Wins & Losses (March 10-16)

Wins

  • After a few days out of the office, it was nice to get back in the swing of things on Tuesday morning. There is no shortage of things to do around here and my achieving self was ready to get back to the grinding wheel. I’ve got plenty of things to prepare for like Easter and my upcoming FBCG Music Ministry Weekend (featuring the Boyce College Choir and Mike Harland from LifeWay Worship!).
  • While we were still in West Tennessee, I took the rare opportunity of an off Sunday to visit a church I’ve never visited before. This is something I like to do so that I can gain a better understanding of how people in various denominations worship. On March 10th, I visited Piperton United Methodist Church which happens to be very close to the church we attended for a few months before moving to Georgia. The folks there were incredibly sweet. I was surprised, however, to be recruited by the music director to sing in the choir! She approached me, introduced herself and welcomed me, and then asked if I liked to sing. You can imagine where the conversation turned from there. I robed up, grabbed a folder, and headed to the loft. I so much enjoyed singing with that core group of singers in the tiny church and it may have been the first time I’ve ever worn anything with the UMC logo on it. I highly encourage ministers to take advantage of opportunities to worship with different denominations (within reason) and learn more about people. It’s incredibly enlightening.
  • Saturday night was spent singing. Between 30-40 folks gathered at church for our inaugural HymnSing. We even had a few visitors from some area churches. It was so great to be in an informal setting and sing good, Baptist hymns in the round. I had to stop the event after 2.5 hours, but I could tell that the group there could have sung for at least another hour. We had a ball and I can’t wait to do it again.

Losses

  • I detest driving in the rain. Not using cruise control consistently, always having to adjust wiper speed/interval, never turning lights off, having to slow down at unexpected times because of puddles, and on and on and on. Our entire drive on Monday from Decatur to Gray was in the rain and I hated it. Getting out of the car when we got back home that night was more of a treat than anticipated.
  • Conflict may be my least favorite thing in all the world. I hate getting into disagreements with people and I especially hate it when it’s with people I love. What makes it worse is when it consumes your thoughts every moment after it happens. Y’all please pray that the conflict my family is dealing with will be resolved soon and with no broken relationships.
Advertisements

Wins & Losses (March 3-9)

Wins

  • After a slow-going Monday morning (like most of them), I was unexpectedly called upon to lead preschool chapel before lunch. Normally, our pastor does it, but he was out of the office that morning. I received about 45 minutes notice and hurriedly got something together. Psalm 139 is usually the go-to when talking to children, so that’s where I went. I shared with them Psalm 139:17-18 when the psalmist exclaims how wonderful and numerous God’s thoughts are toward us…so much that they outnumber the grains of sand on the shore. They seemed to respond very well. Though unexpected, I was glad I got to share with them that morning. It makes me that much happier that Rea will be there in the fall.
  • As much as I tease my wife about this, knowing your match on the Enneagram personality test is a really helpful tool (I’m a 3, by the way). That really showed last Monday night when I successfully pulled off a concert here at FBC Gray. We welcomed the Ladies of Lee (from Lee University) to Jones County and they performed an absolutely wonderful concert. I loved interacting with their director and the ensemble. They sang some incredible choral standards as well as modern songs with choral arrangements. It was a pleasant treat for me to see and catch up with Lexie Downing, a former student of mine when I taught at FACS. I’m proud of the work she’s doing as she pursues her degree in church music. My inner achiever was satisfied with the evening as it went by without a hitch. I’m now looking forward to my next concert promotion in April and I can’t wait for it.
  • The weekend in West Tennessee was tiring, but good for our souls. We spent some time in Rossville as my in-laws renewed their wedding vows after 25 years of marriage. It was good to see everyone again, though we saw most of them a few weeks ago when they came to Gray. Becca and I performed music for the ceremony and got our Booya’s fix since we were close to Collierville. My folks and siblings were able to come up for a few hours and spend some time with the girls. West Tennessee is certainly the stomping grounds for me (and my two kids!) and I’ll never get tired of it.

