Since the album, I’ve been trying to come up with new ways of publishing Music To Pray By content and thought of recording run-throughs of some of the songs on our church set list so I got a hold of some video recording and editing gear and began work on it back in July. When I shared this idea with my good friend Micah, he suggested singing to it so that’s what we did and here are the results. Currently, it’s “unlisted” on YouTube till we can secure the rights to publish the song by Travis Ryan. Micah is also getting it listed on iTunes so the audio track should be available for purchase sometime this week. Please keep in mind this is my first shot at using Final Cut Pro and still have a ton to learn. Hope y’all like it:
This past Thursday, I listened to the final CD provided by Masterpiece Mastering and I have to say I’m extremely excited about the impact this is going to have for God’s Kingdom! I immediately sent it off to be replicated and published to all the digital media outlets (iTunes, Amazon, etc.) so it will be available in about a month.
For those who have donated over the past 2 years, I will be sending you a copy. If your address has changed, or if you would like more than one copy, please contact me and let me know.
God has put it on my heart to do something special for churches. My vision is that this music would be made available for new believers, prayer teams, and pastors of Bible-believing churches at no cost. I will even cover shipping. It has been on my heart to seek out churches around the world proactively (starting in the US), but have never gotten around to it. Maybe after this recent wake-up call, I’ll make it more of a priority.
If you would like to have a copy mailed to you, feel free to use the “donate” button on the side of the page, provide your address along with any donation amount, and I will ship a copy to you as soon as I have them.
If you would prefer to have a digital copy, please stay tuned – links and instructions will be posted shortly after they are available.
Alex did an outstanding job designing the album art for me – here’s a preview:
So much has happened over the past few months! I’ll start by sharing some pics of the new piano being delivered:
To be honest, I’ve been somewhat negligent at recording new content for the next podcast as there have been quite a few life-changes recently since I passed the CCIE Security.
First, and probably the biggest change is my departure from Soundwave. After over 10 years with the band, God has made it clear that I need to step down. The reason behind the decision was unclear at the time, but there have been a number of confirmations since.
Second, The Connection Church started a fourth service on Saturday Night last weekend. It was a HUGE hit, but this does come with a greater commitment of my time and also brings some clarity as to why I believe God brought me to the decision to leave Soundwave.
As the two little ones get older (now 4 and 6), they want to spend more time with dad, which I consider a true blessing. We are taking our first ever family vacation starting tomorrow and it’s going to be a blast!
With all this said, the next podcast release date is somewhat up in the air at this point, but I’ll keep you posted.
Our last full-blown concert put on by the band was over a year ago, and we are doing a full set of originals and a ton of worship that’s bound to be familiar to most everyone – especially those who go to The Connection Church. See the flyer below for details. We were working till after midnight last night preparing, and this is one concert you DO NOT want to miss! It’s gonna be awesome!
Earlier this year, the band, Marked 4 Life asked if I would record them. Normally, I would say “no” to these types of requests due to the fact that I’m pretty over-committed as it is, but I made an exception since I’ve known most of the band members for a decade and most of them are still in High School, yet they’ve been together as a band for over 5 years I believe. They are also very important to my home church, TCC as they serve as the youth band, and do occasional gigs for the kids. Work and Soundwave have consumed most of my time over the past couple of months so I’m just now finishing up one of the three songs we recorded and I figured I would share it with you. This is the pre-master version, and won’t be downloadable, but the EP will hopefully be available sometime this year.
I did want to let you know I’m running a little behind on Podcast 68, but my goal is to have it posted by mid-June. I’ve got everything tracked and have begun editing so I may have it done sooner – stay tuned!
