Sunday, December 28, 2008

Amelia Noelle Hill
Born: 3:43pm Dec 27th
Weighing in at 8lbs 10oz
Measuring 20 inches in length

I love this girl more than I ever could have imagined.

Baby live blogging!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Time For baby!!!

Melissa and I are in the hospital and she is currently in labor. I'll post up some pics tonight.

Attn stage designers and techies

Tuesday, December 23, 2008
When it comes to stage lighting and sound, the price tag can start going through the roof pretty quickly. For a new church like The Ridge, it's hard to acquire all the gear you'd like to have in order to create a specific atmosphere on stage. I like coming up with ways to save money without noticeably cutting corners.
Here on Burn Your Grave Clothes, I'll try to post up some church plant money saving tips that we run across.

The auditorium we meet in already has stage lighting installed on the ceiling, but it can only really create one "look" on stage. In order to create different scenes on stage during our worship experience, we needed to add some uplighting and some color. Uplighting is where the light fixture is placed on the floor shining upward instead of traditional lighting from above. You can create many different effects with colors and shadows this way to give your stage a unique look.
Most par can lights aren't made to stand on the floor and shine upward beyond about 45 degrees on their own. We needed par can floor stands to do the job. After searching around online, I found that they were really tough to find and really expensive for a simple peice of equipment.
That's when I put my thinking cap on and wandered around Home Depot. I just found a drip bowl insert for a range cooktop, turned it upside down and secured a bolt through the middle with some nuts and washers. This turned out to work perfectly. It is sturdy enough for a par 38 or 64. It can hold the light in place at 90 degrees which is great for any uplighting effects we need. Each stand cost me under $10.

Help you help me

Monday, December 22, 2008
In our society, it is commonplace for the consumer to be catered to in a way that makes them most comfortable. If you've ever worked retail, I'm sure it's been drilled into your skull that the cuctomer is always right. However, I don't think this way of doing business is always the most productive.

Picture yourself offering a serivce of some kind. When you ask "How can I help you?", the consumer replies with "How can I help you help me?" (Got that?)

What if, instead of catering to the consumer's every demand, there was open communication between both parties? Or what if the consumer says to the service provider, "You are the expert so here is a basic outline of what I expect the end result to be, is there anything I can do to help you do your job to the best of your ability?"

Here is an example: No one on The Ridge Church's core team knows anything about web design. We hired
Factor 1 Studios to design our website. Instead of our Pastor going to them with a list of demands, he went to them and said, you guys know what works and doesn't work for a church website so we're giving you some creative freedom with this site and we'll get together tweak it to fit our culture in the end.

You know that most service providers would love to actually offer their creative input every once in a while. I mean, they're the experts, right? Isn't this attitude the best way to pull the most productivity for your buck?

Check out
Factor 1 for your website needs and keep checking here for The Ridge's website coming soon!

Christmas Rock Night @ The Ridge!!

Saturday, December 20, 2008

I've never had a bad experience.....

Thursday, December 18, 2008 a restaurant. Seriously, nothing has ever happened at a restaurant that wouldn't keep me from coming back. I'm not joking. I often wonder why that is. I hear horror stories from many different types of people all the time about the terrible service they recieved or how bad their food was. I eat out quite often and have never experienced anything like the stories I hear about.

On the other hand, maybe I have gone through some of these "horror story" scenarios and just didn't realize it. I think the difference has to do with attitude. For some reason, I am extremely forgiving in a restaurant situation. There is very little a server or cook could do that would offend me to the point of complaining or never coming back. Why? Because I've been there. I was in that server's shoes at one point in my life. I also managed a restaurant for a while. I've gone through those tough siutations from the other side and I know how hard that job can be at times. I understand both sides.

In other public situations outside the restaurant, however, I have the shortest fuse. Small insignificant things can send me over the edge. Bad drivers, line cutters, rules that don't make since to me, ignorance, and stupidity send me to the end of my rope. Why can I not put myself in the shoes of everyone I come in contact with? The answer to this question is consistent with the above: Attitude.

