Tuesday, May 25, 2010

What Comes Next

I'm considering furthering my education. Just starting to think about it...

...I think I want a seminary degree. I want to study the Bible, seriously. But I don't want to go to some rubber stamp let's-make-a-minister joint. It's tough to decide which direction to go.

Or maybe I could learn some new technology. Study graphic arts, seriously. I'd love that.

Or dig back into another music degree.

I don't know.

I just know I'm approaching a season of life when I've poured a ton of energy into raising kids. I still have tons of work to do in that direction.

But I'm starting to think about the things I want to do in the time I have left. It's feeling really precious to me. There's a lot I don't know. There's a lot I'd love to learn.

While I'm thinking through this, I'm going to spend a lot of time hugging my kids. I'm thinking that by the time David's 18, I'll have figured out what I want to do next.

Monday, May 24, 2010

A Blog Post In Which I Compare The Bible To Lettuce Wraps

In the process of speaking with someone about their spiritual journey last week, I found our conversation to be quite - well, convicting is the buzz word we use in spiritual circles. We say we are "convicted" when our internal alarms go off, when we realize our hand is stuck in the cookie jar and someone knows. When hypocrisy is evident. When something we do fails to line up with what we say.

We were talking about what informs our faith, how we are living into the label of Christ-follower. And I found myself convicted.

My Bible-reading is hit or miss. Not a day goes by that I don't refer to something I have read from the Bible. Much is hidden in my heart, in my memory. There is no doubt that my life and thoughts and deeds are informed and influenced by scripture. I'm a Christian; that's what we do. It matters. My beliefs are based on what's in the Bible.

But the day-to-day reading, holding the book in my hands? Hit or miss, honestly. No daily 5:45 AM appointment with my Bible. It's not the last thing I read at night. Honestly, a good part of my Bible-reading these days comes from the internet; I faithfully read YouVersion and Bible Gateway, cross-checking translations and paraphrases. That doesn't make it less relevant, or truthful, or powerful - but it's different.

It's like this: I snack all day long. I graze. Again, I believe it matters; I don't discount the value of having the wisdom of the Bible close at hand via my computer or committed to memory via what's hidden in my heart and memory. But it's different than sitting down and just reading. Sort of "Bible Lite".

Like picking up a box of lo mein at China Delight, versus sitting down at PF Chang's for a sumptuous meal. Both are good, nutritious, relatively healthy and possibly made with the same ingredients. But the surroundings are different. Both feed me, but only one can be appreciated as a rich experience. (Sitting in the Food Lion parking lot gulping down a box of lo mein with a plastic fork is NOT a "rich experience". I know. I've done it.)

Point is, when I do sit down and move aside all the things that clamor for my attention and just read, I'm always amazed. Refreshed. Invigorated. Educated. Inspired.

And left with a huge appreciation - again - of just how relevant the Bible is for life. So much of my daily efforts are focused towards the mission of our church - finding ways to communicate with folks who are far from God or outside the church. We rely on every tool we can utilize to demonstrate the grace and truth of God, the life that is found in following Christ, the open arms that characterize Jesus (but that have not always characterized the Church). All those things are good and necessary and I do not doubt that they matter, that they are integral to the mission God has given us.

Coupled with the sit-down, five-course meal that can be found in the Bible, I have found myself in the midst of a powerful and intimate time with God this morning. That's been way cool. It's a mystery, it's supernatural - and yet it's so completely, coherently part of the human experience. The way we were intended to be.

Way cool.

Here's what I was reading this morning; the primary Bible I read is the New International Version. Romans 12.9 begins like this: "Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves. Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse...."

I read a good bit, up through chapter 14, and then I just started re-reading. So much of it I found applicable to some issues currently taking up space in my heart and head. Paul wrote Romans, and he had some great stuff to say about how we ought to live our lives. It matters.

Here's the paraphrase from The Message - the parts that really got my attention:

Love from the center of who you are; don't fake it. Run for dear life from evil; hold on for dear life to good. Be good friends who love deeply; practice playing second fiddle.

Don't burn out; keep yourselves fueled and aflame. Be alert servants of the Master, cheerfully expectant. Don't quit in hard times; pray all the harder. Help needy Christians; be inventive in hospitality.

