Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Making the Switch

I've been working on a new blog page for a few months now and I've decided to finally make the switch. It's got a few more bells and whistles than my current blogger one. another week I will no longer be posting here. Instead, I'll be moving to my new address here. Check it out and enjoy the new and improved 247Think Blog!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Blogging Hiatus

It has been almost three weeks since I last blogged and I have to say it's been a nice break. Sometimes I really struggle with what to blog and I don't want to blog just for the sake of doing it. The past three weeks have been a nice reflection time. Here's what's been going on...

-My family and I enjoyed a week long trip to Disney World with my parents. Great time of fun! I'm constantly amazed at how Disney engages you from the time you enter into the place. Some highlights for me were:
  • riding Small World with my two year old and watching him take it all in...the wonder and joy in his eyes made the whole trip worth it!
  • riding Thunder Mountain with my four year was his first time on it and he screamed and screamed and screamed! That was fun!
  • watching my seven year old scurry around picking up little Mickey Mouse head confetti pieces...he has done this every time we've been to WDW since he was three.
  • and lastly, seeing my grandparents whom I haven't seen in a few years. I hope I'm doing that good when I'm 80!
-I've been seeing the TV ads for Apple's new iPhone. Man I want one!!!
-I finally watched the season finale of Heroes the other day. Wow! If you're not watching this show, you're missing out!
-Sunday night's Dunk'd at the River was so cool. I never get tired of seeing people declare their faith in Christ. After all, it's why we do what we do!!!
-Laurie and I went out on our first date in a while last night. Good stuff! I can't believe we actually went to a restaurant and sat a table for two. That never happens when you have a family of six!
-We went and saw Oceans 13 on our date...very entertaining. We are huge fans of the Oceans movies. They're just fun to watch.

So what's on the horizon? Lots and lots of stuff! I'm so pumped to see what God has in store for the next few months. I just feel like big things are up ahead!

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Getting away

Tomorrow my family and I leave for a much needed vacation. I am so pumped! One week with no cell phone, no computer, no nothing...except for my beautiful bride and my kids. Good stuff!

So I'll be checking out of the blogosphere for the next week. I do want to get something out of my head that I've been sitting on this week though. I've been reading a book called For the Audience of One by Mike Pilavachi. What an amazing book! But one thought I want to throw out for you to chew on for the next week is this: worship is to be a reflection of life.

Here's what I mean...too often in our worship we put on our "best", regardless of how real or authentic it is, because we think that's what we're supposed to do. Or, quite frankly we just don't want to be real. But think on this...if we don't present ourselves to God, our whole, messed up selves, we make worship about anything but God. God doesn't want your Sunday best. The bible makes it clear that our best are filthy rags to God. So why even try to impress Him?

God wants us to bring everything we are to Him. Then, and only then, will He reveal Himself to us so that we can respond with adoration and praise.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Facedown - the afterglow

Just finished meeting with the Facedown team to debrief Sunday. Wow! What an amazing evening!!! My gauge for whether Facedown was good or not is if we met with God, I believe with all my heart that we a major way.

I've heard some great feedback from those of you that were there. Some say, as some always say after Facedown, is that it was the best ever. I do believe it was amazing! The coolest thing for me was to see people humbly come to the cross and fall facedown. That's what it's all about...forgetting about our surroundings and bringing ourselves- our whole, imperfect selves- to the feet of Jesus.

There's no better place to be.

Friday, May 18, 2007

Day 10: Hungry

I know I had this posted a few weeks ago, but it really speaks to my heart so much. I hope it does the same for you...

Lord Jesus, we are hungry for more of You. Fill us with Your Spirit. Amen.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Day 9: The small things

Here's an excerpt from a post Louie Giglio made on his blog a few months ago that is a tremendous reminder for all of us. Enjoy...

We shouldn't be surprised to know that God is a part of every aspect of our lives. He's not too busy (He doesn't sleep), uninterested (He's here with us), high and mighty (He's a servant-King), overloaded (He knows the names of all the stars) or ambivalent (He gave His best for us) to be connected to the small stuff. While He is a "big picture God," He's "intimately acquainted with all our ways." Psalm 139:3.

God is specific (check out all the genealogies and lists in the Bible). He is into microscopic things. He first split the atom. And there is no detail in your life today too small for Him to know and care about.

Father, it's amazing that You see and know us all. Teach us today to pray about the smallest things. For Jesus' sake, who was the specific answer to hundreds of promises (details), Amen.

“All this” said David, “the LORD made me understand in writing by His hand upon me, all the details of this pattern.” Then David said to his son Solomon, “Be strong and courageous, and act; do not fear nor be dismayed, for the LORD God, my God, is with you. He will not fail you nor forsake you until all the work for the service of the house of the LORD is finished." 1 Chronicles 28:19-20

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Day 8: The Coming Hope

Just a short entry today...

I read in 1 Thessalonians 4 yesterday about the return of Jesus. Paul tells of how the dead in Christ will rise to meet Jesus in the sky and then those that are left, those that are alive, will go up to join them. And the last verse, verse 18, says "Therefore encourage one another with these words." That really got me thinking. What an incredible day that will be when Jesus returns to take us home. I cannot fathom it, to be honest. But here's what else God showed me...your current circumstances are so small in the grand scheme of things. They are just a blip on the radar when you force yourself to step back and look at the big picture.

I know there is a lot of pain, stress, and uncertainty out there. But hear this: the coming Hope, Jesus Christ, will return one day to take us to our true home with Him and our Father God. That's something to celebrate!

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Day 7: Seeking God

Facedown is only 5 days away!!! I cannot wait. This edition is going to be awesome.

Something I will say that has been ringing in my ears lately is a story Steve told the staff after a recent trip. A pastor friend was telling him that they had an Easter service years ago that they spent a lot of time and energy preparing for. It was an outdoor event that they had rented top of the line sound and lighting equipment for. They spent tons of time praying that God would hold off the rain and for lots of people to show up, but, he admitted, they didn't spend time praying for God to show up. That is my biggest fear for Facedown...that we would be so focused on making Sunday night happen that we forget about God. He is the only reason we do this. I ask that you would join me in praying for Sunday asking that God would fill every inch of the high school campus with His Spirit.

You will seek me and find me when you seek Me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)

Monday, May 14, 2007

Day 6: The Sound of Silence

I've been reflecting a lot on silence and what its importance is in our relationship with God. Silence is not a discipline we practice much in our society today, with all of the distractions coming at us. With our iPods, cell phones, computers, televisions, and many other things, we have made it very hard for ourselves to escape the noise of life. Even children's toys make noise...very irritating noise at that! Often my kids have come to me with toys that aren't designed to make noise asking me to fix it because it's broken!

So why is it so important? Why should we practice it? Here's a post I did last year on this very topic...

Something that is very important, but takes a lot of practice, is being still in God's presence. It’s very unnatural for us as humans in today’s society to be quiet and still for more than half a second. We are busy creatures with busy schedules.

Practicing stillness is learning how to listen to God. So many times we go to God and talk His ear off, telling Him how we see life. How often do we ask Him how HE sees life? Believe me, I’m the worst on this! I’m ashamed at the number of times I go through the “drive-thru” with God. I place my order and then go on with my day. How I wish I would take the time to listen to Him.

