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ThinkJump Journal from Kim Gentes



The blog of Kim Gentes. A place where you will find articles on worship, family, technology, church, music, and art. We promise nothing. But try to never deliver.



Last Build Date: Fri, 30 Mar 2018 22:36:02 +0000

Copyright: ©2007-2011 Kim Anthony Gentes
 



To All Who Are Thirsty...

Fri, 16 Mar 2018 11:11:20 +0000

The record of scripture contains one of the most challenging, yet thrilling, paradoxes in all of ancient literature- an invitation. To Whom is the Invitation Given? Not to the worthy, but to the worthless. Not to great, but the weak. Not to the successful and triumphant, but to the poor, lost, lonely, and, yes, thirsty. Isaiah 55:1-3 "Come, all you who are thirsty,  come to the waters; and you who have no money,  come, buy and eat! Come, buy wine and milk  without money and without cost. Why spend money on what is not bread,  and your labor on what does not satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good,  and you will delight in the richest of fare. Give ear and come to me;  listen, that you may live. I will make an everlasting covenant with you,  my faithful love promised to David." This invitation is given to that most unexpected person- you. And me. It breaks all conventions of honor, rank and accomplishment on which our world structures hang. It makes available the essence of true life to the very people who seem most far from it. In fact, there is no mention of those who have worked hard, proven themselves, earned their place, accomplished something or overcome great odds.  The invited have just one thing in common across the thread of the biblical text- they are thirsty. Being Thirsty To be thirsty is both to have a need and to acknowledge that reality. Accepting such an invitation isn't gaining a prize or winning a lottery- it is the full surrender of yourself to the reality of your need and vulnerability of placing yourself at the mercy and resources of the inviter. Being thirsty is the awareness that you are in need, and that the singular answer to that need lays beyond you. It lies, in fact, with the true substance of survival- living water. John 7:37 On the last and greatest day of the festival, Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them." Who is Inviting You? The reason this invitation is so powerful is found in its origin. The invitation is extended to each thirsty soul from the heart and mouth of God. In the Old Testament, Isaiah prophetically announces that Yahweh is calling to those who will listen: "Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters". In the New Testament gospels, Jesus declares, "Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink". And at the culmination of all things, the scripture gives us the invitation one last time: Revelation 22:17 The Spirit and the bride say, "Come!" And let the one who hears say, "Come!" Let the one who is thirsty come; and let the one who wishes take the free gift of the water of life. What is surprising here is not that the Spirit would recite the invitation again, but that this tiny phrase would be included "…and the bride say." But how can that be? How can "the bride" be co-inviter to this gift? In what seems like a misplaced phrase we find a glimpse into the essence of the Christian God- to include His community in the divine work of His invitation. The "bride" in scripture, and especially in Revelation, is the Body of Christ- the church. The Spirit of God is the free gift of the water of life. And by God’s choice, the fountain from which that water flows is His bride, the church. In the last text of the scripture God stands shoulder to shoulder with redeemed humanity, his bride, and issues the invitation for those who are thirsty to come and find that eternal drink- the water of life. If you are part of the bride of Christ, God has made you partner with him to invite those who are thirsty to find the fountain and its water- the church and the Spirit of life that fills it and flows through it. If you are thirsty, there is an invitation- come.  As Jesus said "let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink". Accepting the Invitation So how does one respond to this invitation? This is actually quite clear already from the previous texts cited. One [...]



No Society Lasts Forever... Or Does It? - a Brief Detour into Politics and the Kingdom of God

