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My Worship Revolution I lead a missional community of faith in Santa Cruz, CA. I am a husband, dad, musician, speaker, performer, community catalyst and dreamer. Welcome to the conversation.

08 May 2011 ~ 6 Comments

Mother’s Day Dichotomy

My church planting coach was sharing with me last week that Mother’s Day is one of the most difficult Sundays of the year for him to juggle as a pastor.  At the same time that we rejoice in celebrating moms, there are so many other emotions that come with Mother’s Day.
There are those who wish to be moms.
Those who wish they weren’t moms.
Those who have recently miscarried.
Those who haven’t been able to get pregnant.
Those who grieve abortions.
Those who have given up children for adoption.
And a category I can fit into this year, those who have lost their moms over the past year.

I don’t (so far) see Mother’s Day as particularly tough, personally.  It wasn’t a huge day for us.  We were rarely together, and I’d send a card or something.  Not like Christmas, which was real tough because of how much she loved the holiday.
But it does bring my mom and the past year to the forefront of my mind.
It is another opportunity to remember her.
To honor her, even in death.
And to recognize one of the greatest gifts she gave us on the way out.

I shared in my first post about her passing that I was reading Life of the Beloved by Henri Nouwen on the airplane as I went to San Diego that day.
One of the things he talks about toward the end of the book is the opportunity we have to be “given” by God, of being a gift even in our deaths.
He writes this:

The deaths of those whom we love  and who love us open up the possibility of a new, more radical communion, a new intimacy, a new belonging to each other.  If love is, indeed, stronger than death, then death has the potential to deepen and strengthen the bonds of love.  It was only after Jesus had left his disciples that they were able to grasp what he truly meant to them.  But isn’t that true for all who die in love?

We often say we don’t know what we have until it’s gone.  In some ways it’s true.  This Mother’s Day I can look back on the life of my mom and be so thankful that God blessed me with her, and to continue to grasp what she truly meant to me.

But in addition, perhaps one of the greatest gift my mom left us, as she died in love, was the relationships we now have with each other in our family.  I’ve seen far too many examples of relationships torn apart by the death of a family member.  But  it has been a blessing to see it draw the rest of our family closer together than we ever have been before.  This is especially true in my life with my sister and my aunt, two other amazing moms to be honored today.  Even in the final days of my mom’s life I watched as my aunt and my sister supported each other, loved each other, and I watched the relationship between all three of them grow deeper in the last few months of my mom’s life.

So today I’m gonna kick back at home and spoil my wife for the amazing mother that she is.
And I also write this post as a way of remembering my own mom and expressing my gratitude for who she was and how she continues to bless our lives, even after moving on from this one.

Love and miss ya mom.

14 April 2011 ~ 7 Comments

Moving Party!!! …Again

That’s Rachel in the picture.
She’s ready to do some serious lifting.

One year ago, we lived on Rigg Street.
6 months ago, we lived on Bay Street.
Right now, we live on Beach Street.
Next week…we’ll live on Faye Drive!
If you help us out this Sunday, we’ll try to give you a break and not move again anytime soon.

Many hands make light work.  And it’s a lot more fun too, as long as you’re fun people.
We’ll be starting at our storage unit at 10am.
Everything’s in boxes, so hopefully it shouldn’t be too tough.
We’ll haul everything to the house and get to unloading.
For those of you who are at a church in the morning, come join us for lunch and then shift 2 is on after lunch.
We’ll get it done so we can all go to the Royal Family Kids Camp Silent Auction that night (hint, hint – don’t you love how I’ve scheduled your day?  I’m like a personal assistant).

Oh…and speaking of lunch, it’s been requested we try not to do pizza again.
Apparently everyone does pizza when they move.
Including us…every time.
We’ll see what we can manage, but no promise.

Important addresses:

Extra Space Storage
1310 Fair Ave.
Santa Cruz, CA

Our house:

3751 Faye Dr.
Soquel, CA

See ya Sunday…I hope.
And thank you guys SO MUCH!!

