School Update

I am presently very well. I have good friends and a great God. I have been forgiven much, and so I love much.

I’m enjoying this new school quite a bit. We have 27 amazing students from all over the world who have come to worship and grow as leaders. I have two particular students who I am walking closely with and they are two of the most hungry men of God I’ve ever known. I have never been more assured that a single three month school would bring more breakthrough in personal lives than I am with these two.

Already in the school I have witnessed landmark moments in peoples lives. We spent one week learning about intimacy in worship and another on freedom and healing. Men and women of God have been released to seek after relationship with God before any other thing. They have been called to live a life of fulness in beautiful freedom from wounds and hurts of the past. We have been awakened to the high calling of the royal priesthood in the Kingdom of God. We are pursuing Him as a class with everything we have and He is responding by opening us to understand great things about Him at an accelerated pace.

With 3 weeks already in the past, this school will surely go by fast. But I am convinced that there are many glorious things to come from our Father in the next 8 weeks.

Please pray:

  • That our whole school would continue to seek God first and not let any thing take our attention
  • That the lessons learned and freedom gained in the last few weeks would be permanent
  • That as staff, we would grow in servant leadership. We must serve and lay down our lives to see others built up. This is the way of the Kingdom.
  • That as a man, I would be built up in selfless love. First for the Lord, second for my fiancée, and third for our students

If you are interested in supporting me in missions and ministry, please visit this page. It is always a huge blessing to have more people to join my financial support team. 

Beach day with the Elevate School of Worship 2013

Beach day with the Elevate School of Worship 2013

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Staff Training, Round Two!

About three weeks ago, I returned to Kona after an amazing summer. Life has been pretty relaxed since returning. The last three weeks have been the conclusion to my Summer of Adventure. It was a great time to relax, reflect on the summer, explore the island, and prepare my heart for the coming season.

Today, we officially started preparation for the Elevate School of Worship 2013. It’s my second time staffing and I’m looking forward to it very much. The school officially starts on 26th and it’s going to be a very busy 3 weeks preparing for that day. For the next two weeks we have staff training, where our staff group will be preparing ourselves and taking care of logistics. We have an incredible staff crew of 5 couples, 3 single guys, and 3 single girls.

I am in charge of academics for the school, so it’s my responsibility to define homework, book reports, and grading standards. I’m so excited for this opportunity. We are going to read the whole book of Psalms and some incredible books on worship next quarter. Staff and students alike, I believe we will all grow in our knowledge and understanding of scripture; as well as love for the Lord and depth of understanding about worship through these assignments.

If you would, please pray for us in the next few weeks

  • That we would be focused and willing to work hard
  • That we would be perfectly unified, having the mind of Christ
  • That we would be fully prepared for the arrival of students

Last, here are some pictures from my adventures around the island recently!

If you are interested in supporting me in missions and ministry, please visit this page. It is always a huge blessing to have more people to join my financial support team. 

That's me!

That’s me!


The amazing and beautiful Kelly

The amazing and beautiful Kelly

The sunsets here are beautiful

The sunsets here are breathtaking

Paying attention to the little things

Paying attention to the little things

Travelling, Returning, and Planning

For the last half of March, I co-led a trip with 7 of our students to California to tell people about Jesus. It was amazing. We attended the Wilder missions conference, shared the truth of Jesus on the streets, led worship for historic gatherings, and got changed ourselves in the process.

One thing in particular that stuck out about the trip though was seeing our team members (including me) become more comfortable in evangelism. Many of our students expressed some significant fears about walking up to strangers and telling them about Jesus. But we saw all of our team members overcome their fear and share the gospel with joy!

I am back in Kona now and loving it. I am still teaching music theory (which you can read more about here) and running with the School of Worship track. Next week is my last week of teaching and the end of our “normal” schedule before we launch into all out outreach preparation. We have a team planning to go to Maui for a week in May and I am preparing to co-lead a team of 8 students to Asia next month.

The outreach in Asia is going to be amazing. We will be headed for the first week to serve at an international missions conference called Call2All. We have also been blessed with a very special opportunity to serve other parts of Asia. Feel free to contact me in person if you’d like more details!

It looks like I will need some extra finances to pay for the plane tickets for this upcoming trip. I would be honored if you would pray about joining me in monthly or one time support. If you are, please visit this page for further instructions http://uofnkona.edu/support/missionaries/5898

Prayer points

  • That I would be strong and courageous with every challenge ahead of me
  • That my faith would rise to a new level as I learn to trust God with new situations
  • That I would prioritize relationships over to-do lists
Our amazing outreach team

Our amazing outreach team!

Right before the Wilder conference began

Right before the Wilder conference began

Me leading worship with a banjo back in January

Me leading worship with a banjo back in January

Daily Death & Resurrection

Luke 9:23 ESV And he said to all, “If anyone would come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.

I love learning the hard way. By life experience and practical application, timeless truths can become life-changing realities.

Recently, I asked God to make me more dependent on Him. I’ve become convinced that one of His favorite attributes in a child is dependence. That constant knowledge that I can’t do it on my own and that I am completely in need of Him. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

I don’t know exactly what I expected. I knew I would have to grow, but I wasn’t sure what that would look like. But then I started to feel worse. I watched my own heart as my attitude deteriorated, my patience went down, and my physical tiredness increased. What happened?

I became dependent. I am dependent.

I’ve always been dependent. Not one day since the beginning of time could I or the human race survive without God’s supernatural intervention. But something about that prayer forced it to become real. It came to the front of my consciousness. I was learning the hard way. Not by someone telling me that dependence was good, but by actually needing it to make it through my days.

It’s been a hard week, but it’s been a good week. My own strength deteriorated, I am more consciously aware of His presence and His care. I’m growing in appreciation for every little moment we get together where I am made whole in His perfect love.

I like Luke 9:23. It sounds morbid at first but I find that it’s life giving. Every moment that I deny myself and choose the ways and love of Jesus, I am refreshed and filled. I feel I’ve already crossed a point of no return. I am His. My life is dedicated to following Him where He leads. I’ve put myself in a permanent dependent state and I’m feeling it more and more.

So I grow in my dependence. And I grow to be more like Jesus. Not able to live without the presence and guidance of my Father.

John 5:19 ESV So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, the Son can do nothing of his own accord, but only what he sees the Father doing. For whatever the Father does, that the Son does likewise.

Love the Lord Your God (with Music Theory?)

It’s a new year. It’s a new season. It’s a new determination to write on this blog instead of letting it sit like the Moleskine in my bookshelf.

The School of Worship lecture phase is over. The Worship Track has started. We no longer have speakers coming in every week. The schedule isn’t so packed. The students are more free to choose what they will do with their time. I have more responsibility.

My staff role in our track is to build up our musicians. I’m teaching music theory, piano lessons, and guitar lessons. I have books, I’ve made a curriculum. I have goals. I’m even writing tests for the students to take. It’s almost like a legitimate school class.

But the surface level doesn’t have the most weight in my heart. I keep asking the question “why am I here?” I keep checking in with God and making sure I know what I’m doing. Especially when my duty is so practical and surface level. Musicianship doesn’t necessarily mean heart change. How does music theory relate to loving the Lord my God with all my heart, soul, mind and strength?

I always let life go back to the greatest commandment. If Jesus said that loving God is the most important thing, then I’ll say it too. So I’ll just share here where I’m at with music theory.

I like painting illustrations because I like paintings. I’ll use painting as an example. Say, for example, that for my friend Trevor’s birthday I decide that it would be great to paint an amazing portrait of him with huge muscles fighting off a horde of mutant polar bears with a lightsaber to protect his family (let’s all just agree that it would be awesome). Unfortunately, if I tried to do that in real life, it would just be a bunch of stick figures because I can’t paint. I’ve never practiced. I don’t have any canvas, paints, or brushes with which to do that. So how in the world would I pull something like that off? No matter how much I would want to do something like that, I just couldn’t do it.

Trevor

This is what it would look like….

Music theory is useful because in our relationship with God, sometimes it’s nice to express ourselves to God with music. We need to tell him how we feel, whether good or bad. We need to cast our cares on him. For me, and for most musical types, most of the time it’s nice to express ourselves with music. This is how I live my whole life. I prefer to play songs for people rather than tell them stories. I prefer to write songs rather than write in my journal. But how would I tell God how I feel with music if I never learned how? How would I make music that expresses joy? How would I make music that expresses sadness?

It’s the same answer as the painting. I couldn’t. Except that I actually can. Because I’ve learned, studied, and practiced. I can express myself to God. I can play sad music. I can play happy music.

As a music theory teacher, I aim to release people to be honest with God. This is even one of my goals as a worship leader. You can’t love God with everything if you can’t be honest with Him.

The Beginning of School

The Elevate School of Worship 2012 has started and it’s off to an amazing start!

So far it’s been amazing. The students arrived just two weeks ago and already the school as a whole has grown incredibly close and learned some really deep things.

We just finished up the second week of the school this week, so I’ll try to recap the last two.

Last week was the first official week of the school which served really as an orientation and preparation week. We spent a few of the days in class hearing from Daniel Lehmann (our school leader) about the history of the school and the heart for this year and then two days doing skill assessments with the students.

This week we had David McDaniel with us. He’s the YWAM base leader in Tokyo, Japan and he came to talk to us about our relationship with God and how it applies to worship. It was a great week where he taught about how to deal with relational issues between us and God.

One of the biggest things he talked about is what to do when we get angry or offended with God. Most everyone has been angry with Him at some point and it’s a hard thing to deal with. But there are two main things we have to do: hold fast to the basic understanding that God is good (even if His version of good doesn’t match up with our human perspective) and be honest with Him about it. It has never been a part of God’s plan to drive us away from Him, so even in the hard things that happen, He still wants us to come close to Him in honesty and allow Him to transform our perspective to the perspective of Heaven and get our hearts back in line with His.

Personally, I’m having a very good and very stretching time. I’m growing rapidly in leadership and time management skills (because I have no choice not to!). And I’m learning things about God through the whole process. Please keep praying for our school: that the students would grow in huge ways and that we would truly become those who worship “in spirit and in truth” [John 4:23] and that I would keep Jesus first in everything I do and say.

Here’s some pictures from the last few weeks!

Playing Quelf with the students!

Me with some of the students (on stilts practicing for the Ironman event this weekend)

The first Monday morning worship of the quarter. I had the honor of playing keys (open this one in full screen!)

Snorkel Day

Our Internship group has been talking in the last week a lot about how sometimes we can get so focused on worship as our main ministry that we forget all other ministry and leave it behind. Practical stuff, like getting out of our little Christian circles and spreading the love of Jesus outside. Because, although worship and spending time with God is important, sometimes we just need to get out and do something to help people.

Yesterday, we volunteered with an organization called Deep & Beyond. It’s a group out of this base that aims to provide freedom and discovery to disadvantaged people in our community. Yesterday was snorkel day so we went to a local beach and met up a group of about 20 people with disabilities to help them enjoy a day at the beach.

It was really quite a good day. God takes care of everything. I didn’t even need to go in the water to help anyone and I spent the bulk of my time with a guy named Damien and we just hung around and chatted for a while. He’s a nice guy and we had plenty of stuff in common. It was a really cool opportunity. Nice to get out and really do something hands on and practical.

When all the participants left, I went snorkeling for the first time with Matt. It wasn’t the best day for snorkeling, but it was cool. Definitely something worth doing while I could.

Some general announcement things:

– I’ll be coming back to California after this quarter (around the beginning of April)
– I have my last finance deadline coming up the first Friday of March. I need about $480 to pay for the rest of my fees for the quarter and for my plane ticket to Honolulu (I already have one from Honolulu to California)

As always, I hugely appreciate your prayers. Prayer always does more than we can see. And if you would consider supporting me financially to finish out this quarter, that would be greatly appreciated!

The Internship

I’m part of the School of Worship Internship here at YWAM Kona. It’s a group of worshippers living in community and partnering with each other in our personal pursuits of knowing God and our corporate ministry. For the most part my life looks like spending time with Jesus, leading worship, and practicing leading worship.

During an average week I will participate in leading 6-8 worship sets and be the main leader for 3-4 of them. Here’s a rundown of my schedule.

