Monday, February 28, 2005

a little more info (and rest)

Well, I enjoyed a restful night of sleep and am ready for the day ahead. We fly back to Manilla this morning, with a day off to take in the culture a little deeper. The Philippines are a collection of islands covering a lot of territory, and we'll only see the 2 largest cities while here. It is helpful that they are the 3rd largest english-speaking country in the world...though it gets pretty confusing and overwhelming when they get going in their own languages and dialects.

I'm reminded of my experiences in Vietnam a little bit...scooters all over the place, chaotic and inventive driving a majority of the time, lots of people with scarves around their faces to keep off the sun and pollution while walking, riding their motorcycles, and working outside. Last night we ate at the nearby Kauna Grill (one of the sponsors of our concert) after the show, and here is some of the food partaken of: blue marlin soup, pork belly strips, chicken thighs, calimari, and some rocky road ice cream (you have to have dessert!). The meats were grilled over big fire pits and we had a soy sauce based dip as well.

Our concert was at the B.R.I.G.H.T Academy, a typical stage set up in a huge schoolyard. While seating was available, we invited those at the back to come forward to fill in the higher-priced seating on the wings and up close--ruffling a few feathers with the people who just wanted to sit and watch, but giving the show a little more energy and action. What a gracious crowd! We played some old songs, some we haven't played in years. Tea And Sympathy, Five Candles, Unforgetful You (invited 2 crowd members to come up and sing--partially because no one remembers all the words well), Liquid...these were hits in the Philippines, and it was a rush to play them and receive such a thrilled response.

Unfortunately Matt was unable to make the trip at the last moment. He turned around in L.A. with the news of his grandfather's soon-approaching death to be with family. His grandfather passed away late Sunday night, but it sounds like Matt was able to enjoy sweet time with him before his passing. Though we miss him, especially on stage (for the fans) but more personally, we are thankful for God's gracious gift in the midst of sadness. Prayers for their family...

made it

After long hours on the plane (30 +), we have finished our first day in the Philippines. We flew from Nashville to Atlanta to LA to Manilla (stop in Honolulu for fuel--no deplaning though) to Cebu. I managed several long naps on the planes and am looking forward to a good night's rest in the hotel tonight!

We arrived around 10am (Philippines time) Monday morning, and went to the hotel for a nice hot breakfast. I managed to get a little time in at the pool before heading up to the room for an hour nap, quick shower, and lobby call to head to the venue. Yes, we had a show on our first day here! Actually, my body has adjusted fairly well, and though we all hit walls throughout the day, we made it through the show and had a fabulous time with about 3000 filipiinos. They were such an encouragement and a joy. Afterwards we finished off the evening with a delicious (way too much food though) meal and then returned to the hotel for sleep. Speaking of, I need some now, but wanted to at least report safe travels and a brief so far.

Friday, February 25, 2005

to the Philippines

My next entry will probably be from the Philippines, where I'll be playing a couple of shows with Jars of Clay. I've never been there, but look forward to experiencing their culture and learning about another area of the world (though just for a few days). Please be in prayer for us as we travel, and for family at home while I'm away. I've been blessed with extended time at home, and while I'm anxious to play some shows with the guys and spend time on the road this week, it will be an adjustment and difficult at times. I don't anticipate any troubles while there, but it is in a volatile part of the world. We trust God in His timing and faithfulness!

We'll be playing shows outside Manila and Cuevo City, the 2 largest cities on the islands. I really have no idea what to expect, though I should be able to relay info through this website so that you can know what I'm up to. Until then...

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

God's faithfulness (definitely not ours)

Have you ever noticed the irony between the struggle to read through the Old Testament and the stories/words contained in those books? We are just like the Israelites, excited about news of deliverance and hope, but easily dissatisfied and discouraged. We decide we should build a golden calf just to give us something tangible to worship and find contentment. If only our hearts were more in tune with the covenant promises of God, which are sustaining and life-giving, but require patience and endurance and...well, the power of God and His Gospel, not man.

Cari and I found rest over the weekend at a friend's lake house on Lake Barkeley in Kentucky. Within a two hour drive, the house backs up to the lake and provides a great atmosphere to relax and enjoy the beauty of creation. Though it seemed so short (only about 24 hours), our hearts were renewed and energies restored. It can be so difficult to make time for rest, but we never quite know the depth of our need for it until we rest.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

clinging to the mercies of God

Jesus came to reconcile. He came to reveal the world upside down, while showing that it was in need of being turned right side up--and that only He, through the power of the Almighty God, could do so. Man (myself included, of course) desires quick fixes; anything to get me from here to there quickly and easily. Unfortunately this results in one word: Disconnection. It does not build sustaining relationships, it does not have historical perspective or context, and it is focused on the self and its "needs".

But Jesus gave a new path...and He sent His Spirit to usher along the new path. Upon His life, death, and resurrection, man was no longer able to say, "If only God knew my thoughts and emotions"...or, "If only He understood." Jesus lived and experienced life as a man that, though without sin, everything would be completed in Him until the day He returns to usher in the new kingdom. His people can look at the world and emanate confidence in the midst of paradox, because hope is in God and does not simply rest on knowledge or common sense alone. This hope rests on truth of God! As Chesterton wrote, we are living in an upside down world, clinging to the mercies of God. May it be so.