Losses

  • Tennessee had it and Georgia does too, apparently. You know, that time of year where you’re running heat in the morning and late nights, but struggling with whether to turn on the AC in the middle of the day. We seem to have arrived there in our neck of the state and I’m trying to decide what clothes to wear each day. It’s frustrating to say the least because the wife and I have our spring/summer clothes put away and we really don’t want to get them out just yet despite my longings for warm weather. I’m sure this temperature indecisiveness will lead to allergies for both of us (I can already see pollen), so I reckon we should just brace ourselves and press on.
  • ‘Twas not my best week for seminary. I got behind on reading and lectures and, God forbid, turned in something late. To my relief, that late assignment was only worth 5 points. But the achiever (see, Enneagram again!) in me could hardly bear it. And more to my relief, I was getting behind on reading in a book I’ve read before. It was frustrating, but that’s just the way it is. Let’s hope my catching up will be beneficial to all!

Does she even get it?

I am now the dad of a two-year old. I try to avoid the term, “terrible twos” and give my kid the benefit of the doubt. But a few nights this week, that term seemed more appropriate than not. Rea was ornery, angry, disobedient, and downright mean. In Mud Creek, we’d say she was being a “cantankerous heifer.” On two occasions when she was willfully disobedient (one of which involved physical pain on my end), I had to spank her. Naturally, she cried a little bit. I picked her up, held her close, sat in my chair. I had her in my lap facing me and explained to her why she couldn’t fuss and hit things or hurt people when she got angry. I explained why her mom and I have to discipline her when she does wrong. Basically, I had an adult conversation with a 2-year old.

As these things happen (and will continue to happen), I find myself asking the same old question: Does she even get what I’m saying to her? We know she listens to things because language is developed aurally. She didn’t learn to say words like “mommy,” “daddy,” “Dee,” “noodle,” or “water” because she read them and sounded them out. She listened and finally picked up on them. This gives us great caution as parents to watch what we say and make sure that nothing toxic comes out of our mouths lest our children hear and say likewise.

I know that when I was younger, when my parents were giving instruction after I’d received discipline, the last thing I wanted to do was listen to them. My butt was hurting and that’s all I could think about! But here I am, in my parents’ shoes now, trying to impart some wisdom to my own kids and wondering if they’re thinking the same thing. However, it does bring me some comfort to know that my child wants to hug me and sit with me even after she’s been disciplined. That’s something I hope never changes.

So does she get it? Maybe a little bit. At least I know she understands some of the words coming out of my mouth.

Wins & Losses (February 24-March 2)

Wins

  • Baby K turned 8 months old on Sunday. This one is significant because Rea was 8 months old when we found out Becca was pregnant for the second time, so it’s been interesting to compare and contrast the two girls at this stage. She’s had quite a few developments in the last month, the biggest of which is pulling up and standing on anything she can get her hands on. She has mostly transitioned from army crawling to actual crawling, but she can still make a lot more tracks when she drags her body! She’s so much fun to be around and I’m thrilled to call her mine.
  • Our senior adult group at FBC Gray (Young at Hearts) had two events last week in which I joined them. The first half of the week, we were treated to a mini-concert from the vocal ensemble at Jones County High School. It made my heart smile to heart songs I had sung in college being sung again and this gave me a chance to finally meet the choral director. We were quite impressed with the talent and hope to use them at church sometime. On Thursday night, I traveled with them to Warner Robins to see the Gaither Vocal Band in concert. While I wasn’t planning on going originally, a ticket became available and I jumped right on it. The concert was great and I got to meet Wes Hampton, one of my favorite voices in gospel music. The best part, though, was the ride back. I’m telling you, those folks are like a bunch of teenage girls, giggling for 45 minutes on the way back home! We had a blast and I’m glad I took the time to spend with them.
  • My brother, who couldn’t make it to Reagan’s birthday party in February, drove in on Friday for a short visit with us. Rea absolutely loves her Uncle Quinten and she was thrilled to see him. I’ve enjoyed watching him interact with the kids and I know it’s good for him too. His timing was perfect as well because I had a bass player out of commission on Sundady, giving me the perfect excuse to put him to work. It was nice to play music together again.

Losses

  • A malfunctioning smoke detector at 4:30 am was not exactly what I had planned for a Saturday night, but that certainly didn’t stop it from happening. We didn’t smell smoke or see a fire, but also couldn’t get it stop beeping. As a precaution, I called 911 and had officers come and inspect. Turns out the smoke detector was expired AND malfunctioning. When our nerves finally subsided (as much as they could), we got about an hour of sleep before we had to be up for church. Not how we expected to spend a weekend evening, but we did learn how to better prepare if, God forbid, the smoke detector actually detects smoke one day.