Sun, 11 Mar 2018 01:00:28 +0000

The last several years of my life I've been studying and reading much about history, anthropology and anthropogeny (the study of human origins). Machu PicchuFor my part, I am not very interested in the present political configuration or expressions that take the center stage in US politics. However, I do often reflect on politics from a historical perspective and consider our present situation in that light. In that context, I was very interested in a recent post made by a good friend. Without reciting the entire post, I will summarily quote its primary parts of interest: "No Society Lasts Forever… ...When in history, has a society sustained indefinitely that is driven by greed, wealth and power? When has a society thrived and sustained that was driven by a so-called, progressive ethic and morality (whatever feels good to me and is mutually consensual)? When has a society sustained indefinitely that was focused on military might, war and violence? When has a society flourished, and is still around after a couple thousand years that was focused on peace, passivity and playing nice with everyone? When has a society flourished when it was about being conservative, rigid, and holding to the letter of the law? The answer: Never…None of Them! And so, history repeats itself.  As long as we, or any society, put our focus and the majority of our time, energy and money on what we can have, and want to have here and now, it simply will not sustain….no matter what position you are supporting. It has something to do with serving the “created” rather than the “Creator.”.... ...I would encourage you to give the above questions I posed some honest thinking and consideration, and see if they stir something in you besides endless accusations, vitriol, slander and hatred. Life is not only about winners and losers..." The remainder of my article here is a discussion about such societies as being pointed out above, and my follow-on response to the broader questions embedded in the post above. First, I'd say that while the questions being asked are often put as anecdotal evidence that none of those system are sustainable, the historical record may be a little more unsatisfactory. Asked--- "When has a society sustained indefinitely that was focused on military might, war and violence?" Using the word "indefinitely" is certainly a disqualifier across all societies. The biggest example of such a society would be Ancient Rome. Roman ForumEven then, it morphed through various political orders as it's influence expanded. Culturally Rome places its founding at 753BC with the institution of the Roman Republic in 509BC. This transformed into the Roman empire just before the time of Christ (either on 46BC or 27BC, depending on whether you mark Caesar's dictatorship or Augustus emperorship as the beginning of the empire). But the Roman system, throughout its lifespan, existed as military political machine. It grew primarily as the result of its military expeditions and annexations of the territories around the Mediterranean. It maintained those holdings in strength until the initial split (east/west) in 395 AD and the fall of the west Roman empire in 476 AD. Political heirs of the Roman empire survived right up until 1453 AD when the last remnant of Byzantine empire collapsed with the fall of Constantinople to Mehmed the II and the invading Ottoman empire. Military might proved it could build and sustain this society for almost 1000 years (if you take the Roman Republic days through to the fall of the Western empire). The influence it made and culture it spread, it did so through war and subjugation. I am not saying it was wonderful society. I am saying it was sustained through its activity (military force) and flourished in the context of the world in which it dominated. Rome's brilliance (and often believed downfall) was its capacity to conquer, subjugate and administrate various people's, cultures and languages into its vast political, economic and religious network.[...]



Music and Light- The Greatness of the Musical Gift (ThinkJump Journal #109 with Kim Gentes)

Thu, 18 Jan 2018 03:00:55 +0000

(image) As I'm recovering from the slowly receding fog of the flu this week, I hear the thumping under-beat of a [no doubt, clean edit] rap song playing throughout the house. My wife, blissfully unaware of the lyrics to the rhythms she's enjoying, exclaims "those kids have some good music out these days". It's a few days later that my 20-something son informs my sweetheart that the beat she loves and bobs her head to is rife with slurs and epithets she likely wouldn't concur with. Thus ended the playlist hit cycle for "Rockstar" in the Gentes household.

This led to a discussion about the tunes my sweetie enjoyed as she drove around doing errands during the day, which included the aforementioned "Rockstar" (Post Malone), "1-800-273-8255 (I don't wanna be alive)" (Logic), and her favorite "Let You Down" (NF). My (much more docile) current pop favorite is "Perfect" (Ed Sheeran), although I have been enjoying virtually every track from the movie track of "The Greatest Showman" for about the last 3 weeks.

It's interesting to me that so much great musical talent is out there, speaking to our world and culture. Things we agree with and things we don't. Music is a kind of life illuminating script that has the power to dissolve the barriers to conversation. That power has always been a part of the human experience and the human community (what we call culture). History, archaeology and anthropology have known this for as long as these studies have been around.

The sound of the illuminating music from the community of Jesus (what we have called Christian music, or in the past, sacred music) has ebbed from its bright place of prominence that it once burned with (at different times and cultures) in the last two millennia. I wonder where its next Gregory (the chants), Joseph Haydn, Johann Bach, or Charles Wesley will come from? Who will write the next great, life-illuminating music that cracks us open to the heart of God as beams of light to the shadow-saturated culture of brokenness of the 21st century? Not just a song to please the "insiders", but sound and lyric that lifts as a sail to catch the wind of the Creator himself. A sail whose vessel can carry any one of us into the clear-eyed vision of the scripture's new creation, that very real place we call hope, faith and love.

--Kim Gentes




Finally. The Answer to What is Really Wrong with the Church (ThinkJump Journal #108 with Kim Gentes)

Fri, 29 Sep 2017 20:33:24 +0000

(image) Me. I am part of the problem with the church. Why? Because I am human. Because I just don't care enough or as deeply as I should about the important things that really matter. I am preoccupied and concerned more about my life than I am about others. I have failed to love as Jesus teaches us to.

and you. Spending time looking for where the blame lies is also part of the problem. Not attending to the solution, but glaring at those failing. Refusing to forgive as Jesus taught us to.

