Friday, December 29, 2006

Journey Day 4

BIG BIG News! The first ever TNC CD has arrived!!!! You will be able to get your hands on your very own copy at Facedown Sunday night. Just one more reason to make it a TrueNorth New Year's Eve...

Well, we made it back safely from our visit to Knoxville. We had a great week with Laurie's parents. They live on a farm. I know I mentioned the other day that they don't have internet (which still blows my mind). But one thing they do have is this: A TRACTOR!!!!! Check this out...

Talk about redneck!!!

Our trips to Knoxville are always a great time of peace, relaxation, and reflection. I was really able to dive into Colossians, which I've been wanting to do for a while. I'm taking my time through it. I also played a lot of Mancala with Austin, which is a new, highly addictive game that he got from his Uncle Scott. Laurie and I got to go on a date, which is always a treasured time!

Well, not a whole lot of Facedown Journeying here today! Just a grateful heart!

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Journey Day 3

“He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.” Psalm 40:3

New Year’s is a time when many people take inventory of their lives. New Year’s resolutions are quite common around this time of the year. Some want to lose weight. Others want to find a new job. There are some who even pledge to be better parents or spouses. It’s a chance for a new beginning.

As Christ-followers, we’ve been given the ultimate life-change experience. And there is joy in that. Everyday the Lord puts a new song in our mouth, a new energy to pursue life with. It’s the ultimate New Year’s resolution…for life!

But we have to give our all. First, it’s as simple as turning over control of our lives to Christ. Then, it’s a daily decision to pursue Him. One thing I’ll say here is that the attitude you and I choose to have effects our lives more than any of us realize.

Last night, Laurie and I went to see Will Smith’s new movie, “The Pursuit of Happyness”. What a great movie! The story is based on the life of a man who was living a hard life, trying to support his wife and son by selling bone density scanners. His sales record was horrible. Anyway, through various circumstances, his wife leaves him and he and his son wind up homeless. But through it all, he chose to pursue a better life. He never gave up…and his positive outlook on life was evident in his relationship with his son. Never once did he forget to take time to play with his son, to speak words of encouragement and wisdom into his son.

That’s how we must lead our lives. After all, we have the joy of the Lord in us! As we continue our journey this week, remember and be grateful that the Lord has put a new song in your mouth.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Journey Day 2

Merry Christmas (a day late)! I hope you had an awesome day with family and friends, celebrating the birth of our indescribable Savior!

I fully intended to blog yesterday, but we were on the road traveling to Knoxville in some pretty nasty weather. And on top of that, my in-laws don’t have internet! Now, how many people today can say that their relatives don’t have internet?!?!?

Yesterday was so cool with our kids. The excitement that they had at seeing what Santa brought them and opening gifts from their family. But what was really was a tradition my family did growing up that we are passing down to our kids. At the beginning of the Christmas season, we placed an empty manger at the foot of the tree and we told the kids that they had to help make a soft bed for baby Jesus to lay on by the Christmas morning. We went on to tell them that the way they could place a piece of straw in the manger when they did something nice for someone else. Part of it is a teaching tool, the other a sanity maker for parents because the kids actually had a reason to be good! Anyway, Christmas morning came and Santa had placed baby Jesus in the manger. The kids were so excited! It was cool to me to see the power of the REASON for Christmas shining through.

I wish all year could be the buildup to Christmas. It’s the anticipation of the coming of the King. It’s the kindness and love that seems to permeate everyone alive (well, almost everyone!). As we approach Facedown, let’s keep this in mind…the anticipation of Jesus Christ, coming to meet with us.

I will try to post everyday this week, but with living in the stone age this week, I’ll do my best! Until next time…

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Journey to Facedown - Day 1

For those of you who checked in yesterday for day 1, thanks! Unfortunately, I missed it! I guess when I said that it would begin tomorrow, I meant the day after tomorrow...yeah. That's it!

It is 7:00A and I'm getting ready to head to church for services #2 and #3 of our Christmas weekend services. Last night's service was awesome! The choir rocked. Steve's message was powerful. And there were close to 500 there!!! It was a great kick-off to the weekend.

I just want to encourage you right now to plan on being at Facedown next week. The cool thing is it's early enough so everyone can still go ring in the New Year with family and friends!

So let's start our journey together. Look at 1 Peter 2:9: "You are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for His own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light." We are God's people. He loves us and pursues us. And He has called us out of darkness, out of shame, and into His light, a marvelous light. We sing that song a lot at TNC, and it's not hard to figure out that it's a favorite among our people. Why? I believe it's because of the reality that the song sings of. So many were trapped in that darkness, but God pulled them out. He started pumping their hearts. He breathed a new breath into them. He brought them back to life.

