Eagle Brook Church [Blaine] ::: April 24-25/2010 Weekend Recap

I was up in Minneapolis, MN with Eagle Brook Church last weekend.  I flew in on Wednesday to spend some time with their worship/creative arts staff and get a sense for how ministry looks and feels in this multi-campus church of 13,000+.  It was very cool to see how their operations first-hand and meet the teams in place.

Through my years of touring and working with so many different types and styles of churches, I definitely feel more connected to churches that are really dialed into their purpose and reaching people with intentionality.  More than just liking to “do church” because “that’s the way we’ve always kind of done it,” I love to see a church focused on a cause and compelled to reach the culture and community around them with the love of Jesus.  This definitely exists at Eagle Brook.  I am completely moved to know that more than 525 people made a first-time decision to follow Jesus over the Easter weekend this year because the team at Eagle Brook Church presented Jesus to the people there on purpose.

I was fortunate to get to lead worship for their new Blaine Campus on Sunday night.  Blaine is kind of in a pre-launch phase.  The four services at their Spring Lake Park Campus are completely packed out, so there is a need to relieve some of the attendance pressure there before they are able to launch at the new facility in Blaine this coming fall.  I got to have some of their top players back me up and really had a great time with the set.  The audio, lighting, media and IMAG crews were top notch as well and really made the experience a pleasure.

I got to learn a new song for this week too, Awakening by Switchfoot.  It was fun to take on a bit of a departure from some of the material I do on a more regular basis, made all the better because the band was great and right there rocking it.  Here is the set we did:

Today Is The Day (Lincoln Brewster)
Awesome Is The Lord Most High (Jon Abel)
All Because Of Jesus
(Steve Fee)
Jesus Paid It All
(Kristian Stanfill)
Awakening
(Switchfoot)

If you live in the northern Minneapolis/St. Paul areas, definitely take the time to check out a service at Eagle Brook.  I’m excited to see what God continues to do in and through their ministry in the years to come.

Someone told me it gets cold in Minnesota….and that they like cheese….thoughts?

Andy

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unChristian

This book took a while for me to get through because I wanted to kind of sit with the info presented and absorb it into my thinking and understanding.  I’m a guy who was raised in the Christian faith and has been part of a church from my earliest memories.  I’ve wrestled time and again with living in an isolated Christian sub-culture that is very disconnected to the ‘real’ world.  I’ve been guilty of being many of the stereotypes detailed in this book.  It’s been a process for me to try and get away from goofy thinking and unrealistic perceptions of what my life looks like and how I actually connect with the world around me.

I was impressed with the way the author’s were able to present research based information and extrapolate the message into an accessible discussion. A conversation looking at the actual perceptions people have of Christianity in America.  The heart of the message here is absolutely convicting, while hopeful.  Many people (while calling themselves Christians) haven’t done any favors to the ‘brand’ or perception of what Christianity actually represents.  The book suggests that if we begin to live like Christ and genuinely love people who don’t exclusively reside inside the Christian culture, we can change the negative image some people have.

I think that God followers who are really interested in loving people the way Jesus modeled for us should give this book a read.  It could also be good for people who are steeped in the Christian sub-culture; helping us get an accurate sense of how people on the outside of our faith really perceive us and how we might consider changing the way we view them and the lives they lead.

I’m busy evaluating and changing many of the ways I was taught to judge and keep myself separated from “the world.”  I’m hopeful that I can genuinely love people for who they are…even within and through our differences.

Publisher’s Info:

The New Testament writer Paul told the first-century Christians: “You yourselves are our letter . . . known and read by everybody.”

When a person “reads” your life, what does it say? What does your faith look like to outsiders?

A major new research project, unveiled for the first time in this book, describes the increasingly negative reputation of Christians, especially among young Americans.

The research shows that Christians are best known for what they are against. They are perceived as being judgmental, antihomosexual, and too political. And young people are quick to point out they believe that Christianity is no longer as Jesus intended. It is unChristian.

It shouldn’t be this way.

What Christians believe may not be popular, but Paul also advised the first believers to “live wisely among those who are not Christians” and to “let your conversation be gracious and effective.”

In this eye-opening book, David Kinnaman and Gabe Lyons–along with more than two dozen leading voices within Christianity–unpack the major criticisms leveled against Christians. Understand why those negative images exist and how you can best represent Jesus to your friends, neighbors, and co-workers.

Your life is an open book. Is it unChristian?

Chapters Video

This weekend we said our goodbye’s at Living Streams church.  I wanted to put something together that really shared my heart as I leave my position there.  We showed a video I shot this week with the help of Lanny Ward (thanks Lanny!)  Click the image to the right to link to the video on YouTube.

Yeah, I know it’s mostly the text from my last blog, but Pam and I really felt that did a good job of sharing where we’re at.  The video allowed me to put some feeling behind the words and show some fun pics of our family.  I also wanted to post a link here for anyone that wanted to check it out.

