Archive for January, 2012

Very Hard Decision

Sunday, January 29th, 2012

This past week, I resigned from my position as the music director and worship leader at my church. I’ve served in that job for the past twelve years, and it was really an excruciating decision. I’ve been praying about it for months, and really, it’s been a struggle to do everything I feel called to in my ministry and keep up with that as well for about two years now. I really need more time with my family, and something had to give.

God has been so merciful to me to make it very clear. While I was in Nashville, I was praying about it again and He really confirmed the decision in my Bible study as well. I am so grateful that He was clear because telling my church was one of the hardest things I’ve ever done, and they were so sweet and loving and gracious to me about it that if God hadn’t been so clear, I know I would have second-guessed it. They proved again why I have felt so blessed to serve that church for so long. They are simply family.

I am praying for them and their new direction as I know they are praying for me. Isn’t it a blessing that we can always know that when we are following God’s direction, we’re always in the right place.

World Vision Artists’ Conference

Sunday, January 22nd, 2012

Dr. Pulei before Journey to Jamaa

One of the worship sessions

With Ian Morgan Cron after his amazing reading

With Nicole Johnson

With JJ Heller - her baby was so cute!

Ricky Skaggs at the Grand Ole Opry

Well, it’s been another couple of crazy weeks here. I’ve started doing some publicity for the release of the book, so after the video was done I did a few radio shows and then got ready to go back to Nashville. I spent last week there again, and it was an amazing time.

I flew in on Sunday and Monday and Tuesday I did some more songwriting for the new album with Paul Marino, and Jeremy Johnson joined us for a session as well. I’m really getting excited about this new album – we’ve got some really good worship songs on here as well as several songs I know will be so useful to me in my ministry. I’m saving a couple of spots for after we return from Thailand since I know I’ll want to write a song or two about that, so with all that and the songs we wrote before Christmas, we’re in really good shape.

On Wednesday, Donna flew down to join me and we went out for some strategy and lunch with my publicist, Gina, whom I also just happen to like. 🙂 Then we checked in for the World Vision Artists’ Conference downtown. This is an annual event for the artists signed with World Vision, and it was inspiring.

Our first night we heard from Dr. Moses Pulei who was one of the first children sponsored in a very remote part of Kenya, and who now oversees World Vision in several East African countries. It was amazing to hear how God has used sponsorship in his life, and especially touching for me personally because I have been in the area where he grew up, and I know the poverty he came out of. Then we saw a presentation of World Vision’s brand new event called Journey to Jamaa.

The next couple of days had awesome speakers, wonderful worship, and lots of time to get to know other World Vision artists. It also had a really fun night at The Grand Ole Opry – something I have never done, and was so glad I got to. I don’t follow country music much, but that was the best live show I may have ever seen! The production was fabulous and for live sound, that is amazing.

We finished out on Saturday morning so everyone could get home to their respective churches (many of us are also worship leaders and pastors) and Donna and I were both so sorry to leave! We even got to hang out with another World Vision couple from California in the airport while we all waited for our planes – felt like we’d all been to summer camp together. Now I’m fired up more than ever about getting kids sponsored! Let me know if you want to help me – it’s amazing what they can do!

Music video shoot

Sunday, January 8th, 2012

The treadmill scene - notice who's cheating

Getting ready to shoot the kitchen scene

The video game scene

Businessman scene

Jeff and Dustin discussing angles and lighting

Shooting the party scene

Walking the hallway for the 89th time

These students are really, really bored

Shooting the cybercafe scene

Me with Jeff Kubach

Hope you all had a great Christmas! We did, and also worked like crazy to get this whole video set up. I was glad to have a reason to pause in the middle of the craziness to be quiet with my family remembering God’s greatest gift to us in Jesus.

After New Year’s we kicked into high gear. Donna and I found actors and locations (which seemed to change by the day!), got all the props, shopped for clothes and organized costuming, and Donna made an incredible spread sheet of where everyone needed to be when with what. She even figured out a plan to feed everyone. You go, Donna! In the end, we shot nine scenes involving about 65 people in five locations which was just a little crazy considering that every time we changed venues we had to tear down and set up all the lighting and camera gear. Thanks so much to Horizons Studios for outfitting us with the camera tracks and jib and lighting – it was a blessing!

Thursday I picked the director, Jeff Kubach, up from the airport and we went and got all the equipment and scouted all the locations so he could plan his angles. I’d sent him pictures for the planning, but it’s much easier to do it in person. That night we finished going over and planning the storyboards and got all our gear loaded up along with the props and clothing and makeup, etc.

Friday we started at 8 am with the gym scene, shooting on treadmills for about four hours – more time than I’ve spent on a treadmill in two years combined. 🙂 Then we shot the kitchen scene. What you can’t see is my mom laying on the floor behind the island trying to catch that plate that Roger is throwing. We try to minimize mayhem. Then onto the video gaming scene. Finally, we set up at Long Street Studio where we got to stay for the next three scenes which was awesome – we were very tired of moving by then. We shot the business man scene and then the shots of the band alone and called it a night around 12:30am.

Saturday we came back to Long Street around 8am and started the prep for the party scene. We had another 60ish people show up at 8:30 and everyone started helping by blowing up 400 balloons and creating a lot of confetti. We shot the party scene for about 4 hours, and that’s a lot of partying! Then we all had lunch and cleaned up confetti that was EVERYWHERE!!

We tore down and headed to the campus coffee shop run by Xenos Christian Fellowship. We were so grateful to them and to Long Street for donating their locations – they were just perfect and it was such a blessing to us. We shot the hallway scenes all afternoon there, and then the library scene in their fireside room. Finally, after they closed that night we took over the coffee house and shot the cybercafe scene. Everything ran beautifully that night, and we actually finished early around 10pm. We were all exhausted, but we had so much fun!

Then the next morning I did worship at my church and went over footage with Jeff before taking him to the airport that evening. I can’t wait for the final edits – I’m always anxious to see if these things I have in my head will come out the way I picture them, and I think this one will be better! Jeff does an incredible job, and I’m blessed to work with him. Can’t wait to share it with you!