OUTCRY 2017 (Spring)

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OUTCRY 2017 (Spring)

I traveled to some amazing cities, spent time with dear friends, experienced amazing times of worship, and tried to not eat too many OREOS. 

I kid but the struggle is real. There can be no nutritional value in an OREO but man they are tasty and always on the buses! Before I met my wife I honestly had never even heard of the concept of eating healthy. Becky we will actually have a chance of growing old together thanks to you. 

Back to the tour. 


It was so unique to have so many teams come together each night to make this tour happen. That was by far one of the coolest experiences I've ever had. We've typically all crossed paths at one time or another but to spend several weeks together everyday was special. The Elevation Worship team and Lauren Daigle's team were so kind and so passionate about what they do. 

 

Then there was the crew.

 

They were the first ones in the building each day and the last ones to leave. They amazingly made hundreds of things go right every single night. This stuff couldn't happen without them. It inspires and humbles me when I think about people giving it everything they've got behind the scenes. We heard story after story of people having life changing encounters with God in these venues. Whether someone was on stage or picking up wet shower towels (that was a thing) we all had the same goal. To see people encounter Jesus. 

 

I think I always feel aware of what can happen at an event like this. It's easy for me to remember having such profound experiences in similar settings. There's no doubt that so much about what we do is fun and exciting but for me I always want to remember the real WHY behind it all. There's lot of work and preparation to pull it off but in the end what people will hopefully remember is their encounter with God. Not songs, or artists, or cool lights. Jesus. 

 


 

One of my favorite things about being a Dad is explaining things to my daughter. She's extremely bright for her age but there is still a simplicity that you have to find to explain things to children. It's actually refined a lot of things I believe about God and my perspective on things by cutting to the chase. My daughter will ask me why I am leaving on a trip. Her asking me the question made me stop and think. I internally asked myself again why do I go. The most honest answer I could think of was to say I was going to tell people about Jesus. I liked that simple answer. 

I don't want ministry to ever feel like a duty or obligation. I've simply tasted something so sweet, so freeing, so full of life that I must share it with people. If I can walk that out and show that to my daughter then success! Wearing the overly serious and burdened hat is honestly more easy in my opinion. I can think that way with no help from anyone. But what if the most significant witness I can have is loving my family well, being happy right where I am, gleaming because I know where I'd be without Jesus. I think about this often but what about my life is different when I'm in the grocery store, out to dinner, talking to my neighbor about yard work? Most of us won't share the gospel from a stage or through a song. 

One last thought on this non-tour related section. Back to being a Dad. A while back my wife and I gave our daughter her very own Bible. I love the way they portray Jesus. I LOVE IT. Again it's the simplicity. 

EXAMPLE- 

Jesus meets a person with a problem usually in the heart of the city and in the chaos of a crowd. 

He singles them out. Gives them His attention. 

Then they are set free from whatever they were dealing with. 

THE END. 

I'm convinced Jesus was modeling life for us in the gospels. Modeling how to interact with people with compassion and caring. Everywhere we go. If my "best" witness is when I'm on a stage or at church then what am I doing the other 5 to 6 days of my week. Plus don't you just want to exude the goodness and breakthrough of God when you're buying avocados? I know I do. 

Okay thanks for hanging with me through my rabbit trail. I wanted to end this tour Journal with some of my favorite pictures of us having fun. Cause serving Jesus and changing the world should have some fun mixed in there don't ya think? 

 


 Chris x2

Chris x2

 Germaphobes worst nightmare. 

Germaphobes worst nightmare. 

 McClarney eating someones microphone. 

McClarney eating someones microphone. 

 I think I'm watching Josh do a drum solo. That always makes me smile. 

I think I'm watching Josh do a drum solo. That always makes me smile. 

 THATS ALL! 

THATS ALL! 

Thanks to everyone who came out. There's another OUTCRY happening this summer. A bunch of our team will be there! Come on out! 

 

Derek 

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The Challenge of "Here and Now"

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The Challenge of "Here and Now"

Whether it’s conversations with my wife or with friends it seems as if we’re all trying to understand the season we are in or the one we think we should be in. Maybe to feel less confused by adulthood or maybe to feel more in control of our circumstances. Maybe at best, it’s to tune into what’s on the heart of God. Either way I think it’s a valid question that has, in most cases, left me profoundly stumped. 

I think everything from becoming a parent to quickly approaching thirty has caused me to think a little differently about things. What matters most and certainly what matters least. Many of the things that felt central to my life have faded into the background. Things like my family, friends, and Jesus have bursted into the foreground of my life like never before. It’s not that all those things were less important before, it’s just the older I get the more I want those areas of my life to really shine. The more I want my actions and daily choices to invest in those things above all else.

