Michael Jordan once said: “I have missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I have lost almost 300 games. On 26 occasions I have been entrusted to take the game winning shot . . . and missed. And I have failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why . . . I succeed.”

Here’s to everyone who just won’t give up!

Creativity at Wade’s Christmas Service

Check out my hammered dulcimer playing last week at Wade!

In all fairness, I did overdub the dulcimer part in post-production due to the number of missed notes in the live rendition.  (See previous post.)  In the original recording, you could even hear me saying, “This is bad, this is bad,” through the dulcimer mic when I realized I had lost my in-ear monitor receiver seconds before my part was to begin!

Also, it’s interesting to note that some of the more interesting camera angles were taped during soundcheck by my good friend and creative genius Justin Mahood.  You’ll notice in these cutaways that I’m having considerably more fun than during the live shots when I was forced to wear someone else’s headphones and hope for the best!

Where’s the Magic?

This weekend, I put on the “concert promoter” hat and welcomed American Idol’s Chris Sligh to the Wade Center.  As the coordinator of the event, I was the one making sure all his requirements were filled — from herbal tea with homey and lemon in the green room to a specific lighting scheme and audio setup.  I was the one making it happen… and so some of the magic was lost.

While posting this weekend’s pictures to my concert photo album on Facebook, I looked back over all the other concerts I had been to.  Some huge, some small.  But one thing was the same.  I was the devoted guy who always landed front row seats, marvelled at the light show, drooled over the high-priced instruments and audio equipment, and of course waited in long lines afterward for the autographs.

But for the last five years, I’ve been the guy arranging for ticket sales, programming lights, selecting audio gear, and working with the artists before and after the show.  I didn’t even think to ask Chris Sligh for an autograph.  It totally escaped my mind because I was in working mode.  He was the artist.  I was the promoter.  There’s no magic there.  Just two guys working together to make a successful show so that everyone’s happy.

Once just a fan, I now find myself a professional member of the Gospel Music Association who makes his income in the “biz” (although church music should never be called a “biz”).  Now, artists are real people I joke with backstage instead of super-humans to be put on some pedestal.  I miss the days of idolizing (no pun intended) Christian artists.  I miss the magic… although I do enjoy creating it for others these days.

I’ll be going to a Bebo Norman / MercyMe concert this weekend.  It’ll be interesting to see how I feel going to a concert I’m not in charge of for once!

When a Retriever Retrieves…

We just got our Golden Retriever, Marley, a new toy.  The plastic chew toy looks like a newspaper, and he’s just adorable when he carries it around the house.

His face lit up like a Christmas tree when he saw his new gift for the first time.  Now, when he comes in the house, it’s the first thing he goes for.  And every time he has it in his mouth, his smile takes over his whole face.

It’s a great picture for me of one important aspects of dog training.  You have to fulfill the animal’s needs, the dog’s needs and the breed’s needs to have a happy, balanced companion.  One of the biggest needs of a Golden Retriever is to… well… retrieve.  When he’s carrying something in his mouth, he’s the happiest dog on the planet.  It’s what he was made to do.

How about us humans?  What were we made to do?  What makes your face light up?  I think the Bible offers a good answer.

When Jesus was asked for the Cliff’s Notes version of the law, he said, “Love God and love your neighbor” (Luke 10:27).  “That pretty much sums it up,” Jesus would say.  “Do these two simple things, and you’ve got everything God requires covered.”  And if you give it a try, you’ll see he’s right.

Lashing out in rage at someone who cut you off in traffic feels good for a moment, but it’s not what you were created for.  Harboring animosity toward a conniving coworker seems justifiable, but it’s not what you were created for.  Talking down to others so you can feel better about yourself, well we’ve all done that at times, but it’s not what we were created for.  “Love,” Jesus would say.  “Love God, and love other people in your life.  And then your face will light up like Billy’s Golden retriever.”