To watch someone make the difficult look effortless is the epitome of artistic affluence. To watch a performer act as if each participant is the only person in the room is transcendent. I love watching my wife do what she was born for. 1,000 little hearts were impacted today in ways we’ll never know this side of glory. Partnership is a gift to be treated reverently. #CampusImpressions
Sprig Music just put out this video of Jennifer’s in-studio performance of one of my favorite Adele songs, “Turning Tables.” It’s an amazingly difficult song to pull off live, and I’m so proud of my wife and in awe of her talent. Check it out, then share to your friends who appreciate good music.
I’m so thrilled to announce Jennifer’s first live video on her new YouTube channel. The song “Loving You Out Loud” represents one of my favorites in her new repertoire, reminding the listener of the joy of first-love and all that comes with it.
Jennifer’s been working so hard on her music over the past several years, and it’s finally time to start releasing it for the world to hear. While her new record is in progress with Sprig Music, we thought we’d start sharing some of the songs as we wrote them: personally and intimately from our home in Clayton, NY.
I hope you enjoy this series as much as I do.
This is how I like product reviews. Short, sweet, and conducted by real people in authentic environments.
This one is 22-seconds long, and shows what our new Shark did after just two times through our house. Needless to say, it picked up the dregs of what our Oreck had been leaving behind.
Just before the end of the world, Jennifer Lee and I snuck in one more anniversary.
But we cheated.
When we chose our wedding date 9 years ago, we consulted the Mayan calendar.
Nice when a plan comes together.
Babe: Thanks for walking beside me and making these the greatest 9 years of my life. I’ll stand with you on the edge of eternity any day, and leap.
(at least until the Zombie Apocalypse)
The only thing better than hosting Phil Wickham at your church is being asked by the promoter to open for Phil Wickham at your church. Such a privilege is exactly what Jenny and I will be doing on Sunday, October 21st at 6pm, along with The Royal Royal.
If you’d like more information, including tickets, please visit New Life.
It’s not often that I get to play drums anymore.
I’m rusty, so that’s a liability to a leader.
I don’t have much time to get un-rusty.
And there are better drummers all around me.
But every now and then the forces of heaven and earth align themselves in such away that I get to step up.
Last night I had the privilege of serving one of my dearest friends, Mike Kim, as he kicked off our Momentum Leadership Advance at New Life. The conference is specifically for our over 200 leaders and volunteers – just to bless and encourage them.
Mike made mention earlier in the day that he’s been dwelling a lot on the subject of oil in the Bible. No, not the oil that our political parties are playing with at the expense of our families’ wallets. The anointing oil of the Holy Spirit. And neither you or I can afford it.
Good thing it’s a gift.
Mike truly has the oil of God on his life, and we were all soaking in it last night. There’s nothing quite like prolonged times in God’s presence, waiting on him and delighting in his pleasure.
Many thanks to the rest of the team: Jennifer Hopper, Jacob Widrick, Jason Rodgers, Daniel Gilchrist, David Woodkirk, Tammy Desormo, Joseph Gilchrist, and Tim Desormo.
Probably the greatest moment for me was when my father Peter came up backstage left and started playing the cowbell behind me (pictured below) – something he taught me to do behind him when I was just a boy and he was the drummer. Full circle. Resulted in the best text message ever (below).
Picking it back up this morning with Pastor Pierre du Plessis from The Father’s House in Rochester, NY. ch:
Jennifer asked me to shoot a few pictures of her and Levi while it was snowing yesterday morning. She came downstairs in a beautiful black gown, and she asked me to wrap Levi up in one of her favorite blankets.
What happened next was magic.
With the snow gently falling, she and Levi posed in our front yard, supported in the background by a melancholy thicket of branches bowing under the weight of the heaven-sent dust.
All I had to do was depress the shutter.
Sometimes in life we get golden opportunities – opportunities where we couldn’t take a bad picture if we tried. But we must realize that our good fortune is actually the result of someone else’s preparation, talent, and natural gift.
Turns out Jennifer had been planning what she’d wanted for a while. She’d already thought through the wardrobe, the the need for light snow, and the locale. That combined with her natural beauty and Levi’s 10+ cuteness-factor made for a perfect storm.
Anything wonderful that befalls us is never an accident. Whether a job promotion, church growth, new friendships, a break in the monotony, or a new successful idea, we’re standing on the shoulders of others and recipients of the divine.
The sooner we realize life-gifts have very little to do with us and a whole lot more to do with others, the sooner we’ll start to trust God in his infinitely wise provision and enjoy the process of responding. Which usually is just depressing the shutter and looking on in awe. ch:
Cover design by Jennifer Hopper. Friend her on facebook.com/jenniferhopper to see the whole album.
My wife was born to worship, and born to inspire others to worship.
Yes she’s also a remarkable wife, a sacrificial mother, a faithful friend, a talented photographer, and a gifted songwriter.