Sunday 

  • Lead worship at my local church

Monday

  • Corporate worship
  • Group time for our “family” to get together and hear from one the older (wiser) guys here pour some wisdom into us about worship
  • Run sound for a 2 hour prayer and worship set in the afternoon
  • Work on guitar and songwriting
  • Play keys for ministry night (2-3 hour worship set)

Tuesday

  • An hour of singing scriptures with our “family” in the morning
  • Teaching time for someone to help us grow in practical skills
  • Practice for the set we lead on Wednesday afternoon
  • Work on piano and songwriting

Wednesday

  • Work on guitar and songwriting
  • Co-Lead (on a rotating schedule) a 2 hour prayer and worship set with a prayer leader
  • “Family” time to share with and encourage each other

Thursday

  • Lead 1 hour of worship for one of the schools running here
  • Work on guitar and songwriting
  • Play keyboard for a 2 hour prayer and worship set
  • Attend a base-wide corporate meeting (and possibly play for worship)

Friday

  • Family” worship time
  • Work on songwriting/skill development
  • Play for one hour in the prayer room

This is a really exciting season of my life. I’ve never been able to be a part of this much ministry and see God do so much in different people. I’m growing very quickly in maturity, my relationship with God, and practical skills as a worship leader/musician.

All this good news, and in addition, it’s almost completely paid for! I only need about $300-400 more by March for everything. If you’d like to support me, you can check out my “Support Me” page on this site.

Hopefully that’s a decent rundown. I can explain anything further if you would like. Feel free to get in contact with me on Facebook or by e-mail.

Thank you so much for the support and prayers.

Plans Change, Life Goes On (And Gets Better Too)

My trip to Cambodia and Japan is cancelled. As the time to leave for outreach was coming closer and my leaders still hadn’t seen the funds come in for the trip, we prayed about it and ended up deciding to not go. There are still two guys (Anthony and Frank) who will be going to Cambodia on a ministry trip though, so keep them in your prayers.

So now instead of going to Cambodia/Japan I’ll be staying here in Kona and taking part in our local outreach / internship program. I’ll be here on base for the next quarter ministering to the other schools on the base, in the prayer room, and around the island. In addition, this quarter will also be devoted to more practical development than the last. Guitar, piano, voice lessons and music theory along with training on sound, recording, how to work well in a band, how to be a good leader, and all sorts of good stuff.

I think it’s going to be a really great quarter and I really do believe this is where God wants me for this season.

If you have any questions about it, feel free to contact me and chat about it. I’d love to hear from you 🙂

Outreach and Life News

First off, some super exciting news about outreach: I’m still going to Cambodia, but I’m also going to Japan now! Our team will be leaving on January 1st to Cambodia for three weeks to a month and then we’ll be joining up another team in Japan until the last week of February. I’m super excited about both of these opportunities. I’ve been told by so many at church about how super cool Cambodia is and personally I just think Japan sounds awesome!

Please pray for me and my team as we prepare to go. We need unity and a decent amount of funds. I need about $3000 and my team still needs about $10,000 not including me. Please keep us in your prayers and if you’d like to support us let me know or just go to the support me page on my blog.

Beyond that, life has been awesome the last few weeks. Our speakers have been amazing and I’ve been challenged and brought to new levels of holiness and relationship with God.

God’s been showing me more about who I am in Him and what it means to be righteous. For a while I think I’ve seen sin as just a thing that comes from within me because my flesh is evil and every time I fall into it there’s guilt and shame attached to it that gets in the way with my relationship with God. It can be awkward to try and talk to Him when I feel like I’ve just done something really bad. But what I’ve been learning about in the last two weeks is that I need to look at sin differently. I’ve been redeemed and purified by Jesus’ sacrifice. He is making me new. Sin is an attack from the enemy trying to separate me from my Father and I need to see it for what it is and run straight to Him when it comes near.

This alone has brought me closer to God in the past few weeks. I’ve been learning to fight harder for my time with Him. I’ve understood His love and desire for me more as well. It’s been a really good time of growing deeper with God. He’s good.

This has really been an amazing school and I’ve been so blessed to be here. Thank you everyone for your support. I couldn’t have gotten here without you and I’m excited to share stories of what God’s going to do in Cambodia and Japan.