Routine – part 1

Routine is a difficult thing to establish, conversely very easy to break.  Knowing this to be true, I’m on my own personal quest to develop some semblance of routine in my daily life. This was highlighted for me in a recent extended stay at my in-laws.  Due to us moving houses (again) we moved in with them for a few weeks.  Every morning, I woke up super early because of the uneasy feeling of not sleeping in my own bed.  I’m sure some experience this phenomenon, if you don’t, consider yourself lucky.  Sleepy eyed stumbling down the stairs, I always turned the corner from the stairwell to the kitchen to see my father-in-law.  Light blue gym shorts, t-shirt, reading glasses, coffee in one hand, the other turning the pages of the newspaper laid flat on the kitchen table.  So every day for over two weeks, I sat down there with him, each of us trying to decipher sleepy grunts that meant, “did you see this story?,” or “can’t believe Boston lost last night.”  Every morning, the same routine, buffering slumber and hours employment.  For those weeks, my day started with the regular rhythm of morning, not the panic of 5 minutes before having to be somewhere 10 minutes away.  

While we are two or three weeks removed from early morning coffee and newspapers, the example of routine has not waned. Its importance still creeps into my brain in the early AM hours, sometimes winning the battle over my eyelids, and sometimes falling to defeat.  Image

I’ll be sharing a few of the things that have integrated into my daily routine since its importance was illuminated.  Would love to hear your routines as well.

Review of Ted Dekkers “Green”

With Green, Dekkers fourth installment of the Circle Series, the fabled series comes to a triumphant ending, or is it an origin?  Thomas of Hunter finds himself in the midst of a community malcontent with their standing, a rebellious son, and an enemy growing stronger by the day.  Is it possible his only solution to his increasingly troublesome circumstances is the world he abandoned long ago, the world of his dreams? Only by the Grace of Elyon.

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Dekker’s style in the Circle trilogy was so identifiable.  Even in the fast-paced, complex storyline, everything flowed with constancy only available to the best of storytellers.  Green, while still a great read, lacked that continuity in the progression of the characters.  While the story’s plot was tied up with a bow on top, creating a true ‘circle‘ series, the characters themselves that we have all grown to love seemed shallow in an effort to further the plot.  To perfectly add to the circle trilogy would have been a tough ask for any author in one book, Dekker completed what I believe to be the best effort possible for the end goal.

Status on 2011 Resolutions

While my specific resolutions fell to the cliched “valiant effort for 3 weeks then over” problem, I will admit that the sentiment of those resolutions did make their way into my life.  However, of the six goals I set forth in 2011, not one was completed in its entirety.  

The first was to read 30 books this year.  While I did not reach 30, I did climb high into the double digits.  The Hunger Games gave me a great start, but Matt Bronleewe’s Illuminated and House of Wolves were the highlight of my literary year.  I have a feeling this one has earned stay for 2012 as well.

Second, I wanted to learn how to cook.  Brit’s transition to stay-at-home mom, and my new occupation took away some opportunities to learn, but I did learn a few new things, and plan to continue my quest for Dad Dishes.

Goals 3 and 4 were: I wanted to hone my skills with an electric guitar, and as a teacher.  Transitioning out of occupational worship leader to being a college minister facilitated my growth in both these areas.  I thought it’d be a daunting task and a lofty goal to prep 2 messages last year (and not deliever them), when in actuality, I prepped and delivered close to 15 in 2011 for The Gathering at LSU.  However, none of them on the subject of worship, but that will change shortly.  Also, as a result of the new job, music is an outlet, and not a responsibility so learning a new instrument (both from a desire, and goal standpoint) hit the backburner.

Goal 5 was to run.  America, we all failed here, admit it.  Also, admit we’ll put it on our list for 2012 too.

Goal 6 was to wake up early, not waste the day.  While the exact time of my emergence from hibernation varied every day, the idea of not wasting the day changed my life in 2011.  Time had to become productive, every action had to have a purpose, wasting the day wasn’t an option.  

 

All in all, the majority of these goals have wedged their way into my life, and while I sit down today to write this, I find myself further down the road in those areas then where I was a year ago.  For the rest of this week, I’ll be posting review of 2011, personal goals and family goals.  

