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Blue Like Jazz

Blue-Like-JazzA couple of weeks ago I posted after reading the book Scary Close written by Donald Miller. After enjoying Scary Close, I picked up the paperback copy of Blue Like Jazz I had sitting on my dresser.

Some characterize Miller’s writing as “a stream of consciousness,” where he writes a book like a journal entry or simply carrying on a conversation. There are times where he will finish one thought in a chapter and jump to another. It makes for a very readable style.

One thing that I appreciated in both books is his dry sense of humor. For example, near the end of the book he makes this statement: Television drives me crazy sometimes because everybody is so good-looking, and yet you walk through the aisles of the grocery stores, and nobody looks like that. I’ve had that same thought as I’ve watched TV. Who looks like that all the time? Doesn’t seem like reality.

There were two parts of the book that lodged themselves in my memory. One was a cartoon illustration of an astronaut who wore a suit that kept him alive without food or oxygen. The space station the astronaut was on exploded and it sent the astronaut into orbit around the earth. He could see the planet yet couldn’t get to it. No one came to rescue him. His space suit kept him alive and he simple orbited the earth day after day after day. Miller shared how he would lie in bed and think about what life would be like to be cut off from all relationships, to simply be in orbit totally alone. As Miller thought about it, it scared him to think of life like that. It is a disturbing thought. Seriously, imagine it for just a bit. Disconnected from every relationship. Frightening.

The second was a realization Miller came to while listening to a speaker. As he looked at Christian culture, he said we treat love as a commodity. When people act like we want and do what we want, they receive our love and acceptance. If someone is acting opposite of what we like or even rubs us the wrong way, we withhold love from them. Miller admitted that he used love like money. He would give it out or withhold it based on the response and actions of other people.

I realized, at times, I do that, too. While I know that God wants me to love all people, some people get a greater share of my love and affirmation. As I read that chapter (#18), it challenged me to look at how I treat those around me.

Blue Like Jazz was a good read, filled with humor, interesting stories and challenging thoughts. I’m glad that Scary Close moved me to pick it up.

 
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Posted by on February 25, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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SOLID ROCK 2015

solid rock 15Each summer Cincinnati Christian University invites high school students to participate in a two-week event called SOLID ROCK. Students meet on the campus of CCU for a week of rehearsal to create and learn a program of ministry through music and the arts. During the second week, the group travels by charter bus to present their program at a different church every night.

My son and a few former students from WCC have participated in SOLID ROCK in the past and had a great experience. We have one student this year who is preparing to send her application in to be a part of this summer’s program.

If you are a high school student (or know a high school student) who enjoys the arts (singing, playing a musical instrument or the technical side of things), check out SOLID ROCK. It’s a great experience and also creates relationships that last beyond the two weeks together.

Information on the program and how to apply are on the Cincinnati Christian University website. Dates for 2015 are July 5-10 (on campus) and July 11-17 (on tour). The application packet is due March 16th. Go check it out.

 
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Posted by on February 24, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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ESPNW Features UofLWBB and Mariya Moore

10455072This past Sunday, the Louisville Women’s Basketball team overcame a 10 point deficit and a bunch of turnovers to defeat #17 ranked North Carolina. It was televised on ESPN2 and showed what a great program Louisville has. There were over 13,000 at the KFC Yum! Center to watch the game and cheer on the Cards. It’s a great environment for basketball.

The team responded well in the second half and were led by one of the freshmen, Mariya Moore. She had a great game and scored a season high 28 points. ESPNW featured Mariya and the team on their Weekend Wrap. If you haven’t had a chance to check out the article, you can see it on the ESPNW Weekend Wrap.

 
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Posted by on February 17, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Top Worship Songs at WCC in 2014

worshipPrompted by a blog post from a worship leader a couple of years ago, I listed the top songs we used in our worship services.  I created a list for 2012 and 2013 so I thought it would be interesting to see what that list looked for 2014.

There are some songs that our congregation really responds to and you can tell by the volume of the singing.  We try to introduce new songs that will enhance our services and fit our congregation.  I can remember one we introduced a couple of years ago that we used twice and decided it just didn’t fit us.  There was nothing wrong with the song; it simply wasn’t a good match for our congregation.

While looking through the songs we sang, the song we used the most was God With Us.  It was a song our choir did in a Christmas program and really seemed to fit our congregation, both as a Christmas song and throughout the year.