I’ve been incredibly blessed to start a family with the love of my life. We’ll soon celebrate 8 years of marriage and our daughter will turn 3 later that same month. Our marriage and our transition into parenthood have both been incredible journeys. Filled with a vast amount of challenges that have tested every part of us and taught us how to fight for what’s important. For me there seems to always be these moments of recalibration that happen. Where I embrace self-awareness and try to assess how well my actions have upheld my core values. That’s part of the challenge. I don’t want to just talk about family being important because that’s what you’re “supposed” to do. I want it to actually be deeply important to me and then see my choices align with that conviction. 

The truth is sometimes I feel exhausted and literally need a cup of coffee just to feel alert when my daughter wants my attention. On top of that, as a parent, you feel guilty for feeling exhausted. As if you aren’t allowed to be tired anymore. The same applies to marriage. Life gets busy and overwhelming sometimes. It can be easy to not tend to the most important relationships in your life the way you really want to. As a husband and as a father I have realized that my wife and daughter have come to need me in ways that caught me off guard. To my surprise though, the thing they seem to need the most is me. Hopefully this doesn't oversimplify everything but it seems to be true. They don’t need all of my great wisdom and opinion on things, and trust me I have some. They don’t need all my DIY skills, which thanks to YouTube videos I am learning those skills as well. No, they just seem to need me and they need me present. Family is perhaps one of the best places to observe your own habits of being present or not. They are the ones closest to you in every possible mode you find yourself in. Of course the idea of being present applies to every area of our lives. Family and friends absolutely. Even our relationship with the Lord requires a certain level of intentionality and being present. 

I think some people may have the amazing ability to wake up and spend the majority of their day in that day. I, regretfully sometimes, do not have that same disposition. At best I’ve found myself in and out of planning, thinking, and strategizing about something coming up in the next few days. At worst I’ve found myself planning, thinking, and strategizing about the next few years. I’m not knocking plans and goals. My wife and I have always made them and it’s been a huge part of us staying on track. Moving in the direction we feel the Lord has asked us to go and using goals to get there. It’s just some people, like my wife for instance, are masters at executing steps to complete goals. I’m more of a master at allowing myself to dream about what’s possible. Both are extremely important. But I don’t know what I’d do without my wife to help balance me out. She often points out the 15 steps it takes to accomplish the goal while I’m still plotting said goal. 

If you are like me I’m so sorry. Don’t worry, you’ll be okay...I think. At times, I've put so much focus on a goal that I forgot to take the first step. In the most practical of examples taking that first step could be a great way to also be present. It’s not a new idea. Many have heard the old proverb - a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Well duh! For me, I think the importance of being present in every step along the way has to do with real success. 

I used to think that success was accomplishing the goal, reaching the finish line, and maybe enduring until the end. Those are all great. Nothing wrong with any of that. I just think that unfortunately those things often overshadow the opportunity to thrive, learn, and enjoy growing within every step. 

Most of life is not filled with reaching all of our planned destinations anyway. It’s filled with daily steps to get there.  It is our job to get real about how we are doing and what we are doing in the in-between. We all have responsibilities, families, careers, projects, things that demand our time and attention. Often times there are dreams, goals and plans attached to those things. At the end of each of our lives those things won’t be as important as the three things I mentioned at first. Family, friends and the Lord. How are these areas of my life doing in the midst of all this other activity? Are they thriving? Are they growing? Sometimes for me that answer has felt like no. Or not like I want them to be. That’s okay. I think most of the planet could use a touch more self-awareness. We don’t wallow in our inadequacies. We embrace them and change them. We grow. 

Last night I was standing in our kitchen making a sandwich. It was at the end of a very long day. I had lead worship that morning and had such an amazing time with our team and our church. My family and I went out to lunch afterwards and even ran into friends at the restaurant. Then I headed home with our daughter for the evening because we didn’t have our normal childcare setup to lead youth group. So Becky stayed in town to lead that night which was, from what I heard, an amazing night. Eventually she made it home and we got our daughter to bed. Then I realized I forgot to eat dinner. Which leads me back to the sandwich...

After a great, full day I found myself just making a sandwich and thinking about nothing. It’s sounds kind of simple and silly but there are those moments where it feels like in 2 seconds you have this amazing epiphany. This clarity hits you out of the blue. For me, it was that. I thought,  "I am right here. In my kitchen with my wife. Making a sandwich." I felt so incredibly blessed. Not for what was on the horizon and not for all the breakthroughs of the past. No, I felt blessed because of that exact moment. I felt thankful in ways I can’t easily describe. Maybe, most importantly, I felt present. We began to have an incredible conversation that lasted about an hour. A moment that could have easily passed us both by. We have a great marriage. She’s been my best friend for over 12 years. Still, these moments add to us. They build us up and they increase our connection. 

