February 19, 2012

A pastor’s advice to pastors


ne of my favorite blogs is Reformation 21. I recommend it as one of your daily stopping points online.

As part of the blog author’s preparations for an upcoming conference, he is beginning a series on pastoral character—something the readers of my blog will recognize as an issue of supreme importance to me. Please take a look at Reformation 21 and follow it in the near future so you may benefit from this research. We all need to pursue the character of Christ. And, so much more, our church leader need to pursue this holiness.

As a personal aside, my pastor is one of the good ones—one of the shining stars. I praise God every day for what He has done in my pastor’s life to make him the man of God he is today.

[The pastor]

must have the heart of a preacher; that is, he must stand in awe of the God in whose Name he preaches, and with love seek the welfare of the souls to whom he preaches. He must know himself to be entirely undone in himself and have a lively impression of his own inability, so that he will not trust too much in having studied properly. He ought to pray much beforehand, not so much to get through the sermon, but for a sanctified heart, for a continual sense of the presence of God, for suitable expressions, and for a blessing upon his preaching to the conversion, comfort, and edification of souls. His concern ought not to be whether the congregation will be pleased with him and will praise the sermon, but his motive must rather be a love for the welfare of the congregation.

Wilhelmus à Brakel, The Christian's Reasonable Service, 2:138

February 15, 2012

Music and the Barbs


few months ago I posted A tribute to a great lady – Joan Barb. This dear lady had such an incredible impact on the lives of all those who knew her. And I was honored to be involved in her funeral services, which was a celebration of Jesus Christ, the Savior who made Mrs. Barb the woman she was. It was an amazing and wonderful and tearful and joyous goodbye.

When my sister and I were in our early teens and were struggling to make sense of the world and of the things we found in scripture, Mrs. Barb was a continual inspiration. While adults were having foll blown meltdowns about electric instruments and percussion, Mrs. Barb talked seriously with us about what we saw in scripture as it applied to music. Eventually, she even asked my sister and me to present our music philosophy to her AWANA girls. She said that although she disagreed with the styles of music we liked, she thought our music philosophy was scriptural and well-thought out. She was probably one of the people who impacted my musical philosophy/theology the most while I was growing up.

A few weeks after the funeral, her daughter Michelle contacted me about singing at the brunch her church’s singles group was going to have in February. One thing led to another and the date is now upon us. This coming Saturday (February 18, 2012) my church’s worship team Aver Union will be presenting a few songs. After we are done, the worship leader from another local church in Stafford, Va., will be presenting a message from the bible. Brian Burke is a long-time friend and was one of the first people I ever played in a band with. We used to meet at his house, where he had an astounding collection of recording equipment and instruments. We’d jam together and have deep theological discussions. And we’d talk about how great it would be to play for real some day.

I’m looking forward to the reunion. And I’m grateful to the members of Aver Union who were willing to set aside a Saturday on relatively short notice to play at my friend’s event. It’s great being a Christian, praising the Awesome God, and having friends who do the same.

The playlist embedded here contains five of the seven songs we will be presenting. The only one on this playlist actually recorded by our team is "All of Your Words." The others are there for your enjoyment and edification.

February 13, 2012

Portraiture - my passion!


t’s been a long time since I’ve posted anything. I have become far too busy lately. But even in my busy-ness, which is all work related, I managed to enjoy photography.

I was asked to take portraits of the people in my group at work who were interested in updating their profile pictures on our internal social networking site, D Street. I, of course, immediately accepted this offer and we set up a day to take some “executive portraits.”

Our firm’s branding calls for a somewhat casual look set in natural light and taken in one of our offices. So I took all of these pictures in a small conference room on the 9th floor of our Rosslyn office, just across the Potomac River from the Kennedy Center and downtown Washington, DC. Unfortunately, you can’t see much of the tourist landmarks in these pictures, but you can see the people—which is the point of portraiture anyway.

Sophia is Ethiopian and has wonderful stories to tell. She’s kind and caring and amazingly competent. I am proud to be one of her associates.
Kate is our newest editor. She is vivacious, entertaining, and an extremely good editor.
Rob is a fantastic proposal manager who is a total and complete pleasure to work with. I am blessed to be part of his team.
I don’t work very closely with Jenni, but she is one of the people I would never have met if it were not for my photography. This passion of mine has brought me in contact with more awesome people than you can imagine.
Tyrone is one of our graphic artists, so I sit very close to him. I am a graphic designer with a focus on page layout and Tyrone is a graphic designer with a focus on illustration. Tyrone is a wonderful person who exudes gentleness, kindness, and a love for life and humanity.
The beautiful Kristen is our chief of staff. She is so competent in every way that it boggles the mind. A true pleasure to work with ... always!
Sasha is a recent addition to our team. She is incredibly intelligent—speaking five languages and still acting like a normal person. We are all in awe of her intellect, and yet she is delightfully unassuming.
James is the lead graphic artist on our team. He’s very talented and is also a very good manager. He seems to have an innate understanding of people’s motives and motivations.
Suzanne is another person I don’t get to work with very often. But she is special among this group. After all the other portraits had been taken, she came back and asked me to give it another go. I used my favorite lens, even though it is a difficult lens to use. I’m glad she came back because my first attempts didn’t even come close to this one.
This collage is just a few of the almost 100 portraits I took that day. It was a blast!