This is the place to start as we move to Facedown, in a place of humility with grateful hearts for all God has done for us.

Father, thank you for the marvelous light that you sent to this earth. Thank you for leading us into the light and freeing us from the darkness. Amen.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Journey to Facedown - COMING SOON!!!

Well, this weekend brings Christmas with it. I'm can't wait! With a family of four you can guarantee that Christmas will be fun!!! And also, we'll be finishing up our Indescribable series at TrueNorth Church. The services are planned and ready to go, and our first ever choir at TNC is ready to rock it out!

So as this series comes to an end and we look to Facedown next week, I wanted to share this video with you. It's a powerful video sync'ing images with the words of the song. It's a fantastic piece of worship and praise to God...

That's some good stuff! Tomorrow the Journey to Facedown begins. I hope you'll join me the next week as we countdown to the New Year's Eve edition of Facedown! You won't want to miss this one. We're doing something that we've never done before at a Facedown. It's awesome!

Don't forget:
Facedown at the Imperial Theatre
December 31, 2006 (New Year's Eve)
6:00PM (doors open at 5:30P)

Let's pack the place out! 850 seats filled with worshippers of God. How cool would that be?

Death to a blog

After thinking on it for a long while, I've decided to kill off the Creative Arts Blog. To be honest, I barely have time to update my own blog, and most of the stuff I could post on the CABlog is stuff I could post on the 247 blog. So, FINAL NOTICE: the Creative Arts Blog is now dead...let us mourn it's short life together.

Thursday, December 21, 2006


Well, it's been a long week for the Bradford household. 4 out of the 6 of us contracted a nasty stomach virus and, needless to say, it hasn't been pretty. But, alas, we are on the mend. So, with it all, we've been watching a lot of TV since we haven't been able to move. Here's what we've seen...

Superman Returns - pretty good move...though kind of long. I'm a huge superhero buff, so it was cool seeing the man of steel on the big screen again. One really cool part of the movie for me is when Superman and Lois Lane are flying above the city and he recalls an article she wrote titled "Why the World Doesn't Need Superman". He recalls a part of the article in which she says that people just don't need a savior today. But, he says, if that's true, then why does he hear so many crying out for one every day? What a powerful line! And I can't agree more. People are crying out for a Savior, but, for many, there is no one there to show them the way. At TrueNorth, we're encourage our people to be that person, the one that helps them find the way to the Savior. This weekend is a great example. Christmas is a time when many are open to coming to church. But they must be invited! And that's what we encourage our people to do. Extend the invite to some one who needs to hear about the indescribable love that God has for them!

Lord of the Rings (The Fellowship of the Ring & The Two Towers) - Incredible movies. It's a tale that you can get lost in and the underlying message of good overcoming evil is powerful!

The Glenn Miller Story - This is a movie made in the 40's or 50's on the life of the great big band leader, Glenn Miller. It is very inspiring to me in how his love for his wife was the hinge point of his world. He wrote many songs based around things that made his wife happy. Now, as a worship leader, most of my songs end up proclaiming the glory of God. But the movie inspires me to do for my wife to show my love for her. That's what I've been inspired to do.

So, that's been my week...camped out in front of the TV trying to recover.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006


Wow! What an incredible start to our Christmas series "Indescribable"! Sometimes you just have to stop and wonder at the way our God works...and this is definitely one of those times.

The first week Steve challenged our people to write down the names of their fish (their unchurched friends) that they would like to see come to TrueNorth during Christmas. Once the names were written down, everyone walked forward to lay their lists in the manger. Very powerful! Well, we did some tallying and came up with over 1600 names! Needless to say we were blown away!!! Then, this past weekend, our TNC parade float was in the Augusta parade. Those involved from TNC handed out about 1700 fish cards!

People...God's up to something. I can feel it and see it. I am anticipating this weekend like none before. I love seeing the power of God at work and I believe we'll taste it once more this weekend. And it's a weekend you won't want to miss! We have our first choir joining the band this week...and they rock! Not to mention the annual TrueNorth Gift Giveaway. Maybe Santa's helpers will pick you!

Lastly, I received a disc of pictures from one of our photographers on Sunday with pictures from our first few weeks in the gym. Man, God has blessed us in incredible ways! So, for your viewing pleasure...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Pursuing Excellence

Well, Christmas is upon us. There is a chill in the air...well, sometimes. It's so cool driving around looking at the lights decorating houses and hearing the words "Merry Christmas" all around. You can definitely sense the anticipation in everyone you meet. Very cool.