The awesome thing is that when we start listening to Him, He does an extraordinary thing…He reveals Himself to us. The scripture says “Be still and know that I am God.” We begin to encounter the Creator of the universe as He gives us a peak at how great and phenomenal He is. And that is where worship starts…it starts with revelation from God. Then we can’t help but respond with all out praise and adoration.

God- teach us how to be still before You so that we can see You in all Your glory. Teach us how to listen to Your voice. Reveal Your glory to us so that we can respond with highest praise and honor! Amen.

Friday, May 11, 2007

Day 5: Living out

Have you ever been somewhere that was so cool that you had to tell people about it? Last year our family went to the new children's museum in Columbia, called Edventure. Our family had such a good time in such a cool place that we immediately became evangelists for Edventure. We told all of our friends and family what a great place it is to take their kids. Think about that place for you. Where is it? How did you feel when you were there? And who did you tell about it?

That's what goes on with worship. You enter the presence of God and He reveals His glory to you. You discover it's the best thing you've ever experienced. But why is it, as Christians, that we keep it quiet? I'm very guilty of this. I'll encounter God in a big way and get all excited, but then I just keep it to myself.

When we worship God, our worship should overflow into our lives.
It is something that should go with us every day of the week, every minute of the day. Which leads to a cool thing...worship reciprocates. It starts with God and ends with God. The revelation often begins in our personal relationship with Him, which leads us to hunger even more for that relationship.

So Facedown is a little more than a week away!!!! I will see you on Monday as we continue our journey together!

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Day 4: Inside Out

Every Thursday for the past month I've been meeting with our Facedown Team. I am so pumped every week to meet with these guys and gals to dream and discuss what God is leading us to do. It's going to be absolutely amazing! You won't want to miss this edition!!!!

This week we've been talking through the progression of worship, that it all starts with God revealing Himself and His glory to us, and then we respond in our hearts through emotion. So today, we're going to look at how that worship goes from the inside out.

Have you ever wondered why people raise their hands in worship? What about seeing those few dedicate souls who like to jump up and down, screaming at the top of their lungs? And there are those who like to fall to their knees...what's up with that? These, and others, are the outward expression of what is happening on the inside. I'd like to take each of these and try to explain what each means...

  • Raising hands. This is the most common expression of worship. To be honest, raising my hands means a few different things to me. First, it's a sign of respect. Sometimes it will hit me what an amazing God we serve and creates in me a since of awe and wonder that I raise my hands and say, "God, You are great and powerful and I am completely amazed by You." Other times I just want to reach out and touch Him. The song we've done recently called "The Hand That Holds The World" by Starfield even says "I want to stand before the King, join in the song that heaven sings, I want to hold the hand that holds the world." It's a longing to be with our King. And lastly, when I raise my hands in worship, I'm submitting to Him and His reign over me.
  • Making noise. What's with all this noise stuff? You hear us sing about it and talk about it, but do you know why? There are numerous places in the bible, especially in the psalms, that tell us to make a joyful noise. You see, shouting and yelling is the overflow of a joyful heart. You're excited. You're pumped up! And it's all in celebration and adoration for Jesus Christ, our risen King!
  • Dancing. Now, before you write this off completely, it is biblical! If you don't believe me, go to Bible Gateway and do a word search on "dancing". You'll see about 10 different references. Just like making noise, it's joyful, it's celebrative. I know there are many out there that are like me. Born with two left feet and you wouldn't even dream of being caught dancing. But you can jump up and down, right? I dare you to let loose sometime without a care in the world as you worship Almighty God with reckless abandon.
  • Kneeling. This is a drastic change from the expressions above. It's pensive. It's meditative. It's stopping for a moment to really think about what God has done for you and how much you love Him.
  • Falling facedown. This is a worship expression that is far more rare than dancing, in my opinion. In the book Facedown, Matt Redman describes it as this:
Facedown worship is the overflow of a heart humbled and amazed by the glory of God. Facedown worship always begins as a posture of the heart. It's people so desperate for the increase of Christ that they find themselves decreasing to the ground in an act of reverent submission. When a soul is so captivated by the Almighty, to bend low in true and total surrender seems the only appropriate response.
The thing about each of these expressions is that you cannot care what the people around you are doing or what they think of you. You get to the point where you are so intensely focused on God that nothing else matters. If you've never let go in any of these ways, maybe it's time to show an undying passion for Christ, even at the risk of looking and feeling foolish. Doesn't He deserve at least that?

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Day 3: Responding with emotion

Yesterday we looked at how worship starts with God. We can't worship God without God first revealing Himself and His glory to us. So then what? Just like with any thing in life, you feel emotion inside before you do anything else. When your child takes their first steps, you are overcome with pride on the inside before you congratulate them with hugs and kisses. When someone you love gives you something that you've wanted for a long time, you feel love well up inside you. These are just two examples of a wide range of human emotion. My point is that, before you respond to anything externally, you have to respond to internally.

Here's what I'm trying to say...emotion is a very important part of being human. God made us to be emotional creatures. How we respond to God's revelation is very much emotional. I know there has been a school of thought for years that you must remove all emotion in your relationship with God. I say that is tragic! How would a marriage be without feeling love? How would a celebration be without feeling joy? It's the same thing in our relationships with God. If we remove our emotions and approach it purely intellectually, we risk exchanging the life-changing power of God for a bunch of facts...

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Day 2: It starts with God

There is a very basic yet very profound definition of worship that I stumbled upon a few years ago. I've actually used it on this blog before. That definition is this: worship is our response to God's revelation. It's that simple. However, there is a lot of stuff packed into that seven word phrase.

Let's look today at where it all starts. If you have your bible (man, I've always wanted to say that!) turn to Colossians 1. For those of you who don't have your bible, the words are on the screen. (Alright, now I'm just getting carried away!) Here are verses 15-20:

He (that is Jesus) is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things were created through him and for him. And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church. He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in everything he might be preeminent. For in him all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, making peace by the blood of his cross.

Here's my interpretation of this passage. God was before all things and He created all things. He holds everything together, literally. So, logic tells me, that nothing is possible without God. We can't even worship God without God. Look at the Facedown passage in Leviticus 9:23-24. God showed His glory and the people responded. Another place to check out is Matthew 17:1-8. Here Jesus showed three of His disciples (Peter, James and John) a glimpse of His glory and they ended up facedown. There are many, many more examples of God revealing Himself and people responding with facedown worship.

You want to know something cool? God wants to show us His glory. He actually thinks about us, even though we are such small, insignificant parts of His creation (Psalm 8:3,4). It absolutely blows my mind that God knows the number of hair on my head (Luke 12:7) and every other detail of my life. He cares deeply about me and you. That's our God!

