Thanks to you, “Cast My Burden” made the PraiseCharts Top 10!

Click here for “Cast My Burden” on PraiseCharts

You all are awesome! Thanks to your clicks, downloads and shares, “Cast My Burden” moved on to the final round of PraiseCharts SongQuest competition! The winner is chosen from this round, we appreciate you listening to and considering the use of “Cast My Burden” in your worship services. Jesse Land, Conor Scholes and I truly appreciate your support!

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How Soon We Forget… a.k.a. When Did This 2-14 Team Become Such a Harbinger?

One year ago… that’s 365 days ago… the Kansas City Chiefs had

  • no head coach
  • no general manager
  • no offensive coordinator
  • no defensive coordinator
  • no position coaches
  • and oh by the way – no starting quarterback.

Today, Vegas odds-makers had them at -2.5 on the road at the Colts dome (the first and only game the Chiefs would play in a dome this season – and generally the home team gets a 3 point odds advantage, i.e. a statistical dead-heat). They scored 44 points again the AFC South division winners, a team they managed to score a measly 7 points against 2 weeks ago. They led today’s playoff game at one point by 28. They caused turnovers against the stingiest team in football. Their defense scored points. And at the end of the game, they lost by 1.

A few other things seemingly forgotten in today’s playoff loss:

  • This team began the season at 9-0, breaking an all-time NFL record becoming the first team to start 5-0 after losing 14 games the previous season.
  • This team now holds the all-time NFL record for punt/kickoff average return yardage for a single season.

Saying this team “choked” or “collapsed” seems simplistic, factoring in an inordinate number of injuries.

Coaches are paid huge sums of money to make a winning game plan, coach their players, and make adjustments when schemes are ineffective and/or players aren’t getting the job done (either due to lack of talent or injury). What happens when you’ve burned through Plans ‘A’ through ‘Q’ and you’re having to dig for the 2nd binder to find Wing Attack ‘Plan R’? {I’ll save you the Google search, that’s a Dr. Strangelove reference}. You’re also on the road, the bodies are piling up, you’re in sudden death and the locker room is more crowded than the bench?

It’s hard to criticize a coaching staff that 6 days ago came within 1 missed illegal formation penalty of leading their practice squad to a victory on the road over the 6th seed in the AFC Playoffs. While it may not been the intention, that game served as a full-speed practice and scouting season for today’s exact situation – invading the player reserves in case of an emergency. And today’s roster decimation likely qualified as good reason to break that glass. Read my previous post for further thoughts on these topics.

You can make a case for the Chiefs needing more depth. Every team suffers injuries throughout the course of a season, sometimes at key positions. The Chiefs’ opponent today had been without its top receiver, Reggie Wayne, for weeks. They had T.Y. Hilton in reserve who did well. Even their 3rd stringer made an impressive catch at one point. He also had a key drop, and the defensive coverage would likely have shifted had Hilton been knocked out with an injury.

Bottom line: this is in no way intended to say “you’re wrong, I’m right”. Just one die-hard fan working through a little grief, and celebrating a great year of Chiefs football that ended in the postseason.

#ChiefsKingdom #ChiefsNation

#Chiefs Perspectives… a.k.a. kindly shut up and take your free gift

While It would have been nice to silence a few select critics, today’s game meant absolutely nothing. It actually meant less than nothing. The Chiefs began and ended the day as the #5 seed in the NFL playoffs. There were 20 of 22 backups on the field. And it took the bane of Chiefs fandom, place kicking, to seal today’s loss. This team won 11 games, and its PRACTICE SQUAD nearly beat a playoff team. 3 AFC West teams are in the playoffs. Wasn’t exactly a cakewalk. Much of this same roster won 2 games last year, these 11 wins rank among the biggest turnarounds in NFL history. This staff has had exactly ONE off-season. Guess what? It gets another soon. Good bet the team gets better. These offensive and defensive units and coaches have played exactly 15 games together. See conclusion above. In short, I humbly suggest we collectively shut up and enjoy at least 1 free week of Chiefs football. It’s certainly my intention.

