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Showing posts from September, 2010

Music as therapy . . . to make people feel better . . .

For the record, I don't often get paid to sing and to play guitar.

I've had a couple of offers . . . I must have been plan "C."

My dreams of making a living as a singer and guitar player are long gone. In fact, I made that decision / came to that realization about the time I got married. I've shared with others that I have recently come to conclusion that I was called years ago to be a music teacher, song director and music leader. For various reasons, and perhaps my own cowardice or inability to stand up for myself, I interpreted my call in the way I thought others wanted me to interpret it.

However, there was always something about singing, playing guitar and music in general that kept drawing me back to performing for others. I noticed long ago that when I sing to a group of children, or to a group of senior saints ... they usually smile, and most times, they start singing with me. I can't remember all the times after singing at a nursing home or at an assist…

Just being able to "breathe" . . .

I think most of us take many things for granted most every day.
I personally think that many of us take one particular thing for granted.
Breathing.
I know I do, unless I have a stopped-up nose or sinus problems.
For people suffering from Pulmonary Fibrosis . . . they live in fear about getting their next breath. On Tuesday evening a week ago, I officiated at a memorial service for a church member, retired police officer, and friend, Rob Neff. He died from complications arising out of his having pulmonary fibrosis. He died before he could get a lung transplant.
I watched Rob proceed toward death. And, I felt pretty helpless. At the request of Barbara, Robb's wife, friends of Rob have started wearing a "Breathe" wrist band. For a $3 donation, you can get one through www.pulmonaryfibrosis.org, or click here.
It's the least I can do for a friend, church member, and fellow law enforcement family brother. In Genesis, we read the creation story where God breathed in the breath…

Core Values #1 - Family and Friends

At 53 years of age, I have worked through the process of reviewing my core values, those things that are of great importance in defining who I am as a unique individual / child of God.

In other words, a core value is something you believe in so strongly, that you have, if you will, "carved it in stone and taken it to the bank."

I had not intended to write about my core values now. But something happened today that peaked my interest is putting some words into print.

Ken, our Senior Pastor, sent out and email to the rest of the clergy on staff, asking us to submit to him some phrase consisting of 8 words that would "preach." We are preparing for this Sunday for worship services using Jonah 3, the shortest chapter in the Bible.

I submitted the phrase, "Family and friends are what make me rich."

I would have submitted "Jesus love me this I know . . . "; however, one of the other clergy on staff here had already sent it in.

On Wednesdays in September and …

I have hope for the United Methodist Church . . .

Today was a long day as part of the Mid-Cities District Committee on Ordained Ministry fall interviews for those requesting certification as ministerial candidates, and for those farther along in the process who requested we recommend them to the Conference Board of Ministry as provisional members.

Obviously, what is said and done in these meetings is confidential.

What I wanted to write about and share about these meetings today is this: We have some really great people in our district who feel called to serve our Annual Conference as future elders or deacons.

I mean . . . some really good people.

A couple of the people there today, one I helped interview, and another who I helped mentor . . . I am thinking to myself, "I would like to work with these guys."

I mean . . . some really good people. Bright, smart, creative, visionary, who think outside the box that I can't seem to find a way out that often.

I have hope for our United Methodist Church. A strong and firm hope. …

James Taylor, still "theraputic" after all these years . . .

This has been a hard week or so . . . we had a funeral this past Saturday. The night before I responsed to a death call at a local hospital. On Saturday after the funeral, I responded to another death call at another local hospital.

It's what I do . . . it is taking it's toll, but . . . it's what I do. I spend a lot of time with people before they die. I spend a lot of time with their families afterward.

Truth is . . . and I hope I am not bragging . . . but I don't know of another pastor who walks with people toward death as I do . . . or who officiates a funeral as well as I do.

Naw ... that's not bragging. It's a fact. I have this core value that death should not be something we fear and avoid . . . but embrace as the start of a new journey, when the time for death comes.

Yet . . . today, I found myself drained, tired, and a bit weepy because the funeral tonight and the one tomorrow morning . . . I knew them both as well as you can know someone in being…

Taylor CS-8

I took a 30 minute break around 4 PM today . . . we are getting ready for two big funerals this week, and I needed to clear my head.
So, I went down to Grapevine Guitar Works and sat down with a Taylor GS-8.
In a word . . . heaven!
Of my goodness . . . I've never heard a full-bodied acoustic with such great mid-tones. My Martin DC-16 has such a loud bass end. The GS-8 had balance between the bass, mids and trebles. I was really impressed!
This Martin Guitar guy is slowly moving toward Taylor's. I think I could one day embrace a GS-8, or other larger bodied Grand Symphony model acoustic guitar from Taylor.
God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

F - R - I - E - N - D . . .