There is one thing I want to say in closing. God doesn't reveal Himself only on Sunday mornings at church. Actually, I've found that God doesn't reveal Himself nearly as profoundly on Sundays as He does in my daily life, especially in my time alone with Him. If you're depending on Sunday services to see God, you are missing out in a big, big way! If you're not really involved right now in a daily quiet time, I would encourage you to try it out these next two weeks as we prepare for Facedown. Pick a short book in the new testament to start with (I recommend Colossians, James, Galatians, or Ephesians) and read through a chapter a day. If you need to read them again, do it. Take your time. Pretend you're eating the best steak dinner you've ever had...savor every single bite! And pray. Here's a simple guide to prayer that I learned years ago: ACTS. Adoration. Confession. Thanksgiving. Supplication. Adoration is giving God praise for who He is. Confession is, as Hebews 12:1 says, throwing off everything that hinders you and the sin that so easily entangles your steps. Thanksgiving is thanking God for the blessings He has poured out in your life. And finally, supplication is presenting your requests to God. This is your chance to pray for stuff in your life, as well as others. It's that simple, but very powerful. So I hope you'll accept my challenge over these next two weeks and see what happens.

See you tomorrow!

Monday, May 07, 2007

Journey to Facedown: Day 1

Facedown is getting closer and closer...and I am so PUMPED! If you think that past editions were awesome, you haven't seen anything yet. God has inspired some really cool ideas that, in my opinion, will be unforgettable.

Today starts a journey to Facedown that I hope will prepare all of our hearts to encounter God that Sunday night. This week, I want to look at the natural progression of worship. That progression is this: we see God, then we respond in our hearts to that revelation, which leads us to respond outwardly. I want to spend time on each one to help us fully understand what this thing called worship is. It's more than a song. It's more than an hour every Sunday. It's something that we carry into every minute of our lives. Worship truly is a 24 - 7 lifestyle.

So I hope you'll join me each day over the next two weeks as we draw closer to Facedown!

Thursday, May 03, 2007

It's Coming...

Facedown is almost here. I am so pumped! This is one you will not to miss!!! As I've done in the past, I will be starting a journey to Facedown on Monday. What is that you ask? For the days leading up to Facedown, I will post a daily thought to prepare our hearts to encounter God the evening of May 20. I encourage you to check in often!

Monday, April 30, 2007

Hungering and Thirsting for Righteousness

Steve spoke yesterday at TrueNorth about the beatitude of hungering and thirsting for righteousness. What a much needed topic! Anyway, it made me think of Colossians 3:1-2, which simply says that we should set our heart and mind on things that are above. This, to me, is the basis of hungering and thirsting. I love the song we sang yesterday called Center by Charlie Hall. In it, we sing words inspired from Colossians 1:17, declaring that God holds everything together.

Louie Giglio, founder and visionary of the Passion Movement, spoke on the human body at one time and the amazing things that are contained in us. He said that a molecular biologist told him to check out this fascinating thing called "laminen". Laminen is a substance in our body that literally acts as glue or stitching between our cells. Giglio said that when he saw a super zoomed in picture of laminen he was completely floored. It turns out, laminen is a cross-shaped structure. It puts new meaning to the verse above that says God holds everything together. Literally!

What's the point? Everything...I mean EVERYTHING...starts with God. If our minds are not centered and focused on Him, if we aren't cross-eyed, then we will try to satisfy the hunger and thirst somewhere else...and we'll come up lacking. Something I shared a few weeks ago that I will reiterate here is that I have started praying and asking God to be the Lord of my day. Since that day, my relationship with God has been revitalized. I'm not saying I'm perfect now because I pray this prayer, but I am saying that, for this season in my life, those words have become very powerful and important for me.

Being cross-eyed takes discipline. I have to be disciplined to go to be early so I can get up early and spend time in the presence of God. I have to make the decision to read my bible and pray. There are so many things that can distract me, but by humbling myself and seeking God, those distractions seem to fade away.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007


Tonight at Jteam we discussed this past Sunday's message on "Happy are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." One of the guys in the group mentioned a quote from Rob Bell, pastor of Mars Hill Church in Minneapolis, about an observation he's made about us as people. It seems, to Mr. Bell, that we have become more of human-doings than human-beings. Think about the contrast between the two. It's as simple as the difference between the two words "do" and "be". To do is to perform or produce. It implies action. To be is to exist.

It's so easy to get caught in the doing of life that we forget to just be. Sometimes we need to take the time to feel life again, rather than to do it. God says in Psalm 46:10 to "be still, and know that I am God." Honestly, I couldn't tell you the last time I was completely still and waited on God. It's a hard thing to do, but we must.

So here's a list of suggestions of how you can become a human-being again:
-Take a walk in nature and observe God's creation up close.
-Take time to listen to someone's story in order to get to know them better.
-Read a book that will challenge you to examine your life to see how you can improve yourself.
-Make it important to play. Let your hair down and have fun! Fun is a huge key to being!

These are just a few things. Does anybody else have a suggestion?

Friday, April 20, 2007

Facedown - May 20th

Yesterday I met with our Facedown creative team to continue dreaming and planning the next edition, which is just a month away. I am so pumped! God has already started inspiring us with some really cool things. You will not want to miss it.

One of the things I love about Facedown is to watch how God puts each edition together and how each one He makes completely unique. I have people talk to me all the time and say "remember that one with the glowsticks?" or "remember the one where the singers were no where in sight?"

Through it all, Facedown still has a very simple focus. Leviticus 9 says that the Israelites were at the foot of the mountain of God after they left Egypt. They were instructed precisely how to present the first offering to God and they followed it to the "T". And then, after Moses and Aaron had met with God in the Tent of Meeting, they came out, blessed the people and then the God showed up!
"...and the glory of the LORD appeared to all the people. Fire came out from the presence of the LORD and consumed the burnt offering and the fat portions on the altar. And when all the people saw it, they shouted for joy and fell facedown." (Leviticus 9:23-24)
Here is a basic definition of worship. Worship is our response to the revelation of God. You can see that in this verse. God shows up, the people respond. And they respond in two ways, which brings us to the two pillars of Facedown.

First, they shouted for joy. They celebrated. They went crazy. Ever been to a football game and the home team scores a winning touchdown at the last second? The crowd goes wild, right? Well, that doesn't even compare to how the people of God responded in this Leviticus passage. Why? Because God accepted their offering. He found it acceptable. You know what? God has accepted an offering that blows theirs away. Jesus Christ. He's our offering, once and for all. And we've done nothing to deserve it. Which brings us to the second response...

Secondly, the people of Israel fell facedown. And get's for the exact same reason. After their celebration, I imagine a moment when an eerie silence falls over the people. There's a light switch flipped or something that causes them to realize that God accepted their offering. He found them acceptable. And it's the same for us. But here's the difference. The only part we (humanity) had in presenting this offering is that we crucified God's Son. The Lamb of God spilled His blood to cover us and make us acceptable in God's sight. When we truly realize that, we can't help but fall on our faces in awe of God.

In a few weeks, I will begin a daily journey to Facedown. I'll post thoughts to help prepare our hearts to meet with God as May 20 draws closer. I hope you'll join me!

Tuesday, April 17, 2007


This morning I popped in a song that I haven't listened to in quite a long time. It's a worship tune from the late '90s called We Are Hungry. I was first introduced to the song from the Passion: The Road to OneDay album that came out in 1999. Anyway, as I listened to this song, I couldn't help but fall on my face. I began to cry out to God to make this song true in my heart as well as in our be hungry for God.

Through it all, I decided to make a little video to this song with pictures of worshipers from different events at TrueNorth. So here it is...

Sunday, April 15, 2007

Prayer Power

This past weekend Laurie went with some friends to Columbia, SC, to see Beth Moore speak. 18,000 women in one place. That's a lot of estrogen. Anywho, she said it was an amazing time of worship and teaching. Here's a picture of the event...