 

 

 

UPDATE: the vaunted National Football League acknowledged their full-time officiating crew missed a glaringly illegal formation in last Sunday’s scrimmage… er um, game… between the Chiefs and Chargers. The correct course of action would have allowed Mr. Irrelevant another attempt at the 41 yard field goal. “but Todd, but Todd… doesn’t this update stand diametrically opposed to everything you’ve previously written demonstrating utter hypocrisy on your part? What does it matter?” Does THIS particular instance illustrate my vast hypocrisy as a sports fan? Not as such. I share this irrelevant fact (eh? see what I did there? EH?!? In comedic terms, this is referred to as a ‘callback’) to further undermine the notion that this game was anything resembling a ‘loss’ for KC or a ‘victory’ for the {cackle} so-called “red-hot” Chargers. Had the officiating crew (by its own admission two, count ’em TWO separate members of said crew were responsible for making sure the defensive line were in a legal formation – and both missed it) called the penalty, the subsequent attempt would have be 5 yards shorter – making it a 36 yard attempt. This season he’s 9 of 10 within 30-39 yards. It’s not 100%, but you like those odds a lot more than his 6 of 8 from 40-49 yards this year. To share my summary statement posted earlier on various social media, “I’m curious why San Diego is acting like they’ve accomplished anything beyond BARELY outplaying 20 out of 22 backups?” #ChiefsKingdom #ChiefsNation

UPDATE: at one point holding a 28 point lead – after losing 3 starters to concussions, a key defensive starter aggravating an injury that kept him out 5 weeks and losing numerous players to injury – this 11-5 team (that went 2-14 last season) hung 44 points on a playoff defense on the road, and lost by 1 point. Yeah, it hurts. But it was far from realistic to expect much more from a FIRST YEAR regime.

I’m grateful that my family experienced 4 visits to Arrowhead this year (3 of them wins), and that Big Foam Finger has now appeared at 4 Chiefs games (with an invitation to return next season). Pitchers and catchers report in a few weeks.

 

Christmastime Is Here…

Any other insomniacs restring guitars and edit random cell phone video to try to get to sleep? No? Just me then, OK…

Some of my earliest memories involve the Peanuts cartoons. My grandma loved to read me the adventures of the Red Baron where Snoopy played the World War I flying ace. We’d watch the cartoon specials (it was hard to get the TV off of Channel 5, KCMO – Uncle Bill’s station as you may recall). Unbeknownst to me at the time, the music section of my brain was filing away bits of their soundtracks for future study).

When I was old enough, I had my own record player and somehow came into possession of the Charlie Brown Christmas album. From the first free-time chords of O Tannenbaum through the end of Greensleeves, I was transfixed. Not long after, I started picking out Linus and Lucy on the piano. According to my mother, after a piano lesson covering minor scales I started playing Linus and Lucy in a minor key – later realizing that melody had been used in “It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown” and had lodged in the recesses of my memory bank. I’m grateful to have had a music teacher who recognized these interests and took us through music theory, not just “play it this way with these fingerings because that’s how you do it.” Her approached opened a much larger musical world to me. Thanks again Ms. McDill.

http://youtu.be/6ue44RJm2mU

Silent Night

So, it’s been a while… when I have down time on lesson days, the New Song Church worship center is an amazing space. Here’s the first of several iPhone recorded clips from such times. Hope you enjoy…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vn7XR6sYubg

 

Adventures In Colonoscopy…

Thanks to Mike Mayfield for forwarding this to me, I was in need of a good laugh.

 

ABOUT  THE WRITER: Dave Barry is a Pulitzer Prize-winning  humor columnist for the Miami  Herald.

Colonoscopy Journal:

I  called my friend Andy Sable, a gastroenterologist,  to make an appointment for a colonoscopy.

A  few days later, in his office, Andy showed me a  color diagram of the colon, a lengthy organ that  appears to go all over the place, at one point  passing briefly through Minneapolis  .

Then  Andy explained the colonoscopy procedure to  me in a thorough, reassuring and patient  manner.

I  nodded thoughtfully, but I didn’t really hear  anything he said, because my brain was shrieking,  ‘HE’S GOING TO STICK A TUBE 17,000 FEET UP YOUR  BEHIND!’

I  left Andy’s office with some written instructions,  and a prescription for a product called  ‘MoviPrep,’ which comes in a box large enough to  hold a microwave oven.  I will discuss  MoviPrep in detail later; for now suffice it to  say that we must never allow it to fall into the  hands of   America ‘s  enemies..

I  spent the next several days productively sitting  around being  nervous.

Then,  on the day before my colonoscopy, I began  my preparation.  In  accordance with my instructions, I didn’t eat any  solid food that day; all I had was chicken broth,  which is basically water,  only with less  flavor.