The church is broken because people are broken. But the answer is not throwing away the community, or the God who has called the community together. Jesus promised to return for His church. 

God, come to us. Bring your kingdom reign here on earth, now. Make it as active and alive as it is already around your throne in the heavens. Heal us.  Help me to be caring, and to care. Make us the community that begins to look like the glorious and clean, radiant bride you will one day celebrate with on that great day. Help us stop saying things and doing things to manipulate others to do our will. Instead, may your will be done. Help us forgive, like you forgive. Help us trust you to take care of each day, as we live faithfully and kindly in each day, treating others as we'd like to be treated.  We need your love, Lord.  We need it because ours is dead or empty. We need it because the brokeness and heartache around us is more than we have the resources to help. Jesus, come help us.

--Kim Gentes




Anatomy of a Phone Scam (ThinkJump Journal #107 with Kim Gentes)

Sat, 12 Mar 2016 00:22:31 +0000

The last several weeks I've been getting an increasing number of scam phone calls. With the tax season coming to full stride, the focus of many of those predatory calls has been to pose as IRS, Treasury or "Federal" agents who are warning people of serious issues that can only be resolved by calling a special number. Of course, the hook is always that the perpetrators are looking for access to your credit cards, bank account or personal information/identity. Yesterday, one of the scammers went as far as leaving a voice message. Here is what it said: Hi. My name is David Grey, and this message is intended to contact you regarding an unfortunate action executed by the United States Treasury intending(sic) your serious attention. Ignoring this will be an intentional second attempt to avoid an issue appearance before a magistrate, judge or grand jury for a Federal criminal offence. My number is 631-729-5316. I repeat, it's 631-729-5316. I'd like you to cooperate with us, and us to help you. Thank you. Here is the raw audio from the voice message. Audio Recording of--  Scammer Voice Mail [click link to play] It is probably obvious to many (perhaps even comical), but please remember- these are bogus and illegal scams. Please don't ever respond to these things. I was tired of all these fraudulent calls and harassment. So I decided to see what I could do to report these calls. I went to the IRS website and read up on the ways to report such things to them. Their primary recommendation is to submit a report to the Treasury Department here: https://www.treasury.gov/tigta/contact_report.shtml You can also call the Treasury Inspector General for Tax Administration at 1.800.366.4484.  You can also report phone fraud with the FTC here: https://www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov/ Part of the reason I get tired of this kind of harrassment is not because it is so clever that it isn't fairly easily detected, but because these tactics are so constant that it takes up time and energy to screen out. More than that, these same types of scammers are calling others, especially elderly friends and family members who may tend to trust "official sounding" scammers. If you know someone who is harrassed by such calls, and you aren't sure if they understand what to do and who to contact- help them get access to the numbers and links above. But most of all, sit with them and help explain these are fraudulent calls and they should not believe them.  Finally, here is a video posted from the IRS themselves helping to warn people about these issues: width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/0y5z0kWgBcM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Be safe out there folks, and be sure to help those around you who might not understand the nature of the fraudulent calls they are recieving.    I am not a lawyer. I am not licensed to give legal counsel. This article is meant for research and resource purposes, and only renders my personal ideas, not a legal opinion. If you have serious questions about the law, consult an attorney.   [...]



Musician & Worship Leader's Guide to the Musical Instrument "Carry On" Law for Air Travel (ThinkJump Journal #106 with Kim Gentes)