One of the things Laurie mentioned from this weekend was something Beth said about prayer. She made the comment that when we pray, things happen that wouldn't happen otherwise. Now, I know what you're thinking...but when I pray nothing happens. But according to Beth, that's wrong. There is something that is set into motion in the spiritual realm, a releasing of God's power and blessing, that otherwise would not happen if we didn't pray.

I've been thinking about this. Why don't I pray more? Is it because I'm too busy? No, I'd say I'm too busy NOT to pray. Is it because I don't set my priorities right? Well, that's definitely part of it. But there's something bigger than that. It's because I've lost faith in prayer. I have a hard time admitting that, but I think all of us can relate to this in some fashion or another. Let me explain...there are many prayers that God answers that I will never see the physical outcome of. Part of that is because He will choose to answer with a "no". Another part is that there are requests that happen in someone else's life that I may not have day to day contact with. And yet another part is those requests that take many years to answer. I've known people who have prayed for someone to come to Christ for 10 or 20 years.

Prayer takes patience, which is a virtue that isn't practiced a whole lot in our society these days. We have to learn to wait on God and trust that He hears us. We also need to realize that there is a power in prayer that is like no other power.

Lord, help me to fully understand and realize the power that takes place through prayer.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Photo Booth

This past December, we got Laurie a new MacBook for Christmas. (Disclaimer: I am of the belief that the only type of computers that exist are Macs. Anything else is strictly a figment of the imagination.) The MacBook has a built in camera in the computer monitor portion of the computer. It's really cool. Apple even created a program to go with it called Photo Booth. It truly is a great invention that could bring hours of endless enjoyment and laughter. You can choose one of many effects to apply to a picture that will morph the image into quite a few different things.

Recently, the kids and I had some fun with it...and here are the results:

Here's me with some fun buck teeth...
...and then there's poor little Ella...
...Stephen's having fun!
I cannot look at this one without completely losing it!
...and lastly, Zane the alien. Kind of freaky!

So there's an example of endless entertainment in the Bradford household!

Thursday, April 12, 2007

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Alive. I've been thinking about that word a lot this week. What does it really mean to be alive? The dictionary defines it simply as "living; not dead." Another definition I saw was one that reads "continuing in existence."

Steve talked a lot about what it means to be alive this past Sunday. You can read a recap of it here. And then last night at JTeam, we watched a Louie Giglio message titled "Alive", which was a look at the intricacies of the human body. He spoke of how our bodies are made up of over 70 trillion cells. 70 trillion. That's a lot of zeros!

So what I've learned through it all this week is that God made me, and in a incredibly amazing way. As Psalm 139:13-14 says, "For You formed my inward parts; You knitted me together in my mother's womb. I praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made." I guess what's so captivating for me with this is that God knows me intimately. He knows what foods I like, what music I'm in the mood to listen to, the amount of stress in my day...and He knows each of the 70 trillion cells in my body. That's amazing to me!

I have to say that I want to be more than "not dead". I want to be ALIVE! I don't want it to be said of me that I'm just continuing in existence. I want to take life head on and live for Jesus with passion and excitement.

Life is definitely more fun when you live it ALIVE..

Friday, April 06, 2007

Easter Thoughts

We had band practice last night for our Easter service. Wow! I am so pumped for Sunday to get here!!! I don't know what exactly it is...I just really believe God has a HUGE day in store for us. I can't wait to see what He does!

There's a song we've introduced recently called "All Because of Jesus" by Steve Fee that's sticking in my mind right now as I think towards Easter. The chorus of this song says:

It's all because of Jesus I'm alive
It's all because the blood of Jesus Christ
That covers me and raised this dead man's life
It's all because of Jesus I'm alive

It is all because of Jesus...I have hope because of Him. And life. And peace. Joy. Forgiveness. Grace. Salvation. Redemption. I could go on forever...and it's all because of Jesus. I'm humbled that He would shed His blood for me. I don't understand the love He has for's truly baffling. The Son of God, leaving the Presence of God to come to earth...for us.

On this Good Friday, let us remember that Jesus willingly took our sin on His back and was willingly nailed to the cross. Why? For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Monday, April 02, 2007

What if...?

I was checking out the myspace page of my buddies Merge Sunday and they had something that's got me thinking. The section talking about who they are says this:

Four passionate guys with hearts for worship and a passion for sharing that through their musical talent. mergeSUNDAY is a lifestyle. What if everyone took the way they live on Sunday morning and made that a part of every day instead of saving it for that one special day of the week? We were made to worship, and not just on Sunday mornings. God doesn't want the best of what we have; He wants ALL of it. Our bad days, our good days, our broken and bruised. All of it. Live every day like it's a Sunday.

What if we lived everyday of our lives with the same passion and energy for God that we save for special occasions, whether it's church or a Facedown-type event? I was talking to Gene today about worship and that worship is, at its simplest form, our relationship with God. It's how we respond to Him when He reveals Himself to us. Did you catch that? It's our response to God's revelation of Himself.

Have you ever wondered why people act they way they do when they sing a worship song or say the things they do in everyday conversation when talking about God? People raise their hands, shout at the top of their lungs, clap their hands, fall on their face, sit silently...and that's just a few things! I've heard people say that they are better then they deserve, or they are blessed. Why is that? I believe with all my heart that it is because they are feeling something inside that they have to get out through speech or action.

I'm curious...why do you respond to God the way you do?

Thursday, March 29, 2007

What Speaks to Your Heart?

I'm just got curious about something after reading this guy's post asking for response to the question "What worship song could you be fine NOT SINGING again for 5 years?" Well, I'd like to put a spin on it...what song is speaking into your life right now?

So go ahead, click on that mysterious "comments" link and let me know what yours is. And let's say for purposes right now that I'm not just talking about worship could be anything. Make sure you post the singer's name with the song. It's all you...

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Reflecting on Sunday

Wow! What a weekend! You can't get much better than that. To start it off, we saw 38 people dunk'd for Jesus. To put that in perspective, not many churches out there baptize 38 people in an entire year. It's just another testimony to what God is up to at TrueNorth! And the video testimonies were incredible. (In case you missed Sunday, be sure to check out the video link on our webpage!)

One absolutely amazing thing about Sunday morning is a particular way God worked amongst the band. I came in Sunday knowing my voice was pretty much shot due to allergies and a sinus infection---nasty stuff! So I had TJ on standby in case I woke up that morning without a voice. And you can guess what happened when I woke up...not much of a voice. (Actually, I sounded like a middle schooler going through puberty!) Anyway, we run through our set that morning, and TJ starts to lose his voice! (Thankfully the rest of the band was on with everything else.) When we prayed before the service, we just surrendered it all to God. It's not like anything we do or don't do can stop God from doing what He wants to do!!! And what happened in the service, God took over. I remember a few months back when Zak, one of our guitarists, prayed "God, make us more unsure of ourselves so that we can be more relient on You!" I've discovered through the years the most powerful times of worship are the times when I'm unassure of myself, but totally assured in Him.

So that was Sunday morning. Sunday night was Starfield, and they ROCKED IT OUT! Those guys from Canada have a unique ability to draw you into the presence of God through celebration and reflection. Very gifted fellows. And I was especially impressed and refreshed by their humility. If you ever get a chance to see these guys again, don't miss it!