We had our first choir practice last night and I have to say I'm very excited about TNC's first ever praise choir. They sound really good and the energy from each member is contagious! You won't want to miss hearing them during our Christmas weekend services!

Last week, I mentioned a group of verses that God has been leading me to. Those verses are found in Colossians 3, verses 1-4 and 17. (You can find them here and here.) God has been impressing on my heart that, as a Christ-follower, I must pursue excellence in everything I do, regardless of how important or menial the task. So I've been thinking a lot about what excellence is and how to really pursue it without getting caught up in perfection.

I looked up the definition of excellence and came across this: the quality of being outstanding or extremely good. Some other words I found related to excellence are distinction, quality, superiority, brilliance, greatness, skill, talent, and mastery. Now, I know what you're thinking...if this is what excellence is, count me out because I don't have any of that stuff. But I believe differently. We all have these characteristics in us...there's brilliance and greatness in each of us because we have Christ in us. The Author of excellence has given me and you a unique set of talents, passions, and experiences that He wants to use, if we'd only let Him.

So how do we pursue excellence? How do we get there? Through the verses in Colossians, I came to believe in three simple things:

1. Our pursuit of excellence must start with our pursuit of God. Verses 1-4 remind us that we should set our minds on things that are above. Actually, the writer, Paul, feels so strongly about this that he says it twice in verses 1 and 2. What are the things above that we should set our minds on? See Philippians 4:8-9. If we will focus on Christ and the fact that He is our life (verse 4), our pursuit of excellence will start with the Excellent One, which is exactly where it should start.

2. Our pursuit of excellence requires that we give our best. To put it simply, we do our best with what God has given us. You may not be able to write a number one hit song, or speak eloquently, but you have specializations elsewhere. You may be a plumber, or a business executive, or a sales person, or a stay at home mom...whatever you do, God has put you there for a reason and He has given you a unique combination of talents, passions and experiences. Verse 17a says "whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus." We must live with this conviction, this burden that we are living representation of the name of the Lord Jesus.

Here is one thing that has hit home with me over the past few months. In a fallen and hurting world that is always seeking hope and love and keeps on coming up empty, God is calling out for His people to step up and influence our culture in a positive way. But how do we influence a culture that seems to reject us? I believe with all my heart that it is through doing what we do to the best of our ability. If I'm a plumber and I give my all to the job, over time that is going to gain respect from those I work with. Eventually, I will gain influence with them because they are going to watch me and wonder what is different about me. And there is my opportunity to share the incredible news of Jesus Christ with them. Think about it. All of us will be willing to listen to someone we respect. So, I hope you see how important it is to give our best with what we have.

3. Our pursuit of excellence must end with God. The movie "Facing the Giants" that came out this past October has a powerful message. It is summed up best by the new principle the coach offers his players at one point: "If we win, we praise Him. If we lose, we praise Him." It is essential that we recognize the Giver of talents, passions, and experiences. If we don't, the danger will come through pride and arrogance. We will begin to point the praise to ourselves instead of to God. Humility is an essential ingredient to pursuing excellence. Giving the credit, the praise back to God is a must.

Laura Owings has a great perspective into this. I have to say, she is one who gives her all in everything she does and I believe she has gained more influence than she could imagine. But Laura is the first to tell you it's not about her, as is evident in her blog post Eating Humble Pie. You see, she understands that this is God's and He's going to do what He wants with who He wants and she is just excited to have a part in it.

And that is the place our pursuit of excellence must come back to everytime. To God.
Dunk'd Gone Wild!

I dare anyone to do this at our next dunk'd service. Stevie out baby!

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

The Blogging World

The ever growing blogging world has a new family member...and he's from TrueNorth. I think TNC could go in the guiness book of world records for the church with the most bloggers. (I hear rumors that Stevie D is going to start one, but we'll have to wait to find out!)

Our lead guitarist, affectionately known as the Zak Attack, has started a music blog. You can check it out here.

I've also been invited to join a network of Christian bloggers. I'm not really sure what that means, but I think I'll have some articles put up and also be on their blogroll. It may stick, it may not. Time will tell...

And one last thing...some very exciting news! The first TrueNorth CD is being sent off to be printed and packaged this week!!!! It's about time! (Can I get an AMEN! Hallelujah! Praise Jesus! ?) The release date is still TBD right now, but it's coming very soon. Keep your ears to the ground.

Oh, and one last last thing...I've been reading through Colossians lately, specifically chapter 3:1-17. Very powerful stuff! I'd encourage you to read through. I'll blog about that a little later and some things that God has revealed to me through it.