Thursday, September 24, 2009

Beatles are BACK!

We're back into the groove of preparing for The Beatles II--Concert with a Cause! This is a totally different concert from last year.

This year, conceptually, it's three complete and separate bands on stage: "The Cavern Club," "Rooftop Concert," and "Ed Sullivan Show."

Musically, it will flow between these three bands throughout the concert and then all three collide for a huge "can't miss" finale!

Right now, volunteers are building out to make our stage wider to hold the three bands. Of course there's plenty of surprises when it comes to set design, lights, music and song selections. This concert is mostly songs we didn't do last year.

And we want to leverage this event to highlight Bridges Outreach; a great non-profit organization working to "bridge" together: communities, school and churches.

TWO shows
Sun Oct 11th
4pm & 7pm

Oakbrook Auditorium
Tickets are $7

get them at our website:

Friday, September 11, 2009

WHAT happened at Starbucks?!

We began with, "For where two or three gather together as my followers, I am there among them." And went on to say, "God is in you and He is in me. This is no less holy because of where we are. This is no less serious because of where we are. This place is no less holy than the most ornate cathedral..."

We were serious. We were earnestly acknowledging that God was the most important Part of this union. And we prayed for His presence and guidance till death do they part.

It was short but devout. I read John 15:5-17, encouraging them that what they most needed for their marriage was to remain in Him. And that God wants to use this holy union to be hope to the people around them--that this marriage is more than just them. God wants to use this new team to impact their world. I got to speak more candidly, more seriously, more intimately than in typical weddings.

A holy moment... Sitting on a bench on the terrace of Starbucks on Alto Road.

Maybe this is catching you off guard. It did me too. As a minister, I understand my calling, to be responsible to God. So I chewed on it.

I concluded that who we are, what we're about, and our motives (the things "inside the cup") are far more important than geography.

And ironically I have married couples in church whose countenance did not seem as earnest as it felt this morning in front of Starbucks. In my spirit, it felt good and right.

They first met at that location, just on the other side of the wall from where they said their vows. I thought of how in the Old Testament people marked places where God had done profound works. I could see the parallel.

We talked for a long time afterward. They plan to forgo cable for their first year of marriage. (WHAT??!!) So they can learn more about each other and read more about how to have a good marriage. (Are you kidding?) They are on the right track. God's speed.

After they left, I sat down in the sun and began to read. A few minutes in I looked up and saw this:

Wow...years ago I worked there. Before it was Grindstone Charlies, I worked at Rax in my early twenties. How shall I say it? A time when God was much less of a concern to me than He is today. It feels like a lifetime ago.

And here I am across the street and lifetime away from my past--now marrying a couple the age that I was then. The words of Jerry Garcia never cease to be true, "What a long strange trip it's been."

It was one of the moments...seeing into my past and present simultaneously...and knowing without a incredibly good God has been to me and how infinitely blessed I am. It's beyond my ability to thank God enough. And it's with salty eyes that I land this post.

Love to all...


p.s. Of course I brought my camera: see pics ;-) And an employee took a picture. Why do I think we're going to show up in an internal Starbucks Employee News Letter? ;-)

Monday, September 7, 2009

No Perfect People Allowed wk 3

Special thanks to the people who prayed for me this week as I nursed a "back attack" while putting together Sunday's talk. Really appreciate it!

Click here to listen to the free podcast. Click here for a PDF transcript. Click here to get free Adobe Reader for PDFs. Click here to watch the into on YouTube.

The laughing before I start the "recap" is in response to me donning black beret and sunglasses for the complete "beat poet" vibe. It's great to be part of a church that likes to have a good time and get serious about our faith.

In Fear of the President

There's quite a hub-bub about not allowing the President to address the students in our schools. One word..."Really?" And another, "Seriously?"

I've thought about this the past couple days, and I honestly believe that I would have no problem with any sitting president addressing our schools and my children hearing whatever he had to say.

"But we don't know exactly what he'll say!"

Really? The president (any of them) could say something that would so send your child off in a direction that you couldn't speak to or redirect?

If that's the case, let's get the president to make an address to students to the effect of:

"Listen to your parents. Work hard in school. Get a job when you get out and keep working so you never have to be on welfare."

Many problems could be systematically solved, just like that...if only the presidents (or anyone's word's but yours) were so powerful. Parents, we are the real influence on our children. Really.

I'm saddened that people in our community will step out and speak up to keep the president's address away from our students. When that night, they will in turn allow their children to watch TV commercials steeped in sexuality. Watch movies that have no redeeming value. Play violent video games and whatever else. But at least we will have protected our children from the president.

I will say it again: Parents, there is no bigger influence on your children than you. Don't fear that the president, or anyone else on the planet, has more power than you and your words. Really.

I'm sad. Regardless of who is in the White House.

Friday, September 4, 2009

How I used to Spend my Time

That's me about 4 years old. The drum set was real wooden shells and real drum heads--my first real drums. My dad built the stage it sits on and it was in the corner of the living room. He also built the monogrammed "accessories case" with my name on it.

There were several hundreds of records to play along with: jazz, funk, R&B, rock, jazz-rock, show tunes, folk; almost anything but country. I mostly played w/the jazz & R&B stuff. Lots of good times sitting in that spot. Learned a lot of about music before I would ever take a lesson four years later.