Bless your enemies; no cursing under your breath. Laugh with your happy friends when they're happy; share tears when they're down. Get along with each other; don't be stuck-up. Make friends with nobodies; don't be the great somebody.

Don't hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you've got it in you, get along with everybody. Don't insist on getting even; that's not for you to do. "I'll do the judging," says God. "I'll take care of it."

Our Scriptures tell us that if you see your enemy hungry, go buy that person lunch, or if he's thirsty, get him a drink. Your generosity will surprise him with goodness. Don't let evil get the best of you; get the best of evil by doing good. Romans 12.9-21, The Message

And here's chapter 14, as paraphrased in The Message. Yeah, it's a lot of scripture. Yeah, you might just skip it.

But you know the lettuce wraps at PF Chang's? Pure deliciousness.

Yeah. It's that good.

Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don't see things the way you do. And don't jump all over them every time they do or say something you don't agree with—even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.

For instance, a person who has been around for a while might well be convinced that he can eat anything on the table, while another, with a different background, might assume he should only be a vegetarian and eat accordingly. But since both are guests at Christ's table, wouldn't it be terribly rude if they fell to criticizing what the other ate or didn't eat? God, after all, invited them both to the table. Do you have any business crossing people off the guest list or interfering with God's welcome? If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.

Or, say, one person thinks that some days should be set aside as holy and another thinks that each day is pretty much like any other. There are good reasons either way. So, each person is free to follow the convictions of conscience.

What's important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God's sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you're a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters. It's God we are answerable to—all the way from life to death and everything in between—not each other. That's why Jesus lived and died and then lived again: so that he could be our Master across the entire range of life and death, and free us from the petty tyrannies of each other.

So where does that leave you when you criticize a brother? And where does that leave you when you condescend to a sister? I'd say it leaves you looking pretty silly—or worse. Eventually, we're all going to end up kneeling side by side in the place of judgment, facing God. Your critical and condescending ways aren't going to improve your position there one bit. Read it for yourself in Scripture:

"As I live and breathe," God says,
"every knee will bow before me;
Every tongue will tell the honest truth
that I and only I am God."
So tend to your knitting. You've got your hands full just taking care of your own life before God.

Forget about deciding what's right for each other. Here's what you need to be concerned about: that you don't get in the way of someone else, making life more difficult than it already is. I'm convinced—Jesus convinced me!—that everything as it is in itself is holy. We, of course, by the way we treat it or talk about it, can contaminate it.

If you confuse others by making a big issue over what they eat or don't eat, you're no longer a companion with them in love, are you? These, remember, are persons for whom Christ died. Would you risk sending them to hell over an item in their diet? Don't you dare let a piece of God-blessed food become an occasion of soul-poisoning!

God's kingdom isn't a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness' sake. It's what God does with your life as he sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. Do that and you'll kill two birds with one stone: pleasing the God above you and proving your worth to the people around you.

So let's agree to use all our energy in getting along with each other. Help others with encouraging words; don't drag them down by finding fault. You're certainly not going to permit an argument over what is served or not served at supper to wreck God's work among you, are you? I said it before and I'll say it again: All food is good, but it can turn bad if you use it badly, if you use it to trip others up and send them sprawling. When you sit down to a meal, your primary concern should not be to feed your own face but to share the life of Jesus. So be sensitive and courteous to the others who are eating. Don't eat or say or do things that might interfere with the free exchange of love.

Cultivate your own relationship with God, but don't impose it on others. You're fortunate if your behavior and your belief are coherent. But if you're not sure, if you notice that you are acting in ways inconsistent with what you believe—some days trying to impose your opinions on others, other days just trying to please them—then you know that you're out of line. If the way you live isn't consistent with what you believe, then it's wrong. Romans 14, The Message

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Did Our Concert Dishonor God?

We had our annual Randy Lawson Memorial Concert last night at PCC.

There was fun along the way, (including some bearded bluegrass dudes singing "Man of Constant Sorrow") some great original music (Seth Brooks and Mariah's Bedroom), songs that celebrated the joys and challenges of simply being human ("Show Me What I'm Looking For" and most of the MB set) and a touching tribute to honor the life of Randy Lawson.

