Monday, January 28, 2008

A Great Photographer

One of those things that I have been meaning to do for a long time is to set up a website where my wife can display her photographs, and maybe even sell them to make that extra little money for retirement or for other opportunities. Well I've finally gotten around to beginning the process. Eventually we'll get it set up for online orders, but for now it's simply there to show off her pictures. I suppose that time I spent working in the photo lab paid off. All she has to do is take the pictures and give them to me to make them look even better. I have to admit, however, for many of them I didn't do much of anything to them.

Kori Lewis Images

I will be updating it continually with her existing photographs and those to come as she takes them.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

What Worship Isn't

In my last post I mentioned some of the things I've been meaning to do but haven't gotten around to doing. One of those things I mentioned was writing a book. Well, I've had an idea for a book (actually two) on worship. I feel like I have been called by God to lead others in worship, and because of what I believe worship is, that means more than being a song leader on Sunday mornings. To truly be a worship leader I must dedicate my efforts in teaching others what worship is, and I think that writing can be a useful tool in doing that. I hope that others will help me shape my thoughts in order for them to more effective in teaching others. Feel free to give opinions, criticisms, and additions to what you read here. There will be plenty more to come.

We live in a culture that is very postmodern and deconstructionist in its thinking. It tears things apart and breaks them down in order to analyze them. After breaking things apart, however, it then has nothing to offer in the form of solutions or positive messages. Though in itself this sort of philosophy has little to offer, it can still be a good starting point for analysis as long as you move forward from there onto the construction of useful solutions and analysis. In learning and teaching what worship is, it may prove helpful to begin by pointing out what worship is not. Here are a few things I am learning what worship is not.

Worship is not just music. While singing and playing songs can be considered worship based upon the subject of the song and the heart of the singer, music is not necessarily worship. Simply singing a song about God does not make it worship. The song must be an outpouring of the heart for it to truly be worship. Worship is also not primarily or solely music. If worship were only music, some people would have an advantage to worship based upon talent, and some others would be at a disadvantage. All people are invited to be a part of the body, but our worship comes from suffering and sacrifice, not from doing one thing correctly. (Romans 12)

We cannot worship more than one thing. The first commandment given to Moses in Exodus 20 is "You shall have no other gods before me." God does not share our worship with other things and other gods. When it comes to worshiping God, we also cannot turn our worship on and off. When we leave the assembly on Sunday afternoon, we do not cease to worship. Either we continue to worship God, or we turn our worship to other gods. It does not simply stop.

Worship does not happen without our devotion. What we devote our time, money, efforts, and suffering to is what we consider worthy of worship. The outpouring of these things from our heart shows where our devotion is and who or what we worship (James 2). As an example however, this does not mean that going to our job means that we are devoted to the money more than God. Going to a job means supporting family, giving to the church, and providing services. When it becomes the object of our worship is when we cease to place God above everything else.

These are just a few ideas for a small section of an early chapter that I am sketching out, so please give your thoughts and suggestions on the content. I felt like this would be a good place to start, but have much more to say in constructing good teachings in the following chapters, moving forward from just tearing down bad teachings. A later chapter based upon music would help provide solutions to discerning good teaching on worship in our music. Also keep in mind that these blog posts are and will be rough first drafts with little to no editing done on them.

Monday, January 14, 2008

New Things

In one week I will be starting my new job doing graphics for a local nursery. I'll be making all their signs and web maintenance and I am looking forward to it. Though my job at the photo lab has been pretty good to me the past year and a half, especially with all the overtime work, it is time to move forward.

Since this is the new year, it's a perfect time to begin new things, so I am making the effort to write more on my blog (look at how many posts I have last year compared to the previous ones), but I also want to use this as a chance to begin some of those projects I have put off for so long. The recording, the website for my wife's pictures, and the book that is bubbling over in my brain waiting to get out, they all have been put off for too long, and something needs to be done on all of them that won't get done unless I do it.

I hope you'll keep me accountable for getting some of these things done, but I also will be posting some things that I will hope to get some feedback on from people who read my blog regularly. I pray your holiday craziness is over. It's time to get to work!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Cool Gadgets

Most people who know me know that I like cool gadgets. Most people who know me know that I also like music. Most of those same people also know I like recording music. Ever since I got my ipod I have been filling it with tons of music, videos, podcasts, and all sorts of audio goodness. I have used it for church services and functions, and my wife uses it when she runs on the treadmill. Well, I have found a couple of ipod "accessories" (used loosely, because one of them costs more than the ipod itself) that would allow me to partake in activities that I enjoy in new ways.

One of these is the Belkin TuneTalk, which has two omnidirectional microphones that records CD quality audio directly to your ipod. If I were to ever start a podcast, this is something I would insist on getting for myself, for recording interviews, personal notes, and to take my recording anywhere (it has an audio insert as well). I have heard other podcasters use this (including a recording podcast) and the quality is great, and for the price ($70), it can't be beat.

The other gadget is the real reason I am writing this blog post, though the one I am much less likely to get. It is the Belkin TuneStudio (this isn't a Belkin commercial), which allows you to record four-channel audio, complete with channel mixers, 3-band EQ, phantom powered XLR inputs, instrument inputs and stereo compression to keep the audio within limits for the ipod. It also has built-in USB to stream the audio (16-bit 44kHz) to your computer. At $400, the price is sort of a turn-off, but with the features it has, it's understandable why it costs so much. (update: $196.47 on Amazon.com...not bad!)

So there you are. If you're looking for something to get me next Christmas, there's two ideas in two different price ranges. For now I'm going to play with a present from this year. It's an ipod boombox with a video output. Now I just have to figure out how to get my DVDs onto the ipod so I can play them anywhere.