pastor who has been through this before, and me.  So a younger energitic staff but with less experience than desireable to keep a larger church opperating.  And to top it all off the way the Nazarene denomination works is that we all have to officially resign with the Senior Pastor and the Church Board decided whether or not to keep us (really just a beurocratic formality) to which they can only guarentee 90 days of employment after the new pastor is offically hired (it is their perrogative to bring staff with them, keep the current staff, or use the 90 days to determine how things will work).  While I was told I had little to worry about and that it is rarely ever the case for a staff overhaul, it sticks in the back of your mind as a possibility.  Plus we had just bought a house and planted roots.

So we have been opperating in what I called maintenance mode for the interim time.  We have basically been doing everything we can to keep the plane circling until we can bring it in for a landing (a nice safe non-crashed landing).  In times of Senior Leadership change it can become very stressful.  People seize the opportunity to voice oppinions that they would previously have kept to themselves.  People jockey for position and attempt to “right the ship” they way they had always hoped their church could be.  It can get heavy, people leave, rose colored glasses shattered and apparently pestilance, gnashing of teeth and the such.  Or so I am told from other’s who have been through the change before.

I have to say that even though it wasn’t my favorite time of my ministry life, it wasn’t the horror show it could have been.  The people of Grace really rallied together and despite the potential for a hard transition made the time one of spiritual growth rather than stagnation.  And now we sit on the precipice of a new season at Grace Church as well as for each of our lives both personally and professionally.  We have a new Senior Pastor starting this week and a new phase will begin.  I can’t tell you it will continue to be smooth sailing, I can’t know what tomorrow brings, and I can’t predict what is next for Grace Church but I can tell you that it is time to begin again.  We can come in for a landing and remove the scales of the maintenance mode and hit the ground running (wow a whole sentence of cliches and idioms!).  Regardless of the reckless use of bad overused phrases, it’s like my battery is so close to being completely drained and I am ready to get recharged.

So have you ever been through this type of transition before? What was your experience? Please share.