October 2005


Welcome to Arizona, where daylight savings time means nothing. We (by we I really mean me) kind of freaked out last night when we realized that this weekend was the fall time change for daylight savings time, and we weren’t really sure how that would affect our times for this morning. So I stayed up part of the night worrying about this whole thing and then it hit me…the worst-case scenario for the situation that we were in was that we would be an hour early for church, so I quickly fell asleep and quit worrying about it.

We played this morning at Christ the King Lutheran Church here in Phoenix. We were also pleasantly surprised to find out that the service time was 9am rather than a much earlier 8am. The service was completely handed over to us, and the people there were great. They were so generous! We ran out of regular coffee at our host home (all we had was decaf) so the church just gave us a package of theirs. We also seemed to have misplaced the flashlight that normally resides in the van (which is really handy for unhooking the trailer in the dark or trying to find your dress shoes in a tub of 15 pairs of shoes) so they gave us two.

Yesterday we pretty much just relaxed all day. It was a much needed day off. Last night we went to the church and set up all of our gear for this morning. We love being able to do this because it allows us to sleep in a little bit in the morning and is a much more relaxed atmosphere than rushing around all crazy.

So now we have a brief hiatus before the evening service at the same church, so I am trying to keep up with the Bears’ scores online and relax a little bit before we head back over to the church to play again.

This morning I got to watch the sun rise over the mountains surrounding Phoenix. I must admit that it was pretty overwhelming. [The fact that I was up that early was overwhelming in a different way.] As I was sitting there beholding this site, I was struck by the immensity of the God that we serve and the immanence of the same God. How can a God be big enough to create the universe, yet personal enough to care deeply for me and about me on a personal level? I must say that I got some pretty sweet pics of the sunrise.

The reason that I was up so early was that we were playing this morning at the Arizona Baptist Children’s Services school. We had an early morning set up for a morning chapel service. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but we knew that we were going to be ministering to kids who really needed to grasp the fullness (at least to the extent that it can be grasped by human comprehension) of God’s Love for them. So after a few cups of coffee and a couple hours of set up time we were ready to rock and roll. The kids poured in and we started our chapel service only to realize that this was going to be a tough crowd to get through to, but we know that the Lord is faithful so we pressed on.

The concert went on pretty uneventfully. I should mention here that Heidi has been fighting a sore throat all week, along with the normal vocal weariness that all of our vocalists are feeling as we wrap up this tour. We had crafted our set list pretty well to protect Heidi’s voice and then the kids wanted an encore. So Heidi turns around to me, gives me a shrug and says, “let’s do ‘Be My Escape’,” which is probably one of her most challenging songs. Needless to say, her willingness to sacrifice her own personal comfort for the sake of ministering to these kids blew me away.

The best part of the concert was afterwards, when we got to hang with kids and eat lunch with them. They definitely rocked!

After tear-down we came back to our host home, where I promptly took a 3 hour nap (remember I was up with the sun).

God is good…all the time.

“May angels lead you in, hear you me my friend. On sleepless roads where sleepless go, may angels lead you in.” – ‘Hear You Me’ – Jimmy Eat World

Today was a much needed day off for team 14:22. We got to sleep in and those who were feeling bad are now feeling much better. I spent most of the day doing random activities that required little thought and even less effort. I did cut my own hair today, which was something I had longed to do for quite some time. Now I am once again freshly shorn and aerodynamic.

Today it hit me – for about the third or fourth time this week – that in all things we are called to put others before ourselves. We are called to think of others more highly than ourselves, and in humility realize that we have been crucified with Christ and it is no longer us who live, but Christ within us (Gal. 2:20). So I am trying my best to live by that, but pride and stubbornness are trying to win the day.

So I am pretty new at this whole blog thing, but I think I really like it. Friends and family, if you are reading this and you think of someone who might not know about this blog, but who might be interested in reading it, please feel free to pass it on to them.

Tomorrow morning we play at the Arizona Baptist Children’s Services (that’s right…the ABC’s) which is somewhat of a detention center/school setting. We could really use some prayer for that. We realized today that we have five concerts left on this tour. It is hard to believe that we are that close to finishing this tour.

Dale cooked us all a spaghetti dinner tonight and it was amazing. It has been quite interesting to watch everyone react to Dale’s domestic side. I knew it was there all along, but everyone else didn’t. He loves being in a kitchen and he is quite the chef.

There isn’t much else going on right now. I can’t promise I will update this everyday, but I will update as often as I can. Until next time…

I was driving down Greenway boulevard this evening (returning the girls to their host home) when it dawned on me. This is real. I am in Phoenix, AZ living with five other guys in an apartment, on just one of our many stops on our fall tour. I know that I have been on tour for over a month now, but it just seems to be getting more and more real with each passing day.

Today was crazy. We got to sleep in slightly this morning, and once we got up Dale cooked us a fabulous brunch. During the preparation time of said brunch, I was having an seemingly innocuous conversation over instant messenger with our manager Chris Reed. This conversation led to my discovering that we (Chris and I) needed to have a discussion later in the day about the upcoming album that we will be recording in about a week and a half in Willmar. When Chris and I talked it turned into a fairly extensive conversation with a lot of information being bandied about, which in turn I needed to pass along to my team members. Needless to say after all of that my brain was tired of communicating with other human beings. But, duty called and we had to go play a concert. (At this point in time I should insert that Heidi – one of our female vocalists – is very sick, so prayers would be much obliged.) Prior to the actual concert, though, we did a worship workshop with some of the youth at the church (Phoenix North Baptist) which went really well.

The concert was crazy. We were slightly rusty, however, the kids’ collective energy gave us everything we needed to get through the show. In fact at one point in time, a sixth grader did the worm across the stage while we were playing “Wait on the Lord.” [For all of you out there who don’t know what the worm is…it is a breakdancing move that involves writhing on the floor in a very uncomfortable manner and much flexibility.] Anywho, the bottom line is that once again the Lord proved faithful in His promise that His Word will not return void. “As the rain and the snow come down from heaven, and do not return to it without watering the earth and making it bud and flourish, so that it yields seed for the sower and bread for the eater, so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it. ” Isaiah 55:10-11. It’s amazing to see how far the Lord can go to make sure that His Name is declared, and so humbling that He chose me to help do that. Whoa…pretty heady stuff.

So now I am sitting here staring out at the lights of Phoenix realizing that I only have a week and a half left on my first ever tour with CTI. Crazy to think about, but then I realize that this only means that our overseas tour to Hong Kong is approaching even faster. [This blog will be a main form of communication for me while I am there so keep tabs on it.] We have been working on Cantonese songs and preparing in other ways for this upcoming tour. Here again I would ask for your prayers. We need to do nothing more on the Hong Kong tour than what Jesus called us to do after He washed His disciples’ feet: go and do likewise. I want the Lord to cultivate servant hearts in us, I want us to think of others first in all that we do, I want us to put on Christ and serve as He called us to…humbly. Recognizing that our only natural response to His love for us is to imitate His behavior. It won’t be easy, so prayer would be much obliged.

So if you’re still with me you’re probably getting pretty tired of reading this post by now so I am going to sign off. Friends…I love you all and can’t wait to hear from those of you who I haven’t been in contact with for some time. Family…I love you guys and miss you more and more every day.