The goal for me here is a consistent attitude of empathy, forgiveness, kindness, and thankfulness in any situation I'm in, whether I understand both sides or not.

Time for nog chug '08!!!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008
The time has come for The Ridge Community Church to name a champion in the art of the NOG CHUG. Tonight at a neutral undisclosed location, the two fiercest egg-nog-loving competitors will face each other in our first annual nog chug challenge.

Nick "Nog Killer" Miller VS. Bobby "Bottoms Up" Williams

I will be there to officially judge this momentous occasion. Cameras will be rolling, so stay tuned to Burn Your Grave Clothes for the official results video....

How can you help?

If you're heart is heavy for the least of these this time of year, and you don't know how to help, check out these links below and give generously:

A word of encouragement

Tuesday, December 16, 2008
I was digging through some stuff that Google Docs has saved for me from the past couple years and stumbled upon a letter of encouragement that I wrote for a friend who was about to enter a tough time in his life. I wanted to post it here and address it to anyone who needs to be reminded of how great our God is. Life is sometimes hard and confusing, but God is our rock and if we keep our focus on Him and notice the reminders He gives us everyday, we will not be shaken from our foundation.

On Thursday July 19th 2007 at 6:55 am I pulled into my normal parking space at work. A song that I liked was on the radio so I sat in my Jeep until it was over because I had a couple minutes before I had to clock in for work. I looked out my driver's side window and noticed a solar panel mounted on a telephone pole. It was about four feet wide with about 50-60 small panels collecting the energy from the sun and converting it to electricity which flowed through a bunch of tiny wires. I'm not sure where it led but I'm sure it powered something important.
I thought about that solar panel for a moment and I was just amazed that we as human beings figured out a way to collect the sun's energy and convert it into usable electricity. I was astonished by this thing that someone created, which made me feel extremely proud to be a human. I thought of all that I could accomplish just by studying and I thought about my brain's capacity for learning anything that I wanted to know. I thought about other amazing inventions through the years and I thought about how capable we are of doing practically anything that we want to do.
I then looked back at the solar panel and rising up from behind it in the distance was the sun. It was the kind of sun that you could stare at because it wasn't all the way up yet. I stared at it for a minute or two and then looked around at what all I could see because of its light. I thought about all of the life that the sun is responsible for: plants, animals, even my own. When I looked back at the solar panel, it suddenly didn't look so amazing after all. Man's attempt at creation didn't seem so amazing compared to God's. God is the ultimate creator and nothing is bigger than him.
Philippians 4:13 says: "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." Yes, man is capable of anything, but it is God who provides our strength to do it.
When you feel lost, remember how big God is and how much He cares for you. When you are afraid, He is watching over you. When you feel alone, He is there with you. When you feel proud of what you have accomplished, take a moment to thank Him for giving you the talents you have. When you are sad or feel depressed, take a deep breath, slow down, feel your heart beating and be thankful that you are alive because life is most definitely a gift.
Finally, always remember who you are and never forget who HE is.

Live at The Ridge Tonight!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Christmas 2008 in hd

Saturday, December 13, 2008

my Christmas list circa 1995

Friday, December 12, 2008
New pair of Reebok Hi Tops. (Emmitt Smith series with pumps and co2 cartridge)

Donkey Kong Country 2 Diddy's Kong Quest for SNES. (This game introduced me to anxiety)

Baja pullover. (There was a guy who sold these out of a van at a nearby grocery store parking lot, although mine probably came from Goodys Family Clothing.)

Chain wallet. (I'm not in elementary school anymore....I'm a Sixth Grader!!)

Pogs. (Why?.....I have no idea.)

I wanted this:

I got this:

Sixth grade was an awkward time....

What was on your list 13 years ago?

Best. news. ever.

Thursday, December 11, 2008
John "Uncle Jesse" Stamos is working on a modern Full House series continuation featuring most of the original characters.

...and what better source is there on this information than the San Fransisco Chronicle?

'Tis truly a season of miracles.

Attn worship leaders

If you are looking for some really great Christmas music for your upcoming events, I have some suggestions. All of these are available on either itunes or Noisetrade.