Wed, 23 Sep 2015 23:56:32 +0000

A couple weeks ago, I was headed out on a vacation to Hawaii. Prior to the trip, we'd made plans to visit friends who happen to have moved to the big island of Hawaii only months before. As it turned out, we put together a worship night and invited more local friends on the island to join us. So now, as the trip was about to embark I cautiously awaited that one fear every musician has before boarding a plane- what will happen to my guitar?! Fortunately, I had prepared ahead of time and got the research done on the new law, and some details on how the airplane policies intersect with that. For those that haven't heard, a new law was introduced as part of the recently passed "FAA Modernization and Reform Act of 2012".  You can see the entire act published on Congress' website here. The pertinent portion of the act for us is "Sec. 403. Musical instruments" which describes the requirement upon airlines to provide adequate accommodations for passengers traveling with musical instruments. The Actual Law For our purposes, I am going to focus briefly on the sub-section here headlined as "Small instruments as carry-on baggage".  Rather than just summarize it without context, I am going to quote the relevant text here first then comment. Small instruments as carry-on baggage. --An air carrier providing air transportation shall permit a passenger to carry a violin, guitar, or other musical instrument in the aircraft cabin, without charging the passenger a fee in addition to any standard fee that carrier may require for comparable carry-on baggage, if- (A) the instrument can be stowed safely in a suitable baggage compartment in the aircraft cabin or under a passenger seat, in accordance with the requirements for carriage of carry-on baggage or cargo established by the Administrator; and (B) there is space for such stowage at the time the passenger boards the aircraft.1 If you read nothing more, at least know what the law says. It can help you on your next trip. What Does This Mean To Me? The law is crisp and simple. Airlines must allow you to carry-on your guitar (with no charge) if two conditions exist. First, your instrument must be small enough to fit. That is- your instrument should be small enough to be stowed in the compartments provided for carry-on luggage (under the seat in front of you or in the overhead storage). Second, there must be space available in those compartments. I've found that my two guitars (2008 McPherson MG-3.5 EIR/E, and 1992 Ovation Elite CE) and cases fit easily in regular overhead compartments. My estimation is that most acoustics will fit, unless you have a monstrous body axe or super power case that you know can't fit in regular bins (but check your own guitar case specs against your airline). The real key for the second item (B) in the above law text is that there must be space available for your guitar. This seems like a bad-news clause, since we can imagine airlines claiming they want to first load other items before letting your guitar in the overheads. But the DOT does a slam dunk against that with a swift phrase in its ruling on implementation of the law when it says that the airlines music allow you to store your instrument "if... there is room for the instrument at the time the passenger in question attempts to board"2. Bingo! That is the key right there. So how can you be sure there will be enough room when you board? The answer- board early! I know it seems obvious, but it basically comes down to first come, first served. If there is room when you get on, your guitar has rights to that room. My solution- since I was flying with US Air/American on my flights, I used their "Priority boarding" option when checking in online (with my regular cabin fare ticket). For those two airlines, at least, you can purchase a simple $25 early boarding option that lets you get Priority or Group 1 boarding on a flight. Purchasing that fea[...]



Mentoring Worship Leaders (ThinkJump Journal #105 with Kim Gentes)

Fri, 28 Aug 2015 22:33:37 +0000

Friends. For the last 25 years, I've been involved in worship and music in the local church. For almost that same amount of time, I have been involved in finding, encouraging and mentoring others in various aspects of leadership, from teams to small groups to Sunday morning worship. I've had the benefit of some great mentors in my life, and I knew intuitively that if I was to be a servant (as Christ calls us to be) in ministry that I was also tasked with helping others along the journey, just as I was helped. Over the last 20 years I've had the opportunity to train dozens of people in various aspects of music, worship and leadership. Guitar classes, small group leading, one-on-one mentoring and co-leading in various situations. Through doing this, I learned there were things that worked well, and other things that didn't. I have been wanting to share what I learned in a way that would help others. Last year, a friend of mine, Tom Kraeuter (author of 20+ books on worship) asked me if I would contribute to a book he was writing on mentoring worship leaders. Tom knew that for a book to be a true resource across churches and denominations it needed to have a broad perspective. He asked 10 worship leaders, mentors and teachers to contribute their best thoughts and ideas to a comprehensive book that would help other leaders have some helpful guides as they begin mentoring or the process of being mentored in their local churches and ministries. The result of this collaboration is "Mentoring Worship Leaders", the book cover you see to the left here. I am not only pleased with the book as a whole but have added more great insights to my own tool chest by reading the contributions of others such as Monte Kelso, Kent Henry, Karen Lafferty, and others. There are very few books that even attempt to cover the topic of worship leadership mentoring, and even fewer that provide more than just a single perspective.  If you are considering mentoring others or are looking for mentoring guidance yourself, I honestly believe the book can open up some insights and possibilities to you in doing this. Watch the video below to get a brief overview of the book from Tom. width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/SPPa1IL2_zM" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> If you are a worship leader mentoring others, or a person looking for tools for your own mentoring journey, I highly recommend this book, not just because I contributed to it, but because it is an excellent resource. You can order the book below. I pray it is a blessing to you.     Mentoring Worship Leaders... Training the Next Generation Tom Kraeuter, Kim Gentes, Kent Henry, Karen Lafferty and others Cost: $14 (free shipping - to US only)   Buy Multiple Copies?: Use button below(free shipping - to US only) [...]



