Friday, April 8, 2011

Learning About Myself Through Marriage

I am pretty new to marriage, almost 6 months now, (Check us out above!) but marriage seems to teach me things about myself every day!

Until I married Sarah, I had lived on my own for 5 years, but more importantly to this story I had slept in a bed by myself for the past 26 years.
Here is a little back story to my sleeping habits. 
When I was younger I was a very WILD sleeper! When I say wild I mean I used to go to sleep at night and wake up the next morning on a bare mattress and all the pictures close to the bed were on the floor, it was crazy! So while living on my own I never thought about how I slept at night. Honestly I thought to myself “I have grown up a lot, I’m not the wild sleeper that I used to be”. Well I was wrong.

A couple of weeks ago Sarah and I went to bed, just like any other night. I’m not sure what we had watched before we went to sleep (probably Law and Order), but it caused me to have a crazy dream…

I dreamed that some guy pulled a gun on me. I can remember panicking in my dream, but I was quick that night and I talked the guy into putting the gun down. I can remember saying to him “let’s settle this like real men, let’s Indian leg wrestle!” (What? I have no idea where that came from!). Good thing I was a smooth talker that night because the guy put his gun down and we commenced to leg wrestle. I can remember in my dream I was totally winning! Until I felt Sarah elbowing me and saying  “OUCH!” I woke up and I had been trying to leg wrestle Sarah! Basically I had been kicking her all throughout my leg wrestling match in my dream!

Lesson learned I’m still a bit of a wild sleeper. Poor Sarah has endured a lot so far in our marriage; being kicked while I was dreaming of leg wrestling and I’ve been pretty bad about throwing elbows at night, she’s taken a few to the head!

Hopefully I will settle down one day and not be so wild in my sleep! Until then y'all pray for Sarah!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

dream BIG

So I know I’ve neglected my blog in the month of March, for all 3 of my readers I deeply apologize
This month has been extremely busy, but at the same time there have been a lot of good things going on. As many of you know I am an aspiring singer/songwriter. One of my dreams is to be able to use my songs and music to lead people into the presence of God. Whether that be in a local church or that be on an album in people’s homes, I just want to use my gift to the best of my ability, to do what I believe God has called me to do.

I’ve written different songs over the past few years but very few that I would put out there for people to listen to. There are some songs that I’ve written that will forever stay between me and God because they are just that bad! Every now and then though I’ll hit on something as I’m worshiping at my piano or with my guitar that just seems catch, which I think “I’ll finally let people hear and worship with my song.” But in all reality when it comes down to it, it’s tough to be open with my music, here’s why.
I put a lot of time and effort into the songs that I write and many of them are born out of my quiet time with God; I treasure those songs. To be honest they are kind of like my children and I’m super protective over them (Lord help my children if I have daughters one day!) so when they are criticized it’s easy for me to take up offense over it. 

To be able to write and play music has been my dream forever, so I decided that if I was ever going to do anything with this dream, I was going to have to step out and take a chance. This past month I wrote a song called “Trust In You”. I played it for Sarah and she kept telling me how much she really liked it and how catchy the chorus was, granted she is biased, but I trust her to tell me if my song stinks or not!

I wrote this song based around hard times in our economy, where everything seems to be crashing, I choose to trust in God. I thought this song could apply to a lot of different people, so I took a chance. I introduced this song to our congregation a couple of weeks ago and it seemed to go over fairly well. This was a big step for me to introduce one of my songs to the congregation; I was so excited/nervous to be able to do it.

All that said to say this, whatever you’ve been called to do, whatever dreams you are dreaming, at some point you’re going to have to step out and take a chance. So when the time comes, don’t chicken out, but be brave and put yourself out there. My story may not seem like a big deal to you, but for me this was HUGE! This was  big step, and one that I’m praying will only lead to many more big steps! 

That's all I've got for today! 
Thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

An Open Letter to the Texas Rangers

Dear Texas Rangers,

Yesterday I received an email from you. I was informed ‘regretfully’ that I would not be given the chance to purchase tickets for opening day 2011 against the Red Sox.

You cut me deep.