Let me end with this. Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Somehow on the journey to understand where we are and what season we are in, we need to remember one thing: who we belong to.

You can give yourself permission to be present because your future already has incredible plans in place. Plans that are from the Lord. Plans that He has had for your life before you were ever born. This is His promise to you and me. This is the promise that can encompass any fear or any doubt of what is ahead. It can dissolve any worries about your timeline. When I allow myself to be present with the Lord, He reminds me of all this stuff. The very things I need to remember to uphold what is truly important to me. He reminds me. 

So let’s not just figure out the seasons we are in, let’s thrive in them. Let’s embrace it, good or bad, victorious or challenging. Let’s embrace it and remember: The Lord had gone before us and prepared what’s ahead of us. Deuteronomy 31:8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

In other words, slow down, take a breath, trust the Lord and MAKE A SANDWICH!

I would love to hear your thoughts on this. Do you find it difficult to just be present? Are you like me? Always dreaming about what is next? Or are you more like my wife, planning the next step to get to the dream? What do you do to be more engaged and present in the moment?

Comment below - I'd love to hear. :) As always, thanks for reading. 

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LET IT ECHO TOUR - TAMPA

LET IT ECHO TOUR - TAMPA

Some nights it feels like a theme emerges. This night was no different. Family. I think family was God's idea. I think we were created to belong and to contribute to a family. I think God flows through family. That perfectly describes our dynamic in Tampa. 

There is always an awareness with anywhere you go that these people were on the heart of God long before they were on our hearts. I love that. We may only have a night together but the Lord is always moving in the lives of His people. It's an amazing privilege to join in and be apart of what is on the Lord's heart. As a team and as individuals we are always trying to tune into what that is for each night. 

Thanks Tampa for letting us be apart of your journey. It's truly and honor. 

 

Tonight is Charlotte! So excited to see what tonight has in store. 

LET IT ECHO TOUR - ORLANDO

LET IT ECHO TOUR - ORLANDO

It was such and honor to get the opportunity to worship with all of you in Orlando. It felt so timely that we'd get to sing and declare the goodness of God in the midst of the loss people have faced here recently. 

From the very first note we played, every voice in the room joined in worship. There was such an expectancy and hunger. I think we all knew it was going to be a special night. 

There really was a tangible sense of the love of God in the room. We always enter into worship knowing that God is going to show up and change the atmosphere. Yet, I still find myself surprised or maybe in awe of the way He shows up each night. Orlando was no different. I feel so thankful to have just been in the room hearing Orlando worship with their whole hearts. I felt especially thankful to be a part of it. 

Thanks to everyone in Orlando who came out! 

Tampa tonight!

Also, thanks to our good friend Nathan Grubbs for all the photos.

 

LET IT ECHO TOUR - HOUSTON

LET IT ECHO TOUR - HOUSTON

Sitting on the bus reflecting on last night and it was really amazing. I love seeing our team in their element. So many people pour themselves out to make these events happen. The greatest encouragement is to hear at the end of all that effort that people have encountered the Lord. 

I personally had a pretty special moment with the Lord as well. During "King of My Heart" I heard the whole room singing the line "YOU'RE NEVER GONNA LET ME DOWN". I love that line because I can think of so many different circumstances and seasons where that is exactly what I needed to believe in the midst of uncertainty. Just to remember we may not know how everything is going to unfold but God truly, in the end, will never let us down. 

Anyway, Houston really was amazing. It still amazes me that when we come to minster to the Lord and minster to His church, often times we find ourselves on the receiving end of God's love. 

If you were there last night I would love to hear how the Lord encountered you. Hop on Instagram and share. :) 

Next stop is ORLANDO! See ya there! 

LET IT ECHO TOUR - DALLAS

LET IT ECHO TOUR - DALLAS

We kicked off the tour last night. Awesome first stop. It's a little more humid in Texas than in California but don't worry we'll be fine. That's what shorts are for. 

It's amazing getting to do what we do. Seeing God move in different cities and being a part of it. 

 

We have partnered with World Vision for this tour and I had the opportunity last night to share about what they are doing. It was my first time ever doing something like that but I really believe in what they are doing. It made it feel easier to share about their work knowing lives are being changed. 

 

Now for Houston tonight! 

What Are You Waiting For?