It is difficult to get into the details of what has happened to me over the past 3 months, but I feel it is important to share this with you. Mid-April was a huge turning point in my life. I had just left my job at AT&T to become a consultant with a much smaller company, the Soundwave tour was in full swing with weekly practices and concerts, there was my commitment to The Connection Church ministry leadership and worship teams, and Yoko and the kids were getting ready to leave for Okinawa without me for 3 weeks. On top of all of this, the enemy took huge advantage of a very weak point when I was under for a dental surgery. I literally thought I was dying and it was as though every Truth about our existence in God’s Word ceased to exist and my entire foundation was shaken to the core. I was flooded with more doubt and depression than I’ve ever experienced in my entire life. I began to spend every spare moment I could find listening to God’s Word in the car, praying, reading the Bible, but the “near-death experience” had me convinced EVERYTHING was meaningless. It was so crushing that it took me 3 days just to recognize it as a spiritual attack. When I did, the enemy no longer tried to hide the evidence of the attack, which increased exponentially with fear added to the mix – unexplainable fear. I immediately began to call and text family and friends to pray. That night, I sought after God and relied on The Holy Spirit more than ever.
Over the past few months, there have been victories, but there have also been struggles with depression, doubt, and fear like never before. A split-second thought followed by wave after wave of spine-chilling goosebumps, sometimes occurring over and over for hours! Throughout most of my life, the enemy has used my flesh with sinful desires and bad habits, occasional doubt, etc., but this was different. It was truly a non-stop war on my mind. I have never had thoughts enter my mind that made my soul cringe like this – thoughts I don’t have the words to describe, and the enemy would trick me into pondering these thoughts to the point of spiraling into deep, dark depression that would last for days. Over time, God began to bring into greater light the spiritual war that was going on. Truth in the scriptures like 2 Corinthians 10:5, prayer, family (especially my bro David), and the same Power that raised Christ from the dead gave me renewed hope and peace. Our God is so faithful!
I truly believe that God is doing some GREAT things through this ministry and the enemy is not happy about it. Prayer IS the way we wage this invisible war by the Power of the Holy Spirit, and this fact has never been more real to me. A few days ago when I posted on Facebook asking for prayer, it had been another very rough few days dealing with a weight of depression that had no explanation whatsoever. I could literally feel the depression lift as you guys prayed for me.
I hope this encourages you to pray continually. Pray for the state of our nation. Pray for those affected by the Colorado shooting. Pray for the unsaved in your churches. Pray for your pastors, your family! …and if you have time, I am eternally grateful for any prayers lifted up on my behalf. Satan is a formidable enemy, but GREATER is He that is in me than he that is in the world!!! – 1 John 4:4
So much has happened since my last blog post almost 2 months ago! Soundwave has played at over 8 concerts/events across the state of Texas as part of “The Start” tour. Please check out our new album here if you haven’t already. Our drummer got married this past weekend. Of course, Soundwave played, which made us seriously think about doing wedding gigs for a living. 🙂 We have our first out-of-state concert in Kansas in a couple of weeks. It’s gonna be off the chain!
Things have been full throttle at The Connection Church. We are now serving for 3 services on Sunday, and ministry is happening! Rene is doing an amazing job leading worship, and Cole has been delivering powerful, applicable messages with passion 3 times every Sunday. It is truly an honor to be a part of that ministry, and if you live in the Austin area and don’t have a home church, I promise you it will be worth your time to come check it out!
Yoko and my two precious children went to Okinawa, Japan to visit her side of the family. They have been gone for a week and a half with a little over a week to go. I miss them so much. Please keep them in your prayers.
I also made the decision to leave AT&T after 8 years and accepted an opportunity at Accudata Systems as a Senior Consultant. It’s been almost 3 weeks now and I have to say that I love it and can’t wait to see what God has in store for me in this role. Adjusting to this new world has been a welcomed challenge. I also committed 10 hours a week to AT&T temporarily to help in the transition so I’ve had no time to devote to the MTPB album. Thankfully, this is only for a season.
One last thing – some of you may remember when I put everything on pause to focus on obtaining my CCIE. Well, I’ve decided to go for a second CCIE in Security. This time the plan is to spread it over a year in order to have more of a balance between family, ministry, and work. I am still planning to have the MTPB album out in Q1 of 2013. Please keep me in your prayers as I go through this very challenging time.
It has been too long since the last podcast. For this I apologize. Podcast 65 is almost ready to track. My goal is to have it posted by the end of the week. I’ve also scheduled a week off from work this month to spend time on the album. I haven’t made much traction on either front the past few months, but I do believe one day there will be much more time to devote to this ministry. Great things are coming – I will trust in You oh LORD!