Check out these two pics from Sunday night courtesy of my buddy Mike Adams:

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Spiritual Transformation: To feed or not to feed

As I've said before, I love reading blogs. I track close to 70 blogs through bloglines, which is a very helpful resource because it allows you to see what's updated out there in blog-world without having to click on, in my case, 70 something websites. That can get quite time-consuming!

Anyway, one guy that I track is Mark Waltz, Pastor of Connections at Granger Community Church in South Bend, Indiana. He posted this today about spiritual transformation and what that means for people at different stages of their spiritual journey. Very, very good stuff!

I would have to agree with him here. We need to teach new believers how to feed themselves, but once they learn, they need to stop being dependent on the church and learn to do it for themselves! It's almost like a newborn child. Once they are born, they are heavily dependent on the parents to feed them and give them what they need. But as the child grows, they are gradually weaned from the parents toward a more independent life. That's exactly what needs to happen in the life of a believer.

Unfortunately, that's not what happens. I'm hearing more and more from church leaders around the country that the "we want to be fed" group of church attenders is growing. Whether its more indepth bible study or church history courses, the cry is the same. "Feed me!" But when does the burden of growth become lifted off the church's shoulders and placed on the mature believers? Please hear me here because I'm not saying that indepth bible studies are bad, nor is going deeper. What matters is how and why. "How" meaning is the expectation placed on the church, and "why" meaning what is the purpose for wanting to go deeper. If the "how" is that the church needs to be provide, well, I don't believe that's the church's responsibility. I applaud the initiative of three friends of mine who meet on their own every Thursday night to go through an indepth study. That's taking the spoon and feeding yourself! If the "why" is strictly for knowledge, then you run the danger of becoming a consumer of spiritual knowledge and then it becomes all about what you know and what you want. But if it's to help you grow in light of a circumstance, by all means, dig in!

I have to go out on a limb here and say that American Christians can be spoiled brats. We want more and more without giving anything. Sometimes I just want to tell people that, if you want to grow and go deeper, step out in faith and mentor a few new Christians in their journey. Lead a Journey Team. Share what God has done in your life and the lessons you've learned with those who haven't "been there and done that." I'm of the belief that Christians can grow without bible studies. After all, what did we do before the printing press started churning out the first bibles? Steve has said many times, and I'm a firm believer in this, that spirituality is more caught than taught. That's why we have Journey Teams (small groups) that meet weekly to build relationships that will last. These relationships are being created so that each of us have help along the journey of becoming passionate followers of Christ.

I think the reason I've got such a strong opinion on this is because I've observed several people (including myself) through the years who have gone on the journey of "going deeper" only to become more inward focused. For me, those times found me desiring more knowledge than seeing lives changed. But one experience changed me forever on this. It was through being a Journey Team leader in 2005. Our group was filled with new Christians, eager to grow and learn how to live the Christian life. It was at that time I realized the joy and excitement of being a part of another's spiritual journey. I think I grew more in that year than all the years of bible study combined. Why is that? I believe it's because I was in a place that I had to rely more upon God because I realized others were looking to me for guidance in their new found faith. Also, for some reason, the longer I am a Christ-follower, the harder it is for me to stay passionate about Jesus. But being around new believers is contagious. Their passion, their energy, their excitement over the changes occuring in their lives can't help but transform yourself.

And that's all I got to say about that...


It's coming. April 22, 2007. One incredible night of meeting with God as a body of Christ. Our Facedown team met yesterday to brainstorm and plan and I can assure you this edition will be like none other.

Something we read through that I would encourage everyone to read through to fully understand the Facedown concept is Matt Redman's book Facedown. Amazing, amazing book. So there's my sales pitch.

So, mark the date on your calendar. You won't want to miss it!!!!

Thursday, March 15, 2007


I had the opportunity to go to a conference in Anderson, SC, today with a few other TNCers. The conference was called Unleash and it was put on by our friends at NewSpring Church. What a great day! There were a lot of things said today that I needed to hear. For a rundown of today, check out this blog.

The really cool thing for me was to run into some friends in the church planting world that I've gotten to know over the past few years. I thought it would be cool to share what God is doing in some other churches out there...

1. NewSpring Church, Anderson, SC This is the church that put Unleash on today. Amazing, amazing job! Their volunteers provided an incredible experience for the 900+ visitors. NewSpring is around 7 years old. They started with 15 people in the living room of their pastor Perry Noble right around the time of Y2K. For many years, they met on the campus of Anderson University, growing to the size of 4,000+ by the end of 2005. At this time, they moved to their first building in February 2006 to accomodate their growth (they were doing 5 services at the University!). Most recently, they celebrated their one year anniversary in the building with over 9,200 people! They also had a service a few weeks ago where 250 people accepted Christ as their Lord and Savior!!!! God is doing some amazing things through NewSpring Church!

2. Elevation Church, Charlotte, NC I ran into Elevation Church pastor Steven Furtick, who spoke at TNC in the summer of 2005. Elevation launched in Charlotte, NC, in February 2006 with around 300 in attendance. The past year has literally been indescribable as they have seen growth every single month bringing them most recently to over 1700 in attendance and the announcement of a second campus in Charlotte. Two weeks ago the church saw 50 people accept Christ! Another example of God on the move...

3. Mill Creek Community Church, Buford, GA Back in September, before our move to the gym, we had the pleasure of a visit from pastor Tony McCollum and his wife, Amy, from Mill Creek Community Church outside Atlanta. He told me today that they are having to look for a new place to meet because they are outgrowing their current facitliy, which is a movie theater. Awesome, awesome stuff!

These are just three examples of God majorly moving in people's lives. Talking to these guys and seeing what God is doing there and here makes me so pumped to keep pursuing the vision He's given us at TrueNorth, which is to transform spiritual seekers into passionate followers of Christ. That's what it's all about!

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Blocked Out

I have been suffering from MAJOR writer's block lately. I think it's because life has had my head swimming. Sometimes I come home at the end of the day and my brain is just dead. I'm worth nothing for about an hour or two until I can unwind.

That's where it's good sometimes for me to play hide-and-seek like we did tonight with our kids. Now, I'm at a slight disadvantage because I'm what you'd call a "big guy". Hiding a 6'4", 200 lb frame is not the easiest thing in the world! And then you have Laurie who can lay on the bed and throw a blanket over her and the kids can't find her for a good 20 minutes. What's up with that? So how do you unwind?

I read this post the other day and it really got me thinking about how I would respond. I mean, the idea of faking worship? But there is something there. If I were to really be honest (which I'm going to be, so watch out!), I would have to say I'm going through a worship funk right now. What??? The worship leader is going through a worship funk? What's that all about? But it's true. I'm human and sometimes it happens. It's hard to keep things fresh and real. Reading the above mentioned post was good for me because it made me realize it's okay not to be "super worship guy". In fact, I don't want to be that. I just want to come unashamedly just as i am.

Friday, March 09, 2007

New TNC Blog!

