Friday, August 31, 2007

At Least 1.5 Years

For anyone who is wondering, Jess and I have decided that we'll remain in our little apartment in Pasadena at least until she has finished her master's degree program at Azusa Pacific (which is a three-semester program).

We weren't quite sure when we'd move out to the Santa Clarita area, and we even had a few appointments to go look at apartments out there this past week, but the commute for Jess from Village Christian to APU, back to Santa Clarita would have been a laborious task.

I'd appreciate if you'd keep us in your prayers as we will try to integrate and build relationships at our new church, while living in Pasadena. As I'm sure many of you have at one time or another experienced, not nearby the church you attend makes it a little difficult to really jump in and get involved. We trust God will help us to develop those important relationships, and be able to fully invest in his work at Crossroads.


Thursday, August 30, 2007

Not Quite Last, But Almost...

The following is an excerpt from the email that I send each week to all the members of the worship team so that they can be preparing musically and spiritually to lead the congregation in worship through song:

Hi Worship Team,

This is a strange email to write, as this Sunday is my last day leading worship for our church. I'll still be involved in planning, and possibly participating in, the weeks following through the 23rd of September, but this is the last Sunday I will lead in the manner I have for the past few years.

As we look forward to sharing communion, praying together, singing, and hearing the preaching of God's word, I look back on how God has grown us, and taught us to become leaders together, and how he has used us to lead his people in times of singing his praises. I believe that we can look back on the past few years, and say without a doubt, that God was truly glorified in the worship singing we have done together.

So let's set our sights to the future, to the coming weeks, months, and years, and expect more great things God will do among his people here in San Gabriel, and for Jessica and I, in Valencia...

It goes on to explain the songs for the morning, etc., but it was just so strange to know that even though I have a few more weeks at San Gabriel, this will basically be the last Sunday I lead worship here.

Still so excited to follow God's leading to Crossroads, just coming to grips with the weird reality that I won't be around here anymore...

Appreciate your prayers...


Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Family Worship

Yesterday I read a chapter from the book "Give Praise To God: A Vision For Reforming Worship" on the subject of "family worship" and found it very convicting as I think towards the future. Here are some things J. Ligon Duncan and Terry L. Johnson had to say about worshiping in the home:

...The family is God's divinely appointed "small group" discipleship program. The Family is the first place that God appointed for teaching and learning about God and godliness. Children are to be instructed (Gen. 18:18-19; Deut. 4:9; 6:6-8; 11:18-21; Prov.22:6; Eph. 6:4), guided in the way of life (Prov. 1:8; 6:20), and disciplined both directively and correctively (13:24; 19:18; 22:15; 23:13-14; 29:15, 17). Family worship is important (Ex. 12:3; Josh. 24:15), and in the New Testament the household was the basic unit of Christian commitment (Acts 11:14; 16:15, 31-33; I Cor. 1:16). Indeed, a man's performance as spiritual head of his family was a major factor in assessing his fitness for church office (I Tim. 3:4-5, 12; Titus 1:6) Nothing can replace or substitute for the family's failings in these functions.

Now much of this chapter's exhortation was in regard to raising and discipling children, but as they remark later:

...we ought to be disciples ourselves. We must love God if we want our children to love God. We must be disciples if we want out children to be disciples (Ps. 34:1, 4, 11)

The family worship time I will have with my children in the future will be an outflow of the worship times that Jess and I build in our home NOW. Reading scripture together, praying together, and SINGING together (remember Pastor Greg's sermon on Psalm 96?) are important habits to build into your family's worship times in the home, and I would pray that God would give me (and all of us!) the discipline to start those habits now, and prepare me to fulfill those leadership responsibilities as a husband and a father.


Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Big Announcement

Well, today in church Pastor Steve announced to the congregation that Jess and I are going to be leaving to pursue a new position as Worship Director at a young church in Valencia, CA. It had been kind of an awkward week, after discussing with both he and Pastor Greg our plans to leave, I kind of had to sit on the news until Steve had sent an email out to my worship team members, and announced it in service. My last week won't be until the end of September, but Steve wanted to give the congregation time to process the information.

After he dismissed the congregation, I turned away to put my guitar on the stand, and as I turn back, I see my dear friend Beth (Bethy) Smith (yes, she knows her name is probably THE most bland of names in the history of names ;) ) approaching the stage with her big eyes all red and teary. That darn near broke my heart, and made me want to call it all off and stay, but I hugged her and told her we'd still be friends, and that she'd be OK, and I think I finally got her to believe me.

Now I've known Bethy a long time, and I might even say I would have expected she might cry a little at the shock, but I don't think I expected her husband Conor to react in an outwardly emotional way, not to mention bawl his eyes out as he comes and gives me a bear hug which if I hadn't already wanted to cry, would've squeezed at least a tear or two out of me!

All that to say, it was an emotional morning, and it was a little strange coming at the end of a great worship service. I turned to Steve after he'd annouced it, and told him "Dude, way to kill a great mood man!" to which he responded "Man, I know, I feel like I just said something like 'hey everyone, great worship service, let's kill a puppy now!'"

We went out to lunch with everyone (Beth and Conor, Jon and Chesed, Greg and Laura [and Matthew!], Steve and Spring, Tim and Leah [with Micah!] and even Geralyn, Francie, and Tony Reed!) to Chipotle, which was delicious as usual. It was good to hang out with all the gang.

So the countdown is on, just a couple more weeks, and we'll be starting at Crossroads ( and building their worship ministry from the ground up! Their pastor is a spectacular guy, and I am very much looking forward to working with him, and sitting under his leadership. He lives with such perspective to God's sovereignty, which is always encouraging and convicting. Just the other day, he told me that he had some "good news in the form of bad news" and that the building they had been hoping to move into more permanently was no longer an available option, but that it was good news because God has a plan, and he made the next step in his plan very clear by completely shutting that door.

Anyways, now that the news is out, we'll look ahead to what God has for us in the coming weeks. As we part ways with San Gabriel, we do so with lots of treasured relationships that we know will endure for the long haul, even when we eventually relocate out to the Santa Clarita area. So we'll pray that God would be preparing us for our new calling, and that he would lead us so clearly, and lead San Gabriel as well in what their next step in all of this should be. We'd appreciate everyone's prayers for those same things, and any words of encouragement would be welcome.