power to the (worship) people

so for about 2 years now, i've been incorporating what i call 'multiple choice worship' into the services i've been fortunate enough to lead. sort of a choose-your-own-worship-adventure deal where the last song of a set, i'll let the congregation pick which song we sing together.

we'll post 3 choices and let them 'vote' by screaming or snapping or something stupid. it always seems to engage them a bit more. even if the congregation is split and we do a song that a few people didn't vote for, i've noticed that everyone sings and participates more on the multiple choice song.

it's much more interesting for me as a worship leader. it gives me a better gauge of where the worshippers are. it makes the setlist different every time - very non-linear. and it's another way to encourage a spirit of community - giving them ownership in the service and in how they feel led to worship at the moment.

i'd been giving them the choice of all faster, more upbeat songs. but the last few times we worshipped on ASU campus, i've thrown in a slower, more worshipful song. i was figuring that they'd probably pick one of the other two uptempo songs. but i still wanted them to choose. who was i to say they wanted to end the worship set with a fast one?

man, was i wrong. in every one of the last three services where i gave these college ministries a chance to pick a slower/worship song, they picked it! they wanted to dive back into worship instead of keeping things all happy and clappy.

i'm so impressed with these young people. and i'm really honored that God gave me this idea, to engage them and point them back to Him in another creative way.


the white cord

it's funny the things that become symbols of status in our little pockets of culture. i remember when Guess jeans were hugely popular. that little triangle on your right cheek meant you were somebody when i was in high school. or it at least meant that you thought you were somebody.

at one point in high school, i remember buying a really nice pair of sony headphones with my paper route money. then i remember someone at my youth group asking me if i was rich because i had a real walkman. and i remember just laughing, not letting on that i had these sony headphones plugged into a cheap emerson wanna-be-walkman that was tucked in my backpack.

around here, everyone's got an ipod. a few people i know actually own several ipods. go walking around, to the park, the gym, go on a hike or to the mall and you'll see the telling white cord. it's like every other person has one. even marlow commented on just how many people have ipods out here. you don't even have to see the ipod itself - the white is all that needs to be showing.

even some of the non-apple headphone manufacturers are making their earphones with white cables. it's as if they don't want their customers to be mistaken for all the other, inferior, non-ipod users (okay, that's probably a stretch, but i know it's true to somebody, on some level).

anyway, the great irony about these stock ipod headphones is that they pretty much suck. they sound terrible. in fact, i have a pair of (black) $12 sony earbuds that sound fuller/richer, and that are a little more comfortable. the sony's don't distort when you push them. and they actually get louder than the white ones at full volume.

i'm not trying to over-think this - especially people's view of me (as spoiled as i may be). but i'm settling into totally being happy with people thinking i don't have an ipod. it's a little more understated. maybe a little less pretentious. and heck, it might even be safer.

my E3c's are a boring gray color. and that suits me just fine.


brandon's new site

hey, check it out. my buddy brandon has a new website. listen carefully to the songs to hear yours truly on all the rhythm guitars and backup vocals....


more NC pics...

let's try this again.
rob and joanna did a short acoustic set at the pour house. so cool to hear them doing one of Grandma's gospel songs in a bar. this is wes and rob after their set.
I got to lead 4 worship services in one day! this one's at good ol' hope chapel. good to be home. from left to right, that's bruce, jennifer, me, rob (behind the cymbal) and neal. note brenda's artwork on the wall behind us - darn you guys for moving away before we got a decent painting for our house out of you!
stacy clearman and I got to lead some acoustic worship for the church alive youth on sunday night. this dude is an incredible artist and lead worshipper.
che played skins with us. don't know what che's last name is. maybe guevara?stacy and his little ones, rachel & david. no, they're not twins. can't believe you're a daddy-o, bro!

NC trip

monday night was a rough one. we had to come back from north carolina, where we spent the weekend. always a little depressing leaving anywhere to come back to Arizona!

jodi had a trying flight - pregnant, swollen, uncomfortable - we're just getting to the point where she's having trouble getting comfortable at all. and to top it all off, the Steelers were defeated by the Jagoffs... I mean, Jaguars.

but here are some highlights of the weekend. we stayed with Diana and Wes (below). they're lots of fun now that they're finally married.

I have lots more pics. but 30 minutes is about my max when dealing with Blogger. they make it so difficult to upload pics. and you wonder why I only blog like every 10 days. we'll try again manana.


