Sunday, December 13, 2009

Some of my fav Christmas tunes!

“Glory To God In the Highest” – Downhere / How Many Kings: Songs for Christmas
“Love Came Down at Christmas” - Jars of Clay / Christmas Songs
"Here It Is” – Over the Rhine / Snow Angel
“Mary Did You Know” – Jason Gray / Bethlehem Skyline
“It’s Beginning to Look A Lot Like Christmas” – Shane & Shane / Glory In the Highest
“Eastern Star” – So Elated / The Bewildering Light
“O Little Town of Bethlehem” – Alli Rogers /The Silent Stars
“Adore Him” – Kari Jobe / Adore Him
“I Saw Three Ships” – Bruce Cockburn / Christmas
“Raise The Tree” – Trent Dabbs / Ten Out of Tenn Christmas
“Feliz Navidad” – David Crowder Band / WOW Christmas Album
“I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day” – Lanae Hale / Bethlehem Skyline
“What Child Is This” – Matt Wertz / Do You Hear What I Hear
"His Favorite Christmas Story" - Capital Lights / X Christmas
So what are some of your favorites?

Monday, December 7, 2009

Don't forget the stories!

Today I was catching up on some of Phil Cooke's recent blogs and came across this one which was totally dead on and a good reminder for all of us!

""How can you be a Christian in Hollywood?" The question still gets asked by well meaning believers, and I'm often stopped at conferences and workshops and asked to share the experience of how I ended up in the entertainment industry. I was raised a "preacher's kid," so early on in my life, I understood the power of great preaching, and the importance of communicating effectively - although I never had the slightest desire to be a preacher myself. But it wasn't long before I discovered the power of the "media pulpit."

Today, in a culture where few attend church anymore, the moral climate of this country is determined by movies, radio, and prime time television. The U.S. Census Bureau reports the average teen will spend nearly five months of this year watching TV, surfing the web, and listening to personal music devices. The reality is, television programs, rock & roll radio, and movie theaters are "church" for this generation - sadly, that's where young people today learn their morals, and codes of behavior.

But in spite of that great need, most films, television programs, radio specials, and websites produced by Christians are still poor quality, and have a limited audience. That's because for most Christians, the message is everything, and we've forgotten the power of a great story. It's interesting that when you study the life of Christ, you discover he didn't give theological lectures or teach doctrine. He simply told stories - powerful stories that changed people's lives. Stranger still, he usually only explained the meaning in private with his disciples - not with the larger audience.

I've always found it fascinating that Jesus Christ came to establish a faith that would transform the world, but was willing to risk just three years of ministry on telling stories. Today, most of us would have started a university or Bible College, created a statement of faith, written a systematic theology text, gotten involved in politics, started a non-profit organization, or at least started a partnership program for fundraising. Don't get me wrong, all of these things can be critical in ministry, but the fact that Jesus' priority was storytelling should tell us something about its power.

A great filmmaker once said that facts go straight to the head, but stories go straight to the heart. Most Christian filmmakers spend all their time trying to force a Christian message into the film, and they forget the most important thing - to tell a great story. You might take issue with that statement, but the fact is, no matter how great the content of your message, if no one watches long enough to see or hear it, you've failed. So that's why I tell preachers, teachers, writers, artists, filmmakers, and media professionals - tell a great story first.

I think it was old time movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn who said: "If you want to send a message, call Western Union." Great media projects aren't about sending messages, they're about telling great stories. Jesus understood the power of a story, and it's something we need to be reminded of today."

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Choose differently

My post today centers around a beautiful story an artist friend, Christopher Williams shared in his current newsletter (pleeeease check him out...he will blow your mind in a most melodious way!!)

"I arrived and found I had a solid hour to take a snooze to prepare for my show. I found a deserted couch in the back room of the coffeehouse and laid down only to be awakened by the sound of a piano being played just a dozen or so feet near my sleepy head. Instead of getting annoyed at the disturbance, I took it in for what it was...old standards being lovingly played by an elderly woman wearing a bonnet who was rekindling some piece of her past by gliding her fingers across the black and white keys. I stood hidden from her view in the darkness of the back room and watched as she played with heartfelt emotion. She finished and then walked into the middle of the coffeehouse and introduced herself to a stranger sitting in a comfy chair. They got to talking and I remained in the background taking it all in - as I've been thinking alot about my story and what a gift it is to be able to travel and intersect with moments and other peoples stories along the way; really praying that I would have moments to see story unfold...and here it was before my eyes.

Grandma Corrie, as she is known to locals, goes to the Catholic Church on the corner every afternoon for Mass and then comes into the Ikebox coffeehouse...and as I learned, often stops to buy people cups of coffee; and that is exactly what she did that afternoon. Giving a $5 bill to her new friend, she asked him to buy himself a mocha, and to keep the change. The gentleman, dressed warmly to protect from the Oregon rain was of capable means to buy his own cup of coffee, so he hesitated to accept this gift from a stranger, yet finally and reluctantly he accepted her kindness. They sat and talked for a while longer, sipping on their coffees...and I witnessed him physically relax as they spoke their stories sweetly to one another, as just moments ago, they were complete strangers.

And what happened next I will never forget. Grandma Corrie, old enough to be this gentleman's mother, stood up and took her place behind him in the midst of the conversation and she began to rub his shoulders and neck slowly. He stopped talking, as she bent down and whispered something to him. I will never know what it was she whispered...but I believe it was a sweet reminder that he is loved, and possibly a prayer for him and his story...and then she kissed him on the head."

I don't know about you, but this story really captivated strangers stepping into each others stories...just for a moment of time where everything faded away into a complete and genuine moment of life happening. What an amazing gift! I truly hope that we all can witness, take part and step into moments like this during this holiday season in spite of the busyness we're surrounded by. Sadly, the busyness tells our story to build itself upon what we buy and give to one another, more so than what we can speak into one another. What a beautiful thing it would be if we took the time to choose differently...