I wanted to let you know that we've started a new blog specifically for life at TrueNorth Church. Steve, as well as other staff, will be posting every week about the happenings at TNC, as well as sharing transformation (T-Life) stories and casting the vision. Check it out fact, we're encouraging everyone to set the blog as your home page!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

New Videos

We posted some new videos on our YouTube site. You can now see Steve tackle an alligator and a flying squirrel! Also, the interview with Illinois basketball coach Bruce Weber is up. Good stuff!

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Nehemiah 1

On Sunday, Steve started a journey through Nehemiah and challenged us to join him over the next few weeks. So, I started reading yesterday in Nehemiah 1. I love verse 4 because it shows a brokenness, a dependence, and a real faith that I so long for.

First, when Nehemiah heard of the news of his people in Jerusalem, he became broken. "As soon as I heard these words I sat down and wept and mourned for days..." I heard the news of a friend who is battling cancer the other day and what the outlook is for them, and my heart broke. Yesterday, I read the news of Britney Spears trying to hang herself. Now, Britney is not a friend, just a celebrity from afar, but my heart still broke for her because she desperately needs to know that there is a God who loves her and wants her to run to Him. These are just two examples of brokenness that I have experienced lately, one for a fellow Chist-follower and one for someone who is in a downward spiral and as lost as can be. I want to have a sensitive heart more often toward my brother or sister and toward the lost!

Second, I see a dependance and a faith in Nehemiah. He goes on to fast and pray "before the God of heaven." I so long for this in my life! If you read through Nehemiah, you'll notice that as his journey unfolds, his consistent response to anything is to pray first. WOW! How much different would things be if I only would respond in this way? Don't get me wrong, things will always go wrong because we live in a fallen and imperfect world. But, my attitude will change. I've been reading through Dave Ramsey's book The Total Money Makeover and in it he says that dealing with finances is 20% head knowledge and 80% attitude. I would go a step further and apply this to everything in life. Our attitude is HUGE!

I had a good friend, Dan, who battled cancer a few years ago. I'm convinced that his attitude and his faith are what made his recovery go so well. I've even heard of doctors say that they notice patients with positive outlooks respond to treatments a lot better than those that don't. My point? Attitude can make or break a situation.

God, for my friend that is battling cancer, please wrap Your arms around them. Let them know that you're there to take care of them and their family. I also pray for a miracle of healing. Regardless the outcome, let You be glorified! I also pray for Britney Spears and the countless multitudes out there that feel alone and abandoned. I pray that they will come to know that You love them and that You want to pour out Your love upon them.

Let my friend and Britney hear the words of the old hymn:

Great is Thy faithfulness, O God my Father;
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not;
As Thou hast been, Thou forever will be.

Great is Thy faithfulness!
Great is Thy faithfulness!
Morning by morning new mercies I see.
All I have needed Thy hand hath provided;
Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord, unto me!

Monday, March 05, 2007

March Madness Takes Off!

If you missed yesterday, you missed the start of what is going to be an awesome series. Steve kicked off yesterday with The Road to the Final Four, a message on leadership and vision. I thought he did a great job tying leadership to everyone. As he said, whether you know it or not, you're leading someone.

I've been reading a book called Compassionate Leadership by Ted Engstrom and Paul Cedar. Excellent, excellent book. The whole premise of the book is that leadership must start with service. You cannot be a leader without first being a servant. That was Jesus' model. He even said that He came not to be served, but to serve. Powerful example from the Son of God!

Leadership is a lifelong process. I was talking to a friend yesterday who is an emerging leader about the struggles he's facing as a leader, and I told him it's something you're always learning in. I know I am. Just when I think I'm doing good, God shows me an area that I need to work on. And that's cool with me...cause I just want to keep growing and learning.

On a side note, I want to piggyback off an announcement from yesterday. Starfield is coming March 25!!! If you don't know anything about these guys, start learning! They are amazing musicians, songwriters and worship leaders. You can check out some of their music by clicking here or here, or you can even purchase their CDs by clicking here. Tickets are $10 at the door and the doors will open at 6:00P. Also, the TrueNorth|Band will be opening that night. It's a night you won't want to miss!!!

Wednesday, February 28, 2007

March Madness

It's been a few days since I last posted. I have to start off by saying that the Merge Band did an amazing job leading us in worship Sunday! And Steve did a great job looking at Students Gone Wild. Good stuff!

This Sunday we start a new series called March Madness. In this series, Steve is going to look at what every team has to have to be, leadership, teamwork, unity, and the ability to ward off criticism and negativity in order to stay focused. It will be a great series that you won't want to miss!

Lastly, Dunk'd is coming up March 25. Dunk'd is an exciting time to experience the life-changing love of Jesus as people are baptized. We'll be having one service of celebration that day at 10:45. It will be a day to remember!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Group 1 Crew

For some time now I've been frustrated with the hip-hop scene. I've been longing for something good and CLEAN, but unfortunately, there aren't many groups out there that combine quality with family-friendly lyrics. (My kids like hip-hop too!) Anyway, I was on iTunes yesterday checking out new releases and came across this group to the left here: Group 1 Crew. I'm sure there are some out there that don't like hip-hop, but for those that do, I highly recommend these guys. The music is well done and the lyrics are great. A lot of times Christian rap and hip-hop groups have a lot of cheese-whiz in their lyrics. There's no cheese here! For those parents out there with kids that like Black-Eyed Peas and similar groups, this is a terrific alternative.

Check out this video for a sample...

Monday, February 19, 2007


I read this yesterday in a devotional email I get from the writings ofA.W. Tozer:

The continued neglect of the Holy Spirit by evangelical Christians is too evident to deny and impossible to justify....

It is not, however, the frequency of the Spirit's mention in the Bible or in other writings that matters most, but the importance attached to Him when He is mentioned. And there can be no doubt that there is a huge disparity between the place given to the Spirit in the Holy Scriptures and the place He occupies in popular evangelical Christianity. In the Scriptures the Holy Spirit is necessary. There He works powerfully, creatively; here He is little more than a poetic yearning or at most a benign influence. There He moves in majesty, with all the attributes of the Godhead; here He is a mood, a tender feeling of good will....

The only power God recognizes in His church is the power of His Spirit whereas the only power actually recognized today by the majority of evangelicals is the power of man. God does His work by the operation of the Spirit, while Christian leaders attempt to do theirs by the power of trained and devoted intellect. Bright personality has taken the place of the divine afflatus.

I think Tozer's onto something here. I read a book years ago by Charles Stanley called The Wonderful Spirit-Filled Life. In it, Stanley introduced me to the Holy Spirit in a way I never thought of or realized. He presented the third person in the "three in one" aspect of the Trinity (Father, Son, and Spirit). It blew my mind! I came to understand that the Spirit is not some magical thing that happens by coincidence. No, He is as alive and active as Jesus the Son and God the Father. Check this out in Romans 8:26-28 (MSG):

Meanwhile, the moment we get tired in the waiting, God's Spirit is right alongside helping us along. If we don't know how or what to pray, it doesn't matter. He does our praying in and for us, making prayer out of our wordless sighs, our aching groans. He knows us far better than we know ourselves, knows our pregnant condition, and keeps us present before God. That's why we can be so sure that every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good.

I'm starting to see how little I believe in the power of the Spirit. I'm beginning to realize that my life is lacking the wonderful spirit-filled life. And I look around and realize I'm not the only one. What would our world look like if we would start to see the Spirit for more than a warm fuzzy feeling we get when we sing a song? How different would our lives be if we did more than just talk about the Spirit changing our world and actually believe that He WILL change the world?