--The Ten Out of Tenn Christmas album. I saw this group of Nashville artists perform most of the songs from the new album live last night. It was incredible. There's a great mix of new arrangements of old favorites and originals as well. (Artists include Matthew Perryman Jones, Katie Herzig, Tyler James, Griffin House, etc..)

--O Holy Night by Sara Groves. I already reviewed this album in a
prior post.

--Christmas Songs by Jars of Clay. This is a "must have" for the Christmas and music lover alike. The album came out last year and I still listen to it like it's new.

--Advent Songs by Sojoun Music artists. This is a compilation from the Louisville, KY based music community. This has been out since 2007 and I just picked it up for free at Noisetrade and I've been blown away by it so far. So blown away by it, that I'm giving you no excuses for not listening to it:

Great post by Perry Noble

Wednesday, December 10, 2008
I know this has been pasted all over everyone's blogs and facebook pages, but it's so good and I don't want anyone to miss it. Please click the link below.

What is church about to you? Why do you go? Why don't you go? Is it all about you or Him?

Ten out of tenn Christmas tour

I'm pretty pumped about this show tonight. First of all, I love Christmas music and second, I'm a pretty big fan of Matthew Perryman Jones. Also, I get to check out a new listening room in downtown Knoxville called The Square Room. I encourage you to come join me and support great artists and a new local business.

The Square Room - Knoxville, TN
Wednesday, December 10th
Ten Out of Tenn
Doors Open At 08:00 P.M.Advance:10.00Door:12.00

Meeting/Exceeding expectations

Tuesday, December 9, 2008
Michael Buckingham from hit the nail on the head about the purpose of the modern church with this blog post over at the NRB Media Blog. Take this in:

Can we still follow the idea of doing whatever it takes…just get em through the doors, God will do the rest?
“Do whatever it takes…just get em through the doors, God will do the rest.”
I have found myself recently talking about setting and meeting expectations because while the quote, which I’ve heard plenty of times before, sounds good…it simply isn’t how it works.
We see it in children…they raise the level of expectations.We see it in movies…they flop when they don’t match the hype.We see it in the church…when we fail to deliver.
Setting expectations that you can deliver on is important.
The first way we fail to deliver is in how we are marketing the church. If we promote your church as the trendy and hip church and you deliver traditional worship, it’s not going to matter how many people we get through the doors, you’ve let them down by failing to setup an accurate expectation. Be honest, if you’re traditional…don’t pretend to be something else, you won’t fool anyone.
The other way we fail to deliver is how we set people up. “Every day with you Lord is sweeter than the day before.” Really? Tell that to the guy who just lost his job, or the parent who just lost his child. Stop telling people that the sun will start shining as soon as they call Christ lord…because that expectation is going to fail. Yes, eventually even our dark days will be okay because we know God is there, we know He is watching over us.
We also fail to deliver in how we position salvation. “If you want to except Christ raise your hand and say this prayer. Amen.” Maybe my bible is missing pages but I don’t remember that being the way it works. Are you looking for results or change? Are you looking for a way to measure the success of your sermon, play, etc. or are you using it as a first step to something much bigger than a onetime action?
Before you send out a postcard, create a new logo or preach a new sermon think about the expectation you are setting up and make sure you can fill it. If you don’t, not only will it be ineffective, but you lose permission to ask again.

Free Online Prayer Tool

Monday, December 8, 2008
Check out and thank God for people who believe the internet can bring people closer to each other and closer to Jesus.

Dealing with loss

Thursday, December 4, 2008
I am missing an old friend today. If you've read the update in the previous post about Jeremy Frye, you know that he passed away in the hospital yesterday afternoon. I lost another friend in August of 2006 named Gabe Miller. When death happens close to me, I'm reminded to value the gift of life that I've been given.