But she was born to help people enter the presence of the Lord with her voice.
We do not choose gifts, gifts choose us.
We may want to be a world-class golfer or an elite scientist, but all our hoping and hard work can never acquire what God has placed innately within us. One of the worst things that could befall out destiny is to be successful at something we were never born to do.
Don’t fight your natural gifts because your appetite is for success in something else. That’s jealousy, and it leads to death. Instead, embrace your God-given talents.
True maturity is being content with what we will never be. Cherish who you are and what you’ve been born with. Then pursue it. ch:
UPDATE: For those looking for my notes from today’s message, here’s a free PDF of them: MESSAGE: A New Look
[PHOTOS BY: JENNIFER HOPPER]
No, I’m not about to reveal the secrets of curing soggy marijuana leaves. (Hippies).
This week I had the joy of speaking for a YWAM School of Worship in Yverdon. Pictured here with my dear friend and translator Sylvain Freymond (also one of Switzerland’s most beloved worship leaders and songwriters), I shared on accessing God’s heart of creativity and principles of group leadership. Teaching in this format – a pair of two-hour classes each day – is something I look forward to, and something I’ve become good at.
But I wasn’t always good at it.
Ten years ago I was asked to teach eight-hours a day for five days straight in northern France. I was scared. Mortified would be a better word. I compiled the notes of every sermon I’d ever preached and scribbled countless reminders of sermons I’d heard preached growing up. I thought for sure that I’d share everything I’d ever learned in first two-hour block.
Back then I was a nervous wreck. Today I’m thrilled for the opportunity.
That’s because some of the greatest joys in my life have only recently been discovered.
That may not seem like a very meaningful statement, but given the fact that our culture largely broadcasts what you should be enjoying right now, waiting for things is hardly status quo, nor is the process of building long-term expectation.
Have sex now. Make lots of money now. Be popular now. Get what you want now. Don’t wait. And if you do wait, you’re missing out on everything.
But acting prematurely has some serious side-affects.
A pot that decides it should be filled with water before it’s fired in a kiln becomes a pile of watery clay by the end of the day. No matter how ready it thinks it is, the potter knows the vessel is simply incapable of fulfilling its purpose without engaging in the process of development.
Sure, I should have been happy with the opportunity to preach for a week ten years ago – and to a certain extent I was – but it wasn’t enjoyable. I needed time, coaching, and experience before I was truly ready to look at the invitation and discover the joy of doing it.
Becoming a husband and father has been much the same process. Oh, how I argued with God countless times, telling him I was ready for marriage, pleading (and pushing) for my spouse to be revealed. But he knew the vessel needed to be fired. And to a certain extent, I’m still being fired.
God is never late and he’s rarely early. He knows what he’s doing, and he will not be held hostage by pop culture or our adolescent demands.
Just remember that some of the greatest, most enjoyable moments in your life have yet to arrive. Recognizing the process is just as much a part of the arrival helps steady our impatience and temper the steel of our expectations.
Plus, being a squishy heap of soggy clay is downright embarrassing. Get fired and be useful long-term. ch:
Jennifer and I had a wonderful evening leading worship at Frink Park in Clayton, NY last night. Joseph Gilchrist sat in on drums, and his brother Daniel on bass.
With a huge storm front moving in from the south, we decided to start early as there was already a good amount of people seated. We asked the Lord to hold off the rain, then told the audience we’d play as long as we could.
After more than an hour of playing, the dark sky loomed overhead. I turned to Jenny and asked her to sing one last song. She picked our favorite: Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
Just as she started the bridge, she pointed up behind the audience and said, “I just want everyone to know there’s a giant rainbow up there.” To all our amazement, right on cue, a rainbow appeared. As if God was reminding us once again of his promises, and heard our request to keep the rain off.
As we pulled out of Clayton with all the gear packed away, the storm hit. Hard.
I asked people to take pics and send them to me so I could make a collage and post it here. If you were there last night and see a photo you took, please leave a comment below so we know who you are and can give you props.
Thanks to all those who came out; we love playing for the hometown crowd. ch:
Most pictures my wife takes catch me off guard. But the ones that do the most are the images that remind me how much God blessed me the day she became my wife.
Not quite sure how I have less hair and she gets more beautiful. But I definitely got the better end of the bargain.
Husbands, love your wives today. Wives, send your husband a picture* to remind him just how blessed he is. (*This could be dangerous). ch:
Photo by Jennifer Hopper
So many of my posts are about my kids. Let’s face it: they are a source of endless content.
But the most important person in my life next to Jesus is my wife, Jennifer. My bride. My best friend. My second Holy Spirit. My inspiration when I’m at my lowest, and my checks and balances when I’m aloft. I would be dead without her.
And as I was taking some pictures of her this morning to capture the last few weeks of her pregnancy, I was once again spellbound by her beauty, and awestruck at exactly how and why the Lord gave me such a perfect gift.
I love you, Jenny Lee. ch: