Father of the year makes birthday cake [VIDEO]

All we can say is this dad is the bomb for making this birthday cake for his son.  It took 10 hours to make and 2 minutes to destroy.

What have we made for God lately that’s made Him smile like this little boy?

Is there anything we’ve destroyed that’s taken God a long time to put together?

Flash Opera at Macy’s [video]

A flash mob hit Macy’s in Center City on Saturday – 650 vocalists who, unknown to shoppers, had arranged to burst into song at noon.

Thank goodness for free speech.

There once was a church that published names in the bulletin…

There once was a church that published names in the bulletin of the “special music” vocal solos every week. (Yes, even I’ve done this in the distant past.)  Some of the vocalists sang like larks — others barked.  And it usually turned out that people would whisper to their own family members and friends ahead of time, “Look who’s singing today…it’s gonna
be goooood. I love it when they sing.”  And on those off weeks the comment would be, “See who’s singing today (rolling the eyes).  Hope it’s a short song today.”

I’ve heard people say years ago, “Well, I don’t know who they are if their names aren’t published?”  Oh really?  Does it really matter you know who they are?  Are you more concerned about the lark singing, or the content of the song lyrics?  What about going up to them following the morning and introduce yourself if you REALLY need to know who it is?  Who’s the focus when we say WE NEED TO KNOW WHO’S SINGING?

That leads to ask the question, “Are we waiting for the planets to align in order for us to worship.” Come on, admit it…we love it when it seems like everything is “perfect” and it appears something authentic, meaningful, and heartfelt took place in a church worship environment.  You know what it looks like — that perfect combination of vocalists, the lighting levels are such, volume levels are ideal (for you), the songs were your favorites, the hymn/modern song ratio was in your preference, the cloths worn on stage didn’t distract or embarrass you, and everything else that typically would make you think about something other than God simply vanished…and God was left as the object of your worship.

Question.  At what point did we needs the planets to align in order for us to focus on God?

News flash, the planets rarely, and sometimes never, align. So stop waiting.  Stop caring.  Stop pining for something that is not God-centered.

So what do we do? For starters, let’s make a decision ahead of time to make God our focus before we show up and begin to make us the focus.  We, the worshippers, have the complete ability to make the decision to make worship about us or all about God.

Which will it be for you this week?

Not To Us

Verse 1

The cross before me the world behind
No turning back raise the banner high
It’s not for me it’s all for You
Let the heavens shake and split the sky
Let the people clap their hands and cry
It’s not for us it’s all for You

Chorus 1

Not to us, but to Your name be the glory
Not to us, but to Your name be the glory

Verse 2
Our hearts unfold before Your throne
The only place for those who know
It’s not for us it’s all for You
Send Your holy fire on this offering
Let our worship burn for the world to see
It’s not for us it’s all for You

Bridge 1

The earth is shaking
The mountains shouting
It’s all for You
The waves are crashing
The sun is raging
It’s all for You
The universe spinning and singing
It’s all for You
Your children dancing dancing dancing
It’s all for YouIt’s all for You

CCLI Song No. 4046093¬© 2001 worshiptogether.com songs | sixsteps Music (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing) | (Admin. by EMI Christian Music Publishing)Chris Tomlin | Jesse ReevesFor use solely with the SongSelect Terms of Use.  All rights Reserved. http://www.ccli.comCCLI License No. 21985

What are your family spiritual values? Here’s ours, revised.

Last week, Lisa and I were going through a devotional book for couples and revisiting “spiritual family values” that we had written down in 2005. It’s five years later, and we pulled up the list…
  1. Family ministry before church ministry.  This means more nights at home (family ministry) than at church (church ministry).  Our family schedule is a higher priority than church calendar.
  2. Devotions and prayer as a family.  This means we do it together, and it’s more than the dinner table or bedtime prayer.
  3. Transparency with spiritual life.  This means we infuse our everyday talk with things about Christ.  What would Jesus think of this?  How would God like us to behave?  What does His Spirit encourage us to say?
  4. Making worship more than a job.  This means when we take a weekend vacation somewhere, we attend another church together as a family on vacation.  While we most likely won’t put our kids through going to an unknown Sunday school class, we want to make worship as a family a priority, even when we are on vacation.
  5. Stewardship.  This means we have some chores with out pay, yet other chores for pay and incorporate a tithe.

We are doing well on some of these.  Others need work.  Like #5.

After talking through the list, we are adding one more to it…“#6. Outward focused, pointing others to Christ (added June 3, 2010).”  That means we focus on others instead of ourselves.  We engage those outside our comfort zone to begin relationships.  This means the unlovable and those who Christ would most likely be spending time with.

What are your family spiritual values?  Got any we missed?

If you don’t have any yet, think about what they would be.

You know you’ve screwed up when …

Sometimes we admit when we’ve screwed up.  Sometimes we don’t.  Sometimes we regret after we’ve been caught.  God, help me to with your Spirit to recognize that I’m about ready to screw up — so I can recognize to run the other way.

Here’s a little clip of our one year old … and he knew he screwed up when he was caught.

Worship Tip: What do people leave church talking about? #sundaysetlist #sundaysetlists #worship

The worship tip for this week is to design a worship environment where people leave talking about their relationship with God instead of the creative elements.

I’ve had several people come to me this weekend and comment on the music. They mentioned everything from Sam Cho (cello) and his father, David (Lu Chien) Cho from Taiwan (piano), who drew our eyes to the Creator of music through their incredible arrangements.  They said Donna Shelite did a bang up job of singing a song that Jim requested called “Midnight Cry.”  They commented on the orchestra added icing to the cake when it led instrumentally in worship.  I even mentioned to someone, “Too bad it wasn’t Easter, cause this is going to be difficult to top.”

It got me thinking again about what people talk about when they leave church on the weekend. What do people leave Topeka Bible Church talking about?  Do they talk about the music?  The crystal clear sound?  The pastor?  The creative video?  The person with a set of singing pipes?

If people leave talking about God and their relationship with Him — then the music, sermon, videos, and other creative moments did what they are supposed to do.

Setlist from March 7, 2010:
  2. Test – click LEFT and loop RIGHT
  3. Sound Check – Full Band
  4. Sound Check – Vocals
  6. SET 1 – created March 6, 2010
  7. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  8. SET 2 – created March 5, 2010
  9. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  10. ___ END click here (cue)
  12. I Am Free – loop and click 136 BPM
  13. Sing Sing Sing – loop and click 142 BPM slower
  14. And Can It Be – loop and click 124 BPM
  15. ___ PAUSE click here (cue)
  16. There Is a Fountain – loop and click 74 BPM
  17. Your Grace Is Enough – loop and click 124
  18. ___ END click here (cue)
  20. I Am Free (A)
  21. Sing, Sing, Sing (D)
  22. And Can It Be?
  23. There Is a Fountain
  24. Your Grace Is Enough (F)

Topeka’s version of “God of This City”

Here’s the Topeka Bible Church version of “God of This City” from Sunday, February 28, 2010.

So what if He’s the God of this city, how about my life? What do you think?