To read the opening line of your letter and see that you ‘regretfully inform me’ WELL! That makes everything better!  Actually your ‘regret’ does not make the situation better and it does not ease my irritation. Yes I realize that there were 120,000+ people who registered for tickets to see the defending AL Champions play on opening day. Do you realize how many of those are band wagon fans? Do you realize that at the first sign of distress with the team most of those 120,000 people are going to jump ship, and all of a sudden become fans of whoever is playing good at that time?

Let me tell you though, when they do jump ship, I’ll be here. I’ll be waving my claw and antlers flag high and proud. I’ll still rock my Hamilton jersey, and all of my Rangers gear. Do you owe me a favor? Probably not, but just so you know, you guys won the ALCS on the day of me and my wife’s wedding (Oct 22, we were totally good luck for you) and we announced the score at the reception. Plus we watched you in the World Series on our honeymoon. I think we deserve a shot to buy opening day tickets, just saying…

I’m not happy that you wrote me a break up letter and denied me tickets for opening day, but I’ll stay true, I’ll keep cheering you on. I’m like the Michael Young of fans right now, not happy but I will still be there to root you on.


Disgruntled in Fort Worth

Friday, February 18, 2011

This is Love

You’ve probably seen this picture over the past few weeks.  If you haven’t, this is a picture of Egyptian Christians protecting Egyptian Muslims while they pray as the protests were going on in Egypt.

Mark 12:30-31
And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength. This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. There is no other commandment greater than these.

These are verses that you know and you’ve heard a thousand times, but the question is do we practice them? You might say ‘Absolutely Philip! I love God with all my heart!’ But do you follow up with the second half of that passage?  Do you love your Muslim neighbor, your homosexual co-worker, the doctor at the abortion clinic, the atheist who works at your local Starbucks, the people who moved illegally into the country, the person who talked behind your back?  If your answer is no, then you are not loving God to the fullest extent. Jesus didn’t say ‘only love your neighbor if…they are living like you’. No He says ‘love them as yourself’. The first half of this passage hinges on the second half.

How about a heart check moment? How can we expect to show God how much we love Him and spread His gospel when we can’t love our neighbor because what they are doing is detestable in OUR eyes? See, God loves that person no matter what they are doing just the same as He loves you. The only difference is that they might not know it yet. I’m not telling you to condone the sin, not at all, but I’m telling you in order to reach a person for Christ you are never going to do it through hate, anger, or turning your back to someone. We must love the person (with a Christ-like love) regardless of the way we picture their lifestyle, and trust God to make the changes in their heart that need to be made.
I look at the picture above and I am moved by the love that is being shown. It makes me take a good look at my heart and say where is my love for people? I want to be able to love and worship God to the fullest extent. I want to come before the throne of God with a clean and pure heart. In order for me to be able to do that I must increase in my love for others.

As a worship leader, I’ve been asking the Lord to increase my love for others; Let me be moved with compassion just like Jesus was. When we act on the full passage above (Mark 12:30-31) we will enter into deeper realms of worship than we can possibly imagine. I don’t know about you, but I want more of Him.
Let’s God Deeper!

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Next Sunday Morning Special...

I can't wait till we do Mighty to Save again! I'm gonna see if I can work this into the Sunday set list somehow and I'm so gonna rock the Garth Brooks mic!

Friday, January 28, 2011

Get Yourself Ready!

If you know anything about me, you know that I absolutely love being a worship leader. I feel like it is something that God hard wired me to do. There is just a joy that comes with being able to lead people in worship that I can’t begin to explain. For me, being able to see the look on someone’s face when they make a connection to God is priceless, it truly blesses my heart to see that happen. 

With all that said, one of my faults as a worship leader, is watching people’s outward expressions during worship and rating our worship experience on how people outwardly showed their worship. I’ll be real honest with you, I watch people during worship, and I feed off of people when they are outwardly expressing their worship, but I have to remind myself weekly that the way people respond outwardly is no rating on how our worship service went.  (I’m speaking of worship during our music services) 

The thing is no matter how much we “worship” outwardly none of it means anything unless your heart is in the right place. Our worship to God is not contingent on how many hands are raised in the air, or how many people are dancing. I’ve learned to ask myself after our worship services “did we honor Jesus with what we just did?” and if my answer is yes, then I can rest easy knowing that we pleased the heart of the Father and accomplished what we set out to do during our services, which is honor Him. 