Then,  in the evening, I took the MoviPrep.  You mix  two packets of powder together in a  one-literplastic jug, then you fill it with  lukewarm water. (For those unfamiliar with the  metric system, a liter is about 32 gallons). Then  you have to drink the whole jug.  This takes  about an hour, because MoviPrep tastes – and here  I am being kind – like a mixture of goat spit and  urinal cleanser, with just a hint of  lemon.

The  instructions for MoviPrep, clearly written by  somebody with a great sense of humor, state that  after you drink it, ‘a loose, watery bowel  movement may  result.’

This  is kind of like saying that after you jump off  your roof, you may experience contact with the  ground.

MoviPrep  is a nuclear laxative. I don’t want to be too  graphic, here, but, have you ever seen a  space-shuttle launch?  This is pretty much  the MoviPrep experience, with you as the shuttle.  There are times when you wish the commode had a  seat belt.  You spend several hours pretty  much confined to the bathroom, spurting violently.   You eliminate everything.  And then,  when you figure you must be totally empty, you  have to drink another liter of MoviPrep, at which  point, as far as I can tell, your bowels travel  into the future and start eliminating food that  you have not even eaten  yet.

After  an action-packed evening, I finally got to  sleep.

The  next morning my wife drove me to the clinic. I was  very nervous.  Not only was I worried about  the procedure, but I had been experiencing  occasional return bouts of MoviPrep spurtage.   I was thinking, ‘What if I spurt on Andy?’   How do you apologize to a friend for  something like that?  Flowers would not be  enough.

At  the clinic I had to sign many forms acknowledging  that I understood and totally agreed with whatever  the heck the forms said. Then they led me to a  room full of other colonoscopy people, where I  went inside a little curtained space and took off  my clothes and put on one of those hospital  garments designed by sadist perverts, the kind  that, when you put it on, makes you feel even more  naked than when you are actually  naked..

Then  a nurse named Eddie put a little needle in a vein  in my left hand.  Ordinarily I would have  fainted, but Eddie was very good, and I was  already lying down.  Eddie also told me that  some people put vodka in their MoviPrep. At  first I was ticked off that I hadn’t thought of  this, but then I pondered what would happen if you  got yourself too tipsy to make it to the bathroom,  so you were staggering around in full Fire Hose  Mode.  You would have no choice but to burn  your  house.

When  everything was ready, Eddie wheeled me into the  procedure room, where Andy was waiting with a  nurse and an anesthesiologist.  I did not see  the 17,000-foot tube, but I knew Andy had it  hidden around there somewhere.  I was  seriously nervous at this  point.

Andy  had me roll over on my left side, and the  anesthesiologist began hooking something up to the  needle in my  hand.

There  was music playing in the room, and I realized that  the song was ‘Dancing Queen’ by ABBA.  I  remarked to Andy that, of all the songs that could  be playing during this particular procedure,  ‘Dancing Queen’ had to be the least  appropriate.

‘You  want me to turn it up?’ said Andy, from somewhere  behind  me.

‘Ha  ha,’ I said.  And then it was time, the  moment I had been dreading for more than a decade.   If you are squeamish, prepare yourself,  because I am going to tell you, in explicit  detail, exactly what it was  like.

I  have no idea.  Really.  I slept through  it.  One moment, ABBA was yelling ‘Dancing  Queen, feel the beat of the tambourine,’ and the  next moment, I was back in the other room, waking  up in a very mellow  mood.

Andy  was looking down at me and asking me how I felt.   I felt excellent.  I felt even more  excellent when Andy told me that It was all over,  and that my colon had passed with flying colors. I  have never been prouder of an internal  organ.

On  the subject of Colonoscopies…
Colonoscopies  are no joke, but these comments during the exam  were quite humorous….. A physician claimed that  the following are actual comments made by his  patients (predominately male) while he was  performing their  colonoscopies:

1.   Take it easy Doc. You’re boldly going where no man  has gone  before.2.  ‘Find Amelia Earhart  yet?’

3.  ‘Can you hear me  NOW?’

4.  ‘Are we there yet? Are we there yet? Are we there  yet?’

5.  ‘You know, in   Arkansas ,  we’re now legally  married.’

6.  ‘Any sign of the trapped miners,  Chief?’

7.  ‘You put your left hand in, you take your left  hand  out…’

8.  ‘Hey! Now I know how a Muppet  feels!’

9.  ‘If your hand doesn’t fit, you must  quit!’

