Cease and Desist

Based on my lack of time, lack of writing skills, and lack of anything constructive to say, I’ve decided to discontinue my regular contributions to this blog. Posting once every 18 months has proved to be a much-too ambitious goal, so I’ve resolved to officially let this thing go stagnant until further notice. If this makes you sad, you can always follow @sees on Twitter, where I post updates at least twice as often as I do here on the blog. There you can stay up to date on things that matter to me; namely, the greatness of God, and the cute, funny, and/or inappropriate things my kids and/or wife may say or do.

So, until I have something important to say in more than 140 characters, so long my faithful reader(s).

Still Learning

I meant for this to be posted back in January, so please pardon the tardiness.

Last year was one full of life lessons, many of which are probably understood to be common sense to all you smart people out there. But, lo, I had to be taught these things the hard way. Here are the top 8 bits of wisdom I learned in 2008, in no particular order.

1. Owning a home does not automatically equate to a slew of tax writeoffs.

2. Crabgrass is much easier to grow than Bermuda.

3. My quiver may not be full yet.

4. The Word of God is living and active.

5. God is completely fulfilled, glorified, and soveriegn in and of Himself.

6. I am completely arrogant, selfish, and apathetic in and of myself.

7. Boasting about tomorrow is a symptom of pride and ignorance.

8. My wife is very patient and forgiving.

So long 2008, thanks for the memories.

Worship Matters

A year ago I started reading Worship Matters by Bob Kauflin. I’m a slow and inconsistent reader, so it took me quite a few months to finish it, and now even longer to blog about it. To get an overview of the book, dig these videos:

Part 1: The Leader

Part 2: The Task

Part3: Healthy Tensions

Part 4: Right Relationships

With no explicit biblical definition of a worship leader, Kauflin uses this book to expose the truths in scripture and applies them to the context of modern-day worship services and how they should be lead. With music being one of the biggest (if not the biggest) area of tension in the church for centuries, Kauflin gracefully and unapologetically offers resolution, in light of the unity we all share in Christ.

As one of the foundations, Kauflin offers a fantastic definition of a worship leader:

A faithful worship leader
Magnifies the greatness of God in Jesus Christ
Through the power of the Holy Spirit
By skillfully combining God’s Word with music
Thereby motivating the gathered church
To proclaim the gospel
To cherish God’s presence
And to live for God’s glory

As Kauflin mentions in the 2nd video, there’s a lot to unpack there. And he takes 1/4 of the book to do so.

I’ve been one to ramble about the inconsistencies and ignorance played out in congregational singing, as well as the way we (the modern church) toss around the word “worship” fairly flippantly. I’ve realized over the years that some of those rants are based on biblical truths, while other issues are simply my own personal preference, based on my “humble and right” opinion. Fortunately, I didn’t write this book. Kauflin presents the concept of “heathly tensions” that gives validity to both sides of seemingly opposing views and preferences, such as traditional verses contemporary, wordy verses simple lyrics, and Windows versus Mac. (Actually, I think he’s saving that last one for another book.) All the things I had ranted about were suddenly articulated in a much clearer and more graceful way…and then there were twice as many other thoughts that I hadn’t ever considered before.

In the book, Bob addresses a slew of topics involved with leading and facilitating a music ministry, from personal spiritual issues to musical skill and technique. As I read, I was refreshed by Kauflin’s encouragement, proclamation of truth, and overall desire to see God’s people use the tool of music to worship their Creator in spirit and in truth.

After reading Worship Matters, I was encouraged to

  1. Do what I’ve been gifted to do, not necessarily what I want to do
  2. Study the Word more intently, realizing that it is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword
  3. Read more books on theology, rather than being so music-centric
  4. Pray for my pastors and leaders, submitting to their authority, understanding that God has placed them over me

As excited as I was about this book, and as cool as I think Bob Kauflin is, I have to remind myself (or perhaps my wife will remind me) that no book or person should take our attention away from the true Person and Word of God Himself. The cool thing is that every time I’ve talked to people about the book, the very nature of the text has spurred God-honoring spiritual fellowship.

On a scale from 1 to Awesome, I give it 5 stars. Read it.

Finally Launched

LiftoffWell, I finally got around to officially launching SparrowVisual.com. It was originally due in January, but my heavy workload wouldn’t allow for it…and I’m thankful for that.

From here on out, I’ll be diverting design-related posts to the Sparrow site, and reserving this blog for more personal stuff. Nerdliness and matters of faith will be imminent in both sites because I can’t deny those things.

So, of the 2 of you who subscribe to this RSS feed, I would imagine that at least 25% of you would also enjoy the Sparrow Journal.

Back to work.

Sparrow Visual

I’m happy to announce that I’ll now be doing business as Sparrow Visual.

Sparrow Visual

December 1 marked my first day of being a full-time self-employed designer, and so far its been a great week. I’m currently working on a custom website for a photographer in Arizona, which should launch before Christmas. You can check out the landing page at lyralyra.com.

It’s been exciting and humbling to see the Lord provide for us. I’m sure that our faith will be stretched all the more as the months and years go on, but it will be good to be reminded that He is the one who feeds the birds of the air and clothes the lilies of the field. And if He says that we are more valuable than the sparrows and flowers, then we will be well provided for.