All that said to say this; Worship does not have to be an outward expression. Can it be? Absolutely!  But worship is solely based on the attitude of your heart toward a giant loving God. Worship is an overflow of gratefulness for what Jesus has done for us. Your expression of worship may be lifting your hands and singing as loud as you can, it may be standing quietly in awe of Jesus, it may be laying flat on your face. Regardless of how you overflow and show that worship, make sure your heart is 100% solely focused on Him and nothing else! When we do that, we can rest assured our worship services will be pleasing to God.

As we head into the weekend let’s prepare our hearts to come together as the body of Christ, and see Him lifted on High! Let’s honor Him!
Psalm 122:1
I was glad when they said unto me, “Let us go into the house the Lord.”

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Awkward 'Bro Hug'

So have you ever had one of those moments, where something so awkward, so embarrassing, so…well it just made you feel a little weird and uncomfortable, happened to you? One of those moments that will be forever engraved in your memory, right back there with the first time you had to change clothes in a locker room in front of your peers, or the first time you tried to kiss a girl/guy and you awkwardly puckered up, closed your eyes, shot, and missed the lips and landed somewhere in the vicinity of the left eye (just for the record that didn’t happen to me)Well I had one of those awkward moments about 2 months ago...
It was as awkward as a cow on roller was uncomfortable enough that others noticed and felt weird for me. So here’s my story…
Sunday mornings are great I love being able to see everyone that I don’t get to see throughout the week. It’s awesome because everyone (especially at my church) is so excited to see everybody. There are lots of hugs, high fives and chest bumps going around; It’s crazy! It’s like the Rangers won the pennant all over again! Ohk maybe not chest bumps and high fives, but it would be cool huh?!  So I’m following my regular routine, I finished up the worship set and I was heading down to my seat to sit with my wife. On the way I was doing my regular thing, I see people I haven’t seen that week, shake their hand, hug their neck, you know how it goes. Handshakes are good, hugs are good, but for those you are a little closer to, the much more proper ‘bro hug’ is where it’s at…and the awkwardness ensued

I spotted my friend Jesse sitting right behind my wife. Just like any other time, I stuck my hand out, shook his hand, and the ‘bro hug’ was in progress. You know how it goes, you shake hands first, and then you pull each other in for the quick ‘tap tap’ with the fist on the back. All was well, but something went devastatingly wrong… Jesse pulled the wrong way…

The whole world stopped…

It was like one of those moments in a movie where you can hear the music come to a screeching halt and everyone turns and stares with disbelief.

The ‘bro hug’ went awkwardly wrong… Since we both pulled into the same direction, somehow our faces met, and you could hear the sound of two 5 o’clock shadows scraping across each other (I had a lot of trouble typing that), like sandpaper scraping against a rough piece of wood. The noise it made was awful and overpowering, like long nasty nails on a chalk board, it drowned out the peaceful music of the announcement video playing in the background. When everything snapped back into real time, I heard chuckles and laughter to the side from people who had watched that happen,  and without a word, we avoided eye contact, sat down, and tried to play it off as if it that didn’t just happen. I’m not going to lie, I felt violated and a little dirty.

That was a scarring moment for me; Jesse and I still have trouble discussing that moment, in fact we try not to. Never again do I want to go through such an awful, horrible moment like that. So I want to make sure you (the reader) don’t ever experience this…so to close out this post out , I give you:

‘The 4 step process of the “Bro Hug”’

Step 1: Reach out your right hand just like a normal handshake and grab the other person’s hand firmly; no dead fish hand!

Step 2: Pull the other person to your RIGHT as you go to the LEFT. This step is vitally important! Any other variation of this motion could result in an awkward, scarring moment (see story above).

Step 3: With your left hand in a fist, give a quick double tap on the back. Anything more than two taps is just excessive.

Step 4: Release, do not make eye contact, and walk away.
If you follow this 4 step plan carefully, you should be able to avoid a lot of embarrassing moments. Feel free to print and post this in your church lobby, or your church bulletin. Help protect your congregation.

Ever had a scarring moment like this? Or did I miss any steps to the ‘bro hug’?  
Chime in!