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

working at Griffin

Today I'm putting together boxes, filling them, and getting them ready to ship at Griffin Technology. My friend Tom works there and said they could use some extra help, so here I am for some hours this week and next. Its good to see some old friends that work there and the work isn't too bad. I'm bummed to be inside during another beautiful Nashville day, though. Yesterday I joined Charlie Peacock, Scott Dente, and some other guys to record some demos for Andy Davis. It was great to be around those guys and it was a last minute thing. Back to the box line...

Saturday, February 12, 2005

In the studio again

I am joining my friends Matt Stanfield and Andy Hubbard in the studio today for 2 songs by Andy Hunt. Jacquire King has engineered and mixed a lot of the jars of clay songs, and he'll be recording us today. We're over at familiar Sputnik Studio (where Mitch and Jars make records), though it looks different today because we've got equipment everywhere for the weekend. Its going to be in the 60's outside, and I'm bummed to miss out on a walk with the family in the park.

The 1000 Wells Campaign kicks off next Wednesday, and I've been working steadily on that and other Blood:Water Mission events. What an exciting time, already getting feedback about ways people want to get involved. It seems like the work is neverending, yet very rewarding. I've also been plugged into a lot of activities with City Church, and our lives seem to be beautifully interwoven in ways we never imagined in the past. For that I am grateful.

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

Time moves so fast

Maybe some of you can relate, but I learn over and over again how time can slip away easily without me knowing it. A list of to-do's gets longer, even when you start working on them. One seems to lead to 2 more, and so forth. So I'm trying not to get bogged down in that part of it, and instead enjoying each moment in front of me.

The weather did cooperate for some refreshing outdoor activities over the weekend. We went for a couple of walks down by the river, played with Sam at the neighborhood playground, and dug up weed trees around the walkway to the front door. The landscaping work is tough on the hands and back, and changes the look of things so much. Thankfully the payoff helps you endure the pain.

This week I'm working on Blood:Water Mission a lot, as our 1000 Wells campaign kicks off in a week. My intro above has to do with keeping up with all of these things, yet I'm loving the chance to be a part of it all. God's blessings are beyond my comprehension and His work beyond my imagination or dreams...I continuously remind myself that every moment of life is more than just being happy, more than just keeping it all together--it is to glorify God and bring His kingdom to bear on earth. In this way I go forth today.

Friday, February 04, 2005

finishing up

I've got a couple more songs to do here in the studio, but the time has gone well. I've had fun making music with friends and gotten to know a few new people in the process. The studio is near the heart of East Nashville, within a five minute drive from home...that has been nice! I've seen friends when walking to lunch or taking a quick break outside in the fresh air. The hardest part of today is that it is sunny and in the upper 50's outside, beautiful weather and I'm stuck inside! I hope it lasts through tomorrow so we can work outside and go for a walk down at the Shelby Bottoms.

We are still needing to do some work in the yard to prepare for some gardening...actually, we haven't really started much. The more we read and learn, the more we wish we'd done more this winter in preparation. But we just haven't been able to. Somehow we've had a lot to do, and I still need to finish our 3rd bedroom inside. A little tile to finish the floor, some trim on the doorways, and baseboard. I can do that on rainy days, and we can start doing more work outside when the weather cooperates. Now just the extra motivation...and feel free to post any gardening tips (or tiling, moulding, time management, etc.).

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Blood, water, and the psalter

I encourage any of you reading this to go to to see our new website, filled with much more information and details about our work. The 1000 Wells Project is coming soon (February 16th), beginning a specific opportunity of intentional sacrifice and other-centeredness, and the website includes details on how anyone can be involved. Though the campaign will be ongoing beyond our initial phase, our goal is to create a major push via media outlets (radio, magazines, online sites) for the season of Lent leading up to Easter. Please let others know about this opportunity, whether at work, school, or special events.

I was in the studio with Mitch Dane on Monday to work on a record for Zane Williams. Andy Hubbard played drums, and we finished 4 songs. Someone will be coming in on Thursday to play upright bass on the rest of the songs, many of which are in a style of the “back porch bluegrass band.” I look forward to hearing the finished project.

Today I begin 3 days of working on a record my friend Matt Stanfield is producing. I haven’t heard any of the music, but look forward to a chance to play with another solid drummer in town, Ben Phillips. Ben has lived near Chattanooga over the past couple of years, taking a brief hiatus from music, but has returned to Nashville to play again. He’s also an engineer, and will probably begin working on his own projects in a studio at his house. It’s good to have him back in town!

We had our second prayer meeting with City Church last night, focusing on the words of Psalm 103. We sang “Bless His Holy Name” (Bless the Lord, O My soul, and all that is within me, bless His holy Name), and I put words from the Scottish Psalter to music to provide verses for the song. There have been many psalters written over the past 4-5 centuries, which are composed of psalms and keep the intention of the text while putting the words in rhyming meter. The meter was often applied to popular drinking songs and gathering songs, so that the congregation could focus on the words and not learning new music all the time. Following are the verses we sang last night.

1 O thou my soul, bless God the Lord;
and all that in me is
Be stirred up his holy name
to magnify and bless.

2 Bless, O my soul, the Lord thy God,
and not forgetful be
Of all his gracious benefits
he hath bestowed on thee.

8 The Lord our God is merciful,
and he is gracious,
Long-suffering, and slow to wrath,
in mercy plenteous.

12 As far as east is distant from
the west, so far hath he
From us removed, in his love,
all our iniquity.

21 O bless and magnify the Lord,
ye glorious hosts of his;
Ye ministers, that do fulfil
whate'er his pleasure is.

22 O bless the Lord, all ye his works,
wherewith the world is stored
In his dominions ev'ry where.
My soul, bless thou the Lord.

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