Towards the end, though, there was a subtle shift in focus. Lindsay spoke briefly about the reason why we were there. Very pointedly, she stated this fact: "We believe in Jesus." And from that point forward, the songs we sang pointed directly towards heaven; songs based on scripture, filled with declarations of worship and reverence. At that moment, the evening ceased to be about mere entertainment and good music. It became something more. The crowd stood and together - both those on the stage and those on the floor - we were as one, letting the music carry our praise.

This was intentional.

There are some who argue for the separation of musical styles. Some folks say that there is no place in the church for music that does not talk clearly about Biblical themes, about Jesus and God and salvation. Some say that the song selection for a concert like we presented last night dishonors the gospel and our God.

I beg to differ. Actually, I strongly, vehemently disagree. I believe that all music can be redemptive. I believe that as humans cry out for clarity, salvation and purpose, the melody and rhythm of those cries are most easily communicated in art - specifically for us, in song. Consider these words:
"It's too late tonight/to drag the past out into the light
We're one but we're not the same/we get to carry each other, carry each other..."
That statement is basic to all human existence and interaction. It reflects a common understanding that is also Biblical - we are better together, we are to love our neighbors as ourselves. That lyric is not, by any definition, from a "worship song" - but it reflects our hearts and helps us to open up to our own condition. Music can soften us so that the Spirit can move, regardless of the genre or the label we choose - or even the intentions of the writer.

On a night like last night, the tenderizing genius of talented songwriters was evident - from bands like U2, Natalie Merchant, Carolina Liar and - closer to home - songwriters like Seth Brooks and Paul Myers. These artists who offer their stories and experiences to the world give us a gift, the ability to open our hearts. They sing about a life that we can relate to, experiences that are universal and everyone's search for meaning and purpose. They acknowledge a power and force greater than ourselves. They allow us to journey with them.

At our concert, the various songs led us through celebration, smiles and even sheer entertainment to a place of transformation and redemption.

Last night, there were people on their knees in worship, overwhelmed by the inexplicable presence of God. I know - I was one of them. And I know that I was not the only one.

We did not celebrate ourselves last night. We did not celebrate a man. We celebrated the amazing, awesome, incomprehensible power of a God who did whatever it took to demonstrate his love for us. We thanked Him for it, and we felt His presence with us.

Your comments are welcome, especially if you attended the concert - on Facebook or at bethbrawley{dot}com.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Want Some Free Stuff?

Music can be so redemptive.

Tonight, I experienced a sweet sort of redemption.

We spent four hours prepping for tomorrow's Randy Lawson Memorial Concert. We've done it every year since Randy passed; he was passionate about the building plans for PCC and the concert has been a major fundraiser for several years, in honor of Randy's desire that the church keep moving forward to reach people.

It's a huge challenge, both from a programming and technical perspective. We've always tried to manage a pretty big crowd of musicians; sometime we bring in special guests. It's always a good bit of work.

And I'll be honest - these past few weeks have been pretty overwhelming for me personally. The challenge of the concert felt really burdensome this year. Our team has been hard at work to make it a great experience, but I was struggling to find my adrenaline.


Our redemptive moment came tonight in the midst of a ton of hard work from Matias Seibert. Technically, things moved smoothly. We did our sound checks. And then we started to play.

A few opening songs from the PCC band, and we got warmed up. Then a group of bluegrass musicians from PCC did several songs - brilliant. Perfect timing, amazing harmonies - and Lance Seal, home from college, working some banjo magic.

A few more PCC songs, designed to remember the original point of the concert - to honor a good man and preserve his memory - and have a GREAT time!

Then Mariah's Bedroom, a band made up of PCC folks doing all original material; straight up rock and roll with great, meaningful lyrics.

Then more PCC music, ending with a worship set.

I looked around tonight and saw some amazingly talented people on the stage. I looked back and saw some intelligent and talented folks created lighting effects and putting cables and instruments in place, running sound and setting up graphics. I saw musicians I have known for years singing their hearts out - in rehearsal - and obviously enjoying every second. I watched the musicians come down off the stage and set up all of the chairs - for you. Eventually, I sang and I played and I enjoyed the tremendous gift of making music with others, focused on not only what we are creating but Who we are creating it for. Tonight's rehearsal redeemed a long week and a good bit of anxiety.