10.  ‘Hey Doc, let me know if you find my  dignity.’

11.  ‘You used to be an executive at Enron, didn’t  you?’

12.  ‘God, now I know why I am not  gay.’

And  the best one of all:
13.  ‘Could you write a note for my wife saying that my  head is not up  there?’

Worshipping “O Susanna”…

Last night was our first Ministry Fair connected with the Discover PV class. It felt like the job fairs we’d have in school. We milled around decorated 4 X 8 tables adorned with little signs, “Operations Team”, “Hospitality Team”, “Worship Arts”, and enthusiastically tell people how cool it is to serve in our areas. It was a blast to see people connect with a ministry area that equips them to serve God with passion and in their gifting.

After visiting with a man who had a heart to serve as a chaplain with our teams that travel to prisons during our “Christmas To Go” services, a gentlemen walked up and said “I wanted to take this opportunity, while I’ve got you here…” {for whatever reason at this point my brain asks, “is he wanting to praise or critique something?”}

“I wish you would sing more of the old songs the old way.”

I listened and did my best to hear him and understand his point. I mentioned we’d recently done some bluegrass and gospel settings of hymns, but that didn’t seem to meet what he saw as a need in our worship services.

“But have you noticed that when you do the old songs, people sing louder and there’s more applause at the end?”

That question didn’t stand out to me at the time. Driving back from a doctor’s appointment today, I was listening to the NPR Planet Money podcast (Andrew Allen from The Pursuit of His Best blog put me on to it.) They were chronicling the rise of the Korean pop music industry, specifically the breakthrough of PSY’s “Gangnam Style” to the American market. Apparently those trying to build the Korean pop music industry studied the American pop music industry to see what they had done that had been successful. Planet Money interviewed a historian, who cited Stephen Foster’s “O Susanna” as the first American pop record. The evolution of music distribution was discussed, citing the jukebox, pop radio, television, CD’s and YouTube.

This triggered the recent memory that for our Patriotic Services last July, we had composed a medley of classic American songs to incorporate into our participatory section – Yankee Doodle Dandy, Grand Old Flag, God Bless America, and ending with This Land is Your Land. I can’t remember seeing people so enthusiastically singing along and clapping with a song than when we got to the Woody Guthrie classic. It was exciting to be a part of.

Then today the thought occurred, “I hope ‘O Susanna’ is not what we have in mind when we’re gauging the success of worship”.

Please do not hear this as an invalidation of this gentlemen’s observation, or a judgement on the validity of doing any-aged song any-certain way.

Rather, I’m coming back to {the heart of worship… sorry, reflex} the age-old debate of how do we know if people are worshipping? How do we know if people are encountering the presence of God? In a worship leader conference workshop, Glenn Packiam joked about “is this song a one-hander or a two-hander” while squinting hard and swaying to and fro.

I’ve always been surrounded by differing opinions on this question, even by the very notion that we should observe outward appearance as any form of feedback as to the effectiveness of corporate worship.

What are your thoughts?

PS Latest on the saga that is Todd C’s GI… we saw a gastroenterologist today, who ordered an intestinal x-ray for Monday, October 22 and a colonoscopy Friday, November 2. We weren’t expecting any answers today, just some direction as how best to proceed. Your notes of encouragement and prayer support have made all the difference. Thank you!

Do I Really Believe That?

I often stand in front of people and attempt to communicate words to the effect of…

“I believe God is greater”,
“I believe Jesus paid for my sins”,
“I believe my needs will be met”,
“I believe His Grace is sufficient”,
“I believe that I am forgiven”,

…but do I really believe that?

If I were never able to produce another sound, and you could only observe my actions, would you conclude that I believe these things?

Would how I relate to others reflect the actions of the Savior I claim to love and serve and follow?

There’s no better way to find out than to introduce uncertainty, jealousy, disharmony or discontent into life and then gauge the reaction.

PS We see the gastroenterologist {can’t believe I spelled that word correctly from memory on the first attempt – scary} tomorrow (Thursday). Hoping for some answers and/or direction with my abdominal issues. Your prayer support during this process has been invaluable. Thank you.

The Certainty of Uncertainty

I’ve been largely absent from the Universe of the Creative for a little while now. Due to a myriad of contributing factors (both real and rationalized), I’ve found myself burning most of my (somewhat reduced supply of) energy contemplating the uncertain. More specifically, the wonderfully unending question of “why”?