Celebrating the Beginning for the Sake of the End

In our house, Halloween sparks the holiday gauntlet. We have some birthdays between the major holidays creating a very festive time for our family.

As a result, they all mesh together and Nov. 1 is draped in just as much red and green as December 25th. Christmas music has been blaring in my office all day and coupled with yesterdays creative team meeting at Istrouma hammering out our Christmas series, I’m ready for some wassail and a sleigh-ride (despite Brittany’s best efforts to hold me back until December).

While my infatuation with Christmas is undeniable, its stems from this concept: We celebrate the beginning, for the sake of the end. That concept really resounded in our creative meeting yesterday. In the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season, those who remember Jesus’ birth at the heart of it are doing better than most. Still, the Christmas season is littered with cultural shifts from its original intent yet even celebrating the birth of Jesus is only meaningful because of the death of Jesus and His Resurrection.

This amazing truth is reason for year-long, life-long celebration!!

So… Merry Christmas!!

(now to find where my wife hid all the decorations….)

Back from a Social Media fast

I’m back!!  As many of you have learned, our lives have taken a few unexpected turns in the past 2 months.  For those of you who do not know, I am no longer the Worship Pastor at Grace Life Fellowship.  Due to mixed emotions, support for those in authority there, and just to clear my head, I stayed away from all social media outlets for almost 60 days.  So, here we are after fighting through, and in the middle of, a difficult time for me and my family, ready to reconnect with the world.

So… 1. I apologize to any who have sent messages during this time.  I will get back to you.  2.  We are on the cusp of some great things happening for us, so stay in touch!  We can’t wait to share the awesome things God is doing: and 3.  Thank you, Thank you, Thank you for all the support.  It has meant to the world to me and my family.

$25,000 Worship Resource Giveaway from Proclaim


 

New church presentation software is coming out soon called Proclaim and

it’s located here http://proclaimonline.com. Unlike all other church

presentation software systems, this one will allow pastors, worship

leaders, and worship team members to all access and add to the same

presentation before it’s presented, and then use the same application to

run the presentation during the service.

 

 

To add to the excitement of the release of Proclaim, they are giving away

$25,000 in worship resources in The Great Worship Resource Giveaway.

They are going to have 100’s of winners of some of the best worship

resources on the market. The giveaway is located on the Proclaim home

page http://proclaimonline.com where you will see how to enter. You can

also see all the prize partners there, listing out some great resources from

companies like Planning Center Online, Graceway Media, Worship Leader

Magazine, Centerline Media, Musicademy, Clover Sites, Christian Musician

Summit, Luna Guitars, National Worship Leader Conference, and prizes

from many more.

 

I’m excited about this new product Proclaim. You can see a video of the

software on their site which gives a quick detail of how it will help worship

leaders and ministry teams. Visit http://proclaimonline.com to see the

video, and enter ‘The $25,000 Great Worship Resource Giveaway’.

 

Every Blog Has Its Day

Blogs have become a big part of our culture.  You can read opinions, news, ideas, and mind-numbing rabbit trails on almost anything.  I spend a good amount of time reading said blogs, and I thought I’d share a few of my favorites.  Enjoy and let me know of any I should be reading, or some of these that you enjoy.

1.  Ragamuffin Soul- Carlos Whitaker is a worship leader in Atlanta, GA, but it best known for his cyberspace community of ragamuffins.  Thoughts on creativity, worship, culture, and justice are frequently discussed on Ragamuffin Soul.  The need thing about this blog is because so many people all over the world read it, it really can be treated as an online community of people sharing and discussion their thoughts on a wide array of subjects.

2.  Dan Hasteltine – This blog has been up for maybe 24 hours, but I know it will be a go-to for me.  You can follow Dan on Twitter ( @scribblepotemus ) and if his blog is anything like his 140 character twitter posts, you will not disappointed.  Dan is the lead singer for Jars of Clay (and the lesser known Hawk in Paris).

