Monday, June 30, 2008

New Coldplay record

The new Coldplay record "Viva la Vida" has been much anticipated and has proven to be worth the wait. "Death and all his friends" is my favorite track right now. It hits an epic moment about 2:30 into it. This record has a way of pulling you in. The whole album kind of feels like a book, from beginning to end it keeps you enthralled. I love the colors, contrasts and changes throughout the experience. I'll spare you my further thoughts in lieu of you going now to listen to samples on itunes.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Cherokee...hate it, love it

It was great to be back at Camp Cherokee this past week. The first week I went, two days in I vowed to never return, that was four years ago. This week marks our 6th week at Cherokee. Never say never... The things that initially were frustrating became charming by the end of the first week. The worship area is outdoors, under a pavilion. So, we cover all the equipment up every evening. Then at the end of the week we get a bucket of soapy water with rags and begin wiping down every cable and all the exposed equipment from the dust accumulated during the week. The flag football field being right next to the pavilion helps give a good dusting to everything in the pavilion. There is no air-conditioning on campus-- however there are two units in the pastor's cabin, which is quite small. There is next to zero cell phone reception and no internet. There are 2 land lines available. When you arrive you begin sweating constantly and do not quit until you leave. Oh yeah, arrival... The students are taken over by boat, across the lake. If you have equipment to carry over, you drive. It does not take too long to get there from Middle Tennessee, however the final 14 miles of the trip takes a solid 45 minutes. It is up and down a windy and narrow gravel/dust road. If you do not tape the doors of your trailer there will be dust all over everything, including pillows- as Bryan found out. Gnats, everywhere, all the time.

Camp Cherokee has grown on me. Charm, there is just something about it that is quite lovable about it. There is a huge kitchen at the camp, as a result the churches bring some awesome cooks to help feed the masses- the food has always been over-the-top awesome. When you get out on the lake and the cool breeze hits you, surrounded by nothing but beauty, you can't help but love the place. I honestly thought that this was what Heaven would be like, although I've read nothing of pontoon boats in Heaven, you just know some things... It is quite an experience to have such beauty surrounding you during a worship service. Although one year we had a bear spotted during "Here I am to Worship" and a rat run out of the subwoofer as soon as the band began one's worth it...

Each visit seems to have it's own signature memory. This one I heard about and later saw on someone's video camera phone. One of the students swallowed a frog, whole. A minute later he regurgitated it. The frog then hopped off, probably freaking out. I'm sure the frog's new abduction story is going over well with his buddies.

We had a blast hanging with the students and adults all week- everyone was a ton of fun. The speaker was Tom Richter- from New York and there was a drama group called Word Play there from L.A. It was quite a line-up. We all enjoyed hanging out at night.

Another year at Cherokee is in the was definitely a good one!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

I just spammed!!!

This is a big sorry to anyone who I just accidentally spammed! I set an auto-reply on my mail to let everyone know I was out for the week and would not have internet access. About thirty minutes later Emily checks her email and finds I just sent 14 auto-replies to emails I'd sent in the last few days. bad! : )

Thursday, June 19, 2008

God Moment Pictures...begin reading Part 1 below

Click here to see photos

God Moment... Part 2

We unhooked the trailer and drove up to the church. We had nothing to caulk the tires with, so we found that the large bricks used on the wall at the hotel encompassing the parking lot were loose. So we grabbed a couple to make sure the trailer did not roll away.

We arrive at the church and find Melanie to see who we should speak with. As we walk in the production office she hands us a check. She said that someone had given it to her to give to us, with no knowledge of our current circumstance. The description line at the bottom of the check read, "Reach the people." I was overwhelmed. But, I knew we weren't out of the woods yet. We were eventually routed to their adult pastor and senior pastor who suggested we talk to a man named Bob. Bob Gifford is a retired owner of an auto repair shop, lives in an RV behind the church, has an old truck with a jack and all kinds of tools in the back, and has a heart of gold. He immediately came to the hotel to look at our trailer tire. When we get there we need a light to get started, fortunately Derek had his head-worn lamp to give us light until we plugged in Bob's light. Bob's light was powered by an AC converter box we bought at a truck stop that could plug into our truck battery. It was about 11:30pm at this point. Bob went to work. He pulled the tire off and a bunch of other stuff I don't know. It was loud as he worked and the hotel management came out to ask us to stop, I stalled them for a bit and promised we'd be done quickly. (Sorry to anyone we disturbed...thanks for your patience) Bob removed everything down to the axle, fortunately the axle was not damaged, but it would have been had we traveled any further on it. He told us what parts we needed to fix the tire and suggested some places to go. (For those mechanics out there- we blew our bearings and had to replace the hub)

The next morning Bryan and I set out to a an RV/Trailer parts store at 7am knowing that online it said it didn't open until 8am. We called and someone answered. Also, this shop was about 7 minutes from the hotel, not 30 minutes or more across town. We arrived at the shop around 7:10am, they had the exact parts we needed. Cost for parts were only $60. We called Bob on our way back to the hotel and he was already there. We got him the parts by 7:30am. He quickly fixed the tire and put it back on the trailer. We offered to pay him, he refused, but he did take a CD. We then took a picture, said our goodbyes, and we were off. It was 8:04am when we pulled out of the parking lot. We arrived just in time to unload and sound check in flagstaff, AZ.