Thank you to everyone who has said you’re praying for us.  We appreciate you all so much and are really excited about the story God is busy writing in our lives.

Andy

Chapters

“What makes the better story?  Do that!”

This little quote/motto has kind of become a life precept for me and a silly way that I get my kids and friends to do stupid things.  When faced with even the most mundane situation, I’ll jokingly ask the question while basically implying that we should choose the unconventional and crazy in place of predictable and expected.  You never call your friends to say “Dude, I just made a very rational decision.”  Nope.  You always call your friends and say “You’ll never believe what I just did?” and then hopefully laugh together as you tell some ridiculous story.

Then there are the other times.  The choices we get to make (and some that get made for us) that have huge implications and massive impact in your life.  The part of our story where one chapter ends….the page gets turned….there’s a big bold number at the top of the next page….and the new chapter begins.  Many times this is when faith gets written into our story.

This week marks one chapter closing and another beginning for me and my family.  This was my last week as the Worship Director for Living Streams Church.  Easter was the last weekend that I would serve in that role and now we are looking to God for the “what’s next?”  After many months of dialoging, evaluating, praying and wrestling to discover where the journey is leading, it’s clear to us and the church leadership that now is the time for a shift.  Changes like this are always tough because of friendships and relationships.  Changes like this can also be beautiful because God’s plan for us opens up and we get to chase after His calling on our lives.

We have no doubt that God brought us to Phoenix to serve at Living Streams Church for a very specific purpose and season.  We love the people and staff at this church.  We are so grateful for the life-long friendships we have established here, we are better people because of it.  We also believe God has something exciting and new for us and for this church as we transition forward.

So now, the “what’s next?”  I get to ask my question….what makes the better story? We’re gonna do that!

We’re going to make sure our story is one of faith.  We’re going to watch and listen as God opens and closes doors in front of us.  We’re excited and scared…full of anticipation and wrestling with self-doubts…believing truth and questioning the status quo…and somehow in all of it, we’re uncomfortably comfortable waiting.  We get to teach our kids to trust in God and His plan for our lives as we engage on this adventure together.  We get to live the story of God right now.

Bring It On!

The “Is that contestant on American Idol a Christian? Scorecard”

The “Is that contestant on American Idol a Christian? Scorecard”

#44. At any point during their “look at where they grew up bio,” the phrase “speaking in tongues” is mentioned =  + 10 points

To add up your score with over a 130 other ideas on this scorecard, visit stuffchristianslike.net

Easter Worship ::: April 2-4/2010 Weekend Recap

Easter in the church world is a pretty big deal.  Lot’s to do and plan for because there are so many people who visit church on this weekend.  It’s kind of a cool opportunity to connect with the people who might only check out a church once or twice a year.  Ultimately it’s a big deal not just because people tend to show up, but because they might be more open to spiritual things and we can introduce them to Jesus.  That’s what motivates me!

We had a Good Friday service to set aside some time to remember and reflect on what Jesus did for us by dying on the cross.  Some worship, communion and an illustrated sermon by our ministry team…pretty sweet.

Good Friday set list:

Jesus Messiah (Chris Tomlin)
The Wonderful Cross (Matt Redman)
The Old Rugged Cross (Traditional Hymn)
Once Again
(Matt Redman)

Saturday was pretty crazy.  I sang in a wedding at the church right before the evening rehearsal and service.  We had to quickly turn the stage and reset to rehearse the band and have service.  Sunday we had a “Sunrise Service” in the courtyard outside which added to the work for our tech team.  It’s funny to me that we call it a sunrise service because the sun has actually been up for almost 2 hours….tradition (insert Fiddler On The Roof tune here.)  Our two main services were packed out and went great.  I love the energy that happens in services on Easter.

Here is the set from our main Easter services:

My Savior Lives (New Life Worship)
Savior (New Life Worship)
Nothing But The Blood (Traditional Hymn & Matt Redman’s Chorus)
Jesus Paid It All (Kristian Stanfill)
Christ The Lord Is Risen Today (Aaron Senseman)
The Saving One
(Starfield)

I absolutely love this new song from Starfield, The Saving One:

“His Love Has Made A Way / The Grave Is Overcome / Jesus Is The Christ / The Saving One”

Happy Easter!

Andy Frank ::: Shine For You

I wanted to help promote a new worship CD a friend of mine just released this past weekend.  Andy Frank is the Music Pastor at CCV in Phoenix and you’re gonna love his CD.  Andy is a great musician, worship leader and has a huge heart to reach people for Jesus.  I got to sing some backing vocals on a couple of these songs, so I’ve been really excited to get my copy of this project.

My family got to attend his CD Release Concert on Sunday night and we all loved it.  Great time of worship and incredible production.  It was also cool to see his work with Hope 4 Kids International.  They had 120 kids get sponsored at the concert.  I love it!  More kids getting the help and love they deserve and need.  Way to go Andy!

You can get his CD on iTunes: ANDY FRANK – SHINE FOR YOU.

Make sure you stop by the Andy Frank Website as well.