Oh, and just for fun, how many of you out there have moved a lot?
How many places have you lived in a specific span of time?
Just curious.

18 March 2011 ~ 4 Comments

Ch-ch-ch-changes…

It’s amazing at times to look back and see how God can bring about something positive, even beautiful, out of the crummiest of circumstances.
Beauty fron ashes…almost literally.

As most of you know, the end of 2010 was pretty brutal for us here.
My mom passes away in August.
As a result, we inherited some money and property.
(Needless to say, but I’ll say it anyway, would rather have my mom’s presence than all the money in the world.  Hopefully that’s at least sort of assumed for now.)
Then we have the house fire and are forced to rethink our living situation.

All that to say, we just spent an hour signing our lives away.
We are joining the world of home ownership.
Crazy!!
I had pretty much resigned myself to probably never becoming a homeowner.
But with my mom’s down payment and low interest rates, it turns out to be better for us to buy than to rent.

So we’re moving just outside of Santa Cruz proper into Soquel, really close to where we lived when we first moved here.
Found a pretty good deal on a 3br/2.5ba foreclosure.  (Strange to consider someone else’s misfortune as our blessing, but that could be a whole post of it’s own I guess.)
While it is a seriously scary step, also feeling so blessed for the opportunity to have our home as a place for ministry and hospitality.
So feel free to drop in regularly when we get it…starting with moving day, details to follow! ;)

Here’s a couple pics of the place:


Comin down the driveway


Living room                                               “Hole in the wall” – Caleb’s FAVORITE feature!

Kitchen                                                          Soon to be brewhouse/man-cave  :)

Lot’s of work to be done on it and more possibilities than dollars.
Guess I’d better become a handyman really quick!

I’ll try to make an album in Facebook to share more of the pics.

One of several changes for me and us right now.
I’ll share a few others next week.
If there’s been anything constant in our lives this past year, it’s been change.
Hopefully being rooted in a dwelling place will help add some consistency to the chaos.
God is good and I love this journey!

23 February 2011 ~ 2 Comments

To Be, Or Not To Be…Like “Them”

Earlier today I came across this post in some of my blog catching up.  This particular quote from Tim Keller about doing ministry in a post-Christian culture really grabbed me.

Tim Keller:
“My understanding of how you reach a culture is Christians have to be extremely like the people around them, and yet at the same time extremely unlike them… If Christians are not unlike they won’t challenge the culture, but if they’re not like, they won’t persuade the culture. Now, hitting that middle ground is hard.”

I think that’s where we’re living in a lot of ways, personally and corporately, as we blaze a path clumsily (at times) discover the path for Missio Dei as a community.

Many of our churches over the past number of years have emphasized the importance of being extremely unlike the people around us while forgetting about our many commonalities.
Of course, some others have swung the other way and can become completely like the culture without retaining the marks that set us apart as well.
The former has been more of my experience.

Point is, the quote resonated and got me thinking today.  Figuring out the balance is messy, and it’s the most exciting journey to be on at the some time.

How about you?
Do you agree or disagree with Keller?
Whether you are a church-goer or not, what has your experience been, and what positive or negative affects have you seen as a result?

07 February 2011 ~ 0 Comments

Transitional Housing

For those who haven’t been around our current pad, we moved into a temporary place in Dec. after the fire. It’s a 2br apt/vacation rental that is rented out monthly in the off season for students and people who had house fires. It worked out nicely since the rent is just a smidge more than we were paying, but includes all our utilities.

As you can see from the pictures, not a shabby place to suffer for a little bit.
And Caleb LOVES being across the street from the arcade and the Boardwalk. (In winter they have a deal where you get $40 in tokens for $20, so we stocked up for Christmas and he gets to go play on special occasions.)