I cannot wait for tomorrow. I think it's going to be the best concert we've done.

We're working hard. We're ready for you. And just in case you're on the fence about coming, I want to offer you some free tickets. We still have some available - you can pick them up at the door or contact the office to get yours tomorrow. But if you want some FREE, you can do this:

Leave a comment here. Tell me why you want these tickets.

At noon tomorrow, we'll draw two winners. Each one will receive TWO tickets to tomorrow's show.

And if you don't win? Dig deep - support the building fund and Randy's vision for PCC - and come anyway. You won't regret it.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010


"It pays to take life seriously; things work out when you trust in God." Proverbs 16.20, The Message

Taking this with me today. Before the day began there were hints of crisis everywhere. People I love who are suffering, hurting, confused and broken. Worries and anxiety right here in my neighborhood. Phone calls and texts and emails and conversations.

And it's not just one, or two. It is more and more, families and friends and neighbors. Some of you, my friends, need to know that you are not alone. Not only because you are loved and your friends and community are with you, but that you have not been singled out. There is suffering and stress all around us.

At times it seems that there is an oppressive force at work. It coats our souls with despair. It brings us to our knees.

There is only one thing I can do. Rendered helpless by the sheer pain that life sometimes brings, I can only pray for help.

And this I believe - help will come.
"God said this once and for all; how many times have I heard it repeated?
“Strength comes straight from God.” Psalm 62.11, The Message

Tuesday, May 18, 2010


Just a few days ago I was thinking about how my family dynamic has changed since my oldest girls got their drivers' licenses.  Used to be, we had to pile five kids into the Suburban together to go anywhere. We didn't fit anywhere else. There were always heated arguments about who got to sit up front - they would run towards the car screaming, "SHOTGUN!!!" and subsequently debate whether or not the word itself trumped the physical possession of the front seat. We've argued and sung and laughed our way through many a mile in our big red Suburban.

No more. Now Sarah and Shannon have their own cars and the occasion for all of us to travel together is rare.

I remember the first van we bought; it wasn't worth much, an old square GM van we purchased in Hico, Texas. It didn't last long; it came with a bum transmission and within a few months we were trading it in for something that actually ran. With only two kids in the family, we weren't quite mini-van material, but from that point forward we needed large vehicles to transport our crew.

I love my Suburban, but these days it's used more as a shuttle for Sunday morning church services than it is for our family.

So this made me smile, and just a bit nostalgic. I'm thinking about all the folks I know with young children and swagger wagons. Those days passed way too quickly, it seems.

Enjoy - creative marketing and great filmmaking.

Monday, May 17, 2010


I am so bad at this.

I try to take a Sabbath and the massive amount of stuff in my life that needs to be managed begins to crowd my thoughts and I start to feel like I'm wrapped up in barbed wire.

When I consider "taking a day off", my mind loosens up a bit, and the immediate result of the clarity seems to be a fresher approach to work-related stuff. After an hour of "sabbath", I find myself itching to get back to work, to put to good use the fact that my brain seems to be able to think again.

I know better, of course. I try to run away from those thoughts, reminding myself that they'll still be there tomorrow.

I have to remind myself, all the time, that He is God and I am not. Isn't that pathetic, that I have to work to remind myself of that? Duh.

I thought I'd take some time for myself today, maybe use a generous birthday gift and treat myself to a pedicure. But then I remember that I'm wrestling with the idea of generosity and that $25 spent on my feet is ridiculous on so many levels. So maybe I should not do that. And by the way, don't forget to pay the mortgage. And it's my Sabbath/day off, so maybe I should clean the bathroom, but that's not really a day off, is it? But then again, am I entitled to a day of indulgence? There are so many things I let slide in terms of taking care of my home. I should use this time to catch up, to honor my family.

But then again, there's a difference between Sabbath and a day off.

Kevin Salyer was always so good at this. So - what would Kevin do?