I had the pleasure and opportunity to spend part of today with my good friend, Floyd.

He came up I-35 from down south. We played guitar and talked in my office, went over to Grapevine Guitar Works and played guitar and talked some more.

Then we went to lunch, and talked some more.

Then we came back to my office, and played guitar and talked some more.

I am blessed to have a friend like Floyd, who would take a day off from work, and come up to see me, on a day when I actually needed a friend to talk to. I was needing to "unwind" and decompress a bit.

Love ya, Floyd!

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

"The Well" is a great ministry . . .

"The Well" is a bi-monthly dinner meeting for the women of our church and guests and friends they invite. Attendance ranges between 180-240 women, who come for a great dinner, followed by a performance by a musical guest. This is followed by the main speaker for the evening, such as a noted woman author or speaker.
Participants gather on the 2nd Thursday each month they meet . . . when us guitar guys are having a jam session elsewhere in the building.
I had the honor and privilege of being the musical "guest" for the meeting tonight, and was followed by my friend and fellow pastor, Dr. Cindy Ryan. Cindy was in here element. Besides Chris back in the sound booth, I was the only guy sitting with the women.
And for the record, I had a great time!!!! Truth is, Cindy Ryan is one of my favorite speakers to listen to. After a wonderful introduction by Trudy Hughes (especially since she could have told how that of all the staff we have, I qualify best for "the acciden…

Sign Up Now for the Iron Men Golf Tournament on September 19th

2010 Iron Men Golf Tournament - Sunday, September 19

Golfers, here's your opportunity to join in a fun day of golf and help some great causes at the same time!

The Iron Men invite you to come out for the Seventh Annual Iron Men Golf Tournament on Sunday, September 19, at Sky Creek Ranch in Keller. (Please note the new date - this is two weeks earlier than years past.) All golfers are welcome - male and female, young and young-at-heart.

Registration is now open! Your $110 registration fee covers course fees, dinner buffet, beverages, goody bags, awards and a few surprises! The deadline for registration is Sunday, September 12.

Please also support the golf tournament with your prayers and consider becoming a sponsor! Various levels of sponsorship are available.

Visit our website for more information or to register online! Questions? Contact Kevin Mitchell at 817-416-2609 or kmitchell@grapevinetexas.gov. Click here to download a printable brochure (pdf).

Beatlegrass in concert . . . a great show

I normally do not take time to go hear many individuals or groups perform. If they play at the church, that is one thing. Out in the public . . . that is where I work every day, and sometimes I like to just hang out and chill on my own.
However, this past Saturday, our friends Rick and Donna asked us to go with them to the new Levitt Theater in Arlington, Texas, which is a brand new outdoor theater in downtown Arlington. Rick's favorite group, Beatlegras, was performing.
It's been really hot in Texas this summer. But it was an absolutely perfect evening to carry the lawn chairs in with a big Route 44 Diet Dr. Pepper from Sonic, and sit down to enjoy a great 90 minutes of Beatles song covered in bluegrass style.
Dave, Milo and George are exceptional musicians and vocalists, and they really put on a show. What a great evening. I am very glad I went.
Check out their website at www.beatlegras.com.
God's grace still amazes me . . . ><>

Times change, as does interest in certain guitars . . .

WARNING! . . . This blog entry is about guitars and stuff like that. If you like guitar stuff, then please read on. If not, then check back later . . . either way, "I appreciate you!"_____________________________________________
For over 5 years . . . my #1 guitar has been a Martin DC-16gte guitar. As fine an intrument as I had ever previously owned or played.
For years I had always wanted a nice Martin. My friends Joe and Floyd had Martins, and I always admired their looks and sound. My DC-16 has never let me down in this regard. I was able to get it the week before we moved to Grapevine, purchasing it at Heart of Texas Music in Temple, TX, thanks in part to a grant I received, along with gifts I received from my friends Joe and Floyd.
I recently was able to finally obtain a Martin J-12-16 12 string guitar, after an over year long search. I had the opportunity to buy several truly wonderful Taylor 12-strings during that time, but instead waited for the Martin. I first learne…