We’re on the 3rd floor above the pizza joint there.  And we get a discount. (Same owner.)
The pizza is good.
Not a bad deal, especially on $2 Tuesdays when all draft beer and well cocktails are $2.

You may notice I took those pics back in December.  Finally gettin em up here.

It’s a small place for our family and we’ve had to work at teaching the kids volume levels for apartment living, but it’s the perfect short-term place for us.  Now we’re working on where we’ll move to next, and with any luck (and lots of prayer!), we’ll know more on that front in the near future!

18 January 2011 ~ 2 Comments

Ghost of Blogging Past – More & Closer

What better way to get started blogging in 2011 than recapping some events I never got around to blogging in 2010?
OK, there are probably lots of better ways.  But I’m doing it anyway.
Both to share with you and cause I like to have it to look back on later.

Revolution Church in Long Beach is a huge part of what made me who I am.
Almost 4 years after leaving there those people still feel like some of the closest church family I have.
The past 3 years have been a lot of hell for them and I think of them almost daily.

In 2010 they celebrated 7 years as a church in Long Beach.  To celebrate they decided to bring back all the former worship leaders for a special night of worship and celebration.  After 7 years you wouldn’t think that was a lot, but there were 5 of us on stage: Andy Sulzman, myself, Elijah Young, Jamie Stavenger, and Keith Dickson.

Seriously, one of the most epic nights of leading worship ever for me.
Why?
For one, getting to lead worship with some of the most talented worship leaders I know.  Forget Tomlin, Redman, or United.  Very humbling to get to lead alongside these peeps.
Also, I love that community.  I love getting to be with them, and getting to lead worship for them again was a blast.
And those peeps came to worship.  The energy was crazy in there.
I think it was a healing night in a lot of ways for a lot of the people there.

One of my favorite moments was after How He Loves Us, when Keith starts to pray and says, “God, you truly must love us, cause…well, we’re still here.”
And everyone just kinda laughed.
So many churches would be gone after all they’ve been through.  But they keep on truckin.
I pray God does some serious business in them and then through them this coming year.

I can’t put all the songs on here, but here are some of my favorites from the night.
Thanks for letting me celebrate with you family.
Keep on keepin on.

02-Marvelous Light (Bobby) from Angelo Alberico on Vimeo.

08-Mighty to Save (Jamie) from Angelo Alberico on Vimeo.

15-Indescribable (Bobby) from Angelo Alberico on Vimeo.

16-Victory (Elijah) from Angelo Alberico on Vimeo.

31 December 2010 ~ 2 Comments

2011…A Clean Slate?

I’ve never been one for making a big deal about the New Year.
I mean, really there’s nothing actually that different from December 31st to January 1st, right?
The earth is still orbiting the sun at the same rate and we just choose to mark a full revolution that day or something, right?

Maybe that’s cause I never had a year like 2010.
More than any other time I can recall, it seems like I have talked to person after person who has had a rough year.  I’ve heard very few people tell me that 2010 was great for them.  I could literally use all my fingers very quickly to count the number of people I know who lost loved ones this year.
This all seems odd to me.  Wouldn’t you think that some would have a good year and others a bad one?

Regardless, I’m coming to realize this year that while nothing changes from December 31st to January 1st, at the same time, everything changes.
There is something about having a set increment of time to look back on, to reflect upon, and to be able to have a fresh start.
As I’ve been pondering this thought, I’ve been struck by the following scripture from Lamentations 3.
Hey…rough year, might as well look at a whole book of lamenting, right?

The thought of my suffering and homelessness is bitter beyond words.
I will never forget this awful time, as I grieve over my loss.
Yet I still dare to hope when I remember this:

The faithful love of the Lord never ends!
His mercies never cease.  Great is his faithfulness;
his mercies begin afresh each morning.
I say to myself, “The Lord is my inheritance; therefore, I will hope in him!”