A Summary of the Biblical Story- In Sixty Six Verses (ThinkJump Journal #104 with Kim Gentes)

Thu, 11 Jun 2015 02:52:45 +0000

The primary narrative of the Christian and Jewish faiths is archived in the pages of the bible. While the bible includes 66 separate books, it remains a compelling, powerful storyline. The narrative arc speaks of God's work of creation and humanity, the subsequent failure of humans in the garden, God's project of redemption manifesting through His relationship with an individual (Abraham), a tribe (Hebrews), a nation (Israel), a king (David), prophets, and eventually a Savior (Jesus), in which YHWH (the Lord) sent His Son to plant the promise of His redemption into the heart of the human world and declare His love for all creation. Upon the fruition of that redemption (in the death and resurrection of His Son, Jesus) the Holy Spirit was released to build a new people, the Church, who would bring the promise (in word and deed) of the redemptive Jesus to the rest of the world. As the word of Christ and deeds of the Holy Spirit spread across the entire world it will all culminate in a return of this same Jesus back to our earth to complete the project. He will render justice, restore man's relationship and gather all those who love Him to an amazing celebration and community where access to the tree of life and face-to-face meeting with God is restored. I had learned this basic biblical story in bits and pieces throughout my life. Even after I had been a Christian for some time, I hadn't put together the importance of seeing the larger story arc- the work of God's redemptive purpose from the initial creation in the garden of Eden to the glorious appearance of the tree of life in the New Jerusalem in John's book of Revelation that culminates the New Testament. What helped me discover this larger story was a professor of mine while I was a grad student at SSU in St. Stephen's, NB Canada. Bill Jackson (Jax, as he asked his students to call him) was the professor for two of my courses- Acts, and Biblical Theology. In both cases, Jax made us read the entire narrative of our subject- in the first case, literally reading through the entire Bible, and in the second, reading much of the New Testament. I remember drafting up spreadsheets to track my reading, since I wasn't used to reading so much, and had to put in hours each day to keep up. But as the verses became chapters, chapters became books, and books sketched out the story of the bible- I began to see it. I began to realize the incredible fluidity and persistence of the themes of God's redemption project. The narrative became a deep part of how I began to see and understand both the Christian scriptures and faith, and also the experience of human life here and now. God was at work, then and now. And as Bill would say it- nothin's gonna stop it! The few years since my formal studies ended has me re-reading the entire Bible, usually two or more times a year, and more if I can find enough time.  Something about re-visiting that grand plot keeps reminding me that life today is a continuation of God's great narrative. And the story that branched out with the church in the book of Acts continues today with the Church of Jesus across the world. While we aren't writing scripture any longer, we are still letters from God to a hungry world. As the Apostle Paul said, "You yourselves are our letter, written on our hearts, recognized and read by everyone." (2 Corinthians 3:2) This year, I decided to start gathering single verse quotes as I was reading through the Bible again. Just one verse per book as I concluded each book. I was posting each of these verse quotes on a daily basis, but decided to collect them all here for those who wanted to see them in a single place. Sadly, this year also marked the passing of my professor Bill Jackson, who had started me off on this ever deepening journey of drawing out of the grand narrative of God's story. I note with thanksgiving and joy that Jax's j[...]



When We Miss People (ThinkJump Journal #103 with Kim Gentes)

Tue, 24 Feb 2015 05:21:23 +0000

(image) In recent years, I have traveled a considerable amount, and for a time, was away from my family on a weekly basis. Also in recent years, a number of friends and family members have passed away. What is it we actually miss when we aren't near those that matter to us? Is it their words? Their humor? Their hugs? Their smiles? Their wisdom? Those are all components of a person's personality, character or attributes that certainly do endear us to one another.

My personal journey and experience has made me reflect about something more subtle, but no less palpable- their presence. What I miss when I travel away from my wife or children or other family members is their presence. The sense of being in the room with them, watching them be themselves, hearing their voices, understanding the cadence of their lives, bodies and personalities. And something perhaps even more subtle- knowing they know I am there. That they want me in their company, in their lives, and in their day.

CS Lewis famously said of our deepest desire, that we long to be "welcomed into the heart of things". This is it.

What I miss is the acknowledgement and invitation that is the heartfelt inclusion of one human into another's life. As we crowd through this world we live in, the voices and people that resound clearest are those from whom we sense the deepest welcome, the warmest invitation, the desire and gift to be present for its very sake. Not just accommodation, not just permission, not just plausible acceptance.

