Music Saturday

January 30, 2010 at 8:21 am

Here are a few tunes from our friends over at Sojourn Church in Louisville, KY.

First up are a couple from Jamie Barnes. First, “Glory Days:”


Here is Jamie with a full band performing “Don’t Turn My Love Down:”


Here is Brooks Ritter performing his song “Bones From the Ground:”


Here is Brooks playing “Horse Fell Lame,” the title track from his first album:

The Weekly Town Crier

January 29, 2010 at 7:40 am

42turberfield01_312wdisplayWelcome one, welcome all, welcome to the finest collection of links of them all. Well, maybe or maybe not. Welcome to The Weekly Town Crier, where I collect, you click, and we all think. Then, someday, years from now, we all look back on these good times with fond memories.



Be my friend on Facebook.

Follow me on Twitter.

Watch this piece about tattooed eyeballs.

Want a window in your lip?

Read this list of the top 5 church planting mistakes.

Read as Ray Ortlund suggests how to ruin your church in three weeks.

Read Tim Keller’s thoughts on the multi-site model.

Read Jim Ellliff’s thoughts on loving even the cantankerous.

Read this piece wondering where all that support for Conan O’Brien was as his ratings slipped.

Read Pitchfork’s interview with John Darnielle, of the Mountain Goats, on their new “biblical” LP.

Read/watch/listen as John Piper discusses how the Bible orients us around the glory of God, something you might not have heard him speak on before. ;-)

Read a great review of the great Western States, the new EP from our friend Matt Haeck.

Read as Jon Foreman asks “What’s In A Word?”

Read this piece noting that “Writing without typos is totally outdated.”

Read about Tim Burton being named this year’s president of the Cannes Film Festival jury.

See Haiti in numbers.

Read about Johnny Depp being beaten out for the top actor slot.

Read as Business Week offers some tips on leadership by examining “bad bosses.”

Read this piece examining motivations for site-selection in church plants.

Read this “parable” of how one woman went from being a Christian blogger to an atheist.

Read some of Tim Keller’s impressions after reading The Shack.

Read as Al Mohler also weighs in on The Shack.

Browse this list of the top cities for Christian hipsters.

Read this piece asking if “helpsters” have replaced “hipsters.”

Watch Shaun White land a double McTwist.

Read as the New York Times offers three reasons why the iPad won’t kill the Kindle.

R.I.P. J.D. Salinger.

Read Seth Godin’s thoughts on on “Spreading Music and Selling Intimacy.”

Read as Ray Ortlund reflects on “The Uncool Glory of the Gospel” for The Gospel Coalition.

Music Friday

January 29, 2010 at 7:38 am

Here is one of my favorite singer-songwriters, Joe Henry from his 2008 tour performing “God Only Knows:”


Here is The Wood Brothers, featuring one of my favorite bassists in the world, Chris Wood along with his brother, Oliver performing “Walk Away” live at the Paste Studios:


Here is Chris Woods’ other gig: one-third of Medeski Martin and Wood, one of my favorite groups to this day. Here they are performing an extended version of “Big Time:”

MindMapping and Sermon Preparation

January 28, 2010 at 11:41 am

For some time now I’ve been hearing lots of pastor friends talk about the benefits of Mind Mapping for sermon preparation and other uses. I was not familiar with the concept, so after some research, it looked quite interesting. I have never been a fan of the idea that sermons must be outlined in a three (or more if you’re really Reformed)-point model. I don’t think in a linear model and I’ve always struggled with finding the right flow to idea development and presentation flow.

That’s exactly where mind mapping comes in. It allows you to visually organize concepts around a central concept. While similar to an outline in theory, it is actually much more intuitive because it allows ideas to freely flow without being forced into an already-existing pattern (though in a sense, this is still what you’re doing). You can visually see how concepts relate and connect.

For me, this works best after I’ve done my exegetical work in my Moleskine (yes, I know, let the “hipster” ridicule begin, but seriously, it is the best notebook I’ve used!). So, I spend the beginning part of the week working through the text with pen and paper, opening a Mind Map, looking for that central, uniting theme of the sermon. Then, later in the week, once that theme has emerged, I work through a mindmap of the sermon, sometimes after working through a mindmap of the text itself (this is done in conjunction with Bible Arcing, but I personally find mind mapping the text itself quite helpful). The combination of pen and paper exegetical work with mind mapping then allows me to preach without notes. I do take a copy of my mind map into the pulpit with me but I rarely look at it. After downloading the free trial of Mindjet, I was hooked.

I’ve been asked by several people to see what a sermon might look like in a mind map, so I’m including a coupe here to look at. This first one is an incomplete map of the sermon I’m currently working through from Acts 15. We are considering Acts 15 in conjunction with Romans 14 and 1 Corinthians 8. In Acts 15, the Apostles specifically to avoid meat sacrificed to idols while in Romans and Corinthians, Paul makes allowance for it (for a bigger version click on the image):

Here is a mindmap from a sermon on Acts 13:48: “And when the Gentiles heard this, they began rejoicing and glorifying the word of the Lord, and as many as were appointed to eternal life believed” (again, for a larger version simply click on the image):

I’m certainly no expert on this and there are readers here more experienced in this than I am but I wanted to pass this along. Hopefully it will be a benefit for you.