The Lord is good to those who depend on him, to those who search for him.
So it is good to wait quietly for salvation from the Lord. And it is good for people to submit at an early age
to the yoke of his discipline:

Let them sit alone in silence beneath the Lord’s demands.
Let them lie face down in the dust, for there may be hope at last.
Let them turn the other cheek to those who strike them and accept the insults of their enemies.

For no one is abandoned by the Lord forever.
Though he brings grief, he also shows compassion because of the greatness of his unfailing love.

Lamentations 3:19-32 (NLT)

I also LOVE the way the Message reads.  Was having trouble deciding between the two translations.

Just as the writer reflects on God’s mercies being fresh each morning, this year the same feels true for the New Year.
I’m heading into 2011 stoked about a new start.
I’m stoked that I can see God’s mercies as being fresh as we start a new measurement of time tomorrow.  And I honestly feel like great things are in store for 2011.

So…adios 2010!
You won’t be missed much (OK, it wasn’t ALL bad, so maybe a little…but not much).
And 2011…HERE WE GO!  Have a Happy New Year everyone!  See ya in the new one!

29 December 2010 ~ 3 Comments

The Holidays Are Winding Down…

Last year I posted this on the blog a little more than a week before Christmas.
It included this reading from my prayer book:

Let us thank God a thousand times if in the sadness which invades us it seems to us as if we are rejected by the world.  The depression and suffering, the bitterness with which we seem sometimes to be soaked to be soaked, were the lot of Our Lord on earth.  Are we not fortunate to share them?  We should pity the happy people.  Pity those whose happiness, even though it be quite legitimate and innocent, keeps them attached to the world.  God is good that he has so despoiled us of everything, that we can draw breath only by turning our heads towards him. How great is his mercy, how divine his goodness, for he has torn everything from us in order that we may be more completely his.  So the suffererers are the happy ones through the goodness of God.  In suffering I give thanks.

May these days of Christmas festival bring you, in your suffering, I do not say consolation, but the blessing God intends for you. The child Jesus will perhaps not give you any sweetness, – he reserves that for the weak ones, – but his hand will none the less be spread to bless you in these days of Christmastide, and whether you feel it or no, he will pour abundant grace into your soul.

I mentioned in the blog that it made me think of others I knew.  Life was pretty good for me.
I couldn’t mention it at the time, but we had found out the month before about my mom’s cancer.  But she had surgery, everything looked to be gone, and she was on the way to a slow, but we hoped full recovery.
This year on the other hand, I feel like this reading is where I lived.  I changed a few of the bold lines to reflect what struck me more this year.
In the past 4 months we lost my mom, the house we were renting, and most of our kids stuff.  (Happens to be in order of importance there.)
Christmas just passed, and I gotta say, that morning was TOUGH.
Couldn’t help but think of mom quite a bit.

Don’t get me wrong.
At the same time we had a great Christmas as well.
Rachel’s parents and brother joined us in Santa Cruz and it’s ridiculous how many gifts the kids got from us all this year.  Let’s hope they forget that by next year so they don’t expect too much of a pile.

The holidays are almost over.
I just spent a few minutes looking over my blog posts from the past year and reflecting a bit.
Crazy seeing 3 houses in 1 year of posts! Lol.
More thoughts on the New Year later.

All that to say, it’s been a rough year.  One of the roughest I’ve experienced.
But God has been so faithful through it all.  Including this difficult Christmas season.
And while that reading is on the extreme end for me, it rings of lots of truth.  God really has been using the pain to pur abundant grace into my soul, and I think to force me to rely on him more.

In Caleb speak, I think lately I’ve been feeling and acting a lot like this guy lately.
Hoping as we head into 2011, I can start reflecting this guy a little more.

Ramble done.

Wow.
Had to come back and add a link to this post by Christ From Canada.
Watch the video and read the explanation of how the song came about.
Just wow.
Feel like it perfectly complements what was in my head for this post.  But much better said.
So cool.
Oh…and even cooler…that’s my friend Tifah singing!  Love it.