So, at 8am Saturday (10 hours later) we walked out to find a fixed trailer...
I am still in awe of all the circumstances and details that fell in to place. The funny thing is that God is constantly orchestrating around us, we just fail to see because sometimes it is so spread out. This time he did everything so quickly and perfectly we caught him in the act! God truly is good to us.

God Moment... Part 1

Sorry for the delay on this post... : ) But I wanted to have some time to adequately describe what happened. In the middle of a three day run with Crowns we found ourselves nearly helpless and hopeless. The minutest of details kept us from proceeding on our 8 hour drive to the next venue.

I believe that God works over the course of all of history to bring resolve, which is ultimately everything for His glory. However, within the scope of history there are mini-stories of his intervention, masterful planning, and grace. We fail to see his weaving in this tapestry because the threads are too long, but sometimes he shortens the thread so we can see his mastery. This is one such instance.

As we left for California Derek arrived with his new head-worn flashlight...he was was goofy for sure. We drove 40 straight hours through a windstorm with a packed trailer to get there. On the way I picked up a power converter at a truck stop- to get power from our lighter charger to our phones and computers. We found out after the fact that it was made to hook up to the battery...useless. Also, we had pre-booked our hotels getting a better rate online

The second night we were in Corona, CA and wanted to cancel our rooms there so we could drive on that night and get a head start on our 8 hour drive to Flagstaff. We called that day asking to do so with no success. That night I went in and asked to cancel our rooms one last time to no avail. So, we began upacking the trailer to stay the night. As we unpacked Emily pointed out that one of the trailer tires looked funny, it did. It was actually not funny at all. We backed the trailer into a corner of the parking lot and hear what we just saw, the axle grinding on the wheel that was about to fall off.

We went inside and weighed the is currently Friday night about 10pm, we needed to leave at 6:30am to make it to Flagstaff in time for soundcheck. We do not know what is really wrong with the tire, just that it's not right. We called our manager, Mike, and asked what he thought. We talked about different options that would require tons of driving and moving gear around, ultimately he suggested going back to the church where Crowns was finishing up to see if anyone could help.

Joe mentioned a couple of times that these moments are exciting because this is when God really shows up. So we prayed, I prayed that we would walk outside to a trailer that is fixed...which that night when we walked out was not the case...

We headed up to the church...thankful that the hotel would not let us cancel our stay there...

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Camp, West Coast, God Moments

Well, each summer ddb does some camps. They've been anywhere from Oklahoma to Virginia. Well this next week we are heading to Glorieta, New Mexico. Since we were so close to the west coast our management hooked us up to open for some Casting Crowns shows in California and Arizona.

We drove. All the way to California. It took a while. After our initial 40 hour drive to Fresno, CA, we drove about 7-8 hours each day to the next venue arriving by 3pm to set up and sound check. We would then play at 7pm or so, tear down, reload the trailer and go to the hotel. It made for a long day.

We opened up to about 3000 people - sold out show in Roseville. We then followed them to Corona, CA to another sold out show of about 3000. Both were church venues. Then today we followed them to Flagstaff, AZ to the amphitheater there. I'm not sure if it was sold out, but it was teeming with people- probably 3500 or so. Since it was an outdoor venue I'm sure they could always sell another few tickets, but I'm not sure where they'd have put them. :) Anyway- it was a pretty awesome three day run with Crowns. They are all great people- fun to hang with when we had a minute here and there.

Tomorrow(today) we head to Glorieta for Fuge! It begins Monday night so tomorrow will give us a chance to travel there and catch our breath a little. Actually that will be hard, given the elevation. :) Fuge will be a blast! This is actually the first fuge we've ever done. My brother and sister have been staffers at fuge a few years ago- so I know how much of a blast it is. We're pumped to be there. Pray that God will will move in the hearts of the students this week. We'll be leading worship for the morning and evening worship gatherings.

God Moment...I'm gonna save this story for another blog. Check back in a couple days. ..It's pretty crazy.

Well, I'm not a long thanks for sticking around, I'm surprised I have. But there's just so much happening out here. It's been a tough week since we left Tuesday and drove 40 straight hours to California. Yes, we drove straight there, through the night. Our mileage got worse and worse with the wind and the gas prices got higher and higher as we went West. We have paid well over $5 a gallon at some places.

Yeah... I can't wait to tell you about what happened last night and this morning. I'm still in awe...