Father- help us to see that there's more to the Trinity than just Father and Son.
Jesus- thank you for sending the gift of the Holy Spirit.
Spirit- come and pour out Your power in my life and those around me. Let us see You for who You are.

Saturday, February 17, 2007

TNC Hero

I'm going to try and post periodically to recognize someone at TrueNorth that goes above and beyond...a TNC Hero if you will.

Today, I'd like to look at a man many know as our drummer Justin's dad. But those of us that know him know him as Jeff Benson. Jeff is one of those behind the scenes, not looking for any glory kind of people. This guy loves to give and give and give! When you drive up to TrueNorth every Sunday you may notice the signs that are posted that say "Welcome to TrueNorth" or something about first time visitors and where they should park. Those signs are put up by my man Jeff. He also helps set up stuff on the stage, particularly the entire drum kit and anything else that needs it. And then there's teardown. After he finishes with the drums and the signs, he's helping collect trash and locking up the school.

The thing I love about it all is that he does it because he loves the church and believes in the vision of TrueNorth. Every once in a while he'll make the comment to me about how what we do is so good for people that don't like church. It makes it easy for them to come and see that God loves them and that He wants to have a relationship with them that transforms their lives.

So, hats off to Jeff Benson. You'll always be a TNC Hero in my book!

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Worship Across the World

I've been reading more and more about worship around the world...and I have to say that it's very exciting! It's made me realize that the world is a very small place. Check out this video from a church in southeast Asia...

Worship, but more specifically music, is a universal language. It doesn't matter what language you speak. I am excited about this video because it comes from a country that we are focusing on in our missions efforts. God is moving and I believe music is going to lead the front! More on this later...

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Gone Wild

We started our new series, Gone Wild, on Sunday...and Steve talked about Chicks Gone Wild. It was a great message on what a women gone wild for God would look like. He focused on Deborah, a judge in the nation of Israel. It was a very good message, encouraging women to focus on how God sees beautiful, which is on the inside going out, and not how our society sees it, which is skin deep.

To kick off the message, Steve did a fun little video where he tried to catch a chicken. Fun stuff!!! Check it out...

Monday, February 12, 2007

Chasing Lions

I just finished reading probably one of the best books I've read in a long time. The book is called In a Pit with a Lion on a Snowy Day by Mark Batterson. The purpose of the book is to help us realize that opportunities are meant to be seized, even when they are disguised as ferocious lion. Here are some of the things that stuck out to me...

-"God is in the business of strategically positioning us in the right place at the right time. But the right place often seems like the wrong place, and the right time often seems like the wrong time."

-"When we don't have the guts to step out in faith and chase the lions, then God is robbed of the glory that rightfully belongs to Him."

-"Lion chasers thrive in the toughest circumstances because they know that impossible odds set the stage for amazing miracles."

-"The more we grow, the bigger God should get. And the bigger God gets, the smaller our lions become."

-"Faith is unlearning the senseless worries and misguided beliefs that keep us captive. Faith is rewiring the human brain. Neurologically speaking, that is what we do when we study scripture. We are literally upgrading our minds by downloading the mind of Christ."

-"One of the greatest things that could happen to you is for your fear to become reality. Then you would discover that it's not the end of the world. Your fear is worse than the actual thing you're afraid of. And if you learn from every mistake, then there is no such thing as failure anyway."

-"We should stop asking God to get us out of difficult circumstances and start asking Him what He wants us to get out of those difficult circumstances."

-"Worship is forgetting about what's wrong with you and remembering what's right about God."

There is so much more that I wish I could share, but then I'd basically be typing the whole book out. It's that good! That last quote on worship is so powerful. How many times do I come into the Presence of God and worry about my short comings? I am very guilty of this. But the times when I focus on Him, my short comings fade away and I don't even remember what I was getting hung up on. That's a truth we need to drive deep into our lives. Because when we worship Him for who He is, all the lions start to seem like tame little "puddy-tats".

Friday, February 09, 2007

Jill Phillips at TNC

This weekend, TrueNorth is in for a special treat! Recording artist Jill Phillips will be performing and leading worship at the CHICKS retreat tonight and tomorrow, and then joining us Sunday morning at TNC. Jill is an incredible artist whom I'd compare to Norah Jones, Sheryl Crow, and Fiona Apple. Her husband, Andy, will be with her accompanying her on guitar and adding vocals. You can check out some of her music on her myspace page.

You won't want to miss this Sunday!

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Burn For You

I haven't done this much on here, but I have to encourage you to get Steve Fee's new CD, Burn For You. Steve is one of the worship leaders at 7|22 in Atlanta. He's written quite a few songs, including TNC favorites "Glorious One" and "Madly". There are so many great songs on this album, and the way this album points the listener to the cross with honesty and passion is amazing! A very unique album both musically and lyrically, which can become rare in today's Christian musical landscape.

You can buy the album here. So what are you waiting for????

Monday, February 05, 2007

Link'd Up

If you haven't heard yet, we have an exciting ministry that is making an impact in our community in a huge way! Check out today's post on the Link'd Up blog for a letter from the Hispanic Ministry that they helped this past weekend. Awesome stuff!

Sunday, February 04, 2007

A Simple Church

If you missed today's message, I highly recommend watching it via our website or downloading the podcast to listen to it. It was a very important message for our church! Steve recast the vision of TrueNorth Church with a message titled "A Simple Church". To give a Cliff Notes version, TNC exists to transform spiritual seekers into passionate followers of Christ. How do we do that? By helping people walk their way through the TrueLife Triangle, which has one of the following at each point: Lift Up, Love In, and Live Out. This is something you will be seeing a lot at TNC because this is the basics of who we are and what we believe truly transforms people.

So Simplify has come to a close and I must it was a fantastic series. I don't think there are many subjects more relevant to people today. If you missed any weeks, I'd encourage you to check out the podcast which is available on the main page of our website.

Lastly, you won't want to miss the next three weeks as we start our new series, "Gone Wild". You can see the artwork to the right here. Matt, our grahic designer, came with a fun design for the program. Nice! So what is this series going to be about? Well, we live in a world in which outrageous, rebellious behavior is often described as "gone wild". However, the Scripture gives a different spin to the term. We will discover the lives of individuals whose outrageous and radical behavior turned their world upside down for God!

There are lots of exciting things on the horizon for won't want to miss anything!

Thursday, February 01, 2007


Ran across this on the Catalyst Blog...

"Robots may vote and be entitled to healthcare in 50 years. No, this is not intended as a joke. It is a serious prediction in a study commissioned by Great Britain’s Office of Science and Innovation’s Horizon Scanning Center. The predictions for developments by 2056 include an examination of the potential advances in artificial intelligence. The paper predicts a monumental shift could take place “if” robots develop the ability to reproduce or upgrade themselves, according to the BBC. If such advancement occurs, robots could be granted voting rights, be provided housing and healthcare benefits, and be required to pay taxes, and serve in the military."

All of a sudden I'm having Terminator and Matrix flashbacks!