20 December 2010 ~ 2 Comments

Album Review – Chris Tomlin/And If Our God Is For Us

So a few months back I received a copy of Tomlin’s new album, And If Our God Is For Us to review here on the blog.
I had intended to post it the week before Thanksgiving, just after the album came out, and then life got crazy.

So I’m a little late on this one, but oddly enough, it may work out better for the review that it took some time.
I didn’t really love the album so much at first, but it’s grown on me.
Just to give something for reference, I’ll give it 3 1/2 stars.  Think of 1 stars as, “Who even agreed to record this album?”, 2 stars as mid 90’s Maranatha(As The Deer anyone?), and 5 stars in the range of Gungor (Beautiful Things)  and Matt Maher (Alive Again).  Hopefully that helps you figure out where your taste fits into my rating, being that it really is all subjective.

We’ve been playing the song Our God (which contains the lyrics the album is named after) for several months at Twin Oaks now.  I heard it on the live Passion album that I got early this year.   LOVE that song.
So after such a great live recording on the Passion album from Tomlin, I was pretty disappointed with the studio version of the song.  The string parts that were added just didn’t really do it for me and the song doesn’t drive/rock nearly as much.  Too produced and too soft for my preference.

Then it went on to the next song, I Will Follow, and now I was hooked in.  Loved the message of the song and the catchy chorus.  Similarly I appreciated the next song I Lift My Hands, especially for the concept of worshipping through difficulty and pain.

Later in the album, I came across the song Lovely.  Remember how I said the album has grown on me a bit?  Was not a fan of this song at first.  Lovely just isn’t all that compelling of a word for me.  But, lately I’ve found myself humming the song under my breath without even realizing I had started it.  And that is what I think Tomlin is best at.  Writing songs that are accesible for worship and stick with people.

The album continues with some pretty good songs that sound a lot like what you’d expect from Tomlin.
It finishes with Awakening.  This is another tune that is on the Passion album, and has grown on me quite a bit over the year.  One of the highlights of the album, it really is a great anthem in live worship for inviting God to really do something in our hearts.  It has a good build and really draws you in.

The Bottom Line: All being said and done, it’s a pretty good album.  I’d recommend grabbing simply cause it’s Chris Tomlin.  He’s become a staple in modern worship music and if you’re a church goer, there are probably a few songs you’ll end up singing on here.

So why only 3 1/2 stars?  There’s not a lot about the album that really gets me excited.  I don’t get a sense of the music really pushing boundaries and changing the face of what corporate worship sounds and looks like.  To be fair, I don’t think that’s what he’s trying to do, so he’s probably doing a great job of reaching his target audience.  I should probably even bump it up to 4 stars as it’s been growing on me.  It all just comes down to preference.

If you’re a Chris Tomlin fan and like a lot of his recent stuff, this album shouldn’t disappoint.  I just recommend the Passion cut of Our God.
And I’m sure I’ll be leading another song or 2 from here before you know it.

11 December 2010 ~ 0 Comments

Art For AIDS – Pat Dellen

One more artist to share with you before this evening.
A few weeks ago, on World AIDS Day, Rachel and Dan and I went downtown for a candlelight vigil followed by a reception at Santa Cruz AIDS Project.
We got to meet a lot of really great people, including Darryl who is the event coordinator for SCAP.  Darryl was then able to connect us to Pat Dellen who graciously offered a piece of art to be sold at the event tonight.

I checked out Pat’s website, and again, she has some good looking stuff!  Fused glass.

Tonight at Art for AIDS she has a fused glass platter in a gift box.  Sounds like the perfect Christmas gift for someone you know!

I’m stoked that we have another artist, and one who is personally connected already to the AIDS community here in Santa Cruz as well.
See ya at Kuumbwa Jazz Center tonight!
This is gonna be fun.