But serious and profoundly joyful welcome. The gift of arms-thrown-open, coming-to-hug-you, smile-filled, heartfelt and active welcome. Like a father and mother of the most gregarious kind unashamedly showering their returning child with that embarrassing public display of happy joy. And it isn't just those actions- it is the depth of relational integrity that goes with them that confirms those actions represent the true heart of things.

What is it that I miss about others when I am away from them? Their presence. And their generous welcome of my life into theirs. That they desire to be in my presence as much as I do theirs.

Someone once said that the heart of all love is the knowledge (or sometimes even just the hope) that you are desired. Perhaps this is what I am pointing to. That missing the presence of those I care about is missing the physical reminder of their love.

We are, after all, physical creatures. But that physicality is part of a larger reality. A reality where we are satisfied only as "we live and move and have our being" within not just the love of others, but in the very presence of the person of Love. We miss others not just because of the love we share with them, but because even that love points to our invitation, our welcome, our full participation open to us from the living God of love.

And in recognizing this, we come full circle to seeing our center of life and love is never actually missing. We are in His presence at every moment, every location, every circumstance.

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord. ~Romans 13:38-39

 

 




What Great Art Does: Looking at The YHWH Project (ThinkJump Journal #102 with Kim Gentes)

Wed, 24 Dec 2014 16:57:03 +0000

(image) The YHWH ProjectWhen you look at great works of art, what is the common thread? What binds them to the mind, appeals to the emotions and hints at eternity?

Is it great aesthetic? Great technique? Innovative presentation? Pithy philosophical content? Each of these can be powerful, perhaps, an important foundation. But on their own, they rarely produce art that becomes the new touch points of excellence in their era (let alone beyond that) without one broader component.

Great art does not give an answer; it asks a great question. And it does so by reminding us that the question was always in us, and has been there, pointing beyond us, waiting for us to face it square on. This is what Homer, St. Paul, Augustine, Giotto, DaVinci, Michelangelo, Shakespeare, Mozart, Beethoven, Tolstoy, Dickens, Gershwin, CS Lewis, Tolkien, Lennon & McArtney, and Picasso could do- use art to expose the great questions of life to us. They created works that were pregnant with the truth that lie just under our consciousness. And when we read, saw or heard their masterpieces, that truth would split open our minds as both something great and new, and something we have always suspected was there.

In the modern era, most Christian art has been sadly waning of this characteristic- often simply stating the obvious and already over-narrated highpoints of current culture rather than awakening those powerful questions.

It was with some surprise, then, that I watched the video short called "The YHWH Project". All the components of great art are there- aesthetic, technique, presentation, surprising philosophical points. And even more, it points to the question in all of us. The question that gnaws at our life and screams in our souls.

Am I saying it is a work akin to the masters above? Perhaps not. But it is great art. It is great poetry. It is profound use of visual media. And it asks one of the greatest questions.  Watch it for yourself.

Read the poem and watch the video at: http://www.yhwhproject.org/

Video below- 

width="550" height="343" src="http://www.youtube.com/embed/duIRjPIAefo?rel=0&hd=1" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>

 




It Had To Be Done- My Feedback About "Whitney" to LifeTime TV

Wed, 24 Dec 2014 07:09:34 +0000

I had to send a letter about the trailer and upcoming movie "Whitney" to LifeTime. The letter speaks for itself. It had to be done.  NOTE: I got a  reply I get from them (see bottom)...

(image) Customer Feedback to LifeTime Movie Network on the movie "Whitney"

 

Their reply below...




Stories Of Risks & Rewards In Worship Leading: Familiarity and Participation (ThinkJump Journal #100 with Kim Gentes)