Soundwave had the CD release concert last month, and some friends of the band put together a really nice “official” video of one of my favorite songs. Here it is:
I cannot believe it has been almost 2 months since I last posted any updates. For that I am sorry, but there is good reason. Now that Soundwave’s new album, “The Start” is about to be released, we have been intensely preparing for what God has in store for this ministry. Since my last podcast, we’ve done a weekend-long camp for some little ones, we’ve had a number of practices, and I’ve spent many many hours preparing some new technologies that should help us in a major way when playing live. We’ve also done four in-home pre-release concerts the past 2 weeks. Here’s a song from one of them requested by the host called “How He Loves” by John Mark McMillan:
This weekend is DCYC, an event we’ve been a part of the past 2 years, and it continues to grow. So far, there are over 2,100 young people signed up to attend, and we are stoked! After this, I’m headed off to Canada for a week (work related), and the weekend I get back is our CD release concert in Lockhart.
Soundwave has a few more concerts in February and March, but I hope to record and post another podcast between now and the end of March. I actually recorded a podcast in December, but had technical problems again. I’ve also started work on the “Music to Pray By” album, and I’m torn between putting time and effort into that project and posting podcasts. Sometimes it’s difficult to find a balance.
With all that said, I am truly blown away at the number of downloads MTPB has had even without new podcasts. The site has just recently hit over 500,000 downloads with an average of over 1,400 downloads a day now. To those who continue to use this resource to enhance your prayer time – thank you. These numbers are truly inspiring to me.
Every year since 2008, Cisco has spammed me constantly the months leading up to the event, and every year I have asked to go and have been denied the privilege. I was certain the same would happen this year. In fact, my manager told me last Wednesday he was unable to make it happen, which was no surprise, but the following day, a reservation within our company became available! God is good!
For those of you who don’t know, Cisco Live! is one of the largest technical conferences out there, and is by far the largest in regards to the technologies I work with on a daily basis as a Network Engineer for AT&T WiFi Services. Not only will I have the opportunity to learn from some of the best in the industry, I will get to see and possibly play with some of the latest and greatest network technologies out there. The conference will be held at one of the hottest tourist destinations in the U.S. – Las Vegas, NV. With that in mind, I think of Psalm 119:11 – “Thy Word have I hid in my heart that I might not sin against Thee…” might I add, “…while in the heart of Sin City for the first time” 😕
Please keep me and the family in your prayers this week – it breaks my heart to leave them for 5 days straight. It also breaks my heart to miss Sunday Morning service at TCC – especially with Jeremy, lead singer of Soundwave, leading worship.
For the techies, here are some of the seminars I’ll have the opportunity to attend:
– Enterprise Network Virtualization using IP and MPLS Technologies – Advanced Enterprise Campus Design: VSS, Routed Access, and Resilient Campus Networks – Advanced Scaling for Core and Edge Networks – CCIE Service Provider Operations – Data Center Town Hall: Enabling Cloud Adoption – Cisco NX-OS Software Architecture
For the non-techies – I also get to hear William Shatner give the closing keynote, and Train will be performing one evening as well. Another huge bonus is I’ll have the opportunity to attend an AT&T VIP event as well as a CCIE-only VIP party.
* On a side note, as the audience for Music to Pray By grows, I have considered moving these personal posts to a different blog. If any of you subscribers are annoyed by them, please send me a message using the contact form and I’ll make this a priority.
God bless, and stay tuned for Podcast 61 coming early August. It was recorded over a month ago, but I remember it being special with a new original starting it off.
With the commitments I have to family, church, Soundwave, and work, I have come to the conclusion that the amount of time required to edit, record, mix, and post bi-weekly podcasts is throwing my life out of balance. I’ve thought and prayed about this for a while now and I know this is the right decision. I pray someday I will be able to do music ministry for a living, but just as Paul temporarily built tents to provide for his needs, I temporarily build internetworks to provide for my family. I still intend to sit down at the piano on a bi-weekly basis and record podcasts with hopes that in the future I will be able to catch up or employ help for the editing and mixing. At any rate, expect the next podcast to be posted on the 8th of May. I hope you had a blessed Easter.