Wins & Losses (February 9-23)

Monday of last week was so busy that I completely forgot about Wins & Losses. Here’s two weeks worth for ya…

Wins

  • After two rough weeks of choir practice (which was at least 51% my fault), I was excited to have two great rehearsals back-to-back. Stuff got done, songs were performed with grace and professionalism, and each rehearsal ended with our hearts & minds turned toward heaven. Though ministry can have its rough spots from time to time, its moments like these that make me grateful for what I do. I’m so glad God’s grace lets me do this.
  • Organizing a music library is no small task around here. With nearly 250 titles (not counting instrumental pieces), that one room alone is enough to overwhelm even the strongest body. I’d made a decent start on it last September, but quickly got bogged down with more important tasks. Two canceled meetings gave me a good enough reason to head back over there and pick up where I left off. What I thought would take weeks (if not months) of work, turned out to be a task completed in just under a week. There was stamping, hole punching, throwing away, label making, taping, scanning, PDF splitting, and plenty of Excel. My inner secretary was on a high. It was so satisfying to have it all organized in a way that I understand and can use for a long time. I’m happy to have a large section of my desk free of anthem stacks now!
  • Two weeks ago, we tuned in to Fox News (a rarity around our house) for a special on The Story with Martha McCallum. An old family friend named Daniel Ritchie was on the show giving his take on the recent abortion measures being undertaken in New York and Virginia. He was born with no arms and after he was born not breathing, the doctors asked his parents if they wanted them to revive him. By the grace of God, his parents immediately responded in the positive, leading Daniel to live a life telling others about not only his physical saving, but his eternal saving through Jesus Christ. He was able to share this compassionately on national television and I couldn’t have been prouder. I received his first book My Affliction for His Glory last summer for my birthday and I highly encourage all of you to consider purchasing it.
  • We celebrated Rea’s birthday with a Tangled party on President’s Day. A host of family came into town and we were able to celebrate with them and many friends from church. It was fun watching Rea interact with friends she’s known for less than a year, but you can tell she loves them as if they were all siblings. We enjoyed spending time with our parents and grandparents and I know the girls did as well. We properly celebrated on Rea’s actual birthday with a cupcake with a fish on it and she LOVED it. It’s been a great two years with our first girl and we’re excited for the years to come.

Losses

  • A strange bout of sickness has invaded. Becca has been dealing with nausea, I had a major headache and some nausea over a weekend, Rea and K both were sickly for a spell, and our extended family suffered the worst of it. We’re not exactly sure what it is or from where it came. But whatever it is and from wherever it came, it needs to go back!
  • While it was a passing score, I was a little disappointed to receive an B on my first book report for my seminary class. To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect since I barely understood the book I read anyway, but my grade in the class remains high and for that I am grateful.
  • We’re all tired of the rain. And though us Georgians may be tired of it, I know my friends and family in West/Middle Tennessee have certainly had their fill. I’ve been seeing images of a flooded Tennessee River and it is worse than I’ve ever seen it before. I have old friends who have had to leave their river homes because the waters have gotten so high. We all need a little sunshine and not just to give us a break from the rain.

Wins & Losses (February 3-9)

Wins

  • Monday was the official start date of my seminary courses. I have been reading class material for about a month, but forums and other items were finally unlocked last week. I loved listening to the lectures and responding to the forums and taking the quizzes (good grades, too!). When I told Becca I loved learning this week, she said, “Honey, it’s week 1.” Now, if she would have let me finish, I would have recognized that on my own. I know it’ll get tough. But for now, it’s great and I love doing it.
  • We enjoyed some unexpected warm weather here in Middle Georgia. I suppose that groundhog wasn’t messing around when he said an early spring is on the way!
  • Thursday was an exhausting, but joy-filled day. I spent the entire day and evening with the Sons of Jubal, performing two concerts in Sharpsburg, GA. Not only was the singing magnificent, the fellowship with the guys was excellent. I caught up with friends made at the retreat and met a few other fellows with whom I enjoyed great conversation. I am continually amazed at the talent that exists in this group, and even more amazed at the humility shown. I am looking forward to all the times I get to sing with the Jubals and can’t wait for the next concert.
  • On Friday night, Jones County played host to Tim Tebow’s Night to Shine. For those that are unfamiliar, this is a prom-like experience for young people with special needs. One of our sister churches hosted the event while FBC managed childcare. I spent about 2-3 hours with kids I didn’t know and had a good time with them. I heard wonderful things about the event across town and was glad to be a part of it.
  • And then on SATURDAY night, our church hosted MarriedPeople Night Out, a date night for couples in all stages of life. The meal was great and the fellowship was superb. We were not expecting to be told we had been volun-told for a game during the evening. Coincidentally, so had our card-playing friends, the Abneys! I usually don’t mind playing a game in front of a crowd, but we were playing “Watch Ya’ Mouth,” a knockoff brand of “Speak Out.” And as fate would have it, I had to use the mouthguard. It was funny and we ended up winning the game! Becca did great and got 5 out of 5! We heard a convicting talk from a guest speaker and laughed the night away. It makes us so grateful for a church wanting to invest in the lives of married couples.