Western States (A Music Review)

January 28, 2010 at 6:46 am

haeck2I love watching artists grow. It is a wonderful thing to listen as musical artists find their own voice. Sometimes an artists nails it on their debut release, but that is quite rare. In that way, musicians are often a bit like preachers. We learn by imitating others, by trying on their shoes. But it only takes a few steps to realize that we can’t walk very far in someone else’s shoes. After a while, good preachers find their own voice as do good musicians. The trick becomes letting your influences influence without trying to emulate them.Letting history shine through the prism of your vision without overshadowing it.

Matt Haeck seems to have found his voice. After 2008′s Pair of Sirens, which paid a bit too much debt to Derek Webb (sorry Matt), Matt moved to Nashville, hung out with Holiday at the Sea favorite Joe Garner, and found his voice. Haeck recently released Western States, a seven-song EP that delivers on the 14566_197311283884_691223884_4095921_1002124_n1promise only hinted at earlier. What’s fascinating is that Haeck not only seems to have drunk deeply at the well of Nick Cave, Townes Van Zandt, Johnny Cash, Lucero and others since his last release, he seems to have stopped trying so hard. I mean that in the best possible way. Though the EP is at times much moodier heavier than Pair of Sirens ever was, Haeck seems much more natural in his delivery, much more confident as a songwriter and this helps power the mood all the more.

The EP travels familiar Americana, Alt-Country territory, but don’t worry, that’s territory that’s often best with a dose of familiarity, like your favorite pair of worn jeans; they’ve just always been part of your life. Great music of this genre feels familiar in the best possible ways, there is an immediate connection. The twinkling pianos of “The Crow” feel right at home while the reverb soaks you in. The title track feels like family, Haeck’s warm voice floats just above the steel strings. Lyrically, the EP travels the familiar territory of being on the run, broken hearts and hope. But again, this sense of familiarity is far from a downfall.

This EP has been on repeat the past couple of days and I can’t wait for you to hear it. Highly recommended.

  • Visit Matt Haeck’s Myspace page
  • Download Western States from iTunes

Video Variations On A Theme

January 27, 2010 at 7:51 am

Several months ago, I came across a short video called “The Parable of the Sea.” I loved the concept, even though we’re not much of a video-clip church. Nonetheless, I subscribed to the newsletter from the makers, I Love Pinatas. I wanted to pass along two videos they have done in partnership with a group called Kore for your consideration and discussion. The two videos touch upon similar themes but from different perspectives.


How Then, Should We Disagree?

January 26, 2010 at 7:36 am

231853_far_from_loveOne of the things I like about blogs is that they allow for dialog. One of the things I dislike about blogs is that they allow for dialog. I may know that with the good comes the bad, but I don’t have to like it. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t mind disagreement. This side of glory, disagreement is unavoidable, even among God-loving brothers and sisters. In fact, it’s through thinking through ideas in the context of dialog and sometimes even disagreement that I often find great clarity. It’s almost as if iron sharpens iron or something. But what I don’t like is that so few people actually know how to disagree.

You get some people, that, it doesn’t matter what the blog post is even about, you just know they will show up and disagree, because they are right and everyone else is wrong. Always. You know the people: they will always have the last word. Even when you try to ignore them they will post comments based off of their own blog comments. The problem with many of these people is that they seem to have misunderstood and misapplied Ephesians 4:15‘s admonition regarding “speaking the truth in love.” You see, it seems to some of us that the only way to show love is by pounding people with the truth. It’s easy for me to sometimes forget that, how I say things is important, along with what I say. Many of us, though simply think that the banner of truth justifies all kinds of verbal atrocities.

Is it possible to be right and still be a contentious person? Paul says in 1 Corinthians 11:16: “If anyone is inclined to be contentious, we have no such practice, nor do the churches of God.” In 2 Timothy 2:24, Paul warns: “And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but kind to everyone, able to teach, patiently enduring evil.” I wonder if it’s possible to be right and be quarrelsome? I think that, not only is it possible, it is common. In Philippians 2, Paul makes the audacious statement that we are to consider others more significant than ourselves. I think that this doesn’t just mean shouting the truth at someone but treating them with respect and even love, even when we disagree. I certainly have a long way to go in this area, but I think it’s one area in which we all need to examine, not just our statements but our hearts. There is a way to disagree in humble, loving confidence. Loving those you disagree with does not mean pandering to their position but it does mean speaking in love.

But, on the other end of the spectrum, we have the people who take the time and effort to comment on blogs, in the midst of an ongoing discussion, to tell all the participants that the devil is having a good laugh while we just tear each other down and that, if we all just read our Bibles and focused on Jesus, there would be no need for any such discussions. What always cracks me up about these comments is that they are guilty of exactly what they are decrying. But I guess my point of consideration here is more on the fact that, disagreement, discussion, even debate, are not, in and of themselves (that’s a lot of commas, sorry), signs that the Devil has gained a foothold or that we don’t love Jesus. Truth is important business and if we believe that there is such a thing as Truth, we ought to be pursuing it and examining the positions and statements of others in light of Scripture. Dialog can actually be quite healthy, encouraging us to think of positions in ways we might not have otherwise, even when we don’t change our initial position, our conviction is often strengthened by being forced to examine and defend it.

Yet, why is it so often the case that those of us who often claim to most love the Lord are simply so mean to one another?