Do you carry a dream in your heart? Has the Lord called you to something? Have you spent years preparing for the day you are walking in your destiny? If so, then ask yourself the question: "What are you waiting for?" 

I’ve been setting goals for myself for as long as I can remember. Maybe not the goals people around me wanted me to set for myself but nonetheless I was driven towards whatever I focused on. I wasn’t a particularly great student but I became a decent musician and singer. I enjoyed beating my older brothers at games and I was all about proving I could overcome the odds and win even though I was the youngest of 6 boys. I didn't really like people trying to tell me what I could or couldn't do. I needed to discover my own path and if it seemed impossible, I’d prove to you it wasn’t. 

Clearly that can be a little dysfunctional and rebellious. However, the flipside is very positive. I’ve not been easily discouraged by failing and I’ve welcomed a good challenge to my resolve. Still in most cases my ability to achieve goals was always hinging on my inclination to control things. If I controlled all of the right things, the right way, I’d eventually reach my goal. But, how does my controlling things to achieve goals sit well inside the context of a life yielded to Jesus? The answer is: it doesn’t. 

But here’s the real conundrum of it all. Many of the goals I’ve set out to achieve really came from Jesus. I set up goals and dreams all pointed at exactly what He’s called me to. Wouldn’t it then make sense that I ferociously chased those goals down? Maybe.

Shouldn’t I make sacrifices to accomplish what God has asked me to do? Certainly.

But let’s return to the question: "What are you waiting for?"

I think many of us get so focused on our goals that we actually neglect what is directly in front of us. So we tell ourselves I’ll be more qualified once I reach this certain goal. I’ll have the right amount of experience once I’ve done this or that. When we do that I think we are missing the most beautiful opportunities waiting right in front of us.

James 4:13-17: "Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit”— yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. 15Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.” As it is, you boast in your arrogance. All such boasting is evil. So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."

If I’m honest this scripture hasn’t always been my favorite. I’ve spent most of my life dreaming about tomorrow and talking about where I was going next and what was ahead. It’s easy to love the portions of scripture that affirm what we are doing and it's easy to brush past the ones that really challenge us. For me this is one of those challenging scriptures. I’d encourage you to read the whole chapter because it helps this portion of scripture really make sense. Just a few verses before there is an astounding promise from the Lord. A promise that we should hold dear and set before us in every decision.

It’s this: James 4:10: "Humble yourselves before the Lord, and He will exalt you."

Amazing right!? So the foundation of my pursuit towards the things God has called me to should be me humbling myself before Him. Allowing Him to exalt me in His way, at His time.

Why is this so important? We all know we should be humble. Everyone gets that. But why? I think one reason it's so important is because it causes us to trust the Lord. I think the Lord wants to not only lead us in our destiny but do it in such a way that we grow and experience peace and joy and freedom all along the way.

So it’s important first because it causes us to put our trust in the Lord. Secondly, it’s important because it guards our hearts from pain. 

James 4:1: "What causes quarrels and what causes fights among you? Is it not this, that your passions are at war within you?"

Look how this verse explains what happens in the heart when we look at who we aren’t and what we don’t have. There are many reasons I think this happens but I will focus on this one. It causes us to miss the incredible things God already has in front of us TODAY. Because we miss what’s right in front of us, we end up feeling off-track, discouraged, and like we are going backwards.

There is nothing more frustrating than feeling like you aren’t as far a long as you should be. But we are not behind. What you are called to and the destiny the Lord has spoken over your life is happening right in front of you, right now, today. 

James 4:17: "So whoever knows the right thing to do and fails to do it, for him it is sin."

I don’t think the warning to not boast about tomorrow is meant to be a heavy one. I think it’s meant to be an invitation into your right now. That you would live fully right now, in the moment, in the time you are in. Dreaming about what is next, absolutely, but not at the expense of your today. When we fail to do that I believe we feel the weight of it. We know when we've spent more time dreaming and less time doing. 

Whatever you feel called to, do it today. Invest in it today. Because what the Lord has said you would be, you are right now.

If He called you one who is to lead worship then you don’t need a congregation to do that, go and lead worship in your room. If that calling starts simply before the Lord, trust me, you’re on the right track.

If He’s called you to preach then by all means preach! Don’t wait until there is an audience to listen. Preach in your car, preach to yourself, do what it is He has called you to do.

That applies to anything you’re dreaming about. Do it today. It will only cause you to grow. But most importantly it will help you to see that the very things you are believing for that seem a thousand miles away are actually already inside of you waiting to happen.

Engage with today like it is the most important day of your life because guess what? It is! So to end right where we began: "What are you waiting for?"