Losses

  • Last Sunday was rough. Between sound issues, AV issues, and music issues, I got home that afternoon with my head hanging lower than it has in a long time. I was so frustrated and had to make an effort to pray before the sermon because my heart was not in the right place at all. Unfortunately, Wednesday night was not much better. And because I was singing with the Jubals on Thursday, all my weekly tasks had to be completed in 2.5 days. All in all, work last week was stressful, and I’m looking forward to the upswing this week.

Wins & Losses (January 27-February 2)

Wins

  • January finally ended. While it tends to be a month of ministerial reorganization (at least on the worship leading front), I was ready for January to move on about a week and a half ago. I had gotten my life back together and was ready to look forward to the next thing. At any rate, January’s gone and February has come. As well as Punxsutawney Phil not seeing his shadow, which gives me hope for warmer weather sooner rather than later!
  • I’ve really gotten into my second book for my seminary course. The first one (Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship) was quite a feat, but Christ-Centered Worship has been much more enjoyable. I’ve loved seeing how the church’s liturgy has been transformed since pre-Reformation days. The book is FULL of resources for worship leaders and music pastors to use in all sorts of occasions. I can’t wait to adapt what I’m learning to Sunday mornings. It’s good stuff!
  • I was privileged to participate in the ordination council and service for two friends here in Georgia. Our church ordained a minister and a deacon in the same night and the service was so special. Watching these two men immediately jump into their responsibilities by administering Communion was so significant and something I wish more churches would do when ordaining. I’m looking forward to how God uses these two guys in the future for the service of His church.

Losses

  • We had some sick kiddos last week. Runny noses and coughs plagued our house throughout the week and it was difficult watching the girls suffer. They seem to be on the mend, though not totally healed yet.
  • I have a love-hate relationship with choral anthem preview boxes. I love the opportunity to explore new titles in the realm of church music publishing, but it can get overwhelming really quick. I also hate receiving 30-40 anthems and keeping less than 10 simply because of difficulty or lack of good writing. Here’s to hoping next quarter’s preview boxes bring some joy!

Wins & Losses (Jan 20-26)

Wins

  • Honestly, the highlight of my week was participating in a MLK commemoration ceremony at our local courthouse. I expounded upon it in a blog post last week that really encompasses what it was like.
  • Music last week at our church was so full. I call those “musically exhausting” Sundays. They weren’t exhausting in the sense that I didn’t enjoy myself, but in a sense that what we did was full, thorough, and really accomplished what we were trying to say. Everybody brought their A-game and I left the sanctuary that day smiling because I knew we had caught a glimpse of Jesus that morning.
  • Saturday was spent at the Rock Eagle 4-H Center in Eatonton for the FBC Deacons Retreat. I’ll be honest…there was a part of me that wasn’t looking forward to giving up a Saturday with my family. But I was so glad I went and bore a small part of the responsibility of the day. I led the group in the initial icebreakers (which were so fun!) and then got to help lead two breakout sessions. All day long, we talked about Jesus. We didn’t get into petty matters of procedures and policies, but reminded ourselves of what is really important and what we need to communicate most. Rock Eagle is also a beautiful place to be anytime of the year, so it was a real treat to go back there.
  • Just in case your other Vol fans haven’t told you…TENNESSEE MEN’S BASKETBALL IS #1 IN THE COUNTRY!!!!!!!!!!! GBO. ROCKY TOP. GO VOLS.

Losses

  • Rea’s new favorite word is “no.” Now all y’all gonna say that we knew it was coming and we did. It’s not like she doesn’t need to know the word anyway. I’d just rather it not be said with a screech most of the time.
  • It broke my heart to see New York pass a bill that makes it easier for women to acquire an abortion. Not only that, it extends the length of the pregnancy to where it’s legal for an abortion to happen and relaxes some other laws to where you don’t even have to be a doctor to perform it! Perhaps what disturbed me the most was the massive, MASSIVE amounts of celebration that happened upon its signing. The Empire State Building lit up to mark its signing and cheers rang through the capitol building in Albany. I hate that we have become similar to pre-civilization tribes that offered their children as sacrifices to pagan gods and pray God’s forgiveness on us.