The other top songs were 10,000 Reasons, Christ Is Enough, Glory to God Forever, Lord I Need You and This is Amazing Grace.

There were three songs we sang for the first time on 2014: This is Amazing Grace, Keep Making Me and My Heart is Yours.  We did also use Oceans and Beautiful Things, but they were presented as a special number rather than for congregational singing.

Here is the rest of the list (in alphabetical order).  They made up the regular rotation of songs, but don’t include all the songs we did.

  1. At Your Name (Yahweh, Yahweh)
  2. Awesome is the Lord Most High
  3. Change My Heart, Oh God
  4. Cornerstone
  5. Draw Me Close
  6. Enough
  7. Everlasting God
  8. Forever
  9. Here I am to Worship
  10. Holy is the Lord
  11. Jesus Messiah
  12. Keep Making Me
  13. Let Everything That Has Breath
  14. My Heart is Yours
  15. Not to Us
  16. Our God
  17. Shout to the Lord
  18. Step By Step
  19. Unchanging
  20. We Fall Down
  21. Worthy is the Lamb
  22. You Are My All in All
  23. Your Grace is Enough

Music selection is subjective – everyone has different tastes and preferences.  It’s always a challenge to find those songs that help lead a specific group of people to sing out in worship.  As we move through this year, we will continue to look for songs that will accomplish that purpose.

 
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Posted by on February 10, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Instagram Continues to Grow

instagramI saw a link on Facebook that pointed to the Instagram blog where it was shared that the social media utility has grown to 300 million users. 300 Million! That makes my follower count seem even smaller.

Instagram passed Twitter in number of users a several months ago. I checked today and the number of Twitter users is 288 million with 500 million tweets sent each day. That’s not too shabby.

Pretty remarkable is the fact that Facebook is still quite popular. In December, 2014, the number of daily active users was 890 million.

Those numbers make it pretty clear that people are engaging in a number of different ways through social media.  Some folks were saying that Facebook was dying, but it seems they are still going strong.  While different age groups might be using different outlets (SnapChat, Instagram, etc), social media is a powerful tool to connect people.  It will be interesting to see how it continues to grow and what new trends develop in the future.

 
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Posted by on February 9, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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Scary Close

scary closeScary Close is an apt title for this book because in it, Donald Miller allows his readers to get scary close.  In his latest offering Miller pulls back the curtain of his life and heart and permits us to see the good and the bad, the successes and the struggles.

This is my first time to read a Donald Miller book.  I’ve heard of him as an author and have even had a paperback copy of Blue Like Jazz sitting on my dresser for a while.  For me, it was a great introduction to his writing.

In chapter 11 of his book, Miller writes this:  “Vulnerability has served me well. It’s one of the few ways I’ve been able to connect with others, including readers.” This book is all about the author being vulnerable.

In Scary Close Miller shares about his tendency as a writer to disconnect from people so he can write books that impress people.  He describes his journey to a therapy camp for adults that helped him uncover some things about himself and how we relates to others.  From that experience he reveals a painful memory from is growing up years that impacted him more than he realized.  He confesses his struggles in dating relationships and describes his courtship with the woman who is now is wife.

This statement probably sums up his book well:  The idea that authenticity leads to deep and healthy relationships fixated me for a long time.  I’m convinced honesty is the soil intimacy grows in.

This is an honest an honest where Miller connects with his readers, but also provides some principles and tools for the reader to move toward intimacy in his/her relationships.

I found the book to be both challenging and engaging.  Plus, it moved me to pick up the copy of Blue Like Jazz sitting on my dresser.  I’m already 7 chapters in.

 

 
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Posted by on February 7, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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U of L WBB on TV Tonight…plus a great article

UL DukeTonight the University of Louisville Women’s Basketball Team will be a part of ESPN’s Big Monday.  They are playing at Duke and the game will be televised on ESPN2. Normally I follow the games on my SportsCenter app which is a convenient way to keep up with the score, but it’s not the same as watching it live. Of course, I would love be at Cameron watching the game, but it’s pretty exciting they will be on ESPN.

ESPN  also featured a great article on the women’s program at Louisville.  They are doing well in their first year in the ACC, but play both Duke and Notre Dame this month, which will both be good games.  This article talks about the growth of the program and where they are headed. Click on the link to check it out:  Louisville coach Walz masters art of succession

 
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Posted by on February 2, 2015 in Uncategorized

 

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