3. Kevin East – I had the distinct honor of knowing/meeting Kevin 15 years ago as my youth leader at the Chapel on the Campus in Baton Rouge, LA.  In 2002, he interviewed me for a summer job at Pine Cove Christian Camps where I worked for 3 summers seeing first hand his passion for leadership and excellence.  Somehow, he’s channeled this passion, along with some suggestions for resources, and thoughts on personal finance, foster care, and other practical subjects.

4. Sons and Daughters – For Christmas, our worship team at GLF played Sons and Daughters “All the Poor and Powerless.”  This blog (although posts are rare) shows their heart for people is not just the song, but their lives.

5.  Strymon – Strymon is a small company making guitar pedals like no one else.  Keeping up with their product line is fun.  I can’t wait to see what else they come up with.

6.  Peter King – While technically not a blog, his Monday Morning Quarterback on Sports Illustrated online serves basically the same purpose.  His thoughts on the NFL, once a week.  Super-enlightening, great start to a Monday morning in the fall.

7.  Rabbit Room – Named after a back room in a pub in Oxford where CS Lewis, JRR Tolkein, and others had culture-shifting discussions, this group of artist emulates that gathering online.  Some contributors include Andrew Peterson, Jason Gray, SD Smith, and Eric Peters.

8. Donald Miller – Author of Blue Like Jazz…. enough said

An honorable mention goes to thirdleaf and lowercasenoises.  Both are youtube channels I consider to be video blogs.

Thirdleaf is Australian drummer Paul Mabry.  His videos are basically him playing killer drum tracks in the studio.

Lowercasenoises is Andrew Stephen Othling, a guitar player that creates some really cool ambient looping guitar tracks.

Passion 2011

This week in Atlanta, over 22,000 students are gathered to lift the name of Jesus in one town, as one Church.  The Passion conference is around this time every year, and although I have never been able to go, the 268 generation crew has always provided a way for us.  Louie Giglio and Passion conferences are airing live broadcasts of their general sessions.  I greatly encourage you to check in on these sessions.  Recorded versions of each session are available for the 24 hours following its completion.  So far, I’ve heard some amazing new songs for the Church I can’t wait to introduce to our GLF crew, a “Our God” remix featuring LeCrae, and a very poignant message from Andy Stanley about stew (don’t worry I’ll explain in detail later.)  Anyway, here’s the link, check it out: PASSION 2011 .

You can also donate to Passion to help offset their cost for us to take advantage of the live stream.

If led, continue, or begin to pray for this group of students, our future leaders.

For His Glory and His Renown!

New Years Goals – 2011

Something about this time of year always makes me want to start writing, reading…. doing more than I have over the past 11 months.  Inevitably, excuses come barging in with the permission to stop doing all the things you planned on January 1st.  This year, I feel like I can some up my goals as simply “do” or “act.”  So instead of thinking of all the things I think I should do, and trying to muster up the motivation to do them, my goals are simply the things I want to do, if only I act on the things I’m passionate about.  So, here are my personal goals for 2011:

1.  I heard about a bet between Karl Rove and George W. Bush on who could read the most books in a year.  Rove won with 130, G.W. came in a close second with just over 100.  To think two men in such demanding positions could read like that was inspiring.  So my first goal is to read 30 books this year. That’s roughly a book every 2 weeks.  I started at 50, but Brit talked me off the ledge.  Hopefully, with my new Kindle, this goal will be streamlined.

2. Cooking.  One of those things I’ve always wanted to do, but never really put the time in.  So instead of a goal of “master cooking” or “become a world class chef”, my 2nd goal is to have 15 perfected dinner dishes by the end of the year. I’ve got one, the classic red beans and rice, but there are 14 more waiting to be staples in the Anders household.

3.  I’ve played acoustic guitar for 16 years, and feel it is second nature to me now.  Electric guitar on the other hand is still something I’m completely clueless about.  My 3rd goal is to be able to lead worship comfortably from the electric guitar.  Now, to obtain this goal, I will have to lead worship uncomfortably from the electric guitar, which I am learning to be ok with.  This is one of my goals that will be public, so getting out of my comfort zone is a necessity.