09.09.06 - TruWorship with Leeland

last night was so incredible. after a worship workshop through the afternoon, we opened for leeland.

the "we" in my previous sentence was a hodge-podge of local worship leaders. we were thrown together at about 4:30pm and had a whole worship set by 7. the Big Guy definitely helped us pull it off.

from left to right, that's yours truly, then Israel from oneplace, then Dwayne from the Gathering.

also present was Jeff Merry from Worship Arizona, Gerald Fercho from the North Hills Church of God, Marshall McCluhan from Northridge Community, and Ben from Calvary Church. each of us worship leaders got to lead a song (they actually asked me lead two songs - sweet!). and we all backed each other up for the rest of the set.

what's so funny is that I've met or heard about all these guys from all the other gigs i've been playing. in fact, last night, i easily ran into about 20 musicians/leaders from churches across the Phoenix area that I'd met over the past 3 years of doing this worship thing. even ran into Jacob Boyd - a former Reign King! and Jeff Gilbert, who'd asked me to sit in with his former band, Ember/This Daily Summer. and so many people who have played with members of my band and had heard of me/vice-versa.

such a blessing. I haven't really felt a strong sense of community among the local music/worship scene in a long time. it's now been rekindled.

and one of the highlights of the night was that the bass player in our "conglomerate" band was none other than Patrick Andrew of the band PFR. sweet, funny guy with a great heart and an incredible voice.

here's a pic with Leeland Mooring (of the band leeland). this kid just turned 18 and is touring the US. he's got the voice of songbird and a killer band/show. really nice guys too.


bye bye wuerfele's

last night we had a goodbye party for Kurt and Serena Wuerfele.

these people rock! they're the ones who've endured this desert experience with us. they moved out to AZ within 2 weeks of us moving here. they stayed with us for a bit, and kurt's been my right hand man in the band.

we'll surely miss their friendship (and kurt's guitar playing). you've affected our lives in amazing ways guys! go back to NC with peace. we'll see you there soon....


catch up

i totally forgot to mention a few things that have happened over the past week.

blue man group - such a great show. clever, rhythmic, smart and funny. yet really artistic at the same time. totally not what I expected for a vegas show. they had a live band, and were so interactive. these guys definitely make the crowd part of the show. a definite must-see - and this one might be more possible - they're going on tour this fall.

oh yeah, and while we were in vegas, we ran into Steve-O of jackass/wild boys fame. he was walking into the casino of our hotel with some friends. jodi had no clue who he was. I didn't realize it was him until we were just past him - otherwise, I might have stolen a fake "i'm your biggest fan" snapshot with him.

we also just missed Paris Hilton's CD release party. it was scheduled the night we left at a club right near our hotel. I know we're both really disappointed. that would have been a real treat to see such great musical talent.

catch U l8r. gotta go work on getting the baby's room ready....


farewell, dear stratocaster

today, I said goodbye to my strat. I've had it for over 12 years now - my longest guitar relationship. we had good times and bad. we laughed, we cried.

I held on to it because it played so well and had such great hardware on it (locking tuners, a rolling nut, lace sensor pickups). and everyone I talked to that ever owned a stratocaster said they regretted the day they got rid of theirs.

so, I guess I may regret today... someday. but for now, peace out and nice to know ya! hope the dude from craigslist enjoys playing you. your replacement should arrive early next week!


derek webb's album

courtesy of ashdown, derek webb is letting us all download his album for free. click 'em.

I'm totally down with his philosophy. I guess it doesn't mean all that much for me to allow downloading/sharing like this as a measly indie artist. I hope to be a bigger nobody someday - so that when I say people are allowed to download my album, they actually do it!


new guitar!

oh happy day. I just ordered a new guitar. should arrive in the next week or so. i guess to some folks that isn't a big deal. but i get new guitars more seldom than I get new cars - not often enough!

anyhoo, i'm so pumped because i've never owned a fender telecaster before. the tele was the first electric guitar to ever go into mass production. indeed, it was the prototype for all solid-body electric guitars that are used in music today.

i'll be joining the ranks of all these tele players: keith richards (rolling stones), jeff buckley, thom yorke (radiohead), bruce springsteen (couldn't leave out the boss, eh ryan?), george harrison (beatles), andy summers (police), john fogerty (CCR - that's for bill g).... the list is too long.

so now I will have owned/played all three of the major production electric guitars - the Tele, the Strat, and my Les Paul. what's next? maybe a martin acoustic?