if you like....

please. everybody.

if i ever end up on this list... SHOOT ME.


life aquatic

really looking forward to this movie coming out. thanks to Andrew for the post/link.

Bottle Rocket lovers, put yo' hands in the air -- and wave 'em like ya jus' don't care.


wi-fi gospel

if i were writing a novel right now, i'd probably give it a clever title, like the wi-fi gospel. i'd probably put a chapter in it that sounded like this:

ever try to explain the internet to someone? how would you even start to explain it? you'd probably start with how you use it, and how those around you use it. yet, the internet is all those things and so much more. if you heard yourself trying to explain it, you'd probably laugh at yourself. because, even though your description may be accurate, it would pale in comparison to the magnitude and impact that the internet actually possesses. it contains so many uses for so many people, and then a lot more too. simply put, 'the net' is beyond the isolated description of any single person or group of people; beyond everyone's description put together.

i would argue that the impact, influence and complexity of the Gospel of Jesus is greater than that of the internet. that the way it intersects with the lives of everyone who has experienced it is unique and immeasureable.

the Gospel is more huge than the internet. yet more accessible than any wi-fi connection.

so why do we try to sum it up in a 4-point tract? in a five minute encounter with a stranger? in a debate? with an air of "i understand this, and you should too"? why define the Gospel?

i appreciate Paul when he speaks of "seeing through a glass, darkly" (1 cor 12:13, kjv), and "falling short" of the glory (rom 3:23). i believe that our falling short involves more than inadequate performance. indeed, we fall short of an understanding of the glory too.

we had a great home gathering tonight at 1826. talked about the mystery of the Gospel. how ascribing a bit more mystery to the message and person of Jesus would probably do us some good; how it would be more appropriate for the huge-ness that is the Gospel; and how it might very well speak more effectively to a post-modern generation, enhancing our relationships with others and with the Creator.

maybe someday, i'll post the lyrics to a worship song i wrote, called 'mystery.'



things are gettin' busy around here. here's what i'm up to for the coming few weeks....
  • we're still trying to get our church's college ministry, 1826, to the point where it is actually thriving, not starving. Jodi and I lead it, host it, and are trying to nurse it back to health.
  • i'm on our church council and we're in the middle of moving out of our building, and into a rental property, which sounds crazy, but has some advantages for us.
  • i'm playing and/or leading the worship team every sunday morning at crosspointe.
  • i'll be sitting in with a secular (gasp!) band named MindShare, practicing, and playing electric guitar once every few weeks.
  • doing open mics and a few coffee shop gigs with one of Jodi's classmates, Sara McKinnon.
  • sitting in playing electric with christian songwriter, Nathan Finfrock.
  • trying to get this worship ministry off the ground (self-promo, booking, CD distribution, etc) - this is what i wish i were doing when i'm doing all the other stuff.
  • i need to find BAND MEMBERS for said worship ministry.
  • planning a hip hop service at our church for september.
  • working full time at a hospital.

sheesh. we'll see what falls by the wayside.


nathan finfrock

hey y'all. check out a worship leader i met last week. i haven't experienced a worship service by him yet, but his songs are great, and he's such a good guy. click over to nathan finfrock.



right. so a little about the title of my blog and of my new worship album. proskyneo (also proskuneo) is a greek word, still used in the greek orthodox liturgy. it is literally translated "kissing the hand of" or "kissing toward" - a simultaneous act of reverence, submission and affection.

evidently the word worship as it appears in our english bible, is translated from several different origin-words. though it appears as the same word over and over in our scripture text, similar to the word love, it is translated from multiple different meanings.

there's this whole complex thing where a certain worship-word is appropriate only in reference to God, another can apply to any god, and another refers to a worship service, etc. who knew? some other words for worship include latreuo and dalia.

seems that us christians have a way of taking a word with great meaning (think "awesome"), over-using it and watering it down so that the amazing original meaning... doesn't mean so much anymore. right now in church-ianity, i feel that way about the word worship. so as soon as i heard about proskyneo, i immediately latched on.

so, yeah. with these songs i'm attempting to kiss the hand of my savior, jesus, in prostration, in adoration.


indie album on the cheap, part 2: royalties

i wanted to include a couple covers of worship songs on my solo CD, so i had to obtain what's called a mechanical license. i started by going to ccli.com - a site primarily intended to pay christian songwriters for worship songs used in churches (i.e. to gouge another buck out of the barely financially thriving body of Christ to pay people for songs they "own" that were inspired by God anyway ...more from that soapbox later).

ccli has a song lookup that shows the author, copyright year, and publishing company for most every christian song out there. once i found out those details, i did internet searches for contact info of the publishing companies. different publishing companies have different hoops to jump through. in fact, the reason i picked the two covers on my album was mostly because they were from the same publishing company, integrity/hosanna, who make it quite easy to get mechanical licenses. see their online license form right here.

once i filled the form, they sent me all the paperwork to complete. i paid 8.5 cents per song, per copy made, which is a standard set by the U.S. government in this table. so my cost for the mechanical license to include two cover songs on my album went like this:

8.5 cents x 1000 copies made x 2 songs = $170 in royalties.

so there you have it. these are costs paid up front - whether all the CDs are sold or not.


indie heaven

indie heaven is a sweet website, dedicated to independent christian artists. please click over to my indie heaven home page, download a few tunes, and fill out a comment/rating form while you're at it. you can also buy my CD from the indie heaven site.

indie album on the cheap, part 1: recording

so my CD, "proskyneo" was just released last week. here are some of the corners i cut to make sure i didn't break the bank:

  • i used my PC for home recording, as well as my bass player's Fostex 16-track.... no studio time = el cheapo.
  • the program i used is called Cubase SX. pretty flexible and sounds great as a lower budget alternative to the industry standard ProTools. i didn't buy any special interface for analog-to-digital (like the MOTU or the m-audio MobilePre). they turned out to be more than i wanted to spend, without any significant improvement in recording quality.
  • my workhorses were the KSM27 mic and the ART tube pac preamp. i used these two for most of the recording. the tube pac has two tubes - one preamp, and one compressor - for a nice warm/fuzzy preface to the harsh digital world inside my PC.
  • we recorded drums to the Fostex digital 16-track with a Shure kick drum mic, and an 8-channel compressor by Presonus that entertained me for hours (i'm a self-professed compressor junkie). both were rented for about $110 for the week. since we owned everything else up to that point, this was the first expense we had to pay.
  • all the drums were recorded at our bass player's practice area with a lot of prayer. I first recorded my acoustic, voice and a click track for every song, speaking what parts were coming up next ("chorus here" or "play really hard man" or "big stop right here"). this let me be the producer without having to be present for every track.
  • all the bass guitar was recorded at my bass players house, straight to PC as he played along with my template/click track and the drum tracks.
  • everything else (all guitars and vocals) were recorded at my 2-bedroom apartment, right there in the living room.
  • a few extra vocals were recorded by Jim Hornaday at DreamCatcher studios in mesa, AZ. his studio doesn't have a website, but you can find this rock star here.
  • then i mixed everything myself, taking tips from online articles.

all in all, I only paid about $310 for the recording of our album ($110 for mic/compressor rental, $180 for recording a few vocals at a studio, and about $20 in blank CDs we used to swap tracks and try different mixes). not bad, eh?


wahba leads the 2000...

at Whitehall Camp last week, I had the opportunity to be on the worship team at Camp Meeting. the speaker was Steve Chiles and the worship leader was Leah Wood -- guess i had to go to pennsylvania to make two major phoenix connections.

we had evening services in the Tabernacle (with 1500-2000 sweaty people) every night - i played bass and/or acoustic during the service.

my highlight of the week had to be friday night. the tabernacle was full because the children, youth, and adults all had service together. Leah, the worship leader, had heard my CD (as well as a few of my songs 'raw' around a campfire one night). she asked me to lead "tug on my heart" during the friday night service!

imagine me, your humble blog-host, leading 2000 folks in a worship song that i co-wrote! the Sidewalk Prophets were my human-karaoke for the event. having just heard the tune for the first time that day, they nailed it.

thanks, Jesus, for giving me that opportunity. i know it's part of the vision you gave me a while back. i'll always remember it as your big, sweet blessing - the huge cherry on top of the banana split of my life that i call leading worship.


the vision

so here are some specifics that i think i'm supposed to aim for, pertaining to this calling as a worship leader:
  • leading worship - the obvious one. specifically, i dream about facilitating a God-experience through culturally relevant songs, visual presentation, and physical involvement. I feel like I've been given a clear picture of being the lead worshipper for large numbers of people, on an inter-denominational level; i.e. a little different from the sunday morning worship pastor at a local church.
  • writing worship songs that reflect the heart of the emerging community of believers (in style, content and presentation). this will hopefully include re-vamping old hymns, putting a few ancient prayers/creeds to music, and re-arranging some of our more wimpy praise choruses.
  • recording on some level. preferably live. some studio work also.
  • worship workshops/training. still kinda fuzzy on this one. but i feel like He's given me a few things to offer in the way of training up others (leaders, musicians, writers) to do some of the above.

looking at this list, it's pretty apparent to me that i'm already doing all of these things. it's just the extent to which i feel compelled to do them that makes me want to kick things up a notch.

why do what i'm doing?

why would i set out to quit my lucrative, rewarding day job in hopes of becoming a poorly paid independent christian artist/worship leader?

for the money? for status/fame? for a sense of accomplishment? none of the above.

the wimpy answer is "because i think i'm supposed to." i feel like it's a calling, a vision of mine, something the Big Guy wants me to do.

the blood sweat and tears answer (recited back to myself in moments of heartbreak, disappointment, and/or humiliation) is "because i have to." it keeps me up at night. it's my default daydream at any given time. it's the only thing i wish i were doing, whether i'm in a good mood or a bad one, whether i'm tired or wide awake.

it will haunt me until i am leading at least a small number of people to the throne of the Creator through worship song and through visual experience at least 2-3 days a week. i will feel incomplete until then.

so there you have it. my reasons. for you to know, and for me to look back upon.


new CD!

good news! the new CDs are here.

yes, my new solo worship album is official. we had some shipped out to PA and, in a mad distribution spree, gave out 100 CDs within about 2 days. more on that later.

anyhoo, the CD is available here for $10 (including shipping). or you can download all the tunes from this and my other worship album for $10 at this locality. hoping to get some other, more 'official' distribution methods, other than my house. but for the present, this works.

right now, i'm gonna cozy up with the wiffer in my bed, at my house, in this lovely desert i call home. good to be back in a way. though i think i'm happier about being back on a high-speed internet connection than i am to be in Arizona.


back from camp

well now.

i had a good run of blog entries there. but then i took a whole stinkin' week off. i have a good excuse: camp.

so, hey. camp is over now. i got that funny feeling today as i left. like i just wanted to blast "Sweet Child O' Mine" and mellow out. felt warm and nostalgic, like the end of a Wonder Years episode.

the week at Whitehall Camp Meeting was great. you'll get sick of my stories as i write 'em this week. now, i'm off to bed. gotta get up early for my flight back to Phoenix tomorrow....