The late Pastor Kyle Lake, who died in an accident at his church in Waco, TX in October 2005, wrote these words about life for an upcoming sermon shortly before his death:

Live. And Live Well.BREATHE. Breathe in and Breathe deeply. Be PRESENT. Do not be past. Do not be future. Be now.On a crystal clear, breezy 70 degree day, roll down the windows and FEEL the wind against your skin. Feel the warmth of the sun.If you run, then allow those first few breaths on a cool Autumn day to FREEZE your lungs and do not just be alarmed, be ALIVE.Get knee-deep in a novel and LOSE track of time.If you bike, pedal HARD… and if you crash then crash well.Feel the SATISFACTION of a job well done—a paper well-written, a project thoroughly completed, a play well-performed.If you must wipe the snot from your 3-year old’s nose, don’t be disgusted if the Kleenex didn’t catch it all… because soon he’ll be wiping his own.If you’ve recently experienced loss, then GRIEVE. And Grieve well.At the table with friends and family, LAUGH. If you’re eating and laughing at the same time, then might as well laugh until you puke. And if you eat, then SMELL. The aromas are not impediments to your day. Steak on the grill, coffee beans freshly ground, cookies in the oven. And TASTE. Taste every ounce of flavor. Taste every ounce of friendship. Taste every ounce of Life. Because-it-is-most-definitely-a-Gift.

If you stumbled upon my blog in search of more info about Jeremy Frye, I hope these words inspire you to value the gift of life and know that it only comes from God. I also want you to know that Jeremy not only valued his life here on Earth, but also accepted the gift of eternal life in Heaven with God. To find out more about what this means and how you can have this gift as well, click here.

The baby owner's manual

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

My good friend Bryan McKaig gave me a copy of this book a few weeks ago. It is hilarious and surprisingly very helpful. It's laid out like a maintenance manual for a car. New dads or dads-to-be, pick up your copy here.

"I can't wait....

Tuesday, December 2, 2008
……to see what God’s going to do.” You know you’ve said it before. I’ve said it before. I’ll probably say it again sometime. I started thinking about that sentence yesterday. The “I can’t wait” part of it is meant to communicate excitement. Usually when people say “I can’t wait”, it is not meant to be taken literally.

What if it was literal? If you literally cannot wait for something, what do you do about it? I guess you take some kind of action, right? If you literally cannot wait for something, you try to the best of your ability to make whatever you cannot wait for happen. Am I right about that?

Matthew 28:16Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. 17And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. 18And Jesus came and said to them, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age."

My wife and I were just given a crib for our baby we’re expecting. We could have let it sit in the box and said “I can’t wait to see what it looks like when it’s assembled.” Instead, I opened the box, followed the instructions, and put it together. Now we know what it looks like and it’s beautiful.

Now I realize that we live by God’s timing and sometimes the only thing we can do is wait on Him. Other times, though, I think He waits on us to act. He gave us very specific instructions above in the book of Matthew and throughout the Bible. If we cannot wait to see what God’s going to do, I think sometimes we’ve got to do something about it. A good start would be following His instructions that have been around for years.

overheard in the office

Monday, December 1, 2008
I overhear some surreal things from my cubicle on a daily basis. Sometimes it is just disturbing. Here are a couple of examples from today:

"If my ex-husband and I never had children, we'd probably still be together."
(So you are blaming your divorce on your kids? I hope they aren't aware of this.)

Co-worker one: "Did I miss anything at church yesterday?"
Co-worker two: ", not really."
(So....I guess there's no reason to go back.)

First Live webcast last night

So we kicked off our "Live at The Ridge" webcast last night at The Ridge Community Church. Overall, it went pretty well for our first try. We were dealing with some technical difficulties that resulted from a weak wireless router. We are planning to fix that problem next week by running a direct connection via ethernet cable.

There are also some audio issues I have to work out. I'm going to try to run directly out of a soundboard next week instead of using a mic. I think that will definitely give me more control of the levels, especially when Pastor Bobby is speaking.

The chat function worked out great. I was really happy to be able to talk to everyone who was tuning in. Hopefully they'll be back next week.

I'm also going to be working on offering a link to some printable sermon notes. Hopefully I'll have that feature up and running in a few weeks.

If you missed last night's live webcast, be sure to tune in next Sunday night at 6pm est at