Today after church, we had group, left there a little after 3:30, Sanban fell asleep on the way home, so we took a nap for about an hour and a half, then Yoko and I sat down for a while to talk about what to do about our house. We have lots of repairs to do – electrical outlets on the outside of the house are dead, fence was blown down by the strong winds we had the past couple of days, etc., then my dad called me and we chatted for a little over an hour about the beautiful property surrounding the Austin area. Yoko and I came really close to buying a house on a postage stamp lot in Buda, and decided not to because it didn’t make sense financially. My dad did convince me that a better investment would be a home on some acreage. At any rate, we’re putting SanBan to bed right now and we haven’t even eaten dinner yet. It doesn’t look like I’ll be able to do the podcast today, which kills me. Something else I haven’t blogged about – one of my goals is to get the CCIE certification by November, which is going to require practically every spare moment I have studying. I’ll blog more detail about this sometime in the near future. I know the podcast is eternally important, and I do plan on continuing it, but I feel that it is necessary to cut back to once every 2 weeks since it is a 4-5 hour commitment of my free time on the weekend, and free time is very scarce right now with family, church, studying, and the band. I hope you understand, and I do plan on going back to a weekly podcast as soon as I obtain the CCIE certification later this year. When August hits, I may have to go to monthly podcasts through November or December since my studies will pick up the closer I get to the test date. If all goes well, I’ll start January of ’10 with weekly podcasts. Another personal goal is to compile an album of “The Best of Music to Pray By”, and get it mastered, duplicated, and professionally packaged with album art and everything. I hope to have that album available by the middle of 2010. That will require an enormous amount of time since it will involve listening to hours of the MTPBpodcasts, going back to the original uncompressed files, and preparing about an hour’s worth of music for mastering, but I believe it will totally be worth the effort. Please let me know what you think – good decision, bad decision, priorities out of whack? I’d love to hear what ya’ll think! At any rate, This would be my weekend off (involuntary 😉 ) so I will put the podcast at the top of the priority list for next weekend.
Today at small group, I had my first experience witnessing the deep frying of an 18 pound turkey. Jason Hooton did the honors. I learned a lot from him today. First, the best type of oil to use is peanut oil because it has a flash point that is much higher than other oil – 600 degrees Fahrenheit. Second, the oil should be at around 350 degrees before putting the turkey in the deep fryer, but no hotter than 375. Lastly, and most importantly, you lower the turkey into the oil as slowly as possible. If you don’t, things can get messy I’ve learned. Also, the formula for how long to cook is 3-4 minutes per pound. We cooked ours for about an hour and it came out beautifully.
Joe, a good friend of mine from church, was able to record this past Sunday’s service at The Connection Church, and the audio and video turned out surprisingly well. He used external mic’s placed on either side of the auditorium, so there is a lot of “room” sound.
I enjoyed service so much this morning I just had to blog about it! It is truly amazing what can happen when a few people who are serious about their faith get together and worship. My former pastor in Okinawa used to say that you can have all the talent in the world, but without commitment, your talent is worthless. I also belive this is true in part when it comes to your heart and your attitude. EVERYBODY that was part of worship this morning has a good heart and a GREAT attitude, and I honestly believe that this morning’s service was probably the best we’ve ever had at The Connection Church because of this very reason. Renee, our drummer, has grown into an amazing player. The beat this morning was rock steady, and the tempos were not too fast or too slow – they were just right! It is also so wonderful to have our new bass player – Shel on board. He has a true heart for God and worship has just been awesome with him playing. And… Chris… oh man… That dude is amazing. It is truly an honor to have him as part of the team. He has to be one of the best sax players I know. I am continually blown away how God provides for The Connection Church musicians with bucket loads of talent. God gives us the talent, but it is up to us as individuals to make the commitment and keep our attitudes in check. It is really nice to see the beginnings of that within the worship team. I am just so excited to see where God takes us from here! If you live in the Kyle/Buda area and aren’t in a church, you have NO idea what you’re missing out on! Oh, and I have to give Micah a shoutout. He sung his heart out this morning. Dude – you rock! Bryan and Pam were singing their hearts out as well. I LOVE IT! On a side note – it totally stinks that I have to miss next Sunday because of an exam I have to take… My week just won’t be the same without TCC service on Sunday morning…