Fri, 05 Dec 2014 04:03:31 +0000

I am learning new things all the time and wanted to share something from a recent service and planning. On most of the posts on this blog you will find things that I've learned through practical experience. This article follows that tradition, but is actually about something that didn't succeed the way I hoped it would. Sometimes learning is about recognizing what was "OK" but needs changing to be best. A few weeks ago, I was thinking about how to call people into our time of worship. Obvious scriptures came to mind, of which this was prominent:  "Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;" Psalm 95:6  Given the current service format/time constraints at my own local church, I didn't want to take an entire song to make this declaration/invitation. As I was planning, I originally thought of just reading the scripture verse to the congregation, but instead I remembered an old Vineyard song by Andy Park called "Children of Light". It is a song from the early 90's that I used to love to lead with, though it wasn't broadly used across a lot of other churches that I knew. For our Sunday morning, our vocal team sang (a capella) the first half of the chorus before we began our scheduled set: Come, let us worship nowLet us kneel. let humble bow downCome, let us worship nowLet us kneel. let humble bow downCome Done, just vocally, without explanation, it was a simple invocation (if slightly reworded) of the Psalm 95:6 text, transitioning the service into our worship time.  For myself, as a leader and worshiper, it felt poignant and concise, having a nice scriptural basis and performing the essential task of the introit/call to worship. However, I saw mostly interested, but uncertain looks in the faces of most people. It did serve as a definitive transition into worship, but I don't know if people saw it as much as a call to worship as I hoped it would be interpreted as.  It seemed more like people were wondering if we were starting a song and they just didn't know it. I guess what I am saying is that it didn't seem to serve the purpose for the congregation that I was hoping for (in terms of drawing them into an awareness of a call to worship, welcoming their participation). As I thought about it, I realized I could have used the verse of "Come Now is the Time to Worship" and it might have served the purpose better, since people would likely have known that song. It says essentially the same core message: Come, now is the time to worshipCome, now is the time to give your heartCome, just as you are to worshipCome, just as you are before your GodCome The reason I had chosen the first song segment ("Children of Light") is that I wanted it clear to be a near scriptural reference. In retrospect, because people weren't familiar with the song, it seemed to not serve the purpose as well. I think if the song had been in our recent repertoire it might have worked fabulous. One of the problems with knowing 25 years of songs (in my case hundreds of songs from my Vineyard tradition) is that you are constantly reminded that you cannot draw on them. Anyways, a few takeaways that I received from this experience, and may be of interest: "Children of Light" and "Come Now is the Time" are both great songs and I wish we had 4 meetings per week so that I could employ more of the great songs that are out there. Familiarity is a powerful connector for our congregations through which we can communicate our themes. Circumventing it rarely has the impact hoped for. I've been leading worship for many years, and am constantly moving between the tension of trying something fresh and doing something known that will guarantee the community is not left behind in the experience. I took the risk of trying this a capell[...]



My Response to Dan Wilt's "Make No Mistakes" (ThinkJump Journal #99 with Kim Gentes)

Thu, 04 Dec 2014 16:47:37 +0000

Dan Wilt, popular blogger, speaker and teacher on worship, recently posted a clarion call to worship leaders on skill and musicianship. You can find it here: http://www.danwilt.com/make-no-mistakes-3-ways-to-move-from-sloppy-to-solid-in-your-musicianship/ Before reading the article below (my response), you should first read Dan's original article. It is well worth it. I like the article. I wholeheartedly agree that musicianship must get better for arts and music to be taken seriously as a "gift" in the church community (by both the community themselves and the outside world). However, I feel the conflict Dan is inaugurating with his strongly worded demand for church musicianship to 'get it together' will only cause problems for worship leaders, honestly. Here's why- the issue for most worship leaders is not a desire for increasing their musicianship, it's a problem with taking that desire and implementing it as a plan amongst the church musicians that play essential roles on the "Sunday morning" experience. Why? It's a problem of conflicting goals with the senior leadership of the church. There is a struggle over who really has the microphone. Let me explain. The worship leaders (themselves) will get better, but the stream of musicians in their churches will not. I want what Dan is saying to happen, but I've found most senior pastors (with some exceptions) would rather have people participating than require high musical competence. When challenged, the senior pastors will always say they want quality, but it has to be done by using the people they have. It's a no sum game. There are churches in which this isn't so, but I've not usually seen it as a problem with the music leadership, rather the integration of such a requirement in a volunteer setting that values inclusion above competence. Don't get me wrong, I am not arguing for that view, but it pervades. Nashville is a different world, and Dan (as a local) can certainly relish it's unique culture because that city's church culture has taken the competence line rather than the other, but the rest of the world (that I have seen) will mostly take the other. What this means is that Dan is now pitting the worship/music leader against his church leadership to follow the mantra he's outlined. Very few people (worship leaders) have the interpersonal skills to point out this inconsistency in position to their senior leadership, let alone convince them to change. I've seen music leaders quit, time after time, because of this exact issue as it fully plays out in all its facets- they want excellence, but it presses against the culture and leadership to the point that the worship leader eventually abandons the church out of frustration. Your call to excellence is right. But it is not just. It will only be just when you clearly and importantly forego its three idiomatic three punch points by first helping leaders get to the heart of this goal with their pastoral leadership. And if that goal is NOT arrived at in mutual agreement, those 3 points become a knife of tension that eventually leads to division and pain. I understand the issue- no single article can be "all things". But this strongly worded call to worship leaders can't be presented at least without a reference to a philosophical (and practical leadership) framework in which such a call to action to exist without it tearing down the very structures it hopes it support. Dan starts the article in response to the hypothetical statement he fears from churches "but worship music is different." To which he responds "baloney" (an American redress for bologna). The problem Dan is avoiding when he does this is that no other musical setting holds musicianship to be less important than other goals in the event. [...]



