Category Archives: Journal

Easter Earthquake Video

A 6.9 7.2 earthquake hit near Mexicali, east of Tijuana, while I was setting up for our evening Easter church service here in San Diego. We meet in a 100 year-old church building full of chandeliers and stained glass. At first it sounded like someone was running across the tile roof from one end of the building to the other. Then the windows started rattling. Then the whole place started groaning and shuddering and I could feel the floor rolling under my feet. After it stopped I took this video of all the swaying lights.

Passover Seder Guide

This Christian Seder Guide is designed to walk you through the whole process of preparing for, hosting and leading a Christian Seder. Feel free to download it to use or just to read. I hope you find it encouraging.

Passover is the oldest Jewish religious festival, commemorating God’s deliverance of the Hebrews from slavery in Egypt, described in Exodus 12. The Passover Seder is a ceremonial meal designed to guide people through a communal meditation on God’s work of redemption for His people.

Many Christians have adapted this tradition into an insightful meditation on the New Covenant inaugurated by Jesus at the Last Supper. Unable to find a Christian Seder guide that fit our church’s needs, I cobbled one together myself last year using several sources. Our community group used it and it was a really cool way to enter into the drama of Passion Week in preparation for Easter. So it’s back this year, with a few edits and the addition of discussion questions at the end. I’m looking forward to the experience again this Thursday!

Hymns That Suck

I am continually amazed at how rich a tradition we have in the hymns of past song writers. Brian T Murphy over at Red Mountain Church in Birmingham pretty much exactly expresses my thoughts on the value of hymns in worship. Since becoming the music director at my church almost 6 years ago, I’ve been a big fan of hymns and re-introducing hymn texts through new music. And yes, I have been guilty on more than one occasion of grumbling about the lameness of more contemporary worship songwriters.

That being said, I really enjoyed Steve Holmes resetting my perspective by pointing out some really, really horrendous (and hilarious) hymns from some of my favorite hymn writers. Fact: The great Charles Wesley wrote over 6000 hymns, only about 20 of which we use today. Conclusion: 5960 of his songs suuuhhuck. Bravo, Steve. Bravo.

Oh, and by the way, “hymns are the dead wood of the service.” Who said that? C.S. Freaking Lewis, that’s who. Ouch.

As a bonus I include this link to the most awesomest worst hymn ever written.

GenerateHope: Open!

A friend from my church started an organization dedicated to helping sexually trafficked women and children escape from forced sex work. Susan hatched this idea almost two years ago, but honestly up until yesterday I had my doubts about whether anything would ever come of it. But yesterday GenerateHope opened the doors to it’s first safe house here in San Diego, and two women moved in. I am utterly amazed and really stoked. Today Susan was interviewed on local public radio station KPBS. Continue reading

Amen… vomit

Good insights on prayer from Brian that got me thinking…

What would God say to me?
How would God actually respond if He was walking beside me, here in my neighborhood, listening to my verbal vomit? How would He reply to my claims, my grievances, my confessions, my version of the story? What would He discern between the lines? What truths would He point out, and which ones would He leave for another time? What questions would He ask me? What council would He offer? What would He say? Continue reading

Thoughts on Music Worship

I think leaders for music worship have two roles that can often be in tension with one another. I’m calling the roles “worship leader” and “lead worshiper”, and I’ve written down some half-baked ideas about them. I’m sure others have already thought this through with much more wisdom and clarity.

My pastor Dick Kaufmann was the first person I heard use the term “lead worshiper”. I like the concept. The “lead worshiper” leads by example, showing people what worship looks like by actually worshiping. It brings to mind images of David going all Soul Train in his loin cloth before the Lord and not giving a rip about what anyone thought—his personal commitment to worshiping God an implicit invitation for others to join in. Continue reading