4.   The pastor role is one that has been a blessing in 2010.  I have enjoyed learning about what it is to be in a pastoral role, and I still have so much more to find out.  One of the things I feel is a vital part of my role is to study.  Being the worship pastor, my main responsibility is to study and rehearse creative art as a means of expressing worship.  In 2011, my 4th goal is to study the biblical foundations of worship, psalms of David, and Asaph (Israel’s worship leader), and have 2 messages prepared to share with our body at Grace Life Fellowship. In no way does that mean I anticipate delivering these messages, but I will have them prepared by years end.

5.  My friend, Paul Pepitone, is an avid runner.  His encouragement for me to enter into the love/hate relationship that is running has not fallen on deaf ears.  But to jump into running is pretty cliche.  January 1st is not only New Years Day but “National ‘Break in your brand new running shoes and jogging app” Day.  All that to say my 5th goal is to run in 3 5k’s this year with times consistent with regular exercise.

6.  I recognize that all these goals are going to need time to complete. So my final goal is the one that all the others rest upon.  Don’t waste the day, wake up by 5;30 AM  6 days a week.

Over the next few days, Brit and I will come up with a list of family goals, and those will be of much higher importance than some of these tasks.  Hopefully we will all act on the things that we have been to busy to do in 2010. Happy New Year!!

2010 – A year in review

It’s been 6 months since posting here, and I hope that will change.  On the eve of a new year, I thought I’d take some time to reflect on the past 365 days.  Not all of them individually of course, but a few have been worth re-living.  Over the past year we have watched our son go from a 2 month old ball of flesh to a walking, babbling 14 month old.  He has been a blessing, I never knew how much love and devotion one human was capable of until he was a part of our lives.

The whole year has been highlighted with awesome and trying things for us as a family.  In March, Grace Life Fellowship licensed me as a pastor.  That Sunday was monumentous one for us, because it was a proclamation of the call we knew to be true for our lives.  In May, Brit, Noah, and I got to experience the beauty of the Virgin Islands in May, something we surely won’t ever forget.  Check out earlier posts for pictures and thoughts on the trip.

Our summer was uneventful until one week in late July when we bough a new house and sold our house in Southdowns.  Over a month of moving out, living with the in-laws, and moving in, we finally made it to our new home that we love.

Brittany was also in line to take a maternity leave for a teacher at school in October.  Well, three days after the start of school, she got the call that her duty would start sooner, as in the next day.  So she busted it from August to December as a Pre-K teacher AND Aftercare Director.  And she was phenomenal at both.  It also called me into full-time dad duty, which was fun.  Most dads don’t get the chance to spend as much time with their children as Noah and I got to spend together for the second half of the year.  That opportunity might not come again, I will always treasure that time.

My baby-sister got married in August and moved to Texas, jolting us all to the realization that we are growing up quickly and we won’t always be able to stop each others houses for an afternoon visit.  I’m thrilled to have Curtis as a new brother, and love and miss them both a great deal.  However, I’m so proud of their adventure into adulthood.   

Noah’s first birthday was an event.  Our backyard was transfered to the Anders Corral, and family flew/drove in from North Carolina and Texas.  It lined up to be perfect until Brit came to be ill.  It still was a great party, but it was a lesson that we have to roll with the punches.

As with the celebration of life, sometimes the sadness of death can stop everything in its tracks.  Two of my close friends and mentors passed away this year.  Kevin Walker in the Spring, and Steve Wilson in the fall.  Both men had an amazing impact on my life and their homecomings marked very sad times in 2010.  My great grandmother also went passed away in the spring of 2010.  She was the matriarch of our very close family, and none of us will forget her classic farewell we heard everytime we said goodbye to her: “Love ya, Love ya.”  I rest assured they are all at Home in the arms of their Maker, but the heartache here has not yet subsided.

Wrapping up the holiday season has been bittersweet.  To watch it pass by without the ability to stop or slow down time is always a sad realization; but watching our family grow into what we will be for the next year is exciting.

T.S. Elliot said “For last year’s words belong to last year’s language and next year’s words await another voice.”  So as we recap last years words in its language, my next years voice belong to you.

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