some inspiration from Seth Godin’s Linchpin

“Successful people are successful for one simple reason: they think about failure differently.

Successful people learn from failure, but the lesson they learn is a different one.  They don’t learn that they shouldn’t have tried in the first place, and they don’t learn that they are always right and the world is wrong and they don’t learn that they are losers.  They learn that the tactics they used didn’t work or that the person they used them on didn’t respond.

You become a winner because you’re good at losing.  The hard part about losing is that you might permit it to give strength to the resistance, that you might believe that you don’t deserve to win, that you might, in some dark corner of your soul, give up.

Don’t.”

– Seth Godin, Linchpin, 115

falling on unexcited ears

Have you ever written a song that you were so excited to perform and then did so but left feeling empty because you could count the crickets chirping?  Do you sometimes find that you are on a high about your recent creative adventure only to find everyone else’s enthusiasm lacking?

Maybe what you were doing was good but you left out an important step.

I was doing my daily blog reading the other day and I ran across a quote that really hit me.  It sucker-punched me not simply because of how it relates to ministry but how true it is for life and creativity in general.  Here it is:

“Some of the worst sermons I’ve ever heard were great sermons delivered to the wrong people.” – Steven Furtick

I like this a lot because I tend to not think about the audience when writing.  Either when writing songs or writing in general, I tend to focus on finishing it and bringing it to fruition.  But I can do everything right and then have no platform because the people I am trying to reach either 1) won’t understand or 2) won’t care.

This is an issue for me because sometimes I make something that is either rejected or not talked about and I feel hurt.  Maybe all it is is that I am writing good stuff but not for the right group.  Or maybe it needs some tweaking.  All I know is that this quote brings me hope.  Hope because if something doesn’t work the first time, I’ll try again.  Or simply try it somewhere else.

Furtick went to explain that “God determines your faithfulness to the Word.  But your audience determines who receives the focus of the Word.”  Even though Pastor Furtick is referring to sermon planning, I believe that we need to hold the same standards when applied to our creativity.  We need to know if we are being faithful to God and to our creativity and relevancy at all times.  But we also need to remember who we are presenting this to.

Know who you are speaking to at all times.  And tweak along the way.  Because if not, it could be falling on unexcited ears.

July 25

On July 25, a few days ago, my wife and I celebrated our one year anniversary.

Wow.  I am amazed how quickly it has flown by.

You see, 2009 flew by for us.  In that one year, we got engaged (February 10), got a dog (April), got married (July 25), got a house (November 30), found out we were pregnant (December 15), and went to like 12 weddings.

2010 has been a less eventful year for us because we have only really had to go through this pregnancy.  (Note the sarcasm).

But overall, I am very blessed to have had such a great time.  I love my wife very much and continue to renew and enhance my love each day.

Here’s to you for many years to come, Vickie.  I cherish you and I hope that I can grow to be the man that you saw in me from day one.  I am so happy to be having a baby boy with you as we start our family of great cute, brilliant, talented, funny, and dimply children.  I love you more each day and can’t wait to see you continue to grow in your love for God and your love for people as we share this journey together.

fortunate

At church this past week, my pastor, Mike (who needs to update his blog), was sharing with us his thoughts from the Beatitudes found in Matthew 5.  He let us in an often confused and misunderstood word found in the Bible.

He shared with us that the word blessed translates into the more commonly used word: fortunate.

I found this odd.  Fortunate is not a word that I really want to be simply because it brings to mind the idea of luck, which is not really my cup of tea.

I don’t consider someone who wastes all their savings and neglects to feed their kids because they have a lottery addiction to be blessed.  To me, they are fortunate that they won because it was simply dumb luck.  (It makes me mad too because most of the time I go to a gas station and go inside, I have to wait behind someone who is trying to buy their $100 worth of lottery tickets.  In my opinion, they should have to pay up to all who wait behind them).

But I have been thinking about this definition of blessed for a few days and it is starting to grow on me.

Blessed are those who mourn for they shall be comforted.

Each of the blessings are situations where bad things are happening or at least highly negative emotions are taking over.  Sorrow, mourning, poor in spirit, etc.  But Jesus says that in those situations we are blessed.  Or more accurately, fortunate.  It is not because of any of our doing but because of what some claim is luck.  Others call it grace.

We have grace from God.  That is why we are blessed.  We are able to be close to him in our time of need.

The greatest thing about Jesus is not just that He died for our sins, but that He looked on us with favor while we were in our sins.

That makes us very fortunate.  We don’t deserve it but we received it anyway.

I have heard it said many times before that “Jesus got what we deserved so that we can get what He deserved.” I like that.  I am glad to be fortunate.

new focus musically

Here is something that I must say:

I am embarking on a new career.

I am, however, not at the point of quitting my job.  I am simply stepping out in faith, not experience, to develop a musical career.

Just so you know, I don’t really have plans to move to Nashville and become a superstar artist or anything like that.  But I do have a particular set of things that I am looking to explore.

First on the list is gaining some more students to teach private lessons to.  Teaching is a passion of mine and since the school systems in NC are not really hiring in this area, I am going to create my own path to see my own music teaching come to good use.  After all, it was my music teachers that got me to the point where I am at today and I am just trying to pay it forward for the next generation.

Second on the list is writing more music.  My journal is starting to become filled with ideas for songs that I am determined to bring to completion.  However, this item on the list covers a wide range of desires because I want to start composing some instrumental music like I did in high school and early college.  I am not sure how I plan to use these songs but I am very excited about it.  I am also going to look into writing some jingles and possibly some parodies for local agencies in need of them, be it radio stations or businesses.

The third and final thing on my list is to try and build up a career in performing.  I don’t expect to make a ton of money at this but I am determined to play music for anyone willing to listen.  I believe that I am in a great spot because I honestly don’t care if I succeed.  I simply have to do it for me.

I am just sharing all this with you because I have heard that Thomas Edison used to hold a press conference every time he had an idea in order to spark in him the determination toward bringing it to completion.  (I am not sure if this story is based in fact but it is good advice nonetheless).

dreams realized

Last Sunday, my wife and I went shopping for new phones.  She hates my plan with AT&T and I have needed a new phone for a while so we went to Verizon to check them out.

We didn’t enter the store with intentions to buy that day or at least not to buy what we ended up with.

We simply entered to have our needs met.  But we got there and it simply beckoned us to move forward.  It called our names ever so gently and we responded with the signing of a contract.

You may know it as the Droid.

But we know it as our dreams being realized.

All of the above is simply for kicks.  Don’t read too much into this.  But seriously how true is it that we tend to settle for that one thing and then something better comes along.  I know that that is the story of my life.
i.e. I would have settled for a decent wife who would simply listen to me but God blew my mind with Vickie and all that she is.  She’s hot.  She is great to have conversations with.  She loves me for all of the weird tendencies that I have.  She’s carrying my child.  She truly is the woman of my dreams.
And she ended up making the decision to get the Droid.
Wow.  I am blessed.  I am truly blessed.

1:9 type love

This morning I was reading some of the blogs that I subscribe to and one of them was referencing Philippians 1:9 which says,

And this is my prayer: that your love would abound more and more, in knowledge and depth of insight.”

This is what I needed to hear today.  I am praying that my love for God and for others will abound more and more.

This past weekend I learned a lot.  I experienced a lot and in the midst of all of it, God has been speaking to me through His still, small voice that He is yearning for me to love more.

So simple.  Yet so revolutionary.