“Why am I here?”
“Why do I have to deal with this?”
“Why won’t they listen to me?”

In difficult circumstances, I’ve always tried to seek out promises from the Word that remind me there is only one True, Good and Perfect One. Now I wonder if my uncertainly exists primarily as a means to drive me to the one source of absolute Truth? I was deliberately created with a God-Shaped Hole that only He can fill. Is my need to ask “why” just another device designed to fuel a desire for a deeper relationship with God?

And he said to his disciples, “Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat, nor about your body, what you will put on. For life is more than food, and the body more than clothing…Instead, seek his kingdom, and these things will be added to you.” -Luke 12 (ESV)

PS The primary uncertainty these days is a health issue that’s yet to be identified. After a CT scan that yielded no answers, I’m scheduled to meet with a GI doctor next week. We assume he’ll order a scope. I’ve not been able to tolerate anything beyond what the hospital would consider “bland food”, and my energy level is up and down. Your prayers are appreciated.

Review – Jeff Goins, “You Are a Writer”

I’ve been following the work of Jeff Goins for a little while. I do a fair amount of creative writing (mostly in the area of blogging and songwriting), so any practical tips or inspiration is more than welcome in my world. So when the opportunity to obtain an advance copy of his new EBook, “You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One)” presented itself, I jumped at it. The string attached was I then had to write a review. No problem, I’ve written reviews of CD’s, movies, TV shows. Never a book, though. It seemed a little intimidating, as this is really isn’t my field and a book is often quite a bit of information to process. Fortunately, this booked has proven to be a great choice to cut my teeth on.

This review comes as a result of several firsts – my first pre-release review, my first time reading an e-book cover to cover in one sitting, and the first time I’ve been passionate about recommending a book to others.

Let me start by saying – I love you, no wait that’s “Hello” by Lionel Ritchie. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention. I’ll try that again. Let me start by saying, I love the personal tone employed throughout. The conversational tone gives the practical tips offered real weight. The ideas hit with an umph of “this must have worked for him!” You feel his passion not only for the material, but also for the craft itself.

The concepts at times are broad, but Goins does a great job of breaking them down into their components and making the complex accessible. For example.

Big Idea – a big obstacle to writing is fear.
*Real Artists Ship – we tend to emphasize art, but not ship (releasing art to the outside world) – until it ships, it’s not really art.
*Creatives may stall by fear of starting ideas but not finishing and shipping – paralyzing themselves “what if’s”.
*They subject themselves to the violence of their art instead of conquering it.
*It doesn’t take talent to start, but it takes courage to finish.

Some of the broad concepts Goins drills down into are: Writers Are Born – Not Made, Building a Platform, Establishing a Brand, and Channels of Connection. These may sound trite and ubiquitous, but user-friendly manageable steps are concisely shared.

What I hope you’ll take away from this review is simply – you should read this book. It’s fantastically practical, without (in his words) sounding like an infomercial. It’s inspiring. His passion for the process and craft jump off the page, and it’s infectious.

Get yourself a copy at youareawriter.com. It’s worth your time.

Twitter
Thursday, August 17th, 2017 at 11:57am
Also, why is The Beatles' "Yesterday" stuck in my head? Oh well
Thursday, August 17th, 2017 at 11:55am
We are fortunate carbon-based life forms friends. Please celebrate today.
Thursday, August 17th, 2017 at 11:55am
Twitterless Dad and I sat on the benches outdoors and debriefed (I'm told Pastoral types do this naturally). Talked about the Hacienda Saga.
Thursday, August 17th, 2017 at 11:51am
Grateful it was a peaceful transition. The lead up was not. He's in a better place. I was ordered to obtain comfort food, headed to do so.
Thursday, August 17th, 2017 at 11:45am
That was a powerful experience. Kirk's pastor (Twitterless Dad) & I were there. The orderly who came to change him prayed with us as he died
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Thursday, August 17th, 2017 at 10:53am
Farewell Captain. Glad you're with your family, grateful you no longer have to deal with that crappy body. #RIP
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The Classroom Sessions: Cats In the Cradle
The Classroom Sessions: Cats In the Cradle
The Classroom Sessions: Fire & Rain
The Classroom Sessions: Fire & Rain
The Classroom Sessions: Homeward Bound
The Classroom Sessions: Homeward Bound
Lorenzo Cain scores, #Royals take the lead.
Lorenzo Cain scores, #Royals take the lead.