Monday, June 29, 2009

Hotrod #2 is coming home . . .

Funny ... I feel like a kid at Christmas time, waiting to open the "big" present.

Last year, Sean Simon and I built two electric guitars . . . both Strats. We name Sean's guitar "Hotrod #1" and mine was "Hotrod #2." Instead of using three single coil pickups, we built both guitars with 2 P-90 pickups . . . very hot pick-ups . . . thus the name "Hotrod."

Scroll down the right side of my blog, and you will find a picture of my guitar above all music and guitar links.

Mine has needed a bit of extra work . . . as I just don't have the experience to more fine tune my guitar than I was able. So I asked our 1st Church String Band lead guitarist, Alan Massey, who is a master woodworker, to work it over for me.

He called me today . . . to let me know that my guitar is ready.

Earlier this year, I traded Alan my G&L Tele for his 1984 Peavey T-60. The main reason for trading, was the action on that T-60, which Alan had set up. I have never handled an electric guitar that I liked to play more than that T-60. The action on that guitar is just "effortless." Alan did a great set-up job on it.

However, that T-60 is incredibly heavy . . . so for rhythm work, I was hoping my Hotrod #2 would work out, as it weighs several pounds less.

Well, if Alan says I am going to love it . . . then I can only believe he has the actions as close as possible to the T-60 set up.

If so, I am going to be very happy and excited.

I am excited. Hoping to pick it up tomorrow, and have some time to play it before our final rehearsal this Thursday night before our July 5th concert.

God's amazing grace, and my friends, still amaze me . . . ><>

Take It Easy . . .

On July 5th, we will also be doing 3 Eagles songs.

"Take It Easy" started it all for the Eagles.  Come hear our version next Sunday.

Southern Cross . . .

The 1st Church String Band has been rehearsing some new songs these past months, getting reading for July 5th, when we provide entertainment for the All-Church luncheon in the Family Life Center.

I am personally a big fan of Crosby, Stills and Nash.   We will be singing Southern Cross for the first time in public on the 5th.   No, we are not C, S & N, we are no where closed, yet I am very proud of our arrangment of this song and I think we do it justice.

See you on the 5th.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

4th of July . . . a good song

A great song . . . simple country rock . . . Shooter is going to do it his way, just like his dad.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

"One Phone" Days . . . .

Ok . . . I am heading over to the ATT store . . . and I will leave there with one of the iPhones that are on sale pending the arrival of the new iPhone this Friday, or I will leave with a Blackberry.

Hmmmmm . . .

You know . . . I can clearly remember my first appointment . . . a two-point charge serving churches in Palo Pinto and Graford, west of Mineral Wells, Texas. The phone number at the Palo Pinto church was the same as the parsonage phone. There was only one phone in the parsonage, and only one phone in the church, in my office.

At Graford, there was only a phone in my office, on the opposite end of the church building from where everthing else took place.

And now, 20 years later . . . I am in full realization that the cell phone is an appropriate tool for ministry . . . and I am wasting time trying to figure out exactly which phone to get.

I miss those "one phone" days sometimes.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Thursday, June 11, 2009

To Twitter or no to Twitter . . .

I set up a Twitter account today . . .

Don't really know why.

My friend and pastoral colleague, Steve Heyduck, has embraced Twitter, and I hope to have a conversation with him soon on this topic.

I think it would be great to have Twitter screens in worship sometimes . . . perhaps to use them during our annual Q&A with the Pastors on Memorial Day weekend.

Some pastoral resources I read suggest that pastors of all ages should embrace Twitter. And equal number seem to offer the suggestion "Don't waste your time."

I don't know. But will see what I can find out. Since I seem to be more about relationships than other things . . . maybe Twitter can become a communication tool I can use in positive ways.

Or, I can delete my account and move on.

Blogging . . . Facebook . . . Twittering . . . it's a lot to organize and coordinate.

Perhaps I just love to write.

Perhaps I just need to know that people are listening to me. Funny thing though, when you talk to much . . . people tend to quit listening to you.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Attending Annual Conference sessions . . .

In early June of each month, pastors and lay delegates from all the churches in the Central Texas Conference of the United Methodist Church gather for Annual Conference.  This is a three day gathering, this year taking place at White's Chapel UMC in Southlake, TX, the largest church in our Annual Conference.  

And, only 9 miles from my house.

And, only 5 miles from my office at the church.

Our new Bishop, Michael Lowry, has hit the ground running.  His enthusiasm is infectious.  

We have a new sheriff in town.  Change IS here.  It won't be easy . . . but the role of our Annual Conference is moving toward supporting the ministries of the local churches, instead of the local churches supporting the Annual Conference.  

I am impressed . . . I am on board . . . and I am eager to meet with Ken and the pastoral staff next week to "decompress" the experience together.  


God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

A great song . . .

I usually check out facebook early in the morning, before heading toward the church office.  My pastor / musician friend, Eric Folkerth (Northaven UMC in Dallas) had made a facebook entry and which included a great line from Chicago's song,  Saturday in the Park.  

"Can you help him change the world? Can you dig it?  Yes I can . . . "

For some reason, those words, and the tune to the song, spoke to me today, especially as I decompress this morning from our Career Transition Ministry Team dinner last night, attended by 10 of our church members who are currently in transition between jobs.   

Perhaps I can sort out my emotions this morning, as well as my thoughts as to how God is speaking to us about how we can help people with this need.  I sure hope so.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Monday, June 1, 2009

The art of preaching if you are an Associate Pastor

It was my honor to preach yesterday at the 8:50, 9:00 and 1o:10 AM services.

When I pastored at FUMC-Hewitt, and before that at Godley UMC, I found it helpful to get into a study pattern where I was about 3 months ahead on sermon preparations.

If for no other reasons, it helped my relationship with my choir director, as they knew in advance the basic theme for the service, and could plan hymns and special music accordingly.

Joel Deichman was my choir director at Hewitt, and I loved working with him. He challenged me constantly to be prepared 3 months +, and promised I would like the results of doing so.

In all honesty, it took about 6 months to break a lot of bad habits, not to mention some personal pride and a penchant to procastinate. But yes, I did like the results.

As an associate, I will be invited to preach in worship about 3-4 times a year, alternating with Dr. Cindy Ryan. I think that Ken, Cindy and I make a very good preaching team.

The problem for me, is preparation. In two weeks, I will begin my 5th year here at FUMC-Grapevine. And, in four years, I have to admit that I have gotten a bit out of the habit of getting ready to preach.

My goal has always been to have the sermon finished by Thursday. Then, after being away from the sermon for Friday and Saturday, I would revisit it early on Sunday morning, make a few edits . . . and that would be it.

My sermon for yesterday . . . I finished it late Friday evening . . . and having walked away from it for an hour, I returned to it . . . and threw out pretty much the whole thing, and then easily rewrote in about 30 minutes the sermon I preached yesterday.

It has "finally" occurred to me, that I need a new "pattern" for writing sermons. That will be one of my projects this summer.

God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>