MLK 2019

Yesterday, I did something a little different.

Regretfully, I have commemorated MLK Day each year by just enjoying a day off work or school. I knew not to go to the bank or expect any mail that day. I may have shared a quote from the civil rights leader on social media, but that was the extent of it. But as I was preparing lunch for my daughter yesterday, I heard music and saw a group of my black neighbors walking down the street behind our house. I knew what the occasion was and assumed they would make their way to Main Street. I tweeted a quick little diddy about how glad I was that they had the freedom to do what they were doing.

As I finished up my lunch break and walked back towards my office, I could see that the group had gathered at the courthouse, also near my office. Rather than going straight back to work, I decided to join them. I walked on over and listened to them sing. I then listened to a local minister read from the book of Acts and call his listeners and his county to come together. He mentioned how we have black/white churches, black/white ministers, and even black/white cemeteries and funeral homes. He recognized it and asked his people, Why?” There was nothing disparaging about anyone there or not there. He reminded his listeners that God created all of us equally. One of the best points he made was that Dr. King did not just fight so that black Americans could have civil rights…he fought so everyone would have the same rights, regardless of their race or ethnicity. And my favorite quote of his message was that we “should never look down on another person unless you’re reaching down to help him up.” Never once did I feel out of place, though I think I was one of two white people in attendance. After the message, another local minister got the mic and led the group in a call-and-response song. The song spoke of God’s faithfulness in how He’d brought His children a “long, long way.” I did have to leave near the end of the song, but I was sure glad I went.

Not long after I got to my office, they continued their march right past my building. My pastor and I went out to greet them and hugged one of the local ministers who was leading them in a chant as they marched. I couldn’t help but grin knowing that these people genuinely want to see their hometown come together and lay all of our petty differences aside.

For the rest of the day, I did a few things: 1) I kicked myself for not going to an MLK gathering before, 2) I made sure that I didn’t plan anything for next year so I could join them for the entirety of the celebrations, and 3) I reflected on these neighbors of mine and wondered how I can carry on Dr. King’s legacy where I live. Maybe we should all think like that.

Wins & Losses (January 13-19)

Wins

  • It was good to get together again with our friends, the Abneys, this week for another round of cards. This is definitely on the highlights of our week and we love letting the girls play together too. So far, the guys team has won each Spades match of 2019. There’s only one way to go from there, but we aren’t planning on it! Maybe one of these days, we’ll actually start earlier in the evening so we’re not up til midnight trying to best the other team!
  • Becca and I enjoyed a lovely date night last Saturday. Thanks to a conglomeration of gift cards, we were able to enjoy a nice dinner at Longhorn in Milledgeville while some church friends babysat the girls. It was nice for the two of us to get out of the house and engage in good conversation over a delectable steak dinner. We ended the evening eating ice cream on the couch and watching the second DVD of my new collection of the Batman series from the 1990s.
  • Since my title at FBC Gray includes the term “creative arts,” it is my responsibility to manage multimedia on just about everything. This includes the outdoor LED sign, announcement videos, a lot of our social media presence, and other image-bearing items in our church. To help me with this, I developed a makeshift studio this week in what was formerly known as “the sign room.” It was called that because our LED sign can only be operated from the computer in that room. It wasn’t used for anything else, so I set up a backdrop on some poles and got a new video camera for videos. I’ve really enjoyed embracing this new role and putting the videos together each week is a really satisfying project. I love using my studio and can’t wait to make it even better this year.
  • Via self-diagnosis, it appears that my leg cramps were due to a lack of potassium (like EVERYONE told me). I began eating a banana every day or every other day and it has significantly helped. I’m able to sleep better and I’m more at ease not having to take a Tylenol or leg cramp pill every night before I go to bed. Now if I can just figure out how to share these bananas with Reagan without us having to buy two bundles per week…

Losses

  • A reality hit us last week as we completed registration and made the deposit for Reagan to enter preschool this September. Our church is host to a marvelous preschool and Reagan will go for half a day, two days a week. It seems so strange to imagine getting up and going about my morning routine with the added element of waking Reagan and getting her ready…for school. We know it’s good for her and it needs to happen. But my goodness, how did we get here so fast?!