In the first (of hopefully many) Mission Minute features for Bon Air, we take a look at the team that recently traveled to Peru as part of the disaster response after the August earthquakes. On the personal side, my dad was on this trip so it was fun putting together the stories from his trip with work.

Bon Air Baptist Church


Today was wedding cake tasting day. Mmmm, mmm good. I think this is my favorite part of the wedding planning process so far. I'm thinking we're going to need to taste some more cakes before we make a final decision.



Kim and I spent some time yesterday downtown and at Maymont with my brother. He took a couple hundred pictures and got some really good ones. Here's a preview...



The first Christmas Eve I was on staff at a church, we had our Christmas Eve service Saturday night, as Christmas was on Sunday. On the way out that night, I stood with the Pastor at the back door, as was our custom after worship. One man stopped as he walked out and said, "You really should pray 'in Jesus' name.' He likes hearing his name." Well, Merry Christmas to you, too! Apparently that night I simply said, "Amen" at the end of the prayer. Thereafter, I was self-conscious about how I prayed. It took me a while to get past second-guessing myself.


One of my classes this semester is entitled, "Music and Worship." I am trying very hard to be objective about the worship experiences I have had in churches during the past few years, and put them through the filters of effective, Biblical worship that we have examined in class.

During an entire year in college, my friend, Mike, and I traveled to churches around the city each Sunday, including all denominations in our search. There was no specific goal in mind, but we wanted to see the numerous traditions in the city. Aside from a few stylistic elements in each church, all of the "contemporary" and all of the "classic" services looked and felt the same. I guess in the quest to follow the inspiration of God, it is good to know that many are on the same page. However, I have still not seen a worship service where I think I would be drawn into a worshipful experience.

I have never listened to myself lead worship, but perhaps I lead the same way as all of the other contemporary worship leaders. What I have seen in this contemporary worship movement is a move toward fun, happy, joyful, entertaining music. Many times, the contemporary band is comprised of middle-aged adults who struggle to appeal to younger generations. Often, I have seen the music be

Occasionally, I have seen youth worship gatherings that touch on my ideal worship setting, but they are only weekend-long, or week-long experiences. Here are the pieces I see as being necessary:

  • Organically-created music leadership: the service need not be dominated by an electronic keyboard, electric guitar and synthesized drumset. Make it real, make it authentic. Our worship should be real and authentic, and the instrumention should indicate that.

  • Create a living room environment: So many churches have worked to make the music "comfortable" to non-churched people; or they bring in food, coffee and other creature comforts. Why not make it feel like a living room? [ok, a family room. Living room situations don't tend to be that comfortable!]. What do I mean by living room setting? Lay out a rug where the worship leader and pastor are standing, turn down the lights and create an environment of closeness. We know we are part of a large gathering because we hear the voices. By turning down the lights, we allow ourselves to be drawn into a closeness with God, yet remain a part of the larger gathering. For me, leaving the lights on gives me a sense that someone is watching me at all times. This also does not mean flashy lights, or a lot of high-impact media. I have some media on my TV, but I don't have a high-tech light show, and certainly not a disco ball!

  • Use Scripture, traditions of hymns, litanies: I heard a story of a church that tried to be anti-traditional with their new worship service. The traditions of the Church can make a worship experience much richer. Our people, the younger generations especially, are looking for a challenge. A watered-down faith does not challenge them. Raising the bar high, knowing the expectations of living a Christ-like life and understanding what worship has looked like for centuries incorporates that challenge into the worship setting.

  • I don't know that the list stops there, but that's enough for my first outline. Kim and I had a conversation Monday night about our desire for a worship gathering where we connected, and a church family that included people our age. It is incredibly difficult to find, and is made more difficult in that I will inevitably be working in a church after we get married. I trust that we will find a place to be, a place to serve, a place to worship and a place to commune.


    Part two of the Young Leaders Program starts tomorrow afternoon. I've tried to be more motivated about posting on the blog, so I figure this is as good of a time as any to start posting every day. I'll try to update during our three days of class. Maybe it will work!

    update: So posting more often didn't really happen. At least not about YLP, yet. It will. One day.

    college students today.

    props to Marko for finding this one:

    which reminded me of another video i saw recently:


    donald miller.

    Two things make me really excited about this book. First, Donald Miller is writing another book. Second, it was inspired during the screenwriting for the new movie, "Blue Like Jazz." Let the countdown begin! It's going to be a long countdown though -- supposedly Feb 2008 for the book, and filming may start next summer for the movie.


    free burma.

    Free Burma In solidarity with those struggling for freedom in Burma, bloggers around the world are posting this banner on October 4, 2007. Pray for the faith community — both Buddhist and Christian — in Burma.


    ht to Chuck


    tough questions.

    One of our students recently had a friend ask:

    If God loves people unconditionally, then how does God let people go to hell?

    Tonight I was reading some of Augustine's stuff for class, and came across a couple interesting lines:

    In this world, when the stuff that is considered evil is put in its place as evil, it makes the good look so much better, because good things bring greater pleasure and praise when compared to the bad things. The all-powerful God, who is acknowledged even by non-believers as the Supreme Power in the universe, would not allow any evil in his works, unless God could bring good out of that evil. What is evil except the absence of good?
    ...Then whatever defects are in a soul are just the absence of a natural good. When that defect is cured, the defect doesn't transfer somewhere else; they cease to exist because good overcame evil. Paraphase from CCEL

    My mind doesn't churn very often when I read this kind of stuff, but this did. Maybe it's the real-life application. There's certainly nothing wrong with thinking every now and then...