I have decided. Here is what I shall do:

1. Listen to Michael Gungor's Beautiful Things as I clean myself up a bit - NOT the bathroom.
2. Take Elizabeth Berg's most recent book; finish it as I do the pedicure thing. See if it feels like an indulgence.
3. Drive to RVA. Hit up the new version of the VMFA. Soak it up and see what happens.
4. Stop by Martins (my first time) on the way home. Gather groceries. Come home and cook a fabulous meal for my family.
5. Hopefully work out in the midst of all that...somewhere...though that might be a bit unrealistic.

I'm hoping that in the midst of it all, I'll catch a glimpse of glory.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

When I Think About The Way...

I attended church today. I went in early, helped with the tech run and getting things organized. But when it came to the actual service, I attended - I did not serve. I went to Westchester at 9:30 and had a terrific experience, seeing first-hand what it's like to go to church in a movie theatre and watch a message on video (in a word: AWESOME. And the seats are unbelievably comfortable!)

At 11:00 I walked into the Powhatan campus of PCC. The music was stellar; it was so fun to sing along and clap and really worship under the leadership of the great musicians on the platform.

Brian's message - though I'd heard it earlier that morning at Westchester - was compelling. God's been twisting some truth throughout my heart and I'm wrestling with a few things regarding generosity and my lifestyle (more than likely the impetus for a blog post later this week; I'm still processing).

And then today I receive an email from my friend Beth Anthony. The text said, "PLEASE WATCH THIS", and a link was attached.

I watched it. And in light of 1) a worship song that I find almost unbearably powerful and quite meaningful on a personal level, and 2) the current teaching that we're experiencing at PCC, it hit hard.

And I think it's worth sharing.

It's cute, to a point. But then it becomes a good bit more than cute.

Watch. And think.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

So I Set Him On Fire

We had a great night at home; everybody was here. Travis is done with school and he came by to watch The Office (he and Shannon watch it "together" via Skype every Thursday - tonight it's the real deal). I made chicken-fried steak and gravy and we gorged ourselves.

The best part of the night might have been the local entertainment. While at the grocery store, I picked up a copy of our local weekly, the Powhatan Today. A third-page story caught my eye and I read it to the family after dinner.

We laughed, so hard. I feel compelled to share the story with you, my loyal blog readers. Rather than try to reconstruct the story, I'm just going to write it for you, as written in the paper. No matter how inspired the retelling, I could not do justice to this story.

And so, here it is, with minor edits. HT to Michael Copley, the staff writer.

Frustrated that a party guest wouldn't leave his property, a Powhatan man burned the visitor's leg while the victim slept. 
Steven Y. Bowles told a deputy at the scene that he couldn't wake the victim, "So I set him on fire. What was I supposed to do? He wouldn't leave."
The victim, Robert L. Cashion, was asleep in Bowles' backyard after reportedly consuming alcohol on the property...Police were called to the scene on a report of shots fired.
Deputy Haislip found Bowles, who he said was visibly intoxicated, standing near the victim with a handgun.
According to Haislip's testimony, Bowles said he first cut the victim with a knife to try to wake him up. When that failed, he fired two shots into the ground near where the victim lay. Eventually, Bowles told the deputy, he "kicked the fire on him," though the deputy said he couldn't find evidence of a fire in the backyard.
...As of April 31, the victim was still hospitalized...

Only in Powhatan. Setting someone on fire is a reasonable option when you want them to leave your house.

Yes. I live here.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Feels Like Home

Syd takes voice lessons in the city. Every time I drive her into the quaint neighborhood that curves around the James River, my heart quickens. The old frame houses huddle like unique old relatives at a reunion, snug in the shadow of the glass and metal buildings shining just across the river. It appeals to me.

I was born in a small town in western Pennsylvania. Until I started first grade, we lived "in town". It was considered a great escape to get out to the country, living on five acres next to my aunt, uncle and grandparents in the new house my parents' built. It was a good life out there, but something was formed in me during those first few years that has never left. Memories of living in Franklin - in town - are stitched on my heart.

Narrow city streets and sidewalks, houses built at the turn of the century or earlier. A massive courthouse and city parks, a library within walking distance. Quintessential small town life.

I've always felt like a small town girl.