Tuesday, January 30, 2007

Merge and My Hero of the Week

I went to Merge's kick-off tonight at the Mission. It was really cool! The band rocked out some classic 90's hits, as well as Marvelous Light and Here is Our King. They sounded great! Chip did a great job casting the vision for Merge, in that it will be a place for 18 to 30 year olds to connect with God, despite their background with church. The turnout was somewhere between 60-70, pretty awesome! I'm pumped about this new ministry at TNC and to see what God is going to do with it!

To close, I'd like to bring back the hero of the week thing and say that my hero this week is Laurie. Last night, I decided to help her out by letting her rest and I'd take care of making dinner and watching the kids. I have a new appreciation for her! To have to feed an infant, keep a toddler and a 4-year old entertained, help our 1st grader with his homework, cook meatloaf, mash potatoes, and cook some veggies...WOW! I will not be quitting my day job any time soon!!! (At this very moment, I can hear the sound of mothers everywhere joining in a mighty AMEN!) So, baby, this ones for you. YOU ROCK!!!!

Monday, January 29, 2007



Tomorrow night at the Mission in downtown Augusta, we start our new college/career ministry called Merge. It's a one of kind night geared toward college and 20-somethings. Hope to see you there!

Tuesday @ 7:44P
The Mission (12th & Broad)

Friday, January 26, 2007

Behind the Song: There Is Joy

We recently introduced a new song I wrote called "There is Joy" at TrueNorth. The response has been overwhelming as more and more start catching on to it. So I thought I'd do a little "behind the song" and let you know how it came about.

I got the idea middle of last year to do a song about joy. I'm not really sure why except that I have never written a song on joy. As I got to thinking about it, I started reflecting on the environment of celebration and worship at TrueNorth on Sundays. And it hit me: there is joy in this place. But why? Most songs I've seen on joy talk more about the fact that I have joy, but not much on why we have joy. And there came the next little bit: it's Your love, it's Your grace, it's You.

And that was where the song started and stayed for quite a few months. I heard Matt Redman say once that a song has to brew like a good cup of tea. (of course, he's British, and Brits are the masters of tea!) I would compare it to a good gallon of sweet tea. You've got to boil the water and let it steep for at least 24 hours to really get the flavor going. And then, you add sugar and water to produce the truly great southern drink we all know and love! In other words, these words, this half chorus, brewed in my heart for some months before the song flowed out one day.

It all has been inspired by the environment of praise at TNC. I am so blessed to be apart of this church. Not many churches have such a dynamic worship experience every week. So, thank you TNC for inspiring this song in my heart!

Can you feel it in the air, it's thick in here
It's the Presence of the Holy One
Can you hear the sound of voices singing out loud
All this for our One and only King

There is joy in this place
It's Your love, it's Your grace, it's You, it's You
Hear our praises now resound
We're lifting up a joyful sound for You, for You

Make a joyful noise and shout (yeah yeah yeah)
Clap your hands and shake the walls in here

There is joy in this place
It's Your love, it's Your grace, it's You, it's You
Hear our praises now resound
We're lifting up a joyful sound for You, for You

Thursday, January 25, 2007

Slammed Video

Well, we've heard so many great comments on Sunday's return of the "Slammed" Video, that I thought it would be a great idea to upload it to YouTube. And speaking of YouTube, TNC now has it's very own channel! So you'll be able to watch Slammed videos, Dunk'd videos, testimonial videos and anything else we decide to post. Good stuff!

So, here it is:

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Random Thoughts

Just a couple of random things to start the week...

*the simplify series is rockin' along at's definitely rockin' my world!
*if you missed it, walt and chip (our new college guy) morphed into wayne and garth today in the slammed video. party on!
*for those of you who have been reading along regularly, you know that GOD has me parked in the book of Colossians for a while now. what an amazing book! He's shown me some really cool things lately, which i hope to post on later this week.
*i've posted the new song we've been doing at church (there is joy) on my purevolume site as well as my myspace page. check it out!
*merge (our new college ministry) is kicking off next tuesday night at the mission in downtown augusta. keep them in your prayers as they start this new, exciting ministry!

i think that about empties my brain...

Friday, January 19, 2007

Prayer Request

Today and tonight is the Staff / Lead Team retreat Steve has mentioned recently in one of his messages. Please pray for us as we look toward the future and seek what God wants TrueNorth to do as we continue pursuing the mission He's given us to reach the unchurched in our area.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

American Idol (Minneapolis & Seattle)

Well, Season 6 is off to a bang. Honestly I think they should have skipped Minneapolis and Seattle. Wow, they were bad! I love this show...the beginning of the season is all about the funny stuff. I've almost convinced myself that they pay some of these people to be that bad. Can anyone be THAT bad and believe they can sing? Can we say delusional?

So next week they come southward to Memphis. Now they'll get to hear some "sanging".

For those of you who missed it, here's a link to see a recap of the first night in Minneapolis. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

A.I. is Back!

American Idol starts back up tonight. Good stuff!!! Laurie and I love the early rounds because you get to see some really funny stuff. I mean, who could ever forget about William Hung????

Monday, January 15, 2007

Tribute to MLK

Having been in full-time ministry the past year I've come to discover the many different approaches to church there are. As a matter of fact, my head starts spinning after a while in any effort to keep up with all of them. And you can imagine how they conflict. You've got Calvinists vs Armenianists, which boils to down to key theological differences that, in the grand scheme of things, don't matter a whole lot. Then you've also got the newer debate over HOW to do church: traditionalist, contemporary, and emergent.

Then I ran across this. It put things into perspective. I confess I've never watched all of Dr. King's famous speech until now, and it is very moving. The message is simple. He had a a dream of an America without racism. That's it. He didn't get caught up in debates of how to end racism, he just made the call for whites and blacks to be treated equally (and that spills into so many other ethnicities today).

So it's spurred a thought in me that sometimes we can get so caught up in the "new thing" of church that we forget the basics. I'm convinced that it doesn't matter your presentation, as long as you speak relevantly to people today and constantly grow an authentic community for people to connect in. The presence of a band or a choir or an organ or none of the above doesn't matter if you don't have the heart of Christ beating throughout your church. It's all smoke and mirrors if you don't.

So on this day, I'd like to offer a tribute to Martin Luther King Jr. and say thank you for being an inspiration. If you never watched his speech, I would encourage you to click on the link above and watch the whole thing.

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Simplifying Life

We've been talking a lot around the Bradford house this week of how we can simplify our lives. One huge thing is not eating out. We've officially gone on strike! We got to thinking about the money that we waste on food (it hit me that for the same price of a large Coke at Mickey D's, we could get a 2-Liter!), as well as how it really does complicate our lives. We don't spend as much time as a family and stress levels get higher because we have four kids to get ready. (There have been times that we decided to stay home once we got everyone ready because of the craziness!)

Another way for me personally is to limit the amount of time I spend on small things so that I can be more efficent on the big things. For example, I LOVE reading blogs. I could waste an entire day reading blogs. But I would definitely consider it a small part of my day. So I'm going to limit the amount of time I spend on reading them. That's just one example.

I think the Simplify series is going to do a lot to help me get a better grasp of life!

Friday, January 12, 2007

Images of Worship

Sometimes the best thoughts of worship are brought through seeing God's creation. (Photo courtesy of Mike Adams, Final Vision)

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Facedown Pics

Thanks to Mike Adams for capturing the night!