I started a month long sabbatical this week (I’ll be posting thoughts on it here on the blog as well) This week I have been reading, relaxing, and enjoying a lot of old-time and bluegrass music. Our town hosts the oldest and largest fiddlers convention in the world each year. It’s a huge event, with people camping all week long and playing music long into the night. Here’s an aerial view of the convention.
The best part of the week is watching my kids play and compete. It’s been a great week to unwind.
My ten year old son has been playing fiddle for the last year and competed in youth old-time fiddle. My fourteen year old son placed fifth in youth mandolin and his band of youth all-stars finished fourth. Here are just a few clips of their music. It’s incredible to see the talent that the youth have.
Let me introduce you to a great app for your iPhone. The Shift Media Creator allows you to create worship graphics on your phone. You can take a photo, apply effects, add motion overlays, and then save a background video and photo straight from your phone. The best way is see how it works is to watch the video overview.
Now, let me show you a real life example that I created in just a couple of minutes.
First, here’s the photo of one of my favorite local spots to run and bike on the New River Trail.
Now, after a couple of tweaks, you can see the results.
I could see this really working well to create graphics for your church. I would love to see the ability to take a video and make it loopable. I would also like to see a few additional effects. They are also hoping to add an android version. Check it out and let me know what you think.
Last week, we took 18 of our older youth to the Wayfarer Beach Camp by 3DM. It was our second year in attendance and we had an incredible experience. I love how the camp emphasizes both discipleship and mission. It really connects with our philosophy as a church and youth ministry.
Our youth spent the week learning more about the six facets of the Lord’s Prayer and how it impacts our identity and relationship with our Heavenly Father. Our youth grew closer to each other and closer to God throughout the week. I appreciate the fact that Wayfarer strives to train and equip youth leaders to minister and lead their teenagers in Spiritual Growth. I’m already looking forward to next year. Click here to view a camp highlight video. If you look closely, you’ll see several of our Cornerstone teens.
At camp, we focused on these three statements: Heaven is bending toward earth, earth is reaching toward Heaven, and that the Collision is coming. We dove into the lifestyle of prayer Jesus models for us with The Lord’s Prayer to see these collisions happen.
The breakthrough and collisions that we saw can only be attributed to The Lord and how he works. Students were experiencing the Father in unique ways, seeing his Kingdom, recognizing his Provision and then began being the provision for others. Then we saw students start to experience the realness of being forgiven and forgiving, the peace of God guiding us, and the strength of knowing that God delivers us.
We had an amazing week with Ben Hardman, Dave Rhodes, and Courtney Reichley as they walked us through each section of the Lord’s Prayer. David Walker created an amazing Spirit – filled environment by leading worship for us this week.
Today is the release day for the new album by Dogwood & Holly. If you have been following my blog for a while, you have seen several videos of their performances. This group consists of four students (and former students) from Liberty, including two of our young adults from Cornerstone, and their newest album is simply amazing.
I had the privilege of getting a digital copy last week, and I have been listening to this over and over on repeat. It reminds me of the new Nickel Creek album, with a touch of bluegrass, folk, philosophy, and fun. I know all the band members and I have seen them grow in their musicianship and their faith. I’m proud of them, and their second album really showcases their musicianship and their songwriting. The best way for you to get to know the band is for you to listen to one of their songs. This live clip was from a recent convocation service at Liberty.
Now, here’s the good part, you can download the album on iTunes and Amazon. Download it! You won’t be sorry.
It is hard to believe how my life has changed over these past seven years. Today, seven years ago, I started full-time as pastor of Cornerstone. For the 12 years before that, I worked as a mechanical engineer crash testing airplane seats and designing weight lifting equipment. That seems like a distant memory now, and I can honestly say I’m doing what God has called me to do.
Over the past seven years, I have seen my children grow and mature in the Lord, with all three putting their faith and trust in Christ. I have seen our church grow and mature in the Lord, with many people serving in our community and around the world. And I have seen myself grow and mature. When I started, I was a young 33 years old with my only experience in ministry as a part-time youth minister. Now, after seven years, I am finally starting to see myself as a pastor.
I have learned much about myself and about leadership. It has not been an easy journey. In fact, it has been much harder than I would have ever imagined. I serve an amazing church, and the congregation has been incredibly supportive and caring. But I have also experienced many critics along the way, and they have taught me the importance of having a tender heart and thick skin. I quickly realized that my natural leadership abilities were not enough. I had to learn to depend on God and I even went back to seminary to earn my Master’s Degree in Christian Leadership.
One of the hardest lessons for me to learn is to give away ministry. I am naturally a doer, so Ephesians 4:11-12 has been a constant reminder for me to equip and empower others. I have learned that I can’t do everything, and that I need to learn a rhythm of life that can sustain me for a fruitful life of ministry. Before I was hired, the church changed our by-laws to ensure that I would receive a one-month sabbatical every three years.
With the pace of life over these past seven years, I have not taken advantage of that time to replenish and refresh my soul. So this August, after seven years, I will finally be taking a month-long sabbatical to work on my relationship to my God and my family. I am excited to slow down, and I am excited to spend extended time in study and prayer. I am making plans to work on getting back into shape, and I am also making plans to disconnect from all church work during the month. It is already exciting to see people step up, and I am thankful for the opportunity. My goal is to be able to be in ministry for the rest of my life, and the Biblical principle of sabbath and rest cannot be ignored. I can’t wait to see what God has in store for the next seven years!
I am a former design engineer who now pastors Cornerstone Community Church in Galax, Virginia. I'm passionate about following Jesus and I love technology. I've been married to Jennifer for 19 years, and we have three awesome kids, Emma, Luke, and Drew.