These days, I'm out in a rural county about 30 miles from Richmond. It's a large county, too spread out to offer much of that small town, walk-about feel. We have the county seat - and the County Seat Restaurant - and you can walk to the Y or the library from there. But there's precious little housing available in the courthouse area, and most of us live spread out all over the place. It doesn't feel like a small town.

A few weeks ago Tony and I had lunch at Karen's City Diner in Richmond. As we navigated the neighborhood, I said, "You know, if anything ever happens to you, I'm moving to the city..." He smiled and nodded. I've said that before. I'm committed to raising my kids where they are - the public schools are excellent and this is home for them. Tony loves the rural lifestyle.

But I go into the city and drive through neighborhoods with houses rich in character, neighborhood grocers and diners, linear blocks and corner bus stops and something in me just quickens. Every time I go to town, my heart stirs. I can imagine a life in the city; walking to the market every day, the feeling of everything close at hand, the energy of so much of life in such close proximity. What intrigues me is what's going on behind all those closed doors, in the hearts and heads of the people walking up and down the street, in between the boys and girls in love, holding hands as they stroll past the front porches. So much life, it seems.

Tonight was no different. I dropped Syd off and then just drove around for a while, discovering where the streets wound, how the weirdly angled intersection resolved, what the local Oriental market looked like. I watched the people moving around as I cruised with the flow of traffic. I pictured myself there, in one of the houses that was for sale, perched on a stoop with a cup of coffee.

It leaves this odd taste of nostalgia in my head. I know it's tied to my earliest memories, to black and white photos of me posed on a sprawling front porch of a three-story mansion on Elk Street. I know it's something as closely tied to imagination and wonder as it is to real estate and quality of life in 2010. I know there's a little "grass is always greener" yearning in me. I don't quite trust it, but there's this feeling that my life would be somehow more authentic if I lived in the city, if I got back to being "in town".

Tonight, though, something occurred on the drive home. It surprised me. As we headed west, we navigated the six-laned Midlothian Turnpike through the city limits and into Chesterfield County. Strip malls, development, small businesses, fast food; out of the charm of the city and into the sad, bruised facade of old urban sprawl. Stop lights and shopping malls. Ugly.

We reached the western side of Chesterfield, the place where the development just seemed to stop and the clutter tapered off. The car crested a small rise in the road and I saw open spaces, green trees, blue skies.

Involuntarily, I sighed. And a word came to my mind spontaneously, unbidden.

Home. I was headed home. It was there, out there in those wide open spaces.

I was ready for it, anticipating it. I just didn't realize it.

In the grocery store tonight, I ran into five different people that I know in the community. There were hugs, or smiles, or small waves. Conversations. Questions about the kids. I never go anywhere here that I don't see someone I know - not just a vague recognition, but someone I know well enough to stop and say "hi". I've lived here for just shy of six years now - longer than I have lived ANYWHERE in my adult life.

It's home.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Get Well Soon

A certain blog stalker will probably get teary-eyed seeing this photo...

Get well soon, brother. We miss you and are looking forward to having you up and going full-time again.

We're praying for you!

Open Mic Night At PCC

Here are some details about Open Mic night at PCC on Friday, May 14 at 7:00 at the Powhatan Campus. First and foremost, if you are already serving on the music team and content with your position and playing time, you do not have to audition/perform. You'll stay on the rotation. However, if you want to do more, a different role or just stretch yourself, this is the time for you to show off what you've got.

Here are a few more FAQs and the responses:

  • DO I NEED TO BRING MY OWN MUSIC? WILL SOMEONE BE THERE TO ACCOMPANY ME? I will be there to play keys for anyone who needs it, although you should make sure I knows the song (check with me in advance if it's not a tune we normally do). You can bring an accompanist of some sort if you'd like, or a track, or sing a cappella.
  • WILL THERE BE AN AUDIENCE? It will be an open room and others are welcome to listen. We're there to encourage one another.
  • WILL INSTRUMENTS BE AVAILABLE? SHOULD I BRING MY OWN?We'll have the piano, a drum kit and a basic acoustic guitar (without a pickup). Other than that, bring your own. The sound board will be on and we'll have DI's for guitarists if you don't bring an amp.
  • CAN I SING WHATEVER I WANT? Sure! Any style, any genre - it doesn't have to be a "Christian" song. Make it something that you love, something that makes you shine.