Parenting Your Children With Words of Hope and Vision - Pray, Speak & Listen (ThinkJump Journal #98 with Kim Gentes)

Sat, 15 Nov 2014 03:37:12 +0000

I don't know of a single topic that has challenged and scared me more than parenting. You might not understand this until you have become a parent yourself. The moment you hold your newborn child in your arms, you feel an inexplicable joy and care. It is a kind of love that isn't based on give and take- it is something more profound. Something much closer to the kind of love we hear about in the gospels and New Testament- agape. When you become a parent, you find yourself falling in love with a tiny person who, without any ability to reciprocate, has won your love. As the pure joy and peace of being in that kind of love lifts you, another kind of love comes to rest on your shoulders- responsibility. Kim, Carol, Jordan, Jared and Cody Gentes in Alberta, CanadaI call parental responsibility of this kind- love. This is because love, above all other things, is action. Love does something, is something, and hopes for something that is always a little beyond the giver's current capacity. As parents, we love not because we have the resources, wisdom and ability to accomplish all that will be needed to raise a child, but because we know that we must actually change into new people if we are to care for and really love a human being from infancy into adulthood. Some things work and some things don't. If you have been a parent for any length of time, you've probably discovered that. As with almost all aspects of life, in parenting, words matter. How and what you say can change the direction and impact of your child and their thinking. This is important because what your child hears and believes will become an overarching trajectory for their lives. Part of the responsibility of a parent is to help visioneer with your child- help them discover and begin to journey with them on a vision for their lives. This probably sounds like self-help or corporate entrepreneurialism, but actually, it has a much more focused goal- to help your child see a vision of their life in the purposes and family of God. One of the clearest ways to articulate any vision is through words. So, how can you help communicate and encourage your children in a truthful but hopeful way, as a parent?   Envisioning Your Children with Hope   In over 20 years of parenting, I've found that a "leading-the-witness" communication style has been one of the best methods of successful mentoring children across the years. From very young children just entering the world of conversation to teenagers who are heading towards independence, your words can help describe and discover how to have hope towards the future amidst a real world of challenges. Use your words to invite your child into a hopeful vision of reality. You can paint that vision with faith-filled encouragement, coloring it with words like: "you have a wonderful [character trait God is growing in them]..." or "you have always been a person with such [positive personal attribute].." It isn't a sham to see the future in your child and point it out. One points it out like the discovery of a flower in wilderness. You marvel at it for a moment, believing it has value, not only for its beauty, but its uniqueness. You don't start comparing it to all the other flowers one might find in a floral boutique. This one flower has come about in the unique real world, not the sterilized realm of a "for sale" production environment. Being the parent, you might have real wisdom or insight into the specificity of your child's gifts, perhaps even their destiny. If you don't yet, pray and ask the Lord to show you the heart of His work in your children. I am convinced that He will show you, as the parent, His heart at work in their character. But ultimately this is your child,[...]



Why Aren't We Singing - Video by Graham Kendrick (ThinkJump Journal #97 with Kim Gentes)

Tue, 21 Oct 2014 22:32:00 +0000

(image) Why Aren't We Singing - Graham KendrickThere is a lot of change continuing to pulse through the life of the local churches, and much of that change continues to be related to music.

In this blog, I've talked about the need to select familiar songs the whole church knows, about selecting songs in that normal people can sing, and even how local worship leaders can find/select a good congregational vocal range. Along that same line, I found a new video particularly excellent in conveying some concise principles that we should all take note of.  

I wanted to highlight a great new video that veteran worship leader and songwriter Graham Kendrick has done that articulately conveys the importance of a number of aspects of local church music. His reasoning and presentation are excellent and help us all see to the heart of this important issue. I strongly encourage you to watch this short (6 minute) video. Worship leaders, especially, will receive some excellent encouragement here.

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 Well said, Graham. Well said!