Please contact me with any other questions. And nudge your friends and neighbors who want to get involved! Looking forward to a GREAT summer of music at PCC!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lindsay Cookies

I met this girl a year or so ago.

She's turned into one of those people that I can't imagine not working with every week.

And I haven't even scratched the surface of getting to know her.

I just know the joy of working alongside her, whether we're making music, planning services, working out schedules or eating hummus.

I can't imagine a better gift to me as I do the work God's set before me at PCC. Lindsay Harris is a gift, a gem, an inspiration and an accountability partner. A good writer. An incredibly intelligent woman. A brilliant musician.

And now, she's a blogger! Go visit - she'll make you smile. Good things will come of this newest venture, I am sure.

Leave her some comment love, and bookmark the site. You'll want to go back.

(Hoping for some cookies, myself...)

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Two Reasons I Love PCC

I love these guys. Two of the finest men you'll ever meet.

When they walked out together at the PCC Building Dedication, I got choked up. I looked at them and thought, "There's our pastors." I love these guys.

Chauncey Starkey is the site pastor for our Powhatan Campus. He's one of the most capable men I know. He knows something about everything, it seems. He adores his wife and family. He is full of riches beyond imagination when it comes to quotable statements (we're keeping a book and recording each one...) His heart is huge. Chauncey is a good man.

Dennis Green is the Westchester Campus site pastor. He is smart and funny and quiet in a way that always proves he's listening. He's honest and kind. He adores his wife and family. I know that Dennis would do anything within his power to help anyone who needed anything. Dennis is a good man.

When two good men like this are entrusted with leadership responsibilities, good things happen. God is moving in our community, and using our church in some pretty awesome ways. Dennis and Chauncey are trustworthy men. They count on God.

You can count on them.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Always A Woman

I love creative stuff that includes a fresh perspective on the more unique aspects of life.

Lately, I've been thinking a lot about growing up. Older. It comes from watching my oldest girls, I think. And from watching myself. The entire paradigm of aging comes with a tri-fold mirror; depending on your view, you'll get a unique perspective.

Lately, I see myself a lot through my daughters' eyes. Or at least I'm trying to.

At some point, it's hardly an option. You have to see yourself differently. Especially as a mother. Your children willfully refuse to see you the same way. You change or risk something breaking.

This clip - actually a commercial - is heart-wrenching and beautiful. I think it wraps things up just so succinctly that it's a tiny bit painful in its truth. It's just so quick...

Great art, great video work, beautiful paradigm.

Plus I'm a fool for some Billy Joel.


HT to Carlos Whittaker at Ragamuffin Soul.

Free Stuff

Finished working on the graphic for the upcoming series.

I absolutely LOVE doing graphic work. I don't know what I'm doing, but I love figuring it out along the way. I envy folks like Katie Rusch who are immersed in work like this at university.

One day...it's on my bucket list....

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Having Myself A Moment At The Dedication Service

Dedication service tonight.

So many passionate musicians on the stage. So much sound and passion rising from the platform.

Technical stuff pulled off - sometimes at the last minute - inspiring and honoring God. Lights. Staging. Transitions.

An amazing video piece, written and narrated by Angie Frame. Filmed and edited by Regina Revels, with musical selections suggested by Brian Hughes. A powerful and to-the-point message from Brian. A violin!

In the midst of all this, I heard a whisper from God. At the risk of sounding incredibly presumptuous, I am going to share it here. Because I feel like it's not just for me.

As we closed our celebration with "He Is Yahweh" and "You Are Good", I had myself a moment. Overwhelmed by the people around me - people whom I have come to love and care for so deeply - I hear this whisper. Tiny, quiet, brief - but more powerful than I can possibly convey. We worshiped. God responded.

In my heart, I heard five simple words:


Meant the world to me.

I hope you were there. If you weren't, I'm sorry. But it was just a brief taste of heaven. And I can't think of anything I'd rather hear than those five words, from the Creator of the Universe. I just talked about that today in the morning service - how God meets us, shows up, changes us, offers transformation, helps us "get it". And tonight, I had myself a moment.

It was awesome.